By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Denise "Miki" Spies
Miki Spies and her daughter, Sydney, sure love attention. The two got plenty of it in January when Sydney, an aspiring model, submitted a skin-baring photo of herself for the Durango High yearbook. When it was rejected, she submitted a second racy photo, this one showing off her assets in a different way. When it, too, was rejected, Miki complained, saying the photos were the most reflective of her eighteen-year-old daughter's "personality" and threatening to get the ACLU involved. The fight made headlines around the world and landed the mother-and-daughter blondes an appearance on the Today Show. Sydney even got a B-movie role in California, but that achievement was somewhat overshadowed by a house party full of underage teens that Miki threw in August — one that was broken up by police and resulted in the arrest of both women. "Miki Spies...refused to give her name, identification or date of birth when police asked," the Durango Herald reported. "Police attempted to detain her for questioning, but she ran into the house and slammed the front door. Police chased her...down a hallway and into a bedroom, where she again attempted to slam the door on an officer." Possible yearbook caption for Miki: Most likely to not be voted mom of the year.
Since taking office in 2011, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, infuriated a wide variety of people by tinkering with campaign-finance laws, rewriting election rules and using his office to play party politics as well as oversee elections, its official job. But Scott Gessler don't care who's mad at him. Scott Gessler don't give a shit. Scott Gessler is, after all, the honey badger. His biggest battle this year started in August, when Gessler sent out 4,000 letters to people he suspected of not being citizens, and thus not eligible to vote; one of them went to former state senator Norma Anderson. He was criticized by both civil-rights activists and civic activists over that one, who accused him of being more interested in getting Republicans into office and scaring legitimate voters away than in maintaining voter integrity. And then, the day before the November 6 election, the Denver District Attorney's Office confirmed that it had launched (at the request of Democratic-leaning Ethics Watch) a criminal investigation into whether Gessler illegally spent state funds to attend a GOP lawyers' event and then the Republican National Convention in Florida; the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission also opened an investigation. But at least he makes the usually sleepy secretary of state's office interesting.
The devastating High Park fire burned 87,000 acres and destroyed 259 homes near Fort Collins in June and garnered much-deserved credit for the men and women who fought it. But there was one man who took credit that wasn't exactly due. Michael Stillman Maher may have dressed like a firefighter — and even appeared as one in a photo with Governor John Hickenlooper — but he was far from being one. And when authorities discovered that Maher had crossed into a restricted fire area dressed as a firefighter, with phony credentials and in a truck with stolen government plates, they were understandably upset. They got even hotter when they heard that Maher might have stolen food and supplies from real firefighters, at both the High Park fire and the Lower North Fork fire in March. Maher, who has a criminal record that includes sexual assault, illegal discharge of a firearm, domestic violence, reporting a fake crime and violation of a protection order, was charged with multiple felonies, including theft, impersonation and obstruction. His defense attorney has said that Maher just really, really, really wanted to be a firefighter — and he certainly burned a lot of people. Maher has pleaded not guilty; a trial is set for May.
There's nothing quite like being on the wrong side of history — being the last angry face that people see before they tear down the walls of oppression or bigotry or racism. In Colorado, that face belongs to former Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, who killed a bill — sponsored by Denver Democrat Mark Ferrandino — in May that would have allowed for civil unions in Colorado, despite the fact that a clear majority of state legislators were in favor of it, including several of McNulty's fellow GOP-ers. By delaying a vote until the session had ended, McNulty also killed thirty other bills that never got a chance to be voted on — thereby ensuring more angry voters. But in a special session called after the regular session ended, McNulty managed to kill the bill again. Then, in November, the Republicans lost their hold on the House. Although McNulty was re-elected, he was replaced as the Speaker by the very person whose bill he'd killed: Ferrandino, the state's first openly gay person to hold that job. That's history in the making.
The CU Buffs began the year on a high note: Although 2011 hadn't been great, they were hoping to build on a roster of new players and second-year coach Jon Embree, a former CU player and longtime assistant coach. They'd also entered their second season in the Pac-12, meaning they'd face storied teams like UCLA, UCSC, Cal and Stanford. But the Buffs went an embarrassing 1-11 — their worst record in team history — and Embree, 4-21 in two years, was promptly fired. The pain didn't end there, though. The school was blasted for firing its first-ever black coach by former coach/hero Bill McCartney, among many others in the national media. And then CU became an outright laughingstock when Cincinnati's Butch Jones turned down the job (despite news stories to the contrary) and the school turned to back-up choice Mike MacIntyre of San Jose State. The positive news for 2013: It can't get much worse. Or can it? Someone keep an eye on Ralphie.