Off Limits

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Denver has plenty of heroes at this school.

Ghost busters! By this fall, the building that once housed Olinger Mortuary will be showing signs of life.

Paul Tamburello and Stephanie Garcia bought the Highland landmark for just under $1 million in 2002, intending to turn the place into a bastion of new urbanism. They spent much of last year in talks to turn part of the nearly 18,000-square-foot space into a nightclub, but that idea fell through. Now the duo is focusing on offices and retail.

"We have two coffeehouse-restaurants that are going to come in," Tamburello says. "We're really excited, because it looks like Pasquini's is one of the restaurants." The next installment of the pizza joint that started out on South Broadway is scheduled to open in late September or early October, as is Rocky Mountain Perk and Pub.

"We only have two bays leased, so we're left with about a little over half," Tamburello says. "We're hoping for service-oriented stuff, like dry-cleaning drop-off and some sort of retail. Maybe a small shop, something similar to Posh, up on 32nd and Lowell. We're also looking at some Thai food, since there's no Thai food anywhere around here."

And if there's any room to spare, maybe space could be devoted to a history exhibit on the famous bodies that passed through Olinger's doors, including that of Checkers Smaldone and Buffalo Bill Cody.

That's Slinky, not stinky: Back in 2001, when City Librarian Rick Ashton wanted to get Denver Public Library employees prepared for some big changes ahead, he strongly suggested they read Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese, featuring mice Sniff and Scurry.

But now we learn that change is nothing to sniff at. Change Is Like a Slinky: 30 Strategies for Promoting and Surviving Change in Your Organization is the newest volume by local author Hans Finzel, author of the popular (really) Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make.

"I like the Slinky because it has so many characteristics that exemplify an organization that is open to change," says Finzel, who is CEO of CB International, an international relief and development nonprofit based in Littleton. "It bends so easily, and I've come to observe that to the resilient belong the spoils. The only organizations that are thriving today are resilient; they're flexible, they change. So I started looking at the Slinky, and see how you have to push it to get it started, like shooting the Slinky down the stairs? Once it gets going, sometimes it gets stuck and somebody has to unstuck it. Change programs often get stuck. They take time, people, meetings, money, so, like the Slinky, you have to push at it again."

And again. "Change is unpredictable," he adds. "When you launch a change program, you really don't know where things are going to end up. When you send the Slinky cascading down the stairs, you don't know where it's going to finish. My employees always ask me where are we going to land when we're done with all the changes, and I say I don't know. They don't like that, but the future is unpredictable."

Fair warning, librarians: The DPL has Change Is Like a Slinky on order.

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