WRITER: Elvyn Jones

Dry conditions to persist as 2 cold fronts pass through this week

Two cold fronts will move through the area in coming days, bringing more fall-like temperatures but doing little to reverse recent dry conditions. Lawrence is running 3.5 inches below normal rainfall for the year. Matt Wolters, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Topeka, said 29.62 inches of rain have been recorded as of Sunday at the Lawrence Municipal Airport. That is 3.5 inches less than ...

Special Olympians enjoy morning of fishing at Lawrence lake despite lack of luck

Not many fish were biting on Saturday at Sandra J. Shaw Community Health Park, but that didn't spoil the morning for the contestants in the Special Olympics fishing derby. Fish could be spotted jumping in the park's lake, and an angler who wasn't competing reeled in a catfish that was about a foot long. But none of the derby contestants was reeling in anything that big, said Chris Burt, of Mission, who was one ...

Stained-glass window and masonry repairs start on historic Lawrence church

The Rev. Verdell Taylor is now witnessing the fruits of a task assigned to him when he arrived in Lawrence 25 years ago as the new pastor of St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church. “I was instructed to get the church on the historical register,” he said of the goal realized in 2005 when St. Luke was placed on the national and Kansas registers of historic places. “We were able to do that because of ...

Baldwin High School graduate pens book on legendary Bulldog coach

When Baldwin High School graduate Chris Ridley was recovering from a cancer surgery once, he remembered hearing an instantly recognizable, booming voice outside his hospital room. His visitor was his former high school football coach Merle Venable, who was coming to encourage his former student and player as he started his recovery. “He brought me a book on history that I still have,” Ridley, a 1974 ...

Owner of downtown Baldwin City bakery, cafe plans to open burger restaurant next door

Citing her desire to give her community something different, Baldwin City cafe and bakery owner Lori Gardner is expanding her business to include a new restaurant that will serve hamburgers, hot dogs and other classic fare. Gardner opened Homestead Kitchen and Bakery at 719 Eighth St. in 2018. Homestead offers a breakfast and lunch menu, fresh baked goods and ice cream Monday through Saturday in downtown ...

Midland Railway defendant in five lawsuits filed in District Court seeking more than $70,000

Five different lawsuits have been filed in the past five months in Douglas County District Court against the Midland Railway Historical Association, seeking to recover more than $70,000 in debt. Among those taking action against the Baldwin City-based tourist excursion railroad line is the Kansas Department of Revenue, which filed a tax warrant against Midland on Aug. 21 A tax warrant alleges the tourist ...

Lumberyard Arts Center showcases artist with close ties to building's history

A watercolor in the Lumberyard Arts Center depicts the center as Sandy Cardens envisioned it once it shed its former commercial purpose and became the home for the arts in Baldwin City. Cardens, a one-time art education student, moved to Baldwin City with her husband, J.T., in 1997. Her watercolor documents her early interest in saving and renovating the distinctive downtown lumberyard building at 718 High ...

Citing safety concerns, Baldwin City buys old motel property; several tenants to be evicted

A number of residents and two businesses face eviction in a month after Baldwin City recently purchased a site on U.S. Highway 56. At its Sept. 1 meeting, the Baldwin City Council approved the purchase of the property at 109 U.S. 56 from Les Foster for $250,096. The property, which fronts the south side of the highway east of First Street, is currently the site of an old motel and a mobile home park that ...

Midland vows to move tourist train rides from Baldwin City as city demands repayment of grant money

The relationship between Baldwin City and Midland Railway has unraveled to the point the company is vowing to move its tourist train operation to Franklin County and the city is demanding the railway immediately repay more than $300,000 it received last year from a Kansas Department of Commerce grant that the city administers. A.J. Stevens, chief financial officer of Baldwin City & Southern Railroad, a ...

Cold front to bring Lawrence early taste of fall

Northeast Kansas residents might want to pull out the blankets they stashed for the summer as a strong cold front blows through the Midlands. Shawn Byrne, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Topeka, said the cold front will drop tempatures the next three day well below the normal daytime high of 84 and overnight low of 51. “We have a pretty strong cold front coming at us,” he ...

