WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

KU receives middle-of-the-pack ranking for campus free speech issues; K-State garners No. 2 national ranking

The University of Kansas ranked average for its commitment to free speech on campus, while nearby Kansas State received the second highest rating in the nation, according to a report released Wednesday. KU ranked No. 73 out of 203 universities included in a large-scale survey commissioned by a leading nonprofit that monitors free speech issues in higher education. The ranking garnered KU an “average” ...

Sandwich chain featuring both subs and cheese steaks to make its return to Lawrence with westside location

If you are on a farm and say you want some Jersey Juice, you may find yourself on the business end of an udder. (A Jersey is a breed of dairy cow, for those of you who don’t hang out at a barn.) But soon, there will be a west Lawrence restaurant where some Juice from Jersey means something altogether different. The Juice at Jersey Mike’s Subs is a special mixture of red wine vinegar and olive oil, and the ...

Plans filed for new neighborhood next to Fall Creek Farms in west Lawrence; developers worried about keeping up with Panasonic demand

Smaller seems to be better in Lawrence these days, especially when it comes to housing. New plans have been filed for a 50-home neighborhood next door to some of the largest estate homes in Lawrence. The new homes, however, will be smaller and on smaller lots. A group led by Mike McGrew, chair of Lawrence’s McGrew Real Estate, has filed plans to build 50 homes on about 12 acres of vacant land at the ...

'Not an if project; it is a yes project,' KU leaders say of football stadium upgrade, events venue near 11th and Mississippi streets

Updated at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday University of Kansas leaders said Wednesday they are fully committed to a project that would significantly upgrade KU’s football stadium and add a new venue near the stadium to host entertainment events and conferences. “This project is not an ‘if’ project; it is a ‘yes’ project,” Sean Lester, deputy director of KU Athletics, told a crowd of about 75 design ...

From Minecraft to princesses, Lawrence moms create business that hosts themed slumber parties for kids

If Instagram inspired the people in my household to start a business, I shudder to think what it would be. (The bow tie-wearing Boston Terrier of the household probably would be the CEO, given that he’s in all the photos.) But a pair of Lawrence moms think they’ve found an Instagram idea that will be a big hit locally. It involves tents in your living room. More specifically, it involves a slumber party ...

KU seeking design firm to develop concept plans for football stadium, events center project near 11th and Mississippi streets

The University of Kansas is getting more serious about upgrades to its football stadium — and this time the plans may involve far more than football. KU officials recently have begun advertising for design firms that are interested in creating “concept and schematic design” services for a new gateway project at 11th and Mississippi streets, which is at the base of Mt. Oread and is the current location of ...

Local leaders praise community-building skills of former Chamber leader Gary Toebben, who died at 74

Los Angeles is a long way away from eastern Nebraska, and miles may be one of the less meaningful measurements of that distance. That thought crossed the mind of Lawrence resident Larry McElwain when he was in L.A. in 2018 for the retirement reception of Gary Toebben, a small-town eastern Nebraska native who years earlier had served as the president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. Toebben now was ...

Since 2002 Douglas County's property tax rate has increased 70%; state's other largest counties up 8%

Over the last two decades, Douglas County has experienced the largest increase in property tax rates of any urban county in Kansas, a review of statewide data has found. And the comparison is not close. Douglas County has seen its property tax rate increase 70% since 2002. The average increase for Kansas’ urban counties — excluding Douglas County — has been 8%. While it may be a dubious distinction, ...

Pair of commissioners say county should have policy on how much money to keep in savings accounts, emergency funds

A majority of Douglas County commissioners this past week said the county should create a policy to guide it as it accumulates tens of millions of dollars in its savings and rainy day funds. Commissioners Shannon Portillo and Patrick Kelly both said they thought the county ought to formally craft a policy that would set guidelines for how much money the county can accumulate in such emergency accounts, how it ...

Plans brewing for big, new building at Lawrence Regional Airport to house aircraft maintenance business; plans filed to upgrade airport terminal

Story updated at 3:36 p.m. Thursday: Development plans are in the works that could make the Lawrence Regional Airport a national destination for jets and other aircraft that need significant maintenance work. Lawrence businessman Doug Compton has confirmed to me that he has plans to build an 80,000-square-foot aircraft hangar on the grounds of the city-owned airport. The hangar would house a new partnership ...

