But a decade later, the mall was beginning to show its age. In 1998, the previous owners sold it to the Simon Property Group. Soon afterward, the company announced it would add new stores in an attempt to boost the mall's image. One welcome addition was the freestanding Century 16 Theater next door, which the local press described as a key upgrade.

Changes couldn't hide a problem that the mall had been dealing with since the early 1990s, however, when allegations that mall security was racially profiling young black men because of the way they dressed led to pickets and boycotts. The issue cropped up again in 2004, when a mall leasing agent was caught on tape saying the mall was trying to reduce its "negative aspects," including "the young black customer." She said it was aiming to attract more white customers instead.

The mall responded by promising to hire more African-American executives and security guards, but in the fall of 2005, the shopping center took another hit when a shooting there left a nineteen-year-old woman dead and her 23-year-old boyfriend seriously wounded. Two twenty-year-olds were arrested for the crime. Because of that, there is now a curfew: On Friday and Saturday nights, kids under sixteen must be accompanied by a parent.

There have been many gods that called Colorado Springs home.
chalmers butterfield
There have been many gods that called Colorado Springs home.
Lee Reitz's dish held the day at the cantaloupe cook-off.
Lee Reitz's dish held the day at the cantaloupe cook-off.

At the time of the shooting, the mall was undergoing a $100 million renovation to modernize its look, refurbish its food court and add a fourth anchor, Dillard's. The city encouraged the makeover, providing $15 million in tax subsidies. Aurora had recently relocated its city hall, library and police headquarters across the street. "This is a new chance for the Aurora mall and the whole city center area," Dianne Truwe, then the city's director of development services, told the Denver Post. Fittingly, Simon rechristened the thirty-year-old mall the Town Center at Aurora.

Last Wednesday at lunchtime, the mall was as busy as you'd expect for a weekday afternoon. Toddlers climbed on the giant caterpillar in the play area, teenagers roamed with Forever 21 bags, and grandmothers browsed in JC Penney. The Town Center at Aurora has a few throwbacks, such as a pet store that sells hyperactive puppies — miniature schnauzers were 20 percent off — and a video arcade like the one where Convery spend his quarters more than a quarter-century ago. It also has locations that make it unique: a tattoo parlor, a barber shop and From Mexico Con Amor, which sells lucha libre masks and two-foot plastic Saint Francis statues.

Both cookie-cutter and authentically different, the mall is distinctly Aurora. And any concerns that the tragedy that took the lives of twelve people there on July 20 will rob the city of its de facto center are baseless, says Representative Fields. "All of the e-mails and conversations I've had with people, they say they're not going to let this person who committed this horrible act take their community from them," she explains. "They're going to take it back and continue to do what they normally do.

"A lot of people are saying, 'I'm not going to let him win.'" — Melanie Asmar

The Humidor at Coors Field

Everyone thinks that the baseball humidor at Coors Field is hidden in some secret, special place, says Jay Alves, spokesman for the Colorado Rockies.

In reality, it's about as conspicuous as a box in the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Tucked away on the service level of Coors Field — one elevator stop below the main lobby and just down from the Rockies clubhouse — the humidor is right next to the type of walk-in beer cooler you'd find in the back of the house at any big restaurant or bar in LoDo.

In fact, the humidor looks like a beer cooler: industrial gray in color and with no signage indicating what's inside. But instead of Coors Light, this nine-foot-by-nine-foot walk-in holds about 400,000 baseballs, 72 of which are rubbed down and then used for each home game.

But the humidor's looks belie the controversy around it.

In 2002, the Rockies got permission from Major League Baseball to install it. "We used to, prior to the humidor, store baseballs, and they would dry up, get lighter and get harder. So with the altitude, we really had a lot of balls flying out of here like golf balls," Alves says.

Golf balls is about right. Coors Field holds the record for single-season homers at 303, set in 1999. That's 3.7 home runs a game.

Other teams complained, and they haven't stopped.

During the 2010 season, for instance, San Francisco Giants announcer Jon Miller suggested on air that something strange might be going on with the humidor, and ace Tim Lincecum was seen on TV muttering "Fucking juiced ball, it's bullshit" — a comment he later qualified by saying his emotions were running high — on the mound at Coors.

But offensive numbers have declined since the humidor was installed, from around 272 home runs per year to about 197 home runs per year. And that's important to the sport that honors tradition more than any other.

And even though the baseballs used by both teams at Coors are in line with manufacturers' specs — they're stored at 70 degrees, with 50 percent humidity — they still hit the cheap seats more than any at other place in the big leagues. "We're still a mile high — you can't change that," Alves says.

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My Voice Nation Help

Come to beautiful Colorado to vacation.

Return home w/ a record and on probation.....


It's too bad our police forces,

and individuals such as Carole Chambers,

ruin what once was one of the best best

places to live in the nation......


from dave eberhardt, baltimore, md-to the sunshine state



Rain fell in Aurora, Colorado today,

 It fell for the Victims and Executioner as well

. It smiled at the dawn references That news reporters made re the name,

 Although none of them made any;

 It smiled at the Lack of reporting On Colorado gun laws... 

It forgave and forgave.

 If you listened closely you Might have heard how it said: 

Forgive and forgive.

 Seek no vengeance, work for peace. It said,

I washed the blood off Forever battlefields and I can wash this off

. Press on,

it said but it said it like this: 

Ssssh, ssssh...




   From:     Hogan, Steve <shogan@auroragov.org>To:     'mozela9@comcast.net' <mozela9@comcast.net>  Odd, but that's the same message an opponent of stronger laws sent me.  Someday maybe your side and their side will grow up, and get past calling each other names. Colorado law does not allow cities to overrule the state legislature, even if they want to.  Since I couldn't do anything one way or the other without a vote of another elected body, where does that put me, other than in the same place as you, and the person on the other side of the issue? Next time, and there will be a next time unless all types of weapons are outlawed, you might really think first about those actually killed or wounded, instead of your political agenda. Steve HoganMayorCity of Aurora