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Off Limits

Hacks at work

Before it ended last month, the Rocky Mountain News's five-part series on Denver's taxi mess stretched to a mysterious sixth story. That piece, which ran December 23, detailed some of the personal and financial connections between Karen Mathis, the Yellow Cab receiver appointed by Judge Lynne Hufnagel, and LaRae Orullian, head of the Denver Women's Bank--connections that had been excised from the fifth and supposedly final installment over reporter Dan Ludzadder's strenuous objections. That the information finally appeared at all reportedly was due to the intervention of Scripps-Howard's corporate office; News management had been lobbied hard to kill the Mathis/Orullian story. One of the most ardent lobbyists: Joy Burns, then chairwoman of the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Last week the bureau picked another big wheel for its 1994 chair: Larry Strutton, News publisher.

Alphabet snoop: A recent Denver Post story detailed the "alphabet soup" of abbreviations in use out at DIA (not, of course, that Denver's new airport will ever be known by those letters officially--the FAA is simply reassigning Stapleton's DEN identifier when the old airport shuts down). For example, the Post explained, FOD stands for the Foreign Object Damage that can occur when debris is left on the runway. But DIA apparently has no worries about psychological damage to foreigners. Otherwise, this international airport might have found a better acronym for its Security Identification Display Area. Just imagine the delight of travelers from south of the border when they are directed toward SIDA--the Spanish label for AIDS (S’ndrome de Inmune Deficiencia Adquirida).

Local zeroes: An NBC crew visited Denver last month, shooting assorted folks for the Today Show. But when the first of those clips airs this week, it won't be on the heavily watched morning news show. Instead Mayor Wellington Webb will pop up on Classic Concentration.

Former mayoral candidate Dave Daniels is aiming for a still smaller audience. The 1987 also-ran is back in Denver for the premiere of his play, Malcolm X Meet Peter Tosh, at the Mercury Cafe. Daniels, a libertarian, spent five years in Minneapolis, where he grew dreadlocks, worked with Eugene McCarthy and started writing. The result is Daniels's play--as well as his realization that "theater is more real than politics."

Reality intruded in a big way five years ago, when former Westword writer Juliet Wittman was diagnosed with breast cancer; she'll read from her Breast Cancer Journal Thursday night at Denver's Book Garden. Wittman's book, published by Colorado's small Fulcrum Publishing, last fall was a surprise nominee for the National Book Awards, one of five finalists in the nonfiction category. But the biggest surprise was yet to come: Wittman quickly learned that she was ineligible for the prize because she was still a British citizen--even though she'd lived in the U. S. for over three decades. United States: Essays 1952-1992 ultimately took the prize. Its author: Gore Vidal, who hasn't lived in this country for at least that long.

 
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