WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

KU to give 5% raise to most employees, with pay increase showing up on checks in August

Nearly every University of Kansas employee will receive a 5% pay increase for the next school year, KU leaders announced Friday afternoon. The chancellor and other KU leaders for months have said it is their goal to give an approximately 5% increase to university employees, but had stopped short of promising an increase as state funding wouldn’t fully cover the extra salaries and wages. On Friday, KU ...

New census data gives clues about why Lawrence is struggling to fill its public schools

If Lawrence wants to ward off future closures of public schools, the community's rate of population growth may need to double. At least, that is one conclusion that can be drawn from newly released census data. Even then, that might not be enough. If you recall, the idea of closing public schools dominated public discussion in Lawrence earlier this year, as the school district faced a budget problem that it ...

KU competition awards $12M in grant funding to create new cybersecurity center, boost research in medicine, sciences

As KU professor Perry Alexander made his pitch for $3 million of prized university funding, he pointed to a New Yorker cartoon that makes its way around the internet. It shows a dog sitting in front of a computer keyboard, exclaiming to another canine that “on the internet, nobody knows you are a dog.” “That’s the essence of the problem,” said Alexander, a distinguished professor in electrical and ...

Despite growing population, Lawrence is building homes at a slower rate than the national average; see how much slower

If you are looking for a new home in Lawrence, you had better be ready to drop what you are doing and go see any new house before it gets sold out from underneath you. (I used to advise people to always keep a full tank of gas, but of course, it is infeasible now to buy a house and a tank of gas.) A new national report sheds some light on why Lawrence’s housing market is so tight: Despite being a growing ...

Regents order review of trainers, medical staffs of athletic departments at KU, other universities

Kansas’ six major universities will undergo a review of their athletic trainers and doctors as the sports world has faced multiple allegations of abuse or inappropriate care by medical professionals. The Kansas Board of Regents on Tuesday created a new task force that will review the athletic training programs of the University of Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State and ...

KU disbands COVID-19 command team, saying virus can be managed through 'everyday business practices'

University of Kansas leaders on Tuesday dismantled the group that oversaw KU’s response to COVID-19, signaling that KU believes it now has the upper hand on the virus. Chancellor Douglas Girod said the COVID-19 Unified Command Team has been disbanded on the Lawrence campus, and the university’s Pandemic Medical Advisory Team is no longer conducting regular meetings. In an email to the university ...

At the six-month mark, inflation has Lawrence on pace to collect millions in extra sales tax dollars in 2022

Inflation may be producing one set of numbers in your household. (The number of times I’ll have steak this year: zero, unless putting A-1 sauce on a hot dog is good for partial credit.) But at Lawrence City Hall, inflation is producing a different set of numbers. One number that may come to fruition by the end of the year: 6 million. That’s roughly the number of unexpected sales tax dollars Lawrence City ...

Downtown Lawrence will no longer call its big July sale a 'sidewalk sale'; more merchants expected to be inside, plus September sale will be added

Maybe the sunscreen industry was behind it, or maybe it just happened organically, but somehow shopping on a sidewalk in July became a Lawrence tradition. Get ready for that tradition to change. Downtown Lawrence again will have a big retail sale on the third Thursday of July, but the organization has decided to no longer market it as a sidewalk sale. Instead, it will be a “Summer Sale.” Businesses still ...

KU wants to convert part of Robinson Center to home for ROTC programs; Regents to consider $15M project and others

The University of Kansas wants to spend $15 million to convert a portion of an aging gymnasium and recreation center building into a new home for the university’s ROTC programs. The Kansas Board of Regents has scheduled a special meeting for 9 a.m. Tuesday to consider approving a plan to undertake significant renovations to the Robinson Center on the KU campus. The meeting also will include approvals for ...

Regulators approve increase in Lawrence electric bills while decreasing KC bills; plan aims to compensate Evergy for winter storm costs

Lawrence customers of the electric utility Evergy will start paying more on their monthly bills to account for costs related to the 2021 arctic blast that struck the region, state regulators decided Thursday. Kansas City customers of Evergy, however, will start getting a credit on their bills, also related to the February 2021 winter storm, the Kansas Corporation Commission ordered. Evergy customers in ...

