WRITER: Mackenzie Clark

Rugby complex, 20 years overdue for restroom, seeks Douglas County Commission’s OK for site improvements

The Westwick Rugby Complex wants a permit to make some improvements to the site. However, it’s about 20 years overdue to meet the conditions of its first permit. Douglas County commissioners first approved a permit for the site, which is northwest of North 1200 and East 1150 roads, in 1994. By 1998, the site was required to have a septic system installed. Fast forward to 2019 and that still hasn’t ...

Commissioner Mike Gaughan looks back on decade of service to Douglas County

It’s a bit odd that Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughan is always running late, because his track record in office shows that he’s kept his focus on the future. Chronic tardiness was the impetus behind the gift that fellow commissioners affectionately gave Gaughan at his last meeting on Wednesday: a clock, in thanks for his near decade of service to the community. As that service came to an end, ...

Lawrence school board prepares for next steps in changing high school start times

Lawrence school board members on Monday voiced support for making high school days start later, and they’ll likely vote at their next meeting on whether to create an implementation committee. A district survey of parents and students showed that a majority support changing start times from the current 8:05 a.m. to either 8:30 or 9 a.m. High school staff, however, is less in favor of the idea. All groups ...

Healthy Outlook: Look for more education and county news in the Health section

In a somewhat unusual edition of Healthy Outlook, I wanted to give you a heads up about some changes for both the Journal-World as a whole and for the Health section. This past week, I started covering K-12 education and Douglas County government for the newspaper. I’ll still cover health, too, and fortunately, there’s a lot of overlap in these beats. I can recognize that perhaps all the people who are ...

Lawrence school district survey shows parents, students prefer later high school start times

Students and parents are supportive of a later start time for Lawrence high schools, a new survey by the district has found. High school teachers are less enthused. The split may result in the district taking an extra year to study the issue. Among other points, the district’s high school start time advisory committee suggests taking more time to review options, potentially implementing any changes in August ...

Douglas County commissioners: Timeline too quick to finish negotiations on emergency services funding

Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday raised concerns with a proposed timeline to renegotiate funding of emergency services. The county and the city of Lawrence share funding of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, the Journal-World has reported. Under an agreement that hasn’t seen significant updates in the 22 years of its existence, the city pays roughly 75 percent of the costs, and the county 25 ...

Free State High School Theatre brings back gold from festival, could see one more encore

The Free State High School Theatre Department brought back some shiny hardware from the Kansas Thespian Festival in Wichita. Now, the students and faculty face a difficult decision of whether to take their show on the road once again. As the Journal-World reported in December, the school’s fall play, “Wait Until Dark,” was chosen as one of three productions from high schools statewide to be performed at ...

Lawrence school district starts eyeing employee social media policy

A social media policy may be on the horizon for Lawrence school district employees, though the idea is in its earliest phase. David Cunningham, executive director of human resources and chief legal counsel, brought up the idea at the Board Policy Advisory Committee’s meeting on Monday. He said he heard about various social media policies at a professional development workshop he attended recently. ...

Healthy Outlook: Mindfulness — How to embrace it, and why you might want to

Some of the effects of mindfulness are surprising, even to a local psychiatrist who has been practicing and teaching it for decades. “What (studies) show is that mindfulness, for either anxiety or depression, is as effective as medication alone or psychotherapy alone, which is remarkable, actually,” said Dr. William Hale, who practices in Lawrence and Overland Park. “Even I, as a believer in mindfulness, ...

Healthy Outlook: Best apps to keep your healthy New Year’s resolutions

A new year can help to get into the mindset of a new beginning. Still, sometimes just thinking about it isn’t enough. Keeping track of goals on paper or scribbled on a calendar works for some people, but there are smartphone apps that are more efficient and that fit better in a pocket. (We are going into 2019, after all.) Here are a few apps to help you prevail — most of which I use or have used myself ...

