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Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, December 16

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Salazar’s Environmental Test
On the brink of being named Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar will join what The Associated Press describes as President-elect Barack Obama’s “green team”–a “dream team” for environmentalists critical of Bush administration policy. Salazar, a first-term U.S. Senator, brings a farming and environmental-law background to the table. He’s also been a vocal opponent of federal efforts to open land in Colorado and surrounding states to oil-shale developers, as Grist notes.

And, it seems, he’s got some cleaning up to do. “Political meddling at the Department of Interior into the designation of imperiled species and habitats was more widespread than previously thought,” The Washington Post writes, citing a report that highlights 20 questionable decisions by federal officials. Seven of the rulings have already been revised, including restoration of the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse in Colorado and Wyoming to “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act.

Homeless for the Holidays
A recent survey of 25 U.S. cities, including Denver, documented a rise in homelessness this year, a problem linked to the recession and the mortgage crisis. In Denver, homelessness is up 1 percent, which could be seen as good news, considering the average increase for cities is 12 percent, as the Denver Business Journal reported last week.

Now, Denver’s Road Home, part of Mayor John Hickenlooper’s efforts to end homelessness in our city by 2015, has launched a campaign to challenge common stereotypes that most homeless people are bearded panhandlers wearing Army jackets.

As The Denver Egotist notes, “recent studies estimate that people in Denver give more than $4 million each year to panhandlers,” although the truth is that most panhandlers aren’t homeless and most homeless people don’t beg on the streets. There are better ways to give, according to Denver’s Road Home.

Meanwhile, in the sad irony category, all those expensive, weatherproof vinyl tarps that boasted political candidates during the election are at least being recycled as quilts and distributed to homeless people via the St. Francis Center, according to TreeHugger.

The homeless will appreciate the helping hands. “For the first time in 20 years, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is laying off employees,” according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Going Downhill: Climate Change and Skiing
The future of Western ski resorts is somewhat bleak and will require quite a few more snowmaking machines, according to a study on global warming, co-authored by Mark Williams, a geography professor at the University of Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain News notes that in the years to come, ski areas will have to carve runs higher up in the mountains and triple their snowmaking capabilities–all at a time when water is becoming more scarce. Not only that, ski seasons will be shorter. Aspen Mountain will be better off than Park City, Utah, which faces the prospect of no snowpack at its base in about 90 years.

As the report was released, President-elect Barack Obama coincidentally introduced a team to carry out his efforts to reduce global warming. However, political, diplomatic, scientific, and economic challenges “could impede his plans,” according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, global warming still has its naysayers, including the editorial department of the Colorado Springs Gazette, which remains steadfastly unsure man is to blame for the problem. Thus the newspaper hesitates to support “onerous restrictions on the use of fossil fuels.”

‘Tis the Season for Spirits
“Christmas cheer may be downgraded to Christmas cheap,” The Denver Post writes, as more people decide to play Scrooge with booze. The economic downturn has finally trickled its way into Colorado’s liquor stores, where bargain bottles of St. Remy are moving faster than fancy top-shelf Armagnac. Forget spiking the eggnog with Grey Goose when Smirnoff will do. As for that cheery wine, it might be flowing from the plastic spout at the bottom of a box.

Although Jim Smith, president of Republic National Distributing Co., says sales appear as robust as ever, he’s “never seen an environment like this.” Argonaut Wine & Liquor co-owner Ron Vaughn sums it up elegantly: “People are going quantity rather than quality.”

And with that, keep in mind after the holiday party that the police have just started their annual crackdown on drunk drivers, according to News2. That’s why bars like the Cherry Cricket in Cherry Creek North won’t be cutting back. They’ll be offering free cab vouchers worth $5 to the tipsy in need.

The Deep Freeze: Day 3
Things, like car engines, make strange sounds, if any noise at all, in the Arctic wilderness that Denver has become this week. The record cold temperatures that struck over the weekend continued on Monday, and another record low might have been set this morning before a new storm system generates a bit more snow, according to 9News.

Kids across the Front Range, it seemed, got a case of freezy-fingers-and-toes syndrome when the school buses that were supposed to pick them up refused to start, according to The Denver Post, which reports a record low of minus-19 early Monday morning. Denver and Jefferson County were not immune, and in Cherry Creek about 100 of the nearly 300 buses wouldn’t start. Some kids waited up to an hour before their buses trudged in.

Prior to Monday, the coldest temperature on record for December 15 was minus-6 degrees, set in 1951, according to 9News.

Crush Sidelined
The Arena Football League, to which the Colorado Crush belongs, has officially suspended its 2009 season, as has been rumored for about a week. According to Ed Policy, the league’s acting commissioner, “as a business enterprise, [the league] needs to be restructured if it is to continue to provide its unique brand of this affordable, fan-friendly sport,” writes the Denver Business Journal.

John Elway, CEO of the Crush, expressed disappointment but said the decision was “essential to reevaluate the current business model to ensure the livelihood of the AFL in the future.”

Another Win For the Nuggets
Reserve guard J.R. Smith scored a team high 25 points to help the Denver Nuggets in its 98-88 win at Dallas, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Though the team had an early lead, the Mavericks tied the score at 65-65 midway through the third quarter. But it was Smith, a favorite passing target of Chauncey Billups last night, who clinched the game. “Just took some open shots,” Smith said.

Audiodose: Coloradans are tightening their belts for the holidays, even when giving to charities. Yet as KUNC reports, at least seven nonprofits recently got a nice stocking stuffer–more cash.

Datageek: How do you measure up? Wages and salaries average $17.92 an hour in the Mountain West, which includes Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, according to the Denver Business Journal.

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Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, December 4

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Salazar for Ag Post?
U.S. Representative John Salazar is on the “short list” of names under consideration for President-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of agriculture. That’s according to the The Denver Post, which subsequently obtained confirmation from the Third Congressional District Democrat that “may” be the case.

Salazar’s name crops up at a time when Obama is facing criticism for failing to appoint more Latinos to the Cabinet, as National Public Radio reports. So far, Obama has appointed just one–New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who will be secretary of commerce. Salazar’s statement to the Post indicates interest in the job: “I’ve lived agriculture, and I sleep agriculture.” Salazar says he has not been interviewed by Obama’s transition team, but he has spoken to them.

According to The Associated Press, Salazar’s competition includes Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania’s secretary of agriculture; Tom Buis, president of the National Farmers Union; former Texas Representative Charles Stenholm, South Dakota Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, and former Indiana Representative Jill Long Thompson, all Democrats.

About That Recession

Here’s some more bad and not-so-bad news about Colorado’s economy. First the bad: New research from the University of Denver indicates signs of a recession in the state. There were “sharp” job losses last month, the unemployment rate is rising, and sales taxes are down. As the Denver Business Journal notes, the report puts doubts on late-September analysis by Moody’s that listed Colorado as one of just six states where the economy was still expanding.

If you want to talk recession, look no further than the recently divorced David Snyder and Nancy Partridge, who have been forced to live together for months because they can’t sell their house or afford to live on their own, according to The Associated Press, which writes all about the couple’s awkward mess.

But there’s also some not-so-bad news from the Journal: Denver ranks third among the nation’s top 50 metro areas when it comes to business. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Boston are first and second, respectively.

The Anglican Schism–or Splinter
The Episcopal Church’s ordination of openly gay priests, among other theological disagreements, has led to a revolt by conservatives in the United States and Canada who announced they were breaking away and forming a new organization within the Anglican Communion yesterday. In Colorado, 16 churches have left the state diocese in recent years, according to The Denver Post. Eleven others, which are still part of the diocese, belong to a partnership that drafted the new province’s constitution.

In Colorado Springs, four Anglican churches splintered from the new group, including Grace Church & St. Stephen’s, which left last year, according to The Gazette.

The new church wants to be recognized by the Anglican Communion, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, according to The Wall Street Journal. It is unclear if the Communion will allow competing churches to exist in the same geographical region.

Newspaper Watch
Add the Fort Collins Coloradoan to the growing list of newspapers in Colorado cutting back at a time when the ink-stained daily journalism business ain’t what it used to be. That’s according to NewsChannel 13 in Colorado Springs, which notes that Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper company and owner of the Coloradoan, is slashing its workforce by 10 percent amid declining revenues.

The Coloradoan has laid off five employees, and two vacant positions were eliminated. Jim Hopkins, a former Gannett editor and reporter who blogs about the company, has tallied 1,786 job losses this week.

