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Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, October 28

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Obama Threatened

With one week to Election Day and Electoral College votes anticipated to heavily favor Democrat Barack Obama, disturbing but isolated pockets of hate are emanating from the heartland. Yesterday, federal agents foiled an assassination plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads in Tennessee, according to The Associated Press. The two men wanted to kill Obama and shoot or behead 102 black people, including school children, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And in Colorado Springs, a deer head was thrown into the parking lot of an Obama campaign office over the weekend, according to police, who characterized the incident as a “threat,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The buck’s antlers were removed to make the head resemble a donkey, the Democratic Party symbol, according to police. Obama’s campaign did not respond, but McCain’s campaign called the act “despicable,” perhaps “hate speech.” There have been threats reported on both sides. Recently, in West Hollywood, a display featured a likeness of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin with a noose around her neck. Police determined the effigy was not a hate crime or threat because it was part of a Halloween display, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama makes her way to the Springs today in a swing-state tour The New York Times says is “making more voters comfortable with the idea of a black first lady.”

Schaffer Is an Ordinary Joe

Oil businessman and former Congressman Bob Schaffer still hopes to replace retiring U.S. Senator Wayne Allard, although he’s lagging in the polls. The Republican is on a 20-county tour of the western half of the state, according to Steamboat Pilot & Today, and, it turns out, he’s sort of related to Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher of Ohio, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Neither Schaffer nor his wife, Maureen, have met Joe, a distant cousin of Maureen’s father, the Rocky writes. But the little tidbit is likely a welcome headline as Schaffer and his political brethren are hampered by an “unpopular president” and “fundraising doldrums,” according to USA Today. Yet Schaffer appears optimistic, telling the paper he expects most of the 10 percent of undecided voters (according to his own polling) to go his way. Meanwhile, a coalition of seven unions will send voters 49,000 mailings in support of Democrat Mark Udall, according to The Colorado Independent.

Really, Tom? Really?!

Either Tom Tancredo is running for governor in 2010 or he’s kinda joking about it. The exiting congressman, who ran for president on an “immigration reform” platform, told a gathering of the Mountain Republican Women that he was preparing to run, according to the Rocky Mountain Right. The conservative blog notes that the controversial Tancredo recently toured state GOP organizations and participated in press events that attacked Democratic Governor Bill Ritter. The sites bloggers aren’t very psyched about the prospect of a Tancredo campaign, opining it “could easily be the proverbial last nail in the coffin of the Colorado Republican Party,” noting that Ritter is “most vulnerable on fiscal issues” but Tancredo supported the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. PolitickerCO followed up, quoting a Tancredo spokesman as saying the five-term congressman was merely kidding around about running with former Colorado first lady Frances Owens on the same ticket. In a time-will-tell response, Rocky Mountain Right says it stands by its story.

War Continues to Make Soldiers Weary

Soldiers training at Fort Carson have recently griped about the cold, crappy food, and rough terrain full of cacti. As the war on terror enters its seventh year, the Fourth Brigade Combat Team is preparing to deploy yet again, and the soldiers “know it’s taking a toll on their ranks and straining their relationships,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. But duty is duty in an all-volunteer Army. And there is more bad news for the guys and gals in desert camo: Involuntary extensions of combat deployments for many soldiers will be extended through 2009, according to USA Today, “despite pledges earlier this year by top military officials to reduce reliance on the policy known as stop loss.” Last month, under the policy that keeps troop levels from plunging, more than 12,200 soldiers were forced to remain in the Army even though their service commitment had expired. The same number will probably be affected each month throughout 2009, says Army Lt. Col. Mike Moose. Meanwhile, another USA Today article reveals an alarming 15 percent of women vets have reported sexual abuse during military duty.

Woes Continue in the Newspaper Biz

You know news for the newspaper business is bad when the silver lining for Denver’s two dailies is that their drops in circulation are no longer the worst in the nation. Still, The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News figured in a “pack of dismal sales figures,” according to the Denver Business Journal, which notes the Post’s Monday-Friday circulation dropped 6.5 percent in the six months ending September 30, compared to the same six months one year earlier. The Rocky’s sales were down 6.6 percent, and The Sunday Post’s sales decreased by 9.1 percent. And yet, as noted in Panorama yesterday, a new paper, The Denver Independent, is slated to launch this week. Meanwhile, Westword reports another paper, The Colorado View, hit the streets as the McCain presidential machine visited Denver last week, “thanks to the largesse of the Colorado Family Institute.” The paper features an article by Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery, who wonders if efforts by the left to end discrimination will lead to the ultimate downfall of Western culture–specifically, unisex bathrooms.

