News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Merlin’s disappears, Bruno’s appearsA new pizzeria has opened its doors where Merlin’s pulled a vanishing act and abruptly disappeared from its Mill Street Plaza space this fall.Brunelleschi’s Dome Pizza, or Bruno’s for short, is open during the evening for drinks and a bar menu limited to pizzas. The restaurant is at 205 S. Mill St. (The space actually faces Hopkins Avenue, up an outdoor staircase.) Its operators plan to open the entire restaurant shortly, serving lunch and dinner with a full menu that will include handmade, thin-crust gourmet pizzas, salads, pastas and other Italian fare.The menu is geared to the local’s appetite and budget, but prepared with Aspen’s eclectic tourist base in mind, as well, according to spokesperson Patricia Kurkulis.”They definitely want a local crowd there,” she said.Paul Kurkulis is general manager at the new establishment.The former Merlin’s, operated by Steven “Merlin” Brieske and Sheri Poe-Brieske, quietly appeared in August 2003 and disappeared just as quietly, after garnering a following for its thin-crust, gourmet pizzas baked in a gas-fired oven.Outside investors have taken over the space.Brunelleschi’s, named after Italian architect Filippo Brunelleschi, will take over where Merlin’s left off.Garco unemployment rate on the riseUnemployment in Garfield County rose slightly in November, according to statistics the Colorado Department of Labor released Friday. Still one of the lowest in the state, Garfield County’s unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in November, up from 3.2 percent in October. A year ago, unemployment there was 4 percent. The county has a work force of 29,352 people, 985 of whom are reported to be unemployed. Colorado’s overall unemployment rate is 4.8 percent, up from 4.6 percent in October. On the Western Slope, only La Plata and Rio Blanco counties had equal or lower unemployment rates. Rio Blanco stood at 3.2 percent, with the Durango-La Plata County Micropolitan Area tying Garfield County at 3.4 percent. Department of Labor economist Joseph Winter said last month that the energy industry is accounting for Garfield County’s low unemployment rate, but with the many other factors affect job growth in the region, it’s hard to predict how long the unemployment rate here will remain low. From the Glenwood Springs Post IndependentTruden, Beeson have yet to talkDistrict Attorney Colleen Truden and her elected successor still hadn’t spoken with each other as of midday Monday, six days after voters decided to recall her from office.Martin Beeson, who is expected to replace Truden within a few weeks, said the two have exchanged phone messages but have yet to talk to each other as they prepare to make a transition of power.”She has made the attempt to get a hold of me,” said Beeson, who said he planned to try to reach her again Monday.Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter has stopped participating in plea bargain discussions in new cases, in deference to Beeson and in response to concerns about how he might handle cases during the transition.”I’m trying to be fair, to find that middle ground. … Martin may have his own ideas on how he wants to handle cases,” Felletter said Monday.He said he made his decision after defense attorney Ted Hess expressed concern last week that Truden and Felletter could try to “send some kind of message on the way out” through their remaining charging decisions. Felletter denied any such intentions, but decided it would be best to not initiate new plea bargaining discussions.”I don’t want anybody to feel like as Colleen was going out we all of a sudden were having a fire sale on cases,” Felletter said.He said the policy is his alone, and not the whole office’s. Felletter handles about half of the DA office’s felony cases, he said. From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent