WRITER: Lauren Fox

Reporter who helped reopen unsolved civil rights murder cases to give virtual KU lecture

A reporter who spent decades investigating unsolved murders from the civil rights era will give a virtual talk Tuesday through the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas. Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter for the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss., will discuss his new book, "Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era." In his ...

Short film about East Lawrence history and iconic Wishing Bench will premiere this week

A short film featuring the mysterious and iconic East Lawrence Wishing Bench will premiere this week in the neighborhood that gave the film its story. The 12-minute film, which is simply titled "The Wishing Bench," is one of the final works of art in the Rebuilding East Ninth Street public art project, and director Marlo Angell focused on integrating the stories and memories of the East Lawrence neighborhood ...

As optimism falls, virus scorecard altered to focus on high-risk clusters, week-to-week comparisons

Douglas County's health department has altered its metrics and goals for its weekly “Smart and Safe” community scorecard — a change its leaders say is a better reflection of the current situation — but the new metrics also include less information than before. The new version of the scorecard alters the way outbreaks are reported and has gotten rid of some statistics about types of transmission, among ...

'Moby-Dick' scholar to join artist of life-size whale in virtual talk on Friday

The artist of a life-size scratchboard whale and a "Moby-Dick" scholar will come together in a virtual conversation Friday night through the Lawrence Arts Center. Jos Sances' piece "Or, The Whale" currently occupies an entire wall of the art center's large gallery. In August, the Journal-World interviewed Sances about his piece, which is 51-feet-long and depicts the history of American capitalism. It took ...

Health department's inspection process for bars, restaurants includes unannounced checks on seating, spacing and closure compliance

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is now conducting unannounced checks at bars, restaurants and entertainment venues to determine whether they are following certain COVID-19-related safety practices and closing at the required times, the health department said. On Friday, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health announced it would begin doing compliance checks to ensure establishments with liquor licenses are ...

Rural home located only a short drive from downtown is perfect balance for longtime Lawrence-area couple

A rural-born husband and city-raised wife say they struck the perfect balance with their self-designed home, located just eight miles south of downtown Lawrence. The home, located on North 1000 Road, has the benefits of country living — a big lot and beautiful scenery — paired with a close proximity to the city. The couple say that by taking backroads, they can be downtown in about 15 minutes. Eric Smith ...

Pandemic may be placing residents in greater risk of age-related cognitive decline

Staying cooped up and isolated from others may place older Douglas County residents in greater risk of age-related cognitive decline, according to a local health professional. Dr. Matt Bihlmaier, an internal medicine physician with Reed Internal Medicine, practices primary care with an emphasis in geriatrics. He said he believes the pandemic is creating a higher risk for mental deterioration as well as other ...

Short film 'Dear Larry' celebrates Lawrence's interconnectedness, resilience throughout pandemic

Completely by chance, local videographer Marc Havener released a short film — a celebration of Lawrence’s resilience and interconnectedness throughout the pandemic — on the city’s birthday. After the film was released Friday morning, a commenter pointed out the serendipity. “How perfect,” Havener told the Journal-World that afternoon. “It just shows that sometimes you can’t just plan stuff. ...

Health department to begin compliance checks on restaurants, bars; COVID-19 cases rise to 1,996

The health department will start conducting checks on local bars, restaurants and entertainment venues to ensure they are following public health orders, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health announced Friday. A Sept. 4 health order requires that all establishments with a liquor license must stop serving alcohol after 9 p.m. and close their premises no later than 10 p.m. This week, Lawrence-Douglas County ...

Theatre Lawrence's upcoming outdoor, two-man play 'Rounding Third' is like a baseball-themed 'Odd Couple'

Theatre Lawrence’s upcoming performance will be an outdoor, two-man show complete with social distancing. And while the show’s director says the elements of nature will pose the greatest challenges to the performance, it will also complement the play, which takes place largely outdoors, on baseball fields. The squawks of birds, the sounds of cars passing by — “all those things, they would have been ...

