OFF LIMITS

Is there a script doctor in the House? Credit Glenn Jones, the man behind Englewood-based Jones Intercable, with fast work in getting Newt Gingrich's lecture series, "Renewing American Civilization," on his Mind Extension University. Last Thursday, the same day the Speaker's mom was whispering sour somethings to Connie Chung, Jones and Gingrich cut a deal to broadcast Professor Gingrich's lectures.

And Saturday's introductory installment was certainly a brain-tickler--particularly at 7:30 a.m., when Gingrich's ten-lecture course at Georgia's Reinhardt College airs live in Denver. Although the course is ostensibly labeled "political history," Gingrich's frequent references to movies bring it closer to a cinema-studies class. Gingrich refrained from suggesting that his students watch Boys Town in order to see how orphanages work, but over the course of his first class, he did manage to recommend Sergeant York (to understand why the United States wins wars) and Witness (to understand what life was like in Amish country, where young Newt grew up).

Required reading for next week: The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. For extra credit, watch Throw Momma From the Train.

Records made to be broken: For a still-closed airport, Denver International Airport generates a lot of traffic. The latest arrivals are government investigators who have descended upon City Hall to pore over the list of campaign contributors to assorted public servants, including former district attorney Norm Early. At last report, Early's long list of mucky-mucks--bond firms, lawyers and developers from whom he raised a million bucks for his ill-fated '91 race for mayor against Wellington Webb--was laden with official Post-It notes in preparation for copying. Happy hunting.

State representative Glenda Swanson Lyle has been doing plenty of time over at the City and County Building, too. Last month she finally managed to pay off a four-year-old state tax debt--after a judge threatened her with contempt of court. But Lyle's financial travails aren't over: This week she's scheduled to be in court again defending herself against a claim brought by the City of Denver.

According to court documents, Lyle owes Denver rent for an office she leases at 2559 Welton. The city, which took possession of the building when the previous owner defaulted on a taxpayer-backed loan, claims Lyle owes $3,500 in unpaid rent dating back to October 1993. Lyle, a Democrat who was recently named minority whip in the Colorado House, denies she owes the city anything. "The amount claimed is not due and owing," she says.

Dinner in the diners: The Trillium Corporation's massive Denver Union Center proposal--under which downtown's venerable Union Station would be surrounded by a giant mall packed with movie theaters and shops--appears to be going nowhere fast. But retail activity continues to chug along at the train station. According to Trillium regional vice president Marilee Utter--who sits on the station board now that the company from Washington state owns a third of the depot--happy-hour restaurant chain TGI Friday's is close to finalizing plans to put a restaurant in the station's west wing. A separate venture known as the Railway Diner will likely be installed in the east wing, in the space occupied by eateries during the golden age of railway travel.

The station board insisted that both restaurants adhere to designs consistent with the building's turn-of-the-century character. And they'll be open late--just like the Amtrak trains arriving there.

 
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