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Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, July 16

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The Lady’s Night

One hundred and fifty people paid up to $10,000 each last night to “sip wine, eat dinner standing up and hear” Michelle Obama talk, reports the Rocky Mountain News. During her trip to Denver yesterday, Barack Obama’s wife, a mother of two young children, also sought to raise consciousness about the plight of women, notes The Denver Post. After attending a brown-bag lunch forum in Aurora with state Representative Morgan Carroll, the Obama campaign issued a press release pointing to an economics plan for women (pdf).

Meanwhile, the DrudgeReport is breaking a story about the would-be first lady. She “IS NOT going on Obama’s trips to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, and Europe. Nor would she have a policy role in the Obama administration; she would be raising their daughters. But SHE WILL have a primetime [sic] speaking role at the Democratic National Convention.”

Traffic Jam

Plans by as many as 20,000 students to live at “Tent State University,” a tent city that would be erected in City Park during the Democratic National Convention, drew concern from nearby residents during a meeting at a ritzy new apartment and condo complex last night. Organizer Adam Jung, who is contending with permit issues that ban overnight camping in Denver parks, wowed about half the crowd, according to the Rocky Mountain News. But the other half were doubtful, citing concerns about noise, traffic, and parking. Jung admitted that the park would probably suffer.

Meanwhile, the busiest stretch of highway in the state–Interstate 25 near Invesco Field at Mile High–will be closed to traffic on August 28, the night that Barack Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination at the stadium, the News notes. “Yes, of course,” Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper admitted when asked whether I-25 would be shut down. At the Pepsi Center, site of the first three days of the convention, the Secret Service will order the closure of the Auraria Parkway. RTD’s light-rail service to the Pepsi Center and Union Station will be suspended during the August 25-27 convention, affecting more than 5,500 daily riders. News2 highlights the anticipated road closures.

Cop-outs

Hispanic Denver police officers have faced racist slurs for years from their fellow officers. One even received a fake bomb in his desk after complaining about discrimination. That’s according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by 16 current and former officers, reports the Rocky Mountain News, 9News, and others. During a news conference at Civic Center Park, veteran police Sgt. Leonard Mares, a plaintiff in the suit, played an audio recording from a 1979 training session to show how officers who are now among the department’s leaders were trained. A sergeant referred to minority recruits as beaners, Mexican liars and chimpanzees. As for black recruits, they eat watermelon and tap dance.

The suit, which seeks damages for emotional distress and economic loss, asks that a judge order the department to eliminate discrimination. The complaints first surfaced about two years ago, when more than two dozen police officers filed grievances with the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the Denver Daily News.

Stirring Dillon Dam

Denver Water will finally sit down with the locals to explain why they closed Dillon Dam Road. The meeting with Summit County officials will take place behind closed doors tonight and will highlight the perceived terrorist threat that led the feds to shut down Dillon Dam road, sparking a local protest and demands by the county that the road be reopened. Meanwhile, firefighters now have keys to unlock security gates blocking the road, according to The Denver Post. Yet Denver Water remains in violation of fire-code regulations that require fire trucks have unimpeded access to roads. A fire marshal has issued a notice of violation to the agency, a misdemeanor that can be punished by a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Blast from the Past

Governor Bill Ritter is hostile to the state’s $23 billion oil-and-gas business, according to Michael Beatty, a longtime Democrat and oil-and-gas attorney. Speaking recently at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual natural gas conference, Beatty, who once served as a top aide to Democratic Governor Roy Romer, “blasted” Ritter for frequent claims that he wants a “thriving” oil-and-gas economy, according to the Denver Business Journal. “He only opposes two things about our industry,” Beatty said. “The production of natural gas anywhere in the state and its consumption for any purpose.”

Audiodose: On the Can

Most craft brewers market their beers in bottles, which many breweries–and beer drinkers–believe is better for beer. But five years ago the small Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons became the first small brewery in the United States to put its beer into cans. As KUNC radio reports, the can is catching on.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.85, a U-Pump It at 11800 W. Colfax Ave. (via www.gasbuddy.com)

Weather Today: Thunderstorms and 89 high/63 low
Weather Tomorrow: Thunderstorms and 85 high/65 low

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