WRITER: Elvyn Jones

Parade spreads patriotic warmth on chilly Veterans Day morning

With cane in hand, Al Stuber was ready to walk the five blocks of the Lawrence Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, although he had thought he might have a different role in the event. “I was going to do the flyover, but I got beat out by a tanker,” he said. A Kansas Air National Guard refueling tanker from Forbes Air Base in Topeka got the parade underway at about 11 a.m. Sunday with a low pass over downtown ...

Lawrence school board to consider striking class-size goals from policy

The Lawrence school board will consider Monday a committee's suggestion to remove existing elementary class-size goals from board policy. The action before the board is a recommendation to strike from policy the district's class-size goals, which are to keep kindergarten through third-grade class sizes at 13 to 17 students and fourth- and fifth-grade classes at 18 to 26 students. The passage that the Board ...

HUD gives initial OK for apartment complex at planned behavioral health campus in Lawrence

Shannon Oury, executive director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, had reason to celebrate even before county voters approved Proposition 1 on Tuesday. Officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had recently informed her that they had signed off on the housing authority’s conceptual plan to build an eight- to 10-unit complex on the future behavioral health campus in ...

Weekly Douglas County Commission meeting canceled

The Douglas County Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled. It is the second straight week the meeting has been canceled for the lack of a large agenda item. The County Commission is next scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. Meeting agendas are posted online at douglascountyks.org.

Voters overwhelmingly approve sales tax to fund behavioral health campus, services

Douglas County voters overwhelmingly approved a quarter-cent sales tax Tuesday that will fund a behavioral health campus and a slate of enhanced mental health and drug treatment services. The question that appeared on the ballot as Proposition 1 passed with more than 70 percent of the vote. The Douglas County Commission agreed in July to put the question on the general election ballot. That decision came ...

Democratic legislators, County Commission candidate win uncontested races; local judges retained

Three incumbent Lawrence Democrats were officially re-elected to the Kansas House Tuesday in unopposed races. Winning two-year terms were Barbara Ballard, of the 44th District, which includes Lawrence precincts west of Iowa Street to Wakarusa Drive; Eileen Horn, who represents the 10th Kansas House District, which includes southeast Lawrence and southeast Douglas County, including Baldwin City; and Dennis ...

Amyx begins new chapter with 45th District victory

Democrat Mike Amyx, a former Lawrence mayor and city commissioner, began a new chapter in his political career Tuesday with his election to the Kansas House of Representatives. Amyx led throughout the night in the contest against Republican Cynthia Smith, winning with just less than 70 percent of the vote. With all of the district’s precincts reporting and most of the race’s advance ballots counted, Amyx ...

Leavenworth County voters carry Karleskint to victory in 42nd House District

Leavenworth County voters carried incumbent Republican Jim Karleskint to victory in Tuesday's contest for the 42nd District Kansas House seat. The 42nd District includes Eudora in Douglas County, as well as the western parts of Leavenworth County, including Tonganoxie. In Douglas County, Karleskint, of Tonganoxie, was a few votes behind Democratic challenger Thea Perry, of rural Tonganoxie — Perry got 1,215 ...

59 percent voter turnout in Douglas County sets midterm record, county clerk says

The fall general election was a record-breaking midterm that approached the turnout of presidential election years, Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said Tuesday. A total of 47,155 of the county’s 79,895 registered voters cast ballots in the general election, for a turnout of 59 percent, Shew said. The number of voters and turnout shattered the previous midterm turnout record of 39,000 voters in the 2014 ...

Lawrence schools benefiting from pilot program aimed at producing special education teachers

Three years ago, Kristen May took a job as a special education paraprofessional in the Lawrence school district because the hours worked well with her daughter’s schedule. This August, May took a big career step when she started the school year as a special education teacher at Kennedy Elementary School, although she has not yet obtained a special education teaching license. A two-year pilot program that the ...

Douglas County clerk predicts record midterm turnout

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew is predicting a record-breaking midterm turnout after all the votes are cast Tuesday, but he admits he doesn’t know what the large number of votes cast in advance will mean for traditional election day voting. County residents crowded the first- and second-floor rotunda areas of the Douglas County Courthouse all morning Monday to cast in-person advance general election ballots ...

Olympian Billy Mills denounces racism, shares message of empowerment at dedication of his namesake school

On Friday, Olympic gold medalist and Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe member Billy Mills visited students at the middle school that now bears his name, and a question from one of the kids was so impactful, he said, that he cried tears of optimism in his hotel room that night. That question, Mills said Saturday at a dedication ceremony for his namesake school, was about the difference between racism in the past and ...

Start high school classes at 9 a.m.? Lawrence district is considering it

The Lawrence school district is set to conduct telephone and online surveys to find out what students, parents and staff think about starting high school classes later in the morning. Lawrence Deputy Superintendent Anna Stubblefield said the surveys were being finalized and would be sent no later than Nov. 12 to all district parents of students from sixth through 12th grade, students in those grades and staff ...

Eudora city officials hope designs spark developer interest in downtown gateway properties

With conceptual designs in hand, city of Eudora officials are looking for investors to redevelop two properties on the southern entrance to downtown. Eudora City Manager Barack Matite said one of the properties is the 4,320-square-foot former public safety building at 840 Main St., which has been used for storage since the city’s fire and police departments moved in July 2013 to a new building at 930 Main ...

Baldwin City school district, teachers reach contract agreement

The Baldwin City school board and district teachers have reached an agreement on a 2018-2019 contract that gives all teachers a $500 annual raise and a $500 holiday bonus. Baldwin City Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the school board on Monday approved a negotiated contract that raises the district’s base pay for first-year teachers with no previous teaching experience by $500 to $37,750. A $500 increase was ...

Absence of jail funding makes one-time opponents now support Proposition 1

Douglas County Commissioner Michelle Derusseau has taken a different approach to Proposition 1 than she did for a similar ballot question last spring. Derusseau has not scheduled informational meetings for the current ballot question as she did for the first Proposition 1, which was defeated in May. There’s little need to provide information because county voters are familiar with the issues involved, she ...

Weekly County Commission meeting canceled

With no large item on its agenda, the Douglas County Commission has canceled its meeting for Wednesday. The commission is next scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St.

State task force considers tolls on roads like K-10 as part of new transportation plan

A public hearing next month has turned into a high-stakes affair for local leaders who don’t want to see one of Lawrence’s busiest highways turn into a toll road. County commissioners last week heard that state officials are considering making the South Lawrence Trafficway a toll road to help pay for a potential project to expand the western leg of the SLT to four lanes. Douglas County Commission Chair ...

Douglas County clerk says advance voting at record pace for midterm elections

Advance voting numbers have convinced Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew that this is not a normal midterm election year. At the end of Saturday, 4,538 registered county voters had filled out in-person advance ballots and another 12,628 had requested mail-in advance ballots, Shew said Monday. Almost 6,000 of the mail-in ballots have already been returned. “With the mail-in ballots requested, technically we’ve ...

Voters Guide: Multiple voting options available in Douglas County

Douglas County’s 77 polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6. Residents can find the locations of their polling sites at the Douglas County Clerk’s Office website at douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/where-to-vote and view a sample ballot by visiting apps.douglascountyks.org/mycounty/voting-and-elections/sample-ballots.aspx To receive a ballot, a registered voter ...