WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

What you need to know about getting unemployment payments from the state of Kansas

Perhaps you’ve never been unemployed before. If you are now — or fear you soon will be — you’re about to enter a government world of applications, weekly paperwork and a whole lot of rules. That’s the price for getting an unemployment check from the state of Kansas. I reached out to the Kansas Department of Labor to try to learn more about the process so that I can pass along some tips for people who ...

Kansas unemployment hotline had more than 200K calls in one day; state leaders urging online use

Kansas’ unemployment hotline had a staggering 233,000 phone calls during a nine-hour shift on Thursday, Kansas Secretary of Labor Delía García told me today. “Well, we had 233,000 attempted calls,” she said. “Not all of them got through.” For those who did get through, wait times were several hours, in some instances. That’s why Kansas Department of Labor officials — the state agency that ...

A look at how many people are hospitalized in Kansas due to the COVID-19 virus

Maybe you have numbers overload (eight hours of working a TV remote control to find there is still nothing on will do that to you.) But I know some of you feel like a key number has been lacking in all the reporting that has happened on the COVID-19 virus in Kansas. How many people are hospitalized in the state due to the virus? several of you have asked. The answer, at least on Wednesday, was four people. ...

A note about grocery store inserts in today’s Journal-World

A note to our readers: We have been getting a large number of calls this morning about the reduced number of grocery store advertisements listing weekly specials and deals in today’s print edition of the Journal-World. Please know that we understand how much you value that information from local grocery stores as you plan your week. While two of our regular grocery customers — Checkers and Aldi — did run ...

East Hills Business Park call center now says employee lied about testing positive for COVID-19

One of Lawrence’s largest employers was partially shut down this week after an employee allegedly lied about having contracted the COVID-19 virus, company officials are now reporting. The call center operator Maximus announced Monday that it was temporarily closing one of its large buildings in the East Hills Business Park because of a positive test result for COVID-19. The company announced, however, that ...

A look at what's open and what's not on historic day in Lawrence

As the old saying goes, “curiosity kills the cat." I know many of you are curious about what was open and what was closed on this unique day in Lawrence history when health officials told people to stay home unless they had some essential reason to be out. But don't be a cat. Driving around to satisfy your curiosity is not what health officials want you to do. Besides, I’ve already done it for you so that ...

East Hills Business Park call center confirms that employee tested positive for COVID-19

UPDATED STORY (03-25-20): East Hills Business Park call center now says employee lied about testing positive for COVID-19 • • • • • • • • • ORIGINAL STORY: A worker at one of Lawrence's largest private employers has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the company confirmed, and one of the company's buildings in the East Hills Business Park has been temporarily closed. On Monday, the ...

Photos: Local school teachers use parades to say hello to students at home

More than a dozen vehicles with New York Elementary school teachers gathered at about noon on Monday for an informal "porch parade" through the New York school neighborhood in eastern Lawrence. Teachers at other schools throughout Lawrence held similar parades Monday afternoon, driving through the areas where their students live and waving at students who were outside. The parades were part of an effort to stay ...

A look at what's allowed and what's not under Douglas County's stay-at-home order

Story updated at 8:54 p.m. Monday I have heard from several of you about questions related to the stay-at-home order issued by Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health that takes effect Tuesday. I probably don’t have answers to all your questions, but here is a look at a few.   • What will close? The list of businesses that can stay open as “essential businesses” is broad. Some of you have ...

Large East Hills Business Park call center temporarily closes 1 of 2 buildings amid virus concerns

UPDATED STORY (03-25-20): East Hills Business Park call center now says employee lied about testing positive for COVID-19 • • • • • • • • • ORIGINAL STORY: One of Lawrence’s largest private employers is temporarily closing one of its buildings in the East Hills Business Park seemingly over COVID-19 concerns, but its facility next door is remaining open. The call center operator Maximus ...

