WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Lawrence's tight housing market gets tighter in June as prices increase; buyers increasingly paying more than asking price

If you are cruising around Lawrence and see someone wearing running spikes and toting about $15,000 in cash, the scene probably isn’t Olympic related. Instead, it might be someone simply trying to buy a house in town. The latest home sale numbers show you had better be fast and have some extra money to sweeten your offer. “Each month, it seems like I report the same thing about the Lawrence real estate ...

Haskell enrollment expected to drop sharply; housing costs for some students may rise by thousands of dollars

When in-person classes resume next month at Haskell Indian Nations University, enrollment is expected to be low, and a new pandemic-related policy may significantly boost the cost of housing for some students. “I think it will be half of what we normally have,” Jean Finch, director of the Haskell Catholic Campus Center, said of Haskell enrollment numbers for the fall semester. “If we have 500 students ...

Federal bureau agrees to changes in Haskell president position designed to attract more candidates

A leader of Haskell Indian Nations University is optimistic a behind-the-scenes change in the structure of the university’s president position will attract a broader pool of talented applicants for the open job. Brandon Yellowbird-Stevens, president of the Haskell National Board of Regents, confirmed that federal officials have reclassified the Haskell president’s position to a pay grade that will make it ...

Developer files plans to build new single-family neighborhood west of South Lawrence Trafficway

As Lawrence real estate agents continue to tell stories of how tight the local housing market is, local developers are getting more aggressive in their efforts to convert land into new neighborhoods. The latest gambit: Take land that is zoned for a big-box retail center and turn it into a single-family housing development. A new plan filed at Lawrence City Hall is particularly interesting because it calls ...

Large automotive service center coming to 23rd Street; Lawrence-based Allen Press names CEO

When you drive a vehicle as leaky as mine, a quick-service oil change is the only option. (If it took too long, you would have to change it twice.) Hopefully that is not your situation, but regardless a large quick-service automotive garage is coming to 23rd Street. Laird Noller Automotive confirmed it has started work on a new automotive garage at 814 W. 23rd St., which is across the street from Noller’s ...

Is KU poised to start tearing down buildings? Understanding the empty desks, the decay and the debt pressuring KU's finances

For decades, the best thing that has been said about Wescoe Hall on the University of Kansas campus is that at least KU didn’t ever finish building it. The concrete, 1960s-style classroom complex with a much-maligned design was planned to be 25 stories tall — the tallest building in the state at that time — before someone thought better of it. Here’s a new thought: Tear Wescoe down. No, that is ...

Early signs suggest fall enrollment will be flat at KU; hiring restrictions loosened on campus

Signs of a big post-pandemic bounce-back in enrollment haven’t yet materialized at the University of Kansas, but early numbers are good enough that KU leaders are easing some spending restrictions. In a message to the university community this week, three KU leaders said that fall 2021 enrollment on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses of KU is “trending flat compared to fall 2020.” KU saw fall enrollment ...

Lawrence resident and new Regent says universities can't cut their way to greatness, Kansas must invest in learning

It may be no surprise that the newest member of the Kansas Board of Regents — coming from the state’s largest university community — doesn’t think the state’s university system needs to get any smaller. Wint Winter Jr., a longtime Lawrence resident, banker and attorney, is set to begin his first duties with the Board of Regents on Friday as he participates in a meeting reviewing the search committee ...

Developer files plans for new single-family neighborhood in eastern Lawrence; DCCCA files plans near Kasold Curve

If I had been an apartment dweller in the past decade, I’m pretty sure I would have adopted the philosophy that it is easier to move to a new apartment than clean the one I’m in. New apartments were that abundant in Lawrence. It is hardly news that apartment construction boomed in Lawrence. It often was the subject of derisive comments by people who feared the town was going to be overrun by apartments. ...

Golf course along K-10 files second set of plans to add indoor driving range after project was thwarted in May

Sometimes in golf, it takes a second hack to get the ball out of the rough and onto the green. (Never mind that sometimes a chainsaw is needed to find the ball in the first place.) A small golf course between Lawrence and Eudora is taking the equivalent of a second hack at winning county planning approval for an expansion project. Twin Oaks Golf — the driving range and par 3 course along Kansas Highway 10 ...

