WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Large, affordable housing apartment complex near SLT moving forward

A more than $40 million affordable housing apartment project is going to happen in south Lawrence after all. I reported in February that plans had been filed for a 400-plus-bedroom apartment complex to be built near the South Lawrence Trafficway, a few blocks east of Walmart. In addition to being a big project, it was slated to be a unique one because it would be an officially designated, rent-controlled ...

KU to consider COVID testing for admittance to certain events; university provides other details on return to school

University of Kansas leaders are open to requiring a negative test or proof of vaccination for admittance to certain university events, a spokeswoman said on the heels of a faculty petition calling for stronger COVID standards. “We will be providing significant incentives for unvaccinated students to get vaccinated as they return to campus,” KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said via email Monday ...

Plans filed for new assisted living facility west of Wakarusa Drive

If the plans are approved at Lawrence City Hall, a couple of hundred feet on a west Lawrence block may contain nearly the full spectrum of life. Plans have been filed for an assisted living facility to be built next door to the Lawrence Montessori School, giving the young and not-so-young new opportunities to interact. “We are really hoping to collaborate with the school,” said Alicia Holmes, an owner of ...

KU faculty has petition with about 240 names seeking stronger COVID actions; Girod says vaccination efforts need to get more aggressive

Updated at 4:47 p.m. Monday About 240 KU faculty members have signed a petition asking for a vaccine mandate — or as much of one as state law will allow — along with several other stronger COVID protocols for campus. “Although this requirement may be controversial, its efficacy is undeniable, and it should be implemented in ways and to the extent legally possible,” read the petition, which was ...

Voter turnout in last week's election hit a new low point; vote totals almost half the size they used to be

Well, we definitely can’t blame this on an August snowstorm. But we had better come up with some excuse because voter turnout in last week’s primary election was at its lowest level since 2013, when a snowstorm hit the city on primary election day. No, city and school board primary elections weren’t held in August back then. They were held in late February. It has only been in recent years that a state ...

Mandatory mask policy to begin at KU on Monday; masks to be required indoors for all

UPDATED 11:50 A.M. AUG. 6, 2021 The University of Kansas will begin requiring all individuals — regardless of vaccination status — to wear masks while indoors on campus. Chancellor Douglas Girod made the announcement Friday morning in an online message to the university community. The new policy begins Monday. "This mask mandate is an important and hopefully short-lived step that will enable us to ...

Concerns mount over homeless shelter's decision to use local hotels as COVID quarantine sites

UPDATED 8:25 P.M. AUG. 5, 2021 There’s a new question hotel travelers may want to ask themselves: Is the hotel serving as a quarantine site for people waiting out COVID-19? A recent situation in Lawrence suggests that hotel guests likely won’t know, and hotel operators themselves may be in the dark about it. The local situation involves the Lawrence Community Shelter and a decision we reported on last ...

Even the unvaccinated may not have to quarantine when coming into contact with COVID this school year; state releases new guidance

It was a common occurrence in K-12 schools across Kansas last school year: Students required to miss a week or more of school after getting too close to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Now, it is looking more likely that Kansas students — even the unvaccinated — won’t be subject to mandatory quarantine periods nearly as often. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment late last week ...

Vaccine drive-thru sign

Health department begins new COVID color code system; it shows we are halfway to point where mask mandate to be considered

The color codes are back. Douglas County’s COVID status is in a code yellow — the second of three levels of severity — according to a new system announced by the local health department on Wednesday. More importantly to some, the county is about 25 new cases a day from the point where local health leaders would once again start pushing for a communitywide mask mandate. As it stands now, masks are ...

Girod: Still no mask mandate at KU; university in a 'good place right now' on Big 12 shakeup

The University of Kansas continues to hold pat on two of the biggest issues in its world right now — masks on campus and a reorganization of the Big 12 Conference. In a video message to the campus community, Chancellor Douglas Girod said Wednesday that KU has not yet seen information that has caused it to mandate masks be worn on campus. Instead, the university is sticking with its “strong ...

City commissioners hear financial results for 2020; they express hope that city's financial reporting is set to improve

Lawrence city commissioners closed the book on 2020 at their Tuesday evening meeting as they received the city’s financial audit for the year when the pandemic started to rear its head. Commissioners were told financial results for the period were solid — given the impact of the pandemic — but the city’s accounting practices received a red flag for a third year in a row from auditors. Auditors with ...

Lawrence Public Library wins grant to create diversity-based internship program

The Lawrence Public Library has received a nearly $100,000 grant to fund an internship program that will pay for master's degrees for people of color who want to work as librarians. “Historically, library professionals have been overwhelmingly white,” said Brad Allen, executive director of the Lawrence Public Library. “There are a lot of barriers to entering the profession, especially for marginalized ...

Remind yourself who is on Tuesday's City Commission ballot, plus see how much they've received in campaign donations

Four candidates vying for three seats on the Lawrence City Commission all have raised more than $5,000 during this primary campaign season, while the rest of the field has collected far less in contributions. Tuesday is the last chance for voters to cast a ballot in the Lawrence City Commission primary. Last week, candidates were required to file campaign finance reports listing how much they have raised in ...

Local sales tax collections are way up; how the city and the county are planning for them are way different

As one local government is poised to raise its property tax rate and another is set to pass a budget that requires dipping into $8 million of reserve and relief funds, here’s a piece of good news from a source that doesn’t always deliver that variety. The state of Kansas is reporting that both governments probably will get a lot more sales tax revenues this year than they once expected. The Kansas ...

Mural honoring front-line workers planned for one of downtown's largest buildings

I suspect there are times when waiters and waitresses serving me wished they were 8 feet tall. It would allow them to stand back farther when putting another basket of chips and salsa in front of me. Well, soon, there may be 8-foot-tall servers in downtown, but not quite that way. Instead, plans have been filed to paint a mural on one of the biggest buildings in downtown Lawrence. The mural will honor ...

KU now recommending — not requiring — masks indoors

The University of Kansas wants students, faculty and staff to wear masks indoors on the KU campus, but it has stopped short of mandating that they do so. The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidance on masks on Tuesday, recommending that anyone over 2 years of age wear a mask indoors, even if fully vaccinated. Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health later that ...

Chancellor says requiring masks at KU again will get serious consideration

The University of Kansas hasn’t yet made a decision to require masks again at its campuses, but the topic is going to get some serious consideration, Chancellor Douglas Girod said Wednesday. “Douglas County is not a hot zone right now, but we know we are surrounded by them,” Girod said. Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health on Tuesday stopped short of issuing a new public health order that would ...

'Don't panic,' Girod says of Big 12 unrest; stakes are high for KU, but school must avoid making a rash decision

The decision by Texas and Oklahoma to pursue a move to the SEC came like a thunderbolt. The response to that decision shouldn’t, University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod said in some of his first public comments about unrest in the Big 12 Conference. In a brief interview Wednesday, Girod indicated the Big 12 is in a better position than some may believe due to the contract provisions that essentially ...

Plans filed to locate a 'wine academy' in Warehouse Arts District in East Lawrence

You probably could make a pretty interesting list of what you could learn by attending music festivals in Italy for 14 years. For Michael Kirkendoll, wine is near the top of that list, and he’s opening a new “wine academy” in East Lawrence to share some of it — both wine and knowledge, that is. Kirkendoll, an associate professor of piano at the University of Kansas, has hosted a contemporary music ...