WRITER: Kim Callahan

Matilda

A love of books and a disdain for bullies: Theatre Lawrence brings Roald Dahl's 'Matilda' to life

Before she started directing “Matilda” for Theatre Lawrence, Widge Yager did her homework on the man behind the musical. Roald Dahl, the beloved British author of the 1988 book on which the hit musical is based, had a particular worry as he was writing the story about his child genius: that TV would replace books in children’s lives. “He was legitimately concerned that children would not read anymore, ...

'The whole range of emotions': Flamenco performance to feature timeline of Spanish art form

Misconceptions about flamenco dancing abound, Melinda Hedgecorth can attest. Most people these days seem to know it has nothing to do with gangly pink birds, but plenty still think it’s a simpler form of tango or salsa dancing — an assumption that Hedgecorth is eager to clear up. “It’s nothing like those things,” said Hedgecorth, a Kansas City native who has been studying and performing flamenco for ...

Glass art by Kathi Fair

Glass artist hits her stride at 65; see her work and others' this weekend at Lawrence ArtWalk

Kathi Fair never thought of herself as artistic, partly because she was never encouraged as a young person to do so. But now she knows better. “You can escape what people tell you,” she said of her artistic “awakening” in her mid-50s. That’s when, after working as an auctioneer and raising six kids with her husband, Bill Fair, she walked into a friend’s ceramic studio with the hankering to try ...

Radio host shares pain of family rejection ahead of event supporting LGBTQ families

Jordin Silver doesn’t want any kids to grow up the way she did: confused, alone, knowing she’d be more loved if she were more “normal.” “I’m 37, and gay was AIDS, gay was bad,” she said of her childhood in Old Orchard Beach, a small tourist town on the coast of Maine. “Life could have been so much different,” if she could have spoken about her sexuality to a sympathetic adult, if someone could ...

Loud war planes flying low over Lawrence rattle residents

The appearance of multiple low-flying military jets over Lawrence Friday morning rattled many residents. One caller — of many — to the Journal-World said the planes were so low that he could see details of the cockpit’s underside. He said he saw four jets make two very loud passes over Lawrence before flying off. Later Friday, Dan Beckler, a spokesman for Kansas Athletics, told the Journal-World that the ...

Lack of information during middle school lockdown led to needless 'terror,' parents say

The administration badly mismanaged a lockdown Tuesday at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, causing needless panic and trauma among the young students there, according to some parents familiar with the situation. “For more than 15 — possibly 20 — minutes” hundreds of children “contemplated their own demise,” said Andrea Albright, the mother of a seventh grader, in a letter she sent to ...

Students safe after unfounded report of gun at Lawrence middle school; worried parent broke window to pull kids out

Story updated at 5:52 p.m. Tuesday A parent worried about his daughter’s safety broke a window late Tuesday morning at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School and helped pull several students out after he heard a report that someone with a gun was in the school. The report turned out to be a “miscommunication,” said Patrick Compton, a spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department. There was no threat, and ...

Theatre Lawrence kicks off 43rd season with a Broadway hit and a county official in starring role

The season opener for Theatre Lawrence is not just a chance to see a Broadway hit; it’s a chance to see a local politician playing a bunch of “really terrible people.” “I mean, they’re pretty awful,” said Douglas County Commissioner Patrick Kelly of the multiple characters — at least eight — that he plays in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which won four Tony Awards in 2014, ...

Lawrence middle school student recognized nationally for excelling at 'lost art' of cursive

Thirteen-year-old Rose Kennedy just got her first cellphone, a long-promised present for completing the seventh grade. Soon, she’ll undoubtedly be talented at “writing” with her thumbs, although that’s not a talent likely to win her a national award the way her cursive writing has. Nor is it likely to impress her grandmother in California quite as much. Her grandmother was the reason Rose developed ...

Rainbow group forms to help families in Lawrence school district navigate LGBTQ issues

As a kid in Lawrence, Isidore Weis didn’t know anyone like himself. “I didn’t personally know anyone who was gay or transgender,” Weis, now in college, says. He did, of course — statistically, we all do. What he means is he didn’t know anyone who was out. He didn’t know anyone well enough to talk to and share experiences with. It wasn’t until he was almost in high school, thanks largely to ...

Grandmother, classmates seek recognition for Eudora High student who died; principal says it's against policy

For Anita Musick, seeing her granddaughter graduate from high school was going to be especially sweet. Seventeen-year-old Aftyn Hankins had had a sad and troubled childhood, and she had bounced around a handful of area schools. Her experiences had left her “rough around the edges," her grandmother says, but ready to get on with her adult life. Finishing high school was an important milestone in that journey, ...

Lawrence school district investigating possible carbon monoxide exposure at elementary school

Updated at 2:42 p.m. Monday The Lawrence school district is investigating possible carbon monoxide exposure at Kennedy Elementary School that may have affected the health of at least two staff members. The two employees informed the district that they had tested positive for elevated carbon monoxide levels. As the district inspected Kennedy Elementary, 1605 Davis Road, it discovered that a natural gas hot ...

21-year-old Lawrence resident killed in 5-vehicle crash on I-70

A 21-year-old Lawrence resident died in a multiple-vehicle accident Sunday on Interstate 70 in Leavenworth County, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol report. The 21-year-old, Tristan Kuritz, was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Cruze. Kuritz's vehicle was one of five involved in the accident, which occurred shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday near mile marker 213, about two miles east of the Leavenworth County Road 1 ...

Painting underway on women of color mural at Lawrence Public Library

Updated at 4:13 p.m. Saturday A mural depicting women of color is well underway on an exterior wall of the Lawrence Public Library. The vividly colored "Wak’ó Mujeres Phụ nữ Women Mural" spans much of the library’s lower south wall and celebrates women of color past and present who made noteworthy contributions to the area’s history and culture. The women depicted on the mural were chosen through a ...

Lawrence scientist facing deportation wins opportunity to present case to immigration judge

After a seven-month ordeal of facing imminent deportation and separation from his family, a Lawrence scientist and father of three has finally won the opportunity to present his case to an immigration judge. “We are all mightily relieved,” Syed Jamal said Tuesday at a news conference at his attorney’s office in Kansas City, Mo. Jamal, originally from Bangladesh, was arrested by Immigration and Customs ...

10-year-old takes gun to science camp in Johnson County, accidentally discharges it

A 10-year-old who brought a gun to a science camp in Johnson County accidentally discharged the weapon Tuesday, causing the evacuation of the room where the camp was being held. Approximately nine to 10 children were in the room at the New Century Fieldhouse in Johnson County when the incident occurred around 11 a.m., according to Capt. Rob Weber of the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department ...

Lawrence dog smacks down hawk eyeing family's backyard chickens

A Lawrence dog is being credited with an act of backyard heroism — or maybe with just being a darn good dog — after batting a hawk out of the air to save his people's chickens. Lawrence residents Taylor and Kailey Petrehn, who own 1900 Barker Bakery and Cafe, were having dinner Sunday evening in their North Lawrence home when their dog Cooper, a 110-pound Anatolian shepherd-Great Pyrenees mix, saw the hawk ...