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Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, July 29

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Car Talk of the Town

The City of Denver could take your car if you are caught driving without a license. And if you want it back, you’ll have to post a $2,500 bond. A coalition of religious and city leaders, called We Believe Colorado, gathered on Monday to urge voters to shoot down the proposed law, which voters are being asked to pass on August 12. Denver Initiative 100 supporters aim to get unlicensed and uninsured drivers off the roads. The coalition calls the initiative a “thinly-veiled effort to target illegal immigrants,” according to The Denver Post, which notes supporters of the initiative say that just about anyone flouting the law could see their car seized. On Monday, the Denver City Council overwhelmingly passed a proclamation against the initiative, stating concern that it will “impose massive unfunded operational mandates on the city…”

DNC Protesters In Court Today

Protesters preparing to hit the streets during the Democratic National Convention will be in federal court today to argue that Denver and the Secret Service aim to clamp down much too hard on their freedom of speech. The American Civil Liberties Union and more than a dozen protest groups are challenging the city’s plan to fence them off inside a 50,000-square-foot protest pit in a Pepsi Center parking lot and to halt parades blocks away from the arena. The Denver Post reports that people who enter the fenced-off area won’t always be searched by police, and the Rocky Mountain News notes that the court’s decision probably won’t come until next month’s convention approaches. The judge won’t even consider testimony on the same set of issues at Invesco Field at Mile High, where presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is expected to deliver his acceptance address, until August 11. KUNC Radio has a handy trial preview.

Anarchists Propose Olive Branch for $50 Million

Although an organization of anarchists seems an oxymoron, one such group held a press conference recently (with some attendees using bandannas to conceal their identities), asking Denver to give community groups the $50 million federal security grant it will receive for the Democratic National Convention. If Denver will do this, the anarchists with Unconventional Denver promise not to hold protests, street parties, and rallies, according to the Rocky Mountain News. (The article doesn’t say, but it’s safe to assume the anarchists do not speak for all protesters.)

He’s Ba-ack

Wasn’t John McCain just in Colorado to meet wtih the Dalai Lama? Well, he’s back, this time to capitalize on poll results from last week that bear good news. The Republican presidential hopeful has closed in on Democrat Barack Obama in Colorado, now within two points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll last week. Today’s visit, which is McCain’s second here in less than a week, follows a town-hall meeting in Nevada, according to The Denver Post. McCain’s flight will land around 6:25 p.m. He’ll be whisked to Englewood, where he is expected to attend a fundraiser at the home of multimillionaire investor Charlie Gallagher. McCain could use the money; Obama has raised $2.9 million in Colorado–twice as much as McCain. At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, McCain will hold a campaign event. The details are still being worked out this morning.

CU Is So Old School

The University of Colorado is Number 3 when it comes to “reefer madness.” And CU is Number 13 and Number 14 when it comes to top “party schools” and schools with “lots of hard liquor.” That’s according to this year’s Princeton Review, which asked 120,000 students at 368 top colleges to rate their schools on dozens of topics and to report on their campus experiences. Boulder’s Colorado Daily has CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard dismissing the ratings as unscientific, while noting that CU takes the issue of student drinking seriously. (For example, there is a ban on beer sales at the on-campus Coors Events Center.) CU is also ranked Number 8 for students dissatisfied with financial aid.

Medicare Pains Local Docs

Although Congress trumped President George W. Bush’s plans for significant cuts to Medicare payments, local doctors and hospitals that depend on those payments have felt little comfort. That’s according to the Denver Business Journal, which notes that Medicare reimbursements cover roughly 75 percent of the costs of care to seniors and disabled people who have the insurance. The story notes that the Government Accountability Office recently identified Medicare as a “high-risk” program in need of reform, facing long-term financial problems. Meanwhile, another Business Journal article notes that more than a third of patients seen at primary care clinics in Colorado are considered underinsured. A study defines “underinsured” patients as those who delay or ignore recommended care due to the inability to afford it.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.76, Safeway, 3900 W. 144th Ave. in Broomfield (via www.gasbuddy.com).

Weather Today: Possible thunderstorms and 93 high/62 low
Weather Tomorrow: Clouds 95 high/65 low

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