Broncos Roster Revolution

Beset with injuries, the Denver Broncos, enjoying a bye week, made several changes to their active roster yesterday, bringing new, mostly alien names to the fore. The team has signed receiver Chad Jackson, a New England second-round draft pick in 2006, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Also part of the team is Matt Murphy, a veteran offensive tackle with experience in Buffalo, Houston, and Detroit. Center Greg Eslinger, a draft pick in 2006, and former Jacksonville cornerback Rashod Moulton were also added. And rookie cornerback Josh Bell was promoted from the practice squad. Jay Cutler remains the Broncos only active quarterback, but on Sunday Darrell Hackney is expected to be added.

Nuggets Are Ready To Defend

The Denver Nuggets open basketball season against the Utah Jazz tomorrow night and seem as prepared as they’ll ever be. Coach George Karl has put in place a new “defense-first philosophy,” according to The Denver Post, and the players seem to be embracing it. “My whole thing is we’ve been too offensively oriented, and hopefully this year we’ll be balanced,” Karl says. Guard Allen Iverson has also noted the improvement: “We do the things good on offense, but I think guys get more excited about getting stops.”

Audiodose: Colorado is a political battleground, and he generals have passed through the state entering the final week before Election Day. KUNC’s Brian Larson tests the climate of what promises to be a hectic week.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.29, Food Store, 2385 W. 84th Ave. (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, October 21

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Game Over for McCain?

As Alaska Governor Sarah Palin campaigned hard in Colorado, her running mate in the presidential campaign, Republican Senator John McCain, was giving up on Colorado. That is, if the “top McCain insider” who told CNN that Colorado is no longer in play for the campaign is reliable. It’s not hard to imagine McCain, who will visit Colorado on Friday, being furious about the leak. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, disputes the report, as does McCain’s regional spokesman, Tom Kise, who says the allegation is outright false, according to ABC 7News. Politico quotes a top aide as saying, “We didn’t send [Palin to Colorado] for no reason.” Palin rallied thousands of supporters in Colorado Springs, Loveland, and Grand Junction yesterday, according to The Denver Post. Even Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, is campaigning in the state, expected to appear at a Bass Pro Shop in Denver today, among other locations, according to 9News. Meanwhile, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Democratic Senator Barack Obama’s running mate, will campaign at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and at Adams City High School in Commerce City as well as Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

ColoradoPols on the Defensive Over Schaffer Story

As Mark Udall, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, appeared on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus to cast an early ballot (via Boulder’s Camera), ColoradoPols was defending its decision to run a story last week stating that Bob Schaffer has lost the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The story relied upon “one of our most reliable Republican sources,” ColoradoPols writes, and provoked “angry denials” by the NRSC. Now, this isn’t just inside baseball. As ColoradoPols notes, the NRSC’s support is an “indicator of whether the national party considers a race winnable” based on internal research. Panorama referenced the issue yesterday when an Atlantic Monthly blog also reported the claim. The NRSC has recently purchased a new television spot, but ColoradoPols remains unimpressed, wondering if the buy was a reaction to blogs covering the rumor.

Tim Masters to File Lawsuit Today

Tim Masters, who spent 10 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, plans to file a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court this morning, claiming his constitutional rights were violated after prosecutors withheld evidence to convict him of the 1987 murder and sexual mutilation of Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins. That’s according to 9News, which reports that the suit names as defendants two former district attorneys–Terrence Gilmore and Jolene Blair–who are now judges. Several police officers and district attorneys are also named. Masters, who is represented by the Killmer, Lane, and Newman law firm, was freed in January when a special judge found that new DNA evidence pointed to another suspect. Fort Collins police and Larimer County prosecutors would not comment, citing policy regarding pending litigation, according to The Denver Post. Masters says only that “it’s unfortunate that I have to go to this extreme just to get compensation.” Hettrick’s murderer, or murderers, remain at large.

