WRITER: Chad Lawhorn

Worker shortage leads to temporary closure of one of Lawrence's Dairy Queen locations; coffee shop also unexpectedly closed

I’m always on the lookout for a summer Blizzard in Lawrence. No, not the snowstorms. The frozen treat from Dairy Queen. (There is a lot less shovel work, unless you get the extra, extra large.) Now, I have half as many locations to find one. A labor shortage has temporarily shut down one of the city’s two Dairy Queens. The Dairy Queen at 1835 Massachusetts St. recently closed, and its owner/operator told ...

A pair of building demolitions begin at KU, and historic preservationists decry one of the projects

A pair of demolitions — one high profile and another much less so — are beginning on the University of Kansas campus. Motorists in recent days have noticed preliminary demolition work underway at Oliver Hall, the vacant dormitory building at 19th Street and Naismith Drive. By the end of the month, they’ll likely notice an even more dramatic sight — a backhoe equipped with a special 100-foot boom that ...

Central Bank of the Midwest signs nearly $4M deal to become official bank of KU, plans to open branch in Kansas Union

A Missouri-based bank has reached a nearly $4 million deal to become the official bank of the University of Kansas. Central Bank of the Midwest, which has multiple locations in Lawrence and throughout the Kansas City metro region, will become KU’s “community banking partner” on Aug. 1, KU announced on Tuesday. The deal — valued at $3.9 million for KU and its affiliates over seven years — will ...

Another Scooter's Coffee location planned for Lawrence, plus other news and notes from around town

After a week away from the office, let me get back in the swing of things with some news and notes from around town: — Despite its name, this drive-thru coffee chain is moving a lot faster than your average scooter. The Nebraska-based chain Scooter’s Coffee has filed its third set of plans in as many months for a new Lawrence location. This time, Scooter’s plans to locate at 23rd Street and Haskell ...

Whataburger files plans for first Lawrence restaurant; would locate on 23rd Street, if zoning is approved

There has been a Whataburger question in Lawrence for a while now: When? The answer, it appears, is soon. Plans have been filed at Lawrence City Hall for the popular fast-food hamburger chain to build its first restaurant in the city. Plans call for the restaurant to locate on the current site of Mi Ranchito Mexican restaurant at 707 W. 23rd St. If you aren’t familiar with Whataburger, you must not be ...

Lawrence posts population growth for 2021, while neighboring JoCo continues to grow big but in new ways

There are five towns in Kansas that added new residents at a rate of at least 1 person per day in 2021. Lawrence wasn’t quite one of them, but it could at least tout itself as a place with a growing population. Most couldn’t, and some of the ones that no longer can might surprise you. In 2021, when the world started moving about again as the population became vaccinated, the latest population estimates ...

Bad weather created scheduling woes for local graduations, but using Allen Fieldhouse would have cost $12K per ceremony

A $12,000 usage fee and a mid-May deadline to reserve Allen Fieldhouse both were factors the Lawrence school district faced when trying to use the KU building for a backup location for graduation ceremonies this week. Plus, district officials really want to have high school graduations at the actual high schools whenever possible, a district spokeswoman said. “We know from previous years that our students ...

'Recreational cannabis dispensary' that was raided in Topeka plans to move to Lawrence; update on medical marijuana bill

There is word of a new business coming to downtown Lawrence that likely will get a high level of attention: a “recreational cannabis dispensary.” No, recreational marijuana use — nor medical marijuana use, for that matter — hasn’t been legalized in Kansas, and this new Massachusetts Street storefront won’t be in the business of selling marijuana. But, if history is a guide, it may still attract ...

Donations, matching funds to allow KU to host two Ukrainian professors next year, offer fellowships to students

Organizations and departments at the University of Kansas have raised enough funds to host at least two Ukrainian professors and two graduate students from the war-torn country next school year. KU leaders on Tuesday provided an update on efforts to assist Ukrainian students and scholars that began shortly after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of the country. A fundraising effort involving KU’s International ...

Drive-thru coffee chain slated to tear down, take spot of vacant pizza restaurant on south Iowa

I’ll take my coffee with two sugars and a bulldozer. At least, I’m assuming that is a new option at Scooter’s Coffee in Lawrence. The chain has filed its second plan in nearly as many months to tear down an Iowa Street building to make way for a drive-thru coffee shop. Recent plans filed at City Hall call for the building at 2500 Iowa St. — it used to house Pie Five Pizza Co. for a brief time — to be ...

