Plans filed to open rural business that teaches green living classes; Highberger confirms plans to run for statehouse
It is a little hard to think about being green on a day like today. Walk outside, and you are more likely to turn blue. But plans are in the works for a new rural Lawrence business that will teach people to be green all year.
Local herb expert Tamara Fairbanks-Ishmael has filed plans with the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department to open Good Earth Gatherings at her home at 858 E. 1500 Road.
Fairbanks-Ishmael plans to convert a barn on the property into a classroom where she'll have instructors who will teach classes on topics such as art journaling, creating miniature gardens, dying fabrics, working with wool, and making your own lotions. (Ohhh, lotion to rub on the iceberg formerly known as my nose would feel good right about now.) Other topics will include food preservation, arts and crafts, home decorating and other similar classes.
Plus, there will be many classes on herbs and herb gardening. Fairbanks-Ishmael runs the Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group, which attracts a monthly gathering of about 50 people. She said the success of that group was one of the reasons she decided to pursue the idea of Good Earth Gatherings.
"I have seen people throughout the area have a real quest for knowledge on things that are self-empowering," Fairbanks-Ishmael said. "Herbs are very self-empowering. They are medicine you can grow in your backyard."
(I hope that is true because I currently have my hand emerged in oregano in hopes that it will help me reattach my frostbitten left thumb.)
If this business sounds familiar to you, perhaps you remember that in late 2011 Fairbanks-Ishmael filed similar plans and ultimately got them approved by the Douglas County Commission. But she said family demands stopped her from opening the business. Her permit expired, so she has filed the paperwork again.
This time she said she's on a clear track to open the business. She hopes to begin offering classes in either the late spring or early summer. Or in other words, about the time I regain feeling in my frozen right foot. (Unless, of course, this basil in my sock starts to kick in.)
In other news and notes around town:
• I have a quick bit of political news to pass along. Back in November, I told you it looked like there was a good chance that former Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger was going to run for the seat in the state legislature being vacated by Rep. Paul Davis, who of course is running for governor. Well, Highberger has confirmed to me that he has made the decision to run. He has recently sent off the paperwork to the Kansas Secretary of State's office. Look for a more formal announcement in the future.
Highberger will run as a Democrat, and that means there will be a primary election for Davis' seat in August. Abbie Hodgson, a former staff member with Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson, filed for the seat months ago.
Highberger served six years on the Lawrence City Commission in the 2000s, including a stint as mayor. Highberger is an attorney by trade. He previously was a staff attorney for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and now is a partner in a private practice in downtown Lawrence.
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Former Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger planning to run for Statehouse seat; 650 collegiate runners to be in city this weekend
It looks like Boog will be back.
Those of you who have followed Lawrence politics know who I'm talking about. Dennis "Boog" Highberger is a former Lawrence city commissioner and mayor, and now it appears likely that he'll make a run to become a state legislator.
Highberger told me last night that he is planning to soon file for the state House of Representatives seat currently held by Lawrence lawmaker Paul Davis. Davis, of course, is leaving the seat to run for governor.
Highberger will run as a Democrat in a district — House District 46 — that includes quite a few Democrats. The race already has attracted at least one other Democratic candidate, Abbie Hodgson, who was a former staff member with Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson and now works in the communications department at KU. We'll see how big of a field the race may draw. If two Democrats do file, there would be a primary election in August. The general election is in November.
Highberger served six years on the Lawrence City Commission in the 2000s, including a stint as mayor. Highberger is an attorney by trade. He previously was a staff attorney for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and now is a partner in his own private practice in downtown Lawrence.
The deadline for candidates to file for the race is June 2.
In other news and notes from around town:
• We go from talking about running for political office to just plain running. About 650 collegiate cross country runners will be in Lawrence this weekend for the NAIA Men and Women's Cross Country National Championships.
The event will be held at the esteemed Rim Rock Farm cross country course just north of Lawrence. This is the first time the event has been held in Lawrence, and event organizers said the Rim Rock Farm course, which was designed by former KU track coaching legend Bob Timmons, played a major role in landing the competition.
Officials with the the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau are projecting the event will provide about $200,000 in economic impact to the city's hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses that will cater to the athletes and crowds. It will be interesting to watch the impact because my understanding is that the Lawrence Sport Corp. has a multiyear contract to host the event, although I'm not sure whether it will be held in Lawrence every year or just in selected years.
The event is open to the public. At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the men's 8,000 meter race will start. The women's 5,000 meter race will begin at 11:45 a.m. Rim Rock Farm is at 2276 Burnett Lane, which is just west of Wellman Road, north of U.S. Highway 59/24.
• I still get people asking me what new business is heading into the building being constructed next to Taco Bell on 23rd Street. As we previously have reported, a Chipotle restaurant is slated for the space. I still don't have an official word on when the restaurant may open, but signs point to it being soon. Lawrence city commissioners at their meeting tonight are set to approve a drinking establishment license for the restaurant at 1420 W. 23rd St. Let the Mexican food wars soon begin.