WRITER: Lauren Fox

Unlike the eastern United States, billions of cicadas won't emerge in Kansas this year. Here's why

If you’re traveling east in the United States this May or June, you might want to bring a set of noise-canceling headphones. Billions of Brood X cicadas will emerge from the ground after a 17-year hiatus to mate, lay eggs and then die. And when they emerge, they'll make their presence known. According to USA Today, the cries of cicadas can be as loud as 90 to 100 decibels, which is about as loud as standing ...

Building a rural Lecompton home was solution for artistic couple who wanted in-house art studio

It was Mother Nature who called Louis and Phyllis Copt to the plot of land that would later hold their home. Phyllis remembers the day well. She described it with the grace one would expect of any 27-year English teacher. It was “one of those winter days with a beautiful snowfall,” and when the sun came out, the landscape shined with “glistening snow.” So Phyllis and her husband, Louis, a well-known ...

COVID-19 vaccine

More than 47,500 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered so far in Douglas County

Data from four local health organizations showed that more than 47,500 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Douglas County as of Thursday. Altogether, data from the four distributors — LMH Health, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Heartland Community Health Center and Haskell Indian Health Center — showed that 47,773 first doses and 26,994 second doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been ...

‘I run for Ollie’: Uncle of Eudora boy who died at day care found strength, healing through running

It was the dead of night and Ryan Ortiz was in the last stretch of his longest run to date: a 100-mile race on the Prairie Spirit Trail. The race started in Ottawa at 6 a.m. the day before. Ortiz had run south through small Kansas towns, reached the halfway point in Iola and turned north to retrace his steps. As he passed the 80-mile marker, the 37-year-old was mentally drained and could feel his muscles ...

After appointments went unfilled, Unified Command to consider offering new times for vaccine clinics

After county health leaders alerted the public on Tuesday afternoon that there were nearly 2,000 appointments still available for a vaccine clinic on Wednesday, only about 1,000 people signed up to fill the spots. George Diepenbrock, spokesperson for Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, said 2,856 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered on Wednesday, but the health department could have administered ...

Some KU faculty are considering unionizing, citing Regents policy, other issues

Some faculty members at the University of Kansas are considering unionizing, according to an email sent to KU employees. Rachel Schwaller, a lecturer in the departments of History and Religious Studies, emailed faculty members this week inviting them to a meeting about “our shared concerns and experiences.” Schwaller included a working mission statement for a union called Kansas Faculty United. According ...

Bureau of Indian Education rescinds directive from Haskell president, says it's committed to free speech

Story updated at 4:21 p.m. Wednesday: The director of the Bureau of Indian Education has rescinded directives sent by Haskell Indian Nations University leaders that restricted how employees could communicate, stating that the bureau is committed to freedom of expression. In a Tuesday letter to Haskell faculty and staff, Tony Dearman, director of the BIE, said a March 11 memorandum from Haskell president ...

Douglas County is the most vaccinated county in Kansas against COVID-19

Story updated at 5:17 p.m. Tuesday: Douglas County has the highest rate of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in Kansas, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In Douglas County, 438 out of every 1,000 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The county's exact vaccination rate is 438.6 per 1,000 people. The next-most vaccinated counties and their vaccination rates ...

COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination clinic volunteers give back to community — and receive so much more

A circle of volunteers surrounded Jillian Rodrigue Wednesday morning at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, just an hour before thousands of cars would start rolling through the vaccination site. “All of you have a different story,” Rodrigue told the volunteers, who were all clad in bright safety vests and warm clothes. It was a sunny but brisk morning, and the volunteers stood attentive, listening to the ...

COVID-19 vaccine

More than 40,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered so far in Douglas County

Data from four local health organizations showed that more than 40,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Douglas County as of Thursday. Altogether, data from the four distributors — LMH Health, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Heartland Community Health Center and Haskell Indian Health Center — showed that 40,188 first doses and 23,200 second doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been ...

Haskell Faculty Senate unanimously declares no confidence in university's president, citing 'disregard for academic freedom' and free speech, among other complaints

Updated at 1:30 p.m. Friday The Faculty Senate at Haskell Indian Nations University has taken a vote of no confidence in the university's president, Ronald Graham, according to a resolution certified Thursday. The resolution states that the Faculty Senate has declared no confidence in Graham's leadership or use of shared governance at Haskell. The vote was unanimous, with 25 people voting "yes" to the ...

Who is leading Heartland Community Health Center? The clinic isn't saying

It is unclear who is leading a local health center that has been one of the main participants in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Douglas County. The chief executive officer of Heartland Community Health Center, Robyn Coventon, has not responded to inquiries about whether she is still serving in her role. It is also unclear whether Heartland’s chief administrative officer, Lucas Houk, is still serving in ...

KU chancellor, provost say tenure is of utmost importance during discussion of controversial Regents policy

University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod emphasized the importance of tenure at a town hall meeting Wednesday afternoon and said a Kansas Board of Regents policy that would temporarily suspend tenure protections would only be used as a last resort. Girod and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer responded to a series of questions about the controversial policy during the virtual town hall, which was hosted by ...

Here's where you can sign up for COVID-19 vaccines in Douglas County

Are you newly eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and wondering where to sign up? On Monday, Gov. Laura Kelly made the COVID-19 vaccine available to all Kansans 16 and older. The Journal-World has compiled a list of vaccine distributors in Douglas County for those interested in signing up or getting on a waiting list. Perhaps the most visible vaccine distributor in Douglas County is the local health department, ...

Douglas County CASA celebrates 30 years, wants to double its reach in the next 5

A local nonprofit celebrating its 30th anniversary has admittedly “ambitious” goals for the next five years: Its leaders want to help 200 children a year by doubling the budget. Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocates, or Douglas County CASA, as it is commonly called, is a nonprofit that trains volunteers to advocate for children who have experienced abuse and neglect who are under the protection ...

KU students win top two debater awards at National Debate Tournament; one team advanced to Final Four

The University of Kansas certainly had March tournament success on one front this spring. Two KU students have been named the top debaters in the country based on their recent performance at the National Debate Tournament. And after advancing three teams to the elimination round of the tournament — only the second time KU has done so — the university had one team make it to the round of 16, one to the ...

New COVID-19 death brings Douglas County’s total to 84; 32 new cases since Thursday

One more Douglas County resident has died from COVID-19, according to the county health department, bringing the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the county to 84. The new death was a woman in the 45-to-54 age range who had been hospitalized at the time of death, health department spokesperson George Diepenbrock said. According to the health department’s dashboard, there have been 39 deaths in the ...

Over 35,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered so far in Douglas County

Data from four local health organizations showed that more than 35,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Douglas County as of Thursday. Altogether, data from the four distributors — LMH Health, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Heartland Community Health Center and Haskell Indian Health Center — showed that 35,101 first doses and 21,030 second doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been ...

COVID vaccine to be available to all Kansans 16 and older starting Monday

Updated at 4 p.m. Friday TOPEKA – Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday that starting on Monday, Kansas will make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all Kansans 16 years older, as the state enters the final Phase 5 of the Vaccine Prioritization plan. “With the anticipated increase in supply from the federal government, we must get every dose of vaccine into arms quickly,” Kelly said in a news release Friday. ...

After being sued for allegedly violating student’s First Amendment rights, Haskell president restricts how employees can communicate

Story updated at 7:07 p.m. Thursday: The president of Haskell Indian Nations University is once again being accused of writing an unconstitutional directive — this time addressed to his employees — by a nonprofit dedicated to protecting free speech rights on college campuses. On March 11, Haskell President Ronald Graham sent a directive to Haskell employees regarding the “chain of command” and how ...