Lawrence's Veritas Christian School to move into larger space, expects enrollment to keep growing as school increases visibility

A private Lawrence school plans to get bigger and much more visible with a pending move across town. Veritas Christian School has struck a deal to move into about 30,000 square feet of space near 31st Street and Kasold Drive, leaving behind its longtime home in a more remote section of northern Lawrence. “We are kind of tucked away now and people don’t drive by and notice us,” Mike Baker, head of ...

An air race full of female pilots comes to Lawrence to crown a winner and urge others to aim high

There are a multitude of reasons that more than 100 women planned to land their aircraft at Lawrence Regional Airport on Wednesday and Thursday. There is the sightseeing that goes with traveling to a new part of the country. There’s the skill-building that goes with flying an aircraft through the wind and the clouds. There’s the stereotype-busting that goes with pretty much being a female pilot at all ...

Thanks to rising home values, Douglas County, area cities set to collect $14M in additional property taxes if tax rates aren't cut

It is no secret that home values are soaring in Douglas County. What may be less understood is how property taxes across the county may rise as a result of those higher home values. Well, we now have an estimate we can share. If Douglas County and the four cities in the county simply leave their tax rates unchanged from a year ago, those governments will collect more than $14 million in new property taxes this ...

Number of homes sold in Lawrence starts to decline as interest rates rise, but selling prices are still going up

Rising mortgage interest rates may be cooling off half of Lawrence’s housing market, but it probably isn’t the half many people would prefer. The number of homes sold in Lawrence declined significantly in May, but the selling prices of those homes continued to increase. Lawrence homes sales in May fell by 11% compared to May 2021, according to the latest report from the Lawrence Board of Realtors. For the ...

Regents want to make it easier for students to transfer among the state's colleges; they're changing class requirements to make it happen

As a college student, there is one piece of advice (perhaps more) that is almost always flawed — the information from your adviser about which classes will transfer to your new college. The Kansas Board of Regents last week passed what some billed as a “historic” new policy that aims to nearly eliminate the now-common situation of Kansas students planning to transfer to another in-state school, only to ...

Forbes magazine ranks Lawrence as a best place to retire; local eco devo leaders hit $2.8 million in fundraising

Lawrence recently has gotten some love from Forbes, the national business magazine. Lawrence landed on the publication’s 2022 list for the best places in the U.S. to retire. Not only did it show up on the online list, but it was highlighted in Forbes’ print magazine, which still has a circulation of about 5 million readers. A recent issue has a picture of downtown Lawrence under a headline of “Kickin’ ...

Regents report: Financial aid for Kansas college students to increase by $19M; KU chancellor gets 5% pay raise

Universities in Kansas will have $19 million more to spend on scholarships for students in financial need next school year, and public universities will get a greater share of it than they have previously. The $19 million increase means there will be more than double the amount of state financial aid available to students than historically has been the case. In past years, the state has provided $15 million to ...

KU to qualify for $35 million in additional ARPA funds, but doesn't yet know how it wants to spend the federal money

It is not an exaggeration to say that University of Kansas leaders have 35 million things to think about this summer. And, for the first time in a long time, those things are dollars. The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday acknowledged that KU has qualified for at least $35 million in one-time money — and perhaps tens of millions more — in federal stimulus dollars related to the pandemic recovery. ...

Another Massachusetts Street storefront set to be occupied by business that focuses on cannabis products, accessories

Updated 9:12 a.m. June 15, 2022 Maybe you already think downtown Lawrence has a wild side to it, but it appears it soon will have a much more visible one — complete with its own awning, sign and a not-so-subtle love of cannabis. Plans have been filed at Lawrence City Hall to convert a Massachusetts Street storefront into a Wild Side Smoke Shop. Plans call for the business to locate at 738 Massachusetts St., ...

KU's pending demolition list grows, including one building on Jayhawk Boulevard; Regents plan to look at demolition policy

The University of Kansas plans to demolish about 250,000 square feet of buildings — including one near the entrance of Jayhawk Boulevard — in the next three years, new state documents show. KU has begun the process of winning approval from the Kansas Board of Regents to tear down Smith Hall — the 1967 building that houses KU’s Religious Studies Department — along Jayhawk Boulevard, across from the ...