Supervisors proclaim April Child Abuse Prevention Month in the county

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Henry County Supervisors officially proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention Month in the county on Tuesday.

Supervisor Greg Moeller read the proclamation, stating that this month is to call attention to the issue of child abuse and its prevention to the citizens of Henry County.

?We urge all to dedicate their energies to cherishing and protecting Henry County children, thereby strengthening the community in which we live,? Moeller read during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, April 3.

According to the proclamation, child abuse and neglect persists as one of the most serious public health problems and is a community problem that needs to be addressed. The proclamation read that every child in Henry County is entitled to be cared for, secure and protected from verbal, sexual and physical abuse and neglect.

The proclamation read that child abuse persists when people find themselves in stressful situations without community resources or healthy coping skills. Neglect is felt by whole communities and solutions depend on the involvement among people in the community for real change to happen.

?Effective child abuse prevention is possible,? Moeller read, saying that through partnerships with families, social service agencies, schools, government, faith communities, law enforcement and businesses, child abuse prevention programs can succeed.

In other news, County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss said that while some residents have been poking fun at his decision to remove blades for snow removal on their trucks, he stands by his decision, he joked.

Trucks were sent out Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, to plow snow and sleet in the northern part of the county. Hotchkiss said that they wanted to ensure everything was clear for traffic with snow and sleet building up on the pavement.

Last week, operators removed a large tree on 253rd St. east of Oakland Mills, and worked on bridges. One of the bridges repaired was a damaged guardrail on Iowa Ave.

Territory operators are continuing to haul spot rock, working on signs and dust control as they maintain roads to get ready for spring.

?We?re waiting for spring to decide to come,? Hotchkiss said.

During the Board of Supervisors open forum, Ed Longanecker approached Supervisors with concerns regarding the disposal of monitoring of private alarms through the Henry County Sheriff?s office.

In February, Sheriff Rich McNamee told Supervisors that the Bosch alarm recorder was no longer viable and had ?lived its life.? While a new Bosch recorder was quickly ordered, McNamee said that since they were replacing the old recorder, he no longer had plans to continue to serve the public sector through that outlet and will continue to monitor calls coming from county offices only.

The Sheriff?s office currently has about 60 customers whose private alarm calls they are monitoring. McNamee said that dispatchers don?t need those extra duties and suggested that residents can reach out to private security companies to monitor their calls.

The Sheriff?s office will continue to monitor calls until Jan. 1, 2019.

Eliminating that service is the decision of the Sheriff?s office. While Supervisors said they are able to voice their approval or disapproval, ultimately, it is McNamee?s decision to do away with monitoring alarms.

Longanecker, who uses the Sheriff?s service at Iris City Cleaners, Colonial Apartments, Mapleleaf Apartments and his private residence, said that moving to a private monitoring service would cost him and his wife a lot more than they?re paying now.

Longanecker said that it doesn?t make sense to him why, if they have an alarm system in their house, that alarm signal will go to Davenport first where the company is located rather than going straight to the Sheriff?s office. He said he had spoken with the sheriff and felt like he also had an obligation to come to Supervisors and talk about that loss of service.

?The community has been good to the sheriff, they?ve given him a new jail, they?re giving him all the new equipment associated with that jail, and now we?re faced with the loss of service to the community, not necessarily as a result of it, but in the midst of it,? Longanecker said.

Supervisor Marc Lindeen said they will look into the cost of implementing a private alarm monitoring system in the new jail facility and further discuss the cost of that to the county with McNamee.