WRITER: Dylan Lysen

Douglas County set to sell tax foreclosed properties, six years after the delinquent owners last paid

While the Douglas County government tends to give local property owners a few years to pay back taxes, it could take five years — or even more — before it sells those properties to recoup lost tax revenue. Douglas County will soon offer a tax foreclosure sale on properties that have not paid their taxes. But the properties that will be up for sale include four parcels of land that have not paid county taxes ...

Lawrence High's mobile unit classrooms unavailable because of motor malfunction

When the school year started, some classes at Lawrence High School were held in mobile units on campus while construction continued on permanent classrooms. Now those mobile units are temporarily unavailable, and classes have moved into the school's main building. Classes of five teachers using the mobile units on the northwest portion of campus have temporarily moved into the school’s library, a small ...

Lawrence High alumni to induct 3 women into school's Hall of Honor

The Lawrence Lions Alumni Association will induct three women into the school’s Hall of Honor this year. The three inductees include an internationally performing singer-songwriter, a foreign service officer, and a scholar and researcher. The Hall of Honor aims to recognize graduates of Liberty Memorial High School and Lawrence High School who have distinguished themselves in their professions or have made ...

KU football players share lessons on perseverance, hard work with Billy Mills Middle School students

Several University of Kansas football players passed on some wisdom to Billy Mills Middle School students on Wednesday: In both sports and academics, perseverance and a positive attitude can go a long way. “An attitude is a big part of who you are,” KU's Hasan Defense said. “That’s what other people see. They only see what you give off.” Defense and four other KU football players — Kyle Mayberry, ...

Douglas County increases funding for fire department training tower, but won't fulfill city's request entirely

The Douglas County Commission wants to help fund a joint city-county project to replace a fire department training tower in Lawrence, but it only wants to pay for portions of the project it feels are its responsibility. During its meeting on Wednesday, the commission agreed to an $86,000 increase in its funding commitment for an ongoing project to replace the training tower, located at 1941 Haskell Ave., for ...

Douglas County Commission to receive report on local effort to address mental health issues among farmers

While many Kansas farmers believe mental health is a serious issue, almost half of them said in a recent Kansas Farm Bureau study that it's hard to access mental health services designed for their lifestyle, said Mallory Meek, an agent for the K-State Research and Extension office in Douglas County. However, in Douglas County, Meek’s office is partnering with the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center to ...

Lawrence school district exploring expansion of AVID program to its elementary schools

Students as young as kindergartners could be seen taking notes during class in the Lawrence school district if it chooses to expand an educational program. As part of its recently adopted strategic plan, the Lawrence school district is exploring expanding AVID, an education program that aims to address achievement gaps, to its elementary level, said Leah Wisdom, director of instruction, equity and student ...

At public forum, leaders will discuss ways to fight 'burgeoning epidemic' of mental illness

State and local behavioral health leaders will come together this week at a public forum to share their ideas for fighting mental illness in the community. The Douglas County Community Foundation, which is organizing Monday's forum, is calling the event a "Community Convening." The idea is to encourage collaboration among nonprofits, businesses and governments to address the community’s struggles with ...

School board candidate Smith wants to help all students find success in education

As a graduate of the former Lawrence Alternative High School, Paula Smith said she wants to help Lawrence students find pathways to success that best suit them. “The way the program was geared to fit me better helped me succeed to graduate on time,” she said of her time at the Lawrence Alternative High School. “That was the success of that program.” Editor’s note: The Journal-World has been ...

Chancellor: KU has not received rules violation allegations from NCAA

The University of Kansas Athletics program is prepared to receive allegations of rules violations from the NCAA, but so far the university has not received anything from the organization, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said Friday. However, Girod said he wouldn’t be surprised if a notice came soon. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s anytime,” Girod said. “But I don’t have direct knowledge of ...

Surviving cancer motivated school board candidate Perry to run for office

Thea Perry has always been interested in public service, but she was too shy to run for office. That changed, however, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018. Perry, a candidate for the Lawrence school board election this fall, said the health issue motivated her to finally put herself out there. Editor’s note: The Journal-World has been publishing profiles on candidates for city and ...

Community partnerships key to improving lives of local students, says school board candidate Hill

As a community health professional, Erica Hill has focused on ways to improve the health of the Lawrence community, and she recently realized the best place to start. “What better way to make an impact on the community than investing in our youth?” said Hill, a candidate for the Lawrence school board election this fall. Editor’s note: The Journal-World over the next several days will publish profiles ...

Douglas County Commission hears proposal to change county's rules for dividing rural land

Douglas County leaders discussed a slate of proposed changes to the county's zoning regulations on Wednesday, including a measure that would allow for more public feedback before rural land could be divided into residential lots. Zoning Director Tonya Voigt and Planner Mary Miller presented a broad overview of the proposed regulations to the County Commission during a work session. They explained that the ...

School board member Kimball wants a third term to see current projects through

Since Shannon Kimball began serving in the Lawrence school district in 2010, the Lawrence school board has approved several construction projects to renovate buildings across the district. While Kimball, who served on a special elementary school facilities task force for the district in 2010 prior to joining the board in July 2011, helped craft the plans for those renovation projects during her two terms on the ...

Douglas County Commission to begin process of updating zoning regulations

The Douglas County Commission will soon begin a process to change zoning regulations in the unincorporated parts of the county. During a work session on Wednesday, the commission will get its first look at the proposed zoning regulation changes, which include adding a public feedback step to the county’s process when considering applications to subdivide land in rural parts of the county. Currently, those ...

School board candidate Cadue-Blackwood wants to be voice for underprivileged students

When Carole Cadue-Blackwood was a fifth-grade student at Cordley Elementary School, a teacher told her she didn’t think Cadue-Blackwood would finish her education. “I was really skinny, we were really poor, and I got bullied,” she said. “(The teacher) said, ‘I bet a dime to a dollar you won’t finish high school.’ And I believed it.” Editor’s note: The Journal-World over the next several ...

Protesters call for prosecutor Amy McGowan to be fired over alleged misconduct; DA calls event a stunt to possibly sway jury

A group of protesters gathered on Monday to call for a Douglas County prosecutor to be removed from her position for what they believe to be prosecutorial misconduct. In a protest outside the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, local defense attorney Sarah Swain led the group in calls for the firing of Amy McGowan, the chief assistant district attorney for Douglas County. Some protesters were ...

Lawrence High School opens new 'innovation corridor,' part of $46 million renovation project

In a new area of Lawrence High School, students are now seeing a lot of something that they only got a little bit of before — sunlight. Large glass windows are a major feature in LHS’s new “innovation corridor,” a renovation that aims to bring the decades-old school into the 21st century. The new area was constructed this summer as the first part of a four-phase renovation of the school, a $46 million ...

'Mama J,' Lawrence High's interim principal, makes immediate impact on school's culture

As interim Principal Cynthia Johnson walks through the hallways of Lawrence High School, students give her high-fives. They talk to her about how their day has been going. And they call her by a more affectionate name: “Mama J.” Those kinds of interactions are just a few of the ways Johnson appears to have made an impact on the LHS campus in her first month of leading the school. Connecting with the ...

Lawrence student with scoliosis pushes for school district to begin screenings again

When Emma Hefty was in seventh grade in 2018, she began to feel constant pain in her back. After meeting with doctors, she and her family learned that she was living with a curved spine, a condition known as scoliosis. “I was in so much pain I didn’t want to go out with my friends,” Emma said. “I missed a lot because I was in so much pain and in this constant battle. Forget trying to be a normal teen; ...