WRITER: Kathy Hanks

Award-winning journalist who wrote about undocumented status to speak at Liberty Hall

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker, will give the annual Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture later this month at Lawrence’s Liberty Hall. As a journalist, Vargas wrote a New York Times Magazine article in 2011 revealing his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later he appeared on the cover of Time magazine with fellow undocumented immigrants as part ...

Mistake leads to brief insurance cancellation, anxiety for some KU retirees

A number of University of Kansas retirees received a surprise letter from Aetna Medicare RX in December stating that their prescription drugs would no longer be covered after Jan. 1. The error occurred because an incorrect file, listing retirees who are on the state employee health plan, was sent to Aetna by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Gerald Kratochvil, communications director with KDHE, ...

New 'Wall of Respect' art project to add local stories during stop at KU

A collaborative art project inspired by an influential 1960s mural will be on display in Lawrence beginning Saturday at the Dole Institute of Politics. The "Wall of Respect" mural was created in 1967 in Chicago by a group of black artists and featured images of notable figures in African-American history. It gave birth to a larger mural movement that eventually spread nationwide, and a couple of years ago, the ...

From India to Lawrence: Businessman creates community around beloved doughnuts

Selling doughnuts is the only job Sonny Patel has ever had. Considering his upbringing, it's surprising that he has such a passion for the sweet little rings of dough. After all, growing up in Unjha, India, Patel, 50, had never tasted or even laid eyes on a doughnut. That didn’t happen until he arrived in the U.S. and began working at a Dunkin' Donuts in Chicago. On New Year’s Day, the Lawrence businessman ...

First baby of 2019 arrives a few days early at Lawrence hospital

While revelers rang in the New Year at midnight in Lawrence, Hussain Alantari was rushing his wife, Asail Aljmeeli, to the hospital. Their daughter, Durar Alantari, came into the world at 9:06 a.m. Tuesday, weighing 6 pounds and 12 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. “'Durar' means 'pearls' in Arabic,” Aljmeeli said. Durar’s entrance came a few days early, earning her the title of the first baby of ...

Haskell has concerns over partial government shutdown; 'fingers crossed,' it looks like everyone will get paid

During the second week of a partial shutdown of the federal government, Haskell Indian Nations University is still operating, but it's had to get creative to pay some key employees, including its facilities workers. “Haskell remains open,” said Dan Wildcat, acting president of the university, on Wednesday afternoon. “That’s good news. We are looking forward to new students arriving Jan. 9, and classes ...

15 Lawrence kids share their New Year's resolutions

Lawrence elementary school children shared their New Year’s resolutions with the Journal-World before the winter break. Students spoke about their resolve to do such things as accomplish new goals and make their lives better in 2019. Grace Oparaji, 7 second-grader at Prairie Park Elementary School “My New Year’s resolution is to appreciate more things that I have because other people are less ...

Following a family legacy in the arts, Lawrence native is singing opera in Germany

Sarah Bodle couldn’t just come to Lawrence and spend Christmas with her family; she had to squeeze in a performance. The 28-year-old opera singer, who lives and studies in Berlin, will give a winter-themed recital at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 1263 North 1100 Road. She’ll be singing excerpts from German composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel," and Russian ...

Heading out to measure aquifer levels, crew expects to see some decline from previous year

Like clockwork, during the first week in January, a crew with the Kansas Geological Survey will make its annual trek west to measure groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer, one of the largest reserves of groundwater in the world. “At some wells, we’ll arrive at the same hour we arrived the year before,” said Brownie Wilson, KGS support services manager, during a phone interview Thursday. For 22 ...

KU School of Engineering receives $3.5 million gift to create Center for Construction Safety

After a career spent on construction sites, University of Kansas alumnus Craig Martin knows how quickly an accident can occur. Martin, the former CEO of Jacobs Engineering Group in Dallas, has never forgotten a co-worker who knew all about safety on the job site, but who died while doing a project at home when his metal ladder touched a power line. “I grew up in the industry and, unfortunately, serious ...

