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Judge allows Indian boy to keep long hair

NEEDVILLE, Texas, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Texas has ruled that a school district must allow a 5-year-old American Indian kindergartner to wear his hair long for religious reasons.

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U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison ruled Tuesday that the Needville Independent School District violated state law and the U.S. Constitution by penalizing Adriel Arocha, 5, for religious beliefs that require him to keep his hair long, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"By the policy's terms, A.A. must wear his hair in his shirt during recess, on field trips, and on the school bus. When he becomes older, he will have to wear his hair down the back of his shirt at football games, school dances, and, presumably, his high school graduation," Ellison wrote in his ruling. "The policy will deny A.A. the opportunity to express a religious practice that is very dear to him and his father."

Kenney Arocha, the boy's father, said hair is considered sacred by Apache Indians and is only cut to mark major life events, including the death of a loved one. He said his son's hair, which has never been cut, is about 13 inches long.

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British churches turn to 'wayside pulpits'

LONDON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Some British pastors are copying a tactic used by their brethren in the United States -- using signs with humorous messages to draw people in.

Pastor Paul Sinclair told the Daily Telegraph he decided he needed to "target people who didn't come to church." At the time, he was in charge of the Elim Church in North London and his congregation was so small the church was on the verge of closing.

His first sign, in the summer of 1989, read "Come to church now and miss the Christmas rush."

"The posters worked and eventually the congregation grew to 120," he said.

In Britain, the signs are sometimes known as "wayside pulpits.'

Ben Shaw, an assistant pastor at Emanuel Church in Wimbledon, said he takes advantage of the suburb's status as the Vatican or Canterbury of the tennis world.

"Last year I put one up saying, 'God made (tennis superstar) Roger Federer' and apparently he loved it and had his photo taken by it," Shaw said.


Ex-sheriff's unemployment claim criticized

GRANBURY, Texas, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A former sheriff who lost his re-election bid in Hood County, Texas, should not have said on an unemployment claim that he was fired, an official says.

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Texas Association of Counties spokeswoman Elna Christopher said former Hood County Sheriff Gene Mayo was ill-advised to have written "lost election/fired" on an application for unemployment benefits, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram said.

"Our lawyers could not recall it happening," Christopher said "When you are elected, you are elected for a certain amount of time. That term ended."

Roger Deeds, who succeeded Mayo as Hood County sheriff following last year's primary, said he was surprised to have received the unemployment claim.

"I can't say it was something I was expecting," he told the Star-Telegram.

Citing the county's director of personnel, the newspaper said Mayo's application was being processed.


Man sues after injured by stripper's boot

AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- An Ohio man claims in a lawsuit against a strip club that he was struck in the face and injured by a dancer's discarded boot.

Yusuf Evans, 37, said he was at the XTC nightclub in Akron, Ohio, with some visiting friends last year when a dancer using the stage name Tiara kicked off her thick-heeled boot, which flew from the stage and struck him in the nose, the Akron Beacon Journal reported Thursday.

Evans said doctors at a local hospital treated his nose injury and told him he will likely need surgery.

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"I got injured and I shouldn't have gotten injured just going out and trying to show somebody a good time," Evans said. "I have to live with this the rest of my life probably."

Evans, who said the incident took place on his very first visit to a strip club, is seeking $25,000 compensation for his injuries in the suit against the nightclub and the dancer.

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