The overall prognosis for the industry, via Editor & Publisher, is horrendous. Many newspapers will probably default on their debt and go belly up, leaving “several cities” with no paper at all. Fitch Ratings made the prediction, citing negative advertising revenue growth and rising publication costs. The debts of two major companies, The McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co., are rated as “junk” by Fitch.

Boulder Marine to Return Home
From Camp Pendleton in California, 9News reports that Lance Hering, the 23-year-old Marine from Boulder who went absent without leave after allegedly faking his disappearance, will spend 30 days in military prison. Hering will also receive a “less than honorable” discharge, according to 9News, which doesn’t specify whether Hering was sentenced for desertion, the crime for which the Marines arrested him.

Hering will later be handed over to authorities in Boulder County, where he’s facing charges stemming from his August 30, 2006 disappearance.

At the time, his friend Steve Powers concocted a story that Hering was injured and missing in Eldorado Canyon State Park. After a massive search-and-rescue operation, authorities learned the story was fake, and Powers said Hering feared returning to the Marines because troops in his unit had killed innocent people in Iraq. Earlier this week, an organization that includes Hering’s parents said Hering was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera.

Sakic Iced
It has been a tough couple of years for Joe Sakic, who returned to the Colorado Avalanche and a 20th National Hockey League season this year in the wake of hernia surgery last year that caused him to miss 38 games. The 39-year-old captain considered retirement, seemed to hedge, but then said he was fit enough for another year. It’s been rough since then.

Sakic has had back trouble all season and now is suffering from a herniated disc, according to The Denver Post. Sakic, who has already battled other minor injuries this season, will be out at least six weeks.

Broncos’ Rookie Help
With all the injuries plaguing the Broncos this season, credit for their moderate success has to go as much to a class of newbies as it does to quarterback Jay Cutler.

Take wide receiver Eddie Royal. He’s had a play for 50 yards in four of the last five games and leads all National Football League rookies in receptions, yards receiving, and touchdown catches, according to The Associated Press (via How about Peyton Hillis? He popped up in Denver’s 34-17 win over the New York Jets, rushing 22 times for 129 yards and a touchdown.

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Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, November 18

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Shale Rule Rile Oil companies got a step closer to the business of squeezing oil from stone in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming as the federal government issued new rules that left Governor Bill Ritter and Senator Ken Salazar complaining, according to the Denver Business Journal. The rules, which go into effect three days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, address how shale companies can extract 800 billion barrels of oil–enough to supply the United States for 110 years at current demand. The rules also outline what the feds would get in terms of royalties. Though it is too early to tell how they would impact water supplies, public lands, and air quality, according to the state’s natural resources department, Ritter called the move potentially “reckless,” according to News13 in Colorado Springs. Salazar, meanwhile, is claiming the Bush administration doesn’t know yet where the water and energy needed to extract the oil will come from. Don’t look for companies to go to work on this tomorrow. It could take five to ten years before leases are issued because the federal government has to ensure demand for shale oil is strong and conduct environmental evaluations, according to Reuters. Focus on the Family: Big Layoffs After dumping more than $500,000 into efforts to pass California’s ban on gay marriage, Proposition 8, Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family says it will eliminate 202 jobs, or about 18 percent of its workforce. These are the biggest cuts by the evangelical organization in its 32-year history, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, which notes that Focus recently outsourced 46 jobs in its distribution department and, in 2007, laid of 30 workers and reassigned another 15. The organization says donations, which make up almost all of Focus’ money, are down. Political battles elsewhere did not affect money for employees because the funds came from a different pot, according to Focus. Wonkette offers a snarky response for Focus’ unemployed. Meanwhile, an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times notes that as same-gender marriage proponents are deciding how to respond to Proposition 8, “it is illuminating to compare Colorado’s [1992] rejection of ‘gay rights’ with California’s repudiation of ‘gay marriage.'” Prop 8 is also bringing up comparisons to 1992’s Amendment 2 over at The Colorado Independent. AWOL Marine Fights Boulder Marine Lance Hering, who is accused of faking his own death to avoid serving a second tour of duty in Iraq, sat yesterday in a Port Angeles, Washington, courtroom following his arrest at the city’s airport, where his father Lloyd, a pilot, was fueling a Cessna to help him escape, according to Peninsula Daily News. The Marines could try Hering for desertion, a crime that is punishable by death during wartime, according to The Denver Post. A friend of the family blamed the media for portraying Hering as a coward. There had been reports that Hering’s life was in danger after comrades in his unit allegedly killed a civilian woman in Iraq, although the Marines have officially denied the story. Hering is also wanted on criminal charges in Boulder County, the Rocky Mountain News reports, spawning questions about who “gets the first crack” at him. “Plenty of mystery” surrounds Hering, as Westword notes. Hering’s story is starting to sound a bit like that of Mark Wilkerson, who decided not to return to duty after witnessing the horrors of war, as 5280’s Patrick Doyle wrote in “The Resister.” Denver to London Governor Bill Ritter is trying to put the “international” back in Denver International Airport. Yesterday, he announced that United Airlines will resume nonstop service between Denver and London, at least on a seasonal basis. The news came during a conference call with the press from Japan, according to the Denver Business Journal. Ritter hopes United’s reinstated flight, which joins British Airways‘ DIA-to-London service, will help convince Japan’s All Nippon Airways to provide a nonstop daily from DIA to Tokyo, a long-term goal for the airport. It was just last month that United said it would drop the London route, an announcement that came around the same time Lufthansa canceled nonstop service from DIA to Munich. Ritter is also scheduled to visit China with Colorado’s business leaders, PolitickerCO notes. In July, Ritter spent a week touring the Norwegian Arctic as part of a delegation exploring climate change. How ‘Bout that Global Warming? Denver might break the record for the hottest day ever in November today as temperatures soar into the low 80s, according to meteorologist Stacey Donaldson at CBS4. Temps should cool to the 60s by Wednesday, and by Thursday more typical mid-November weather could return, meaning 40s and fog. With all this sun, it’s too bad that Xcel Energy decided to cut solar installation subsidies to residential customers by 40 percent, according to The Denver Post. Xcel, which now seeks to pay $6,750, justifies cutting the subsidy because Congress increased the federal solar-energy tax credit. Stick a Fork in Lynch In a prelude to his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, John Lynch has retired from the National Football League. Okay, so the piece about running for governor isn’t necessarily true, although Lynch’s name recently surfaced as a possible Republican candidate after he appeared at a John McCain rally in Denver. The rumor sort of frustrated Lynch, according to The Associated Press. Yet he also seems to be keeping the door open if he can’t find a job in football: “I try not to rule things out, but I really have a passion for this game and want to do something that’s around that.” Lynch, a 37-year-old safety, played 15 seasons with the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He went to nine Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl with Tampa, and left the Broncos earlier this year, signing with New England during training camp. He was later cut. Chauncey Doing Nice In New Digs Chauncey Billups has pulled an Allen Iverson. Billups, who was recently acquired as part of a trade deal that saw Iverson go to Detroit, was named the Western Conference’s Player of the Week yesterday. That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which notes that the last Nugget to receive the honor was Iverson, back in April. Billups averaged 21.5 points, 5.8 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.25 steals in four games last week–three of them wins. LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers received the honor in the Eastern Conference. Audiodose: Renewable energy experts gathered at the University of Colorado in Boulder yesterday and worried that the incoming Barack Obama administration may delay some initiatives meant to spur the development of cleaner energy, according to KUNC radio. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $1.73, Western Convenience, 10515 S. Parker Road (via Email relevant articles to



Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, October 28

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Obama Threatened

With one week to Election Day and Electoral College votes anticipated to heavily favor Democrat Barack Obama, disturbing but isolated pockets of hate are emanating from the heartland. Yesterday, federal agents foiled an assassination plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads in Tennessee, according to The Associated Press. The two men wanted to kill Obama and shoot or behead 102 black people, including school children, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. And in Colorado Springs, a deer head was thrown into the parking lot of an Obama campaign office over the weekend, according to police, who characterized the incident as a “threat,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The buck’s antlers were removed to make the head resemble a donkey, the Democratic Party symbol, according to police. Obama’s campaign did not respond, but McCain’s campaign called the act “despicable,” perhaps “hate speech.” There have been threats reported on both sides. Recently, in West Hollywood, a display featured a likeness of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin with a noose around her neck. Police determined the effigy was not a hate crime or threat because it was part of a Halloween display, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama makes her way to the Springs today in a swing-state tour The New York Times says is “making more voters comfortable with the idea of a black first lady.”

