News in brief |

News in brief

Aspen Times writer

Garfield County Sheriff files response to ACLU suitGarfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario formally denied abusing inmates in the county jail and claimed that their own actions have determined how they had to be treated.Attorneys for Vallario and county sheriff commander Scott Dawson have filed a 61-page response in U.S. District Court in Denver to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this year.The two deny allegations that the jail has abused prisoners through the use of restraint chairs, pepper spray, pepper ball guns and electric shock belts, and has kept mental health care from indigent prisoners and imposed harsh discipline without due process.The jail’s actions “were taken in good faith and for legitimate reasons and did not violate any constitution or any regulatory, statutory, common law or other legal provision of any kind,” the defendants said in their answer to the ACLU suit.The answer calls for a judgment in Vallario and Dawson’s favor and dismissal of the suit.It also states that they are protected from being sued by the Colorado Government Immunity Act, and that some or all of the suit’s claims aren’t allowed under the federal Prison Litigation Act.The ACLU complaint is a class action lawsuit but specifically names four inmates as plaintiffs.Mark Silverstein, legal director for the ACLU in Colorado, responded to Vallario and Dawson’s answer to the lawsuit in a short, written statement.”We are glad that the Defendants have now filed their answer and that discovery in the case will now begin. We fully expect to prove the allegations in our … complaint,” he wrote. Glenwood Springs Post IndependentTransportationState ponies up funds for I-70 transit studyFRISCO (AP) – State officials have approved a $500,000 grant to help research in long-range planning for mass transit in the Interstate 70 corridor, the main route from heavily populated eastern Colorado into the Rockies.The Northwest Colorado Council of Governments applied for the money on behalf of the I-70 Mountain Corridor Coalition, a group working with state transportation officials on easing the pressures along the busy highway. The state is preparing an environmental study on the corridor that should be released sometime early next year.Coalition director Flo Raitano said the grant will be used to work with towns and counties along the corridor on planning.Real estateOuray’s Opera House up for saleOURAY (AP) – The 1888 Wright Opera House has been put on the market for $1.7 million, eight years after it was restored.The opera house, on the National Register of Historic Places, was restored by owners Alice and Larry Leeper.”We’re kind of done with it, but would love to see the arts take it over and have live theater and music and movies,” said Alice Leeper, a real estate broker.The building houses the Ouray Cinema and Theater and if that closes residents of the town of 800 would have to drive 35 miles to Montrose to see a movie.Leeper said people are upset the movie theater is closing, but she hopes someone will take over and add other entertainment so the building will remain open for public use.”Our hope is that someone will buy it who really wants to keep it in the original condition,” she said. “It could go into condos, but we would kind of hate to see that.”

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