Beyond Our Border

NEBRASKA

The official motto of the Cornhusker State is “Equality Before the Law.” Two inmates convicted of murder in separate instances became engaged to marry in 2011, having been introduced to one another by a mutual friend before they were imprisoned.

The Department of Corrections denied the couple a marriage ceremony through its interpretation of state law requiring them to be physically present before a person authorized to perform a marriage. At the same time, the DOC without explanation refused to permit marriage by video conference or to transport one or the other to the prison of their residence.

In 2016, a state court approved the blissful union but the state appealed. Following a federal court ruling in 2019 in favor of the couple, the state again appealed and lost in a 2021 decision. Too late! The bride-to-be passed away due to an illness.

Thus, death parted them before the vows were exchanged, shading the state’s lofty motto. One wonders, why does an entity go to such lengths simply to deprive people of human rights that affect no one else?

MASSACHUSSETTS

A lottery ticket that “did not look like a winner” to a woman rushing back to work was tossed to the gas station clerk, son of the owner. As luck would have it, the youth completed the scratch off material to discover it was indeed a $1-million winner.

As the customer was a consistent regular, the son went to her office to inform her of her fortune, telling her that his mother and father wished to speak with her. The lucky winner told a local news station that she had overcome a near fatal bout with COVID-19 in January, which was like “winning the lottery,” so she felt doubly fortunate.

“I mean, who does that? They’re great people. I am beyond blessed,” she said.

The store received a $10,000 bonus from the state lottery commission for selling the winning ticket while the customer gave the family an additional reward. She’s saving the rest for retirement. Scratch common cynicism about honesty among folks.

OREGON      

Actually, this item is about Ore-Ida, not the frozen fries, but one concerning an increasingly popular sentiment among several western counties of the Beaver State adopting local initiatives to encourage officials to become part of Idaho.

The bid has been spearheaded by the Citizens of Greater Idaho, which wants to relocate between 18 and 22 Oregon counties to the neighboring Gem State. “The Oregon/Idaho border was established 161 years ago and is now outdated,” Citizens for Greater Idaho says on its website. “It makes no sense in its current location because it doesn’t match the location of the cultural divide in Oregon. If we’re allowed to vote for which government officials we want, we should be allowed to vote for which government we want as well.”

If the move succeeds, Idaho’s counties would number between 62-66, while Oregon’s would shrink by about half to 14-18. The national Ore-Ida brand originated in Oregon but is now headquartered in Pittsburgh, having been acquired by the H.J. Heinz Co. However, the story may not end at a mere Oregon-Idaho conjugation. The movement’s group also has plans to move counties from southeast Washington and northeast California to create a new amalgamated jurisdiction.

WA-CAL-ORE-IDA approaches the limit of unpronouncability.

IOWA

In virtually every state of the union, felons are stripped of most common rights, characterized as a “civil death,” a term from ancient Greece. At the same time, prevailing attitudes encourage society to ignore and adopt an “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” attitude toward the imprisoned. But humans are a determined lot, not to be lightly dismissed.

Two penitentiary employees, a corrections officer and a nurse, were killed in an escape attempt at an Iowa prison. It was no surprise to the state’s Department of Corrections that inmates from nine facilities in the system raised $11,000 for the families of the slain individuals.

According to the Iowa DOC, incarcerated individuals can earn from 27 cents to $1.92 per hour in prison work programs, depending on their jobs and how long they have continuously worked. A spokesperson said incarcerated individuals often participate in fundraisers throughout the year for causes such as Meals from the Heartland and Habitat for Humanity. 

Charity can exist even in the most unlikely of places.

 

 

 



Categories: Beyond our Borders, CIVIL RIGHTS, crime and punishment, GERRYMANDERING, Issues, Local, National, prisons, State

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