Healthy Outlook: Put your iPhone to work to help you sleep better

It’s not always as easy to sleep healthfully as some people might think. For those who spend an hour or more tossing and turning every night, a good night’s sleep can feel like a distant dream. Now that winter is officially upon us, I’m ready to hibernate for a bit. Hopefully I can offer some tips here to help you do the same. Folks like me who spend an hour combing through all the settings after the ...

Healthy Outlook: Kansas’ health ranking reveals some surprises, good and bad

Breathe easy, Kansas, with the knowledge that the state has less dust in the wind — that is, relatively low air pollution — compared to other states. Just make sure you brush and floss. The state only has 49.7 dentists per 100,000 population. These numbers are according to America’s Health Rankings, an annual report from the United Health Foundation. The 2018 report, released on Thursday, shows Kansas ...

Healthy Outlook: Healthier gift options your family won’t hate

My holiday spirit tends to fluctuate. Some years, I’m a Sugar Plum Fairy; others, I’m a Grinch. (This year, I’m going a secular Unicorn route.) But you can expect a couple of things from me annually like clockwork: overdramatic lamentation of the cold and the short, dark, soul-stifling days, and some early strategery about gifts that may or may not pan out. Although my family has learned to love my ...

Healthy Outlook: I had my brain waves balanced; here’s what happened

Lawrence psychotherapist Ed Bloch is used to losing clients after just a few sessions — but that’s OK with him. It’s just the nature of Cereset, the new brain wave balancing technology he offers out of his new office at 5040 Bob Billings Parkway, Suite A1, near the western edge of Lawrence. Five sessions is often all it takes before his clients no longer need to return. (There is a bit of homework, but ...

Heartland Community Health Center announces a second interim CEO

Story updated at 5:17 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27: Heartland Community Health Center on Tuesday announced a new interim CEO, Julie Boden Schmidt, as it continues the search for a permanent leader. According to a news release from the Lawrence safety net clinic, Schmidt served at the National Association of Community Health Centers in the Washington, D.C., area for eight years, leading its Training and Technical ...

Summer meal program sees spike in attendance in 2018

The Douglas County area's summer meal program this year served the most meals it has since it was introduced in 2015 — 48,955, to be exact. The program — branded Fuel Up 4 Summer — provides free lunches for anyone ages 1-18, and it also serves breakfast and dinner at some of the 11 sites in Lawrence and Lecompton. Its goal is to fill the gap when schools aren’t in session so that kids whose families ...

Healthy Outlook: Lawrence, Douglas County health coalition LiveWell celebrates 10 years

How do you make a splash and let people know about your new organization? A news release, flyers or a Facebook page are a few options. Or you could bring nearly 3,000 people to the University of Kansas’ Shenk Recreational Sports Complex for the “World’s Largest Community Workout.” That’s what LiveWell Lawrence did in 2009, shortly after a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation allowed the ...

Healthy Outlook: Veterans Affairs town hall offers updates on health care in eastern Kansas

Lawrence veteran Mike Kelly was pleased to see many resources shared with those in attendance at a Veterans Affairs town hall Thursday at the Lied Center. However, he pointed out that he thought an important one was missing from the speakers' presentations. “They have a nurse triage line,” Kelly said. “These nurses can go through 20 questions and tell you, ‘You’re not going to die; come in ...

Healthy Outlook: Lawrence doctor bucks insurance to focus on patients

Imagine that you go get a haircut, with the agreement that the stylist will bill you for it. You walk out of the salon, turning heads on your merry way. But when you get the bill a week later, it’s double or triple what you expected to pay, and the shampoo that you thought was included in the price of the haircut is tacked on as an extra charge. You obviously can’t return the haircut, and now you’re in ...

Healthy Outlook: Lawrence practitioner harnesses music to help people heal

A recently certified local practitioner has the healing power of music down to a science. Longtime Lawrence resident P. Allen Macfarlane, 71, was a research scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey for 34 years. After retiring from that position, he taught middle school science at Topeka Collegiate School. He’s now going back to work in quite a different field, but for him, it’s a natural transition. ...