Zima, Did Anyone Really Love You?

America’s love affair with Zima, which began in 1992, lasted a lot longer than any of the wisecrackers ever thought possible. But the merciless barbs targeting isolated drinkers of the clear malt beverage (some adding Jolly Ranchers for flavor) will soon come to an end. MillerCoors, perhaps under the influence of Zima itself, announced Monday that on October 10 it stopped brewing the stuff in Golden and Elkton, Virginia, because of  “challenging malternative segment sales and declining consumer interest.” That’s according to the Denver Business Journal, which reports that remaining orders will be filled. Stocks should be gone by December. “The decision was made to reduce ‘complexity’ in the brewer’s brand portfolio,” according to the Journal, and paves the way for brands like Sparks, Sparks Plus, and Sparks Light to fill the shelves.

For Warm Weather, Get a Swiss Blanket

After yesterday’s thunder and rain comes a chill, maybe even snow, according to CBS4 News. It’s good weather for an extra blanket. It’s also a good time to remove another kind of blanket, the Ice Protector Optiforce. The techie blanket was used to preserve a big mound of snow in Aspen all summer as part of an experiment by a Swiss company that aims to turn skiing into a year-round event, according to the Aspen Times. Someone call Sarah Palin. Maybe this is the highly anticipated solution for those melting ice caps .

Broncos Bite on Monday Night

The Denver Broncos were shamed, gamed, flamed, and tamed by the New England Patriots in an interception-and-fumble-a-thon on Monday night in Massachusetts, according to The Denver Post. After the 41-7 loss, Broncos cornerback Dre Bly stated the obvious: It was “just embarrassing.” The slew of injuries didn’t help. Quarterback Jay Cutler’s finger was bashed during the game’s first play, and linebacker Boss Bailey and cornerback Champ Bailey “each suffered significant injuries in the first half.” If there’s any silver lining, the Broncos have a bye week to heal and figure out what happened.

Avs Warm the Ice

It didn’t look very pretty, but the Colorado Avalanche beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on the road. It was the Avs’ third consecutive win, bringing the team to a 3-3 record after a dreadful start, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Much-hyped goalie Peter Budaj was back in position, nailing his first victory this year. With 26 saves, he says the win “felt great.”

Audiodose: Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer are battling to replace retiring Republican U.S. Senator Wayne Allard. Last night, they debated at Greeley’s Union Colony Civic Center. KUNC radio has the skinny.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.53, Western Convenience, 9190 Huron Street (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, October 16

