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Letters to the Editor

Chana School open house went well

Dear Editor,

Chana School Museum once again scheduled its Autumn on Parade open house and food booth to help support the Focus House Car Show and the Classic Tractor Show.

It was a wet Saturday on Oct. 7, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the volunteers at the Chana School Museum.

The museum’s food booth was available for early morning coffee and donuts for the folks registering their cars or tractors for the shows that day.

The Chana School Museum Board would like to thank the volunteers who helped to set up the large tent on Friday, who organized the tent for the food booth early on Saturday, who worked one of the two-hour shifts during the shows that day, and those who helped to take down and clean up after the food booth.

Much of the food for the food booth was donated to support the Chana School Museum which is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and donations not the tax dollar.

A thank you goes out to Ken and Barb Giese for the generous donation of all the buns used at the booth.

Another thank you goes out to Diane Lillie and Brian Grover for donating the quarter pounder hot dogs for one of the lunch options.

Also a thank you goes to Mindy Thomas, who is a registered food handler at the Oregon Community High School and helps to make sure that the Chana School food booth is setup properly and ready to serve the public safely.

Thank you to all the ladies who volunteered to bake cookies. Lunches at the food booth were topped off with a cookie for dessert.

Docents who greeted visitors and could answer any questions in the morning were Brian Grover, Lindy Eckhard, and Kathy Rager, all from Chana.

Then Mark Herman, Sherrie Piros, and Earlyne Warmolts were available in the afternoon.

The open house was especially warm with special music by Sarah Bliss and her piano student Jane Elliott, of Freeport.

All money taken in went to support the work at the museum.

Donna Gruber was at the schoolhouse introducing a new fundraiser for the old school. 

Bergner booklets are now available for $5. This money goes to the Chana School Museum, but the buyer of the booklet gets $10 off any purchase at Bergners during its Community Days sale running from Nov. 8-11 with the first coupon inside the booklet.

In addition to making $5 from your donation of $5 for the booklet, there are $500 worth of discount coupons within the booklet.

To get a booklet today you can go to Merlins Greenhouse, the Flower Patch, Curves, and Joanne’s Total Image all of which are in Oregon.

Booklets may also be bought online at http://bit.ly/2hOkcaj and will be sent directly to your home.  You can help the historical Chana School with your purchase.

Connie Stauffer

Secretary

Chana School Foundation

Colson responds to letter writers

Dear Editor,

Re: New Ogle Jail. Since, in artillery terms, I have “incoming” from three sides I’ll try to answer, backtracking in orderly, accurate, segments.

In terms of the fondness for the Pines Road flood plain location, the real issue to minimize transport, especially in trial situations, is life-safety for deputies.  

Please refer to the final paragraph (#5) of this message. This is the most important paragraph of this months-long discussion.

For clarification my earlier message, quote: “While over 99 percent of those citizens are content to let their elected officials work through the arduous process of delivering the best jail possible there is a small, but vocal and influential, contingent that imagines all manner of negative outcomes from the proposed jail.”

Most of the 99 percent don’t have a strong position one way or another, but the statement was not that I claimed 99 percent in favor as some of the “incoming” states.

Another component of the “incoming” was that I criticized the …small, but vocal and infinitesimal contingent…Infinitesimal could have been considered denigrating, but if you check the above quote the word was influential, a favorable description in anyone’s book. 

The downside to that is that the influence was used for two individuals to control the outcome of an Oregon City Council vote, and in the process delay the jail project by at least seven months.  

Using standard architectural planning charts, inflation for a project of this size would be about $67,000 per month.  

Probable cost to the project (and Ogle County citizens) of that “influence” - $469,000.

Another facet of the “incoming”: was noise, disruption, 24-hour lights.  

The jail will be an addition to the judicial center with exactly the same degree of “noise, disruption, 24-hour lights.”

Stop by the judicial center tomorrow night and form your own view.

A recent Guest Editorial in area publications – by a highly intelligent community leader and major employer – brought up points developed from a viewpoint that didn’t have the benefit of access to the architects, engineers, and law enforcement professionals that have worked in close cooperation for several years on the Ogle County Jail concept development.

Questions raised:  

1-Outside Detainees (federal and others). The writer references having a “secure” source of revenue.

That doesn’t exist in the real world. The writer’s manufactured machinery and the county’s revenue-producing outside detainees are only successful by continued quality products (machinery) and services (detainee housing) bringing return business.

Fortunately, the existing concept development produces a new jail that can (with efficient sight lines for supervision) handle up to 200 inmates with no increase in deputies (it will require one more janitorial person) over the current two-floor 109 bed jail).

2-Social Services. Many, if not most, of the federal detainees are held for trial for charges that originated with “border crossing.”

Rest assured that their fellow “border crossers” will not come within many miles of Ogle County at any time.

Also, this is a jail not a prison. Detainees are held until trial, not to serve a sentence unless it is under one year.

Count on the effect on social services to be zero. 

3-Property Values. Property values are a valid concern, but not necessarily a reality. The current policy is designed to gives the adjoining homeowners a “comfort zone.”  

As circumstances evolve in the future, Ogle County will likely be the purchaser of those properties, at fair market value (when the property owner chooses to sell). 

4-Legal Issues. The potential legal cost of challenging the situation that has evolved from the forceful use of an obscure “supermajority” law is infinitesimal compared to the $1 to $2 million increase in construction cost (landfill dollars) and the $300,000 to $900,000 increase in annual operating cost (taxpayer dollars) that can be avoided by closing Sixth Street. 

The cost of the “Chicago” (actually Lemont) Law Firm and the effective legal path they offer will, for a few thousand dollars, counter the $2M construction, $900K annual operating, cost the supermajority would force on the project. 

Significantly, a traffic engineering study by Willett Hoffman Associates found that closing Sixth Street, “would not place a burden on the adjacent streets.” 

Suggestions:

1-Consider a plan for a smaller 100-125 bed jail - Ogle County already processes an average of 134 detainees daily with 109 beds for those that might be incarcerated for a period of time.

2-A smaller facility would cost substantially less to build… - The lowest cost time to build capacity in any structure is in original construction.

To build in the same size range we have already outgrown is not feasible.

That would require “adding on” at a point in the future when construction would probably be taxpayer dollars rather than landfill dollars.

3-The current internal transfer station at the judicial center could still be… - The one-vehicle sally port of the judicial center is currently a bottleneck and was just a bridge to the next step in development.

4-Consider rebuilding the jail in its current location - Quite apart from the esthetic considerations of the Courthouse Square, the cost of this suggestion would be astronomical.

Guesstimate with demolition and two years out-of-county per diem [housing Ogle County prisoners somewhere else], $40-45M for 125 beds.

5- In today’s violent world it is vital that we do all we can to protect law abiding citizens - and let’s add deputies to that list.   

Secure internal hallways from jail to courtroom holding cell to courtroom and back to jail are the only safe, sane way to carry out this very important function.

Ron Colson

Ogle County Board Member

Soccer season was successful

Dear Editor, 

I would like to thank all the Oregon Park District fall soccer players, coaches, parents, spectators, officials, grounds crew and all involved in making this fall season a very successful one. 

A special thank you to all our local sponsors.

Thank you again for everyone’s support in providing and promoting youth athletics in Oregon.

Calvin Clothier

Athletic Facility Manager

Oregon Park District

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