Letters (Oct. 7, 2009)

A few questions about the jail project


I write this based on what I read and photos I see in the Free Press and Marion County Record.

I would like to discuss the safety issue at the jail. I don?t think you will find anyone in Marion County who will not agree that safety is an issue for the employees of the jail.

What I find is this has been discussed for over a year and no solution has been proposed to eliminate this problem while the total jail solution is still being formulated.

May I take the liberty to suggest a solution that is inexpensive and can be done in about two or three days? Material needed: lengths of 2- or 3-inch strap steel, u-bolts and panels of plexiglass. The plexiglass can be attached to the outside of the cells with the u-bolts and strap steel bars. No hands can reach through the plexiglass and there would still be visibility from the hallway into the cell.

Next thing I would like to discuss and ask some questions about: the newspaper continues to report the committee states it would cost $300,000 to transport the present jail population back and forth.

We were told a year ago the population of the jail was around 11 and would grow by an average of one per year to around 15 in a few years. We were also told that the cost of keeping a prisoner at Chase County would be somewhere between $30 to $40 a day.

Also we were told that Johnson County would have its new jail up and running in about a year or so. Therefore, Chase would probably have some beds to contract out to other counties.

If we use the $30 to $40 figures, here are the actual costs:

n 11 x $30 x 365 days = $120,450

n 15 x $30 x 365 days = $164,250

n 11 x $40 x 365 days = $160,600

n 15 x $40 x 365 days = $219,000

To me the $300,000 is quite misleading. Here are some of my unanswered questions. At one of the meetings last year we were told that about 80 percent of new arrests post bail within 24 to 48 hours.

This raises the question: why not build or find a prefab building that would handle the bookings and provide a holding place while an inmate is a threat?

Next question: Has anyone really checked the court records on how many trials have been held in the Marion County Courthouse from Jan. 1 through Aug. 30 of this year?

Question 2: How many of these were conducted with inmates in our county jail? How many days did it take to conduct these jury trials?

Question 3: How much money do we spend now annually for the operation of the present jail? Maybe some of that money could be spent operating a booking-holding facility.

It seems like, by newspaper coverage, we are back to the same conclusion as a year ago: We need a jail, but how do we pay for it?

Next comment: Hey, Enos, where were you when the commissioners were asking for volunteers to serve on the committee?

Very good question. My answer is as follows: My wife has been in the St. Luke?s Living Center for the past three years; at the end of April 2009 she was gravely ill. I was not in a good mental state to deal with being on the jail committee if I was one picked. She passed away on May 27, 2009.

To the committee and county Commissioners: If anything I have written is not accurate, has been considered and not reported, please respond by newspaper article, because we would like to know. Some people are afraid to write such a letter.

Eugene Enos



Dog attacks are a real problem for many


A mail carrier was attacked and bitten in Hillsboro last month. The dog owner witnessed the attack and restrained the animal after the attack.

For every letter carrier bitten, 900 children needlessly suffer the pain and trauma of dog bites. Whatever the reasons, dog bites are a serious problem for the entire community, not just our letter carriers?3,184 carriers suffered dog bites last year. That?s an average of 11 dog attacks every delivery day, and that figure does not include the number of threats.

These numbers pale in comparison with the more than 4.7 million people?mostly children and the elderly?who suffer injuries from dog attacks each year.

Fortunately, most dog bites can be prevented through responsible pet ownership. If a letter carrier needs to deliver a certified letter or a package to you, put your dog into a separate room before opening your front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.

Nationally, the number of carriers bitten by dogs has declined over the years. This is because of greater cooperation from dog owners, stricter leash laws and stepped-up efforts to educate letter carriers and the public about dealing with the problem.

Our letter carriers are vigilant and dedicated, but we may be forced to stop mail delivery at an address if a letter carrier is threatened by a vicious dog.

If your dog does attack or bite someone, you could be liable for the victim?s pain, suffering and medical expenses. Potential victims include your letter and rural carrier and neighborhood children.

While some attribute attacks on letter carriers to dogs? inbred aversion to uniforms, experts say the psychology actually runs much deeper. Every day that a letter carrier comes into a dog?s territory, the dog barks and the letter carrier leaves. Day after day the dog sees this action repeated.

After a week or two, the dog appears to feel invincible against intruders. Once the dog gets loose, there?s a good chance it will attack.

Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. We also recommend parents ask their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers. A dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

These simple reminders and helpful tips can reduce the hazard of dog bite attacks.

Rebecca Larsen, postmaster



We need statesmen, not politicians


In response to letters in the Sept. 23 issue, Randy Smith puts out some good points. Only wish I could have heard the talk and the one after; but it is out of the question. Wish I could get a CD of them.

I think everyone realizes there are problems with our current health-care system. They need to be addressed one at a time with careful study and debate, not with a complete overhaul of the system. It does not have to happen in 60 days.

Trying to quickly rewrite most of our entire health-care program is like throwing the baby out with the bath water just to get clean water.

I agree there has been too much shouting at town hall meetings by tea baggers, but also remember, speakers have a responsibility to be civil, to have thoughtful and thought provoking statements, not to be lecturing as ignorant.

I have heard of violence by pro health?-care advocates, trying to silence and intimidate the tea baggers, and in some cases packing the halls to keep tea baggers out. I agree some of the signs and language was inappropriate and detracts from their message.

However, it was Nancy Pelosi who called them Nazis; other staffers and Democratic leaders called them un-American and unpatriotic. To me, that says agree with us or else.

There is too much heat and not enough light. That is why it needs to be defeated. Then, in a few months, let?s start over, one problem at a time in open debate and careful study, to get the best solutions possible.

We need some statesmen and not just politicians.

I will add here in the Labor Day rally in Washington, D.C., with over 100,000 people taking part, there were no reported confrontations with the police and no arrests. I also understand the city cleanup crew was amazed at how little trash there was.

Compare that to the liberals? demonstration in Pittsburgh a few days ago. Windows smashed, stores looted, rocks thrown at the politicians and fires set. I can only imagine the cleanup problem.

Does that tell us something?

Ted McIrvin


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