THE YEAR IN REVIEW

In an unrelated outburst of racial harmony, pithy KOA radio host Steve Kelley met Jesse Jackson's rhetorical barbs about CU's hiring of football coach Rick Neuheisel head-on, noting, "Jackson should just shut his black mouth."

The talk-show scene was even rowdier in Colorado Springs, where Francisco Duran allegedly spent much of his time listening to the political commentary of conservative firebrand Chuck Baker before shooting up the White House. When Duran had called Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell's Colorado Springs office and threatened to "go to Washington and take someone out" two months earlier, the threat wasn't even reported--because it was so similar to other obscene calls generated by Baker's program.

Most local media types were more successful in steering clear of controversy. Reporter Kevin Flynn of the Rocky Mountain News was feeling so mellow one day that he filed a story detailing a janito-rial stakeout he conducted at Stapleton International Airport. Included were descriptions of Flynn watching a candy-bar wrapper for ten minutes until a janitor picked it up, as well as detailed reports about his personal inspections of the facility's bathrooms, elevators and moving sidewalks. The newsman concluded that the janitors appeared to be doing their job.

Other Denver journalists got a little more excitable, especially when it came to chasing scoops. Channel 4 was off and running with a hard-hitting ratings-month series on pantyhose, while News men's columnist Curtis Eichelberger penned a thoughtful essay on a man who, after having sex with a woman he'd met in a bar, left $7 in cash on her dresser. "It was all the money he had left, but the idea of making her feel like a whore was worth the seven bucks," wrote Eichelberger, normally assigned to the sports pages.

The level of discourse was only slightly higher over in the News newsroom, where reporter Fawn Germer, who last year wrote about how she single-handedly touched off a heat wave among male legislators by slipping into a hot red dress, again held forth on her wardrobe and its relation to sociopolitical issues. In a rare journalistic double play, Germer wrote a news story covering a speech by Gloria Steinem and accompanied it with a gushing personal column in which she admitted to asking her heroine for an autograph and feeling chastized for wearing a pair of "the least comfortable pumps I own" to the interview. "`You shouldn't wear pumps, you should wear sensible shoes,' she told me," wrote the fawning Germer. "Right, Gloria. I know. I should have taken your advice fifteen years ago. I should take it now. Forget the rules."

That's apparently what the Rocky did the day after Channel 7 aired an interview with Washington Park rapist Theodore Castillo. Throwing aside the pesky tradition that says you admit it when someone has scooped you, the News went ahead and billed its own interview with Castillo as an "exclusive." The paper did get one genuine scoop, though, when it reported that a man pictured in a recent issue taking young News carriers on a hayride was a convicted sex offender.

Up Colfax a few blocks, the Post wasn't above taking credit for its own highly unexclusive "exclusives." A front-page story in one Sunday edition trumpeted the fact that the paper had "recently obtained" tax documents that provided "the first-ever public glimpse" at the finances of the Winter Park Recreation Association. The only problem was that a breakdown of the ski resort's finances had been provided in print the year before--by the Post itself.

Editors at the paper could only be glad they didn't suffer the fate of their peers at the Boulder Daily Camera. As part of an office renovation, Camera editors were informed they would be expected to paint the walls.

POLITICS
Police suspected a disgruntled city employee after then-Denver Manager of Safety Beth McCann was sent a package containing a dead fish with a live bullet in its mouth. But the really high-class political treachery appeared elsewhere.

The campaign for sheriff in Adams County turned fowl when incumbent Ed Camp questioned challenger Bill Shearer's attachment to a stuffed pet chicken named Colorada. "Hating that chicken is like hating someone's teddy bear," complained Shearer, who went on to win the election hens down.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick Sargent was feeling anything but cuddly when he kicked off his campaign by calling Governor Roy Romer a "socialist" and a "boot-licker."

GOP big gun Bruce Benson fired off a few choice phrases himself after weaseling out of a series of debates with Romer. Benson gave the incumbent governor a bowling trophy, which he said honored Romer's well-honed skills as a "Master Debater." And he wasn't the only candidate handing out abuse: Soon after Benson backed out of the debates, a duck began stalking him at campaign rallies. An enraged Benson supporter reportedly responded by slapping the duck and screaming, "Pluck you!" The duck later went undercover, perhaps to compare notes with the chicken that had shadowed Benson during the GOP primary. Rival candidate Mike Bird denied any connection to the stunt, as did Colorada.

The campaign's almost animalistic climate of fear culminated when Romer and his state trooper driver were allegedly chased by a mysterious red Chevy as they sped to a campaign appearance in Fort Collins. Under fire at the time for allowing state troopers to do plumbing chores and other odd jobs for his wife, Bea--and for using tax money to lease a new Chevy Caprice for the First Lady--the governor was happy to have a hot set of wheels under him as he and trooper Steve Stevenson shot down the freeway at speeds of more than 100 m.p.h. The phantom Chevy and its occupants described by Stevenson--the governor was on the floor for much of the chase--were never located, despite a massive dragnet conducted by the state patrol.

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