People & Places

  • Best Way to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Rush to the Rockies

    Dress panhandlers as gold-panners

    In 1859, thousands of fortune-seekers braved the perils of the plains and joined the Rush to the Rockies, hoping to find a brighter future in the gold camps that had sprung up overnight in the western stretches of the Kansas Territory. Many of these prospectors turned back before they even saw the mountains; still others discovered just how tough it… More >>
  • Best 150th Birthday Present to Denver

    Jill Hadley Hooper and Hugh Graham are two of this town's least-toxic assets, artists and entrepreneurs who've helped change the aesthetic landscape of the city. And in honor of Denver's 150th birthday, Graham and Hadley Hooper (who was included on Denver's list of 150 unsung heroes released last November) presented this town with a real gift:, a website that… More >>
  • Best Tenth-Anniversary Present to Denver

    Center for Native Ecosystems

    The Center for Native Ecosystems is located in the heart of LoDo, at 1536 Wynkoop Street, but from there it keeps an eye on all of the Southern Rockies, working to save endangered plants and wildlife. The organization just turned ten, and as a celebration of its first decade, it launched "From Where I'm Standing: Perspectives on Conservation in the… More >>
  • Best Souvenir of the Great Depression

    Red Rocks Amphitheatre

    The last depression wasn't all bad news. Thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Denver area reaped the benefits of several federal projects, including Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Hundreds of New Deal laborers worked to create a stage and seating in this stunning setting; the amphitheatre, finished in 1941 and improved periodically since, is legendary with artists around the world. Less… More >>
  • Best History Book

    Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War Thomas Andrews

    We weren't the only ones blown away by Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War, the very first book by Thomas Andrews, an assistant history professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His account of the events surrounding the 1914 Ludlow Massacre — in which the Colorado National Guard stormed a mining colony, resulting in the death of twenty people,… More >>
  • Best DNC Swag

    Freewheelin Bikes

    The road to the 2008 Democratic National Convention was paved with freebies. Free meals, free parties, free stuff, free bags to hold said free stuff. Of course, 99 percent of it was useless (the windmill lapel pins given out wouldn't even look good on Al Gore), but there was one display of killer, if temporary, swag: a thousand free bicycles,… More >>
  • Best Moment at the Democratic National Convention

    Finally getting into Obama's acceptance speech

    There were many great moments for Denver during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. But we have to admit that none were as deeply memorable and satisfying as the second we were actually able to plop our collective asses into the plastic seats of Invesco Field at Mile High to hear Barack Obama's historic acceptance of the nomination, exactly 45 years to… More >>
  • Best Michelle Malkin Moment at the DNC

    Michelle meets Alex Jones

    Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, a conservative from the really old school (think Genghis Khan), currently calls Colorado Springs home. But she ventured north for the DNC, little knowing that her visit to a Re-create 68 protest outside the Denver Mint would lead to a bizarre confrontation with Alex Jones, self-proclaimed leader of the 9/11 truth movement. "Shame on you,… More >>
  • Best Michelle Malkin Moment After the DNC

    Michelle meets Swastika Guy

    In February, Ms. Malkin returned to Denver to take part in a rally at the State Capitol against President Barack Obama's economic-stimulus bill. To emphasize the amount of pork in the measure, she assembled sloppy pig's-flesh sandwiches for hungry supporters with her bare hands — how hygienic! — in between posing for photos with Swastika Guy, a protester sporting a… More >>
  • Best Political Reality-Show Star

    Jared Polis, Freshman Year on CNN

    Like most reality shows, CNN's Freshman Year features a contrived premise that should stir up tension and drama. Here, it's two totally different members of the House of Representatives going about their daily lives: Representative Jared Polis, the openly gay, extremely wealthy Boulder Democrat, and Jason Chaffetz, a conservative Utah father of three who sleeps on a cot in his… More >>
  • Best Candidates for Couples Counseling

    Bill Owens and Ward Churchill

    When you enter the birthdates of Bill Owens and Ward Churchill into the free "Compatibility Report" at, it's clear that these two will never get along — unless they cross a significant barrier. For starters, the former governor's Saturn squares the former professor's Uranus to create distinct times when they will inevitably argue about restrictions of freedom (in Denver… More >>
  • Best Snow Job

    John Hickenlooper "Senior Scooper"

    The most important asset for a successful politician — especially these days, when there's not much money to buy popularity — is an appealing vision that inspires constituents. Failing that, a good pol should have a funny name and a prop-comic's ability to perform in television commercials. John Hickenlooper rode into office on the success of his scooter campaign, then… More >>
  • Best Homeless Landmark

    Addenbrooke Fireplace

    It looks like this fireplace escaped from the family room of some 1970s sitcom in search of a better life, then stopped to grab a smoke (because that's what fireplaces do) at the southeast entrance to Addenbrooke Park. That's not the real story, of course. This park was once home to a pioneering family for more than a century. Patriarch… More >>
  • Best Rehab Project