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Musgrave: An “Agent of Hate” Just when you thought the race for Congress between Republican incumbent Marilyn Musgrave and Democrat Betsy Markey couldn’t get any uglier, U.S. Senator Ken Salazar steps in and labels Musgrave an “agent of hate.” In fact, Musgrave’s latest advertising attacks against Markey, Salazar said, should make people want to “throw up.” That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News and many other news organizations reporting on the Musgrave campaign’s latest televison commercial, which alleges that “millionaire” Markey faces up to five years in prison for her business dealings. The ad centers on Markey’s employment in Salazar’s office at a time when her company also received lucrative contracts from the federal government. Markey says there is not a “shred of evidence or any truth whatsoever” to the claims made in the ad, according to PolitickerCo, and that the attack is a sign of election desperation in the Fourth Congressional District, which spans from Larimer County east to the plains and south to Lamar. Meanwhile, Jason Thielman, Musgrave’s campaign manager, dismissed Salazar’s comments as a “sideshow,” according to the Rocky. Debating the Facts Today Following the final presidential debate last night between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, one burning question lingers: Who the heck is Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher? His name kept coming up–in the context of small business, of raising a family, of health insurance. National Public Radio tells us all about Joe this morning. And Joe still won’t say who he’s voting for. Overall, the debate was, as The New York Times delicately puts it, the “most spirited and combative of their encounters this fall.” Actually, there were some subtle but nasty jabs, as you can read in this transcript from The Washington Post. If you were confused, try using the nonpartisan Annenberg Political Fact Check. For example, McCain said Joe faces “much higher taxes” if he buys a plumbing company under Obama’s policies. Annenberg notes that Joe’s taxes only go up if the business he buys puts his income over $200,000 a year. Meanwhile, Obama “incorrectly” labeled all of McCain’s television ads as negative. A CBS News poll found that 53 percent of uncommitted voters thought Obama won the debate, compared to 22 percent for McCain. Twenty-five percent saw the debate as a draw. The Popularity Contest John McCain’s powerhouse, Sarah Palin, will be returning to Colorado at a time when polls indicate an uphill battle for the Republican ticket. The details have yet to be announced, but the Alaska governor is expected to “campaign across Colorado” on Monday, as early voting begins in some places, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Meanwhile, Tsilat Petros will vote in her first American presidential election, according to Westword. Petros, who is 29 and has lived in the United States since she was a young girl, becoming a citizen just three years ago, is one of “dozens” of Ethiopian immigrants backing Democrat Barack Obama. Many Ethiopians are rallying voters wherever they can–local churches to taxi stands–reaching out to first-generation Americans and trying to convince them to vote for Obama. Obama and Palin, it turns out, are also very popular Halloween costumes this year. The CEO of Spirt Halloween, a national costume chain, says Obama mask sales are 66 percent versus McCain’s 34 percent, according to the Rocky Mountain News. And Palin wigs and glasses are flying off the racks at the Wizard’s Chest in Denver and Disguises in Lakewood. Rocky Mountain Coors Ad Not Ready for British Telly A television ad for Coors Light beer features two white men, one holding a keytar, rapping raggae-style while performing faux karate moves in the snowy mountains. The ad, featuring a fake moose somewhere in the background, is “juvenile, wacky, [and] silly.” And the two characters “appeal strongly to young people’s sense of humor.” Sounds good, so pass the Coors, dude. Just not in Britain, a country that’s still not beyond cracking down on cheeky little bastards. The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority, which is responsible for all of the above quotes, has banned the ad, according to Britain’s Guardian (which also has the video) because it appears to pander to the under-18 set. That violates a rule that alcohol advertisers avoid themes such as “adolescent or childish behavior.” There were even complaints that the ad was offensive to Caribbean people, but those were rejected. Golden-based Coors Brewing Company argues the comedic style is similar to “geek-chic” acts found in British TV popular with adults, according to the Denver Business Journal. Colorado Gets Kudos for Being Fit and Trim The November/December issue of Fitness magazine names Colorado to its “Fit 50” list, calling our fine state a “superstar” of health in the past year. Colorado’s outdoorsy personality and 18-year reign as “slimmest” state, as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, provided the edge. Editors at the magazine based their selection of winners on those who make significant contributions to a healthier world. A press release from the office of Barbara O’Brien, Colorado’s lieutenant governor (via the Cherry Creek News) takes the opportunity to draw attention to the Metro Denver Health & Wellness Commission and LiveWell Colorado, a statewide nonprofit organization to fight the fat. But don’t get too big-headed about the honor. As Stephanie Gerlach reports in this month’s issue of 5280 Magazine, nearly one-third of Colorado’s kids are either overweight or obese. Budaj and the One That Got Away–Thrice Everyone, it seemed, liked Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj. Until now. Coach Tony Granato said after practice yesterday that backup Andrew Raycroft, a free agent from the Maple Leafs, will get to start tonight’s game versus the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center, according to The Denver Post. The Avs have started the season with three losses, and Budaj has allowed 13 goals, ranking 27 in the 30-team league. Frustratingly, each game has been decided by one goal. On Tuesday, the Avs lost 5-4 to the Calgary Flames in an away game. Hnida Still Kickin’ Katie Hnida, who became the first woman to score in a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-A football team–for the University of New Mexico–has come a long way since her troubled days as a place kicker for the University of Colorado Buffs. She alleged sexual harassment and rape by a teammate at CU, but charges were never filed. On Friday, Hnida will be the featured guest at “Brave, Bold, and Beautiful: A Celebration of Survivors,” an event sponsored by Moving to End Sexual Assault, which takes place from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at the Boulder Municipal Airport’s Terminal Building Hangar. Hnida is now a kicker for the Colorado Cobras minor league football team. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.74, Western Convenience, 9190 Huron Street (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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Mile-High Headlines for Wednesday, October 15

