WRITER: Dylan Lysen

Study: K-State ranked best value for higher education in Kansas; KU comes in 2nd

The two largest universities in Kansas are again ranked as the best value for higher education in Kansas. But the local university is looking up to its land-grant cousin to the west for the fifth year in a row. A study by SmartAsset, a financial technology company, recently ranked K-State as the best bang-for-your-buck university in the state. KU, often regarded as the state's flagship university, was ranked ...

City Commission approves ordinance requiring bars to train staff on sexual violence intervention

A new ordinance will soon require some bar and restaurant workers in Lawrence to undergo sexual violence intervention training in order for the establishments to keep their local liquor licenses. Despite opposition from several local bar and restaurant owners, the Lawrence City Commission approved the ordinance with a unanimous 4-0 vote on Tuesday. Commissioner Leslie Soden was absent from the meeting. The ...

City Commission gives initial approval on 2020 budget with 0.5 mill levy increase, plans to make cuts

The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday voted to publish a 2020 budget with a 0.5 mill property tax increase, but commissioners said they were still planning to make cuts later to hold the mill levy flat. During a work session last week, the commission agreed to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts to the proposed budget to keep property taxes from rising. Those cuts include a $144,000 decrease in the ...

City Commission to consider increasing spending on design fees for portion of Lawrence Loop trail

The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday will consider allocating funding to continue design progress on the Lawrence Loop, a planned trail system that will someday encircle Lawrence. The commission will consider increasing spending by $75,000 on conceptual design fees for two new portions of the trail, which would create a trail pathway from Eighth Street to 11th Street adjacent to an abandoned section of ...

Lawrence City Commission to consider initial approval for 2020 budget with mill levy increase, but funding cuts already planned

The Lawrence City Commission is considering making cuts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to a proposed $236 million budget to make sure its tax rate remains flat next year. But the tradeoffs will include a possible financial squeeze for the city's lone homeless shelter, and less money for the local chamber of commerce to spend on economic development activities. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the ...

Baker University research of microscopic animals allows students to fill in a 'blank part of the tree of life'

Years of searching for and studying microscopic animals has allowed student researchers at Baker University to find a scientific niche for themselves, not to mention a list of discoveries. William Miller, director of research of biology and chemistry at Baker, has for several years led research projects looking into tardigrades in Kansas. Tardigrades, which are referred to as “water bears” because of their ...

After talks break down, city and firefighters union cancel planned meetings until mediator takes over

Negotiations between the City of Lawrence and the local firefighters union have come to a halt until a mediator takes over the proceedings next week. A local resolution governing contract negotiations states that the negotiations are automatically considered at an impasse if they aren’t concluded by July 1. By the time the groups reached the impasse date, they were still far apart on agreeing to a new ...

City leaders, school board begin heated discussion on future funding for school resource officers

School district leaders have concerns about helping the city pay for a program that puts police officers in schools, and some are questioning whether the program is worthwhile at all. That was the takeaway from Wednesday's meeting between City of Lawrence leaders and the Lawrence school board about whether the district should contribute some funding for the Lawrence Police Department's school resource officer ...

Affidavit: Lawrence woman burned home after she was denied entry

A Lawrence woman is facing felony charges for lighting a home on fire after the homeowner denied her entry to the house, according to an arrest affidavit in the case. Samantha Phelan Yellow Wolf, 29, was arrested at her home at 3:57 p.m. June 17 for an incident that occurred on June 3, according to the Douglas County Jail booking report. She was charged with two counts of aggravated arson and two counts of ...

Hodgson officially launches campaign for Congress, says she'll focus on financial stability for Kansans

In officially launching her campaign for a seat in Congress, Democrat and Lawrence resident Abbie Hodgson told the Journal-World that if she was elected she would work to help secure financial stability for Kansans through several policy platforms. “From a national perspective, the economy is booming,” she said. “Yet if you walk down most Kansas main streets or you talk to Kansans and ask them about how ...

Lawrence school board considering budget with $4.3M of increased funding

The Lawrence school district expects to receive an additional $300,000 of funding through its local option budget authority, which is generated through local taxes. Kathy Johnson, executive director of finance for the school district, reported to the Lawrence school board during its regular meeting on Monday that the new funding will be generated without raising the school district’s mill levy. The additional ...

Author discusses inspiration for Obama-Biden mystery series, current politics and more

As former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden has hit the 2020 campaign trail, a fictional version of him is busy solving mysteries within the pages of Andrew Shaffer’s books. Shaffer, an author from Kentucky, will soon release his second installment of his Obama Biden Mystery series, which turns former President Barack Obama and Biden into a crime-fighting duo. The first book, “Hope Never Dies,” was ...

KU architecture team selected as finalists in Sydney's alternative housing competition

A Lawrence team's "Smart Home" idea has captured the attention of officials in Sydney, Australia, and has earned a coveted finalist spot in Sydney's Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge. The team from the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design came up with the "Smart Home" — a dwelling that captures biometric data about its occupants — to help make housing more affordable for residents of ...

June health code inspections: 14 places found out of compliance, many of them in downtown Lawrence

Fourteen organizations in Douglas County failed state health code inspections in June. 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 ...

Lawrencians weren't 'innocent victims,' group dedicated to infamous killer William Quantrill will argue at symposium

A local symposium exploring the history of the Border War between Kansas and Missouri, which includes the signature event in Lawrence’s history, will bring a historian discussing the perspective of the Missouri side of the conflict, said Jim Ogle, executive director of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Freedom’s Frontier and the Douglas County Historical Society will host the “Disorder at ...

Cities in Kansas have the right to raise tobacco age to 21, Kansas Supreme Court rules

A Douglas County ordinance prohibiting businesses from selling tobacco products to people under the age of 21 appears to be safe from legal challenges. The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling upholding the City of Topeka’s ordinance that prohibits the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21. The ruling overturns a previous Shawnee County District Court ...

'Exceedingly proud': Lawrence's high school debate coaches pleased with showing in national tournament

The students may have been in the middle of their summer break, but the debate teams for Lawrence and Free State high schools were busy last week competing on the national stage. Lawrence coach Jeff Plinksy and Free State coach Kelly Thompson told the Journal-World they were proud of the performances of their teams at the National Speech and Debate Association's national tournament in Dallas June 18-21. The ...

KU employees will get pay raises next fiscal year

Updated at 10:48 a.m. Wednesday University of Kansas employees will see a salary increase in the next school year, interim Provost Carl Lejuez said on Tuesday. Lejuez announced in a message to campus that the university was able to include funding for raises of up to 2.5% for faculty and staff in the upcoming 2020 fiscal year budget, which begins July 1 and coincides with the 2019-2020 academic year. Lejuez ...

Lawrence chamber's small-business loan program will be able to double lending

The Lawrence chamber of commerce will soon be able to provide more financial assistance to small businesses. The chamber on Wednesday announced that NetWork Kansas, a nonprofit organization focused on business growth, promoted the chamber’s small-business loan program Metropolitan E-Community Program, or MECP, to Tier One status beginning on July 1. The promotion will allow the Lawrence chamber to loan up to ...

Lawrence man charged with multiple sex crimes against a child

A Lawrence man was charged on Friday with multiple sex crimes against a child. The man, Joseph Christopher Hess, 35, was formally charged in Douglas County District Court with six felonies, including three counts of criminal sodomy with a child, two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and one count of attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Hess appeared in court via a video ...