Otoe County commissioners heard updates on the county’s juvenile diversion program and the county's probation department during their Tuesday, Feb. 26, meeting.
Vanessa Sherman, Otoe County juvenile diversion coordinator, told the commissioners that 36 youth were referred to diversion in 2018, and 35 of them successfully completed the program.
Twenty-one other youths were referred to the program for truancy issues, she added.
Sherman provided some program statistics to the commissioners, including:
Marijuana offenses have surpassed alcohol for the past two years as the most-referred type of offense;
Thirteen youth ages 12 to 13 were referred to the program in 2018, as compared to four in 2017;
Twenty-seven of the 36 youth reported a household income of less than $40,000 a year;
Nineteen of those families are single-parent households; and
Eighty percent of participants who have completed the program have not re-offended, according to the Nebraska Crime Commission.
Sherman said she continues to reach out to schools in the county, offering the diversion program as a resource to districts to help solve potential truancy problems before students miss more than 20 days of school.
She added that when a student has missed 20 or more days of school, she and the county attorney's office  are contacted by the district.
Following Sherman’s presentation, the board heard an update on changes that took place in the Probation Department last July, when Otoe County moved from District 2 to District 1.
District 1 Chief Probation Officer Jeremy Behrends explained to the board plans for classes that he hopes will be offered at the Nebraska City Reporting Center.
The classes include groups for trauma resolution, money management, relapse prevention, and crime victim empathy, as well as dialectical behavioral therapy, which Behrends said is designed to change a client's thinking about his or her behavior.
In addition to Otoe County, the Nebraska City center will serve clients in Nemaha, Johnson, Pawnee and Richardson counties, according to Behrends.
During the meeting, Otoe County Highway Superintendent Jon Brinkman outlined the county's 1-Year Road Plan, which includes the replacement of bridges on Goosehill Road, and the installation of box culverts on county roads P and 60 South, D and 44 South, and J and 52 South.
Following Brinkman's presentation, commissioners approved the county's 1- and 6-Year Road Plan, which has a total of 30 projects on the 1-Year Road Plan, and 77 projects on the 6-Year Plan.
In other matters, the board:
Tabled a discussion on a policy and application for the use of county and city lottery (keno) funds pending further review by a committee;
Approved the vacation plat of Lots F and G of the Valley View 2nd Subdivision, located on I road east of 5423 I Rd.; and
Approved a 1-year contract for network administration and service with Action Technology Inc.
The Otoe County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12, in the Otoe County Courthouse.