OFF LIMITS

Flynn spin: The Rocky Mountain News wasted no time in announcing the good news at Denver International Airport. "DIA Bags Rolling at Last: United Finally Using All of Automated System," screamed the front-page headline October 28. Inside, a breathless story by Kevin Flynn claimed BAE's notorious automated baggage system--you know, the one blamed for delaying the opening of the airport fifteen months--was at "full capability" and now carrying almost all the baggage on United's Concourse B.

But in reality (and as reported in Westword's October 25 cover story), the automated system isn't close to completion--which United Airlines wasted no time in pointing out.

Flynn started backtracking in his November 1 story, published on page 5 and headlined: "DIA Bag System Working, Maker Says." In the article, BAE execs claimed the system was completed, while United's spokesman noted that the system remained in the "testing phase" and that the airline wasn't satisfied with BAE's performance.

The next day Flynn completed his flip-flop. Now exiled to the business page, the story carried the headline "Bag System Incomplete, United Says." This time United's lawyer was doing the talking. He said the carrier was "incredibly surprised" BAE would claim the system was done, and even more surprised that BAE wanted to collect the $17.5 million it will be owed by United when the system is "substantially complete"--if BAE makes its November 15 deadline.

Flynn's shifting stories no doubt lost many readers along the way. Which seems to be how things go at the News--the latest circ figures, released last week, show the paper losing 13,901 daily subscribers over the past year. (The Denver Post, however, sold an average of 15,776 more papers each weekday.)

While Flynn spins local DIA stories, other papers continue to mock Denver's new airport. In a front-page story on October 29, the Miami Herald noted that Miami's airport expansion is now projected to cost $3.5 million, "as expensive as the troubled Denver International Airport, DIA, known as Delayed It Again." But Miami airport director Gary Dellapa was quick to distance himself from Denver. "What we're doing is much tougher," he said. "It's harder to manage. It's more expensive, and it takes longer."

The light stuff: Looks like Coors means business when it says it wants to give equal consideration to homosexuals. In May the Golden brewery extended its employee benefits to same-sex partners, shocking liberals and conservatives alike. And the company keeps putting its money where its mouth is. Last week's Fantasy Fest in Key West, which was once one of the rowdiest, lewdest, gayest parties in the country (and still features plenty of activity that would make Joe Coors Sr. blush), had a new sponsor: Coors Light. Bottoms up.

Where there's smoke, there's ire: It could be coincidence that the old Elitch's amusement park caught fire three days after Denver City Council voted to give the theater there landmark status. But Denver City Councilman Dennis Gallagher, who requested that the Denver Fire Department check the place out for potential hazards back in August, isn't taking any chances. After dusting off his father's old Denver firefighter's cap to answer the call when a second fire broke out early Sunday morning, Gallagher plans to walk the perimeter of the abandoned park every evening. "Maybe I'll lose some of these pounds I've gained sitting on council," he adds.

 
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