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News Headlines for Sunday, Feb. 22

Here's a summary of the day's AP news headlines for our area, mostly Kansas.

Kansas Lawmakers Consider Expanded Beer, Wine, Liquor sales

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are considering a proposal to permit grocery stores to sell full-strength beer, wine and liquor starting in July 2018.  The bill up for debate Monday in the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee also would permit conveniencestores to sell full-strength beer starting in July 2018.  Groceries and convenience stores now can sell weaker beer known as cereal malt beverage. Only liquor stores can sell full-strength beer, wine and liquor.  The measure is backed by grocery and convenience store chains. Many liquor store owners oppose it, fearing they'll be run out of business.  It would cap the number of retail liquor store licenses and allow store owners to transfer theirs to grocery stores in the same county starting in July 2018.

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Kansas Bill Would Direct State to Study Industrial Hemp

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Department of Agriculture would be tasked with cultivating and studying hemp under a bill before the state Legislature.The House Agriculture and National Resource Committee will hold a hearing on the bill Monday. The measure would direct the department to grow and study hemp plants in conjunction with a state university.The research would focus on efficient means of producing hemp in Kansas as well as analyzing its potential uses and potential economic benefit of generating a local hemp industry. Industrial hemp products range from clothing to construction materials and fuel.  A Senate panel held two informational hearings in January on the legalization of marijuana for medical use, although the Legislature is not expected to move forward with legislation on the issue.

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Kansas Had Big Drop in Road Spending Even Before Budget Woes

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Budget problems in Kansas prompted Republican Governor Sam Brownback to propose siphoning off transportation dollars to help erase projected shortfalls.  But even before then, federal data showed that Kansas had the biggest decade-long decline in per-person spending on highways of any state.  Brownback is facing bipartisan criticism for proposals to divert $858 million from highway projects through June 2017 to deal with budget problems arising after lawmakers reduced personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at his urging.But data compiled by the Federal Highway Administration shows per-capital highway spending was 29 percent lower during the state's 2013 fiscal year than in fiscal 2003 — or $490 compared with nearly $695.  Kansas ranked fifth in per-capita spending in 2003 and dropped to 28th a decade later.

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Police: Man Took Loaded Gun into Kansas School

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old Kansas man is jailed on suspicion of carrying a loaded weapon into Goddard High School.The Wichita Eagle reports that the incident happened Friday. Goddard schools spokesman Dane Baxa says two men went into the main office, and police were called. He says that through conversation with administrators and police, it was determined that one of the men had a loaded gun.  The suspect was taken into custody. His name has not been released and charges have not been filed. Baxa says the men, one of whom was a former student, never had contact with any students. However, school officials sent a letter to parents advising them of the incident.

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Tech Classes Help Young Offenders Prepare for Future

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Young offenders incarcerated at Topeka's juvenile detention facility are learning technical skills to make them more marketable and less likely to get into trouble after they are released.  The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex offenders who are still in high school can earn credit through Washburn Institute of Technology.  The principal of the facility's high school is Steve Dackman. He says students can take classes in basic electrical work, carpentry and something called production technology, which covers basic manufacturing skills and safety.  Those who already have finished high school can take classes on operating water and wastewater treatment, distribution and collection systems through a partnership with Fort Scott Community College.  Offenders also get help learning to write a resume and interviewing for jobs.

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Jewish Community in Lawrence Plans Torah Welcoming

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Jewish community in northeast Kansas is planning a sacred Torah welcoming ceremony in Lawrence.The ceremony Sunday marks the end of an effort of an expert ritual scribe to write an entire Torah, the most sacred object in Judaism. The task takes between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment, exactly 304,805 letters and months of work. One mistake voids the entire work.  The scroll will be the first written in Lawrence. A ceremony Sunday at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Lawrence willmark the completion of the Torah. It will then be taken under a canopy through the streets in a procession that will include music and dancing.

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