New Neighbors Tee Off Some Country Club Members

Some members of the Lakewood Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., are upset about it, but Becky and Jake Eckert have found the perfect spot to park a trailer and raise their six children--at the entrance to the country club. The Eckerts went to a sheriff's tax sale looking for a parcel of land and bid $600 on the 4.6 acres sight unseen. They knew from the legal description that it was just north of town, had a small pond and lots of trees. They later learned the land they bought was next to the entrance to Lakewood, complete with flower beds and a manicured lawn around the club's entrance sign. The club had quit paying property taxes on the parcel because officials said they thought it was just a worthless utility easement. "It's just a nuisance," Lakewood manager Elton Parson said, echoing the sentiments of some nearby landowners. So far, the Eckerts have not been able to get the required clearances to move their trailer onto the land. But Eckert, an unemployed mechanic, parks his pickup at the club entrance when he takes friends out for a picnic or to fish. The Eckerts have offered to sell the land back to Lakewood for $8,000, or to let the club buy the corner with the pond and entrance sign for $1,000, but Mrs. Eckert said the two sides are far from agreement.

--Divine guidance might help solve some problems at the Oak Pointe Golf Club in Brighton, Mich., where golfers can pray and then play on Sunday mornings. Religious services are held each Sunday on the first tee for golfers who feel guilty about skipping church. Jim Dewling, the golf pro at Oak Pointe, and the Rev. David W. Swink, pastor at Chilson Hills Church, decided that if you can't bring the golfers to church, then bring church to the golfers. The nondenominational services will continue through the summer.

--Chris LaFortuna, an 18-year-old high school junior who flunked ninth grade and brought home Fs on his report card last semester, says he is "just relieved I have a future." And he has reason to be optimistic--he is one of 10 students nationwide who scored a perfect 800 on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Achievement Tests, said Emerson Heatherly, the principal at Andrews High School in High Point, N.C. "For a long time, I said I wasn't going to do well in school because I was angry and the system stunk," LaFortuna said. "But I'm trying to make it work for me now." LaFortuna said he began to turn his life around in February, when he left the home of his adoptive mother and stepfather and moved in with the family of some classmates. He now plans to go to college and study psychology.

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