Judge J. Blaine Akers presented the commissioners with a grant his court has received for $3,150.25 to hire certified foreign language interpreters for the courtroom, as well as sign language interpreters.
"The courtroom tries to accommodate (those who speak other languages) with their due rights," Akers said.
The grant money will go into a special fund to be used specifically for interpreters.
The second grant Akers presented was one the court had applied for, for up to $40,000 for courtroom technology. The video conferencing, which is currently being used during some courtroom procedures, needs updated equipment in order to comply with new laws. The equipment needed includes two 42-inch television screens on a mobile cart, which include a camera in the middle that focuses on the person speaking. The camera the court has now doesn't move at all. The second screen on the new equipment can be used to showcase documents being discussed or evidence being exhibited during jury trials.
"For my purpose of the court, I think it's very beneficial," Akers said. "We will be on the cutting edge of technology."
The grant will be awarded in August according to Akers.
Meanwhile, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Bryan Husband presented a request for Amateur Radio, a group of volunteer radio operators, to install an antenna on the tower in Center Point for communications in case of a disaster, as well as a radio in dispatch for weather spotters if a disaster would occur to have communications in case all other communications are down. The radio in dispatch would require four antennas to be installed on the back of the Clay County Justice Center. Husband had discussed the topic with commissioners at the May meeting. The commissioners and County Attorney Eric Somheil agreed that the work installing the antennas needs to be done by a contractor who has insurance for liability purposes.
Husband said he talked with Sheriff Mike Heaton about who would be allowed to enter dispatch in order to use the equipment. The Amateur Radio selected volunteers would undergo a background check, as well as cross training, to be able to enter dispatch and work the equipment.
"They are kind of itching to get started," Husband said. "They want to get that equipment up and start using it. We don't need it much in the heat, but we need it if we get into some storms, and I think we're getting primed for some possible bad weather."
Commissioner Paul Sinders said, "You said they wanted to get started on this, so if you can talk to them, and they get everything done that we need (proof of insurance sent to the commissioners), I don't mind having a special meeting to take care of this."
In addition, Husband asked the commissioners for a meeting with law enforcement and other officials to discuss a plan to improve traffic flow after an accident on Interstate-70. He talked about the traffic problems through Brazil and down State Road 59 when I-70 is closed after an accident. He talked about the construction being ongoing, which could cause more accidents. He wants the city, county and state law enforcement, as well as county and city officials to work together.
"I'm not saying (traffic) will be perfect, but it can be better," Husband said.
The commissioners asked Husband to create a letter to invite the officials and law enforcement together to meet and talk about the issue and possibly enact a plan or traffic flow study.
The commissioners also passed Resolution No. 3-2012, which requires all grant applications to be presented to them seven calendar days prior to the Commissioner's Meeting so officials have time to review the application before approving or declining it.
The Clay County Council will also be involved with any grants dealing with personnel issues.