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REUNITED: Adopted Teen Meets Mother

Last Sunday a Urbandale teen posted a photo on Facebook asking for information on her birth mother. This weekend they met for the first time.

19 years ago Nicole Reinier left her daughter Hannah Stouffer a gift. “I thought they were beautiful and I wanted her to have a soft blanket,” said Nicole.

Growing up this blanket was as close as Hannah could get to her birth mother. “I was praying and praying and praying, ‘Please let me find my mom.’” said Hannah.

This blanket and a Facebook photo started it all. “I had to bite the bullet and email this stranger and I`m like, ‘Do you know this girl?’” said Nicole.

When Nicole told Hannah about the blanket, Hannah knew. “Holy cow! It`s her!” said Hannah.

The only ones more surprised are Hannah`s siblings who didn`t know their mother had a child when she was 15.

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Volunteers are walking tall for those who can’t walk away.

You should never judge a person, until you walk a mile in their shoes. And if you walk a little over three miles in stilettos … your heels are going to hurt.

But organizers say those pumps should be painful. Karena Steir is the creator of Heels of Hope, a 5K awareness campaign for human trafficking. “Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world,” said Steir.

At the age of 14, men trafficked Brittany Phillips outside of a grocery store in Cedar Rapids. A few months later undercover police rescued Phillips in Chicago. Now 22-years-old Phillips is a survivor and an advocate, handing out nameless dog tags at the finish line.“It means a lot to me what they’re doing,” said Phillips.

The tags symbol the nameless people that still need to be rescued.

ONLINE PLEA: Social Media Helps Woman Find Birth Mom

A 19-year-old woman is meeting her birth mother for the first time thanks to a photo she posted online.

Hannah Stouffer of Urbandale posted a photo asking for information on her birth mother earlier this week.

Three days and 53,000 re-tweets later, she got a hold of her mother. It turns out her mother still lives in Des Moines. They`ve been texting back and forth for days.

Stouffer says she needed some time to prepare for meeting her mother in person..

“’I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I’m nervous. I`m scared. Every time I think about it I just want to cry. I just can`t believe it`s happening already. I’ve waited so long and it`s finally happening,” Stouffer says.

Growing up all Stouffer knew about her birth mother was that she gave birth to Stouffer when she was 15-years-old. “I was just so angry that she would give me up.”

RECYCLE REVOLUTION: Party Celebrates Earth Day

People will celebrate Earth Day this weekend with a one of a kind block party and concert. The celebration is Saturday in the East Village.

Ciji Matrisin knows all about waste. She says, “I titled myself as the Chief Recycling Officer.” She started Recycle Me Iowa four years ago. The growing company handles recycling for apartment dwellers, small businesses and specializes in zero waste events.

This Saturday, she’ll throw a party called Recycle Revolution. She says, “It’s overall just an Earth Day celebration. I wanted to give people an actual activity that they could do to implement, I call them Earth Day resolutions.”

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BRIDGE DESIGN: Council To Vote Monday

The Des Moines city council will meet Monday to approve a design for the Grand Avenue Bridge downtown.

The bridge is crumbling and council members say it’ll cost less to replace it than to fix it.

The city is considering several options. There’s a basic model, which is the cheapest at about $6 million.

As more features are added to make it look more historic, the price tag goes up. A bridge with real arch supports, like the one on the current bridge, would cost about $32 million.

DRUG DEATHS: Judge To Rule Whether Witnesses Can Testify

The trial of a Des Moines doctor has hit a road block.

Dr. Daniel Baldi is accused of nine counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The prosecution was scheduled to call more witnesses to the stand Friday morning, however when the Judge asked if the attorneys were ready to proceed it was clear not everyone was on the same page.

Polk County Assistant Attorney Jaki Livingston had planned to call a Doctor to the stand to testify Friday morning.

However, the doctor plus four other witnesses the prosecution wanted to testify have been put on hold.

Thursday, the defense filed a motion for all five witnesses to be excluded from testifying because they violated Baldi’s constitutional right.

The witnesses are experts but did not specifically write the reports they would be talking about. The defense claims it would not allow Baldi an opportunity to face his accusers.

WATER WOES: Struggle For Community Gardens

It was supposed to be easier this year.

The planting beds were in place, strawberries returning and neighborhood volunteers had the memories of last year’s bumper crop to fuel them.

“We got a lot of vegetables and produce out of it,” said Terry Mitchell, a resident of the King-Irving neighborhood on Des Moines’ near-north side.

“At one point we were harvesting 250 pounds of tomatoes daily,” said Ralph Chiodo, who runs the community garden as a part of his Forest Avenue Outreach program.

Around 3,000 pounds of fresh food and out of a forgotten site in the King-Irving Neighborhood that formerly produced little more than sore eyes.

“100% of the food from these gardens go to food pantries and neighborhood families—people who participate,” Chiodo said.

But the good vibe at this community garden and the others in Des Moines was knocked askew this week by a call from Des Moines Water Works regarding this year’s water rates.