Haskell alumnus becomes first graduate of a tribal university to attend Harvard Law School

College wasn’t on Connor Veneski’s radar as a high school student. Instead, he was leaning toward a future in welding or in the military. But not only did college become a reality for Veneski, he's also now a bit of a trailblazer. Veneski, a 2017 graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University, just finished his first semester at Harvard Law School. And while it’s not unusual for Haskell graduates to ...

Artist follows his heart from Iran to Lawrence and finds his true calling

Mehrzad Alison discovered long ago that jealousy could be a muse. As a child, Alison, 57, envied a classmate who was always drawing and being praised by the teacher. Alison was so jealous of the attention the boy was receiving that he began drawing. It worked. He gained the teacher’s attention. At the same time, he discovered his passion for art at a young age. In recent weeks, Alison moved his business, ...

$352 for a textbook? Rising costs leave some students bookless; KU student leader wants to change that

When Noah Ries was running for the University of Kansas student body president last spring, he promised that, if elected, he would work to make textbooks more affordable. Now, he’s trying to keep that campaign pledge. Once in office, Ries discovered two resources: Open Educational Resources through KU libraries, a service that includes a curated list of more than 500 cheap or free textbooks through the Open ...

KU architecture students win international honor for eco-friendly house

Keeping with the simplicity of the sleek, glass-walled house, a plain wreath hangs from the front door at 1224 E. 12th St. In September Chad and Elissa Turner moved into the East Lawrence house that was designed and built by KU School of Architecture students enrolled in Studio 804. Months later, they find themselves enjoying the holidays in an awarding-winning home. The house was recently one of 20 projects, ...

KU official seeks to bypass protocol in appointing dean of university's largest school; faculty leaders cry foul

Fear of losing an interim dean during a critical time at the University of Kansas has led KU's interim provost to suggest bypassing the usual protocol for hiring deans — a move that has shocked some in the university community. Interim Provost Carl Lejuez made the suggestion to keep Clarence Lang, the interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in the CLAS position for another three years in a ...

A garden in winter: KU students work during break to finish courtyard project

While the University of Kansas campus was almost deserted Wednesday for winter break, two students were hard at work finishing a fall semester project. Azra Krdzalic and Lake Giron, both third-year students in the School of Architecture, were with their professor, Keith Van de Riet, who teaches a design-build class focusing on renovation of Weaver Courtyard. The courtyard, named after former owners of Weaver's ...

KU police still investigating mystery of Texas state flag flying over Fraser Hall

The University of Kansas police are still trying to find the person who raised a Texas flag above Fraser Hall in November. “The case is still open,” said Deputy Chief James Anguiano with KU's Public Safety Office. On Nov. 23, the Texas flag was spotted flying in place of the KU flag on top of the university building as the KU football team hosted the University of Texas. Because the incident occurred ...

From war zones to KU, older law students find they have much more in common than their age

At first glance, it would be easy to mistake Eric McMillin and John Schoen for law professors walking around Green Hall. But they're not professors; they're students — ones who, it turns out, lived oddly parallel lives before enrolling in the University of Kansas law school in their mid-50s. McMillin, 57, and Schoen, 58, were classmates at West Point, although they didn't know that at the time; with 890 ...

When searching for on-campus housing, the cheapest residence hall might be off campus

Evan Schmidt was working out in the fitness room of Naismith Hall Friday morning before heading next door to KU’s School of Business for his last final of the fall semester. A senior business major, Schmidt lives in the private residence hall, at 1800 Naismith Drive, because he says it's convenient. Not only is it located near his classes, he appreciates not having to cook and that housekeeping service is ...

$6.9 million gift to KU will enable researchers to gain better understanding of early human life

A $6.9 million gift from a late geologist and his wife will help University of Kansas researchers develop a fuller understanding about early human life in the Americas. Joseph L. and Maude Ruth Cramer had established the Odyssey Archaeological Research Fund at KU in 2002 with a $1 million gift. The additional $6.9 million was recently received following their deaths. The gift will further benefit research by ...