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Off Limits

The sound and the furry: It wasn't just that Boulder police chief Tom Koby's uniform looked so unused that mothballs might have fallen out of his pockets during last week's news conference on the JonBenet Ramsey case. Something else didn't quite fit the picture of a metro police chief.

The beard. Most local police departments regulate the amount of facial hair that officers are allowed to sport, shaving inches off mustaches and nixing beards altogether--especially when a cop is in uniform. For example: Denver allows mustaches, but no beards unless the cop is on plainclothes assignment (ditto for Aurora); it takes special permission from the chief for a Thornton cop to grow a goatee; Broomfield, Central City, Commerce City, Castle Rock, Edgewater, Englewood, Littleton, Northglenn, Wheat Ridge and Greenwood Village all ban beards but allow mustaches; Glendale wants those mustaches to droop no lower than a half-inch below the corner of the mouth; no-beard Brighton even requires that any mustaches be trimmed above the lip. Only Arvada and Golden allow beards--neatly trimmed ones, at that.

Ah, yes, and Boulder. For a time, that town tried a no-beard policy, but now anything is "fair game," says one police-union spokesman. "Even earrings." Perhaps a simple stud for Koby?

Visit to a strange Planet: "You've got to have a way to cut off the LoDos," Colorado governor Roy Romer told the Colorado Economic Development Commission earlier this month. "I love Arnold, but Arnold doesn't need the investment tax credit."

Tell that to Arnold--if you dare.
The beloved, if snubbed, developer is Arnold Schwarzenegger, the pumped-up star whose company, Pumping Bricks, started buying real estate in LoDo before there was a LoDo. Now, almost two decades later, Schwarzenegger and his partner, Albert Ehringer, want to turn the property they've assembled at 18th and Wazee streets into the $72 million Stadium Walk. But while progress on that project has slowed to a crawl, last Friday the city celebrated the official start of the $100 million Pavilions at the other end of downtown. Pavilions got a $24 million subsidy from the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, but that's not what moved it ahead of Stadium Walk; it also got the tenants, including Nike Town, Virgin Records and a twelve-sceen United Artists theater. So far, Stadium Walk has signed precisely one: Planet Hollywood, in which Schwarzenegger is a part owner. Groundbreaking on the project, originally touted for last fall, has slid out of sight. (So, however, have the tenants who occupied the doomed building on 18th--including Jitters coffeehouse.)

But don't give up yet on getting Demi Moore's autograph or getting down with former Denverite Roseanne's ex-hubby Tom Arnold. Planet Hollywood is in a holding pattern and, according to Ehringer, he and his partner are in no hurry. "We own the dirt," he told the Wall Street Journal, which ran a story on the projects January 31. "So we can do as the market dictates."

The wonder years: Speaking of sharks, Colorado's Ocean Journey finally held its long-postponed groundbreaking last Thursday, beating Pavilions by a day. If the $93 million aquarium, scheduled to open in May 1999, ever floats, it could rate as one of Colorado's major wonders. In the meantime, engineer Richard Weingardt has provided his own Seven Wonders of Colorado: Glenwood Canyon bridges and tunnels (the number-one vote-getter from engineers); Eisenhower Tunnel; NORAD under Cheyenne Mountain (as seen earlier this week on Asteroid--which was no miracle of moviemaking); Dillon Dam and Roberts Tunnel water-diversion project; Moffat (railroad and water) Tunnel (the Moffat Tunnel Commission is a true wonder, but Weingardt doesn't mention it); the DRG (Narrow Gauge) railroad system through the Rockies; and Denver International Airport.

DIA? Weingardt's rule of thumb is that the Wonder be "an uplifting tribute to the universal human desire to triumph over the impossible"--and for a time, a very long time, opening DIA sure looked impossible.

Just as settling all the airport's legal battles does now. On Friday the city was ordered to pay still more of the legal fees incurred by DIA terminal architects Fentress-Bradburn Associates, which Denver had sued for delaying construction and causing $30 million in cost overruns. At trial last fall, a jury sided with Fentress; Friday's ruling brings the legal fees owed the firm to over $1.2 million. And that's not Curt Fentress's only win. Perhaps inspired by the firm's victory over a cranky client, the American Institute of Architects named Fentress the western regional Firm of the Year.

The medium is the message: A new, two-page Denver Post ad touts broadsheets that have championed over competing tabloids (not, of course, that the Rocky Mountain News is calling itself a tabloid in these days of weekly supermarket scoops). The lineup includes the Chicago Tribune, which towers over the Chicago Sun-Times--former employer of Post editor Dennis Britton. But don't expect that to be pointed out in the Post's "Street Smarts" business-gossip column. Maybe it'll turn up in "StreetSmarmy Smarts," an in-house parody created by Post staffers.

 
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