There are a million stories in the naked city. Here are two of them.
On March 13, 28-year-old ShaShawna Shelton reported her Kyocera cell phone stolen to the Denver Police Department. Here's her account, exactly as it appears in the DPD files:
"I was arrested on the night of the 5th and my cousin Thomas was there. I asked him in front of the officer if he couldn't find my uncle's number in the house, that it was in my phone if he could call and ask him to bond me out. Me, his mom and his sister, Tavia Yorks doesn't get along. My grandmother, Quizzie Yorks, said she told him to leave the phone and he ran out the door with the phone and my daughter, Ja'taivia. I called the police from jail to have my phone and my daughter returned to my grandmother but the officer they sent out said she looked ok and left her there and nothing about my phone. I was released on the 9th at twelve at night and went straight to my grandmother's house to discover they brought my daughter back to my grandmothers but still no phone. I called his mom, Shirley Yorks-Thomas, and her exact words were 'Bitch, you ain't getting shit from my son, it's his phone now, and quit calling me before I file a harassment report like Audrey did,' which is a girl I use to hang out with and started to hang with them and started taking sides. I have been in touch with the police that work at Montbello High School and they have been trying to confiscate the phone but he has been ditching school every day. I left the number to the shelter on the phone for people to contact me and I got a call saying that he answered the phone at 7pm tonight and said that I wasn't there that they'll tell me who called. And at 8:03pm, I received a message from a whole different person that said 'Your cousin answered the phone talking shit and said don't call no more.' And a couple other messages with them playing on the phone and people asking for them on my phone. They both live at the same apartment where Shirley and Tavia beat Paula in the head with a bat. I was there when that happened which is why I'm doing it this way. I want to press charges on Tavia and Thomas for the theft of my cell phone and if damaged I want them to pay for it. I also have witnesses here at the shelter knowing that I had just bought and paid for my phone."
Off Limits tried to contact Shelton to determine the fate of her phone, but her e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, is now defunct, and dialing the number for the cell phone got us the news that the number is no longer in operation.
Shelton wasn't the only one having phone problems. Early in March, 29-year-old Colorado Springs resident Norman Escalera discovered his car had been stolen. It was recovered in Denver, and he picked it up at a city impound lot. Two days later, on March 10, he noticed a blue bag in the car containing a cell phone. Suddenly the phone rang, and he answered. "The caller asked the victim if he could bring the bag and the cell phone to them in Denver," states a police incident report. "The victim agreed and traveled back to the 2500 block of Welton Street." There Escalera met two males in their late teens, who got into his car. After thanking the kind driver for returning their possessions, the teens advised him that they had a gun and told him to get out. Escalera obeyed, and the thieves drove off, once again leaving Escalera carless.
Pray as you go: Just down the street from the spot where Escalera got jacked is a building at 2485 Welton Street that was once a True Value hardware store -- and then a major pain for the city and the Small Business Administration, after the owners failed to make payments on their loans. Finally, the structure was auctioned off -- and today it's the Kingdom of Glory Christian Center, with services offered throughout the week.
But if you don't have time to park and pray, not to worry. The church has installed a handy "drive-by prayer box" at its entrance that may look like your standard, side-of-the-road mailbox -- but this receptacle boasts a very special delivery. Direct to God.
Next time Escalera visits the big city, he may want to stop here first and make a deposit. Otherwise, he may not have a prayer of keeping his ride.
The bus stops here: Until this week's traffic jams, a lot of people took the Regional Transportation District's service in stride -- hopping the free mall shuttle to shop at the LoDo Tattered Cover, taking the light rail in from Littleton to avoid having to park at the Pepsi Center for an Avs game.
But on Monday, drivers were parking at the farthest stretches of the Pepsi Center for the Rockies game -- and glad they only had to pay ten bucks and walk fifteen blocks for the privilege.
Ryan and Nicole Christ would never make the mistake of taking public transportation for granted. If it weren't for RTD, they would never have fallen in love. "We should be an advertisement for RTD," Ryan said last year, when the agency announced the happy couple's nuptials in an April 4 release, "Love Blossoms at Bus Stop," touting the custom bus stop that RTD had provided as a wedding gift.
