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Probe: Sept. 27, 2001

September 27, 2001

QUESTION: Hi, my name is Bessie. I want to get a DNA test. I think T.J. is my father but my mom said I am not his daughter. She said that in anger. I think I am his daughter because I love him with all my heart.

I don't think R.B. is my dad. I don't think R.B. will be my dad. My mom said I am not his daughter, either. I don't know if that's true because mom was mad at T.J. at the time. I don't know whose daughter I am. I think I am T.J.'s daughter because I love him so much. I want a DNA test. — Confused, Seeley

Don't worry, Bessie. We talked to T.J. and he told us he is as confused as you are. For that reason, he wouldn't mind having a DNA test, just to clear the air.

He assured us that no matter what the DNA test shows, you are his daughter. "In my heart she will always be my daughter. I raised her since she was a baby. When she gets married I want to be at her wedding to give her away."

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Legally, you are T.J.'s daughter because you were born during the marriage. There is a legal presumption that the child of a married woman is the child of her husband.

T.J. and Bessie's mom are getting a divorce. Nevertheless, under the law, once a father, always a father, although we suspect that could change in the age of DNA.

Bessie's mom should be ashamed of making the 10-year-old doubt her dad is her dad. A mother like that shouldn't get a card on Mother's Day.

QUESTION: I am an employee at Seeley Union Elementary School. Since school started I have noticed that every day a parent in a Red Cross van drops off her child at school. After school she picks the child up driving the same van.

I know I can't use a school district vehicle to drive my family around. Can the Red Cross do that? I know many public agencies consider that a misuse of public property. Is the Red Cross a government agency? Did my New York donation go for the gasoline to drive her child to school? — School Employee, Seeley

Providing a vehicle for upper-level employees is a perk that many public agencies provide. Some think it saves money because it helps to recruit employees at lower salaries.

The driver of the van is Sylvia Preciado, director of the local branch of the Red Cross. She says she drives her daughter to school in the van because she is on-call 24 hours a day.

If there is a fire or other emergency call in the middle of the night, she has the van in which to respond. She needs a van to carry the water and soft drinks and sandwiches to take to firefighters at emergency scenes, she said.

If the Red Cross wants to do that, it's fine. The Red Cross is not a government agency. It gets no taxpayer funds. All of its money comes from public donations.

Providing food and drink to public employees doesn't seem like the job we expect the Red Cross will be doing in an emergency.

CALL US UTAH — Did you hear from P. Douglas Osborne, the man who didn't finish the brace for Utah Phillips? He called me and accused me of calling PROBE. He said he was going to call you. I am a former employee still waiting for my last paycheck. — Unpaid, Holtville

He left a message for us on our voice mail, promising to call us later. We haven't heard from him since. Now we're hoping to hear from Utah so we can share information.

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