Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, November 4

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End in Sight

After eight years of President George W. Bush and a long and often bitter tug-o-war between political partisans, America is ready for a change–a slogan embraced by both Democrat Barack Obama and the GOP’s John McCain. Colorado remains a “tossup,” according to The New York Times, yet leans Dem, which, if true, could symbolize a nation ready to go blue. Sarah Palin was deep in the state’s Republican turf–Colorado Springs–for a third time yesterday, urging thousands of voters to not let that happen, reminding them “what a pivotal state this is,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama was in Littleton yesterday, expressing grief over the death of her husband’s grandmother, according to the Rocky Mountain News, and leading a prayer. … Forget the cities for a minute: The election could come down to places like the little town of Walsh, notes National Public Radio, a place where McCain and Palin find deep support.

A Long Night Ahead

If you were expecting a verdict on the election early tonight–or even before bedtime–forget about it, writes the Rocky Mountain News. Roughly half the votes will be tallied shortly after polls close tonight. As for the rest, “it’s anyone’s guess,” meaning the unofficial results might not come until the early hours of Wednesday. Already, 1.2 million ballots have been processed, and another 365,000 people voted early–about half Colorado’s registered voters. Yet be prepared for a headache. As The Colorado Independent notes, thousands of Colorado voters probably have no clue that their names have been removed from the state’s election rolls and will be surprised when they go to vote today and receive a provisional ballot that will be among the last verified and counted. At least Denver’s parking officers will cut back on the street sweeping enforcement for a day, according to the Rocky. If you live in Denver but haven’t voted yet, and still aren’t sure how, click here for some help and here for even more information.

Pumpkin Runners: Possible Sex Offenders

A handful of the more than 100 naked pumpkin runners aren’t feeling very liberated following their 10th annual Halloween streak through Boulder’s streets. The 12 unnamed pumpkin runners cited for misdemeanor indecent exposure now may have to register as sex offenders if they are convicted, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera. The case led local lawyer Alexander Garlin to consider concerns from critics who say the sex offender “industry is too much one-size-fits-all.” The prosecution must prove the defendants “knowingly exposed” their genitals and that they caused “affront or alarm” to someone, according to the Camera, leading Garlin to wonder whether the average Boulderite was entertained. A lesser charge, strangely, would be public indecency, which includes having sex in public, masturbating, or fondling–all charges that do not require sex offender registration. Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner defended the charges, saying, “first of all,” the pumpkin run is illegal.

Plea Bargain in Buffalo Slaughter

Jeffrey Scott Hawn, the businessman from Texas who ordered the slaughter of 32 bison belonging to South Park rancher Monte Downare, pleaded guilty yesterday to criminal mischief and animal cruelty in a Park County District Court, according to the Fairplay Flume. Hawn, 44, agreed to pay more than $83,000 in restitution to Downare, about $4,000 in fines to the county, and donate $70,000 to seven animal organizations, including the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance. Hawn also will perform 96 hours or “useful community service.” According to The Denver Post, Hawn’s sentence is deferred, meaning the charges will be swept off his record if he stays out of trouble during a two-year probation. However, Hawn still faces the possibility of 10 days in jail when he is sentenced in January.

Female Hands Are Pretty–Dirty, That Is

Think of this next time you see a greasy guy emerge from under the car: Women’s hands harbor a greater number of bacteria species than men’s. That’s according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by University of Colorado professors Rob Knight and Noah Fierer (via The Associated Press). Asked if men should worry about holding hands with women, Knight replied, “I guess it depends on which girl.” Most bacteria, he notes, is “harmless or beneficial,” and the average hand for either gender harbors 150 species, more than researchers expected. Researchers just don’t know why women’s hands are more bacteria-prone. One theory is that men’s skin is more acidic and capable of killing more bacteria, according to this USA Today blog.

Nice Knowing You, Iverson

The Nuggets’ all-star guard, Allen Iverson, is headed to the Detroit Pistons in a trade that yields the Denver Nuggets guard and Denver native Chauncey Billups, forward Antonio McDyess, and center Cheikh Samb, according to The Denver Post. Billups should fill a major gap for the Nuggets, as coach George Karl has lamented the need for a point guard since Iverson joined the team in December of 2006. Iverson wanted to get Denver past the first round of the playoffs and now, according to his agent, has “a chance to go deep into the playoffs.”

More Injuries for the Broncos

It seems things just keep getting worse for the 4-4 Broncos. On Monday, a day after the team’s second-worst rushing game ever, running backs Andre Hall and Michael Pittman were placed on the injured reserve list, effectively ending their seasons, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Hall’s left hand was injured, and Pittman’s neck was hurt during the Broncos’ 26-17 loss at home to the Miami Dolphins. Linebacker Boss Bailey and cornerback Champ Bailey were injured recently.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.10, Sunmart, 7170 Pecos St. (via