WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

'Either we prepare for it or we get run over by it': Douglas County leaders begin to plan for Panasonic battery plant

Imagine the Energizer Bunny with a turbo charger. Plans in De Soto for a new $4 billion, 4,000-job plant that makes batteries for electric vehicles may get growth moving at that type of speed in Eudora — and perhaps Lawrence. The EDC of Lawrence and Douglas County — a countywide economic development corporation — brought together leaders from communities across the county on Thursday afternoon to begin ...

KU receives $2 million gift to help maintain 100-year old geology field camp

The University of Kansas has received a $2 million gift to help it sustain a geology field camp it operates in Colorado. The Harrison Family Fund at the Douglas County Community Foundation gave the $2 million gift to support the KU Geology Field Camp in Cañon City, Colorado. The family of Robert “Bob” Harrison has been longtime supporters of the field camp. Bob Harrison was a 1938 KU geology graduate, who ...

'Dyche Hall felt incomplete': After 5-year absence, stone grotesques being reinstalled on KU Natural History Museum building

Construction crews Thursday morning draped a black tarp over the 400-plus pound carved stone ape that was set to be hoisted by crane to the top of Dyche Hall on the University of Kansas campus. The ape was no dummy. It wanted its eyes covered for this. Everyone else, though, was eager to see the sight that had been five years in the making. The ape is one of eight grotesques — the architectural term for ...

No county was more opposed to abortion amendment than Douglas; a look at other elections stats, including Republicans who voted No

For today’s Town Talk, let’s do a news and notes election edition: — While the outcome was clear when we went to press Tuesday night, the total vote count was not for the proposed Kansas constitutional amendment that would have eliminated a constitutional right to an abortion in the state. The Kansas Secretary of State’s office posted complete totals on Wednesday. They are: No, 534,134 votes, or 59%; ...

Plans filed for a new Lawrence Starbucks on Sixth Street; taco chain to close on south Iowa Street

Plans have been filed for a new Starbucks drive-thru coffee shop on Sixth Street, as the competition for Lawrence’s coffee dollars appears to be heating up. A plan filed at City Hall shows Starbucks is interested in building about a 2,200-square-foot coffee shop with a drive-thru at the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Crestline Drive. If you are having a hard time picturing the location, I sure ...

Lawrence church that has been outspoken supporter of amendment to remove constitutional right to abortion hit by vandals

A Lawrence church who has been an outspoken supporter of the state constitutional amendment on abortion rights, was vandalized with “Vote No” messages Sunday night. Lawrence’s Victory Bible Church, 1942 Massachusetts Street, had two sides of its brick sanctuary building spray painted with large Vote No messages just ahead of the constitutional amendment vote. A No vote in the Aug. 2 election is a vote ...

News and notes including plans for vacant I-70 industrial lot, closing of city's lone gun range, and bankruptcy for Mac shop

Today, I have a tale of a hole in a roof, a gun and a MacBook computer. It sure sounds like a bad IT day, but don't let your imaginations run wild. Rather, it is news and notes from around town, featuring one business that is expanding and two that have closed. — Let’s start with the business that fixes holes in roofs and does all other types of roofing work in the Lawrence area. Lawrence-based Alpha ...

Lawrence home sales fell by biggest amount yet in 2022; housing prices certainly did not

Lawrence’s housing market is in a slowdown — in every way except one. Housing prices aren’t falling at all, according to the latest numbers from the Lawrence Board of Realtors. Lawrence homes sales in June fell 13.5% compared to June 2021 numbers. For the year, Lawrence home sales are now down 7.8%. At the halfway mark of 2022, home sales have now posted year-over-year declines in all six months of the ...

Plans filed to expand historic Turnhalle building at Ninth and Rhode Island; site would become performance venue

What is generally thought to be the oldest community building in Lawrence has new owners — and new plans to become a performance venue on the edge of downtown. Plans have been filed at City Hall to expand the Turnhalle building, 900 Rhode Island St., as new owners seek to turn the old stone structure with its historic stage and balcony into a performance and event business. The new owners of the building ...

Demolition work underway on Oliver Hall, old facilities building at KU campus

It’s demo days at the University of Kansas. Demolition work has begun both on Oliver Hall and the old Facilities and Operations building on the KU campus. As the Journal-World has reported, KU received approval to demolish both buildings as part of a campus initiative to reduce deferred maintenance costs. The sites of both buildings are planned to remain largely undeveloped after demolition is complete. ...