    Mathews Gotthelf House

    The 5,000-square-foot house on the corner of Champa and 26th streets was once the pride of the Curtis Park neighborhood, a circa 1880 Queen Anne-style home that was one of the largest Victorian-era houses in the city. James Mathews, an ore and bullion broker, was the first owner; Isaac Gotthelf, a merchant and legislator, bought the place in 1890. Over… More >>
  • Best Addition to LoDo

    The SugarCube

    Most of the new construction in LoDo apes the look of the original buildings there, but a few refer to the neighborhood's character more subtly. A triumph of this second, more sophisticated approach is the SugarCube, developed by Urban Villages and designed by the Toronto-based firm of KPMB (Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects). The site, right on the 16th Street… More >>
  • Best High-Rise on the Horizon

    1800 Larimer

    After the oil crash of the 1980s, it took two decades for new high-rise projects to begin appearing again in downtown Denver — and now that mini building boom is going bust. Given the current economic climes, the few buildings nearing completion could be the last of their type for quite a while. The most promising of the group is… More >>
  • Best Tribute to Tablets

    Original Vitamin Cottage

    Those Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Market commercials have made the children of company founders Margaret and Phillip Isely into local celebrities. But TV viewers may not be as familiar with the family-owned food store's historic home in Lakewood. While not officially recognized by the Lakewood Historical Society, a large sign announces the significance of this clapboard cottage: It's where Margaret… More >>
  • Best National Nod to a Local Institution

    Mercury Cafe

    Marilyn Megenity's Mercury Cafe is a Colorado institution, beloved both inside and outside of this state. It's also a no-brainer for a left-leaning catalogue of American collectives, co-ops, eco-conscious and alternative businesses, think tanks, coffee houses, favorite leftist anthems and restaurants for locavores, but we were still happy to see that The Nation Guide to the Nation mentions Denver's long-lived,… More >>
  • Best New Legislator

    Joe Miklosi

    We may not like his position on House Bill 1299, which would pledge all of Colorado's electoral-college votes to the presidential candidate who wins the state — but otherwise, we're with Democrat Joe Miklosi all the way. For years, he worked behind the scene, as state director for Progressive Majority, as director of the Democratic State House Caucus for then-Speaker… More >>
  • Best New Law

    Colorado ASCENT

    It's not law — not yet — but Colorado ASCENT, the bipartisan legislation sponsored by state senator Suzanne Williams and representatives Mike Merrifield and Tom Massey, and heartily endorsed by Governor Bill Ritter, is well on its way to becoming the most welcome new law this legislative session. It would establish a statewide concurrent-enrollment plan that gives students an opportunity… More >>
  • Best Political Blog

    Face the State

    Not so long ago, the conservative Face the State site regularly battled such well-funded liberal blogs as Colorado Media Matters and the Colorado Independent. But whereas CMM recently shut down and the Independent has been hampered by a significant downsizing, Face the State is scrappier than ever." Brad Jones's creation churns out fresh, original content at a rapid clip, with… More >>
  • Best Republican to Run for Governor in 2010

    Tom Tancredo

    Although Tom Tancredo is among the most recognizable Republicans in the state, that's not why we're encouraging his candidacy. No, he's the right-wing man for the job because he'll say just about anything, any time. Unlike most politicians, he doesn't have a mechanism for preventing ideas sure to generate controversy from popping out of his mouth at any moment. For… More >>
  • Best News Catchphrase

    Gary Shapiro

    Every Friday for years, 9News morning anchor Gary Shapiro has shared an upbeat message with viewers: "Congratulations, you made it through the week." But given the state of today's economy, this slogan is more timely than ever. Thanks, Gary. We needed that.… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality — Female

    Theresa Marchetta

    "Elegance" isn't a description usually associated with a TV anchor's coiffure. "Bet you could bounce a quarter off it" is far more common. But every time she appears, 7News anchor/reporter Theresa Marchetta classes up the set. Although her tresses appear to have been tastefully tinted (only her hairdresser knows for sure — but she has twins, and has earned any… More >>
  • Best Hair on a TV Personality — Male

    Kyle Clark

    Kyle Clark's cut is multi-dimensional. When he's on assignment, the hard-charging correspondent's mop looks mildly mussy yet still under control. Think of it as Action Hair that perfectly complements those Jake Gyllenhaal eyes. In the studio, however, his 'do — enhanced with a little product — exhibits unexpected complexity, with its waves and ripples suggesting a particularly fashionable topographic map.… More >>
  • Best TV Anchor — Male

    Adam Schrager

    To put it mildly, Adam Schrager, who spends most of his on-air time reporting about politics for Channel 9, doesn't look like a typical TV host: He's got a hangdog face and often doesn't seem to have a total mastery of combs. But on Your Show, his public-affairs program on 9News's sister station, Channel 20, his plain-spoken, anti-slickster presentation only… More >>
  • Best TV Anchor —Female

