Mile-High Headlines for Friday, October 10

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Coffman Goes on the Attack
Mike Coffman, Colorado’s secretary of state, is on the offensive in the wake of a New York Times investigation published yesterday that found Colorado among swing states with voter-registration problems. Colorado, the Times wrote,appears to be violating federal law by purging voters from its rolls within 90 days of the election. Coffman told newspapers, including the Rocky Mountain News, that the Times got the story wrong, saying the paper was “out to lunch”and its numbers “were way off.” The Times reported that 37,000 voters have been purged from registration rolls since July 21. Coffman says the figure is closer to 14,000, defending his actions as routine. However, Coffman, a Republican candidate in the Sixth Congressional District, concedes that his office may have violated federal voting law when nearly 2,500 “duplicate” voters were recently purged. Coffman, who was not available for comment on the initial Times story, spoke to the newspaper for a follow-up today, admitting that he is asking state Attorney General John Suthers to review his office’s procedures. Coffman’s office was also in hot water yesterday with Governor Bill Ritter over miscommunications regarding incomplete voter registrations (via

More Finger-Pointing: Musgrave and Markey
Yesterday’s debate between Marilyn Musgrave and Betsy Markey is notable for what didn’t happen. The campaigns have been vicious, but, as The Denver Post notes, neither of the candidates for Congress outrightly called the other corrupt. Both did, however, argue predictably about the others’ alleged ethical lapses. Markey, who, according to polls, is poised to be the first Dem to unseat a Republican in the Fourth Congressional District since 1972, said Musgrave accepted thousands of dollars from banks and oil-and-gas companies. Musgrave said Markey used her influence as a staffer for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar to enrich her family’s business. Both say the others’ allegations are unfair, and as the debate at Colorado State University continued, the two agreed on a couple of issues. Neither supports a timeline for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. And both opposed the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, according to the Rocky Mountain News. “In the end, local analysts said there was no clear winner, except maybe some voters who had a chance to see the candidates in unvarnished light,” according to Fort Collins Now.

Dow, Down, Down
Yesterday, Wall Street investors were gripped by “fear and foreboding,” The Washington Post writes, adding many are now “convinced that the nation is on the verge of a deep and prolonged recession.” Overall, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 679 points yesterday, leaving the market at 8579. The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, vital in lending to many first-time home buyers, “has itself become tangled in the credit crunch,” according to The Denver Post. And nearly a dozen contractors there have agreed to discount their billing to Denver International Airport at the airport’s pleading, according to the Denver Business Journal. Durango-based Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was slammed with a 37.5 percent drop in net income in the second quarter, according to another Journal story. There is a silver lining: Gasoline prices are calming, owing to the sinking value of crude oil, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. shows some Denver stations selling gas at $2.99 a gallon, down from the four-dollar range earlier this year.

Tough Conviction in Darrent Williams Shooting?
Independent defense lawyers say prosecutors may struggle to win a conviction against Willie DeWayne Clark, the man indicted two days ago for fatally shooting Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams on New Year’s Day in 2007, according to The Denver Post. Only the four men in the Chevy Tahoe, from which the shots were fired, know what happened, the Post writes: Two have extensive records, a third is cooperating with the government, and a fourth is a wild card. It makes witness credibility a major hurdle, according to analysts. Clark, meanwhile, has long argued his innocence to the Rocky Mountain News in a series of just released letters, some more than a year old (here, here, and here). After a Rocky article named Clark a person of interest in the shooting, Clark wrote to the paper that he wanted to tell “my side of the ‘true’ story.” He wrote of his troubled life in a Denver neighborhood “infested with gangs” and said witnesses were pinning the blame on him to save themselves. However, another letter, allegedly written by Clark in jail and intercepted by an inmate, contains a confession by Clark, according to the Rocky.

A Quieter Columbus Day
As Irish novelist James Joyce put it, “Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America.” But such truth won’t stop Denver’s annual Columbus Day parade from proceeding through downtown toward the Capitol at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. In years past, the parade has faced aggressive protests from American Indian activists and their supporters, who argue Columbus’ arrival marked the start of centuries of genocidal violence against tribes. Last year, according to the Rocky Mountain News, 83 people were arrested for blocking the procession. But owing to some burnout by lawyers representing protesters arrested during the Democratic National Convention, activists will tone it down this year and rally instead at the Capitol, says Glenn Spagnuolo, a leader of the movement to end the Columbus Day parade. News of a more mellowed occasion hasn’t prevented at least one Columbus Day proponent from escalating rhetoric, telling Westword “that Denver’s anti-Italian.”

Big Talk Amounts to Nothing
There was a lot of confidence and optimism surrounding the Colorado Avalanche, particularly new starting goalie Peter Budaj, as the season opened at the Pepsi Center last night. But it didn’t translate to a win. The Avs fell to the Boston Bruins, and Budaj let the puck slip by five times–the last one a heartbreaker in the waning minutes of the third period. Budaj didn’t face any boos–it’s probably too early in the season for that, writes The Denver Post, as Budaj admits he simply “wasn’t able to make the saves at the right time.” Yeah, like when the puck was going into the goal.

B-ball, the Way You Remember It
The old asphalt basketball court in the middle of a park with a half-torn net seems a faraway place for coddled pros earning six- and seven-figure salaries. But such memories will be restored for the Denver Nuggets when they face the Phoenix Suns on an outdoor court, marking the second time a game has been played outdoors in the National Basketball Association’s history, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The game takes place at the 16,000-seat Indian Wells Tennis Garden in the California desert. Before they head to California for that game, the Nuggets take on Minnesota at the Pepsi Center tonight in their first preseason game of the year.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.99, Sapp Bros., 4765 Federal Boulevard (via