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Sara Shepherd

Stories by Sara

Little bookstore that could

Its personal touch has helped the Raven stay in business 25 years

Around the time book giants like Borders were becoming ubiquitous, an area literary professional told Pat Kehde she wouldn’t be able to keep her little bookstore afloat unless it got a lot bigger. Kehde, who opened the Raven in 1988 with fellow Lawrencian Mary Lou Wright, told him he was wrong. The Raven marks its 25th anniversary this year, and while technology has dramatically changed the bookselling landscape, the shop is hopeful a devout clientele and its commitment to customer service will help it continue on. By Sara Shepherd

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Off the Beaten Plate: Chocolate-dipped potato chips at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Whatever you’re buying at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, there’s a high probability it’s coated in chocolate: apples, frozen cheesecake slices, pretzels, marshmallows, potato chips ... wait, potato chips?

Acclaimed light artist to open Lawrence exhibit in person with public talk

Light artist James Turrell himself will be on hand for the opening of “Gard Blue,” a new exhibition of his work at the Spencer Museum of Art.

Inaugural Lawrence Print Week to celebrate art form with events, exhibits

If New York City has a lively annual print week, why can’t Lawrence? That’s what local organizers figured when they pulled together all things printmaking for the inaugural Lawrence Print Week. A flurry of print-celebrating events is scheduled next week, with some related exhibitions open this week. By Sara Shepherd

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Lawrence Libations: Key Lime Pie Martini at Saints

Like key lime pie in liquid form — sweet, limey and alcoholic.

Flavor combinations take priority in Krauses' cookbook, re-released with new name

Lawrence residents and restaurateurs Robert and Molly Krause take taste up a notch in their cookbook, “The Flavorful Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Amazing 3-Ingredient Flavor Combinations.”

Turrell's 'Gard Blue' to fill Spencer Museum's Central Court with light

As crowds flock to James Turrell’s simultaneous retrospectives at major museums in New York, Los Angeles and Houston, Lawrence residents will have a closer-to-home option for viewing work by the artist Forbes magazine called “the art world’s brightest luminary this year.”

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Off the Beaten Plate: Wang Burger at the Wheel

ESPN sports announcers visiting Lawrence have been known to hit the Wheel before games to chow on these unpretentious white-bun burgers topped with a fried egg, bacon and cheese — and sometimes even profess their love for them on air.

Off the Beaten Buy: Hoot! Handmade owl pillows bring whimsy to home

Soft, colorful felt meets fun, graphic patterns in these lovable, googly-eyed throw pillows.

Just Food plans produce giveaways to get surplus veggies in hands of those in need

Just Food has a surplus of fresh produce — a good thing, as long as the organization can connect with people who need it. To help do that, Just Food is starting a Monday-morning produce giveaway beginning this week. By Sara Shepherd

New resident artists bring 'quiet poetry' in ceramics, social commentary in printmaking to Lawrence

The Lawrence Arts Center’s new artists in residence arrived this month in Lawrence, where they’ll spend the next year creating art and teaching classes. The Arts Center looks for candidates who are impressive artists, teachers and interested in community, and this year’s artists are all of the above.

Lawrence resident is world air guitar champ

Eric 'Mean Melin' Melin: 'Air guitar is in my blood'

Eric “Mean Melin” Melin booked a last-minute flight to Finland on a prayer — make that an air prayer. And the air guitar gods must have heard it. Lawrence’s meanest air guitar-playing machine is the newest World Air Guitar Champion.

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Off the Beaten Plate: Super Burrito at Border Bandido

This burrito isn’t billed as being fancy, fresh or frilly — just big.

Prepare to relax, savor at the most intimate restaurant in Lawrence

Through the unremarkable door at 730 Massachusetts St., up a creaky staircase, past the Hookah House and to the right, there’s another door you can’t enter without ringing the bell. On the other side is one of the region’s most unique dining experiences.

Pretty as a pinup: Lawrence photographers lasso retro glamour in portraits

Lawrence is home to two photo studios that offer pinup portraits, and photographers say the style’s feminine vintage fashions and playful posing result in both a fun experience and finished products that look sexy without being sleazy.

