By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Chickens ruffled feathers all over Colorado in 2009 as urban farmers fought for the right to raise poultry in their back yards. But in Durango, someone dressed in a chicken suit showed up to a November city council meeting where rules for backyard fowl were being discussed. The chicken flapped its arms, took a seat — and laid an egg before leaving, according to the Durango Herald. Perhaps as a sign of approval, the council had earlier approved a measure making it easy to keep chickens in town.
Political rabble-rouser and former state representative Douglas Bruce was cited for trespassing at a Colorado Springs Costco in August after he and another man began collecting signatures for a proposed anti-tax ballot measure (which later passed). Bruce, who is as well-known for writing Colorado's controversial TABOR amendment as he is for kicking a Rocky Mountain News photographer on the opening day of the 2008 legislative session, was making a scene, according to a story in the Gazette. When police showed up, Bruce refused to leave and was ticketed. He fought the ticket in court and was acquitted in December after a jury trial.
Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden doesn't need a helium-filled balloon to get him to look toward the heavens. No, the man who first believed the Heene parents, then filed charges against them for their hoax, only needs a little holiday spirit. In November, he announced he'd host a "Politically Incorrect Christmas Tree Trimming Party" at the sheriff's office as a way to take back Christmas from a Fort Collins task force that had suggested that holiday displays on public property not favor one religion over another.
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Republican state senator Shawn Mitchell of Broomfield didn't make any friends with security at the State Capitol, who deactivated his after-hours security code to the building in May because he gave it out to eleven University of Colorado Denver grad students. Mitchell, who said he didn't realize he was violating a security provision, was teaching a government and politics class at the school, according to the Denver Post.
The Colorado governor's mansion has been the scene of both raging keggers and important state dinners, but until this year, it had never been TP'd, state officials said. But the day after Thanksgiving, Governor Bill Ritter discovered that the lawn and trees in front of the 101-year-old home had been layered with toilet paper.
A man with a "Star Trek Klingon type sword" robbed two Colorado Springs 7-Elevens in February, according to the Denver Post. The man, who was wearing a black mask, walked in carrying what victims described as a "Bat'leth" before leaving with cash. A Bat'leth has a long curved blade with three handholds and knife-like spikes at the ends.
In July, police accused nineteen-year-old Dylan Lee Suomi of jumping a pharmacy counter at a Denver Walgreens and threatening employees with a thirty-inch-long Samurai sword. He took off with some of the painkiller OxyContin, but was arrested shortly thereafter.
In May, police arrested a man who swung a pair of nunchaku while standing on the I-70 median near Frisco; the man told a Summit County sheriff's deputy that he'd had a bad day. First he was kicked off an L.A.-bound bus in Silverthorne after allegedly grabbing the throat of a girl who he suspected had a case of swine flu. Then he got into a fight with a gang at a gas station. Finally, he headed for the median, where he began waving his arms at cars and screaming. When a deputy approached and asked about the nunchaku, the man replied, "Yeah, I am a karate master!"
In July, someone dropped a Vietnam War-era Claymore land mine in the donation box at a Goodwill thrift store in Arvada. Police evacuated the store and the surrounding strip mall but later determined that the mine didn't have an explosive device inside.
THE BEAST OF TIMES
It was a rough year for Colorado llamas. On January 2, one fell through the ice on a frozen pond near Salida. Although emergency crews tried to rescue the animal while veterinarians prepared a plan to warm it with blow dryers, the llama died. Just six days later, a Longmont business called Rocky Mountain Llamas, which trains and boards llamas and alpacas, was completely gutted by a fire caused by a downed power pole; the animals themselves were all moved in time and not injured. Finally, in October, after a mountain lion killed a llama near the Black Forest, the llama's baby ran away and was spotted wandering around the slopes of Pikes Peak for weeks; the owner didn't look for the infant animal because she'd assumed he'd been killed by the mountain lion as well.
In January, highway workers had to use snowplows and water trucks to clean off a portion of I-70 near Idaho Springs after a semi plowed into a herd of elk crossing the road. Sixteen animals were killed and two cars were also involved. No humans were injured.
In February, Eagle residents began seeing a female elk walking around with an upside-down bar stool on her head. The elk's head was stuck through the metal ring on the bottom of the stool, but she could still eat. Wildlife officials found the elk but were unable to approach her — or buy her another drink.