KU set to introduce new advising system for undergraduate students; professors no longer would serve as advisers

When University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod speaks with students, he often gets some advice on advising: Make it better. KU now may spend up to $6 million trying to do so. “When I meet with students, their No. 1 concern often is advising,” Girod said in a brief interview with the Journal-World. KU has an undergraduate advising system — the process where students are given guidance on what ...

City Union Mission still shows signs of opening thrift store operation in Lawrence; another taco shop slated for downtown

News and notes from around town: — I still think there is a chance one of Kansas City’s largest homeless shelter nonprofits is going to open a thrift store in Lawrence. In March, I wrote about Kansas City-based City Union Mission filing plans at City Hall to convert a vacant convenience store at 23rd and Haskell into a “thrift distribution center.” But, when I tried to get more information out of ...

Regents approve new KU capital improvement plan that hopes for major library renovations, new student health center

The University of Kansas now has an updated plan — or in some cases, wish list — of major building projects it hopes to undertake in the next five years. The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday unanimously approved new five-year capital improvement plans for KU and other state universities. KU’s plan totals $1.06 billion worth of construction projects over the next five years on the Lawrence campus and ...

Ta Co. Mexican restaurant closes in downtown Lawrence and heads to Topeka; plans for Italian restaurant to take its place

Massachusetts Street, it appears, is about to get a new Italian restaurant, but it will come at the expense of a local Mexican restaurant. (That’s as close to international business reporting as I get.) Ta Co., the Mexican restaurant at the corner of Eighth and Massachusetts, has closed, but the owner of Ta Co. has published on the eatery’s website that the Italian restaurant Basil Leaf Café will be ...

KU expected to 'figure out' wage increases, despite governor's tuition cap; engineering students may see 70% fee hike

Kansas' governor has vetoed planned tuition increases for the University of Kansas and other state universities, but KU leaders said they still expect to be able to fund a 5% wage increase for most employees. “We will figure it out,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a brief interview with the Journal-World. “That is still our intent to figure out how to do that.” KU leaders on Wednesday had planned ...

After losing its longtime home, Mexican taco shop and store reopens nearly four times as large

When Kwik Shop filed plans in August 2020 for a new store at 25th and Iowa streets, the result was one of Lawrence’s largest convenience stores literally bulldozed one of the city’s smallest — La Estrella Mexican tienda and taco stand. That Kwik Shop at the northwest corner of 25th and Iowa is now largely complete, but the more interesting part of the story is the tiny La Estrella is far from done. And ...

KU team to build solar home in KC as part of national competition; house will provide shelter to victims of domestic abuse

A KU design team has been selected for a national solar energy competition, and its entry will be a unique home in Kansas City, Kansas, that provides shelter to victims of domestic abuse. The University of Kansas’ Dirt Work Studios is one of 14 teams selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. Dirt Works Studio, which is part of KU’s School of Architecture & Design, ...

KU working to become a leader in training next generation of national intelligence officers

Picturing a recent University of Kansas graduate with a set of headphones on isn’t hard to do. After all, how many dorm rooms or campus benches or corners of the library are populated by students with headphones doing everything from playing an online video game to listening to music? But after graduation, life’s tunes have been known to change. Now picture that young KU graduate listening to Chinese — ...

Graduation Guide: Details to know if you are attending KU commencement on Sunday; ceremony delayed until 2:30 p.m.

It is time for Lawrence’s most famous walk down the hill — complete with a flipping of a tassel, and perhaps even some backflips from those who have been writing the tuition checks. The University of Kansas’ spring commencement is Sunday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, and if you are planning to attend, there are a few details you may want to know as several thousand people will converge on the ...

New affordable housing project in eastern Lawrence plans to build homes as small as 500 square feet

A bigger home is a better home. That is a notion that has won the day many times in Lawrence, but it’s not doing much to help the community win its battle for affordable housing, Rebecca Buford, executive director of Tenants to Homeowners, said. “Some of what has to happen here is a change in mindset,” Buford said. Indeed, Buford’s Lawrence-based nonprofit has filed plans at City Hall for a new ...