Strange but True
Colorado truly was an altered state in 1998.
A Boulder manufacturer of Halloween "Dracula Fangs" sued a competitor for selling allegedly identical devices known as "Fangtastics."
A fourteen-year-old sexual assault suspect was arrested in Boulder after he crashed his bicycle while attempting to grab a passing woman cyclist's breast.
Police in Lakewood sought a 4-foot-8-inch boy suspected of passing counterfeit $20 bills.
Local PetsMart stores offered "potty training seminars" for dogs and adaptable toilet seats for cats.
The state's anti-suicide commission, formed after Colorado posted the fifth-highest suicide rate in the country, was told by an expert that "it's difficult to interview people and find out what was on their mind [after they're dead]."
The Carbondale Environmental Board encouraged residents to begin eating dandelions instead of spraying them, arguing that the plants have the same "calcium-phosphorous ratio as mother's milk."
Larimer County authorities reported that a canine unit was "unable to follow the scent" of an outhouse prowler seen running from a public latrine wearing fishing waders.
Pepsi-Cola announced it was developing a "science unit" for students in Jefferson County that consisted of visiting a Pepsi bottling plant, "analyzing cola samples" and taste-testing soda for the imaginary "Fizz Wizz" company.
A 90-year-old man was cited for careless driving after he plowed into two Arapahoe County sheriff's patrol cars whose drivers had stopped to make an arrest.
An 84-year-old driver rolled his gravel truck into Clear Creek, briefly closing U.S. Highway 6.
Police in Fort Lupton arrested a diminutive 70-year-old woman after she walked into the Bank of Colorado and demanded money while wearing a black plastic trash bag that "nearly swallowed" her.
A former Denver policewoman was awarded $130,000 in damages by a federal jury after she was assaulted by a fellow officer who grabbed her breasts and "twisted them like water faucets."
The premier issue of Daniels Business Review, a magazine for business executives published by the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, featured an article lamenting the lack of genuine heroes but informing readers that college benefactor Bill Daniels really was one.
Police were on the lookout for a 6-foot-tall "menacing transvestite" with hairy legs accused of masturbating publicly while wearing a miniskirt and a wig.
* A 125-pound fish sculpture.
* "Several small angel pins," taken from a nun during a mugging.
* The Deer Trail Rescue Squad's cardiac monitor and defibrillator.
* A tractor-trailer loaded with 30,000 pounds of frozen turkeys.
* The Bent County Sheriff Department's drug-sniffing dog.
Interstate 76 was temporarily shut down in May after a meat-hauling truck and a tractor-trailer carrying beehives collided, setting thousands of hungry bees loose on the freeway.
Denver firefighters were dispatched after a truck dumped a load of rendering grease near the intersection of 13th Avenue and Logan Street.
"We don't need to build prisons anymore," said state representative Dorothy Gotlieb during a discussion of traffic jams on I-25. "We can just stick people in cars and have them sit there four hours a day."
A Jefferson County man who refused to comment to the media after his wife killed the couple's two children later set up a Web site dedicated to the tragedy that included departments titled "Where Was God?" and "The Aftermath."
A member of the City of Denver's "ethics committee" was ticketed for shoplifting after taking a bottle of eyewash from a Denver store.
Police in Parker busted an ice cream truck driver after she repeatedly shortchanged young clients who paid with large bills.
A Durango man was convicted of first-degree murder after police found the cremated remains of his former roommate in his backyard barbecue pit.
A Larimer County judge threw out criminal libel charges against a sixteen-year-old high school student who had published his own newspaper claiming that a female principal was a cross-dresser who'd had an affair with Princess Diana and that the school's tap water contained urine.
A training program on cultural sensitivity given to Denver postal supervisors included the line, "Native American and African-American cultures: Look you in the eye when they are ready for a fight."
A self-taught computer expert was charged with hacking into the US West computer system and diverting 2,585 of the company's computers to help him solve a 350-year-old math problem.
A $35,000 piece of public art at an RTD light-rail station that included "remnants of demolished buildings" was destroyed when it was hit by a car.
RTD boardmember Jon Caldara lobbied to allow cigarette and alcohol advertising on bus benches.
A man who streaked naked across the Coors Field outfield before 44,000 fans told a judge he did it to impress his girlfriend, with whom he wanted to "share his world."
