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Headlines for Sunday, January 8, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press.

Man Arrested After Chase, Injuries to Two Lawrence Officers

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Lawrence police say two officers were injured during a confrontation with a suspected drunk driver who led them on a chase. Police say they arrested the 50-year-old suspect after the pursuit early yesterday (SAT). There was no immediate word later that day about charges. Police said two officers were conducting a traffic stop when a man driving in a pickup truck hit a patrol car from behind, injuring an officer in that cruiser before speeding away. Police later chased that pickup truck into Franklin County before the driver lost control. The driver allegedly resisted arrest, injuring a Lawrence officer in the process. The injuries to the officers were described as slight.

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Kansas Man Admits Role in Identity Theft Scheme
 
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas man faces up to two years in federal prison after having admitted his role in what authorities say was a $3.5-million identity theft scheme involving credit cards. Justin Alan Vanley of Rose Hill pleaded guilty Friday in Wichita to one count of aggravated identity theft. His sentencing is scheduled for March 24. As part of his plea, Vanley admitted that one of roughly a dozen co-defendants gave him a U.S. Postal Service roster with personal information for two postal service employees. Authorities say Vanley used the identity of one of the workers to apply for a credit card with a $32,000 credit limit, waited for the card to arrive and intercepted it before it reached the victim.

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Mother, Son Die After Being Pulled From Icy Kansas Pond

MOUNDRIDGE, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say a California mother and her 8-year-old son visiting Kansas relatives died after being pulled from an icy pond. KAKE-TV  reports that investigators have not publicly identified the victims of the drowning Friday afternoon at Pack Park in Moundridge. The woman's 43-year-old husband managed to stay above the water and ice and was rescued. He was treated at a hospital. Ron Blaylock, Moundridge's fire chief, said rescue efforts were slowed because the volunteer fire department didn't have a boat and had to summon one. Details of why the victims were on the pond were not immediately disclosed.

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Kansas Judge Delays Competency Ruling in Capital Murder Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A southern Kansas judge is giving attorneys for a man accused of sexually attacking a woman before setting her on fire more time to have him mentally evaluated. KAKE-TV reports 28-year-old Cornell McNeal of Wichita already has been evaluated twice, with the last one recommending that he be found competent to stand trial. Sedgwick County Judge Warren Wilbert reviewed those findings but deferred ruling Friday on McNeal's mental fitness. McNeal is charged with capital murder in the November 2014 death of 36-year-old Letitia "Tish" Davis, who was a mother of four. Davis was found at Fairmount Park near Wichita State University by a neighbor who heard her screaming and discovered her on fire. Davis sustained burns on more than half of her body and died eight days later.
 
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Kansas Governor, Lawmakers at Odds over Repealing Tax Break

 
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Republican Governor Sam Brownback and top Kansas lawmakers are not on the same page about ending an income tax break for farmers and business owners. The GOP-controlled Legislature opens its annual session Monday and must close projected budget shortfalls totaling $1.1 billion through June 2019. Legislative leaders said this week that they see bipartisan support for repealing the tax break, which was enacted in 2012 and benefits farmers and business owners. Senate Majority Leader and Overland Park Republican Jim Denning predicted that even though Brownback championed the tax break, he'd allow a bill to repeal it to become law without his signature. But in comments to reporters this week, Brownback defended the tax break as a pro-growth policy that particularly helps small businesses.

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Kansas Jail Video Shows Violence Towards Kenyan Immigrant

 WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A judge has granted a civil trial for a Kenyan man who alleges immigration agents violently attacked him at a Kansas jail for refusing to be fingerprinted before deportation. The incident was captured on jailhouse surveillance video. The civil lawsuit filed by Justine Mochama, an international student who overstayed his visa, has languished in federal court in Kansas for almost three years. But on Tuesday U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil refused to throw out his claims that two agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement used excessive force during the January 2014 altercation. His attorney provided the jailhouse video to The Associated Press. It shows Mochama being lifted in the air, punched in the stomach and pinned on the ground.

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Brownback Outlines Initiatives to Improve Rural Health

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Governor Sam Brownback has outlined two long-term initiatives designed to bring more doctors to rural Kansas. Brownback outlined a proposal Friday to set aside $5 million in state funds to provide seed money for new doctor-training programs at Kansas hospitals. He and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer said the goal is to attract more federal and private dollars. The governor also announced during a Statehouse news conference that he's forming a task force to draft a plan for establishing a privately funded school to train osteopaths in Kansas. Osteopaths are doctors who generally focus on providing primary care and preventative medicine. Brownback noted that Kansas has had a shortage of medical personnel in rural areas for decades and that 92 of the state's 105 counties are considered medically underserved.

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Kansas Researchers to Try to Make Better Barley for Beer

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Research money has been dedicated to growing better barley for beer in Kansas, which was the last state to do away with prohibition. The Wichita Eagle  reports that the Brewers Association awarded a group of brewers, researchers and agricultural experts a $35,000 grant to develop winter malting barley to be grown and harvested in the Great Plains. The project is eligible to receive annual funding for five years, depending on research progress. Kansas is mostly known as a wheat-growing state, and much of its barley is grown as a high-protein grain for livestock feed. Barley grown for beer must be a lower-protein grain. Kansas prohibited alcohol from 1881 to 1948. It continued to prohibit liquor by the drink in bars and restaurants until 1986.
 

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