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Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Friday, Aug. 1

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Polis Shakes the Money Maker He’s all over the television. He’s a Mr. Nice Guy who wants to end the war in Iraq and improve education. Democrat Jared Polis is also a very wealthy computer mogul and has just eclipsed Colorado’s 14-year-old record for dumping the most personal money into a personal political campaign. That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which notes that Polis’ own money –$5.3 million–surpasses the combined campaign coffers of his two opponents in the race for the open Second Congressional District seat. The district, which includes Boulder, has traditionally been Democratic turf, and the winner of the primary is anticipated to replace Representative Mark Udall, who is running for Senate. Colorado Pols notes that money often goes into TV ads. But not for too much longer in this race. The primary, in which Polis faces Joan Fitz-Gerald and Will Shafroth, is August 12, and early voting begins in Boulder tomorrow, according to the Colorado Daily. Is the Dems’ Green Dream Full of Hot Air? Emphasizing all things green, the Democratic National Convention might lose some red, white, and blue. Convention planners are thinking about forgoing the traditional dropping of the balloons because the litter could be a problem, according to the Dallas Morning NewsTrail Blazers blog. Andrea Robinson, the director of sustainability and greening for Denver’s convention has started a balloon-composting project to test the industry claim that the balloons are biodegradable. (Good luck with that, Andrea. We’ll check back with you in a couple of decades.) Meanwhile, convention spokesman Damon Young told the blog, “We’ve not made a decision yet on balloons.”

Conventional TV NBC News will devote an hour of prime-time coverage (8-9 p.m.) each night to the Democratic National Convention in Denver to compete with CBS News, which will do the same, according to the Denver Business Journal. Brian Williams, who anchors Nightly News, will broadcast from the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field at Mile High, the site of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, and Matt Lauer, the anchor for Today, will broadcast from Denver along with newscaster Ann Curry. NBC News has also tapped Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, as a correspondent for youth issues in Denver and at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to Broadcasting & Cable. MSNBC is planning 20 hours of coverage daily, including a telecast called “Morning Joe” that starts at 4 a.m. in Sam’s No. 3 Grill & Bar. CBS says Katie Couric will anchor the Evening News from Denver and Harry Smith from The Early Show will anchor mornings. ABC has not announced its plans. The Little Lander that Could NASA’s Phoenix Lander, built by Lockheed Martin Corp. in Jefferson County, has made a major breakthrough on a lonely patch of Martian permafrost, finding water for the first time. The news, transmitted from the lander across the darkness of space, led scientists to pop open a bottle of champagne on Wednesday, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The water is an indication that the red planet, located just west of Earth (turn left at the moon, you can’t miss it), may have once supported life–and might well into the future. The lander’s array of complex instruments are also probing for elusive organic-based compounds essential to the formation of simple life forms. Yesterday, NASA announced that the lander’s three-month mission, which began in late May, would be extended two months longer–until the end of September. After that, the Phoenix will likely die in the frozen winter. Unlike the rovers roaming the Martian equator, the Phoenix cannot slowly roll away to more hospitable environs. Congressman Doug Lamborn Backs Down on Piñon Canyon The fight over the Army’s plan to expand Fort Carson’s training grounds into the ranch lands of southeast Colorado was expected to become a battle in the House of Representatives. But that’s not going to happen because Representative Doug Lamborn has withdrawn an amendment that would allow the Army to begin buying land around the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, east of Walsenburg, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. Representatives John Salazar and Marilyn Musgrave have already added legislation to the 2009 military construction bill banning the sale of land. Lamborn’s move is a win for the two lawmakers. A coalition of ranchers and a range of allies–from environmentalists to local businesses–aim to thwart the Army’s plan to expand the roughly 235,000-acre site by at least 100,000 acres. (For more on Congressman Lamborn, pick up the August edition of 5280 to read “Under Fire” by Associate Editor Patrick Doyle.) Mean Mr. Chowdhury Wants to Drop Out, But He Can’t Vince Chowdhury announced yesterday that he would suspend his campaign for state Legislature, a move that follows his guilty plea to a misdemeanor assault for slapping his teenage daughter on June 17. But Chowdhury can’t just drop out of the race, according to the Rocky Mountain News. His name is already printed on the August 12 primary ballot. “I will just let the people decide,” he tells the newspaper. As for his seat on Jefferson County’s school board, Chowdhury is so far not letting his peers, who have asked him to step down, decide. Colorado Rapids Face England’s Everton in an Exhibition on Sunday England’s Everton soccer squad has arrived safely in Denver, following a 2-0 loss to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire. The squad takes on the Colorado Rapids Sunday at 6 p.m. in another U.S. exhibition at the “magnificently-titled Dick’s Sporting Goods Park,” as Liverpool’s Daily Post calls it. “Everton know from their experience last year, when they were humbled 2-0 by Real Salt Lake, that MLS standards are improving every year,” the newspaper writes. Zimmerman: Broncos Blocker Makes Hall of Fame Four years ago retired Broncos quarterback John Elway became the first player in the team’s history to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’ll be joined by blocker Gary Zimmerman tomorrow in a ceremony in Canton, Ohio, according to The Denver Post. Zimmerman started a famous no-interview policy for the Broncos’ offensive line that lasted nine years after he retired. “Imagine his feelings at having to give a 10-minute speech with a national cable audience and all those people in attendance watching,” the Post writes. Fort Collins Biker Is X-Games Bound Dalton Dimick is “stoked,” according to his MySpace page. He’s on his way to Los Angeles, where “he’ll take part in what should be the ride of his life today and Saturday,” reports The Coloradoan of Fort Collins. The 20-year -old is one of just 20 athletes around the world who has been invited to compete in the SuperMoto X, a combination of road racing and motocross. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.74, West Side International Market, 290 S. Pierce St. (via www.gasbuddy.com). Weather Today: Hot and 102 high/68 low Weather Tomorrow: Hot 103 high/70 low

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