Blinky the Clown was dumped by Channel 2 and hired famed defense attorney Walter Gerash to represent him. On the prospect of returning to his job as part of a settlement, a scorned Blinky said, "I wouldn't work for them for a barrel of monkeys."
Actual Names of Clowns Operating in the Denver Area
* Coconut the Clown
* Frizbee the Clown
* Krako the Clown
* Rainbo the Clown
* Shuffles the Clown ("The Clowning Around Specialist")
* Skiddles the Clown
* Su-Z-Q-Z the Clown
* Jingles the Elf
A Longmont police officer was cited for careless driving after smashing his squad car into the back of his sergeant's squad car.
Internal disciplinary action was taken against a Lakewood police officer after he threatened the manager of a McDonald's restaurant who "had a hard time understanding his order."
A Boulder police detective was given an internal reprimand after a photo radar camera caught him speeding while wearing a paper bag over his head.
A week after shooting to death a man who was attempting to steal a car, Adams County sheriff's officers finally identified him as Andrew Gene Alvarez. They reportedly were assisted in their probe by a large tattoo on the man's chest that read "ALVAREZ."
Jefferson County sheriff's deputies had difficulty keeping up with fleeing suspects because of a device that prevented their four-wheel-drive vehicles from going more than a hundred miles per hour.
When a Boulder police officer asked a man who'd rammed her cruiser with his Mercedes if he was on drugs, he replied that he used acne medication.
State officials opened a "road rage hotline" to take reports about aggressive drivers.
A Colorado State University professor opened a "virtual road rage" lab to study "driving stress."
Summit County officials reported two incidents of "ski rage" on the slopes.
A Fort Lupton municipal judge sentenced a 24-year-old man accused of playing his car stereo too loud to listen to an hour of cowboy songs, bagpipe recordings and Gregorian chants.
After state representative Frana Mace of Denver introduced a law that would have prohibited dogs from riding in the back of pickup trucks, San Miguel County sheriff Bill Masters countered, "Dogs like it there. It's cruel not to let them ride there."
After hundreds of nude skiers trashed a base center during Crested Butte Mountain Resort's annual end-of-season naked ski session, authorities considered discontinuing the event. Said a resort official, "It just doesn't have that light, fun feeling anymore."
Parents decried "human rights" violations after a teacher at Jefferson County's Deer Creek Middle School banned the wearing of Pittsburgh Steelers garb to the school's "Bronco Day."
The director of the Women's Resource Center at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley demanded the right to call lesbians "dykes" and homosexual men "queers" in the campus newsletter.
Actual names of animals shown this year at the National Western Stock Show:
* Intimately Teddy
* An Irish Flirt
* Bad Girl
* Freckles Floozie
* Awesome Prettylady
* Shesa Hot Chick
* I Come to Impress
Stock Show exhibit most likely to get lucky:
T-Bone the Mechanical Talking Steer, who greeted visitors by asking, "Hi, haven't I seen you before?"
The federal government added the Rocky Flats nuclear bomb factory to the National Register of Historic Places, then announced it would be demolished in the year 2006.
A United Airlines 737 backed over a catering truck at DIA, injuring two people and forcing the evacuation of 65 passengers.
A local couple made headlines after a Sesame Street "Talking T-shirt" they bought at a local Kmart store cheerfully announced that it was "time to fuck."
Actual headlines from the Denver Post:
* "Adult Business Appeals to High Court"
*"Stadium Vote Is Big Issue"
* "Solving Ramsey Case Possible"
Actual headline from the Rocky Mountain News:
"Rabbi Sees Passover Spirit in Oven"
Actual subhead on same News story:
"Furnace repairman symbolizes circle of ancient Jewish ritual."
Actual correction from the News:
"Brian Hinkle's name was misspelled in a story on Page 22A Sunday about the Colorado Spelling Bee."
When an unidentified man held up the Denver Zoo for $32,000, the Post reported that he made off with enough money to "buy 25,000 pounds of yams for the grizzly bears."
News columnist Bill Johnson wrote about the horror of witnessing a traffic accident in which a woman was thrown through her windshield, then ran a follow-up column telling readers he'd actually seen a car door go flying into the street.
As part of a court-ordered work-release program, an Arapahoe County man convicted of pimping took a job as an "appointment setter" for a local company.