Lawrencian's painting of Quantrill's raid is a conversation piece across the border

In the 1950s, there was a painting of Quantrill’s raid by Lawrence artist Paul Penny floating around town, including for a time inside the former Drake's Bakery on Massachusetts St. Now, Penny’s rendition of Quantrill sacking Lawrence has migrated to the Missouri side of the state line, where it’s quite the conversation starter. By Sara Shepherd

Arts Center signs big names to its first National Advisory Board

As the Lawrence Arts Center looks to expand its reach in terms of audience and financial support, leaders hope a team of big names from the region and beyond can help. By Sara Shepherd

New book aims to tell broader story of border war — and Missouri bled, too

Quantrill’s raid did not happen in a vacuum. And when it comes to violent acts between anti- and pro-slavery forces of the time, Kansans were not entirely innocent. A Kansas University associate history professor and a University of Missouri-Kansas City associate history professor have teamed up to co-edit a book that looks to shed light on the whole story, "Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border." By Sara Shepherd

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Off the Beaten Plate: Cookie Monster Ice Cream at Sylas and Maddy’s

“OK little cookie (ice cream). It been nice getting to know you. Buh-bye!” What’s bright blue and always full of cookies? A certain hungry, lovable Muppet and his namesake ice cream flavor at Sylas and Maddy’s: Cookie Monster. This colorful ice cream is full of Oreos, sugar cookies, M&M and chocolate chip cookie pieces. (Just because it’s blue doesn’t mean it’s only for kids, right?) By Sara Shepherd

Hooked on square dancing

Lawrence club spins, swings, smiles and secures fast friendships

Look at the clusters of faces as they spin back and forth, and one thing stands out: There’s a big smile on every one. That tends to happen when you square dance, say members of Lawrence’s Happy Time Squares.

Rock on: Area air guitar players aim to entertain

If there’s one thing that doesn’t belong in a winning air guitar routine, it’s shame.

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Off the Beaten Plate: Bloomin’ Bloody Mary at Dempsey’s

A drink with a small meal sticking out of it will turn heads at the bar.

Amy's Meats a model of sustainability

A visit to Amy’s Meats at the Homestead feels like walking back into a simpler time. There is electricity and refrigeration, and no one’s wearing bonnets and prairie skirts. But at this hillside farm in rural Lawrence, the Saunders family works hard to raise most everything they need to eat from the ground up, plants and animals alike. A national magazine has taken note. By Sara Shepherd

Original art everywhere: Businesses act as 'gateway galleries' for many artists

Dozens of Lawrence businesses — from coffee shops to restaurants to salons and even dentist offices — are taking advantage of symbiotic relationships with local artists.

Chefs pack plates with local flavor at annual cooking challenge

Eileen Horn was shuffling score sheets after the judges’ last bites at the third annual Chefs Challenge Friday evening at the Douglas County Fair. “They have never been this close,” said Horn, the county sustainability coordinator, “and it looks like this was gut-wrenching for the judges.” Three dishes, all jam-packed with locally sourced ingredients and bold but balanced flavors. Whose would win? By Sara Shepherd

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Lawrence Libations: The Float Trip at Pachamama’s

Local blackberries, fresh ice cream, Aperol and soda in a drink named the Float Trip — like all the best things about summertime in a single, cold glass.

Falafelly nice: Walk-up window serves late-night Lebanese food

When the late-night crowd approaches the walk-up window outside Fatso’s Public House and Stage, tipsy types sometimes ask, “What’s this — you don’t have any pizza?” Instead, the spot is now called Lebanese Flower and offers a taste of the Middle East in falafel, shawarma, hummus and other specialties.

No wool over these eyes: Knitting CSA members meet the sheep producing their yarn

Bosco, according to his owner Barbara Clark, is “somewhat of a contrary sheep.” Yet his thick, fluffy coat can be turned into things as soft and sweet as anyone could imagine — like the whimsical charcoal-gray stuffed bunny rabbit Lawrence resident Marianne Wille is pulling from her knitting bag. Joining the Maggie’s Farm CSA doesn’t get you vegetables from a farmer you know — it gets you wool from sheep you can meet. By Sara Shepherd

'Nightmarriage' — funnier than you think

Lawrence writer publishes first book with illustrations by area artists

The name may sound like the title of a slasher movie, but really, as author Chad Thomas Johnston explains in the forward, "Nightmarriage" is a wordplay reflecting what's inside the book: a collection of humorous essays inspired by his recent foray into marriage and childrearing.

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Off the Beaten Plate: Hamburger-don at Dondon

Dondon serves simple, homestyle Japanese rice and noodle bowls, so the word “hamburger” looks pretty out of place on the menu. But it's probably not exactly what you're picturing.

Tarragon in your cocktail, anyone? Lawrence restaurants put herb garden on the rocks

Of course mixologists find inspiration from the array of increasingly unique spirits available to them. They’ve also started craning their necks to see what kind of fresh ingredients are coming into the kitchen — and that includes a bouquet of herbs.

Iwig Dairy Store opens second Lawrence location north of the river

Iwig Family Dairy has opened its second Lawrence store, this time in North Lawrence where parking is a little dusty but isn’t such a tight squeeze. In addition to attracting North Lawrence residents, the owner hopes his store will be a regular stop for commuters and rural residents on their way home from work. By Sara Shepherd

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Off the Beaten Plate: Tortellini Cordon Bleu at Basil Leaf Cafe

This pasta is like chicken cordon bleu turned inside out and souped over the top of cheesy tortellini. It's decadent — even if it is served in a plastic foam box.

