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County Commissioners: Electronic courtroom will save time and money


Fri, Jan 16th, 2004
Posted in Features

“We’re trying to do everything as responsible as possible”, noted Fillmore County Judge Robert Benson as he and Court Administrator James Attwood presented information on the bidding for electronic court equipment. Four potential bidders were mailed out spec sheets for the project. Two bidders responded with the lowest bidder, Dascom Systems Group, Inc. of Woodbury, MN coming in at $91,870. The company came with excellent referrals from other counties.

Judge Benson and Court Administrator Attwood have spent a lot of energy visiting several counties that utilize electronic equipment to help conduct their trials. They’ve listened to other judges and staff members as they described their experiences, noting what tweaking can still be done with the equipment to increase efficiency.

This new technology will allow jurors to see evidence more clearly as it is presented through the use of a document camera stationed between the two attorneys. The images are transmitted to monitors in the jurors’ box. The judge is also able to view material from his screen.

Judge Benson’s research has shown that such equipment can help speed up a trial by as much as 25% as there is less time-consuming movement by the attorneys and staff when presenting evidence. In the past, an opaque projector and a pointer have been used to allow jurors to view evidence.

The two men discussed the value of installing an annotation monitor at the witness’ station. This would allow a witness to point out things on the screen, just like football fans see on T.V. This would be relayed to the judge, jurors, and attorneys on their monitors. The original bid did not call for this particular piece, but Benson and Attwood recommended it after discussions with several counties. The monitor would be an additional $819.

Another contributing factor in the element of timesaving includes a camera in the Court Administrator’s Office that will allow them to note the status of a trial’s proceedings rather than sending a staff member to the courtroom. For those individuals who are hearing impaired, assisted hearing equipment is available to ensure quality presentation of materials, and also saves time by cutting down repeated clarifications.

There were three possible options available in addition to the basic bid. They included an extended maintenance agreement at $11,000; plasma moni .....
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Knoepke wins special election in Preston

Fri, Jan 16th, 2004
Posted in Features

Steve Knoepke received 400 (56%) out of 711 votes cast in Thursday’s special election to fill the vacant Preston Council seat created by the death of Mike Gartner. Robert Sauer, who was appointed to fill Gartner’s seat on an interim basis, came in se ..... 
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Heartland mandamus suit moved to federal court

Fri, Jan 16th, 2004
Posted in Features

On Friday, January 9, Attorney John Baker, who is representing the city of Preston in a second mandamus suit brought by Bob and Elaine Maust, filed papers moving the suit from state to federal court.

The Mausts are asking the co ..... 
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Fillmore County District Court

Fri, Jan 16th, 2004
Posted in Features

Felony Charges

Lee Allan Comstock, 20, of Wykoff, appeared in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, January 12, on charges of felony burglary in the second degree.

According to the criminal complaint, ..... 
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Harmony City Council Report: Council reviews ordinances

Fri, Jan 16th, 2004
Posted in Features

Paula Michels, of Harmony, joined council members at the table at their Tuesday, January 13 meeting, as the group began to review sections of the ordinances. Michels has been incorporating the city’s ordinances with a League of Minnesota Cities model ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Substation transformer bill still in question

Fri, Jan 16th, 2004
Posted in Features

Who put the water in the city’s substation transformer? Who should be responsible for the subsequent bills to repair said transformer? These questions still plagued the Rushford City Council January 12th at their first meeting of 2004. While the coun ..... 
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Legislators meet with county officials

Fri, Jan 16th, 2004
Posted in Features

Senator Robert Kierlin and Representative Greg Davids met with Fillmore County officials on Tuesday, January 13, to discuss the upcoming legislative session which begins in February.  Various department heads spoke to the two ..... 
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Meth, ice, crank, speed – it’s all the same poison

Fri, Jan 9th, 2004
Posted in Features

Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles dealing with the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine and the impact meth is having on the lives of people in Fillmore County. Part two of this series will appear in our January 19 issue of the Journ ..... 
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County Commissioners: Zoning works toward more septic system inspections

Fri, Jan 9th, 2004
Posted in Features

Fillmore County Coordinator Karen Brown started off the board’s annual meeting by entertaining motions for the 2004 Chairman. Commissioner Randy Dahl, Second District was elected, with Commissioner Chuck Amunrud, Third District voted in as Vice Chair ..... 
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