In the latest sign KU is getting serious with West Campus development, university closes Park and Ride lot

There are new signs that KU is getting more serious about developing West Campus into a research and business park surrounded by homes and shops. These latest signs read: No Parking. The University of Kansas has closed its Park and Ride facility located on West Campus in order to prepare for possible construction related to the growing idea of KU Innovation Park. KU will continue to offer motorists a chance to ...

The Oread hotel near KU campus has been sold to a Denver-based company and will become a Hilton hotel property

A Denver-based hospitality company has bought Lawrence’s The Oread, and will rebrand the hotel on the edge of the University of Kansas campus as a Hilton hotel. Mission Hill Hospitality announced Monday that it has completed a deal to purchase The Oread, and will change the name of the property to the Oread Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. “This acquisition presented a unique opportunity to expand ...

'People want to be part of a winning enterprise'; Girod predicts largest freshman class in a decade on heels of KU National Championship

The University of Kansas is expecting its largest freshman class in at least a decade, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod told the Journal-World. KU started fall classes on Monday, and will have official enrollment totals by mid-September. Girod expects the freshman totals to be strong, but he stopped short of saying overall enrollment at KU’s Lawrence campus would increase. KU’s Lawrence campus enrollment ...

More than 40 years and $3 billion later, Dale Seuferling looks back at KU Endowment career as he enters retirement

It would still be several weeks before a game of southern California musical chairs would set the college football world on edge. In other words, USC and UCLA had not yet surprised the sports world by bolting to the Big Ten Conference and leaving their longtime Pac-12 home in disarray. Nonetheless, as Dale Seuferling sat in his office at KU Endowment and answered questions about his pending retirement as ...

A dispute over what voters were told in 1994 may stop county residents from getting property tax relief today

There’s such a thing as an urban myth, and perhaps, there’s a Douglas County myth too. The urban one is likely to make its appearance around a campfire, a water cooler or even a bar. The Douglas County variety tends to show up around tax time. As Douglas County property owners face their largest property tax increase in recent memory — many tax bills will be at least 10% higher than a year ago — ...

As county tax bills rise by 10% or more, county's savings accounts grow by more than $10M; since 2019 savings are up by nearly $30M

Call it the Douglas County dichotomy. In a year when many Douglas County residents may have to dip into their savings accounts to pay their property tax bills, Douglas County government is significantly growing its savings account. A review of Douglas County’s proposed 2023 budget found that commissioners are poised to start 2023 with fund balance totals — the equivalent of savings accounts or rainy day ...

Expect traffic congestion near Iowa, other streets near KU, as thousands of students move in Thursday, Friday

Call it a flock, call it a mass, call it a very long line of vehicles. Whatever you call it, Lawrence motorists should know that several thousand Jayhawks will be arriving in town on Thursday and Friday. Motorists should expect significant traffic delays on parts of Iowa Street, 23rd Street, Clinton Parkway and Bob Billings Parkway on Thursday and Friday as University of Kansas students start moving into ...

KU opens new research and office building in latest effort to attract tech companies to West Campus; leaders tout future phases of KU Innovation Park

A $24 million research and office building will house nearly a dozen tech companies and eventually add about 225 employees to the University of Kansas' West Campus, a Lawrence crowd was told Wednesday. An opening ceremony for the recently completed building at KU Innovation Park attracted many of the state’s top leaders on Wednesday, and also produced much talk about how the new KU-led project will produce ...

From nearly 30% to zero, Douglas County property tax collections are set to increase by wildly different amounts

If you pay property taxes in Douglas County, chances are you soon will pay more of them. Even if the governments that serve you — the county, a city, a school district, a township — hold their property tax rates steady, you likely are going to pay more in property taxes. Even if the government reduces its property tax rate, there’s a strong chance you’ll still pay more in property taxes. How so? In ...

County agrees to take less aggressive approach in trying to correct rural code violations

Douglas County officials are open to trying a more patient, less aggressive approach in dealing with rural properties that are violating some county codes, county commissioners were told Wednesday evening. County commissioners at their weekly meeting unanimously approved a temporary business use permit that will give a rural resident up to five years to remove approximately 100 vehicles — many of them ...