WRITER: Kim Callahan

'It is killing people': The fentanyl crisis in Lawrence is on the rise and 'it’s everywhere in the city'

In May of last year, the Lawrence Police Department warned the community about a potent drug that was killing area residents. It was not the usual “stay away from drugs” message directed at teens, but something far more urgent and directed at everyone: “About three to five grains of table salt — that’s the potential fatal dose of fentanyl for an adult,” a department news release stated. “We’re ...

Lawrence's Boog Highberger says this will be his last term in Kansas House

Democratic lawmaker Dennis “Boog” Highberger, of Lawrence, does not intend to seek another term in the Kansas Legislature after his current term expires, he told the Journal-World Wednesday. Highberger, who recently won reelection — unopposed — to the 46th District in the Kansas House of Representatives, was first elected to that body in 2015, taking over the seat vacated by Paul Davis, who chose to ...

Affidavits provide further details in arson cases, including extent of damage: more than $1 million

A woman who has been charged with setting multiple fires at North Lawrence businesses — one of which reportedly caused more than $1 million in damage — just days earlier was responsible for a serious structure fire at a west Lawrence business, according to a newly released affidavit in the case. On the morning of Nov. 13, according to the affidavit, which details probable cause for her arrest, Abie ...

Lead role in Theatre Lawrence's 'Cinderella' an actual dream come true for KU law student

When Maggie Shermoen graduated from Missouri State University with a degree in theater, she figured on moving to New York to try her hand at professional acting. Shermoen had lived and breathed the stage from a young age — one might almost say from conception, considering her musical-loving parents met while performing in a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific.” But just as she was ...

Man arrested on suspicion of robbery, other crimes after allegedly stealing Lawrence woman's cellphone by force

A Topeka man was arrested Thursday evening in eastern Lawrence after he allegedly stole a woman's cellphone by force and injured a person who was attempting to help the woman. The man, Anthony Duane Harris, 56, was arrested early on Thanksgiving evening in the 1600 block of Haskell Avenue on suspicion of robbery, aggravated assault and battery. According to Laura McCabe, a spokesperson for the Lawrence Police ...

Woman sentenced to 6 months, suspended to probation, in theft case that was originally charged as sex crime

A Missouri woman was sentenced Tuesday in Douglas County District Court to six months in prison — which was suspended to probation — for a crime that was originally charged as criminal sodomy but that was reduced through plea bargaining to two counts of felony theft. As the Journal-World previously reported, Michalia D. Williams, 25, of Liberty, Missouri, and her husband, Joshua Michael Williams, of Belton, ...

Kansas City man pleads no contest to aggravated assault on Lawrence police officer

A Kansas City, Missouri, man on Tuesday pleaded no contest in Douglas County District Court to assaulting a police officer. The man, Carlos Garcia Gaspar, 43, entered the plea to one felony count of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer as part of a plea deal that saw multiple other felony charges being dropped. The case against Gaspar arose on Aug. 30, when he was alleged to have damaged a car and ...

Lawrence author's 'Belittled Women' is a contemporary twist on a beloved classic

Amanda Sellet evidently had way more fun writing 2022's “Belittled Women” than Louisa May Alcott did writing 1868's “Little Women.” But perhaps that's not surprising. Alcott wrote her novel a bit begrudgingly — at the behest of a male publisher who wanted a book about girls. Judging by Alcott's letters, she didn't enjoy the task much, and she certainly didn't anticipate that her quiet, domestic tale ...

Sentencing delayed for man in burglary, assault case that relied on Google 'geofence' data

A man who was scheduled to receive a sentence Monday for multiple crimes related to stalking a woman and breaking into her central Lawrence home instead received a new appointed attorney and a delay in the disposition of his case. A jury on Sept. 20 found Lee Andrew Mitchell Pennington, 34, of Lawrence, guilty of felony aggravated burglary, felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor stalking — in a case that ...

Area residents hold candlelight vigil for victims of Colorado nightclub shooting — and for victims of anti-LGBTQ violence everywhere

A number of area residents paid tribute Monday evening to the five lives that were lost in the Saturday night shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. At a candlelight vigil in South Park, organized by Amy Meigs, residents shared their grief over the violence at Club Q, which also injured dozens of people in addition to those who were slain by a gunman with an AR-15 style rifle. The 22-year-old ...

