WRITER: Lauren Fox

As COVID-19 cases rise, some hospitals, including LMH, are now better prepared for a potential surge

In May, the number of COVID-19 cases in Douglas County increased by 14, from 52 to 66. By the end of June, the number of cases had risen to 159. On Friday, the number stood at 251. It was a drastic uptick in cases that caused the county to delay moving into its fourth stage of reopening. Douglas County is one of a number of counties across the country seeing an increase in cases as communities reopen. The ...

Douglas County to extend Phase 3 for 2 more weeks, per health order

Douglas County will remain in Phase 3 of the state's Ad Astra reopening plan for an additional two weeks, according to a health order issued Thursday by Douglas County's health officer. In addition to ordering bars closed for the next two weeks, health officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino's order also recommended that Douglas County remain in Phase 3 in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Phase 3 prohibits ...

County health order to close bars for 2 weeks, starting Friday

Updated at 4:35 p.m. Wednesday Just before the Fourth of July holiday, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health has announced a health order to close bars and nightclubs for two weeks, beginning Friday, in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The official order will be issued Thursday by Douglas County's health officer, Dr. Thomas Marcellino. “We have seen a rise of cases among younger adults, and these cases are ...

Writing during COVID-19 helps wordsmiths grieve, test new skills and find ‘a real sense of purpose’

Every morning at 6:02 a.m., Kathy Hanks and Amy Bickel would wake up and log on to their computers. In the same Google Document, the women would write in the morning hours from their respective homes in Lawrence and Burrton, Kan. Hanks and Bickel, former colleagues at The Hutchinson News, have been working on a book for the past two years. They completed the majority of their research and interviewing ...

One woman’s ‘trash’ has become a fundraising treasure for local organizations during the pandemic

In Sara Gillum’s front yard, strings of rainbow decorations hang from tree branches, swaying and turning in the breeze. The art project started as Gillum’s creative way to reuse plastic lids. Now, it’s become her fundraising effort for Lawrence nonprofits. Prior to the pandemic, Gillum had only one rainbow string hanging from her tree. A mother of two, Gillum made it two years ago entirely of Play-Doh ...

A second stimulus check or a travel tax credit? What experts are saying about possible economic revitalization efforts

After a round of federal stimulus checks granted qualifying U.S. citizens money to help pay for living expenses and boost the economy, Americans may be wondering if a second round of payment could be on the way as COVID-19 continues to spread. On Monday, President Donald Trump told a reporter for Scripps' television stations, “We will be doing another stimulus package. It’ll be very good. It’ll be very ...

Outbreak of COVID-19 confirmed at The Hawk; country club employee also tests positive

Updated at 5:07 p.m. Friday The Jayhawk Cafe was confirmed as a site of a COVID-19 outbreak on Friday, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said in a news release. Several people who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 reported being present at the Lawrence bar at 1340 Ohio St., also known as The Hawk, on either Friday, June 19, or Saturday, June 20. The bar, near the University of Kansas campus, is ...

Haskell students will not return this fall; all classes to be held online

Updated at 5:15 p.m. Thursday Haskell Indian Nations University students will not return to campus in August. Haskell President Ronald Graham told the Journal-World Thursday that all classes would be held virtually for the fall semester. In March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haskell suspended its commencement ceremony and asked that students not return to campus following spring break. The ...

Watkins Museum to reopen to the public Tuesday with exhibit 'very relevant for today'

The Watkins Museum of History is set to reopen Tuesday with five exhibits, one of which the museum describes as especially "relevant for today.” “Days of Rage: The 1970 Curfew” is part of the museum's Lawrence 1970 Project and will focus on the brief period in 1970 when Lawrence was placed under a curfew because of arson, bomb threats and other violence. Will Hickox, the museum's public engagement ...

More than holes in the ground: Buffalo wallows conjure Douglas County prairie's majestic past

Mike Moddrell peered out over his rangeland — his tanned face shaded by a straw cowboy hat, his feet hidden in the tall grass. “This is a true piece of prairie, right here,” Moddrell, 73, said atop a hill on his land in southwest Douglas County. Butterfly milkweed, daisy fleabane, white prairie sage, spikerush — these are some of the diverse flora on the land that Moddrell considers as close to ...