Schaffer Is an Ordinary Joe

Oil businessman and former Congressman Bob Schaffer still hopes to replace retiring U.S. Senator Wayne Allard, although he’s lagging in the polls. The Republican is on a 20-county tour of the western half of the state, according to Steamboat Pilot & Today, and, it turns out, he’s sort of related to Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher of Ohio, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Neither Schaffer nor his wife, Maureen, have met Joe, a distant cousin of Maureen’s father, the Rocky writes. But the little tidbit is likely a welcome headline as Schaffer and his political brethren are hampered by an “unpopular president” and “fundraising doldrums,” according to USA Today. Yet Schaffer appears optimistic, telling the paper he expects most of the 10 percent of undecided voters (according to his own polling) to go his way. Meanwhile, a coalition of seven unions will send voters 49,000 mailings in support of Democrat Mark Udall, according to The Colorado Independent.

Really, Tom? Really?!

Either Tom Tancredo is running for governor in 2010 or he’s kinda joking about it. The exiting congressman, who ran for president on an “immigration reform” platform, told a gathering of the Mountain Republican Women that he was preparing to run, according to the Rocky Mountain Right. The conservative blog notes that the controversial Tancredo recently toured state GOP organizations and participated in press events that attacked Democratic Governor Bill Ritter. The sites bloggers aren’t very psyched about the prospect of a Tancredo campaign, opining it “could easily be the proverbial last nail in the coffin of the Colorado Republican Party,” noting that Ritter is “most vulnerable on fiscal issues” but Tancredo supported the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. PolitickerCO followed up, quoting a Tancredo spokesman as saying the five-term congressman was merely kidding around about running with former Colorado first lady Frances Owens on the same ticket. In a time-will-tell response, Rocky Mountain Right says it stands by its story.

War Continues to Make Soldiers Weary

Soldiers training at Fort Carson have recently griped about the cold, crappy food, and rough terrain full of cacti. As the war on terror enters its seventh year, the Fourth Brigade Combat Team is preparing to deploy yet again, and the soldiers “know it’s taking a toll on their ranks and straining their relationships,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. But duty is duty in an all-volunteer Army. And there is more bad news for the guys and gals in desert camo: Involuntary extensions of combat deployments for many soldiers will be extended through 2009, according to USA Today, “despite pledges earlier this year by top military officials to reduce reliance on the policy known as stop loss.” Last month, under the policy that keeps troop levels from plunging, more than 12,200 soldiers were forced to remain in the Army even though their service commitment had expired. The same number will probably be affected each month throughout 2009, says Army Lt. Col. Mike Moose. Meanwhile, another USA Today article reveals an alarming 15 percent of women vets have reported sexual abuse during military duty.

Woes Continue in the Newspaper Biz

You know news for the newspaper business is bad when the silver lining for Denver’s two dailies is that their drops in circulation are no longer the worst in the nation. Still, The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News figured in a “pack of dismal sales figures,” according to the Denver Business Journal, which notes the Post’s Monday-Friday circulation dropped 6.5 percent in the six months ending September 30, compared to the same six months one year earlier. The Rocky’s sales were down 6.6 percent, and The Sunday Post’s sales decreased by 9.1 percent. And yet, as noted in Panorama yesterday, a new paper, The Denver Independent, is slated to launch this week. Meanwhile, Westword reports another paper, The Colorado View, hit the streets as the McCain presidential machine visited Denver last week, “thanks to the largesse of the Colorado Family Institute.” The paper features an article by Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery, who wonders if efforts by the left to end discrimination will lead to the ultimate downfall of Western culture–specifically, unisex bathrooms.

Broncos Roster Revolution

Beset with injuries, the Denver Broncos, enjoying a bye week, made several changes to their active roster yesterday, bringing new, mostly alien names to the fore. The team has signed receiver Chad Jackson, a New England second-round draft pick in 2006, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Also part of the team is Matt Murphy, a veteran offensive tackle with experience in Buffalo, Houston, and Detroit. Center Greg Eslinger, a draft pick in 2006, and former Jacksonville cornerback Rashod Moulton were also added. And rookie cornerback Josh Bell was promoted from the practice squad. Jay Cutler remains the Broncos only active quarterback, but on Sunday Darrell Hackney is expected to be added.

Nuggets Are Ready To Defend

The Denver Nuggets open basketball season against the Utah Jazz tomorrow night and seem as prepared as they’ll ever be. Coach George Karl has put in place a new “defense-first philosophy,” according to The Denver Post, and the players seem to be embracing it. “My whole thing is we’ve been too offensively oriented, and hopefully this year we’ll be balanced,” Karl says. Guard Allen Iverson has also noted the improvement: “We do the things good on offense, but I think guys get more excited about getting stops.”

Audiodose: Colorado is a political battleground, and he generals have passed through the state entering the final week before Election Day. KUNC’s Brian Larson tests the climate of what promises to be a hectic week.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.29, Food Store, 2385 W. 84th Ave. (via



Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, October 21

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Game Over for McCain?

As Alaska Governor Sarah Palin campaigned hard in Colorado, her running mate in the presidential campaign, Republican Senator John McCain, was giving up on Colorado. That is, if the “top McCain insider” who told CNN that Colorado is no longer in play for the campaign is reliable. It’s not hard to imagine McCain, who will visit Colorado on Friday, being furious about the leak. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, disputes the report, as does McCain’s regional spokesman, Tom Kise, who says the allegation is outright false, according to ABC 7News. Politico quotes a top aide as saying, “We didn’t send [Palin to Colorado] for no reason.” Palin rallied thousands of supporters in Colorado Springs, Loveland, and Grand Junction yesterday, according to The Denver Post. Even Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, is campaigning in the state, expected to appear at a Bass Pro Shop in Denver today, among other locations, according to 9News. Meanwhile, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Democratic Senator Barack Obama’s running mate, will campaign at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and at Adams City High School in Commerce City as well as Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

ColoradoPols on the Defensive Over Schaffer Story

As Mark Udall, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, appeared on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus to cast an early ballot (via Boulder’s Camera), ColoradoPols was defending its decision to run a story last week stating that Bob Schaffer has lost the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The story relied upon “one of our most reliable Republican sources,” ColoradoPols writes, and provoked “angry denials” by the NRSC. Now, this isn’t just inside baseball. As ColoradoPols notes, the NRSC’s support is an “indicator of whether the national party considers a race winnable” based on internal research. Panorama referenced the issue yesterday when an Atlantic Monthly blog also reported the claim. The NRSC has recently purchased a new television spot, but ColoradoPols remains unimpressed, wondering if the buy was a reaction to blogs covering the rumor.

Tim Masters to File Lawsuit Today

Tim Masters, who spent 10 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, plans to file a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court this morning, claiming his constitutional rights were violated after prosecutors withheld evidence to convict him of the 1987 murder and sexual mutilation of Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins. That’s according to 9News, which reports that the suit names as defendants two former district attorneys–Terrence Gilmore and Jolene Blair–who are now judges. Several police officers and district attorneys are also named. Masters, who is represented by the Killmer, Lane, and Newman law firm, was freed in January when a special judge found that new DNA evidence pointed to another suspect. Fort Collins police and Larimer County prosecutors would not comment, citing policy regarding pending litigation, according to The Denver Post. Masters says only that “it’s unfortunate that I have to go to this extreme just to get compensation.” Hettrick’s murderer, or murderers, remain at large.

Zima, Did Anyone Really Love You?

America’s love affair with Zima, which began in 1992, lasted a lot longer than any of the wisecrackers ever thought possible. But the merciless barbs targeting isolated drinkers of the clear malt beverage (some adding Jolly Ranchers for flavor) will soon come to an end. MillerCoors, perhaps under the influence of Zima itself, announced Monday that on October 10 it stopped brewing the stuff in Golden and Elkton, Virginia, because of  “challenging malternative segment sales and declining consumer interest.” That’s according to the Denver Business Journal, which reports that remaining orders will be filled. Stocks should be gone by December. “The decision was made to reduce ‘complexity’ in the brewer’s brand portfolio,” according to the Journal, and paves the way for brands like Sparks, Sparks Plus, and Sparks Light to fill the shelves.

