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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Memorial fund set up for slain Alton woman

Friday, 27 December 2013 03:09 Published in Local News
   Friends of a murdered metro-east woman are hoping a memorial fund can raise enough money to cover funeral expenses and a grave marker.  Friends of 30 year old Courtney Coats are hoping to raise about 15-thousand dollars through online donations.  
   Coats' was reported missing November 25th.  Her dismembered body was found last week along the Illinois River near East Hardin, IL. 
   Madison County prosecutors have charged 28 year old Patrick Chase of Alton and 30 year old Brandon Chittum of Collinsville with first-degree murder.  
   Both men are held on $1 million bail. 
   The memorial fund is based online at www.GoFundMe.com. Donations also may be dropped off or mailed to the Jerseyville Banking Center in Jerseyville.
 

SLCC lowers tuition for undocumented students

Friday, 27 December 2013 02:15 Published in Local News
   Students who've graduated from Missouri high schools, but who can't prove their U.S. citizenship or legal immigration status, will soon pay less to enroll in community college classes in St. Louis.  
   Until now, undocumented students have paid the international student rate of $204 per credit hour at all St. Louis Community College campuses.  
   Starting with the semester that begins in January, their tuition rates will be based on where they live.  Those who live in district will pay $98.00 per credit hour -- cutting their tuition bills in half.   
   At least 18 states around the nation, including Illinois, offer similar benefits as a matter of state law.  Missouri does not.
 

Icebound ship in Antarctica edges closer to rescue

Friday, 27 December 2013 01:25 Published in National News
   SYDNEY (AP) — A ship that has been trapped in thick Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve was nearing rescue on Friday, after a Chinese icebreaker named the Snow Dragon drew close to the icebound vessel.
   The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been on a research expedition to Antarctica, got stuck Tuesday after a blizzard's whipping winds pushed the sea ice around the ship, freezing it in place. The ship wasn't in danger of sinking, and there were ample supplies for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on board, but the vessel couldn't move.
   Maritime authorities received the ship's distress signal on Wednesday and sent three icebreakers to assist. By Friday afternoon, China's Snow Dragon had made it as far as the edge of the sea ice surrounding the ship, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away, but still faced the tough task of getting through the dense pack ice to the paralyzed vessel.
   The Snow Dragon was hoping to reach the ship by Friday evening, but changing weather conditions and the thickness of the ice could slow its progress, said Andrea Hayward-Maher, spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue.
   Expedition leader Chris Turney said it may take the Snow Dragon until Saturday to break through.
   "We're all just on tenterhooks at the moment, waiting to find out" how long it will take, Turney said by satellite phone. "Morale is really good."
   The scientific team on board the vessel — which left New Zealand on Nov. 28 — had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's century-old voyage to Antarctica when it became trapped. They plan to continue their expedition after they are freed, Turney said.
   Passengers and crew have had to contend with blizzard conditions, including winds up to 70 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour), but the weather had calmed considerably by Friday, Turney said.
   "The blizzard we had yesterday was quite extraordinary — it's not nice when you can feel the ship shaking," he said.
   Despite the interruption to the expedition, the scientists have continued their research while stuck, counting birds in the area and drilling through the ice surrounding the ship to photograph sea life.

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