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Lawrence physician starts salsa company; update on future traffic changes at Sixth and SLT
As schools, businesses and governments announce all types of changes to their hours as a result of this snowstorm, I'm voting for this idea: Let's all sit around and eat salsa and go back to work once the snow has melted.
I believe I know one new Lawrence company that would be on board with it. Lawrence is now home to a new salsa company. Dave & Dexter's Salsa began selling its salsa varieties at The Merc this fall and recently has expanded its reach into the two Hy-Vee stores in the city. Plus, the company has pending deals to start showing up on the shelves of major grocery chains in the Kansas City metro area.
Lawrence physician David Lawhorn — who is married to noted cardiologist Dr. Stephanie Lawhorn — is the brains behind the new company. When he was looking for his next career move in the medical industry, his wife instead encouraged him to think about doing what he had been talking about for years: marketing the homemade salsa that he had been giving away to friends and family for decades.
"I wasn't sure because there are so many out there," Lawhorn said. "But this one does taste different. It tastes fresh right out of the jar, and we really do use fresh ingredients."
I suppose at this point we should address the elephant in the room here. You may have noticed that Lawhorn and I have the same last name, and you may be wondering if we're related. Well, if you ever meet a Lawhorn and ask him if he's related to yours truly, the most likely answer you'll get is "It depends." But David Lawhorn is one of the few who can honestly say he's not related to me. (I have, though, received phone calls for his cardiologist wife. One was an elderly woman who wanted to talk to Dr. Lawhorn because her husband was having chest pains. Fortunately, I had just read a book on how the heart works, so I was able to talk her through it. No, I told her to call 911. Or 411. I don't remember.)
Lawhorn said sales of the salsa — which is produced by a commercial kitchen in Kansas City — have gone well. Lawhorn said he even recently was approached by a representative from Whole Foods about stocking the salsa, which is preservative free, in some of its stores. The company produces four varieties of salsa, each with different degrees of heat, although all also have a hint of sweetness to them.
"True Mexican salsa shouldn't tinge your mouth or lips," Lawhorn said. "You should taste a little bit of heat at the beginning and then it should build at the end."
Conversations with Dean & DeLuca also have begun, Lawhorn said. So, it will be interesting to watch how far this local company expands.
In case you are wondering, the Dexter in the equation of Dave & Dexter's is Lawhorn's beloved golden retriever. As far as I know, Dexter isn't related to me either. He probably wouldn't admit to it anyway.
In other news and notes from around town:
• Motorists should expect traffic flow to start changing at the Sixth Street and South Lawrence Trafficway interchange in northwest Lawrence. Plans originally called for new traffic signals to be hung and activated at the intersection on Thursday. I wouldn't be surprised if weather issues delay that project, but city engineers tell me it won't be long before the signals are working.
The project actually is being done by the state as part of an effort to reduce the long line of cars that stack up on the entrance and exit ramps to the trafficway. But as you'll likely notice, the traffic signals will look kind of temporary in nature. There is a reason for that. Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works, has told me that the state would like to build a new "diverging diamond interchange" at the intersection in coming years.
I know. The phrase "diverging diamond interchange" creates questions. My wife's question: When am I going to buy her one?I told her I think we're talking about a different type of diamond. But I'm not sure. I checked out this website devoted to diverging diamond intersections, and I'm still not sure how they work. But the key concept seems to be that the two lanes of traffic cross each other, eliminating the need for left turns.
If you have been through the new interchange at I-35 and Homestead Lane near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe intermodal facility in Edgerton, you've been through a diverging diamond interchange. There also are several in Springfield, Mo., and in the Branson, Mo., area. Here's a video of one in Springfield.
When Lawrence may get its first diverging diamond interchange is a bit uncertain. City engineers have told me the state hasn't yet identified a funding source for the project. But my understanding is that the interchange is being designed, which is a sign that the state is strongly interested in the project. Part of the project also will be dependent on traffic flows. Traffic numbers are expected to increase once the nearby Rock Chalk Park sports complex is fully opened.
I'll let you know if I hear more. In the meantime, I think my wife is driving me to the jewelry store.