For Warm Weather, Get a Swiss Blanket

After yesterday’s thunder and rain comes a chill, maybe even snow, according to CBS4 News. It’s good weather for an extra blanket. It’s also a good time to remove another kind of blanket, the Ice Protector Optiforce. The techie blanket was used to preserve a big mound of snow in Aspen all summer as part of an experiment by a Swiss company that aims to turn skiing into a year-round event, according to the Aspen Times. Someone call Sarah Palin. Maybe this is the highly anticipated solution for those melting ice caps .

Broncos Bite on Monday Night

The Denver Broncos were shamed, gamed, flamed, and tamed by the New England Patriots in an interception-and-fumble-a-thon on Monday night in Massachusetts, according to The Denver Post. After the 41-7 loss, Broncos cornerback Dre Bly stated the obvious: It was “just embarrassing.” The slew of injuries didn’t help. Quarterback Jay Cutler’s finger was bashed during the game’s first play, and linebacker Boss Bailey and cornerback Champ Bailey “each suffered significant injuries in the first half.” If there’s any silver lining, the Broncos have a bye week to heal and figure out what happened.

Avs Warm the Ice

It didn’t look very pretty, but the Colorado Avalanche beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on the road. It was the Avs’ third consecutive win, bringing the team to a 3-3 record after a dreadful start, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Much-hyped goalie Peter Budaj was back in position, nailing his first victory this year. With 26 saves, he says the win “felt great.”

Audiodose: Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer are battling to replace retiring Republican U.S. Senator Wayne Allard. Last night, they debated at Greeley’s Union Colony Civic Center. KUNC radio has the skinny.

Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.53, Western Convenience, 9190 Huron Street (via



Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, October 16

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Musgrave: An “Agent of Hate” Just when you thought the race for Congress between Republican incumbent Marilyn Musgrave and Democrat Betsy Markey couldn’t get any uglier, U.S. Senator Ken Salazar steps in and labels Musgrave an “agent of hate.” In fact, Musgrave’s latest advertising attacks against Markey, Salazar said, should make people want to “throw up.” That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News and many other news organizations reporting on the Musgrave campaign’s latest televison commercial, which alleges that “millionaire” Markey faces up to five years in prison for her business dealings. The ad centers on Markey’s employment in Salazar’s office at a time when her company also received lucrative contracts from the federal government. Markey says there is not a “shred of evidence or any truth whatsoever” to the claims made in the ad, according to PolitickerCo, and that the attack is a sign of election desperation in the Fourth Congressional District, which spans from Larimer County east to the plains and south to Lamar. Meanwhile, Jason Thielman, Musgrave’s campaign manager, dismissed Salazar’s comments as a “sideshow,” according to the Rocky. Debating the Facts Today Following the final presidential debate last night between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, one burning question lingers: Who the heck is Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher? His name kept coming up–in the context of small business, of raising a family, of health insurance. National Public Radio tells us all about Joe this morning. And Joe still won’t say who he’s voting for. Overall, the debate was, as The New York Times delicately puts it, the “most spirited and combative of their encounters this fall.” Actually, there were some subtle but nasty jabs, as you can read in this transcript from The Washington Post. If you were confused, try using the nonpartisan Annenberg Political Fact Check. For example, McCain said Joe faces “much higher taxes” if he buys a plumbing company under Obama’s policies. Annenberg notes that Joe’s taxes only go up if the business he buys puts his income over $200,000 a year. Meanwhile, Obama “incorrectly” labeled all of McCain’s television ads as negative. A CBS News poll found that 53 percent of uncommitted voters thought Obama won the debate, compared to 22 percent for McCain. Twenty-five percent saw the debate as a draw. The Popularity Contest John McCain’s powerhouse, Sarah Palin, will be returning to Colorado at a time when polls indicate an uphill battle for the Republican ticket. The details have yet to be announced, but the Alaska governor is expected to “campaign across Colorado” on Monday, as early voting begins in some places, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Meanwhile, Tsilat Petros will vote in her first American presidential election, according to Westword. Petros, who is 29 and has lived in the United States since she was a young girl, becoming a citizen just three years ago, is one of “dozens” of Ethiopian immigrants backing Democrat Barack Obama. Many Ethiopians are rallying voters wherever they can–local churches to taxi stands–reaching out to first-generation Americans and trying to convince them to vote for Obama. Obama and Palin, it turns out, are also very popular Halloween costumes this year. The CEO of Spirt Halloween, a national costume chain, says Obama mask sales are 66 percent versus McCain’s 34 percent, according to the Rocky Mountain News. And Palin wigs and glasses are flying off the racks at the Wizard’s Chest in Denver and Disguises in Lakewood. Rocky Mountain Coors Ad Not Ready for British Telly A television ad for Coors Light beer features two white men, one holding a keytar, rapping raggae-style while performing faux karate moves in the snowy mountains. The ad, featuring a fake moose somewhere in the background, is “juvenile, wacky, [and] silly.” And the two characters “appeal strongly to young people’s sense of humor.” Sounds good, so pass the Coors, dude. Just not in Britain, a country that’s still not beyond cracking down on cheeky little bastards. The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority, which is responsible for all of the above quotes, has banned the ad, according to Britain’s Guardian (which also has the video) because it appears to pander to the under-18 set. That violates a rule that alcohol advertisers avoid themes such as “adolescent or childish behavior.” There were even complaints that the ad was offensive to Caribbean people, but those were rejected. Golden-based Coors Brewing Company argues the comedic style is similar to “geek-chic” acts found in British TV popular with adults, according to the Denver Business Journal. Colorado Gets Kudos for Being Fit and Trim The November/December issue of Fitness magazine names Colorado to its “Fit 50” list, calling our fine state a “superstar” of health in the past year. Colorado’s outdoorsy personality and 18-year reign as “slimmest” state, as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, provided the edge. Editors at the magazine based their selection of winners on those who make significant contributions to a healthier world. A press release from the office of Barbara O’Brien, Colorado’s lieutenant governor (via the Cherry Creek News) takes the opportunity to draw attention to the Metro Denver Health & Wellness Commission and LiveWell Colorado, a statewide nonprofit organization to fight the fat. But don’t get too big-headed about the honor. As Stephanie Gerlach reports in this month’s issue of 5280 Magazine, nearly one-third of Colorado’s kids are either overweight or obese. Budaj and the One That Got Away–Thrice Everyone, it seemed, liked Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj. Until now. Coach Tony Granato said after practice yesterday that backup Andrew Raycroft, a free agent from the Maple Leafs, will get to start tonight’s game versus the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center, according to The Denver Post. The Avs have started the season with three losses, and Budaj has allowed 13 goals, ranking 27 in the 30-team league. Frustratingly, each game has been decided by one goal. On Tuesday, the Avs lost 5-4 to the Calgary Flames in an away game. Hnida Still Kickin’ Katie Hnida, who became the first woman to score in a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-A football team–for the University of New Mexico–has come a long way since her troubled days as a place kicker for the University of Colorado Buffs. She alleged sexual harassment and rape by a teammate at CU, but charges were never filed. On Friday, Hnida will be the featured guest at “Brave, Bold, and Beautiful: A Celebration of Survivors,” an event sponsored by Moving to End Sexual Assault, which takes place from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at the Boulder Municipal Airport’s Terminal Building Hangar. Hnida is now a kicker for the Colorado Cobras minor league football team. Cheapest Gallon of Gas ‘Round Here: $2.74, Western Convenience, 9190 Huron Street (via



Mile-High Headlines for Wednesday, October 15

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Unbelievable Advantage

Looking at recent polls, obvious questions come to mind: Are they at all accurate? and Is the Republican Party really going to get its butt whipped on Election Day, less than three weeks away? After all, Colorado has rarely supported Democratic presidents over the past 50 years. But if two polls released yesterday–exactly three weeks prior to the election–are correct, Colorado will turn blue by a decisive margin. Barack Obama now leads John McCain 52 percent to 43 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll (via the Rocky Mountain News), bad news for McCain, as Obama also seems to have the advantage in other swing states. McCain, who debates Obama in the last of the presidential debates tonight, responded to the news through campaign manager Tom Kise, who said the campaign has Obama “right where we want him.” Meanwhile, Democrat Mark Udall has taken a commanding 54 percent to 40 percent lead over Republican Bob Schaffer in the race to replace retiring Republican Senator Wayne Allard, according to a Washington Post/Wall Street Journal poll. Additionally, a Suffolk University poll gives Udall an 11-point advantage (both according to The Denver Post).

