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Commissioners get update on court technology project

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HARTINGTON — The Cedar County Board of Commissioners worked through a light agenda at its meeting last week.

Janet Wiechelman, Cedar County District Court clerk, reported that all of the audio-visual equipment has been installed at both the district and county courts. In fact, the district court held its first court hearing using the new technology last week.

“All of the attorneys - from Kearney, Norfolk, Omaha - all stayed in their offices,” she said. “Everything was very clear.”

Wiechelman said there’s still some fine-tuning of the system that needs to be done.

Cedar County courts received the technology upgrades as part of a pilot program to update all of the courtrooms across the state.

The new equipment and installation - valued at nearly $90,000 for both courts - will be paid for by the Nebraska Court Administrator’s Office - and comes with a fiveyear warranty and service plan.

The perpetual upkeep of the equipment will be at the county’s expense.

Installing the same equipment in every courtroom throughout the state will make it easier for continuity and familiarization if staff from another county has to come in to assist. Upgrading the system in each county comes with a hefty price tag but the state was able to utilize grant funding for the effort. And it will save money over time in mileage for judges, travel expenses for expert witnesses and transport fees for prisoners.

It may take a year for all of the counties to be upgraded on the new system.

At its last meeting, the commissioners also: - Signed an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Transportation for a Highway 84 project that will extend into Cedar County for four miles.

- Reviewed a petition and discussed an ongoing access road issue for the Ponderosa Acres development on federal wetlands. The commissioners plan to discuss the issue further at its next meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 8.

- Approved building permits for Tim Kathol for a 60-footby 100 foot steel storage shed; for Jacob Eckstrom for a 32-foot-by-70-foot house; and Zach and Kyla Spahr for a 50-foot-by-80-foot shop.

- Discussed projects to propose for the next round of the Nebras ka Bridge Match program.

- Signed a resolution for the year-end certification of Highway Superintendent Carla Schmidt.

- Approved a right-of-way permit for Bob Heimes.

- Heard an update from Schmidt on a recent Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association conference she attended and a powerful presentation by a New York man who survived a trenching accident.

- Heard a report from Weed Superintendent Justin Heikes.