A cool treat on every block

Stave off a sidewalk sale meltdown with these beat-the-heat snacks and drinks

Forecast for a meltdown: temperature pushing 100 degrees, no cloud cover, zero percent chance of rain, all day in the sun, tired feet, fighting crowds, and realizing someone already got those half-price shoes you had your eye on. Is there an antidote?

Arts Center wins national grant to take film festival beyond screens

A national grant will enable the Lawrence Arts Center to take its next Free State Film Festival beyond the Arts Center walls, and even beyond film. The Arts Center received a $150,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, expected to be formally announced today. By Sara Shepherd

American Indian artist draws on modern views of her people

Jodi Webster chosen for residency at Santa Fe Indian Market

Jodi Webster’s art seeks to portray American Indians in a way she says can be hard to find — the way they really are.

Food rescue effort connects restaurant's surplus with people in need

Inevitably, there are going to be days when a steakhouse ends up with more baked potatoes than its customers order. Instead of dumping those surplus spuds in the trash, one Lawrence restaurant is taking a few extra steps to get the potatoes — and other fresh but unused food — into the hands of people who desperately need it. By Sara Shepherd

60 years of shenanigans at Johnny's Tavern

Bar has been racking up stories since 1953

Ask for favorite stories from Johnny’s Tavern and more than a few people chuckle, “Ummm, do they have to be printable?” In its 60 years, the self-proclaimed “longest runnin’ tap in Lawrence” has seen some shenanigans.

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Off the Beaten Plate: Fried Pickles at Jefferson’s Restaurant

These warm, toasty-tangy little discs are a taste of the south, and an alternative to the usual fried bar food in a basket.

Local burgers gain far-flung following

Lawrence diners can’t get the World’s Best Veggie Burger or an Adzuki Bean Burger with a basket of fries at Local Burger anymore. Does that mean the vegetarian favorites from the shuttered Vermont Street eatery are gone for good? Hardly. By Sara Shepherd

Agritourism provides sales boost for small farmers, fresh air for city slickers

Kansas agritourism sites range from ranches where city slickers can help burn pastures to alpaca farms where visitors can feed the furry animals. On the more refined side, upscale dinners in orchards and cornfields attract people willing to pay $100 per ticket. Agritourism is one way small Kansas farms are increasing visibility of their products to boost their bottom lines. At the same time, farmers say, opening to the public is a chance to share their passion for what they do with people who may not otherwise experience it. By Sara Shepherd

Please add your piece to the display, but don't cross the line

Ceramist-in-residence highlights tactile nature of clay in solo exhibition

There are two entrances to Monika Laskowska’s solo ceramics exhibition at the Lawrence Arts Center. To touch, or not to touch?

Collaborative exhibit seeks to reflect on Quantrill's raid through art

Some themes of Quantrill’s 1863 raid on Lawrence, and its lasting effects on the town, can be challenging to fully explore through words alone. The Percolator and the Watkins Community Museum of History are inviting Lawrencians to tackle those subjects with art.

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Lawrence Libations: The Whipper at Phoggy Dog

Don’t like to taste the alcohol in your drink? This beer cocktail (yes, those are real things) could be your new hot-weather favorite.

Summer reading program combines books, fun to combat brain drain, boredom

Fun activities and books come together during the Lawrence Public Library’s summer reading program, many a parent's summer lifesaver.

Little gallery, lofty goals

Wonder Fair wants to make Lawrence a destination for prints, an art form for the people

Meredith Moore is hunched over a minuscule sink in a closet-sized bathroom, water running, furiously scrubbing. Watermelon-colored goo drips through her hands, making an electric pink waterfall in the sink basin before swirling down the drain.

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Off the Beaten Plate: Vegetarian Reuben at WheatFields

Being a vegetarian and enjoying Reuben sandwiches are not mutually exclusive in Lawrence, home of the Vegetarian Reuben. The soybean chunks aren't even that noticeable.

Preschool chef fills tall order: Get creative with kid food (just not too creative)

Rob Wood, the chef at Lawrence’s Hilltop Child Development Center, cooks for a tough crowd. He puts out meals for roughly 250 toddlers through elementary aged kids daily, and his job description encourages him to include things the kids might not have tried before. At the same time, he says, getting creative doesn’t do much good if no one eats what you make. So how's the tikka masala going over with 3-year-olds? The answer might surprise you. By Sara Shepherd

FSHS and Art Institue grad embarking on public-minded art career in Kansas City

Free State High School grad Hannah Lodwick, with an art institute degree and recent sculpture competition win under her belt, is embarking on a career in art with a goal of creating publicly accessible work that blurs the lines between fine art and academia.

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Off the Beaten Plate: Reina Pepiada Arepa at Global Cafe

This South American sandwich on a cornmeal cake is served with many fillings, but this version is the "queen."