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Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, July 24

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Holding Out for Hillary

Senator Barack Obama is expected to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in Denver at the end of August. Not so fast, says The Denver Group, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that is channeling funds through ActBlue, a Democratic political action committee. The Denver Group has been investing in full-page ads, which have appeared recently in The Chicago Tribune and Congressional Quarterly, demanding that Hillary Clinton also be considered a nominee and that a roll-call vote be conducted during the August 25-28 convention. Marc Rubin, a former television writer, talks to The Caucus about the effort. He and The Denver Group co-founder Heidi Li Feldman say that forced unity imposed by party leadership will alienate Clinton supporters and could ultimately cost whomever is nominated the election. The Denver Group, established in June, has collected about $30,000 and is hoping to raise much more to buy ads for cable television. ABC7 television in Chicago is on the story.

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On the DNScene

When Barack Obama comes to Denver next month, so many A-list celebrities will flock to him that the “Mile High City might need a mile-long red carpet.” That’s according to ABC News, which says actor Ben Affleck, director Spike Lee, and actor-director Ed Norton have been added to the list of celebs expected to attend the Democratic National Convention. There is also “larger-than-life speculation of a Bruce Springsteen performance following Obama’s Thursday-night speech.” Although Springsteen hasn’t confirmed an appearance, his tour schedule is “suspiciously empty” during the week of the convention.

It’s All Downhill From Here

If the planet keeps warming, Colorado’s ski season could begin to evaporate a month earlier than it does now. And that would hurt the state’s $2-billion-a-year ski industry, according to the Denver Business Journal. Actually, the industry is already hurting, the paper says, as Colorado has slowly been growing warmer at a pace faster than the rest of the nation, part of a 50-year trend. A study (pdf) released yesterday by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures sounded the alarm. Among other findings: Colorado’s dairy production could decrease as cows wither in the heat, and Denver’s health-harming ozone–already a significant problem–could get even worse.

Caldara Jumps the Tracks

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Never mind that a recent Brookings Institution study says that if Denver is going to capitalize on its good fortune and become an influential hub for generations to come, it will need a decent mass-transit system. A week after RTD announced that FasTracks–a vast rail vision–is in financial straits, longtime rail-hater Jon Caldara, of the Golden-based Independence Institute, plans to explore the possibility of a ballot initiative that would repeal FasTracks’ 0.4-cent tax funding stream, effectively killing the program, according to the Rocky Mountain News. “If you say you’re going to do something and then you don’t do it, I believe that’s a legal contract and that should be actionable,” Caldara says. “That’s something we’re going to explore.”

Acres and Pains in Piñon Canyon

As far as quick little quotes go, the latest from Senator Ken Salazar on the Army’s plans for a massive expansion of Fort Carson’s Piñon Canyon training grounds in southeastern Colorado is sure to be heartening to ranchers and a broad coalition of their allies. “I am not yet even to the point where I can say that I will support the addition of one more acre,” the Democratic Salazar tells The Denver Post. Ranchers have harshly criticized Salazar for backing legislation to allow the Army to conduct a study of the proposed 100,000-acre expansion (recently scaled back from 400,000 acres) of the site. Salazar says he did not want to see the “errors of the past repeated,” referring to the military’s original acquisition of historic and environmentally sensitive lands in the 1980s.

A Modest Bronco to Retire

In a press conference today, 38-year-old injury-plagued Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith is expected to announce that he’s retiring. Smith was a starting wide receiver in the Broncos’ back-to-back Super Bowl wins (led by John Elway in 1997 and 1998) and, as The Denver Post notes, is the Broncos’ “all-time leading receiver in nearly every category.” Smith was modest about his achievements, always giving credit to the team. Westword notes the impact of Smith’s departure. The Rocky Mountain News, meanwhile, takes a look at the year to come, noting Todd Sauerbrun, Javon Walker, Simeon Rice, Sam Adams, Ian Gold, and Travis Henry are not on the roster for training camp, which starts today. “And it isn’t an accident,” the paper writes.

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Transgender Hate Crime in Greeley?

Police in Greeley are investigating the apparent beating death of 18-year-old Angie Zapata, a young transgendered woman emerging from her boyhood identity–Justin Zapata. Police did not say whether Zapata’s gender identity played a role in the murder, according to the Greeley Tribune. About 200 people gathered to mourn Zapata’s death, according to 9News, and News2 quotes Kelly Costello, who works for the Colorado Anti-Violence Progam, a group working to eliminate violence against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Costello says police should investigate the possibility of a hate crime. Meanwhile, police are on the lookout for Zapata’s car, a green 2003 Crysler PT Cruiser, which was stolen after the murder. (Read 5280 Executive Editor Maximillian Potter’s story “Second Nature,” and meet a local family that is raising a little girl born in the wrong body.)

Audiodose: Bison, It’s What’s for Dinner

Bison seem poised for a comeback on Colorado’s northern plains, according to a KUNC radio interview with Northern Colorado Business Report editor Tom Hacker, who says businesses are meeting a growing demand for bison at the dinner table.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.83, Flying J off Interstate 70’s Exit 285 in Aurora (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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