Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Wednesday, July 9

July 2008
The Snapshot Moment of a Generation -- If You Can Get In Forget Barack Obama's positions on the war in Iraq and the economy. The defining aspect of his presidential candidacy just might be his moving speeches, which have fueled his fast political rise and have lead to comparisons with great orators such as John F. Kennedy. Obama's "reuniting of presidential discourse with actual, visible thought" is not a trivial achievement, according to New York Magazine, which helps explain why there's so much clamor -- and fear -- about getting tickets to Obama's acceptance speech at the 76,000-seat Invesco Field at Mile High next month. While that drama unfolds, one ploy to bring ten lucky fans to Denver to meet Obama "backstage," went down in flames shortly after it was announced. The campaign made it a stipulation that people must donate "$5 or more" to Obama's campaign in order to win, drawing criticism from adversaries such as Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, which alleged the plan would break gaming laws in many states. Now the winners will be chosen the old-fashioned way -- "individual stories and other factors," as Matt Chandler, Colorado press secretary for Obama's campaign, tells the Rocky Mountain News. Or Watch From City Park, Next to "Tent State University" Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to converge in Denver for the Democratic National Convention in August at a tent city in City Park that will be "just a Frisbee throw away" from a big-screen-TV "watching party," according to the Rocky Mountain News. And the multitude, who are sure to trample more than a few blades of grass, might just have a view of a pretty lake after all. Though the administrator for City Park said earlier this week that she lacks funds and "specialized equipment" to clean up the algae-goop that has formed a disgusting green layer on much of Ferril Lake, News4 now reports that the park could employ some sort of "sewer vacuum" to remedy the problem. Masters "Misfeasance" Tim Masters wasn't responsible for the brutal slaying of Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins in 1987, though he spent a decade in prison. When he was released earlier this year, after DNA evidence pointed to someone else, his attorneys said the Fort Collins police officer who helped put Masters behind bars --  Jim Broderick -- should face criminal charges. But the attorneys and Masters were disappointed yesterday when Weld County District Attorney Keny Buck determined that although Broderick's techniques during the Masters investigation were troubling, his conduct was a question of "misfeasance, not malfeasance," according to a final report. Stories: Denver Post, Fort Collins Now, Associated Press. There Are Other Candidates Vying to Replace Mark Udall in Congress, You Know With all the feel-good Jared Polis ads blaring from television sets, you'd think he was the only Democrat hoping to replace Representative Mark Udall, who is running for Senate. But there's an August 12 primary to win first. Candidates Joan Fitz-Gerald and Will Shafroth will debate Polis this Friday in the City Council chambers of Boulder's Municipal Building, according to the Daily Camera, as 50,000 ballots are mailed to Democrats in the expansive 2nd Congressional District, that encompasses Boulder, the suburbs north of Denver, and the touristy places west of Denver that lie along major highways. The Colorado Independent's feature on Fitz-Gerald also highlights criticism that mogul Polis took $4 million from his own pocket to line his hefty campaign coffers. Meanwhile, Udall's Senate race against former Congressman Bob Schaffer, of Fort Collins, is considered among the Democrats' best hopes to expand their 51-49 Senate majority, according to Bloomberg News, which quotes 71-year-old former Senator Gary Hart, of Colorado Dem legend. "There clearly is a regional swing going on," Hart says of the traditional Republican reign in Western states. "We're ending a 40-year cycle of conservatism." Terrorists at Dillon Dam? Dillon Dam Road closed at midnight after Denver Water officials raised concern that it might be "targeted," according to the Denver Business Journal. Penfield Tate, the vice president of Denver Water's board of commissioners, said in a statement that the utility -- the state's largest water provider, with more than a million customers -- faced no "imminent threat." However, in "the last several months we've grown far more concerned about the vulnerability of the dam and the potential for catastrophic consequences downstream if the dam were targeted," Tate said. Local officials indicated that the move apparently is based on information Denver Water received from undisclosed state and federal agencies over the vulnerability of earthen dams in general, according to the Summit Daily News. Driving Brandon Marshall Normally it isn't big news when a Denver Bronco gets a ticket for an illegal lane change on Interstate 25. Unless, of course, you happen to be wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Then it's sort of a big deal. The Drudge-like Web site CompleteColorado.com was the first to report that Marshall was ticketed on June 12 for an illegal lane change, driving without a license and no proof of insurance. The Denver Post picks up on the story, noting that Marshall still faces drunk driving charges after being arrested last October, part of a series of drinking-related arrests dating back to 2004. Beware the "Wolfpack" In the era of $4-a-gallon gas, the Denver Post has an interesting feature on a strange and growing clan known as the "hypermilers." Some of them advocate simply coasting down mountain hills. Others draft near cars and trucks like race car drivers to avoid wind resistance. Many disavow such techniques as dangerous but aren't against, say, ripping out an unused seat to cut out some weight. Some do a little "ridge-riding" by placing two wheels on the white-painted, right-hand highway line, because the line has less gas-sucking friction. What to avoid? The "wolfpack," a group of cars that's speeding toward yellow lights and impeding a smooth, efficient ride. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.80, a King Soopers on E. Bromley Lane in Brighton (via www.gasbuddy.com) Weather Today: Afternoon thunderstorms and 92 high/65 low Weather Tomorrow: Partly cloudy and 94 high/66 low