WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Cocktails by Christmas light; pop-up bar and restaurant goes over the top in downtown Lawrence

If Clark Griswold from the the classic comedy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” wrote a business plan, surely it would look something like this: More than a mile’s worth of Christmas lights strung through a couple of downtown Lawrence buildings, and an old camper parked out front for good measure. That is indeed the scene at Snow Globe, a new pop-up bar and restaurant from a couple of Lawrence ...

A new type of bank branch opens in west Lawrence, while 2 other branches close on south Iowa Street

There certainly have been times I’ve entered a bank branch worried that my account will be empty. Now, it appears there are times I may enter a bank branch to find the actual branch empty — as in no employees. Indeed, Bank of America is opening a new type of branch in Lawrence. The company on Monday will open a new branch at 4701 Bauer Farm Drive. If you are having a hard time picturing the location, it ...

A look at why people still don't get tickets for violating public health orders — and the danger it may create

The one-block stretch of 14th Street between Ohio and Tennessee long has created dilemmas for Lawrence police officers. It is the center of a bar district at the edge of the University of Kansas campus, so you can imagine the types of questions a police officer has to wrestle with while on patrol there. Here’s one, though, for the pandemic age: Just hours after the local health department urgently issues a ...

LMH warns leaders that negotiations with state's largest insurance provider have turned tense

A long-simmering, multimillion-dollar debate between LMH Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas came into full view Wednesday morning as the hospital questioned the future of its relationship with the area’s largest health insurance provider. Members of the nonprofit hospital’s board of trustees were told that negotiations between LMH Health and BCBS of Kansas were no longer progressing well and that ...

A look at how much money area residents were making in 2019; Lawrence income growth was slow

Even before the pandemic, a part of the Lawrence economy was ailing — county residents were seeing their incomes grow at one of the slowest rates in the state. New federal numbers released Tuesday show that income growth in Douglas County ranked 101st out of the 105 counties in Kansas in 2019. Yes, you remember 2019, a time when masks were for bank robbers and toilet paper supplies weren’t a leading cause ...

Journal-World launches online photo store using thousands of old photos of KU basketball, Lawrence, surrounding area

As many an empty corner at a cocktail party can attest, no one really wants to hear me talk about my job. Regardless, I am going to share some news from the job front today because the Journal-World does have a new project I want people to know about. The Journal-World and its sister website KUsports.com recently launched LawrencePhotoStore.com. It is our effort to take advantage of more of our resources, and ...

Lawrence home sales surge in October, but selling prices rise even more rapidly

I’m not sure that there is universal agreement that my home has become more valuable as I spend more time in it, but home prices in Lawrence certainly have been soaring as the pandemic produces more homebodies. The latest report from the Lawrence Board of Realtors shows home sales increased in October, but the real eye-popping figures are a rise in median selling prices. The median selling price for a home ...

Kansas City-based bakery and restaurant opening on Iowa Street

Yes, I will hike up a hill for a cinnamon roll, but I may roll back down it if I have one too many. For folks not quite up for that adventure, a bakery at the top of Mount Oread is now expanding to flatter ground on Iowa Street. McLain’s Market has signed a deal to locate in the old Slim Chickens restaurant building at 2412 Iowa St. The Kansas City-based bakery and restaurant chain hopes to be open in early ...

Pair of senior housing plans filed at City Hall, including large project near Rock Chalk Park

Maybe it should be no surprise that in 2020, where one month feels like one year, Lawrence is seeing some new projects geared toward an aging population. Plans have been filed at City Hall for two new living communities that focus on serving seniors. The first is an expansion of an existing west Lawrence memory care center. Bridge Haven has filed plans to construct its fourth new building at its location at ...

First Management builds new headquarters in North Lawrence; Compton talks growth of local economy

A company best known for providing Lawrence homes has a new home of its own, and it also is spending more time than ever doing business outside of Lawrence. First Management — which owns and operates hundreds of apartments in Lawrence — has finished work on a new corporate headquarters in North Lawrence. The company — which includes the related firm First Construction — has moved from its downtown ...

