Off Limits

Online troublemaker Mike Zinna, whose website recently claimed Jefferson County Commissioner Rick Sheehan's scalp, is a bona fide member of the mainstream media, with a new KHOW radio show, Colorado Exposed, set to debut at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 28. Yet this status hasn't opened doors for Zinna in Jeffco. When he tried to take photos at a May 10 soiree celebrating the Jefferson Economic Council's fiftieth anniversary, he was expelled by an attendee from the Department of Homeland Security.

Zinna believes the bash should have been considered an open meeting because it was posted on the commissioners' calendar. Jeffco attorneys disagree, saying the gathering wasn't convened to discuss county business or take official action, and JEC president Preston Gibson describes it as "a private, ticketed event." Gibson adds that, to his knowledge, no other media members showed up, but he doesn't take a position about whether any reporter besides Zinna would have been expelled, because, he says, "that wasn't an issue."

For his part, Zinna estimates that he got "ten or fifteen feet" into the party zone before a Jeffco employee stopped him. Moments later, he continues, A.J. Jackson, the deputy regional director of a Homeleand Security office in Denver, handed him over to Jeffco deputies, who sent him packing. (Jackson declined comment for this story.) At a May 17 commissioners' meeting, Zinna publicly expressed his displeasure at the treatment to board chairman Jim Congrove but got nowhere. "He was clearly unhappy with me," Zinna maintains, "because he knows I'm investigating him."

Such muckraking will take a starring role in Colorado Exposed. According to Zinna, if public officials from Jeffco and beyond "lie or trample on people's rights, I'm going to blow them to Mars."

Which may be the only place they'll be safe from him.

Scene and herd: She's baaack! Yep, that was JonBenét Ramsey looking out from the cover of the May 16 National Enquirer, which promised -- but failed to deliver -- "new evidence" clearing JonBenét's parents. Instead, it quoted private investigator R.W. "Pete" Peterson, who essentially floated the same intruder-DNA theory that he gave 48 Hours last fall. But here's something really new: JonBenét may truly be back, in the form of Carrie Underwood, the 21-year-old survivor of the current American Idol, who looks -- and performs -- like the little beauty queen all grown up, as many bloggers have noted. Writes one: "It occurs to me that Carrie Underwood looks a little like JonBenet Ramsey had that murdered innocent lived to achieve Carrie's age." Says another: "Someone indeed left the cake out in the rain when Carrie powered up MacArthur Park while her gigantic rodeo-queen hair and sparkle-glitter outfit brought little JonBenet back to life, clomping across the stage in her Tiny Tot high heels."

Then again, maybe that's just Idol chatter.

On the Record

Last weekend, Colfax Avenue was home to even more winos than usual, as the second annual Modern Drunkard Convention brought hundreds of marathon boozers to town for a three-day drinkfest. From Friday until early Monday morning, energetic -- if staggering -- conventioneers took in the grand boulevard's many dive bars, leaving behind a trail of beer cans and barf. Occasionally, they even stopped into the seminars, drunk pageants and live music going on at the Ogden Theatre. On Friday night, it appeared much of the Modern set had already passed out by the time the official drinking contest rolled around; the challenge was canceled when only two of the several hundred souls in attendance signed up.

Many of the seasoned swillers crashed down the street at the Ramada Inn Downtown Denver, where more than fifty rooms were booked by Drunkards. For those professional quaffers with the stamina and the stomach for it, "No DUI Denver," a new local ride service that launched at the convention, shuttled the drunks around town, from strip bars to warehouse parties to the front door of their hotel. We asked George Prien , No DUI Denver's president and owner, to recall some of the action -- which the Drunkards themselves have no doubt forgotten.

Q: How did the Drunkard convention look from behind the wheel?

A: When we first talked about getting involved, we were told to expect a lot of people drinking -- and drinking very heavily. And they did not disappoint. These people had amazing energy. They must have been taking those RU-21 hangover pills, maybe sleeping all day and going out only at night.

Q: A drunken public is a good public, in your opinion?

A: Oh, yeah. It's good for us, for sure.

Q: Did the Drunkards live up to their reputation as expert drinkers?

A: There were some professionals, for sure. At the Ogden, you'd see a lot of frequent passersby, people on their way to the bar every half hour or so. Every night you saw the same person fairly intoxicated, and they'd just keep coming back for more, three nights in a row. It was very impressive.

Q: How did they behave?

A: There were a lot of people who couldn't stand or keep their eyes open. They were extremely loud. By 2 a.m. each night, everyone was already really, really intoxicated, or they were well on their way. But they were all very nice people. No angry people or fighting or bickering or anything like that. People came from all over -- New York, Wisconsin, Jackson Hole. Some guys from Ohio bought our whole staff some beers and shots -- after we were done with our shift, of course.

Q: What was one act of extreme drunkenness that you witnessed?

A: On Friday, about five o'clock, there was one heavyset fellow sitting down in front of the Ogden, and he had vomited all over himself. And he kept vomiting all over himself, and he went to the bathroom all over himself. The cop on staff had to call an ambulance. Eventually he went back to his hotel. I saw him the next night, and he was drinking again. I couldn't believe it. That guy was tough.

Q: Speaking of vomit, any barf in your shuttles?

A: No, thankfully. We brought the puke bags -- we were ready for it -- but we didn't have to use them.


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