Court volunteer Empson will be missed
I was surprised and saddened to hear that longtime court volunteer Gene Empson passed away on Presidents’ Day.
Although Gene had several health problems in the past few years, he always returned to his post as volunteer court attendant for the Clinton County Magistrate and Associate courts. With few exceptions over the past 20 years, Gene came to the Clinton County Courthouse every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. to check in persons for initial appearances in Magistrate court.
When court started at 8 a.m., he would bring persons into the courtroom and stay and help fill out any necessary paperwork and make sure people had copies of their court paperwork. After finishing initial appearances in Magistrate he would go over to Associate Court and assist that court with initial appearances for persons appearing at the courthouse and for this at the Clinton County Jail. He also assisted in Associate Court on Friday mornings with people making court appearances.
Gene was a retired psychology professor at Clinton Community College. He was ideally suited for his position as volunteer court attendant. He got along well with people, was non-judgmental and very polite. There is no way we can adequately thank him for thousands of hours of unpaid service to the courts. He enjoyed his court service as much as the judges and court staff enjoyed having him work in the courts. He will be missed.
Clinton County magistrate judge
Clinton needs animal control officer
In the past two to three years, there have been several incidents in Clinton and the Clinton area resulting in the neglect, abuse, abandonment and death of dogs.
They have been starved to death or almost to death, left in crates outside to die, shot and killed and shot and injured. There have been some serious bite cases in the area. This most recent case of the eight dogs living in filth and squalor in a home without utilities is beyond the pale. The dogs seemed to have been living in that filth for quite some time. The reports are that they were fighting amongst themselves perhaps to survive or just a reaction to the stress of these disgusting conditions. One dog was found dead and perhaps other dogs buried in the back yard. This is a complete nightmare for the dogs, and the rescuers that rescued them. Unfortunately according to people, these dogs were being bred, which is just unacceptable on any level.
The question begs why do these situations in Clinton have to get to this level before someone steps in. The citizens have been speaking out, meeting have been held. The request to reinstate an animal control position has been put to the city leaders. Any yet here you are again.
It seems there is a lack of understanding of what an animal control officer does in the position. First and foremost, an animal control officer intervenes before situations like this occur. Animal Control is the first line of defense for animal abuse. The education is through children and adults and animal owners.
They are the investigative body to look into and follow up on reports about animal situations. They can enforce the laws, issue warnings and citations and fines, and if need be, remove the animals before animals are left in a basement in horrid conditions to die. Animal Control enforces the laws in the city and state code. Clinton does have some pretty defined laws on animal abuse, abandoned animals, hoarding and breeding.
I would hope the citizens continue to meet with the city leaders and law enforcement in a positive, productive fashion to reinstate an animal control officer in the city of Clinton. It seems by now it is clear it is needed. It is clear that if it is not done, you will face this situation again in the near future.