Mile-High Headlines for Friday, September 19

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An Oily Gaffe for Bob Schaffer
When the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act passed Tuesday, Bob Schaffer’s U.S. Senate campaign issued a news release attacking his Democratic opponent, Congressman Mark Udall, for voting to support a “sham energy bill.” The Schaffer campaign stated that the bill would not produce more energy and that “100 percent” of potential revenue from oil-shale leases would go to the feds, “leaving nothing for Colorado,” according to Grand Junction’s Sentinel. Yesterday, Schaffer’s campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, was in backtrack mode, admitting “that’s not the case” of the measure, which allows Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming the option to grant oil-shale production and to reap royalties. ColoradoPols views the mistake as a “serious dent” in Schaffer’s credibility. Here’s why: The source of the error emanates from the Schaffer campaign’s use of analysis by the American Petroleum Institute. Udall spokeswoman Tara Trujillo seized on that, saying it was yet “another example of who Bob Schaffer is looking out for: the oil and gas industry,” as opposed to Coloradans fretting over the high cost of fuel.

NORAD’s Security: A Mess?
In case you hadn’t heard, U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs has moved NORAD’s mission of scouring the skies for terrorist and nuclear threats from the depths of the secretive and iconic Cheyenne Mountain to the basement of an office building on Peterson Air Force Base. It doesn’t appear the transition was such a good idea. The military conducted the move without a full understanding of the national security risks involved, according to Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountablity Office, in a report released late yesterday. Although the move was completed at the end of May, the military only now plans to fully review the implications of the transition, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, which quotes U.S. Representative Mark Udall as saying the military’s approach was “fire, aim, ready” in leaving the mountain bunker it had occupied since the 1960s. For more than a year, other news reports in the Gazette and the Colorado Springs Independent, here and here (full disclosure: those last two written by me), raised concerns about the transition. David Hill also covered the subject for 5280 last October.

Rich Man, Pretty Much Stagnant Man
In recent decades, it has been widely reported, the income gap between the richest Americans and the middle class has steadily increased. That’s why separate Denver Business Journal stories today are just begging to be combined. Starting with the upper crust, the Journal reports that mogul Charlie Ergen, who founded EchoStar, and financier Phil Anschutz, who founded Qwest Communications International Inc., are again the top Coloradans on Forbes magazine’s 400 Richest Americans list. Ergen, 55, is worth $8.1 billion and lands at number 35 nationwide; Anschutz, 68, is worth $8 billion and ranks 36. Rounding out the top five Coloradans, in order, are James Leprino, 70, who heads mozzarella-making Leprino Foods; John Malone, 67, the chairman of Liberty Media Corporation; and Pat Stryker, 52, heiress to the Stryker Corporation, a medical-technology company. Meanwhile, incomes for plain ol’ Joe and Jane Schmo grew a paltry 1.3 percent in the second quarter of 2008, according to the Journal, citing Bureau of Economic Analysis data. That is among the slowest growth rates in the United States but at least better than the 0.7 percent growth of the first quarter. Take heart: Colorado ranks 11th nationally in per-capita income, at more than $41,000.

Hearing in Transgender Murder Case
When Allen Andrade discovered that 18-year-old Angie Zapata, who had performed oral sex on him, was transgendered–in this case, living as a woman but born male–he “snapped,” according to The Denver Post, which reported on Andrade’s preliminary hearing for the July 17 murder of Zapata yesterday in Weld County District Court. Andrade discovered the truth at Zapata’s Greeley apartment when he felt Zapata’s crotch. Then he beat Zapata to death with a fire extinguisher. While in jail, Andrade called Zapata “it,” according to a Greeley police detective who testified in court yesterday. Andrade also had a conversation with a girlfriend via cell phone, telling her that “all gay things need to die,” and said that he wanted to put the slaying behind him and that there was “no use crying over spilled milk.” Public defender Annette Kundelius argued that 31-year-old Andrade, of Thornton, committed a crime of passion that wasn’t premeditated, according to The Greeley Tribune.

A Close Call: Why Arapahoe Was Closed Yesterday
It could have been much worse, but luckily for the disabled residents of the 16-story building at 20th and Arapahoe streets, yesterday’s fire was doused quickly. A fifth-floor resident–an elderly woman in an electric wheelchair–suffered minor injuries after the fire burned her clothing, according to the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post. The scary situation drew plenty of gawkers and shut down Arapahoe Street for several hours. Flames lept from the fifth-floor balcony around 11 a.m., and black smoke filled hallways on other floors, according to the Rocky, as residents in wheelchairs were safeguarded by rescuers in their apartments, who were not moved because of the difficulty in getting so many wheelchairs out so quickly–a complication during firefighting efforts. The cause of the fire is unclear, based on conflicting news reports, and was extinguished within 15 to 25 minutes.

Ref Feels Like Crap After Broncos Game Call
National Football League veteran referee Ed Hochuli has felt bad all week, following the mistake he made that cost the San Diego Chargers a win against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Actually, he “remains devastated,” according to The Associated Press. He’s the “most hated man in San Diego,” according to that city’s Union-Tribune. Hochuli emailed several Chargers fans, saying that “officials strive for perfection–I failed miserably.” Mike Pereira, who supervises the league’s officials, tells the NFL Network that Hochuli is a “consummate professional,” too good to keep off the field, and now the goal is to “try to get him back to get on the horse and work again this weekend.”

Brandon Marshall: More Problems
WTF, Brandon Marshall? Just days after cutting a deal with the Denver District Attorney’s Office on driving-under-the-influence charges and weeks after being suspended from the Broncos’ home opener, owing to prior arrests, by the National Football League, Marshall is in trouble once more. This time in Fulton County, Georgia, where the solicitor’s office decided to file misdemeanor battery charges stemming from a domestic violence complaint by an ex-girlfriend in March, according to, which broke the story.

CU Bags Game Against West Virginia
The University of Colorado Buffaloes are undefeated after beating West Virginia at Folsom Field last night. CU kicker Aric Goodman was the hero, hitting a 25-yarder for the Buffs in their 17-14 victory, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera.

Pollster: A National Journal telephone survey conducted in Colorado and other “swing” states–Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia–shows Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain running a very tight race. In Colorado, Obama leads 45-44.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $3.44, Western Convenience, 10515 South Parker Road (via

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