    Natalie Tysdal

    Natalie Tysdal is more than just a warm and welcoming personality as adept at banter as she is at delivering the headlines. Along with partner Tom Green, she's also largely responsible for saving her station's news programming. The weak ratings generated by Channel 2's late newscast probably would have led to plug-pulling after the outlet merged with Channel 31. But… More >>
  • Best Laid-off TV Anchor

    Ernie Bjorkman

    When Channel 2 merged with Channel 31, Ernie Bjorkman got the heave-ho. But he had something that other jettisoned anchors, such as 9News's Bob Kendrick and Channel 31's Steve Kelley, didn't: a great story. Seems Bjorkman had been preparing for life after television by studying to be a veterinary technician — a career transition that landed him in a story… More >>
  • Best Sportscaster

    Rod Mackey

    Primary 9News sports anchor Drew Soicher did Rod Mackey a big favor a few years back. He decided that he didn't want to work on the weekends, leaving Mackey the chance to take charge on Sundays, the biggest sporting day of the week. Still, credit Mackey with making the most of the opportunity. He's developed into a strong, solid on-air… More >>
  • Best TV Weathercaster

    Chris Dunn

    We all know that weather forecasts are merely educated guesses. But the most effective prognosticators are able to make viewers feel otherwise — and Chris Dunn, in particular, offers shelter from the norm. His smooth, affable delivery cuts through the jargon, allowing him to impart key information in the most user-friendly way possible, and he exudes a quiet confidence that… More >>
  • Best TV Newscast — Night

    Channel 20

    Because Channel 20 draws from the same well as Channel 9, its 9 p.m. newscast features many of the same stories as its sister station — an hour earlier. That's not the only advantage, though. The headline-fest generally teams weathercaster Kathy Sabine with fresher faces, like Bazi Kanani and Shawn Patrick. And because sports isn't on the regular agenda, there's… More >>
  • Best TV Newscast — Morning

    Channel 4

    Sure, morning newscasts feature headlines and breaking news — but the best of them also provide information in a way that will prevent grumpy viewers from jumping off the nearest bridge. Channel 4's morning crew — anchors Brooke Wagner and Tom Mustin, supplemented by forecaster Stacey Donaldson, traffic expert Lynn Carey and valuable new addition Gloria Neal — accomplish this… More >>
  • Best TV Investigative Report

    Channel 7, 33 Minutes to 3-4 Right

    Investigative reporting requires both a lot of money and time, which is why so many stations are cutting back on it these days. But Channel 7 spared no expense with 33 Minutes to 3-4 Right, a half-hour special built around Denver Health's shockingly slow response to the December 2008 crash of Continental Flight 1404; the first ambulance took more than… More >>
  • Best Talk-Show Host

    Sandy Clough

    Sports yakkers tend to be ghettoized, as if their chosen subject automatically makes them less worthy than peers who gab about hard-news happenings. But Sandy Clough transcends the genre. He's a rigorously analytical thinker who's not interested in dumbing down his commentary to make it more understandable for average Joes and Janes. Rather, he works under the theory that sports… More >>
  • Best DJ


    John "Whip" Wilbur isn't just a DJ at Indie 101.5. In addition to hosting the morning show, the veteran jock serves as the station's music director and its most energetic booster, even fighting with the outlet's new ownership group to buy enough time for word of mouth to build. His love of the music and the daring mix he's assembled… More >>
  • Best Radio Station — Commercial

    Indie 101.5

    While far too many radio formats have been described as "unique" over the years, the sonic blend offered up by Indie 101.5 truly deserves the descriptor. Music director Whip — our choice for Best DJ in Denver — juxtaposes many of the most interesting current modern-rock acts (the kind that scare off most stations) with alterna-cuts that haven't had all… More >>
  • Best Radio Station — Non-commercial

    Radio 1190

    By its very nature, Radio 1190, the University of Colorado at Boulder's station, has a very fluid staff, with DJs coming and going at various times of the year. But despite these frequent changes, 1190 has some important constants. The vast majority of hosts are more interested in exploring the variety of independent sounds being created today, as opposed to… More >>
  • Best Media Swan Song

    The final issue of the Rocky Mountain News

    Employees at the Rocky Mountain News did not learn that their February 27 issue would be the tabloid's last until around noon on February 26. This didn't give them much time to prepare their swan song, even though months earlier selected staffers had started preparing the 150th-anniversary tribute edition, which they'd hoped to publish on April 23. Somehow, though, the… More >>
  • Best Headline

    The Denver Post"Cop Makes Arrest in Bathroom After Smelling Crack"

    And our guess is it smelled bad...… More >>
  • Best History Festival

    Celebrate 1908

    Back in 1908, the Democrats trucked in piles of snow to amuse delegates to the Democratic National Convention. A century later, the best entertainment inspired by the 2008 Democratic National Convention may leave a more permanent legacy. Celebrate 1908 was a two-day, multimedia festival of political and historical flashbacks that brought the issues and arguments of 1908 back to the… More >>