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Off Limits: When one boot on your vehicle just won't do, try two

Getting a parking ticket sucks. Ending up with two can ruin your day. And three? Well, three parking tickets means that the city's cobblers — the ones who will gladly fit your vehicle with a bright yellow boot — are going to come looking for you.

But the pain doesn't always end there. In the past week alone, Off Limits operatives have spied a pair of cars, in different neighborhoods, that had been slapped with not one, but two boots — that infamous immobilization device invented in Denver, and now irritating drivers around the world. Two boots. Really? Is one no longer enough to keep a car from moving, or is Denver's Parking Violations Bureau just trying to make a point? "One boot not enough for you, scofflaw? Well, now you have two! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

The answer is a combination of all those things. "We put double boots on vehicles that have escaped before," explains Ann Williams, spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Public Works. "If the vehicle owner has driven out of a boot before, taken off the tire or gotten the boot off in another manner, they are more of a flight risk."

Double boots are also attached to the vehicles of extravagant violators, the ones who have racked up huge fines that run into the thousands of dollars.

And while people who can sneak out of one boot might be able to shake off a second, doing so can do more damage to your bank account than simply paying the fines would. "It's going to damage your car," Williams notes. "So you have to do a cost analysis and weigh the benefits. You have to ask yourself just how much damage your car and your pocketbook can sustain."

And no, you don't have to pay double to have two boots removed. The city charges the standard $100 boot-removal fee (plus outstanding parking fines) to get your ride — and your dignity — back.

Big name: The CELL, the Denver-based nonprofit whose goal is to address and combat terror, has an in-your-face ad campaign and a powerful name, one designed to turn the concept of a terrorist cell on its head. But the original acronym, the Center for Empowered Living and Learning, never made much sense. And this month, the two-year-old CELL changed its full name to the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab.

"One of the things we found was that the acronym didn't necessarily resonate with what we do in the marketplace," explains CELL executive director Melanie Pearlman. So the organization, which was founded by businessman Larry Mizel, hired a marketing group to look at its strategy and come up with a new name.

Not that the old name proved any obstacle to attracting big names to Denver, with visits to the CELL this month alone from Newt Gingrich and U.S. Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano, who will be in town on October 28 for her second fly-by in a year. Even John Elway got on board, narrating a CELL-produced video last year on how to be on the lookout for terrorists.

"The name we have today is reflective of where our institution is going," Pearlman says. "We are a place that brings in thought leaders to explore the issues. And it is not a partisan issue. It's important for us to maintain credibility across party lines."

Scene and herd: It may have been in the '80s last weekend — and it's not even Halloween yet — but someone is thinking ahead, trying to find a home for a pine sapling that appears to be a little down on its luck. The decorated tree -- spotted by an Off Limits operative at the corner of Alameda and Sheridan — sported a message reading "Homeless Tree. Charlie Brown Christmas. Need Decorations."

Poor sap.

 
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