Halfway through the year, Lawrence is the one metro area in the state that has lost jobs

At the halfway point of 2022, the Lawrence metro area finds itself in a position it would rather not be in: It is the only metro area in the state that has fewer jobs now than it did a year ago. The job losses for the Lawrence metro aren’t huge. Jobs located in the Lawrence metro — which comprises all of Douglas County — are down by 300 compared with the same period a year ago. That’s only a 0.6% ...

Habitat for Humanity ReStore plans to move from East Lawrence to south Iowa Street

A longtime supplier of bargain building materials is planning to make the move to south Iowa Street. But no, this isn’t a sign that a new, big discount chain is entering the market. Instead, it is Lawrence’s existing Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The nonprofit has announced a deal to move the store from its longtime East Lawrence home to a spot in a shopping center at 27th and Iowa streets. The ReStore ...

Every day is a good day to have classes outdoors at this new private school; 'forest school' concept to open in west Lawrence

Shannon Hodges can envision a school day this winter where the temperatures are about 20 degrees and the big news of the school day is a fire inside a tent. No need to call the fire department. No need to call the principal. There’s not even a need to call a repairman for the furnace. At Hodges’ new private school, a fire inside a tent isn’t a bad day. It is just another day outside. And every day at ...

Little Caesars to open on Sixth Street; townhouse project proposed for wooded land next to Fall Creek Farms

It is too hot for any sustained activity that doesn’t involve a long straw, a tall glass and a short nap. So, let’s do a tidbit version of Town Talk. Here are some news and notes from around town: — Little Caesars is looking to become less little in Lawrence. The pizza chain has filed plans for its second Lawrence location. Its newest spot will be at 3025 W. Sixth St., which is basically across the ...

Lawrence customers soon may be able to pay extra on natural gas bills to promote greener energy

Nearly everyone at this point understands how a wind turbine or a solar panel can help make the electricity used in your home more environmentally friendly. But how the heck does a landfill, or even a dairy farm, make the natural gas used in your home greener? Lawrence residents appear on the verge of finding out. Lawrence is a part of a proposed pilot project announced Monday afternoon by Black Hills ...

Professional jet ski racers, freestyle acrobats set to put on a show at Clinton Lake this weekend

It is like dirt bike racing without the dirt. And it is working on becoming an annual spectacle at Clinton Lake just outside of Lawrence. It is jet ski racing, and upward of 30 professional racers from as far away as Australia are scheduled to be at Clinton Lake this weekend to compete. More than twice that many amateur racers also are expected to be competing. “It is an extreme adrenaline rush,” said ...

Panasonic battery project likely to create major demand for growth in Eudora, Lawrence, leaders say

About a century ago, Wichita began to learn what being in on the ground floor of the aviation industry could do for an economy. Now, there are predictions Douglas County and the surrounding area may soon experience a similar boom by being an early player in the electric vehicle industry. “I don’t think the idea of how much potential there is for growth is really understood by the public yet,” Eudora ...

Former university president, health care fundraiser selected as next leader for KU Endowment

Story updated at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday: A University of Kansas alumnus and former president of a private university has been selected as the next leader for KU Endowment, the university’s chief fundraising organization. Dan Martin will take over as president of KU Endowment on Aug. 15, replacing longtime leader Dale Seuferling, who is retiring. Martin is a fourth-generation Kansan who has three degrees from ...

LMH Health receives $10 million donation to fund future strategic projects

LMH Health has received a $10 million pledge — the largest in the hospital’s 101-year history — from Lawrence businessman and philanthropist Dana Anderson. The hospital may have a real estate downturn 60 years ago to thank for the gift, which is unrestricted and will allow the hospital to fund a variety of strategic needs as they arise. “I started in real estate at 27 years old and essentially went ...

KU Cancer Center wins elite designation as Comprehensive Cancer Center, gets $30 million in new funding

Updated at 6:41 p.m. Thursday Kansas City, Kansas — It easily was a $30 million day for the University of Kansas on Thursday. The university on Thursday announced that the KU Cancer Center has completed a multiyear project to win designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center from the National Cancer Institute. KU becomes one of just 53 comprehensive cancer centers in the country. That’s the same ...