Score One for Coffman

Mike Coffman can dump the “duplicate” voter registrations. It’s okay with Attorney General John Suthers, who issued a legal opinion siding with Coffman on Tuesday. That means 960 unaffiliated would-be voters, 860 Democrats, and 598 Republicans will be removed from voter rolls, according to The Denver Post. Last week, The New York Times raised questions about removing the voters within 90 days of the election, an apparent violation of the law. But Suthers wrote that removing the names prevents people from being able to cast multiple ballots. The Colorado Democratic Party “scoffed” at the ruling as officials in Denver announced they would double the number of voting booths this year to avoid the long lines and confusion that plagued the process two years ago, according to an Associated Press story (via CBS4). The city is now using mostly paper ballots that will be counted by scanners instead of electronic voting machines. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people across the state plan vote via mail, including many in Boulder County, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera.

Denver Not So Bad A Place For Economic Downturn

The economy has by no means recovered, but the news from Wall Street yesterday was refreshingly mundane. The Dow Jones industrial average was slightly down a day after markets posted a decent recovery, according to the Denver Business Journal. And amid the turmoil, good news for Denver emerged. Although Americans have “few places to hide” from the recession, Denver is number 9 on Forbes’ list of “best bang for the buck cities.” Denver can expect healthy job growth, lower-than-average inflation, and more affordable housing and gasoline than other cities. Seeming to punctuate the glass-is-half-full view is hope in the state’s emerging renewable energy sector. The $700 billion Wall Street bailout that passed earlier this month extends tax breaks that “have spurred recent growth in Colorado’s solar and wind energy industries,” according to the Denver Business Journal. As for the Forbes report, the best place to weather the downturn is Texas, if you can stand to leave the mountains and Colorado culture behind for a place that’s only slightly better. Several Texas cities make the Forbes list, which ranks Los Angeles as the worst.

Elephant Not on the Loose

For a moment it seemed was going to rescue an otherwise slow news day. The “BREAKING NEWS” alert was sent to readers’ e-mail inboxes: “An elephant is on the loose at the Denver Zoo, police say, and a zookeeper is injured.” Point, click, and read: “Oops!” the Rocky admitted. There’s nothing like the plot of George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” going down in Denver today. The Rocky jumped the gun in in a world devoid of computers with Un-Send buttons. The zoo “called media moments later to assure them it was all just a drill” meant to train employees in the case of an elephant escape, which actually did happen back in 2001, the Rocky wrote. Someone was confused and called the police as the drill began. Rocky staffers, hovering over police scanners, quickly “jumped into action.” So did CBS4 News, which put a “helicopter in the air and headed for the zoo before getting the word that it was just a drill.”

Denver Mint Churns Out Royal Quarter

The Denver Mint yesterday welcomed Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, a delegation of “state dignitaries,” and a handful of coin collectors. Some in the throng flashed the shaka (aka “hang loose”) sign as cameras snapped their pictures, according to The Associated Press (via The Denver Post). They were all here to marvel over the new quarter that will honor Hawaii. It’s the last one to be struck in a decade of quarter that commemorate America’s 50 states. Old Georgie Washington, of course, is on one side, and King Kamehameha I, who reigned over not long after Washington left office in the era of another king, England’s George III, is on the other. The king casts a familiar outstretched hand, presiding over Hawaii’s major islands, which were unified under his rule. Kamehameha was chosen for the coin instead of a hula dancer and over a surfer modeled after a young Duke Kahanamoku. The coin goes into circulation next month.

Marshall Gets Schooled

Twenty-four-year-old Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who has been arrested several times in the last few years, is trying hard to turn his life around. The New York Times followed Marshall to Denver’s Wyatt-Edison Charter School, where he shares the lessons of his life with the students. He tells the paper the interactions remind him of “what I have to lose.” In the past two years, Marshall has had a series of problems, including at least 10 domestic disputes with Rasheeda Watley, his former girlfriend. Charges were rarely filed, except in March 2007–a case that was soon dismissed. But last month prosecutors in Georgia filed two counts of misdemeanor battery stemming from another dispute this year. Marshall goes to court in November, and, as the Times writes, the National Football League “is watching.”

And the Winner Is…

Mark your calendar… Wait! Grab your skis or snowboard. The ski season begins today. The annual race between Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area to start first ends in a tie this year, with both opening at 8:30 a.m. this morning, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. The two even jostled over the official opening time but reached a truce. The down side is that there’s not much snow yet. Most of it is from snow machines, although snow is forecast for the high country in coming days. A-Basin’s “High Noon” intermediate run opens today, and Loveland’s “Catwalk,” “Mambo,” and “Home Run” are a go. A-Basin was first to open last year, on October 10–the earliest date ever.

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Mile-High Headlines for Tuesday, October 14

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An Election Guide Prank

Thomas Graham, a retired engineer from Arvada, hopes you are familiar with Jonathan Swift. You know, he says, the part about “satire being the way to get a point across.” Well, that was Graham’s intention when he provided a citizen’s summary of arguments in favor of issue 3A, a property tax increase for the local school district, in election booklets mailed to voters, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Graham wrote that teachers want to raise their salaries to six figures, a step toward socialism. He wrote that senior citizens on fixed incomes should “recognize that their reduced productivity calls for them to be replaced by the youth of our nation.” School superintendent Cindy Stevenson would put Graham on suspension if she could. She’s outraged by the stunt, and voters are confused, according to The Denver Post. Future pranksters take note: The process was bureaucratically pristine, reports Face the State. “Graham’s comments were submitted to Helen Neal, the district’s election officer, and she in turn submitted them to County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson for the pro section of the voter guide.”

Criticisms of Election Chief Continue

Secretary of State Mike Coffman, who claimed last week he was maligned in an investigation by The New York Times–which concluded that thousands of voters were apparently illegally purged from rolls–is now mired in another voter-registration controversy. The American Civil Liberties Union, Colorado Common Cause, and the Fair Elections Legal Network in Washington, D.C., are accusing Coffman of illegally rejecting perhaps as many as 10,000 new voter applications, saying voters were apparently confused by new forms created by his office, according to The Colorado Independent. The would-be voters were people without a Colorado identification who planned to use a Social Security number instead but failed to check a box indicating their intent, according to The Denver Post. Coffman, a Republican running for Congress, was asked by the groups to register the voters anyway. But he said in a statement that it would be against the law. Last week, Coffman conceded to the Times that his office may have violated federal voting law when nearly 2,500 “duplicate” voters were recently purged from rolls.

A Fat Award for the Fat Brewers

Before you jump to the conclusion that a team at The Wall Street Journal got a bit tipsy when it decided to name New Belgium Brewing Company as one of the nation’s 15 best small workplaces, consider that Illinois-based J.A. Frate trucking company and King Arthur Flour in Vermont also made the list. The Fort Collins beer company, known for its ever-popular Fat Tire, is excellent when it comes to motivating workers, giving them opportunities for professional growth, and providing generous traditional and nontraditional benefits. Such practices, among myriad others, bring the best and the brightest employees to profitable, growing companies like New Belguim, “ultimately” helping “boost the bottom line,” writes the Journal. Governor Bill Ritter was so impressed that during a campaign swing Monday on behalf of fellow Dem Barack Obama, he popped into the brewery to praise the company for its range of initiatives–from environmental ethics to responsible business practices, according to Fort Collins Now. New Belgium was selected from 406 applicants for the Journal’s honor.

A Deadly Love Triangle

Newspapers painted a picture of a tragic love triangle that led to the weekend shooting incident in the Congress Park neighborhood, which left two-year-old Noah Crookham dead. The boy’s father, Thomas Crookham, 30, ran from his estranged wife’s house at 1243 Madison Street, carrying Noah in his arms, yelling that her tenant and alleged lover, Earl Ryan, was aiming a gun. Shots rang out. A bullet tore through Thomas Crookham’s hand and into his son’s chest. The Rocky Mountain News reports that Ryan, 40, a rare-book dealer, moved into 27-year-old Angela Crookham’s basement in June to help her pay rent during her divorce from Thomas. The Crookhams had attended Mass together on Sunday, just before the incident, according to The Denver Post. When they returned, Ryan was there, although Angela Crookham had asked him to leave, according to the father. Ryan was charged with first-degree murder yesterday, among other crimes.