Douglas County currently has no plans to mass test asymptomatic individuals for COVID-19

Asymptomatic individuals in Douglas County interested in finding out whether they have COVID-19 likely won’t get an answer anytime soon. Mass testing of asymptomatic individuals is not a priority right now for the health department, leaders said, despite their beliefs that most residents want a black or white answer on whether they have the virus. “The thing that we worry about with testing is that it ...

Chance of thunderstorms throughout weekend could bring 1 to 3 inches of rain to Douglas County

Douglas County is under a hazardous weather outlook because of the possibility of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon through Sunday. Chad Omitt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said Douglas County could expect 1 to 3 inches of rain throughout the weekend, as multiple systems move over the state. Hail and high winds are possible, although it is currently difficult to pinpoint where or ...

Former Lawrencian with passion for old-time music co-authors biography of Appalachian fiddler, luthier

Malcolm Smith’s first exposure to old-time mountain music was at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield. It was dance music, it was “hypnotic” and it ultimately became a lifelong love for Smith. Smith developed and expressed that love in the 35 years he spent in Lawrence, during which he hosted KANU’s “Flint Hills Special” radio program, helped found the Kansas State Fiddling & Picking ...

Close contact businesses see return in client base: ‘It seems like people are open to being out in the public again’

Close contact businesses such as tattoo parlors, nail salons and barber shops are seeing a return of their client bases, and owners say they believe the community is starting to feel more relaxed about getting out and about. Tracy Meisenheimer, of Nails by Tracy, 935 Iowa St., Suite 8, said that since reopening on May 18, at least 90% of her clients have returned. “It’s been good,” she said, “a lot ...

Unexpected customer: Video shows deer running through Checkers

Shoppers at Lawrence's Checkers grocery store recently may have left not only with a sack full of food but with quite a story to tell. A video of a deer running through the grocery store at 2300 Louisiana St. was posted to Facebook this week and has garnered much attention, as well as a few "Oh, deer" comments. In the video, an employee behind the meat counter is restocking some food when the deer comes ...

Rufus Wainwright hopes Lawrence won’t ‘renounce’ him after lyrics in new single seemingly bash the city

Singer Rufus Wainwright has played in Lawrence multiple times, but, according to his new single, “Lawrence, Kansas / Doesn’t really matter at all.” That’s right. In “You Ain’t Big,” a track from Wainwright's upcoming album, "Unfollow the Rules," Wainwright seemingly disses Lawrence while lauding Topeka and Wichita. The song begins: “You ain’t big unless you’re big in Alabama Don’t know ...

Despite being allowed to open back up, these Lawrence restaurants haven’t — here’s why

When Kate Gonzalez, co-owner of Global Cafe, opens her restaurant back up, she’ll have to space out tables, pay additional staff members and hope that people will come. She’s not quite sure an increase in customers will come to pass. “We are suffering financially but also I don’t feel like opening the doors to the public is the solution for that,” Gonzalez said. Global Cafe, 820 Massachusetts, is ...

Lawrence man captures 5 large snakes in yard; KU experts call it 'luck,' thank him for not killing them

The most snakes Ramon Schmidt had seen at one time in his 80 years of living was two. On Tuesday, the west Lawrence resident saw and captured five. They were all nonvenomous black rat snakes, ranging in size from 51 inches to 65 inches. It’s unusual to see that many adult snakes of that species in the same area, University of Kansas herpetology curator Rafe Brown said. “There’s only one answer, ...

Eudora starts esports league through Parks and Recreation Department; Lawrence says one could be on the way

Esports leagues through city Parks and Recreation departments are on the rise, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the founder of the new esports league in Eudora. When the pandemic began, Jimmy Kegin, assistant director of Eudora Parks and Recreation, began a “virtual recreation center” for the city, with links to cooking projects, art projects and more. Then Kegin, a gamer himself, ...

Local bookstores seeing increased demand for books about racism, social justice

Reading lists featuring books about racism and social justice have cropped up on the internet and social media following the killing of George Floyd, and two local bookstores said they have seen increased demand for these resources. Danny Caine, owner of The Raven Book Store, 6 E. Seventh St., said that books have been selling “at Christmas levels” since last week and that 50% to 75% of all orders have ...