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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Missouri House mulls pot bill

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:08 Published in Local News
   Missouri lawmakers continue to mull legalizing marijuana.  
   Democratic Rep. Chris Kelly, of Columbia is sponsoring legislation that would allow most Missouri adults to buy and use recreational marijuana.
   The House public safety committee held a hearing on the measure Monday, but did not take a vote.
   If the bill passes, it would allow the state to impose an excise  tax on sales up to 25%.
   Washington State and Colorado have already legalized recreational marijuana use.
   The Democratic proposal faces an uphill battle in Missouri's Republican-dominated Legislature.

Quinn attends Calif. fundraiser for re-election

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 02:36 Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election campaign is getting an out-of-state boost.
   The Chicago Democrat flew to Los Angeles on Friday for a fundraiser attended by actors and others in the movie industry.
   Quinn campaign spokeswoman Leslie Wertheimer confirmed Monday that Quinn was in Los Angeles for the fundraiser. She said a similar one was thrown in his honor in 2013.
   The Chicago Sun-Times reported those in attendance included actor Joe Mantegna of CBS' "Criminal Minds."
   Quinn has kept a low-profile on the campaign trail so far. He faces one lesser-known Democratic challenger on March 18. Activist Tio Hardiman of suburban Hillside is running.
   Four Republicans are running for Illinois governor. They are state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, business man Bruce Rauner and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford.
 
   In 1986, a newborn wrapped in a red sweater was found abandoned in the bathroom of a fast-food restaurant. Nearly three decades later, the baby is all grown up and looking for her biological mother, and tens of thousands of people are trying to help.
   Katheryn Deprill began her quest on March 2 by posting a photo on her Facebook page in which she held up a sign that said, "Looking for my birth mother. ... She abandoned me in the Burger King bathroom only hours old, Allentown PA. Please help me find her by sharing my post."
   Deprill, a 27 year old married mother of three, figured the photo would be reposted by friends, maybe friends of friends. A week later, it's been shared nearly 27,000 times by Facebook users around the world. Deprill's story is rocketing around the media world, too.
   But there's still no sign of the mystery woman who left her in a restaurant bathroom.
   Deprill, an EMT who lives outside Allentown in South Whitehall Township, said there's so much she wants to tell her birth mom.
   "Number one is, I would really like to say, 'Thank you for not throwing me away, thank you for giving me the gift of life, and look what I've become,'" Deprill said Monday.
   She'd like to know her family medical history, as well. And she has so many questions about the circumstances of her birth and abandonment.
   "What made her do it? Why did she feel that she shouldn't leave me at a hospital? Was she going through a horrible time?"
   Deprill learned about her abandonment as a 12-year-old, when her sixth-grade teacher assigned the class to a project focusing on the students' family backgrounds. Deprill came home and demanded answers from her adoptive parents, Brenda and Carl Hollis. They slid a scrapbook in front of her that held newspaper clippings from 1986.
   The articles explained how a Burger King patron had heard a baby's cries and discovered Katheryn on the bathroom floor. How a restaurant worker then called police. How police were trying to track down the mother.
   "I comprehended it, but it still didn't sink in that it was me, that a mother could just lay her baby down and walk away. That is just mind-blowing to me," Deprill said.
   She launched her search with the blessing of her parents. In fact, it was her mother who suggested holding up a sign and posting it on social media.
   Deprill said she is "definitely not looking to replace my brothers and sister nor my adoptive parents, because I've had the best life. It was the best childhood ever."
   At the same time, "I would really like to see somebody who looks like me, and maybe I have (biological) brothers and sisters. ... I'm really frustrated. I just wish I knew more about her."
   Some people have told Deprill that her birth mother is unlikely to come forward for fear of being prosecuted. But Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said there's a two-year statute of limitations on child abandonment.
   "Even if that were not the case," he said via email, "I believe most DAs would exercise sound discretion and not prosecute someone under these circumstances."

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