Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, September 4

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Palin Speech Wows Colorado Conservatives
Sarah Palin, a.k.a. “your average hockey mom,” criticized and even made fun of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign last night in St. Paul. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities,” the Alaska governor said during her speech to the Republican National Convention, arguing that she is John McCain’s ideal presidential running mate (via The New York Times). Palin wowed Colorado delegates, like Kendall Unruh of Castle Rock, who fashioned her own flair–a button, according to 9News. “It says: maniacal, foaming at the mouth, feverishly fervent Palin supporter,” Unruh says. Video of Palin at her former church, Wasilla Assembly of God, saying the war in Iraq is a “task that is from God,” is also circulating. In McCain’s Colorado Springs campaign office, that wasn’t a concern, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Richard Rice, a 62-year-old lifelong Republican, thinks Palin did well; she’s “a good conservative and she said all the right things.”

Rove: Colorado Among Key States in Prez Race
Republican mastermind Karl Rove fondly recalled his Colorado boyhood in his grandmother’s home for Colorado delegates during a hotel breakfast yesterday in St. Paul. Two words: fried chicken. Then he predicted the presidential election will be decided by three battleground states: Virginia, Ohio, and–a drum roll please–Colorado, “no ifs, ands, or buts about it.” He implored delegates to campaign hard for their party’s presidential nominee, John McCain, in the months leading up to the election. “If you’re planning to take off a little time between now and Nov. 4, I’d suggest you change your plans,” Rove said, according to 9News. Rove, a former Bush administration official, also predicted an “unending supply of television ads,” according to He defended McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, following attacks by Democrat Barack Obama’s campaign. “It is condescending–and I’m not going to say sexist–but really weird to be belittling the governor of the state of Alaska….”

Cuba Dealings: Trouble for Colorado Biz

Platte River Associates of Boulder, which makes software for oil-and-gas companies, and Rocky Mountain Orthodontics Incorporated of Denver, which makes orthodontic equipment, both were accused of violating the five-decade embargo against communist Cuba. While Platte River is contending with criminal charges and RMO paid a penalty, “some Colorado business leaders are hoping to strengthen trade ties there,” according to the Denver Business Journal. Count Jim Reis, president of World Trade Center Denver, among them. He is attempting to organize a trade mission to the island off Florida’s coast for agricultural and medical businesses–the two industries exempt from the embargo. But the trip, which would also ideally include state politicians, has been three years (and counting) in the making. “I’m still hoping to get it together, although obviously not until after the election,” Reis says. “It’s not fair to ask a politician who’s running for office to join a trade mission to Cuba. Some people have strong feelings about that.”

Action Items
It turns out Colorado voters will have just one affirmative-action-related ballot measure to decide upon this November after all, according to The Denver Post. The Secretary of State’s Office says Initiative 82, which sought to safeguard affirmative action policies, doesn’t have enough signatures, leaving only Amendment 46, a measure that would eliminate some programs, on the ballot.

Dude, the Bear Went, Like, Berserk or Something
Ingredients: One large black bear, obviously agitated about something; one large marijuana-growing operation in rural Colorado. Directions: Mix ingredients thoroughly in Garfield County, sit back, and watch the carnage. In the aftermath, it is not clear whether the beast, perhaps taller than 6’2”, was under the influence when it laid waste to a pot plantation consisting of 888 young plants and 4,000 small plastic bags containing seeds. What is clear from the trail of chewed pipes, ripped food containers, and clawed trees is that the operation is now, like, totally trashed. The bear, Deputy Ray Gardner says, seems to have dislodged the grower, or growers, from their site following a series of targeted assaults, according to The Denver Post, quoting a press release. Sheriff Danny Perkins seems to dismiss any notion that the bear suffered some kind of reefer rage. Au contraire: “This bear is definitely law-enforcement minded,” he tells the Rocky Mountain News. “If I can find this bear, I’m going to deputize him.”

Avalanche Jam Gets Jammed
Colorado’s Avalanche Information Center was preparing to hold its annual benefit to raise the cash needed to provide skiers, climbers, and other winter-braving souls with daily forecasts, a.k.a., butt-saving information. Underline “was,” according to The Mountain World, longtime journalist Dougald MacDonald’s blog of news, opinion, and travel. Friday night’s Avalanche Jam will not take place in the parking lot of Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, MacDonald writes, quoting an e-mail that says the event was canceled because “the permitting process proved too much.” It’s a big deal for the center. The jam last year raised $15,000 and is especially needed this year; the center lost $10,000 in funding from a major donor, according to MacDonald. Yet not all is lost, he notes. People can donate to CAIC by becoming “friends,” as he has. “Donors support the avalanche center’s in-depth regional conditions reports, the best weather forecasts available for the Colorado mountains, and research and education designed to prevent deadly accidents.”

Shanahan: Ever the Raider-Hater
It’s been almost two decades since Al Davis fired Broncos’ coach Mike Shanahan from his job as the Raiders’ head coach. And being dumped four games into the 1989 season still sort of burns up Shanahan. “No, it doesn’t dissipate at all,” Shanahan tells The Denver Post, before discussing the Broncos season opener, which is Monday in Raider Land. “It’s a big first game for us. We get a chance to showcase our team on national television (and the) AFC West,” he says.

First Clavijo, Now Herc
The man who scored the first goal at the Colorado Rapids’ newish stadium, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park–a forward whose first name prompts fans to chant, “Herculez,” Gomez, that is–is packing his bags. He was traded yesterday to the Kansas City Wizards for a fourth-round pick in next year’s Major League Soccer draft and a first-round pick in a supplemental draft–along with an undisclosed amount of allocation money, according to ESPN.

Videodose: What else? John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, addresses the Republican National Convention in St. Paul last night (via Fox News).

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.61, Gas+, 800 South Monaco Parkway (via