WRITER: Dylan Lysen

As new school year nears, some Lawrence parents fear that elementary classes are too large

As the new school year approaches in Lawrence, some parents of students at Sunset Hill Elementary are fearing another year of their children being in a classroom with too many students for an optimal educational experience. Although some Lawrence school board members have said reducing the student-to-teacher ratio is a priority, finding solutions to help alleviate the issue won’t be easy and may take ...

July health code inspections: 16 found out of compliance in Douglas County

Sixteen organizations in Douglas County failed state health code inspections in July. Each month, I take a look at inspection results and list every place either listed out of compliance or with 10 or more code violations. Full reports are available online at agriculture.ks.gov. There, you can find details about specific violations, which can vary. Noncritical citations include unlabeled products, improperly ...

Court revokes one-time Lawrence rape suspect's probation; he will serve 13-month sentence

A man who was tried for rape in Lawrence and eventually pleaded to a less severe nonsexual crime will now have to serve a jail sentence of more than a year for violating his probation. Jared L. Wheeler, 24, was originally granted probation with an underlying 13-month jail sentence and one year of post-release supervision after he pleaded no contest to a felony count of aggravated battery in January 2017. But he ...

Asbestos, weather delays push back start of Lawrence high schools 6 days

Story updated at 4:36 p.m. Thursday Students at Lawrence's high schools will get to enjoy a longer summer break because of construction delays that resulted from recent severe weather and crews uncovering additional asbestos. The Lawrence school district announced in a news release Thursday that it will postpone the start of the school year for Free State and Lawrence high schools and Lawrence College and ...

Some KU students to see health insurance costs more than double

Some University of Kansas students will see their health care premiums more than double for the coverage period that includes the 2019-2020 school year. KU Interim Provost Carl Lejuez announced the changes to student insurance plans recently in a memo to the KU community. He said an increase in claims over the last two years caused United Healthcare, the company providing insurance for the Kansas Board of ...

Douglas County Commission privately discusses personnel matters in brief meeting

After privately discussing personnel matters, the Douglas County Commission wrapped up a brief meeting on Wednesday without taking any action. The only general business item on the commission's meeting agenda was an executive session. County leaders met privately to discuss matters involving the county’s nonelected personnel for about an hour. Prior to the executive session, commissioners made two ...

Lawrence man to stand trial for charges related to a teen's drug overdose

A Lawrence man facing several felony charges related to a teen’s drug overdose will go on trial this fall. Dana S. Wingert, 56, was bound over for trial during a preliminary hearing on Monday in Douglas County District Court, according to Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the Douglas County District Attorney. The trial is scheduled for Oct. 28. During the Monday hearing, Wingert waived his right to the ...

Defendant in Lawrence murder case sentenced to 570 days in separate beating case

Lawrence murder suspect Steven A. Drake III, 22, has been sentenced to 570 days in a battery case — one of the three criminal cases against him in Douglas County District Court. On Monday, Judge Kay Huff sentenced Drake to more than a year and a half in Department of Corrections custody for attempted aggravated battery. The time is considered already served because Drake has been in jail nearly two years ...

Sheriff's office identifies motorcyclist killed in early morning crash, reportedly after police chase

Updated at 2:45 p.m. Monday A man who died in a motorcycle crash in west Lawrence early Sunday morning has been identified. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said the motorcyclist was 25-year-old Gabriel F. Sosman-Bernhardt. He died in a crash, sometime after failing to stop for a police officer, according to a Lawrence Police Department news release. Shortly after 1 a.m., an officer initiated a traffic ...

KU study: Many Kansas City-area treatment centers won't serve patients who take medications for opioid addiction

A University of Kansas study found about 40% of opioid-addiction treatment centers in the Kansas City area have a “mixed-to-negative attitude” toward treating people who have been prescribed medications to fight their addiction. As addiction to opioids has become a national crisis in recent years — in 2017, 11.4 million people reported they misused opioid painkillers and 47,600 died from overdosing, ...