With plans and cost estimates in hand, Baldwin City Council eyes voter referendum on community center

The Baldwin City Council now has plans and a cost estimate for converting the old Chapel Street gym into a community center as it moves toward a voter referendum on funding for the project. At an Aug. 25 special meeting, Lawrence architect Jay Zimmerschied presented plans for the gym’s conversion into a community center. The project would cost an estimated $2.2 million, but Zimmerschied said it would qualify ...

Eudora approves first commercial project for Nottingham development: a Casey's General Store

Five years after purchasing the old Nottingham Elementary School property, the city of Eudora has approved the first commercial project for the site: a Casey's General Store. In 2015, the city bought the closed Nottingham school building and the surrounding 15 acres from the Eudora school district for $850,000 with the goal of bringing commercial development to the site. The property is just north of Eudora’s ...

Protesters gather at downtown Lawrence post office to decry Postmaster General DeJoy's mail cuts

About 15 protesters gathered Saturday at the downtown Lawrence post office to protest what they viewed as a transparent attempt by the Trump administration to slow down mail delivery and discourage mail voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The protesters said they were astonished by the cuts that U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy had made to the United States Postal Service since he took over in June, ...

Baldwin City recognizes female 19th-century political leader with park bench mural

A recently opened park named in honor of 19th-century Baldwin City mayor Lucy Sullivan now has a new piece of public art to pay tribute to her life and legacy. About 30 people gathered Saturday morning for the unveiling of a bench with a mural depicting Sullivan and scenes associated with her term as mayor and life in Baldwin City. The bench is located in Sullivan Square, a three-month old city park built in a ...

Organizers cancel annual Vinland Fair because of pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic accomplished what two world wars, the Great Depression and the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 couldn’t do: lead organizers of the Vinland Fair to cancel the annual three-day event. The board of the Vinland Fair announced the cancellation on its website, http://www.vinlandfair.com/. The fair was scheduled for Aug. 6-8. A posting on the Vinland Fair Facebook page says the decision is ...

Baldwin City administrator's proposed 2021 budget would leave mill levy, utility rates unchanged

Baldwin City residents would see neither a property tax increase nor utility rate hikes under the 2021 budget that City Administrator Glenn Rodden is proposing. The Baldwin City Council will consider approving Rodden’s proposed 2021 budget for publication at its meeting Tuesday. Should the City Council take that action, it would set a public hearing on the budget and then consider it for final approval at 7 ...

Eudora's proposed 2021 budget would maintain current mill levy, hike utility rates

A proposed budget that Eudora city commissioners recently approved for publication has utility rate hikes but no property tax increases, and the city manager says it represents a conservative approach to unknowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The $14.3 million budget plan would maintain the 2020 mill levy at 39.506 mills. At that rate, the city’s share of the 2021 tax bill on a $200,000 home in ...

Casey's hopes to open location in Baldwin City, as convenience store chain expands Douglas County footprint

Baldwin City will have a second convenience store if Casey’s General Store follows up on informal plans it shared with the city. Ed Courton, Baldwin City community development director, said Casey’s hasn’t yet filed the required plans or paperwork with the city, but officials with the Des Moines, Iowa-based convenience store chain did present an informal sketch of a store it is looking to build on the ...

Early morning disturbance results in minor injury

The Lawrence Police Department is investigating an early Saturday morning incident involving a weapon that resulted in a minor injury. Sgt. Mike Cobb, of the Lawrence Police Department, said the incident occurred at 12:43 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 2500 W. Sixth St. Upon their arrival, police officers found a victim of what Cobb called a “distrubance with weapon,” who was ...

Baldwin City Council awards contract for $2 million sewer project; police station nearing completion

The Baldwin City Council has approved a $2.01 million bid to upgrade the main sewer trunk line serving the eastern part of the city. The contract was awarded July 7 to Nowak Construction, of Goddard, the low bidder on the project. David Hamby, of B.G. Consultants, told the City Council that although Nowak was the low bidder, one of the other two bids the city received for the project was within $15,000 of the ...