MOUNTAIN - New Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill presented a great suggestion to the Franklin County Legislature last week. There are too many inmates to hold in the jail, and the county currently has 11 inmates farmed out to other jails as a whopping cost of $85 a day per person, adding up to almost $1,000 a day total. Instead, Sheriff Mulverhill would like to contract with a company that would monitor certain eligible inmates at their homes.
The cost would be $6 a day as opposed to $85, and Mulverhill said most of the people who were put at home would have to pay that cost. It could save the county $300,000 to $500,000 a year, he said; plus, it would help reduce recidivism by easing these inmates' transitions back into society.
Each inmate's eligibility would be based on factors such his or her crime, home life circumstances and where in the sentencing process he or she is. The sheriff, district attorney and a judge would also have to approve each one. And if you screw up once while at home, back to jail you'd go.
Absolutely, we say. It's common knowledge that for certain people charged with crimes, jail does more harm than good. And reducing recidivism will mean fewer inmates to house and pay for in the long run. We like this kind of thinking from the new sheriff. We didn't endorse him in the fall election, but we might have if we'd known about this practical suggestion.
VALLEY - On the other hand, a county official we did endorse just proposed something that must warn against: Legislator Tim Burpoe of Saranac Lake wants the county to hire a lobbying firm to get money out of the federal government. The county already has a lobbyist in Washington; his name is Bill Owens, the congressman. Hiring a private firm seems extraordinarily wrong-headed.
MOUNTAIN - We join many others in giving mountains of praise to young Cedar Rivers. Tupper Lake Mayor Mickey Desmarais was right in calling the 4-year-old boy a hero for being alert and helping searchers find Helen Reandeau on Dec. 2, when Ms. Reandeau wandered away from her home and, confused with dementia, got lost. When Cedar saw a missing-woman poster bearing Ms. Reandeau's picture later that day, he told his mother that he had seen her earlier, out the window of his babysitter's home. That tip proved to be the one that led police and forest rangers to her as she shivered in the snow.
But even more mountains go to the searchers and the entire Tupper Lake community for responding so quickly and thoroughly when Ms. Reandeau went missing. If those posters hadn't have been put up so quickly, Cedar wouldn't have been able to lead searchers to her.
VALLEY - Finally, we are sorrowful that not all who are lost have been found. There is still no sign of two Saranac Lake men: Gary Sklaryk has not been seen since Jan. 2, and Wesley Wamsganz went missing on Nov. 20. Our hearts go out to their families and friends.