Police E-Mail Raises Questions

9News reporter Paula Woodward doesn’t mention Barack Obama in her report about an e-mail from a Denver police sergeant’s computer, “suggesting a presidential candidate is the Antichrist.” That’s probably because the e-mail doesn’t specifically name Obama, who is not Muslim. However, that seemed a viable implication in an e-mail sent to other officers, which misquotes the Bible as saying, “The Anti-Christ [sic] will be a man, in his 40’s, of Muslim descent.” A Denver officer who felt the e-mail was inappropriate tipped off 9News, and on Monday, Chief Gerry Whitman launched an investigation, saying the e-mail “appears to be unauthorized use of the city e-mail system.” 

The e-mail also lists crimes linked to Muslim extremism and chides “airport security screeners for not profiling people who travel through airports,” according to 9News.

Anthony on the Mend

Recovering from a cold, Carmelo Anthony wore four layers of clothing during Nuggets practice on Monday, according to The Denver Post. But at least he was on court for a full practice after missing the team’s first two preseason games. It wasn’t the cold that kept him from playing. It was his bruised ring finger, which was taped up. Anthony is looking forward to Wednesday’s preseason game against Utah at the Pepsi Center. “The X-rays gave me some good news,” he said, adding that he had worried his finger was broken.

The Broncos by the Numbers

The Broncos are 4-2 and remain atop the American Football Conference West. But beneath the team’s most relevant stat are some problematic numbers. For example, of the 32 National Football League Teams, the Broncos defense ranks 24 in points allowed per game, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The team is 30 in yards allowed per game and the bottom of the barrel in passing yards allowed per game. As the Rocky puts it, the Broncs “need a ladder to hit the middle of the pack.” Or else 4-2 is sure to be a remember-when.

Audiodose: Ramadan is over, but the controversy it spawned at the JBS Swift & Company meatpacking plant in Greeley regarding prayer accommodations continues. Some of the workers fired for refusing to return to their jobs during a walkout are in the process of filing federal complaints. Others are trying to get their jobs back, as KUNC radio reports in an update.

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Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, October 9

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In the Sinking-Vote Boat?

The election headache seems to be returning: disenfranchized voters, double balloting, hanging chads. The New York Times has learned that in this election, officials have removed two names for every one added and that tens of thousands of voters could be denied their right to vote as a result. Six swing states, including Colorado, seem to be in violation of federal law, according to the Times. Colorado’s problem is that it purged names within 90 days of the election. Moreover, at least 4,800 of the state’s voters face problems getting onto the rolls, according to The Colorado Independent, due to “confusing” new forms and identification rules. Boulder’s Daily Camera noted earlier this week that some 1,700 registration forms were considered incomplete and the would-be voters who filed them ineligible. And 7News reported that a recently married woman has received two ballots–“one in her married name, the other in her maiden name.” Hinting at conspiracy, State Senator John Morse, a Dem in GOP stronghold El Paso County, says election clerk Bob Balink’s policies amount to a strategy to suppress the vote, according to The Colorado Independent.

Dem Pelosi’s Stimulating Denver Visit

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Dow Jones’ record index close of 14,164. But amid economic uncertainty, and as governments and banks got cozier in an attempt to prevent a worldwide financial calamity, the Dow, as of yesterday, had dropped 35 percent over the course of the year, according to MarketWatch. As the market was tumbling yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Denver, telling reporters that lawmakers are considering a new $150 billion federal spending package, including possible tax rebates, according to The Washington Post. Add that to the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, which the House passed last week. The last stimulus package, brokered by President George W. Bush in February, was $168 million, including tax rebates. Meanwhile, as the economy wobbles, Coloradans keep struggling. As 9News reports, some parents thought College Invest, a state nonprofit that puts college savings in the stock market, was a smart way to save for their kids’ educations but fear they may learn otherwise.

Indictment in Broncos’ Murder

It took 21 months, but a grand jury has returned an indictment against Willie DeWayne Clark, an alleged gang member accused of shooting Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2007, just after the Broncos’ final game of the season. Yesterday, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said the investigation leading up to the 39 counts facing Clark, including murder, was intense, according to several news organizations, including The Denver Post. Williams was in a stretch Hummer limo with 15 other people, including former Bronco Javon Walker, as a white Chevy Tahoe pulled up, unleashing a shower of bullets, killing Williams. The shooting followed an argument between the two groups earlier inside a Denver nightclub. The indictment states that Clark admits to the shooting in a jailhouse letter, and Morrissey says the search for a second shooter continues, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

A Common Ailment in Colorado

About one in five Coloradans has no health insurance. In Colorado’s Latino communities, the numbers are even worse: More than one in three is uninsured. That’s according to U.S. Census Bureau information released today. The Rocky Mountain News writes that the data “provides the most extensive estimates” from the bureau, highlighting the issue of healthcare, which has been a strong theme in the presidential race. Former state Senator Polly Baca, a management consultant, says the nation’s healthcare system is in crisis, calling for policy changes. Earlier this year, the nonprofit Families USA released a series of reports on the problem, entitled “Dying for Coverage,” and concluded that between 2000 and 2006, about 2,100 adults aged 25-64 died simply because they did not have health insurance. In the past seven years, health insurance premiums have climbed nearly five times faster than wages, according to a recent story in the Rocky Mountain News.

The Business Divide: Amendment 52

Back in September, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce endorsed Amendment 52, joining the Douglas County Business Alliance, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, and other business interests, according to the Denver Business Journal. The measure would create an amendment to Colorado’s constitution requiring that oil-and-gas severance taxes go to transportation projects around the state. But yesterday a group of 65 CEOs and business leaders, collectively called The Colorado Forum, came out against the proposal, which could raise more than $1 billion in four years to improve Interstate 70 through the mountains, according to this Journal story. The forum isn’t opposed to improving roads, highways, and bridges. They just don’t like the idea that it would be included in the Constitution. They also fear Amendment 52 would strip money from state and local governments, including water projects.

Broncos Injuries Don’t Sour Coach

When he was asked yesterday about injury updates, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan “surprisingly answered the question,” according to The Denver Post, even though last week he told reporters to stop asking about injured players. So we now know that running back Slevin Young and tight end Tony Scheffler, both starters, have strained groins. They won’t play Sunday, when Jacksonville comes to Denver, but should return for the following game on October 20 in New England. Wide receiver Eddie Royal has a bruised ankle bone, and defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban has an injured groin. Both are expected to practice today and could play Sunday.

Finally, the Face Off

The Colorado Avalanche are full of confidence as the regular hockey season begins tonight at the Pepsi Center with a face off against the Boston Bruins. Yes, most teams should also be brimming with optimism anyway. But listen to captain Joe Sakic, who begins his 20th season in the National Hockey League. The team has “a lot of depth,” including new goalie Peter Budaj, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Audiodose: Republican Marilyn Musgrave has a precarious grip on her Fourth Congressional District seat as she faces a solid challenger in Democrat Betsy Markey. KUNC radio profiles the race–Musgrave in Part I and Markey in Part II.

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Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, September 25

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A Bailout Plea

President George W. Bush appeared on national television last night to tell Americans “our entire economy is in danger.” There are problems in the markets, and there could be “financial panic” followed by “a long and painful recession,” he said (via The Wall Street Journal). That is if Congress doesn’t get over its widespread criticism and pass a proposed $700 billion economic bailout plan allowing the government to buy “unmarketable assets, such as mortgage-backed securities, that economists say are clogging the financial system and blocking access to many types of credit.” It’s a tough sell in the Rockies. Denver Democratic Representative Diana DeGette’s office received about 900 calls and e-mails, mainly from people opposed to the plan, according to The Denver Post. Colorado Springs Republican Representative Doug Lamborn’s office has similarly been flooded. At last count, 315 of the constituents who cared enough to tell him what they think said they oppose the bailout and ten support it. Colorado lawmakers are not exactly thrilled by the plan, according to the Rocky Mountain News. U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, for instance, is “frankly, mad” since Bush recently said the economy was fine. Following testimony yesterday, U.S. Senator Wayne Allard said he’s not ready to vote in favor of it, as “some questions were answered; many remain unanswered.”

Just to Help You Get a Clearer Picture of $700 Billion …

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s reference to a $700 billion economic bailout for the nation’s troubled financial institutions is a bit like watching a re-run of “Cosmos,” featuring Carl Sagan (rest in peace, my friend). All that talk of billions and billions eventually can leave you speechless, if not awestruck. Finally, someone got creative in explaining the ongoing crisis, Slate to be exact, providing a breakdown of the ominous price tag that has taxpayers shaking their heads. First, there are about 300 million men, women, and children in the United States. Keeping in mind that not all of them pay taxes, the bailout comes out to roughly $2,300 per person, about the same amount a typical American pays personally in taxes. Twelve Bill Gateses is the equivalent of $700 billion. The net worth of the entire Forbes 400 is about half the value of the bailout. James Cameron would have to film 381 blockbusters as popular as his $1.8 billion “Titanic” to foot the bill.

