CHARLESTON - An online resource and use of a special prosecutor will help Mississippi County's prosecutor with a heavy case load.
Darren Cann, Mississippi County prosecuting attorney, met with county commissioners during their regular meeting Thursday to present two items for approval.
Commissioners first approved Cann's request for a three-year contract for Internet access to Westlaw at $172.80 per month.
The service provides all law cases decided in Missouri, lists all the Revised Missouri Statutes along with any cases that have been decided under each statute, and provides immediate access to the most recent case histories, according to Cann.
Cann said he has made motions based on information in Westlaw's CD ROM releases only to find out the decision had been changed since the CDs were produced.
Commissioners also approved $300 per month to use the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area assistant prosecutor which operates out of Scott County.
The prosecutor will be able to come to Mississippi County and assist with drug cases several times per month, according to Cann. The money will be used mostly to cover the drug prosecutor's mileage for coming to Mississippi County, Cann said, as the drug prosecutor's salary is paid by Scott County.
Scott County receives federal funds from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to help fund the assistant prosecutor position which is dedicated to working methamphetamine and other drug cases.
Cann also advised commissioners he has hired Ken Richardson from the Attorney General's office as an assistant prosecutor for his office. He said the help will be needed as he presently has five murder cases pending.
In other Mississippi County news:
* A letter from the Missouri Department of Transportation advising the Federal Highway Administration accepted the bid from J.W. Githens Co. of Poplar Bluff for the construction of a new bridge at Four Mile Pond on County Road 518 was reviewed by commissioners.
"The contract can now be finalized," said County Clerk Junior DeLay.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said the county's road and bridge department will have the equipment to remove the old bridge on site Monday.
The contractor may begin construction as early as Aug. 1.
Commissioners also discussed the condition of other roads around the county.
* The county did not receive any bids for mowing county ditches.
"All my mowers that I know of are busy," said Commissioner Martin Lucas.
The county was looking for bids for about 11 miles of mowing on the south end of Ditch 14 and its laterals; five miles on Ditch 3 from Highway 60 to the county line; one mile of thick growth on Ditch 23 from Ironbanks Road to Samos Road; and 2.5 miles east of the Setback Levee on Ditch 25.
County officials agreed to solicit for bids again later when mowers aren't as busy.
* With U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement increasing its focus on anti-terrorism, commissioners are concerned the number of illegal aliens boarded at their jail may continue to drop.
Commissioners estimated 80 percent of ICE inmates boarded at the Mississippi County Detention Center are illegal aliens from Mexico or were legal workers whose green cards have expired.