Mile-High Headlines for Friday, December 5

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A Rocky Future
The story that Colorado’s oldest newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, was put up for sale by its parent company, The E.W. Scripps Company, lit up the Internet yesterday afternoon. The news seemed almost old by the time the print edition reached readers this morning. It’s an example of how the industry, which serves as a watchdog of government, looks like the “buggy-making” business when cars came around in the early 1900s, Rocky columnist Mike Littwin notes, hoping that somewhere, some “noble billionaire” might emerge.

If no buyer is found by January, Scripps, which has eliminated 400 jobs around the nation, will shut the paper down. Ken Doctor, a newspaper industry analyst from California-based Outsell Inc., says it is “highly unlikely” Scripps will find a buyer, according to the Denver Business Journal.

And Denver Post publisher William Dean Singleton, who learned last month that Scripps intended to “close” the Rocky, tells the Post, “I don’t believe anybody thinks the Rocky can be sold.” There’s a sense among Rocky staffers that the Post is in financial trouble, too, according to Westword.

The Rocky has seen some great and odd times, according to former Rocky reporter J.R. Moehringer in this 5280 story. If you told the “drinkers and scrofulous wackos gathered at the Press Club” in the 1990s that the Rocky would eventually bag Pulitzers, they would have forced more beer down your throat.

Slowing the Foreclosure Crisis

The Bush administration and Federal Reserve are changing direction on the foreclosure crisis, after “pouring vast amounts of money into financial institutions of almost every type, and having little to show for it.” That’s according to The New York Times, which says the government is preparing to do more to help ordinary people who are not yet facing foreclosure but struggling to keep their homes.

Meanwhile, the crisis appears to be slowing in Colorado, which will probably see fewer foreclosures by the close of 2008 compared with the year before, according to a report cited by the Denver Business Journal. There are 16,246 foreclosures across the state–down 14 percent in the first nine months of this year compared with 2007. Denver had the largest decrease in foreclosures.

However, foreclosures were on the rise elsewhere, including El Paso County, where they’re up by nearly one-third, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Boulder County saw a 12 percent rise.

Markey and Musgrave: A Spending Spree
Betsy Markey, elected to represent the Fourth Congressional District last month, and her independent backers spent $6.4 million to defeat Republican incumbent Marilyn Musgrave. Musgrave and her allies spent just $4 million, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. However, Markey, the first Democrat in 36 years to be elected to the district, didn’t win because of the money, according to Colorado State University political science professor John Straayer. More important were conservative Musgrave’s own record and eight years of President George W. Bush.

The cash went into competing negative campaign ads, which leave both Markey and Musgrave under investigation for making false statements about each other during the campaign, according to The Colorado Independent.

Musgrave, meanwhile, says she’s not necessarily out of politics, according to 9News.

The Giving Problem
Coloradans are giving less, according to a report by the Colorado Nonprofit Association, creating a “perfect storm” as charities struggle to do more with less. Individual giving in the metro Denver area was down more than 10 percent in the 2006 tax year, the latest data available. That’s according to The Denver Post, which cites a statement by association CEO Sharon Knight and board chairman Dr. Tom Downey.

“If things do not change, the survival of many Colorado nonprofits may be in question as will the sector’s ability to serve Coloradans in greatest need,” the two say.

Although Colorado is fifth in the nation for average adjusted gross income, it ranks 38 in terms of giving as a percentage of income. In spite of the downturned economy, nearly nine of ten Coloradans want businesses to continue to support charities, the report says. According to the Denver Business Journal, that’s greater than the number of people who think individuals should donate (83 percent) and those who want the government to support charity (71 percent).

9News Got Marine Story Wrong
After 9News reported that Boulder Marine Lance Hering would get a 30-day military-prison sentence and “less-than-honorable” discharge for deserting his unit in 2006, several publications picked up on the story, including Panorama. But according to Boulder’s Daily Camera, which also ran with the story reported by 9News’ investigative unit, it was wrong.

Marine officials tell the Camera that Hering, 23, hasn’t been sentenced, “contrary to earlier news reports.” Hering’s case is “still being evaluated,” according to the Marines. (We decided to include the story in Panorama after seeing it picked up by the Camera and The Denver Post.) The Camera reports a plea deal could be in the making for Hering, who allegedly faked his disappearance and spawned a massive search-and-rescue operation in Boulder two years ago.

9News offers an updated story, which now states Hering “could” be back in Boulder to face additional charges soon.

Broncos Prepare for Revenge
The lowly Kansas City Chiefs, a team hated in Denver perhaps as much as the Oakland Raiders, have won just two games this year. One was a 33-19 victory at home against Denver. The Broncos, who sit atop the American Football Conference’s West Division, will look for revenge at Invesco Field this weekend, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

“I think we have learned our lesson on taking teams lightly, and I don’t think that it will happen this week,” says quarterback Jay Cutler. The Chiefs have fielded a new quarterback since beating Denver–Tyler Thigpen, who has taken over for the injured Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard. Look for a different team, one that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan considers better than the one that beat the Broncos.

CSU Awaits Word
Colorado State University’s football team appears bound to play Fresno State in the third-annual New Mexico Bowl, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. CSU (7-5) doesn’t have a formal invitation to the December 20 game but expects one by Sunday night. CSU is already taking orders for tickets and basing the prices on New Mexico’s, although the bowl’s executive director, Jeff Siembieda, won’t confirm anything before Sunday.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.44, Pecos Sunmart, 7170 Pecos St. (via

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