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Off Limits

Last summer, shortly after he'd been suspended from practicing law by the Colorado Supreme Court, Denver attorney Michael Dice told Westword he'd like to discuss his case, "but it's a long story." Yeah, tell it to the judge. And Dice will: Last Thursday he was arrested and charged with felony theft for misappropriation of more than $200,000 from clients' accounts. Since Dice specialized in estate law, most of his clients were elderly or disabled...Peter Schmitz, the alleged artist who was in Spicer Breeden's car the night it hit the truck driven by Rocky Mountain News columnist Greg Lopez on March 17, 1996, beat a vehicular-homicide rap last spring. But his successful defense--led by Walter Gerash--racked up some hefty legal bills, and he's back in town from Germany this week for a benefit auction at the Chairman on South Broadway, where fifteen original signed paintings, as well as Schmitz's "Ethereal Cowboy," will be auctioned off. The estate of Breeden, who committed suicide two days after Lopez died, was auctioned off last month; although it included works by several artists, Schmitz's were not among them.

Pressing engagements: Rocky Mountain News publisher Larry Strutton recently sold his Cherry Hills Village home for $885,000, a figure that ranked the sale tenth in the third fiscal quarter for the six-county Denver area--otherwise known as the News's circulation center since the paper decided to focus on the Front Range eighteen months ago (it subsequently lost circulation both outside and inside that territory). "When you lose roughly an average of 15,000 daily circulation in your core market, the strategy seriously comes into question, doesn't it?" crows Kirk MacDonald, executive vice-president of the Denver Post. MacDonald and Post publisher Ryan McKibben were all fired up at the Brown Palace's cigar lounge Friday, as they celebrated their paper's record Sunday circulation of over 470,000 copies.

Not there to celebrate: Post reporter Alan Katz, who was fired for "insubordination" after he broke the paper's rules about writing for online services. But the paper jumped at the chance last week to tout Katz snagging the first annual Tim Wirth Chair Media Award from the University of Colorado at Denver ("Post Lauded for Series on Development") for last February's two-parter on "Building the Future" and "Developing the Future." Meanwhile, Katz's future includes a Newspaper Guild grievance filed against the Post for his ousting.

The final word on last Friday's high-speed chase, which netted two young scofflaws and also a ticket for Arapahoe County sheriff Pat Sullivan, who hit a car on his way to the scene, goes to Al Verley, the KOA helicopter traffic reporter who's never one to mince words. "Oh, boy, I'll tell you," he told listeners of his eye-in-the-sky report. "All the excitement down here. But they do have this guy stopped. And it wouldn't surprise me if they give him a couple of good belts. Give him a couple of good belts for me. They've got this idiot stopped.

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