WRITER: Dylan Lysen

Where are they now? Checking in with the 2010 Academic All-Stars

Each year, the Journal-World reaches out to the Academic All-Stars from 10 years ago to see what they’ve been up to since high school. Here’s what the members of the 2010 class told us via email: Each year, the Journal-World reaches out to the Academic All-Stars from 10 years ago to see what they’ve been up to since high school. Here’s what the members of the 2010 class told us via email: Lauren ...

Despite pandemic, St. John's theater students find a way to continue performance

For students at St. John Catholic School, despite a global pandemic, the show must go on. Even if it’s through an online conference call using the actors’ homes as scene backdrops, rather than using a proper stage. When state and local agencies shut down schools and canceled many events to slow the spread of COVID-19, St. John’s middle school theater group saw the planned live performance of their show ...

Douglas County commissioners express frustration after abandoning plan to demolish unoccupied building

The Douglas County Commission has abandoned its plan to demolish an unoccupied county building near downtown Lawrence, but commissioners were not happy about how those plans came to be quashed. During their meeting Wednesday, the commissioners retracted the county’s application to the City of Lawrence for a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the building located at 1242 Massachusetts St. They chose to ...

Douglas County Commission to consider providing funding to use hotels for isolating homeless individuals exposed to COVID-19

Douglas County may soon help fund the use of hotels to quarantine homeless individuals during the coronavirus pandemic. The County Commission on Wednesday will consider approving its half of a joint city-county funding plan that would pay up to $80,000 over the next four months for the program. Porter Arneill, a spokesman for the city of Lawrence, said the City Commission authorized the city's funding portion ...

Lawrence schools' education redesign plans focus on personalized learning opportunities

A new school day schedule that provides class periods where students decide how and what they are learning could be on the horizon for Free State High School. Michelle Salmans, a Free State fine arts teacher, told the Lawrence school board on Monday that a new schedule format would help facilitate many different ideas a team of teachers came up with to redesign education at the school. “Most of the things we ...

Despite dip in reimbursements, Lawrence restaurants to continue student meal service for remainder of school year

Local restaurants have stepped up for a second month to make sure Lawrence students will be able to receive meals while schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic. But this time the restaurants are participating in the meal service mostly through their goodwill — rather than for the additional benefit of earning a profit — because the program has decreased its reimbursement to the restaurants by nearly ...

Lawrence school board to hear four schools' education redesign plans for 2020-21 academic year

The Lawrence school board on Monday will hear how four district schools want to redesign their approaches to education in the next academic year. Groups from Broken Arrow Elementary, Deerfield Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary and Free State High School will present the redesign plans for their respective schools during the board's regular meeting. The plans are part of the school district’s participation in ...

April health code inspections: No Douglas County organizations found out of compliance during limited inspections

No Douglas County organizations failed health code inspections in April. That is partly because only four organizations in the area were subjected to state inspections, as most of the operation is still suspended for the coronavirus pandemic. Heather Lansdowne, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, previously told the Journal-World that the department suspended routine health code inspections ...

Study indicates no need to expand Douglas County Jail, Justice Matters argues

An activist group opposed to the expansion of the Douglas County Jail now has a study that supports the idea that the county should invest in long-term alternatives to incarceration programs rather than building more jail cells. “All you’re doing is putting a Band-Aid on a problem that you can solve in so many other ways and make for better outcomes,” Danielle Rudes, the lead researcher for the study, ...

Douglas County Commission begins process to allow rural landowner to subdivide his land

A rural landowner whose application to subdivide his property for residential development was denied by Douglas County staff received some help from the County Commission on Wednesday. But before Anthony Fanello, the applicant, will be able to make his proposed plan a reality, the county will need to go through additional steps to allow it. During its meeting Wednesday, the commission voted to defer taking ...

Douglas County Commission to consider rural landowner's appeal of denied plans for residential development

A rural landowner who saw his application to subdivide his property for residential development denied by Douglas County staff has appealed the decision to the County Commission. On Wednesday, the commissioners will consider whether county staff was wrong to deny the application. Anthony Fanello, the applicant, owns 28 acres of land on the corner of North 1800 Road and East 1200 Road intersection, which is ...

Pulitzer Prizes recognize authors, journalist originally from Kansas

Two authors and a freelance journalist from Kansas were recognized by judges of some of the most prestigious writing awards in the country on Monday. Anne Boyer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, while Ben Lerner was shortlisted as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Both Boyer and Lerner are originally from Topeka. Boyer received the award for her book “The Undying: Pain, ...

Douglas County to continue restricting public access to its facilities until May 18

As the state began to lift restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, Douglas County offices were set to remain closed to the public for another two weeks. The county recently announced in a news release that it would continue its restrictions on public access to its facilities until at least May 18. In the meantime, the county will continue to offer its services through remote options, such as ...

Lawrence art teacher gets creative in quarantine by launching educational web series

As schools have turned to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic, teachers have explored creative ways to share educational content with students. One Lawrence teacher has stepped her creativity up a notch during this period by launching a comedic and informative web series. Hannah Hurst, an art teacher for Deerfield Elementary School, recently began posting episodes of her own show called “The Art ...

Maximus employees protest for better working conditions amid coronavirus pandemic

Updated at 3:45 p.m. Friday Employees of Maximus, one of Lawrence’s largest private businesses, are demanding the company to do more to protect them from contracting the coronavirus at work. Some workers from the call center and representatives for the Communication Workers of America union on Friday protested outside the business’ location in the East Hills Business Park, calling for changes to working ...

Lawrence teacher one of 15 in U.S. selected for STEM fellowship

A Lawrence teacher is set to spend the next school year working with the federal government on education issues related to science, technology, engineering and math. Shakiyya Bland, a learning coach for the Lawrence school district, was one of 15 teachers throughout the country selected for the federal Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of ...

Lawrence school board approves budget changes for 2020-21 school year, including 2.4% employee raises

Updated at 2:18 p.m. Wednesday The bulk of the Lawrence school district’s budgeting process for the 2020-2021 school year is completed as the school board on Monday approved several funding changes, including a 2.4% raise for all district employees. But the district won’t finish the entire process until later this summer. It will need to keep an eye on how the state’s revenue is affected by the ...

Lawrence school board approves two hires for 2020-2021 school year

The Lawrence school district has hired a new curriculum leader and elementary principal for the 2020-2021 school year. Superintendent Anthony Lewis on Monday announced Patrick Kelly, who is currently director of the Lawrence College and Career Center, will become the school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction and Heather Renk, an elementary principal in Atchison, will become the new ...

Property tax deadline looming, but extension for pandemic unlikely

The coronavirus pandemic has delayed much, but it appears it won’t delay the property tax collector. Home and business owners ought to be prepared to meet the quickly approaching May 10 deadline for property tax payments, as state and local officials told the Journal-World they were not considering delaying the deadline date. The decision to keep the deadline unchanged has some local governments that rely ...

Lawrence school district exploring options for 2020 graduation ceremonies

The Lawrence school district is still hoping to hold graduation ceremonies for seniors, despite the coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of most school events. But Julie Boyle, a spokeswoman for the school district, said the district doesn’t yet know when those ceremonies may be. She said the district formed a committee to discuss options but no decisions have been made. “(Superintendent ...