Woman charged with 4 counts of arson after series of fires at North Lawrence businesses

A Lawrence woman accused of starting a series of fires earlier this week in North Lawrence has been charged with four counts of arson. The woman, Abie Schnacke, 19, made her first appearance Friday in Douglas County District Court, where Judge Sally Pokorny read the charges against her, appointed attorney Dakota Loomis to represent her and set her bond at $20,000 cash or surety. Two of the four counts of ...

Fires set at multiple business locations in North Lawrence; 19-year old in custody; she was arrested in different arson case just days before

Updated at 5:19 p.m. Thursday Lawrence police have arrested a 19-year-old woman on suspicion of setting multiple fires at or near several North Lawrence businesses on Wednesday night — one of which devastated a printing business. Court records indicate that the woman had also been arrested in another arson case earlier in the week and was out on bond when Wednesday's fires occurred. A police spokesman said ...

Man who killed Eudora child in hit-and-run sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison

Story updated at 5:59 p.m. Tuesday: A man who killed a Eudora child in a hit-and-run accident in May was sentenced on Tuesday in Douglas County District Court to nearly six years in prison. Judge Amy Hanley handed down the maximum possible sentence to Jose Alfredo Galiano Meza after a lengthy and emotional hearing at which loved ones of the accident victim, Brooklyn Brouhard, spoke to the court about the ...

Woman accused of killing baby at day care renews plea for freedom as she faces 2nd trial

As a woman accused of killing a baby at a Eudora day care faces a new trial, she is renewing her motion to be freed from house arrest in the 6-year-old murder case — a move that prosecutors oppose as “entirely devoid of any legitimate legal basis.” The woman, Carrody Buchhorn, 47, was convicted in 2018 of killing 9-month-old Oliver “Ollie” L. Ortiz in 2016 at the day care where she worked. Her ...

Judge expresses dismay over Douglas County DA's relationship with law enforcement, appears to partially side with sheriff's concerns for now

A Douglas County District Court judge has expressed concern about the District Attorney’s Office becoming “crossways with all of the law enforcement in the entire county” and appeared to side at least partially and for the time being with the sheriff in his dispute with the DA. Judge Sally Pokorny made the comment Monday at a hearing regarding Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister’s motion to quash a ...

17 paintings stolen from Lawrence's Art in the Park event; reward offered for their return

Updated at 12:01 p.m. Monday Organizers of Art in the Park were shocked Saturday morning to discover that a number of paintings had been stolen overnight from one of the festival participants at the annual event, and they are offering a reward for the return of the artwork. Maria Martin, president of the Lawrence Art Guild, which hosts Art in the Park, told the Journal-World Monday that the event had been ...

Iranian students at KU decry brutal government crackdown; 'they are killing people in the streets'

While most University of Kansas students are gearing up for midterms and celebrating the KU football team, one group of students — those from Iran — are losing sleep and agonizing over the fate of loved ones back home. “Everyone is distracted from their education and classes and projects. … It's really hard for us to go to sleep at night because there are always new people being killed and arrested,” ...

Theatre Lawrence kicks off new season with jukebox musical 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'

Jared Martin has learned a number of things while playing the lead role in Theatre Lawrence's "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." One of them, he says, is that "wearing 4-inch stilettos and running around is hard." (Or, as RuPaul has more pointedly put it, "Drag ain't for sissies.") "Priscilla," the stage adaptation of the 1994 Australian road-trip movie, isn't Martin's first time performing in drag — that was ...

Curious about fostering a shelter dog or cat? Enthusiastic foster families in Lawrence say 'just give it a try'

When Sarah Lynch-Chaput’s beloved dog Sam died, she wanted to do something special in his memory, so she did something she thought he’d love. “We decided to start fostering to help other dogs that were like him,” she said. Lynch-Chaput and her husband, Cade Chaput, had adopted Sam, an Australian cattle dog, from a Topeka animal shelter in 2013, when he was 4 or 5 years old. When he died last year, they ...

Special Olympian brings the gold home to Lawrence after bowling victory

It’s hard to get Lisa McCleary to say much about the gold medal she won earlier this month at the Special Olympics in Orlando, Florida. Like any elite competitor, the champion bowler is focused on the next challenge: the 2026 Games. “I would like to do it again — in four years in Minnesota,” she said. The 31-year-old Linwood resident who bowls with the Douglas County Jayhawks team at Lawrence’s ...