'Not a crime for which you can issue a ticket': No fast way for county to enforce local health orders pertaining to large gatherings, masks

Updated story - Sept. 16 — City leaders express interest in creating ordinance that would make disregarding health orders a municipal offense There’s seemingly no mechanism in place for quick enforcement of violations of local health orders, according to information provided to the Journal-World by one local law enforcement agency. That means house parties such as those documented over the weekend in ...

Health department says police are aware of house parties and health complaints from weekend; agencies disagree on who is responsible for enforcement

Updated at 6:57 p.m. Monday Photos and videos of crowded house parties in Lawrence garnered attention this weekend, including from national media, as they showed large gatherings of people not wearing masks. But local law enforcement and public health leaders struggled to explain on Monday why no one was able to shut the parties down on Saturday night, with multiple agencies providing conflicting information ...

LMH West to surround patients with beautiful works from local artists

Lisa Grossman had a mantra of solace as she worked on her latest painting. That’s because she knew the piece would be going up in LMH West. “It’s such an honor to have work in hospitals and care facilities,” the Lawrence-based artist said. “It’s kind of a luxury to know where a commission is going. I can be mindful of creating a certain mood.” Grossman’s painting, an aerial view of the Kansas ...

Lawrence Surgery Center will now have bigger rooms, better technology at LMH West

After 20 years at its former location, the Lawrence Surgery Center will have a new home within LMH West, and with it some new high-tech equipment. Scott Thellman, a plastic surgeon with Lawrence Plastic Surgery, helped establish the Lawrence Surgery Center, and has also had a hand in discussions about the new facility. “A few years back we recognized we were going to be adding additional procedures and ...

6 things to know about LMH West for patients and community members alike

Whether you’re a future patient of LMH West or a community member interested in the new facility, the Journal-World put together a list of six details about the new building that patients and community members alike should know: 1. There are no emergency services LMH West is an outpatient services center. Anyone seeking emergency services or urgent care should call 911 or go to the hospital, LMH Health, 325 ...

From 'Librarian Problems' to 'Librarian Tales': local librarian with popular online presence releases his first book

A local librarian’s new book tells readers all about what it’s like working in a library — and in doing so, dispels all notions that librarians just sit and read books all day. “Contrary to popular belief, a librarian’s job isn’t always the quiet, easy, and stress-free paradise some movies, TV shows, and commercials portray it to be,” William Ottens writes in his upcoming book. “Unhappy patron ...

COVID-19 cases at Bridge Haven Memory Care are all past the infectious stage, executive director says

Four staff members and four residents at Bridge Haven Memory Care have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the facility’s executive director. But those eight cases are all past the infectious period, and continued testing at the long-term care facility has shown negative results, Executive Director Sarah Randolph told the Journal-World Thursday. On Wednesday, the Kansas Department of Health and ...

Man biking across U.S. for basketball nonprofit stops in Lawrence to see original rules

About halfway through his 3,500-mile bike ride across the United States, Leo Walsh stopped in Lawrence to see the original rules of the game he loves. As Walsh pressed the exhibit button in the University of Kansas’ DeBruce Center, his eyes widened as Naismith’s rules of “Basket Ball” lit up. He edged closer to the screen and bent his 6-foot-4-inch frame down to read the original 13 rules of the game. ...

Troy, N.Y., thanks farmer in Troy, Kan., who sent N95 mask to Gov. Cuomo

Remember the Kansas farmers who sent a N95 mask to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just to “make sure we could at least help one person”? Well, that simple gesture started a chain of giving. In April, Dennis Ruhnke, of Troy, Kan., captured the hearts of viewers across America with his letter to Cuomo and his and his wife’s donation of one of their five N95 masks. Cuomo read Ruhnke’s letter at a press ...

'What am I facing this week?': Perry artist's yearlong quilting project depicts her weekly challenges

A yearlong quilting project has resulted in a colorful, vulnerable glimpse into the weekly challenges of an artist’s life — from a need to rekindle her creative fire, to the COVID-19 pandemic, to facing the converging crises of the world. Each week for the past year, Perry artist Gina Kellogg asked herself, “What am I facing this week?” Then, she quilted. The result is a series of faces that Kellogg ...