WRITER: Mackenzie Clark

Healthy Outlook: Who’s buying your doctor lunch?

Check, please — that is, go online to check out what small or not-so-small payments your health care providers have received from pharmaceutical companies, please. A February 2019 article in The Atlantic, “Did Free Pens Cause the Opioid Crisis?” by Ray Fisman and Michael Luca, examines how even small gifts — a free pen here, a sandwich there — can spark an urge to reciprocate. Some physicians ...

Advocate for education, equity files for Lawrence school board

A Lawrence activist who has championed causes including education, civic engagement and health care has filed to run for the Lawrence school board. Thea Perry, 37, said that in addition to meeting the needs of all students and closing achievement and discipline gaps for underserved populations, she would like to form policies governing school lunches and equity complaints. Perry is originally from the tiny ...

Lawrence school board member with background in education law files for reelection

Shannon Kimball is seeking her third term as a member of the Lawrence school board — an office she’d like to hold alongside her upcoming role as president of the Kansas Association of School Boards. Kimball began her first term in July 2011. She said some of her proudest accomplishments as a member of the Lawrence school board include the “transformation” of the district’s facilities into ones that ...

Woman behind campaign to change Lawrence middle school’s name files for school board

Carole Cadue-Blackwood, who successfully led the effort to change the name of a Lawrence middle school to honor Native American heritage, has filed to run for the school board. If elected, she said she hopes to continue to address achievement gaps between races and ethnicities in Lawrence Public Schools. She also wants to help implement the five-year strategic plan that district leaders are currently shaping. ...

Douglas County leaders want plan for Lawrence Community Shelter’s nearly $150K request

Douglas County commissioners and staff on Wednesday tasked Lawrence Community Shelter leadership with providing a more structured plan before they consider its request for $148,000 in additional funding this year. The shelter has faced financial issues in recent years, and in December, its fourth executive director since May 2014 announced her plans to resign, the Journal-World has reported. In addition, the ...

Lawrence Community Shelter’s interim director to resign; search begins for replacement

The interim executive director of the Lawrence Community Shelter will soon resign, shelter Board of Directors President Thea Perry told the Journal-World Wednesday evening. Charles Frager, who has served in the role since January, is planning to move out of state, Perry said. His last day will be no later than June 14. In December, the shelter’s executive director announced her plans to resign, the ...

Firm to share report, recommendations for Lawrence Community Shelter at Douglas County Commission meeting

The Douglas County Commission on Wednesday will hear from a firm contracted to help the Lawrence Community Shelter with management, budgeting and other such concerns. Among other items noted in the firm’s report, it suggests the shelter change its mission statement to focus exclusively on providing emergency shelter for individuals and families facing homelessness. Currently, its mission includes providing ...

Poultry, teamwork helped shape Hilary Griggs, the Journal-World’s 2019 Academic All-Star

Hilary Griggs is willing to rise to meet challenges — or stoop to them, if that’s what the job requires. The Yale-bound Bishop Seabury Academy senior said she knows it’s a little bit cliche, but her birds have taught her a lot about the value of hard work. Griggs, 18, said her family first welcomed chickens into her backyard when she was 9 or 10 years old, jumping into the “urban chicken craze.” ...

Free State takes 1st overall in state speech tournament; Lawrence High finishes 4th

The Free State Firebirds are state champions in speech and forensics — for the first time in the school’s history, according to the team’s coach. Lawrence High School came in fourth place overall at the state championship. Free State coach Kelly Thompson told the Journal-World via email that teams are allowed to enter up to 16 qualified entries. Ten of the Firebirds’ entries made it to the final ...

Douglas County behavioral health leaders hope to break the norm with crisis center

Just as local behavioral health leaders want to build up a crisis intervention center at the future Douglas County Recovery Campus, they want to break down some infrastructure that could stand in their way. Douglas County commissioners heard Wednesday about plans beyond the blueprint for a behavioral health and substance use crisis center that will be located at West Second and Maine streets. If the behavioral ...