Interior Department Scandal: Rape Investigation

Senators Ken Salazar and Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, are asking the Bush administration whether a possible rape involving a figure at the center of the recent ethics and misconduct scandal in a Lakewood federal office has been referred to police, according to The Denver Post. The August 7 report highlighting improper relationships between U.S. Minerals Management Service employees and the oil-and-gas industry also documents a woman’s account of a potential sex crime perpetrated by former royalty-in-kind program supervisor Gregory Smith. The specific allegation is that he forced a woman to perform oral sex on him. Representative Louise Slaughter, of New York, hopes the woman in the report approaches her office for assistance and to consider pressing charges. Meanwhile in congressional testimony yesterday, Interior Department officials, including Earl E. Devaney, the Interior’s inspector general, said it was “probable” there were undiscovered financial losses at the royalties office, according to The Washington Post’s Investigations blog.

McCain Campaign Talking Points Accidentally Sent to Press

PolitickerCO writes that Republican John McCain’s regional office inadvertently sent an e-mail containing a memo giving campaign volunteers answers just in case anyone asks why McCain is canceling a much-anticipated debate with Democrat Barack Obama on Friday. The memo, which highlights the unfolding economic crisis, states, in part, that McCain is “confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people.” McCain spokesman Tom Kise made the mistake of pressing the send button to the wrong group of e-mail recipients. Following a reporter’s query, it occurred to him what he did. Kise told the reporter, “F*ck, tell me I didn’t send it to the wrong list,” according to The Colorado Independent.

The Bitter Battle for the Fourth: Next Episode

Voters tasked with deciding whether to keep U.S. Representative Marilyn Musgrave in office or to give Betsy Markey a shot are witnessing an onslaught of very vicious television commercials. In one video, Republican Musgrave alleges “millionaire Markey” is “caught up in corruption and scandal.” In the other, Markey accuses Musgrave of spreading “lies.” At the heart of both commercials is Musgrave’s allegation that Markey abused her position in U.S. Senator Ken Salazar’s office, helping her family business, Syscom Services, gain lucrative government contracts, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. In a separate story, the Coloradoan, seeking to get to the bottom of the controversy, asked the General Services Administration to review contracts between 2005 and 2007, when Markey worked for Salazar. “There’s no evidence” that Markey or her family “did anything improper in obtaining” the contracts, the newspaper writes. Markey wants a district attorney to intervene, accusing Musgrave’s campaign of running a “slanderous” ad in order to gain advantage in what is widely expected to be a close race, according to The Loveland Reporter-Herald.

Goodbye, Supreme Court. Hello Pizazz?

The gavel has finally fallen on the Supreme Court restaurant and bar on the southeast end of the 16th Street Mall. Investors in the Sheraton Hotel complex that houses the 11,000-square-foot restaurant will  transform the Supreme Court into Katie Mullen’s Irish Pub by year’s end, according to the Denver Business Journal. (A decent replacement for the not-so-long-lost and oft-missed Duffy’s Irish bar and restaurant, perhaps?) The owners will spend $2 million to bring “Celtic libations,” a long bar, live music, and Irish food to the space. Owner Paul Maye and his Irish family, who own four pubs in Northern Ireland, chose Denver to open their first U.S. location in the hopes of perfecting the concept for Chicago, Miami, New York, and California. It’s the kind of solution the city and Downtown Denver Partnership have wanted for years, hoping to offset the popularity of Lower Downtown and spark interest at the higher end of the mall, according to the Journal.

Allen Iverson’s Last Year in Denver

Thirty-three-year-old Allen Iverson, who is seeking a multiyear contract with the Denver Nuggets, showed up for practice at the Pepsi Center for an oncourt workout with teammates yesterday. The “surefire” Hall of Fame guard is in the last year of his $21 million contract, which started almost two years ago. Although Iverson has said “time and again” that he wants to end his career in Denver, team coach George Karl doesn’t think the time is right to talk about that situation, according to The Denver Post. Instead, what should be on everyone’s mind is “delivering a winning product that has shown improvement…”

Avs Work the Ice in Preseason Game

One of the Avalanche’s few big acquisitions in the offseason–33-year-old forward Darcy Tucker–briefly startled management in the third period of the Avs’ preseason opener against the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center. Tucker twisted his ankle, according to the Rocky Mountain News, but was able to return to the ice. The Avs lost 4-3 in a shootout decision, and after the game Tucker, who left the Toronto Maple Leafs to join the Avs in a two-year, $4.5 million deal this summer, claimed to be fine.

Videodose: President Bush addressed the nation last night, raising fears of a recession and pleading for Congress to support a $700 billion economic bailout. Via the White House, here’s text, video, and audio of his address.

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Mile-High Headlines for Wednesday, September 24

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Do Dems Have the Edge in Colorado?
In Colorado politics, Republicans tend to make up their minds quickly. As such, they obtain early-voting ballots while Dems mobilize through registration drives. But something troubling is happening this election, says GOP strategist Sean Tonner. Though Republicans still have a voter-registration advantage, it has dropped 60 percent since the presidential election, according to The Denver Post. It could be part of the changing political equation in Colorado. A survey yesterday by Public Policy Polling gives Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama a formidable seven-point lead over Republican John McCain in Colorado (via PolitickerCO). The same survey also notes a precipitous drop in Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s approval ratings and says Dem Mark Udall has an eight-point advantage over Republican Bob Schaffer in the state’s U.S. Senate race (the two will debate live on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday). Slate says Obama and the Dems shouldn’t be too confident: “Westerners like to describe themselves as ‘independent,’ but Colorado has the numbers to back it up.”

A Shirt Tale
When 11-year-old Daxx Dalton showed up for school in Aurora wearing a homemade T-shirt that read, “Obama–A terrorist’s best friend,” he ran into a few problems with fellow students and school officials. Officials asked him to turn his shirt inside out or be suspended, and Dalton chose the three-day suspension, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The story, first aired by Fox 31 on Monday, has gone national. It made the Drudge Report yesterday, a reference on a USA Today blog, and scads of radio and television shows. In its newscast last night, Fox 31 noted that the station’s website has received some 250,000 hits thanks to the story. Daxx’s conservative father, Dann, a trucker, called school officials a bunch of lefties, according to the Rocky, and is considering a lawsuit over freedom of speech. Paperwork submitted by the school district says Daxx was suspended for willful disobedience and defiance, not the shirt, according to Fox 31.

A Wail of Their Own

For centuries Jews have made a pilgrimage to the 2,000-year-old Wailing Wall in Old Jerusalem, praying and slipping written devotions into the cracks. And, it turns out, evangelical Christians are also quite fascinated by the holy site–a 100-foot wall, which is what’s left of an ancient Jewish Temple. Yet American Christians have had to contend with the inconvenience and high prices of overseas travel. Not anymore. Come April, a $2.3 million replica wall, using stones that have a “holy feel,” will open in Colorado Springs (where else?), according to The Gazette. The evangelical missionary group Every Home for Christ is building an 8,000-square-foot, 300-seat auditorium to house the 50-ton wall at its Jericho Center for Global Evangelism. Dick Eastman, the group’s international president, cites Christians’ “strong ties” to Israel and says the wall will be used to train missionaries. It will include features the real wall does not, such as 13 prayer rooms hidden inside, he adds. Elizabeth Van Bueren, who is Jewish and lives in Colorado Springs, wasn’t too thrilled, expressing concern about the group’s motives: “They want to Christianize the entire world.”

Welcome the Incoming
Colorado is among the top states luring new residents so far in 2008, according to the Denver Business Journal, which cites an annual study by the moving company Mayflower Transit. Colorado is ranked 15th nationwide: of 5,319 moves, 55.3 percent were heading into Colorado and 44.7 were leaving. Most of the moves, according to the company, are related to new jobs, a corporate relocation, or retirement. Indeed, Colorado is a destination and now considered among the emerging, second-tier big American The New York Times Style Magazine. As The Colorado Independent writes, the Mile-High City is “the next Chicago” and is in good company with Portland, Oregon, Houston, Texas, Baltimore, Maryland, and St. Paul, Minnesota. People look to such cities “now that big players like New York, Los Angeles and Miami have become virtually unaffordable” to many in the so-called “creative class.” Denver is “chefy and musical with serious eco-cred and zero attitude.”