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Unbelievable Advantage

Looking at recent polls, obvious questions come to mind: Are they at all accurate? and Is the Republican Party really going to get its butt whipped on Election Day, less than three weeks away? After all, Colorado has rarely supported Democratic presidents over the past 50 years. But if two polls released yesterday–exactly three weeks prior to the election–are correct, Colorado will turn blue by a decisive margin. Barack Obama now leads John McCain 52 percent to 43 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll (via the Rocky Mountain News), bad news for McCain, as Obama also seems to have the advantage in other swing states. McCain, who debates Obama in the last of the presidential debates tonight, responded to the news through campaign manager Tom Kise, who said the campaign has Obama “right where we want him.” Meanwhile, Democrat Mark Udall has taken a commanding 54 percent to 40 percent lead over Republican Bob Schaffer in the race to replace retiring Republican Senator Wayne Allard, according to a Washington Post/Wall Street Journal poll. Additionally, a Suffolk University poll gives Udall an 11-point advantage (both according to The Denver Post).

Score One for Coffman

Mike Coffman can dump the “duplicate” voter registrations. It’s okay with Attorney General John Suthers, who issued a legal opinion siding with Coffman on Tuesday. That means 960 unaffiliated would-be voters, 860 Democrats, and 598 Republicans will be removed from voter rolls, according to The Denver Post. Last week, The New York Times raised questions about removing the voters within 90 days of the election, an apparent violation of the law. But Suthers wrote that removing the names prevents people from being able to cast multiple ballots. The Colorado Democratic Party “scoffed” at the ruling as officials in Denver announced they would double the number of voting booths this year to avoid the long lines and confusion that plagued the process two years ago, according to an Associated Press story (via CBS4). The city is now using mostly paper ballots that will be counted by scanners instead of electronic voting machines. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people across the state plan vote via mail, including many in Boulder County, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera.

Denver Not So Bad A Place For Economic Downturn

The economy has by no means recovered, but the news from Wall Street yesterday was refreshingly mundane. The Dow Jones industrial average was slightly down a day after markets posted a decent recovery, according to the Denver Business Journal. And amid the turmoil, good news for Denver emerged. Although Americans have “few places to hide” from the recession, Denver is number 9 on Forbes’ list of “best bang for the buck cities.” Denver can expect healthy job growth, lower-than-average inflation, and more affordable housing and gasoline than other cities. Seeming to punctuate the glass-is-half-full view is hope in the state’s emerging renewable energy sector. The $700 billion Wall Street bailout that passed earlier this month extends tax breaks that “have spurred recent growth in Colorado’s solar and wind energy industries,” according to the Denver Business Journal. As for the Forbes report, the best place to weather the downturn is Texas, if you can stand to leave the mountains and Colorado culture behind for a place that’s only slightly better. Several Texas cities make the Forbes list, which ranks Los Angeles as the worst.

Elephant Not on the Loose

For a moment it seemed RockyMountainNews.com was going to rescue an otherwise slow news day. The “BREAKING NEWS” alert was sent to readers’ e-mail inboxes: “An elephant is on the loose at the Denver Zoo, police say, and a zookeeper is injured.” Point, click, and read: “Oops!” the Rocky admitted. There’s nothing like the plot of George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” going down in Denver today. The Rocky jumped the gun in in a world devoid of computers with Un-Send buttons. The zoo “called media moments later to assure them it was all just a drill” meant to train employees in the case of an elephant escape, which actually did happen back in 2001, the Rocky wrote. Someone was confused and called the police as the drill began. Rocky staffers, hovering over police scanners, quickly “jumped into action.” So did CBS4 News, which put a “helicopter in the air and headed for the zoo before getting the word that it was just a drill.”