Douglas County Commission to hear project management proposal for behavioral health crisis center

County leaders will soon learn more about plans for project management for the Crisis Intervention Center on the Douglas County Recovery Campus. Douglas County commissioners will hear from Bob Tryanski, the county’s director of behavioral health projects, during their 4 p.m. Wednesday work session. A proposal from LMH Health that is included in the meeting agenda lays out some details of how the hospital ...

Douglas County leaders call for further work on behavioral health, criminal justice

A message that Douglas County leaders in behavioral health and the criminal justice system shared during a Tuesday event can be boiled down simply: We’re doing well, but we can do more. The Stepping Up community recognition event, held at the Cider Gallery in East Lawrence, was planned primarily in celebration of a 56% reduction in the number of people with serious mental illness booked into the Douglas ...

Lawrence school board gives consensus on ‘budget-neutral’ hiring plan that eliminates contingency

The Lawrence school board on Monday gave preliminary consensus to a relatively budget-neutral plan that eliminates its contingency pool of teachers who fill its “hot spots.” Kathy Johnson, the district’s director of finances, presented a plan that would add 12 full-time equivalent, or FTE, elementary teachers, in order to meet the district’s set teacher-student thresholds for class sizes, but it also ...

New company allows patients to pay upfront for health care appointments booked online

You can buy just about anything online these days — now including doctors’ appointments. A new company is making that possible for folks in northeastern Kansas and the Kansas City area, but it has a broader goal of changing access to health care as we know it. Sesame, online at sesamecare.com, allows patients to book appointments with doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, optometrists, therapists and ...

Lawrence school board to discuss paraeducator union’s request for payroll deductions

A public speaker at the school board’s last meeting has prompted a discussion, scheduled for Monday, about the Paraeducator Association of Lawrence. Denise Fish, an instructional support assistant at Prairie Park Elementary, spoke to the board April 22 on behalf of the association, PAL. She said a poll of all district paraeducators found that PAL could have 121 additional members if its membership fees could ...

Douglas County to celebrate reduction of people with mental illness booked into jail

Douglas County has reduced the number of people with serious mental illness booked into the local jail by 56% since October 2015, according to a news release from the county. Now it’s helping other counties in the state make similar strides, local criminal justice leaders told the Douglas County Commission at its Wednesday meeting. That reduction is in large part related to programs the county has launched ...

Lawrence High School principal to resign; district announces school's new interim leader and new assistant principal

Lawrence High School Principal Matt Brungardt is resigning after 16 years with the school, the district announced in a news release Wednesday. Brungardt has accepted a position as principal of his alma mater, Salina Central High, according to the release. His youngest son is graduating from LHS this month, so the timing of his resignation — effective June 30 — is appropriate, he said in the release. ...

Douglas County Courthouse's limestone exterior could see renovation

The stonework of the historic Douglas County Courthouse could see some renovations in the next couple of years. The Douglas County Commission attended a preliminary work session on the next five-year capital improvement plan on Wednesday. Much of the plan is still up in the air, and several projects would largely depend on whether the city of Lawrence plans to pursue them or defer them to later ...

Healthy Outlook: Is your brain due for a checkup?

Medicare beneficiaries: Even if you’re taking advantage of the annual wellness visits that Part B covers, you might not be getting all that you can out of it. A cognitive assessment — included in these annual visits, if you ask your doctor — can help you keep tabs on your brain in five minutes or less. Despite physicians’ and patients’ awareness of the benefits of early detection, just half of ...

Douglas County Commission approves respite housing project, braces for pushback

The Douglas County Commission has approved an agreement with a Kansas City, Mo.-based nonprofit that will provide respite housing and support for men with mental illness and substance use disorders. However, commissioners are already bracing for pushback from possible neighbors of the home, for which a location has yet to be determined. Artists Helping the Homeless, under its founder Kar Woo, runs two ...