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Tue, 20 Mar 2018 22:07:22 GMT
LEO helps reunite homeless man with his birth mother after 65 years
Tue, 20 Mar 2018 21:38:24 GMT

By Alyssa Pereira San Francisco Chronicle

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Sixty-five years after his teen mother made the difficult decision to give him up for adoption, Mick Myers has been reunited with her, thanks to the kind efforts of two strangers.

KPIX reports that Myers, a 67-year-old former truck driver, had been homeless for 30 years, panhandling to scrape by, when Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Jacob Swalwell stopped to have a "serious talk" with him.

Swalwell had "given him so many warnings" for the offense, he told the news station, that he decided to find out what was actually going on.

Myers couldn't get an ID to claim social security, he told him, because he couldn't provide two forms of residency to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Swalwell, stunned by the answer, rallied the Alameda County Sheriff's Department and his church pastor to write official letters vouching for Myers' residency in Alameda County. Myers got his ID, and a little while later, the deputy was able to help him find his birth certificate, too.

Myers was adopted as a toddler — a fact he didn't learn until he was 16 — and never knew his birth parents. His adoptive mother was kind to him, but he says he felt shunned by his adoptive siblings; when his adoptive parents died, he was cut off from the only family he knew.

When KPIX aired the initial story about Swalwell helping Myers obtain an ID in December, a man named Mark Askins was watching. Askins, a veteran private investigator, resolved to help Myers through Miracle Messages, a nonprofit for which he volunteers.

Miracle Messages has two goals: to reunite homeless men and women with long-lost family members and friends and to help get them off the street. In this case, the reunion would be a difficult task; Myers only knew his real last name — Oakley — and that his mother's first name was Marie.

With very little information, Askins went to the Alameda County Court House to search through old ledger books. Surprise after surprise followed; not only did Askins find Marie — who now went by Polly — he also discovered that she was still alive and living in Humboldt County.

So, after a phone conversation, Myers boarded a plane piloted by volunteers to meet her.

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CHAPTER II: Michael “Mick” Myers We first told you about Mick during the holiday season and we wanted to give you an...

Posted by Alameda County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, March 15, 2018

"He's suddenly discovered he has family when he thought he was alone in the world," Polly told KPIX. "I have one more person to love."

Myers was Polly's second child, she told him, but as a young teenager and single mother escaping a bad marriage in Tennessee, she had to make the difficult decision to let him be adopted by a family at her mother's church. Myers had been born with a life-threatening hole in his heart, and the fix was an expensive surgery. Even working multiple jobs, Polly couldn't afford it.

"I just felt so sad that I'm thinking of all the things that I did with my other kids; all the experiences, that they had, things that they've done, the advantages that they had," Polly said. "And I felt so sad when he told me how he had been treated: like an outcast. Not physically abused, but basically emotionally abused, because he was not accepted."

But it was overwhelmingly a good day. Myers met multiple family members (and a couple dogs), and snapped a new family picture before heading home to the Bay Area.

As Polly said to him before he left, "To have you puts a piece of my heart back, and means the world to me."

Read the whole story here at KPIX.

©2018 the San Francisco Chronicle

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Man faces fine for calling police officers ‘smurfs’
Tue, 20 Mar 2018 14:59:30 GMT

Associated Press

BERLIN — An Austrian man faces a 160-euro ($197) fine for describing police officers as “smurfs” in a warning about speed checks posted on Facebook.

The Austria Press Agency reported Tuesday that authorities in Tyrol province imposed the fine on the man, whose name wasn’t released, for violating “public decency” by “defaming two police officers.”

The man’s post in a Facebook group alerted others to “two smurfs standing with lasers” on a local highway. A police officer who was also in the group filed a complaint.

The local Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper reported that the man maintains the term “smurfs” was meant as a harmless joke rather than an insult, and plans to defend himself at regional police headquarters.