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Odds and Ends

HIGH POINT, N.C. One mans efforts to help rebuild Afghanistan involve a few rounds of golf.Paul McNeill Jr. briefly returned home to High Point to pick up shirts for the new Kabul Golf Club.The main goal is to show people things are better under a modern democratic lifestyle, said McNeill, chief of administrative services for the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. You fight that on many fronts education, jobs. My little piece of that is recreation.During his time in Afghanistan, McNeill helped de-mine and renovate a course built in 1967, which was abandoned when the Soviets invaded the country in 1979.McNeill brought a member of the last Afghan Olympic golf team out of forced retirement to serve as the clubs golf pro and helped stock the courses clubhouse, buying 18 new sets of golf clubs.He also teamed up with Alpine Graphic Apparel in High Point to design and produce golf shirts to sell in Kabul and on eBay, the online auction site. All profits will do directly to the golf course.Its my private contribution to peace in Afghanistan, said McNeill, who recently returned to Afghanistan. I hope it works.

EAST BROOKFIELD, Mass. While jurors deliberated the fate of a man accused of selling a stolen gun to a pawn shop, the defendant went out for a cup of coffee.A week later, Peter J. Leo, 32, of Worcester is still is on the run.According to court records, Leo was being tried on charges of larceny, carrying a firearm without a license and receiving stolen property. His lawyer, Christopher Loconto, said Leo was accused of selling a pistol that did not belong to him to a pawn shop in 2002.After listening to closing arguments, jurors left to begin their deliberations. Leo and his girlfriend also left the courtroom, saying they were going for coffee, a court officer told The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester.The jurors returned to the courtroom a short time later to deliver their verdict, but Leo was not there to hear he had been found guilty.Court officials told the newspaper that Leo had been free to come and go from the courtroom.When it became apparent Leo was not going to return, the judge issued a warrant for his arrest. He now is charged with failing to appear for a jury verdict.Hes got some family issues hes dealing with, Loconto said. I would encourage him to turn himself in.Besides the mandatory one-year prison sentence on the theft charges, Leo could face two more years in jail because of the latest charge, court officials said.

MARION, Ind. Grace Missionary Baptist Church wants the pastor to quit preaching to the choir and everybody else. And the churchs trustees are going to court to stop him.The Rev. Ed McDowell Jr., who served at the church for more than 13 years, was fired in December after a vote by both the trustees and members.But McDowell, 63, continues to preach there because he says the vote was invalid. He has changed the locks remaining at the church and has tried to fire church officials himself, court records said.Church leaders have asked for a restraining order that would force McDowell to return church property, remove his personal belongings and block him from using church funds for his legal defense.We feel he has been removed as pastor of the church, said David Payne, a church attorney. This lawsuit is intended to ratify that and to make sure everyone understands that.McDowells lawyer, Kenneth T. Roberts Sr., is gathering evidence that shows the majority of members were not notified about the vote.Its very simple. If you intend to oust a pastor of a 180-member church, you cannot bring a few people to the business meeting to vote them out, he said.Court records show that 32 church members met on Dec. 5, with 18 voting to remove McDowell. Nine voted to retain him; five did not return their ballots.A hearing on the request for a restraining order was set for Feb. 1.

MADISON, Wis. A kangaroo that went on a walkabout of frigid Wisconsin just might settle down in the Midwest after all.The red-haired marsupial, now known as Roo, was captured in a snowstorm outside of Dodgeville last week. Sheriffs deputies cornered the 150-pound critter in a barn after receiving calls for days from shocked residents who had seen it.Kangaroos can be purchased for about $1,000 or more in the United States, but no one has reported him missing.Roo remains under quarantine at the Henry Vilas Zoo, and if no one claims it, zoo officials plan to introduce it to their other kangaroos to see if they get along.But if things dont work out, Margaret Suter said she has room at her home near Madison, where she already keeps six kangaroos and a wallaby.I worried for that kangaroo. It lost its caregiver, Suter said. And if you own one of these animals, you shouldnt turn your back on it.Suters kangaroos have a variety of stories she took in one that was wounded and had one of his arms amputated. Another, named Skippy, is a blind 1-year-old female with her very own special quarters.She got Captain, her first, about eight years ago and learned the animals habits and requirements as she went along. Her kangaroos eat oats and special pellets, as well as snacks of fresh fruit.They can seem just like big teddy bears, she said. Theyre beautiful animals and I just love them.


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