Denver Mint Churns Out Royal Quarter

The Denver Mint yesterday welcomed Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, a delegation of “state dignitaries,” and a handful of coin collectors. Some in the throng flashed the shaka (aka “hang loose”) sign as cameras snapped their pictures, according to The Associated Press (via The Denver Post). They were all here to marvel over the new quarter that will honor Hawaii. It’s the last one to be struck in a decade of quarter that commemorate America’s 50 states. Old Georgie Washington, of course, is on one side, and King Kamehameha I, who reigned over not long after Washington left office in the era of another king, England’s George III, is on the other. The king casts a familiar outstretched hand, presiding over Hawaii’s major islands, which were unified under his rule. Kamehameha was chosen for the coin instead of a hula dancer and over a surfer modeled after a young Duke Kahanamoku. The coin goes into circulation next month.

Marshall Gets Schooled

Twenty-four-year-old Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who has been arrested several times in the last few years, is trying hard to turn his life around. The New York Times followed Marshall to Denver’s Wyatt-Edison Charter School, where he shares the lessons of his life with the students. He tells the paper the interactions remind him of “what I have to lose.” In the past two years, Marshall has had a series of problems, including at least 10 domestic disputes with Rasheeda Watley, his former girlfriend. Charges were rarely filed, except in March 2007–a case that was soon dismissed. But last month prosecutors in Georgia filed two counts of misdemeanor battery stemming from another dispute this year. Marshall goes to court in November, and, as the Times writes, the National Football League “is watching.”

And the Winner Is…

Mark your calendar… Wait! Grab your skis or snowboard. The ski season begins today. The annual race between Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area to start first ends in a tie this year, with both opening at 8:30 a.m. this morning, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. The two even jostled over the official opening time but reached a truce. The down side is that there’s not much snow yet. Most of it is from snow machines, although snow is forecast for the high country in coming days. A-Basin’s “High Noon” intermediate run opens today, and Loveland’s “Catwalk,” “Mambo,” and “Home Run” are a go. A-Basin was first to open last year, on October 10–the earliest date ever.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.81, Costco, 6400 West 92nd Avenue (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, October 14

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An Election Guide Prank

Thomas Graham, a retired engineer from Arvada, hopes you are familiar with Jonathan Swift. You know, he says, the part about “satire being the way to get a point across.” Well, that was Graham’s intention when he provided a citizen’s summary of arguments in favor of issue 3A, a property tax increase for the local school district, in election booklets mailed to voters, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Graham wrote that teachers want to raise their salaries to six figures, a step toward socialism. He wrote that senior citizens on fixed incomes should “recognize that their reduced productivity calls for them to be replaced by the youth of our nation.” School superintendent Cindy Stevenson would put Graham on suspension if she could. She’s outraged by the stunt, and voters are confused, according to The Denver Post. Future pranksters take note: The process was bureaucratically pristine, reports Face the State. “Graham’s comments were submitted to Helen Neal, the district’s election officer, and she in turn submitted them to County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson for the pro section of the voter guide.”

Criticisms of Election Chief Continue

Secretary of State Mike Coffman, who claimed last week he was maligned in an investigation by The New York Times–which concluded that thousands of voters were apparently illegally purged from rolls–is now mired in another voter-registration controversy. The American Civil Liberties Union, Colorado Common Cause, and the Fair Elections Legal Network in Washington, D.C., are accusing Coffman of illegally rejecting perhaps as many as 10,000 new voter applications, saying voters were apparently confused by new forms created by his office, according to The Colorado Independent. The would-be voters were people without a Colorado identification who planned to use a Social Security number instead but failed to check a box indicating their intent, according to The Denver Post. Coffman, a Republican running for Congress, was asked by the groups to register the voters anyway. But he said in a statement that it would be against the law. Last week, Coffman conceded to the Times that his office may have violated federal voting law when nearly 2,500 “duplicate” voters were recently purged from rolls.

A Fat Award for the Fat Brewers

Before you jump to the conclusion that a team at The Wall Street Journal got a bit tipsy when it decided to name New Belgium Brewing Company as one of the nation’s 15 best small workplaces, consider that Illinois-based J.A. Frate trucking company and King Arthur Flour in Vermont also made the list. The Fort Collins beer company, known for its ever-popular Fat Tire, is excellent when it comes to motivating workers, giving them opportunities for professional growth, and providing generous traditional and nontraditional benefits. Such practices, among myriad others, bring the best and the brightest employees to profitable, growing companies like New Belguim, “ultimately” helping “boost the bottom line,” writes the Journal. Governor Bill Ritter was so impressed that during a campaign swing Monday on behalf of fellow Dem Barack Obama, he popped into the brewery to praise the company for its range of initiatives–from environmental ethics to responsible business practices, according to Fort Collins Now. New Belgium was selected from 406 applicants for the Journal’s honor.

