WRITER: Kim Callahan

Lawrence man who was temporarily homeless is grateful for Humane Society program that helped him keep his dog

When Lawrence resident Robert Jackson found himself “pretty much homeless” last winter, he was thankful to find a local hotel that, through a city program, was providing shelter for homeless people. But the warm room wasn’t exactly free. The price? He’d have to give up his dog to stay there. The thought was unthinkable. Jackson’s dog Webster, a young Labrador/hound mix, had been his constant ...

Man taken into custody after allegedly shattering downtown Lawrence windows

A 31-year-old man was taken into police custody Friday morning after he allegedly shattered at least three windows in a downtown business. The incident occurred around 8:30 a.m. at the southeast corner of Eighth and Vermont streets, where the office of Paul Werner Architects is located. Multiple police vehicles responded to the scene, and officers were seen arresting a man and placing him in a police car. ...

Tory Roberson, Jessica Cooley, Wayne Briggs and Steven Elliott

Just Food seeks community's help in its 'biggest time of need'

Summer is always Just Food’s busiest season — a time of year when the community’s need for food assistance increases — and this summer the lingering coronavirus pandemic has made it even busier. “Kids being out of school is a big challenge for folks with families,” said Elizabeth Keever, Just Food’s executive director, noting that people typically face increased food costs when their kids aren’t ...

Lawrence woman rescues boy from Clinton Lake

A peaceful day fishing turned traumatic Saturday afternoon as a Lawrence woman rescued a drowning boy from Clinton Lake. The woman, Mandy Dreiling, said she had taken her 9-year-old son, Jesse Spates, to the lake for its “free fishing” day. They had just settled in with their new poles and fresh bait along the cove near Clinton Marina when she spotted a young boy playing in the water. As she looked for ...

Art exhibit quietly maps the achievements of Kansas women who 'lived good lives'

From a distance the exhibit wall of the Lawrence Public Library looks like a display wall in a Laura Ashley store — with its neat row of children’s dresses in an array of pastel and floral fabrics. But get closer and you see that the dresses — meant to honor Kansas women — are made of something far more prosaic: paper maps. The dress patterns aren’t blossoms and leaves and vines, but interstates, ...

Movie starring 'Breaking Bad' actor is a triumph for Lawrence writer — and for disability inclusion

Michael Coffey has been writing since he was a kid, extracting all sorts of drama from his lively imagination. The first story he remembers writing — in junior high — was “As the Clock Ticked On,” which he describes as a scary tale of suspense. Decades — and many creations — later, though still drawn to thrillers, he has learned that the most compelling stories are often those drawn from everyday ...

As 2021 becomes record-breaking year for anti-LGBTQ legislation, Lawrence Rainbow group redoubles drive for inclusion

While lawmakers in Topeka — and around the nation — are working to exclude transgender kids from certain activities and locations, some families in Lawrence are doing just the opposite: trying to make schools — and life generally — more inclusive for LGBTQ children. “No one likes you, no one wants you — they’re just getting bombarded by that message every day,” parent Matt Enyart said of the way ...

Just Food

Just right: $500K renovation dramatically expands food pantry, giving it an inviting grocery store vibe

Early Wednesday morning Steven Elliott and several other workers stocked the shelves at Just Food with canned goods, fresh produce, an impressive array of meats and quite a bit of good cheer. The work was the same as most mornings — preparing the pantry at 1000 E. 11th St. for the hundreds of area residents who require food assistance each day. But Wednesday it was taking place in a newly renovated space that ...

Interim Police Chief Anthony Brixius

Of chief concern: Interim leader of Lawrence police stresses importance of conversations, accountability

Anthony Brixius didn’t grow up wanting to be a cop. After a childhood spent between Lawrence and Wichita, he had decided to become a teacher and, like his mother before him, enrolled at the University of Kansas, where he earned a degree in secondary education. He soon realized, though, that despite his “commitment to service,” standing in front of a classroom all day wasn’t the best fit for him. Nor ...

Nomadic family ready to hit the road again after 2-month pandemic delay

The Thomas family’s Great American itinerary did not include two months parked at a Baldwin City motel, but here they are. Before the family sold their home and most of their possessions to embark on their new nomadic life, they listed — and planned for — a lot that could go wrong. A deadly pandemic that would shut down the country was not on that list. Nor was it even in their wildest imagination as ...

Jui-jitsui

'Do what you want': Blind man's love of jiu jitsu makes inclusion easier for others

When opponents grapple with Nick Hoekstra in jiu jitsu they tend to hold back — at least at first. His blindness gives them pause. But when it becomes apparent that he is determined to win, their hesitation evaporates, and he becomes just like everyone else, an equal. That’s the world of the dojo, he says: a place of respect for all comers. It’s not the world itself, though, where fitting in and ...

Lawrence shows 'tremendous' response in fostering pets as pandemic disrupts normal operations of Humane Society

In Lawrence, as elsewhere across the country, residents have been stepping up in big numbers to care for animals in the community. The stay-at-home order issued by Douglas County to curb the coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented hardships, to be sure, but also has created a uniquely comforting circumstance for animals who need care and for people who long to feel useful. “A lot of people are at ...

Local film about immigration in Garden City wins festival award

A locally made film about immigration has won an award at the 2020 Borrego Springs Film Festival in Southern California. The film, “Strangers in Town,” co-directed by Lawrence resident Stephen Lerner and Reuben Aaronson of Los Angeles, won the People’s Choice Documentary award. Lerner said he wasn’t too surprised “because the response was huge at the screening, though you never know till it ...

Popular documentary about immigration to have another screening in Lawrence; online participation welcome

Long before the images of families separated at the border outraged many Americans, Lawrence resident Stephen Lerner was quietly outraged by the increasingly ugly tone of the immigration debate. “I started feeling very uncomfortable with watching that happen, both in the political process and in discussions everywhere, because the fact is we are a country of immigrants,” he told the Journal-World recently. ...

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 ...