Nodaway County's elected officials gathered at the Administration Center last week for their quarterly session before the three-member county commission.
Most of the reports were routine and addressed things like upgraded computers in the circuit court clerk's office and new software that has has enabled Recorder of Deeds Sandra Smail to digitize records going back to 1977 and load them onto a single computer system.
As has been the case in recent sessions, Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice used the meeting as a platform for announcing progress on various criminal justice initiatives.
Rice told the commission that his efforts to seek jail time for driving-while-intoxicated first offenders appears to be bearing fruit.
Of 80 DWI convictions during 2011, Rice said, including felonies, none of those convicted have been re-arrested for a similar offense.
According to Rice, seven of the offenders in the 2011 pool did face probation revocation proceedings, including two who allegedly committed assault, but the offenses were not alcohol related.
"They're not committing DWIs," Rice said. "Maybe we've got something there."
As for the prosecutor's mandatory jail time stance on drug offenses, the jury, so to speak, is still out.
Rice said Friday that his office is still "running the numbers," but that several offenders arrested for marijuana use in 2011 have since been charged with similar infractions.
The prosecutor also updated the commission on his office's ongoing efforts to crack down on bad check offenses, which are down significantly from this time last year, when the county was able to collect about $20,000 stolen from area businesses.
To date in 2012, the recovered amount is only $8,700, a disparity Rice said is likely due to a number of factors, including the increased use of debit cards, stricter enforcement and a streamlined prosecution process that eliminates paperwork and fees for merchants.
On other fronts, County Clerk Beth Walker said Missouri's divisive political climate is holding up progress on completion of the November general election ballot while, at the same time, fueling voter interest.
The delay revolves around lawsuits over ballot measures asking voters to block creation of a state insurance exchange under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and to change the way Missouri picks circuit court and appellate judges.
With absentee voting set to begin in a couple of weeks, Walker said time is growing short. Federal and state laws require military and overseas absentee ballots to be ready by Sept. 22, while Missouri law requires in-state absentee ballots to be prepared by Sept. 25.
Walker said the clerk's office has already received 40 absentee ballot requests, a significant increase over previous years.