Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, December 23

Panorama will break for some hobnobbing and eggnogging, beginning Wednesday, December 24. We’ll return on Friday, January 2 to round up any headlines you might have missed while we’re out. Until then, happy holidays! We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

The Replacements
Although Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is perhaps the favored Democrat (and Facebook group target) seeking to replace Ken Salazar as U.S. Senator, don’t count out some interesting competition.

Add to your list Mike Miles, the school superintendent from Colorado Springs who challenged Salazar in the 2004 Democratic primary. His supporters are now lobbying Governor Bill Ritter, who is tasked with replacing Salazar, tapped last week by President-elect Barack Obama to head the Interior Department, according to The Denver Post.

U.S. Representatives Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette have also expressed interest in the job. Ritter, who is expected to make a decision “soon,” has received more than 2,000 emails from contenders and their supporters, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Outgoing House Speaker Andrew Romanoff has fans, as does Michael Bennet, the Denver public schools superintendent who was considered for the job of Obama’s education secretary. Even oil heiress Swanee Hunt wants a shot, the Rocky notes.

One person you can count out is Colorado State Treasurer Cary Kennedy. She wants to spend time with her young children, according to the Denver Business Journal.

Colorado Is Growing
Colorado is among the fastest-growing states in the nation, according to U.S. Census data released yesterday, with neighbors Utah and Arizona leading the charge. The new numbers have been covered by several news organizations, including The Colorado Independent, which notes Colorado’s growth rate is at 2 percent and the state’s population now stands at more than 4.9 million.

Yet The Associated Press reports that, overall, migration around the nation has slowed in recent years. And there are political implications of the counting. At stake are seats in the House of Representatives. USA Today writes that if “reapportionment were conducted today instead of after the [official] decennial Census in 2010,” five states, Colorado not among them, would gain a seat and Texas would get three. The shift could make the United States more favorable to Republicans.

“If these changes had been in place in 2008, Barack Obama’s margin over John McCain in the Electoral College would have been 10 votes smaller,” USA Today writes.

Looking for Crash Clues
Air-safety experts are “baffled” by the circumstances surrounding Saturday’s crash of Flight 1404 at Denver International Airport. That’s according to USA Today, which notes there is no evidence of engine failure in the accident that injured 38 people after the crew aborted the Boeing 737-500’s takeoff, skidding off the runway.

CNN, citing “a source,” however, is reporting that the crash was the result of a problem with the plane’s landing gear, tires, or breaks. There are indications that the problem caused a wheel to lock up.

Ten seconds before the “bumping and rattling” started–41 seconds after the plane began its takeoff–the black-box cockpit voice recorder stopped working, according to The Denver Post. The plane hit speeds around 100 miles per hour when it began to veer away from the runway. Investigators have yet to interview the captain, who is still receiving medical treatment.

Target: San Diego

The Denver Broncos head to San Diego on Sunday, plagued by injuries and even night sweats. As The Associated Press notes, “Brandon Stokley lost sleep thinking of the catches he couldn’t quite snare.” At one point earlier this season, the 8-7 Broncos seemed to have the American Football Conference West wrapped up, three games ahead of 7-8 San Diego with three to go. Now they are struggling for their first shot in the play-offs since 2005, having dropped important games. Meanwhile, the Chargers have won three in a row.

“No wonder San Diego is considered a big favorite,” the AP writes.

The Broncos have lost seven running backs to injury this season, including P.J. Pope and Selvin Young, during last week’s loss to Buffalo.

Melo Out for a Few
Carmelo Anthony’s right elbow is injured enough that the Denver Nuggets have sidelined him at least through Friday’s home game versus Philadelphia. Coach George Karl hopes Melo will return for Sunday’s game in New York. Over the last month, Karl says, Melo has been grimacing a bit when he plays, and the call to pull him was tough but hopefully the right one.

“The doctor feels that, if he shuts it down for three or four days, there could be significant improvement,” Karl says (via the Rocky Mountain News).

Videodose: Artist Lawrence Argent’s “I See What You Mean,” (aka the Big Blue Bear sculpture that peers into the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver) is the subject of a short video produced by Just Media. As part of its tribute to Denver’s 150th birthday, BuckFifty shows how this playful piece was hoisted into place.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.34, Western Convenience, 3505 S. Kipling St. (via

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