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Off Limits

Oh, thank heaven

Finally, the Unsinkables have either realized their fondest dream -- or had their worst nightmare come true. Because this past Tuesday night, the 7-Eleven at 13th Avenue and Pearl Street (right) closed for good. And so far, there are no plans to fill the black hole that's earned a black mark for this part of Capitol Hill.

"The feedback I'm getting is that most people think it's a wonderful thing," says Unsinkables president Kathi Anderson, who for years has patrolled the mean streets with the neighborhood group named for the area's most famous resident, Molly Brown. "Personally, I'm not sure another dark hole will be a good thing on that corner. We never wanted 7-Eleven to close; we just wanted it to be safer."

They certainly never expected it wouldclose: A 7-Eleven shutting its doors is rarer than a Starbucks failing. And because this outlet sat on one of the city's most infamous drug corners, it had a built-in clientele of people coming up, people coming down -- and in the meantime doing a little shopping. The Southland Corporation, which owns this particular location, isn't talking about why it shut the store, and over the weekend, store manager Eugene was under strict instructions to refer all calls to a corporate voice-mailbox. (When asked, Eugene did assure Off Limits that all store staffers have been transferred to other locations.)

According to Anderson, police have promised that the area will be fenced off until its future is determined. In the meantime, its past is documented on www.crackstreet.com, a new website that's essentially a vigilante JohnsTV, but starring crackheads. "This web site is intended to provide news to inform the public and potential tourists of the danger associated with visiting these attractions," reads what must be the worst nightmare of the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, since those attractions range from the Molly Brown House to the State Capitol," as well as expressing the concern of area residents for their safety and dissatisfaction with the city's ability to police and protect the community from this rampant drug dealing." The site includes photos of deals, dealers and druggies taken around the now-defunct 7-Eleven, plus a lively discussion page.

"You are hurting the very entities that are struggling with the same crimes that you are," Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Robb wrote to crackstreet.com last week. "The cultural institutions in the area that bring honest people and community supporters to the area should not be harmed. As you reduce their visitors, you open the area up for more bad influences. I fear that you are defeating your very goal."

So far, no one has claimed ownership of the site -- not even the webmasters who responded to Robb with an unsigned e-mail outlining their three-point plan to crack down on crack in the area, insisting that "the city itself does not already have such a plan in place to stop this crime." The founders have gone so far as to block their website-registry information at domain researcher www.whois.net, and the phone number listed there goes straight to a non-working number that 411 operators can trace only to "somewhere near Brighton." On the site itself, there's this simple message: "Crackstreet.com has no physical location or individual representative, currently we only exist and distribute news via the internet."

Although rumors are rampant that the Unsinkables are behind it, Anderson swears that's not the case. "We can't even figure out how to turn on a computer," she says.

A read-letter day: Political pundits say the writing's on the wall in the District 6 race between Tom Tancredo and Joanna Conti. Given Tancredo's incumbent status and the district's GOP-heavy registration, they predict the congressman will stay put. To get a more off-the-wall opinion, Off Limits asked handwriting expert Scott Petullo to analyze samples (above, right) provided by the candidates. "I think this is the goofiest thing I've ever been asked to do!" wrote Tancredo.

The congressman "is very motivated by achievement, ideals and recognition," Petullo noted. "His mental stamina is stronger than his physical vitality. Tom has vision, but he may set his goals too high at times. He's receptive to new ideas and fairly sensitive to criticism. His strong abstract imagination and intellectual aptitude serve him well in goal-setting and generating constructive ideas. Thriving on praise and attention, he's very comfortable working closely with others."

As for the challenger, Petullo determined: "Joanna Conti is a responsive people-person and has a respectable emotional temperament. She is persuasive and has very solid boundaries in place that support an innate toughness. People clearly understand she means 'no' when she says it. She's capable of very cleverly operating against rivals while smoothly projecting kindness and reliability. She is very good about protecting confidential data, but she sometimes goes too far in keeping private information from even her own conscious awareness."


What's So Funny?

By Adam Cayton-Holland

Like most children, I always anticipated approaching holidays with great feelings of excitement and eagerness deep within my bosom. Unlike most children, though, I suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which made me pace more than a caged leopard in a European zoo. Couple crippling OCD with swallowing whole every morsel of nostalgia that the Disney Channel flung at me, and my excitement reached a fever pitch days before any holiday, only to explode on the actual occasion and then burn out like a degenerate junkie-gambler after a trip to Vegas.

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