WRITER: Elvyn Jones

Volunteers start cleaning up abandoned homeless campsites along river

Even though he and other volunteers Sunday had put a big dent in the amount of trash left behind at an abandoned homeless campsite deep in the timber north of Burcham Park, Greg Kipp was still amazed at the sheer volume of garbage that remained. “I’m shocked,’ he said. “I never thought it would be this bad. We helped with the cleanup last week of a campsite out at Clinton Lake. It was nothing compared ...

Vendors pleased with crowds as Farmers' Market reopens for year on dreary day

About an hour before the first Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market of the year wrapped up, Roger Gipson had no products left to offer shoppers on a chilly, rainy Saturday morning. “We’re sold out,” he said as he stood under the Firefly Farm booth's awning to escape the light rain. He was running the booth for his son, JT Hamilton Slate, and the lilacs and potted plants from Gipson’s North Lawrence home ...

Brandon Woods' skilled nursing unit to close by end of 2021; residents to be relocated

Five Star Senior Living Inc., which provides management for Brandon Woods at Alvamar, will close the skilled nursing units in the facilities it manages to concentrate on independent living and “active adult properties," the company announced Friday. Brandon Woods offers a skilled nursing unit, as well as units for independent living, assisted living, memory care and short-term recuperative care. According to ...

Baldwin City, Eudora mayors to seek reelection

The incumbent mayors of Baldwin City and Eudora will both seek another four years in their respective offices. Baldwin City Mayor Casey Simoneau said he filed Thursday for a second term, and Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin said he would file again for the Eudora City Commission. Eudora has a city manager/commission form of government in which the five commissioners annually elect one of their members to serve as mayor. ...

KDOT grant will complete Baldwin City's Safe Routes to School network

Baldwin City has been awarded another Kansas Department of Transportation grant that will allow it to become the first city in Douglas County to complete its Safe Routes to School network of trails and sidewalks. Ed Courton, Baldwin City community development director, said the latest KDOT award was a gap grant, which allows the city to target areas of missing sidewalk in its Safe Routes to School network. The ...

'This is unbelievable': One day is not nearly enough to clean up garbage at campsites along river, volunteers find

As he walked Saturday along Lawrence's river levee trail, explaining what he hoped a cleanup effort would accomplish, Alex Hormell spotted what he said was another homeless camp abandoned last fall with the onset of cold weather. Hormell, who organized the volunteer cleanup, had spotted tarps barely visible in the tree line beyond the steep slope south of the levee. The tarps, draped over or tied to branches, ...

Baker to end 4 majors, eliminate 4 faculty positions in wake of pandemic enrollment shortfalls

Baker University is eliminating four full-time faculty positions and four major programs in response to the financial strains of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the action has sparked a backlash among some students and community members. The Baker Board of Trustees approved the faculty and program cuts on Feb. 19, and Baker University President Lynne Murray gave more details about the cuts in a video posted to the ...

Baldwin City gains new resources for downtown with selection to Kansas Main Street program

New opportunities have opened for Baldwin City’s downtown and its businesses after the community was admitted to the Kansas Main Street program. The Kansas Department of Commerce announced Thursday that Baldwin City, Atchison and Junction City were selected for inclusion in the program, which was reintroduced by Gov. Laura Kelly in 2019 after being discontinued by former Gov. Sam Brownback. Baldwin City and ...

KDOT shuts down safe route to school with closing of Midland Railway crossing

A pedestrian crossing at Midland Railway that provides a route to the Baldwin City school district's west campus has been closed down because of possible safety concerns, and an inspection by the Kansas Department of Transportation will determine whether and when it can be reopened, Baldwin City Administrator Glenn Rodden said. The crossing was installed late last year as part of a new trail that runs along Elm ...

'Blessed' with donations, St. Luke AME Church undertakes additional renovations

Additional restoration work is underway on the brick masonry of a historic Black church in East Lawrence thanks to a generous response to fundraising efforts. The Rev. Verdell Taylor, of St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, said workers are now tuck-pointing the brick veneer on the east and south sides of the church built in 1910 and anchoring the brick veneer where it has pulled away from the ...

