Panorama: Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, July 10

July 10 2008, 10:48 AM
Schaffer's Kurd Mentality Bob Schaffer, a Republican oilman and former congressman from Fort Collins, is having a rough time in his bid to fill Colorado's open Senate seat. First he was taken to task for his visit to a "palm-studded beach resort" on the Mariana Islands in 1999 with now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The latest brouhaha involves questions about Schaffer's role in negotiating an oil contract with Kurds in Iraq. According to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, Schaffer's Aspect Energy deal is among roughly two dozen that have stoked conflict  between Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, reports the Grand Junction Sentinel. Moreover, the newspaper adds, the State Department warned energy firms not to broker with the Kurds. Schaffer explained to the paper, "We didn't experience any discouragement" from the State Department, but that doesn't stop ColoradoPols from opining that this is "another potentially devastating situation" for Schaffer. The site now places 7-1 odds on Democrat Mark Udall beating Schaffer. And in further Schaffer news, The Denver Post looks at his affiliation with the right-wing Yorktown University. Ramsey Family Ties Newspapers as far away as Melbourne, Australia, bore news that after eleven long years nobody in JonBenet Ramsey's family murdered the six-year-old beauty pageant contestant, who has become a tragic worldwide icon in death. New DNA evidence points to an unknown male killer, says Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy, who has taken the unusual step of exonerating JonBenet's immediate family, offering a public apology in a letter, according to myriad news sources, including the Denver Post. (Of course, this means a murderer has been on the loose the entire time the media and an army of pundits relentlessly theorized that tantalizing clues in the case indicated JonBenet must have been slain by a family member.) 9News reporter Paula Woodward broke the story and obtained an exclusive interview with John Ramsey. An avalanche of photographs hit cyberspace soon after, including this slideshow at rockymountainnews.com. JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, was still considered a possible suspect when she died in June 2006, after a battle with ovarian cancer. Meanwhile, the latest twist in the drama is either excellent or extremely tacky timing for prolific author Joyce Carol Oates, whose new novel, My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike, is loosely based on JonBenet's death. The novel's main character, Skyler, is supposed to be Burke Ramsey, JonBenet's slightly older brother, and a tabloid-favorite possible killer. The Baltimore Sun has a decent review of the book. Damn the Dam Closure: Protesters Change Nothing A day after authorities closed Dillon Dam Road, citing ambiguous terrorism fears by even mightier but nameless authorities, a group of Summit County residents showed up and vigorously protested. "This is outrageous and completely unacceptable," Silverthorne resident Gary Konig tells the Summit Daily News, which covers the county east of Denver that harbors ski towns such as Keystone and Breckenridge. Denver Water officials closed the road without warning on Tuesday, citing unspecified security concerns about the earthen dam. According to the Denver Post, a new analysis (by security agencies that Denver Water officials refuse to name) concludes that the dam is vulnerable to a devastating attack. And the Beat Goes On "Think your tough hippy? Get ready to get down!!! We're celebrating 40 years of beat-down!!" That's the intimidating, poorly written and excessively punctuated message (alluding to police actions at the 1968 Democratic National Convention) that has prompted several Denver activists to reach out to the press for help. A police watchdog group, Denver CopWatch, says the message emanates from a Hotmail account that belongs to a police officer, and now fears a police riot at the Democratic convention in Denver next month. Fox 31 covers the story, which lacks basic details, such as the officer's name and police department. The story notes, however, that activists are seeking an independent investigation by Denver authorities in hopes of identifying an officer by tracing the e-mail. CU Gets More Buff The University of Colorado just added a little sex appeal to its image, signing a licensing agreement with lingerie monolith Victoria's Secret. This means the Buffs' logo may be seen on "everything from panties to letter jackets," according to the Rocky Mountain News. More than 30 universities across the nation are onboard with the plan, and CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard says the university has "reviewed the merchandise that was being proposed" and "didn't see anything that was alarming or terribly risque." Yet at least one incoming student tells the Rocky the idea seems ditzy for an institution dedicated to serious things, like research. CU's clothing isn't online yet, but Victoria Secret's website has already rolled out some of the other lines. Hot Heads Forecasters such as Stacey Donaldson at News4 say today's temperature will reach a roasting 97 degrees, but who knows? Maybe it'll hit 100 for the first time this year; the current record for today is 99. Just in case the heat prompts an outbreak of complete brainlessness in Denver, the Rocky Mountain News reports that meteorologists are "warning" the public to "keep out of the sun or wear a hat today." Audiodose: A recent federal government survey on health and nutrition estimates that well over half of the adults living in the United States are overweight or obese. KRCC (Radio Colorado College) in Colorado Springs has posted an interview with professor Adam Drewnowski at the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival. He addresses why Americans are  so overweight and what can be done. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.85, a 7-11 at W. Byron Place and Sheridan Boulevard (via www.gasbuddy.com) Weather Today: Clear and 97 high/66 low Weather Tomorrow: Fair 96 high/54 low