Olympic sprinters, food truck owners to open downtown Lawrence barbecue restaurant

Two Olympic sprinters — one former and one current — are opening a barbecue restaurant in downtown Lawrence. That makes it tempting to say there must be something in the sauce, but I know from experience that the only thing barbecue sauce quickens is the need for more Wet Wipes. (Or perhaps a walk-through at one of those auto car washes, if I tackle a full slab of ribs.) The sauce, though, at Gold Medal ...

Vaccine passports are prohibited at KU, but university leaders are creating a system to encourage students to show they are vaccinated

There won’t be any vaccine passports at the University of Kansas when it reopens this fall, but there will be a system some might think of as a vaccine fast pass. KU is encouraging students to voluntarily submit documentation showing they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and some of those students will be able to use those vaccine documents to avoid having to wear masks. KU’s student housing ...

Local state legislator forms 'smart gun' company and sets up production facility in Baldwin City

As a state senator, Tom Holland has heard plenty of gun issues. Now, the Baldwin City Democrat is hoping to solve one: injury or death that happens when a gun falls into the wrong hands. No, before you go there, this isn’t another gun control story about a new law or initiative. Instead, this is a business technology startup story. Holland and Lawrence attorney Brennan Fagan have started a new company that ...

LMH to become home for sports medicine program — one of only 58 in country and first in Midwest

LMH Health has been chosen as the site for a rare sports medicine program that is expected to add another professional to the medical ranks who can care for area athletes. The Lawrence-based hospital has been approved to offer a Sports Physical Therapy Residency program, making it one of only 58 programs in the entire country and the first in the Midwest. LMH was granted approval to begin offering the program ...

County agrees on plan that will raise tax rate for 2022 budget, but not by as much as once proposed

Douglas County’s property tax rate won’t increase as much as once expected, after county commissioners tapped into reserve funds and used a dormant jail expansion account to offset proposed tax increases. County commissioners on Wednesday tentatively agreed on a 2022 budget that will increase the property tax rate by about 1 mill, which would result in the owner of a $200,000 home paying about $23 more a ...

County cuts funding for group bringing high-tech jobs to town; future discussion likely about county's role in eco devo funding

There’s long been a certain amount of friction involved with most economic development issues in Lawrence. But the one category of projects that historically has had a smooth road to approval were those that focused on high-tech, high-paying jobs. It is now worth asking whether that road has become bumpy too. Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday agreed to cut $50,000 in funding from the Bioscience ...

County commissioners boost some social service funding; majority start push to reduce economic development funding

It was a tale of two nonprofits on the first day of deliberations for the 2022 Douglas County budget. A group of nonprofits that provide social services to area residents tentatively won about $200,000 in additional county funding, while a nonprofit that aims to grow biotech firms in the community faced an unexpected $100,000 cut to its budget. All three county commissioners on Tuesday presented their ...

City hears that planners will start preparing for development west of South Lawrence Trafficway; climate change plan also on tap

From climate change to changing the look of far west Lawrence, it is on the to-do list for the city-county planning department in 2022. At their meeting Tuesday evening, Lawrence city commissioners signed off on a 2022 work plan for the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department that will include a major study of how approximately 2,400 acres west of the South Lawrence Trafficway bypass should be developed in ...

Looking at Douglas County's possible tax rate increase, and the bet commissioners may make to lessen it

There is confidence, and then there is confidence with a poker chip in your hand. Confidence levels have been known to fall as your hand drops toward the table to place your bet. In a sense, Douglas County commissioners have that chip in their hands and will start deciding this coming week on whether to place the bet. Whether Douglas County property owners see their tax rates go up is at stake. (I’ve been ...

City to consider project to partially rebuild Wakarusa Drive in west Lawrence

The Lawrence City Commission is scheduled to get the ball rolling on a project that will rebuild a portion of Wakarusa Drive in west Lawrence. Commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are being asked to approve a nearly $400,000 contract for engineering work related to rebuilding Wakarusa Drive between Clinton Parkway and Research Park Way. City officials are recommending the project due to “severe ...