IMPACT

Police Break Into Home, Evict Mother And Week-Old Son

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As part of its Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up a few of the best local stories of the day.

In November, Tiffany Wilkins was facing foreclosure when she gave birth to her son, Malachi. A week later, police used a battering ram to break into her Southern Chicago suburban home, reports Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star. After their violent eviction she and her new son, along with eight-year-old Heaven Perez, and Tiffany's mother Zina, were homeless, going from shelter to shelter every night.

Yvonne Griffin-Bland, a coordinator at a local shelter, found the family and helped to put them somewhere more permanent. "I just saw this little baby and thought this is no place for such a small child," she said. The family spent a few days in a motel until they could be placed into a transitional housing unit, which happened on Monday.

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In Fort Yukon, AK, mushers running low on dog food are worried about feeding their animals, reports Joshua Armstrong for the Fairbanks News Miner. A poor fishing season has combined with the bad economy to leave mushers, who run dog-pulled sleds across the frozen tundra, without enough money to buy food for their animals.

Anthony Shewfelt, one local musher, owns 22 dogs, but said he would rather kill his dogs, which he has raised since he was 12, than let them go hungry. "The last thing I want to do is starve a dog," he said.

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Richard Crane made over $100,000 a year at his old job, reports Ianthe Jeanne Dugan for the Wall Street Journal. He used to operate heavy machinery for Delco, a former General Motors subsidiary, since graduating from high school in the early 1980s. But since he was laid off three years ago he has been unable to find any comparable work, and has been working two jobs to make just a third of his former salary.

He claimed he has applied for hundreds of other jobs, but nothing has come through, and his current income has forced serious cutbacks. Over the summer he went three months without gas, and working 60-plus hours a week means he rarely sees his son.

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Students at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles protested when an adored teacher with low seniority was laid off in September, reports Amina Khan for the Los Angeles Times. Five hundred students staged a sit-in on Christine Gutierrez's last day, and petitioned the Board of Education to reinstate her. "She just actually cares," explained student Veronica Biblarz when asked why she supported the teacher. "She takes it seriously."

The students won out, and school board members admitted the display was touching. Gutierrez was reappointed to the high school last week as a substitute teacher.

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Susan, who does not give her last name, used to work for a nonprofit agency that directed clients to local charities and aid organizations. But after her husband lost his job over a year ago, the family is now going to those same charities to stay in their house and give their two children Christmas gifts, reports Beth Lamontagne Hall for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

She was hesitant to start asking for help, she said: "I thought, I really don't want to do this. There are probably more people out there worse off then we are." But she swallowed her pride and went to the local Salvation Army's Santa Fund program, which "makes it possible for the holidays to still be a joyful time" for everyone.

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All of the homeless shelters in Portland, Maine, are full to capacity, and assistance grants to help the poor in the city are up forty percent, reports Susan Kimball for local TV station WCSH.

Julie, a mother of five who declined to give her last name, has been in a shelter with her family for the last two weeks. She lost her apartment after medical bills put the family behind on rent and a heart attack put the children's father out of work. "Never thought I'd be in this spot" she said, "I'm amazed how easily it can happen."


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