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Letters to the Editor

Jail plan is questioned

Dear Editor,

The proposed Ogle County jail will house 180 to 200 inmates, almost double the current capacity.  

Who are these inmates, and why are their numbers growing?  

After multiple attempts to find out, I learned from Sheriff [Brian] VanVickle that they are Ogle County and federal pretrial detainees, not yet convicted of the crime for which they have been charged. 

The county receives payment to house federal detainees and their number varies based on number of available beds.  

At the time of our conversation, there were seven federal detainees in the jail.  

A former county bailiff told me that jail inmates may also include county residents serving short sentences.

According to Sheriff VanVickle, Ogle County began tracking crime statistics in 2001, but due to technical difficulties, almost no data from before 2009 is available.  

The design for the new jail is based on “projected need over the next several decades,” but those projections are actually based on just eight years of county statistics plus FBI statistics – the same ones that show crime rates decreasing as our national population increases and our county population decreases.  

An increase in state crime rates is referenced as additional justification for the scale of this project.  

Gov. [Bruce] Rauner has appointed a committee to look at reducing the prison population by 25 percent in the next 10 to 15 years.  

Lawmakers nationwide are working to reduce the inmate population, not increase it.  

By building such a large jail, we are moving backward and not looking forward to the future.

Since it is illogical to build a jail this large, why is it being proposed? As a money-maker for the county? If so, is this what the majority of residents want?  

I appreciate the time and effort that has been put forth by those involved in this process.  

We all want a safe community and a place to house inmates that is safe and livable.  

The questions that have not yet been adequately addressed are why so big and why downtown? 

The county board decided not to put this proposal to a referendum due to the cost. Given the impact of this decision, it seems a very small price to pay.  

Cindy Enzler

Oregon

Learn more about drug court

Dear Editor, 

In light of May being the National Drug Court Awareness Month, the New Horizons Ogle County Adult Drug Court would like to invite everyone to find out more about how our program reduces crime, saves money, ensures compliance, and restores families. 

For instance, cost savings range from $4,000 to $12,000 per participant.  

These savings result from reduced prison costs, revolving door arrests and trials, and decreased victimization. 

Additionally, more comprehensive and closer supervision is provided compared to other community-based supervision programs and offenders are six times more likely to stay in treatment long enough to get better. 

To learn more, please visit our Facebook page by searching for @newhorizonsdrugcourt and/or by contacting our Coordinator, Brooke Plachno at bplachno@oglecounty.org.

Additionally, we would like to thank the Rochelle Area Community Foundation for their generous grant award of $500, which was presented on May 4. 

Although our program is proudly self-sustainable, we are able to accept private donations through our partnership with the Foundation for Focus House and Community Programming (501c3). 

The grant will be used toward purchasing incentives for our participants as they successfully complete phases of the program. All donations are tax-deductible.

As the criminal justice continues to shift away from punitive measures and toward a model that utilizes results-based practices grounded in treatment and restorative justice, it is invigorating to know that our county is already at the forefront at this evolution. 

Sincerely, 

Samantha Anderson 

Community Projects Coordinator

Ogle County 

Food drive was appreciated

Dear Editor,

We will make this short and sweet — thank you to our local postal workers for their 25th annual food drive this past weekend. 

Between our postal workers and pantry volunteers it is was very successful cooperative venture.

Together we made a difference in helping “Stamp Out Hunger.”

Special thanks to Loaves and Fish volunteers for their ever present willingness to step in and give of their time and energy. 

Your local pantry is blessed in so many ways — ever so many thanks.

Barb Diehl, Jan Francis, and Lynne Wilburn 

Loaves & Fish Pantry trio of co-directors

Final week was memorable for Class of ‘17

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to take a quick moment and thank everyone in the community for making the last week for the class of 2017 a memorable one.  

We are very fortunate to have so many people who care enough to get involved in our baccalaureate service, Honors Night, and commencement ceremony.  

These important events helped highlight the wonderful accomplishments of the Class of 2017.  

The baccalaureate service was well attended and featured Ken Renkes from Forreston Reformed, Pastor Scott Ralston from Faith Lutheran, and Pastor Grant Mulder from Silver Creek Reformed.  

At our Honors Night we were able to honor our Seniors with $275,000 in scholarships for their post-secondary plans.  

A majority of those scholarships were from local families and generous businesses that continue to look for ways to stay active in the Forrestville Valley School District.

On May 14 we held our commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017.  

The entire ceremony was done with class and focused on our seniors.  

The speeches, awards, and presentation of diplomas were treated with the utmost respect and dignity our seniors deserved.  

Graduation is a big day for our seniors and I wanted to thank everyone for their help in making this year’s commencement ceremony one to remember!  

Thank you all for making Forrestville Valley a great place to work and live and to the Class of 2017 remember that commencement is the beginning and the entire world is your canvas.  

Best of luck in all of your endeavors and never forget your Cardinal family.

Cardinal Pride!

Travis Heinz

Principal 

Forreston Junior & Senior High School

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