This April 4, of course, RTD had little happy news to report.
Not so the Christs. Since they got married on April 2, 2005 -- at Cordillera, not the Capitol Hill bus stop where their romance flourished -- they've had a son, two-and-a-half-month-old Finnegan Macner Christ, "who was not conceived on a bus or born on a bus," Ryan admits. The family now lives by Sloan's Lake and "have kind of given up the bus," he explains, because of his hours at the law firm where he's a real estate and corporate attorney, and because his wife now drives to work in Littleton.
But they haven't forgotten how they got together at the 12th and Washington stop. "She was an environmental consultant and had spoken at my work," Ryan says. "We just happened to live in the same neighborhood. I noticed her at the bus stop, said ŒHi,' we started talking, I asked her out, and she actually said no, that she had other plans. But we eventually went on a date and hit it off." After an eighteen-month engagement, they were married almost two years to the day they met at that bus stop, an event Ryan's brothers captured in a limerick they performed at the rehearsal dinner and whose words Ryan declines to repeat. But then, he's now a father.
Instead of returning to the scene of their meeting, the Christs celebrated their first anniversary at Cordillera. Which means they missed the start of the strike, but from his office at 17th and Blake streets, Ryan had a good view of the RTD offices and the picketers outside on Monday morning.
The Invisibles: RTD protesters were out in force outside Coors Field before the April 3 home opener, too, handing out fliers to a captive audience of 50,000 that proclaimed, "We want RTD to play ball!"
Meanwhile, during an appearance on Z560 radio, Colorado Rockies chairman and CEO Charlie Monfort was telling the folks back home that his squad would finish first in the National League's western division. This prediction would have shocked anyone who studied the 2006 Major League Baseball preview published that day in USA Today. The paper's NL West section discussed the prospects of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants -- but left out the Rockies entirely.
Was this omission a subtle way of suggesting that the entire Rockies franchise should be sent to the minors? Not according to USA Today sports editor Monte Lorell, who says a capsule describing the Denver team's chances had been written, but then was omitted in error. The item, which balanced a best-case scenario (the young Rox might show signs of "becoming a contender for years to come") with doomier, and likelier, prospects (a bad start and blown leads could cause players to "lose heart"), ran under a correction in the April 4 edition of USA Today.
Rockies spokesman Jay Alves characterized the oversight as "unfortunate, but it's nothing we concern ourselves with." Perhaps that's because it'll be easier for the Rockies to sneak up on competitors if no one knows they exist -- or maybe being forgotten is preferable to the comments issued by other big-time prognosticators. The New York Times' Murray Chass, for example, whose April 2 NL West roundup dismissed the Rockies in two sentences. After noting that execs made few off-season personnel changes, he wrote, "They were either high on their incumbent players or could not be bothered."
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Considering his prediction, Monfort may have been on a different kind of high.
Scene and herd: First a pregnant Gwyneth Paltrow dropped by the Children's Museum with daughter Apple when husband Chris Martin was in town for a Coldplay concert. And then Drew Barrymore got in touch with her inner Gertie at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science last month. The E.T./Fever Pitch/Never Been Kissed star first stopped by on March 19 to check out Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity at Gates Planetarium, but the show was sold out. So the diminutive diva came back the next day to catch the thirty-minute flick, with boyfriend/Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti in tow. (The band was in town for a gig at the Fillmore.) Though most of the Gates crowd was unaware that rock royalty was present, there were a few fans prairie-dogging up and down the line -- and at least half the museum staff snuck out to get a good look at Drew, the stargazing star.
Not seen and not heard Monday night was Tom Hanks, hyped as the big star at the opening ceremony of the 22nd National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, where he was supposed to pick up the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award for his work pushing space through such projects as Apollo 13 and From the Earth to the Moon. Hanks's appearance had been highly touted, and his last-second cancellation was blamed on a movie conflict.
Or maybe he was just lost in space.