March 11, 2010

Order in the court

Order in the court
Hearings moved from courthouse
By MICHAEL JOHNSON
BHG News Service

District Court has found a new home in the Memorial Building in Washburn since county commissioners last week decided that parts of the McLean County Courthouse would no longer be used until further decisions could be made about the future of the building.
The courthouse has since had signs placed on the entrance doors warning visitors of the respiratory risk.
The decision stems from two cases of employees becoming infected with histoplasmosis. The infection is caused by spores that grow on bat or bird excrement, which has been found and removed from the courthouse on numerous occasions.
So far, some say it’s as close to business as usual as possible in the Memorial Building.
“You use what you get given to you,” Deputy Craig Sahus of Underwood said.
He was at District Court on Tuesday waiting outside of jury selection in the hallway in the basement of Memorial Hall.
The Memorial Building has had its second hearing in the basement as of Tuesday and the building could be used as long as it takes to resolve the issue at the courthouse.
Court clerk, Cathy Bailey, said though she wasn’t too concerned about her safety in the courthouse, she said she’s fine with the move to the Memorial Building so far.
“It’s just an inconvenience,” Sheriff Don Charging said.
From his perspective the new location is just another place to keep secure.
The judges are currently given a space in the basement kitchen while the jury is sequestered in the Legion bar area.
So far Bailey isn’t aware of any scheduling conflicts but figures problems could arise when court becomes busier in May.
States attorney Ladd Erickson commended the city of Washburn for help in allowing everything to continue as scheduled.
“It works,” Erickson said.
He said that violent cases will most likely be taken to Burleigh County and there is the possibility of some cases going to the Garrison High School.
County commissioner Julie Hudson-Schenfisch said that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Having hearings in the school could allow more opportunities for students to take in the hearings and become educated, she said.
 


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