Odds and ends from last week:
Members of the Trumbull County Board of Elections took about three months to carefully look over opting out of a maintenance agreement it has on its electronic voting machines.
So when the board decided Monday not to continue the agreement with Dominion Voting for 2014, they made the right decision.
A look at the numbers proves it.
The board stands to save thousands of dollars. It was estimated the amount would be around $46,000 when the idea was first dropped by Republican board member Ron Knight sometime in late July, but it appears it could be somewhat less now.
Next year's agreement called for the board to pay $43,872 for maintenance regardless if a machine did not break or malfunction.
In comparison, in 2012, when the maintenance fee was $23,933, had the board paid for repairs on only the machines that stopped working correctly or stopped working altogether, the amount was right around $7,300.
If the numbers hold next year, the savings will be right around $40,000.
Kelly Pallante, elections board director, said the board already has submitted a preliminary 2014 budget, and the numbers will be readjusted to account for the additional funds due to the loss of the maintenance agreement.
When the board determines toward the end of the year how much money to appropriate to pay for the ''as needed'' repairs, there will be a better picture of just how much money they expect to save.
Plus, the board has extra machines, so it's not operating recklessly on a razor thin margin. If one of the 841 machines in service were to break down, it would be replaced with one of the 126 spare units the board has in storage.
It also appears the board, if it chooses, can get back in, but there would be an inspection fee to put the machines back under warranty.
Voter list purged
The board also has done some housekeeping of sorts.
More than 6,706 voters have been purged from the rolls. The records were removed because the voter has either not voted or update their registration in the last four years.
In 2009, the board sent out 18,676 notices to voters warning their record was at risk of being purged.
"The four-year clock ended earlier this month," Pallante said.
This year, the board sent out 21,987 notices.
Portman and blight
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, toured one of Warren's most troubled blocks Thursday to learn how the Washington Street N.E. neighborhood is being helped through stabilization and demolition and to discuss legislation he introduced in June that would let federal Hardest Hit dollars to be used for home demolition.
But U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, didn't want to be left out.
Brown's press office sent a reminder after Portman's tour was over that Brown earlier this month wrote a letter to the U.S. Treasury urging for the approval of a request from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) to use some of the Hardest Hit funds for home demolition.
Later in the day, it was announced the OHFA reached an agreement with the Treasury Department to do just that, use $60 million to demolish homes in Ohio.