A Deadly Love Triangle

Newspapers painted a picture of a tragic love triangle that led to the weekend shooting incident in the Congress Park neighborhood, which left two-year-old Noah Crookham dead. The boy’s father, Thomas Crookham, 30, ran from his estranged wife’s house at 1243 Madison Street, carrying Noah in his arms, yelling that her tenant and alleged lover, Earl Ryan, was aiming a gun. Shots rang out. A bullet tore through Thomas Crookham’s hand and into his son’s chest. The Rocky Mountain News reports that Ryan, 40, a rare-book dealer, moved into 27-year-old Angela Crookham’s basement in June to help her pay rent during her divorce from Thomas. The Crookhams had attended Mass together on Sunday, just before the incident, according to The Denver Post. When they returned, Ryan was there, although Angela Crookham had asked him to leave, according to the father. Ryan was charged with first-degree murder yesterday, among other crimes.

Police E-Mail Raises Questions

9News reporter Paula Woodward doesn’t mention Barack Obama in her report about an e-mail from a Denver police sergeant’s computer, “suggesting a presidential candidate is the Antichrist.” That’s probably because the e-mail doesn’t specifically name Obama, who is not Muslim. However, that seemed a viable implication in an e-mail sent to other officers, which misquotes the Bible as saying, “The Anti-Christ [sic] will be a man, in his 40’s, of Muslim descent.” A Denver officer who felt the e-mail was inappropriate tipped off 9News, and on Monday, Chief Gerry Whitman launched an investigation, saying the e-mail “appears to be unauthorized use of the city e-mail system.” 

The e-mail also lists crimes linked to Muslim extremism and chides “airport security screeners for not profiling people who travel through airports,” according to 9News.

Anthony on the Mend

Recovering from a cold, Carmelo Anthony wore four layers of clothing during Nuggets practice on Monday, according to The Denver Post. But at least he was on court for a full practice after missing the team’s first two preseason games. It wasn’t the cold that kept him from playing. It was his bruised ring finger, which was taped up. Anthony is looking forward to Wednesday’s preseason game against Utah at the Pepsi Center. “The X-rays gave me some good news,” he said, adding that he had worried his finger was broken.

The Broncos by the Numbers

The Broncos are 4-2 and remain atop the American Football Conference West. But beneath the team’s most relevant stat are some problematic numbers. For example, of the 32 National Football League Teams, the Broncos defense ranks 24 in points allowed per game, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The team is 30 in yards allowed per game and the bottom of the barrel in passing yards allowed per game. As the Rocky puts it, the Broncs “need a ladder to hit the middle of the pack.” Or else 4-2 is sure to be a remember-when.

Audiodose: Ramadan is over, but the controversy it spawned at the JBS Swift & Company meatpacking plant in Greeley regarding prayer accommodations continues. Some of the workers fired for refusing to return to their jobs during a walkout are in the process of filing federal complaints. Others are trying to get their jobs back, as KUNC radio reports in an update.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.84, Western Convenience, 9190 Huron Street (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, October 9

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In the Sinking-Vote Boat?

The election headache seems to be returning: disenfranchized voters, double balloting, hanging chads. The New York Times has learned that in this election, officials have removed two names for every one added and that tens of thousands of voters could be denied their right to vote as a result. Six swing states, including Colorado, seem to be in violation of federal law, according to the Times. Colorado’s problem is that it purged names within 90 days of the election. Moreover, at least 4,800 of the state’s voters face problems getting onto the rolls, according to The Colorado Independent, due to “confusing” new forms and identification rules. Boulder’s Daily Camera noted earlier this week that some 1,700 registration forms were considered incomplete and the would-be voters who filed them ineligible. And 7News reported that a recently married woman has received two ballots–“one in her married name, the other in her maiden name.” Hinting at conspiracy, State Senator John Morse, a Dem in GOP stronghold El Paso County, says election clerk Bob Balink’s policies amount to a strategy to suppress the vote, according to The Colorado Independent.