Former KU volleyball assistant coach convicted of burglary for stealing team members' underwear

A former University of Kansas assistant volleyball coach was convicted of two felonies for entering homes and stealing underclothes and other garments from the athletes he coached. Skyler N. Yee, 24, pleaded no contest Friday in Douglas County District Court to two felony counts of burglary. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop 13 other charges that Yee was facing. Judge Peggy Kittel ...

County will continue using one herbicide for invasive plant in Lone Star Lake, discontinue another that's likely killing trees

Douglas County will end the use of one herbicide and continue using another for the treatment of unwanted vegetation at Lone Star Lake. After hearing from public works director Keith Browning during their regular meeting on Wednesday, Douglas County commissioners accepted his plans for herbicide use at the lake. But before that, the commissioners heard from a local fishing enthusiast who argued that some of the ...

County Commission to discuss trees near Lone Star Lake that were likely damaged by herbicide

About 20 trees near Lone Star Lake have likely been damaged by herbicides, and Douglas County staff plans to remove some of them, a county official recently said in a memo to Douglas County commissioners. The commission will discuss the issue during its Wednesday meeting and possibly give direction on how to address it. In a memo to the commissioners, Public Works Director Keith Browning said a concerned ...

Police searching for 2 people suspected of forgery, fleeing

Local police are searching for a man and woman suspected of forging checks in Lawrence over the weekend. The Lawrence Police Department responded to a call at 7 p.m. Saturday in the 2400 block of Fairfield Street for a man and a woman allegedly trying to use a checkbook belonging to someone else, the department said in a Monday news release. The police identified a car at a nearby gas station that matched the ...

School board expresses opposition to authorities using schools for immigration enforcement; gives initial approval to 2020 budget

During her work as a social worker, Lawrence school board vice president Kelly Jones served a family that was afraid of sending its child to school because of fears of the possibility of being detained by immigration authorities, she said. That family’s experience is one example of why the school board on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that aims to express the school district’s opposition to the ...

Lawrence school board to consider initial approval of 2020 budget, immigration enforcement resolution

The Lawrence school board will consider giving initial approval to its 2019-2020 school year budget during its next meeting on Monday. Each July, the board is required to approve its budget for publication with a maximum budget authority. If approved, the publication will also set a public hearing for the budget during the board’s following meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 12. Earlier this month, Kathy Johnson, ...

Tensions between U.S., Iran causing 'a scary time' for Iranian students at KU

As the relationship between the United States and Iran becomes increasingly hostile, some students at the University of Kansas are living in uncertainty, an Iranian student told the Journal-World recently. However, a KU political scientist thinks the tension will eventually subside without a physical conflict. But until then, these students may be in an uncomfortable situation. During the 2018-19 school year, ...

Hearings set to decide whether teens charged in Holcom Park shootings will be tried as adults

A Douglas County District Court judge will decide this fall whether two teens charged in a double shooting should be tried as adults. On Friday, Judge Peggy Kittel scheduled a preliminary hearing for the case at 9 a.m. Sept. 30 for Benson J. Edwards Jr., 17, and Sahavione K. Caraway, 17, both of Topeka. After the preliminary hearing, the two defendants will appear in separate hearings for the court to decide ...

Man arrested after allegedly grabbing steering wheel in moving vehicle, almost causing wreck

A Lawrence man has been charged with a felony for allegedly grabbing the steering wheel of a moving vehicle in which he was a passenger. The man, Keith Goodwin, 44, was arrested at 6:35 a.m. Friday and charged with aggravated assault. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded Friday morning to a report of a disturbance within a vehicle, said Jenn Hethcoat, public information officer for the sheriff’s ...

KU research team receives $1.4 million to offer technology training to women leaving prison

A new University of Kansas program hopes to help women leaving prison better adapt to civilian life by teaching them technology skills. A team of researchers led by Hyunjin Seo, an associate professor in the KU School of Journalism, recently received a three-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create an evidence-based training program for former female inmates. The project expects ...