Mary Keith, president of the Good Samaritan Society-Mount Carroll Auxiliary, greeted guests at the Auxiliary’s 8th Annual Christmas Bake Sale held recently at the Community House. The Auxiliary is purchasing chairs for the residents’ dining area with the more than $1,100 raised through this event. The Auxiliary welcomes new members and meets monthly at the Good Samaritan Society-Mount Carroll. Members volunteer and host fundraisers to benefit the residents at the care center. For more information, contact Anna Gray at 815-244-7715.
Durbin Holds Hearing on Ending the ‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’
Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, held a hearing Dec. 12 on the school-to-prison pipeline. The first-ever Congressional hearing on the matter investigated the troubling increase in the number of young people sent to the juvenile delinquency system as a result of relatively minor school discipline issues.
“For many young people, our schools are increasingly a gateway to the criminal justice system. This phenomenon is a consequence of a culture of zero tolerance that is widespread in our schools and is depriving many children of their fundamental right to an education,” Durbin said. “The current system puts kids on a path into the adult justice system for minor infractions. I hope today’s hearing can initiate reforms to better discipline our students without forcing them out of the classroom and into a courtroom.”
Since the 1990s, many students nationwide have been pushed out of the classroom and into the courts for relatively minor, non-violent offenses. Concerns about school violence and a growing awareness of bullying led many schools to hire police and institute “zero-tolerance” policies. This resulted in a dramatic increase in suspensions, expulsions, and even in-school arrests for misbehavior that is normal for school children. For example:
An 11 year-old in Florida who was caught with a cell phone in class received a five-day suspension.
A 12 year-old student was suspended for more than 20 days for infractions like chewing gum and talking in class.
A high school honors student in Texas living apart from her parents and helping to support multiple siblings with both a full- and part-time job, was arrested for missing class and forced to spend the night in jail. This young girl was left distraught and concerned about a criminal record that could always haunt her.
Suspensions, expulsions, and in-school arrests lead to kids being out of the classroom, and a troubling increase in the number of young people sent to the juvenile justice system. According to one leading study, students who were suspended were two times more likely to repeat a grade and three times more likely to be involved with the juvenile justice system.
Once kids enter the criminal justice system, they are more likely to fail in school, which in turn increases their chances of ending up back in the criminal justice system in the future. This is a cycle with increased public safety risks for everyone in the community. And the pipeline is expensive. The costs of policing schools and unnecessarily housing juveniles in detention are enormous.
This “school-to-prison pipeline” also wastes scarce government resources on ineffective policies and has led to striking racial disparities. Over 70 percent of students in school-related referrals to law enforcement are African-American or Latino. Nationally, African-American students are three times more likely to be suspended, and four times more likely to be expelled, than their white peers. Students with disabilities are suspended at more than twice the rate of students without disabilities. And gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth are more likely to be disciplined and arrested than their peers.
Testifying at today’s hearing were: Rep. Bobby Scott, U.S. Congressman, Virginia; Rep. Danny Davis, U.S. Congressman, Illinois; Deb Delisle, Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; Melodee Hanes, Acting Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice; Michael DeWine, Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Senator from Ohio; Steven Teske, Chief Judge, Clayton County Juvenile Court, Clayton County, Georgia; Edward Ward, Youth Leader, Blocks Together, Chicago, Illinois; Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director, Advancement Project; and Andrew Coulson, Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom.
Video of the hearing can be viewed at www.judiciary.senate.gov
Morthland Calls HB5440 ‘Ineffective and Irresponsible
State Representative Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) pledges to vote against House Bill 5440, the proposed tax on satellite TV, if the sponsors try to pass the measure during the upcoming Lame Duck session in January.
Representative Morthland calls the new 5% fee an “ill-contrived attempt to distract from the major issues facing our State.” Morthland says that both his Springfield and Moline offices have been receiving many calls from constituents who are justifiably outraged at this new Springfield money grab.