Dem Pelosi’s Stimulating Denver Visit

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Dow Jones’ record index close of 14,164. But amid economic uncertainty, and as governments and banks got cozier in an attempt to prevent a worldwide financial calamity, the Dow, as of yesterday, had dropped 35 percent over the course of the year, according to MarketWatch. As the market was tumbling yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Denver, telling reporters that lawmakers are considering a new $150 billion federal spending package, including possible tax rebates, according to The Washington Post. Add that to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, which the House passed last week. The last stimulus package, brokered by President George W. Bush in February, was $168 million, including tax rebates. Meanwhile, as the economy wobbles, Coloradans keep struggling. As 9News reports, some parents thought College Invest, a state nonprofit that puts college savings in the stock market, was a smart way to save for their kids’ educations but fear they may learn otherwise.

Indictment in Broncos’ Murder

It took 21 months, but a grand jury has returned an indictment against Willie DeWayne Clark, an alleged gang member accused of shooting Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2007, just after the Broncos’ final game of the season. Yesterday, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said the investigation leading up to the 39 counts facing Clark, including murder, was intense, according to several news organizations, including The Denver Post. Williams was in a stretch Hummer limo with 15 other people, including former Bronco Javon Walker, as a white Chevy Tahoe pulled up, unleashing a shower of bullets, killing Williams. The shooting followed an argument between the two groups earlier inside a Denver nightclub. The indictment states that Clark admits to the shooting in a jailhouse letter, and Morrissey says the search for a second shooter continues, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

A Common Ailment in Colorado

About one in five Coloradans has no health insurance. In Colorado’s Latino communities, the numbers are even worse: More than one in three is uninsured. That’s according to U.S. Census Bureau information released today. The Rocky Mountain News writes that the data “provides the most extensive estimates” from the bureau, highlighting the issue of healthcare, which has been a strong theme in the presidential race. Former state Senator Polly Baca, a management consultant, says the nation’s healthcare system is in crisis, calling for policy changes. Earlier this year, the nonprofit Families USA released a series of reports on the problem, entitled “Dying for Coverage,” and concluded that between 2000 and 2006, about 2,100 adults aged 25-64 died simply because they did not have health insurance. In the past seven years, health insurance premiums have climbed nearly five times faster than wages, according to a recent story in the Rocky Mountain News.

The Business Divide: Amendment 52

Back in September, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce endorsed Amendment 52, joining the Douglas County Business Alliance, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, and other business interests, according to the Denver Business Journal. The measure would create an amendment to Colorado’s constitution requiring that oil-and-gas severance taxes go to transportation projects around the state. But yesterday a group of 65 CEOs and business leaders, collectively called The Colorado Forum, came out against the proposal, which could raise more than $1 billion in four years to improve Interstate 70 through the mountains, according to this Journal story. The forum isn’t opposed to improving roads, highways, and bridges. They just don’t like the idea that it would be included in the Constitution. They also fear Amendment 52 would strip money from state and local governments, including water projects.

Broncos Injuries Don’t Sour Coach

When he was asked yesterday about injury updates, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan “surprisingly answered the question,” according to The Denver Post, even though last week he told reporters to stop asking about injured players. So we now know that running back Slevin Young and tight end Tony Scheffler, both starters, have strained groins. They won’t play Sunday, when Jacksonville comes to Denver, but should return for the following game on October 20 in New England. Wide receiver Eddie Royal has a bruised ankle bone, and defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban has an injured groin. Both are expected to practice today and could play Sunday.

Finally, the Face Off

The Colorado Avalanche are full of confidence as the regular hockey season begins tonight at the Pepsi Center with a face off against the Boston Bruins. Yes, most teams should also be brimming with optimism anyway. But listen to captain Joe Sakic, who begins his 20th season in the National Hockey League. The team has “a lot of depth,” including new goalie Peter Budaj, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Audiodose: Republican Marilyn Musgrave has a precarious grip on her Fourth Congressional District seat as she faces a solid challenger in Democrat Betsy Markey. KUNC radio profiles the race–Musgrave in Part I and Markey in Part II.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.11, Western Convenience, 10515 South Parker Road (via www.gasbuddy.com).

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