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Judge demands repairs to Huerfano County Courthouse

By Lila Hollin, Telemundo Anchor/Pueblo Bureau Reporter, l.hollin@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 18 2012 07:38:26 PM CST
Huerfano County -

Huerfano County commissioners could find themselves in contempt of court. A judge is forcing them to repair the 108-year-old courthouse.

For those who are handicapped, it's nearly impossible to get to the courtroom on the third floor. The wheelchair lift and the elevator are not working and they haven’t been for several months.

Frank Vialpando, the program director for Walsenburg Day Services, said many can’t make it to the court.

"One of our consumers was going for guardianship and there was no way to take her up three flights of stairs in a wheelchair. We tried to figure out ways how to do it and we just have to cancel it,” said Vialpando.

He said they even contemplated carrying her up, but the steps were too steep.

Judge Claude Appel issued an order Monday demanding repairs be done by January 2.

The judge listed at least a dozen examples where court was either canceled or someone was hurt because they didn’t have access to the third floor.

In one case, a woman fell when she was walking down the stairs and an ambulance was called for her.

Commissioners have until Jan. 2.  If nothing is done, the judge can put them in contempt or issue a fine. Nothing has been said on how much the fine will be.

“I don’t  fault the judge for issuing the order,” said County Administrator John Galusha.

He said they have tried to repair the elevator for several months, but because the elevator is so old, they had a hard time finding the right parts. He said they have since found them and hopes they will arrive later this week.

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