2 injured in turnpike accident in Leavenworth County; Lawrence driver's injuries thought to be serious

Two people were taken to the hospital after a Friday morning accident on Interstate 70 in Leavenworth County. According to a Kansas Highway Patrol online report, the accident occurred at 2:30 a.m. Friday on 1-70 near mile marker 208, which is about four miles east of the East Lawrence turnpike exit. The report states that Jeffery Bennett, 35, of Kansas City, Kan., was driving a 2010 Hyundai SUV westbound when ...

Baldwin City 4th grader wins pandemic-altered 2021 county spelling bee

Gabe Steadham, who finished eighth in last year's Douglas County Spelling Bee, channeled his competitive drive to win this year's contest — a different kind of bee that was held entirely online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center fourth grader brought the same drive to the bee that he exhibits in soccer, football, wrestling, ninja warrior gymnastics and most ...

Private academy offering to help develop Eudora soccer complex

The Eudora City Commission and Eudora school board have agreed to revise a 3-year-old memorandum of understanding to allow talks with a private third-party about developing a soccer complex in the community. Eudora City Manager Barack Matite said the original 2018 memo between the city and school district allowed the city to build a soccer complex on unused district property between Eudora's middle and high ...

Eudora's $2 million Church Street project to start in March; city also developing new marketing plan for Nottingham properties

Work will start next month in Eudora on a $2 million upgrade to Church Street, a project that's associated with the city’s current commercial redevelopment of the old Nottingham Elementary School site. The Eudora City Commission approved a contract last month with Amino Brothers Co. Inc., of Kansas City, Kan., to upgrade Church Street from about a block north of its 14th Street intersection to about a block ...

2 recent Lawrence High graduates organize clothing drive to aid homeless community

This winter's frigid temperatures made an impression on Sophie Bracker-Sturm while riding her bike more than six miles to her job at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop in recent weeks. So when she heard of the extended cold spell about to settle over the Lawrence area, her mind turned to homeless members of the community. “After hearing the forecast, I saw it was going to be pretty cold,” she said. “I talked ...

Pioneering Black educator at Lawrence schools, Baker dies; he was longtime champion for civil rights

Jesse Milan, a pioneering Black educator in Lawrence schools, Baker University professor and former president of the Kansas branches of the NAACP, earned a bookcase of awards and honors during his life, but his son said one was very special to his father. “In 2004, President George W. Bush named him to the presidential commission planning the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Topeka Board of ...

Baldwin City approves $3.1M bond sale

The Baldwin City Council has approved a $3.1 million bond sale that will pay off short-term debt from several projects, including the city's new police station and some infrastructure improvements. On Feb. 2, the bond was put up for bidding, and later that day Jack Ryan-Feldman, of Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, told the City Council that six financial institutions had placed bids. The low bidder, with an ...

Light snow causes several minor accidents; frigid temperatures expected soon

Light snow caused several minor accidents Saturday afternoon on roads and highways in rural Douglas County, and forecasters say frigid temperatures are in store for next week. Daniel Reese, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Topeka, said the Lawrence area received an inch or less of snow on Saturday afternoon. He said the snow started falling at around noon, and that the heaviest ...

Baldwin City leader says substation repair should end recent power outages

Recent repairs at Baldwin City’s electrical substation are expected to put an end to a series of power outages that have plagued the community since late October, the city administrator said. City Administrator Glenn Rodden said a faulty relay at the electrical substation near Seventh and Newton streets was replaced this past week. The city has experienced no outages since the relay was replaced, he said. ...

Baldwin City Council starts the process on $2.86 million bond sale, approves new transparency policy for debt

The Baldwin City Council has started the process on a $2.86 million bond sale to pay for a variety of projects, and city leaders also approved a new policy requiring the city to clearly specify how such debt will be paid off. At its Jan. 19 meeting, the City Council authorized the city to start working on the bond sale that will pay for the new police station on the city's U.S. Highway 56 gateway, the downtown ...