When The Washington Post reported on virus deniers, it landed in a small town not far from Lawrence

When The Washington Post went looking for “coronavirus deniers and hoaxers” — as its headline said — it landed in a town not far from here. The Franklin County community of Wellsville took center stage in the article written by national correspondent Annie Gowen, who is based out of Lawrence. Why Wellsville, a community of about 1,800 people that is just a few miles east and south of Baldwin City? I ...

As virus threat grows, so too may drive-thru weddings in Lawrence

I always assumed drive-thrus were out of the question when it came to marriage planning, which is why the rehearsal dinner was in the dining room of the McDonald’s. But now, in this crazy virus world, drive-thru weddings might become a thing in Lawrence. A rural Lawrence bed and breakfast that does at least 75% of its business via weddings is now offering a drive-thru ceremony. The owner touts that it will ...

Report shows Lawrence home sales were hot before virus disruption hit economy

Maybe you have already heard this one, but it seems worth repeating: It has been quite a year this week. We already can say with certainty that 2020 will go down as a crazy year, but how crazy is yet to be seen. One item worth watching is the economic reports to come. They’ll give some sense of how big of a hit the Lawrence economy takes from virus-related disruptions. I don’t have any of those numbers ...

LMH preparing for virus' long-term impact on operations

Leaders of LMH Health on Wednesday said they were making long-term preparations for dealing with the spread of COVID-19, which they expect to grow much wider in the coming weeks. “We need to be prepared for not only the next six weeks but the next six months,” LMH President and CEO Russ Johnson told the hospital’s board of trustees at a Wednesday meeting that was conducted by conference call. Johnson ...

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, February 2014.

When you add up all our taxes, new report finds Kansas has 5th highest tax rate in the U.S.

When it comes to rankings, KU basketball fans already may be a bit testy. (To review, March has brought the following: A No. 1 national ranking, NCAA heartbreak, and a large supply of giant No. 1 foam fingers that almost certainly are going to get misused.) Well, there is another ranking that applies to the entire state of Kansas, and it may not improve moods. The state recently was ranked as having the ...

Baldwin City, Eudora school districts provide more information on possible closures

UPDATED STORY: Douglas County health department prohibits large gatherings, orders 2-week closure of schools, rec centers, libraries A pair of area school districts are contemplating how to hold classes as coronavirus fears mount, and one of them is telling parents to begin thinking now about how they would handle a prolonged closing of school. “It is important that families and staff prepare for schools ...

Lawrence's library canceling all public events beginning Friday; facility plans to stay open otherwise

The Lawrence Public Library is canceling all events through the end of the month as a result of the spreading coronavirus, but it otherwise plans to stay open to the public, the library’s leader said Thursday. Beginning Friday, all events at the library will be canceled. The earliest any events would resume would be April 1, the library said in a social media post. Library director Brad Allen told the ...

Baker University adjusting class schedules as virus concerns mount

Baldwin City-based Baker University is now among the universities changing class schedules in response to coronavirus concerns. Baker already was scheduled to be on spring break from March 16 to March 20. But instead of resuming normal classes after spring break, the university will teach classes online from March 23 to April 3. On-campus housing will be closed during that period. Baker spokeswoman Dolores ...

Nonprofit agency strikes deal to move its offices into part of the historic Castle Tea Room

If a castle is your office, perhaps you could get away with wearing your bathrobe to work if you pair it with a nice scepter and crown. The theory likely won’t be tested, but Lawrence’s historic Castle Tea Room is going to serve as a prominent Lawrence office. The local United Way has signed a deal to move its offices there later this spring. The United Way of Douglas County hopes to move into the old ...

Speculation growing that part of Lawrence's Kmart Distribution Center will remain open, serve e-commerce firms

There are signs that parts of Lawrence’s Kmart Distribution Center may remain open. As we reported in late January, the company filed a federal form warning employees and the community that it was planning to close its facility at 2400 Kresge Road and eliminate 111 jobs in the process. Plans called for the closing to happen near the end of March. That may still happen, but that is not the latest talk ...