WRITER: Elvyn Jones

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 ...

Voters Guide: 3 Douglas County District Court judges on ballot for retention

Three Douglas County District Court judges are on the general election ballot for a yes or no retention vote. Kansas district court judges stand for retention every four years. This year, those in Douglas County District Court on the ballot are Sally Pokorny, Amy Hanley and Chief Judge Peggy Kittel. There are also seven Kansas Court of Appeals judges on the ballot: Stephen Hill, of Topeka; Kim Schroeder, of ...

Voters Guide: Proposition 1 seeks nearly $5 million in sales taxes for mental health programs

As voters fill out general election ballots, they may have a sense of deja vu. On a ballot for the second time this year is a Proposition 1, asking residents to approve a sales tax to fund construction of a behavioral health campus. However, there are significant differences in the ballot question county voters rejected in May and the one before them in the current general election. The most notable is the ...

Voters Guide: 3 incumbent Kansas House Democrats unopposed on ballot

Short of a wildly successful last-minute write-in campaign, three incumbent Lawrence Democrats are assured of serving another two-year term in the Kansas House Unopposed on the general election ballot are 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 ...

Voters Guide: Newcomer, political survivor contest for 42nd House seat

The 42nd House District race pits incumbent Republican Jim Karleskint, of Tonganoxie, against Democrat Thea Perry, of rural Tonganoxie. The 42nd District includes Eudora and western Leavenworth County. Karleskint, 71, is seeking his second term in the 42nd District seat. Running as a moderate in 2016, he defeated conservative incumbent Connie O’Brien, of Tonganoxie, in the primary and survived against ...

Voters Guide: 45th District candidates differ on importance of party affiliation

A former Lawrence mayor is attempting to flip the Kansas 45th House District from red to blue, while his opponent says it is important a Republican continues to represent the district. Democrat Mike Amyx and Republican Cynthia Smith are vying to replace retiring 12-term Republican Tom Sloan in the 45th District. The district includes northwest Lawrence neighborhoods and subdivisions west of Wakarusa Drive, as ...

Gunshots cause damage but no injuries at Lawrence apartment complex, police say

Property damage but no apparent injuries resulted from gunshots fired Sunday morning into a south-central Lawrence apartment complex, Lawrence police said. Police officers first responded to calls about 2:50 a.m. regarding gunfire from the 900 block of West 28th Terrace and 2300 block of Ridge Court, said Lawrence Police Department Capt. Anthony Brixius in an email. Officers searched both areas but found ...