County to go modular for Kobe press |

County to go modular for Kobe press

Kathy Heicher
AP Photo/Ed KosmickiKobe Bryant, shown leavin the Eagle County Justice Center in this file from his court appearance, should be attending hearings through the winter. Eagle County is setting up two modular buildings next to the court to keep the press warm.

A wedge of land immediately west of the Eagle County Justice Center is being cleared for placement of two, single-wide modular structures. County Administrator Jack Ingstad said the modular units will provide some working space for the press for the duration of the trial. While motions will be on-going through the winter, the trial is expected this summer.

Bryant, an all-star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers pro basketball team, is accused of raping a 19-year-old Eagle woman while he was staying in the valley last summer.

Ingstad said one modular is being paid for by the Associated Press while various other press agencies are sharing the expense of the second building. The national press was able to make do with outside structures and a media tent during warm-weather months. But Bryant’s court appearance last week coincided with some chilly winter weather that kept television and print media reporters shivering.

Ingstad said the county is working at “weaning” the press into taking care of itself for the Bryant proceedings. Eagle County had been taking an active role in providing accommodations for the press, including erecting a large media tent with phone lines for reporters to work in. The county also rented a vacant lot across from the courthouse for parking television satellite vehicles, then rented spaces back to the media. That agreement expires Feb. 15, and Ingstad said the county does not intend to renew the lease.

He stressed the modular units won’t be any cost to the county.

Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy said the modular units eliminate the need for the tent and stringing telephone cables across busy Chambers Avenue and also makes security more manageable.

Ingstad added the county wants to step away from involvement in the press operations.

“It doesn’t work for us to tell the press where to put their stands and cameras. That’s really for them to self-police,” said Ingstad.

Still, he indicated the winter publicity might be something of a boon to the county’s ski resorts.

“We’re getting some good shots of snow,” he said.

This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

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