State of Colorado’s Mind
Some regional American stereotypes are so strong they become cliché, writes The Wall Street Journal. “The stressed-out New Yorker. The laid-back Californian. But the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?” Well, perhaps. That’s according to research on the nation’s “geography of personality” in Perspectives on Psychological Science (paid subscription required), which provides a couple of interesting conclusions about Coloradans. While Colorado is frustratingly in the middle of three of the five categories–extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness–making it hard to discern anything unique about our fine state, we do come up as second only to Utah in terms of being the least neurotic, meaning we’re a joy to be around. And in terms of openness, an indicator of creativity and perhaps a positive stereotype worth cultivating, Colorado ranks eighth. The most open states are Washington, D.C., New York, and Oregon. The research raises a lot of interesting questions, including why personality traits differ state to state in the first place. Have fun with an interactive map here.

So Long, Tom, and Thanks
Tom Nalen’s career ended quietly yesterday when the the Broncos placed him on the injured-reserve list. The Broncos’ center, in his 15th year, was the team’s last remaining player from the team’s two Super Bowls in the late 1990s but had difficulty training because of a knee injury and missed 11 games last season because of a torn bicep, according to The Denver Post. He has been replaced by veteran Kansas City center Casey Wiegmann.

Budaj Is Number One
Peter Budaj, who is “relishing the opportunity to begin a season as the Avalanche’s top goaltender for the first time in his NHL career,” gets the chance tonight in a game against the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center (via the Rocky Mountain News). Budaj played the last two seasons behind Jose Theodore, who left as a free agent this summer, signing with Washington.

Blogdose: The work of internationally renowned (and unusual) artist Damien Hirst, who made headlines after one of his pieces sold for $198 million in a controversial Sotheby’s auction, will be featured in an MCA Denver exhibit that opens October 7, according to Andy Bosselman, who writes on his blog that viewers will “get to see what Hirst is most known for at the moment: his Natural History series where animals are placed inside glass boxes and soaked in formaldehyde.”

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Mile-High Headlines for Thursday, September 18

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The Bloody Battle Between Musgrave and Markey

In the battle in the Fourth Congressional District between incumbent Republican Marilyn Musgrave and Democratic challenger Betsy Markey, each week a new allegation seems to surface. In the latest volley, Musgrave campaign manager Jason Thielman alleges there is “clear evidence of wrongdoing” on Markey’s part, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The campaign charges that Markey, whose family owns Syscom Systems, violated conflict-of-interest rules, or perhaps other rules, at a time when she also worked for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar and the technology firm received millions in federal contracts, according to The Denver Post. Markey denies she was enriching herself, according to spokesman Ben Marter, who adds there’s not a “shred of evidence of any wrongdoing…” Meanwhile, Markey criticized Musgrave for voting against a Democratic energy plan that would have allowed some off-shore drilling, saying Musgrave is more interested in “partisanship than solutions,” according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

MillerCoors Energy Drink Under Fire

Earlier this month, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a lawsuit against MillerCoors Brewing Company, charging that its citrusy energy drinks–the Sparks line–infused with alcohol and super-caffeinated guarana, are more likely to cause binge drinking, auto accidents, and myriad other problems. That’s because alcohol and caffeine are a horrible mix, according to CSPI, which is asking the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to prevent MillerCoors’ sales of the potent drink, aimed at the younger, party-all-night, set. Yesterday attorneys general for 25 states–not including Colorado–joined CSPI in the battle to get MillerCoors to drop the drinks, according to the Denver Business Journal. The company–consisting of the recently merged Miller of Milwaukee and Coors of Golden–notes that the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved Sparks, Sparks Light, Sparks Plus, and Sparks Red. Although MillerCoors has eliminated “offensive, degrading, and ill-intentioned” ads for Sparks on the humorous website, according to CSPI, the group remains highly critical of MillerCoors’ marketing campaigns.

Meat Plant Settles Ramadan Dispute–in Nebraska

A union official said JBS Swift & Company yesterday settled a dispute with Muslim workers at the company’s meatpacking plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, accommodating Ramadan sunset prayer. That’s according to The Associated Press (via, which reports workers will be allowed to take a break together instead of in 30-minute shifts. Hundreds of Muslim workers had walked from their jobs in Nebraska and then marched in protest–strikingly similar events to those that occurred earlier this month in Greeley, where dozens of slaughterhouse workers were fired by Swift for not returning to their posts. An attorney is now representing the fired Greeley workers and reveals that the Council on American-Islamic Relations has been negotiating, to no avail, with Swift for more than a year on the issue of break times, according to the Greeley Tribune (via the Rocky Mountain News). The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents production workers at Swift, is planning talks with CAIR.

DNC Protesters Want Their Day in Court

More than one-third of the activists arrested during last month’s Democratic National Convention in Denver say they plan to fight the charges against them. That’s according to the Rocky Mountain News, which quotes Brian Vicente of the People’s Law Project as saying that 29 of the 154 people arrested by police during the week of the convention have demanded jury trials. Another 30 are expected to join that number in October, after they appear before a judge to request their days in court. The trials could be time-consuming, clogging Denver’s courts. Take the case of Manuca Salazar, a 22-year-old Denver child-care worker, who is facing several charges, including “throwing stones or missiles”–a charge she denies. To win at trial, the city must build a case, which includes providing witnesses who saw Salazar throw an object. The same goes for the rest of the cases. Given the confusion of those arrests, you can see how defense attorneys might have a field day. Still, roughly 75 demonstrators just wanted to move on with their lives and pleaded guilty, according to Vince DiCroce with city attorney’s office.

Loaded Shotgun Leads to Suicide

File this one under Things Not to Do When Your Roommate Is Suicidal. When 19-year-old Jacob Weiss was drinking with his 18-year-old roommate at the Mountain Stream Apartments in Eagle-Vail at about 10 p.m. on Monday, the frightening subject of suicide came up. That’s when Weiss allegedly went to his bedroom and returned with a loaded shotgun, according to The Denver Post. It’s not clear what was said next, if anything, but Weiss’ roommate, whose name has been withheld by police, then shot himself. Now Weiss is facing felony charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment (because there were other roommates in the apartment), and prohibited use of a firearm. Residents in the area don’t know much about what happened, but news of the death is chilling, according to Vail Daily.

Painting Deal Raises More Ethical Concerns

About five months ago, the Denver Art Museum provided a half interest in “Long Jakes” (The Rocky Mountain Man), an 1844 painting by Charles Deas, to local billionaire Philip Anschutz. It was an exchange for Anschutz’s help in purchasing “Cowboy Singing,” an 1892 painting by Thomas Eakins, which the museum and Anschutz now also co-own. The “unorthodox arrangement,” so described because Anschutz received interest in the museum’s important Deas painting, has spawned an ethics inquiry by the Association of Art Museum Directors, according to The Art Newspaper. 

AAMD bars the sale of art to “anyone whose association with the institution might give them advantage in acquiring the work,” according to the newspaper, and Anschutz’s foundation had donated $7.6 million to the museum in recent years. 

Anschutz owns what is considered to be the world’s largest collection of Western art, and Lewis Sharp, who directs the Denver Art Museum, told The Denver Post earlier this year that the museum did nothing unethical.

Avs: A Winning Season? Would be Nice for Joe

Francois Giguere, the general manager for the Colorado Avalanche, says the team is poised to go for the Stanley Cup championship in the upcoming season. What has to happen? “We have to stay healthy, we have to jell,” he says (via the Rocky Mountain News). There are a lot of reasons things might go well for the Avs, but seeming to top the list is the momentum of the return of captain Joe Sakic, who recently decided he’d play a 20th season in the National Hockey League.

CU Buffs on National TV Tonight

As the University of Colorado’s Buffs face Number 21 West Virginia in a football game at Boulder’s Folsom Field tonight, try to recall when the Buffs lost to the Seminoles in a similar, nationally televised non-conference game last year. It was the first “blackout” game, in which fans were encouraged to wear nothing but black, as they are tonight, according to the Daily Camera. When the Buffs lost to the Seminoles, they “grew from experience,” built on it, and if “nothing else is working in their favor tonight,” they’ve at least been “here and done this” before.

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