Off Limits

Denver International Airport hasn't had much good news to celebrate lately, since the last six months have been tough at airports across the country -- even those that aren't bedeviled by loafing cops and groping security screeners. So Steve Snyder of DIA's public-relations office can perhaps be forgiven for the following giddy -- dare we say creampuffalicious? -- announcement, in which he revealed that February 28 was DIA's birthday.

"Denver International Airport turned seven years old Thursday. Airport employees wanted to throw her a big birthday bash like we've done in the past, but since she considers herself a big girl now, she asked that we not make a big deal of it. She did suggest the idea of inviting some friends for a sleepover, but we quickly nixed that idea when we told her that people spending the night at the airport is usually a bad thing.

"However, she did want presents, just like any 7-year-old would. She asked for a pony and a Britney Spears CD, but since both violate FAA regulations, she's not getting either. We thought about getting her a phone line of her own, but since she already has several thousand, that didn't seem practical, either.

"Somebody suggested buying her Harry Potter memorabilia, since 7-year-olds are eating that stuff up right now. But then you've got those demonic references that some are associating with Mr. Potter, and there are already enough people out there who believe strange things about this place. Why add more fuel to the fire?

"'How about a stuffed animal,' she suggested. Two words for you dear: Air Bears! You got a couple thousand of them for your fifth birthday? Did you lose them already?

"So what do you buy a 7-year-old who has 53 square miles, 21 airlines, a big, beautiful building with lots of artwork and breathtaking architecture, not to mention the fact that millions of people come to visit her every year?

"We finally decided on something simple. We're giving her a penny to cast into her fountain in the Terminal. With it, we'll all make the wish that she and all the people who work with her never have to endure another year like the one we just went through.

"Happy Birthday, DIA, and many, many more."

Although we have only two words for this missive -- barf bag -- Snyder insists that he received fifty or sixty e-mails from co-workers who enjoyed it. "We thought about it for a couple of weeks, about whether we wanted to do anything. We did something big for the first and the fifth, but the seventh was kind of just another year," he says. "So I just kind of started writing and thought about what you would do if you wanted to throw a party for a seven-year-old. I took a stab at something and showed it to a few people, and they seemed to like it.

"There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek," he adds. "Hopefully, Britney Spears won't take offense."

And hopefully, not many people noticed that Snyder's first version of the release had the wrong date for DIA's birthday, a matter that he corrected within minutes. Besides, what's one day when DIA's real opening was so late that he/she/it missed the original October 1993 due date by almost eighteen months?

Oops!...They did it again.

Boom-boomtown: Georgetown's historic railroad loop is closed for the winter, but there are still plenty of reasons to stop by the teeny-weeny mining town west of Denver. As a group of out-of-town guests discovered this past Saturday night, Georgetown's lively inhabitants can be counted on to make sure that visitors receive a personal welcome. Make that a very personal welcome.

When our four young skiers hit the Red Ram & Rathskeller tavern on Main Street -- one of the only places in town where patrons can find pitchers of beer and racks of billiard balls after 11 p.m. -- they were greeted at the bar by an attractive redhead, who encouraged each of the three men in the group to do a shot. When one protested, saying he was nervous about driving on the icy roads, the woman waved away his concerns.

"If you get pulled over, just tell them you know the mayor," she said.

And by now, who doesn't? The mayor would be Koleen Brooks, hairdresser, motorcycle rider, former Shotgun Willie's stripper and all-around fun-lovin' gal, who's brought more attention to Georgetown in the last five months than the place has had in years. By way of a bunch of headline-grabbing mini-scandals -- including one in which she allegedly bared her breasts at another local dive (she denied it, although she's admitted to flashing friends at the Ram) and several run-ins with local officials, including a local cop whom Brooks was accused of trying to kill -- she now faces possible recall in an April 2 election. Most recently, Brooks was charged on February 28 with making false claims to authorities that she'd been assaulted by an unknown man.

But none of that seemed to be bothering Mayor Brooks just two days later at the Ram, where she proved to be quite an ingratiating hostess, regaling the young lads with tales of Georgetown lore while knocking back drinks with a group of rowdy locals already gathered around the bar. Brooks was all over the place that night: in the upstairs bar-and-grill room, in the smoky downstairs pool area, and in the men's and women's bathrooms, where hand-scrawled messages in both lavatories advised stall readers to "call Koleen...for a good time." By night's end, Brooks was all over our visitors, too -- planting a goodnight kiss on the lips of one, wrapping her arms around the hips of a second, and giving a sexy, suggestive hand signal to the third (Georgetown's secret handshake, perhaps?).

Whatever happens with Brooks's political career, she's got three votes locked for life.


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