Despite it all, Trump is almost exactly as popular in Kansas — and Douglas County — as he was 4 years ago

When it comes to Donald Trump and Kansas, not much has changed in four years — even to a tenth of a point. As I started going through the unofficial election results from last night, I noticed a statistical coincidence that seems worth passing along. According to the unofficial statewide vote totals, Trump received 56.7% of the total vote in Kansas. When I went back to look at the 2016 statewide election ...

Kansas Athletics expecting $10 million budget shortfall; no plans to ask university for help

As crowd sizes have shrunk, the financial losses at Kansas Athletics Inc. have grown to the point that leaders were told Wednesday to expect about a $10.4 million loss for the current fiscal year. The department will use a portion of a $20 million line of credit to cover the unexpected losses that have resulted from disruptions related to the pandemic, board members of the University of Kansas entity were told ...

Lead for Holland grows in race for Lawrence senate seat

Sen. Tom Holland saw his lead increase Wednesday as additional mail ballots were counted as part of the race for a state senate district that represents south Lawrence and the surrounding area. Holland, D-Baldwin City, had a lead of 748 votes over challenger Willie Dove, a Bonner Springs Republican who has been serving in the Kansas House. The nearly 750-vote lead is an increase from a 627 vote lead Holland ...

State opens temporary second driver's license office in Lawrence

Now that election season is almost done, maybe you will want to spend more time at a driver’s license office to get your fill of government fun. Or, maybe not. Regardless, area residents now have — for the time being — a second option for renewing their Kansas driver’s licenses. The Kansas Department of Revenue has opened a new driver’s license office inside the AAA Kansas store in the shopping ...

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka

Highberger beating third-party candidate; many other state legislators face no opposition

Rep. Dennis “Boog” Highberger was handily beating a third-party candidate, while four other Lawrence legislators coasted to victory without opposition on Tuesday. Highberger, D-Lawrence, won his fourth term to represent Kansas House District 46, which includes the University of Kansas campus and much of East Lawrence and North Lawrence. Unofficial results showed Highberger ahead of Libertarian candidate ...

Holland leads by more than 600 votes in close race for state senate

Sen. Tom Holland was poised to narrowly fend off a conservative challenger on Tuesday to maintain his seat and ensure that Lawrence retains a second Democratic senator in the Kansas Legislature. Holland, D-Baldwin City, was ahead of veteran legislator Willie Dove by 627 votes as unofficial totals were posted late Tuesday night. If the results stand, Holland will win his fourth term to represent Kansas Senate ...

Last-minute Douglas County facts and figures as Election Day arrives

Whether you are an undecided voter or a fully decided one who simply hasn’t marked your ballot, time is quickly running out. To state the obvious, Election Day is tomorrow — Tuesday, Nov. 3. But surely you knew that already. If nothing else, you were clued in by the fact that no television program for the last month has been longer than three minutes in order to accommodate all the political ads. (I no ...

As students returned to school, local sales tax numbers not as bad as once feared

Personally, I don’t think roller coasters and the year 2020 mix well. (After all, there is a lot of screaming and little social distancing, which makes it only slightly less dangerous than Thanksgiving dinner.) But the state’s retail economy seems to be on such an up-and-down ride. Each month, I report on the sales tax collections for 10 of the largest retail centers in the state. Last month’s report, ...

Moroccan restaurant ravaged by fire moves to new downtown location; news of downtown expansion, closing

The former location of Wake the Dead Donuts in downtown Lawrence is now serving as the home for a business that you certainly might have thought was a goner. If you recall, Argana Cafe was the subject of a previous Town Talk this summer. The Moroccan restaurant opened in an old Pizza Hut location on 23rd Street and was trying to make a name for itself with traditional Mediterranean fare, like fresh couscous, ...