“Here’s another fee that will prove to be ineffective and irresponsible in our current economic condition. The budgets of hard working families and businesses are already stretched to their limits,” said Rep. Morthland. “To make matters worse, this tax unfairly punishes rural residents and other downstate folks who only have access to the coverage that satellite television affords.”
Proponents of HB5440 claim it will raise about $75 million, which would be used to bolster education funding. Rep. Morthland questions that revenue projection number, noting that an already struggling economy conflates projections and provides for decreasing tax revenues. Furthermore, Morthland claims that the tax is a thinly veiled attempt by Cable Television companies to unfairly hurt their competitors.
“Adding the tax to satellite TV bills would be like charging toll-way fees to airline passengers,” said Morthland. “These customers are doing business miles and miles above the infrastructure that traditional Cable companies interact with. This tax is fundamentally unfair and misdirected”
HB 5440 passed the Senate on vote of 30-27. The bill is likely to be brought for a vote on the House floor during the upcoming January session.
Winners Announced in FHN Safe Driving Contest
Just in time for snowy roads, FHN has chosen winners in its safe winter driving contest.
Contestants could guess the average number of miles put on FHN’s three messenger vans each year – the vans, featuring photos of FHN employees from different departments throughout the organization, travel a lot of miles across northwest Illinois transporting lab specimens, equipment, and materials efficiently and quickly.
Winners of car safety kits were chosen from a number of FHN locations, and the three people who guessed closest to our actual mileage – just under 100,000 miles a year! – will receive gift cards to Farm & Fleet for winter driving essentials.
The gift card winners are Mark Diddens ($200); Brittney Mordini ($100); and Dana Bastian ($50).
The car safety kit winners from FHN locations are:
FHN FastCare: Noah Currier
FHN Specialty Care – Stephenson Street: Alisha Ott
FHN Community Clinic: Pat Nevenhoven
FHN Family Healthcare Center – Burchard Hills: Jerome Evans
FHN Family Healthcare Center – Pecatonica: Kim Traum
FHN Family Healthcare Center – Warren: Leslie Koehler
FHN Family Dental Care: Vicki Bales
FHN Family Healthcare Center – Forreston: Margaret Strite
FHN Family Healthcare Center – Savanna: Frances Morganflash
FHN Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center: Fay Christen
FHN Family Healthcare Center – Stockton: Stacey McGuire
FHN Family Healthcare Center – Highlandview Drive: Darrell Baker
Congratulations to all the winners, and remember to drive safely this winter!
Minor Charged for Bomb Threat
Together, Morrison Police Chief Brian Melton and Whiteside County State’s Attorney Trish Joyce announce that charges were filed on December 20, 2012, against a male minor, age seventeen (17) of Morrison. The male minor, who was sixteen (16) years old at the time of the offense, is being charged with Disorderly Conduct, a Class 3 Felony.
The Class 3 Felony charge of Disorderly Conduct against the male minor is the result of the bomb threat made on September 11, 2012, at the Morrison High School. Beyond the threat itself, no further evidence was discovered or identified to legitimize such threat.
Chief Melton explains, “Making a bomb threat knowing the threat to be false is still a serious crime.” Melton concluded by stating, “The Morrison Police Department is working with the State’s Attorney’s Office and continues to investigate the other bomb threat incidents to bring those responsible to justice.”
The public is reminded that these are merely charges and all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Beef Cattle Seminar January 8
Beef cattle producers are encouraged to optimize their opportunities and attend a workshop focused on overcoming the challenges of 2012. The meeting will be held January 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, IL.
Speakers from the University of Illinois, American Angus Association, Dekalb Feeds and Wyoming Vet Service will highlight handling high feed costs in cow herds, new era in sire selection, management strategies for drought stressed pastures, technologies for improved feed efficiency in feedlot cattle and calving season tips and herd health management.
Cost to participate is $15 per person and includes continental breakfast, lunch and handout material. Please register online at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/clw or by calling 815-835-2070 by January 3, 2013.
The seminar is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension, Sauk Valley Community College and Whiteside County Cattleman’s Association.