In an attempt to gauge how human activity may contribute to stress in bighorn sheep, the state Division of Wildlife tracked down the animals and implanted transmitters in their hides.
A Denver Zoo expert concluded that a group of four deer who wandered onto East Colfax Avenue apparently wound up in the inner city because they were "young and inexperienced."
Police investigated the beheadings of two rabbits in southeast Denver.
State troopers investigating the vandalization of a car belonging to state representative Gigi Dennis of Pueblo concluded that the vehicle had been attacked by squirrels.
A Colorado state trooper ran an emu off U.S. Highway 50 near Beaver Creek and reported that the creature was last seen heading onto the Fort Carson bombing range.
Veterinary surgeons at Colorado State University attached an artificial leg to a five-month-old burro named Primrose.
* A tennis ball on a Boulder playground
* "Drano bombs" in Douglas County mailboxes
* Municipal sewer lines in the town of Brighton
An official state guidebook revealed that the tiny town of Lay in northwestern Colorado, a former Army camp, was "named by the lieutenant in charge for his sweetheart."
Rich Yoke owned The Egg and I restaurant in Englewood.
Billy Michael Slaughter was accused of accepting $10,000 to murder a man in Haswell.
Keith Firstintrouble was arrested in Denver.
Studly soldiers at the National Guard armory in Lamar received a new howitzer thanks to the efforts of Sergeant Rusty Manly.
Executive Bob Dorko spoke on behalf of a company considering livening up the nightlife scene in Denver by opening a swinging piano bar.
A controversy that erupted when El Paso County Commissioner Betty Beedy said single mothers who date are "sluts" was smoothed over by Colorado Springs mayor Mary Lou Makepeace.
Renee Tree Wilhelm and Robert Burch asked voters to turn over a new leaf and elect them to the Southern Ute Tribal Council.
In lieu of flowers, mourners were asked to send contributions to Colorado Christian University in the memory of Steven P. Amen.
Lieutenant Joe Gang worked for the Boulder County sheriff's department.
After being thrown by his horse, a Cheyenne man sued the company that sold him "Little Doc Ripper."
A World Wrestling Federation star from Boulder known as the "Rocky Mountain Beast" was convicted of assaulting a Kuwaiti talk-show host who asked him if the grudge matches were staged.
The Southeast Denver/Douglas County Economic Development Council hosted a panel discussion at the Inverness Hotel & Golf Club titled "Congestion, Road Rage, Marijuana and You."
After a group of goats escaped in Bergen Park, workers at a nearby King Soopers store rounded them up with shopping carts.
An Olathe town councilman who disappeared two months after being elected told officials he left town because of "a neighborhood feud."
After a state house district in southern Colorado was redrawn to ensure that Hispanic voters would be in the majority, no Hispanic candidates ran for the office.
The mayor of Commerce City reported that he had tailed a rival councilwoman to her home in Lochbuie and hid in the bushes as part of his efforts to prove that she did not live in Commerce City.
After expressing concern that two dogs who'd been brutally massacred with a "dull-edged tool" may have been victims of devil worshipers, authorities in Adams County concluded the animals had been hit by a train.
After an extensive study, a University of Colorado professor determined that dog owners rarely pick up their pets' feces while taking them for walks.
Local veterinarians began prescribing dogs St. John's Wort in an effort to alleviate canine stress.
An Arapahoe County man took his employer to court after three co-workers tied him to a lawn chair and shaved his head.
A Loveland woman sued Kodak, claiming that she had developed "seasonal affect disorder" after working too long in a company darkroom.
The family of a Greeley high school student sued the school district, alleging that she had been deprived of the opportunity to take honors classes that could have made her class valedictorian.
A female assistant dean at the Colorado School of Mines filed a gender discrimination suit in U.S. District Court, in part because the school newspaper published an article titled "Why Bikes and Biking Are Better Than Women."
The Denver City Council passed an ordinance requiring that parents be notified if underage clients request body piercing for "all body parts except ears."
The Aurora City Council made it illegal to sit on the sidewalk.
Under a storm of protest, the City of Colorado Springs repealed an ordinance that had made it illegal to cuss in a public park.
A Denver man who hired an undercover police officer to kill his wife told police he couldn't make the $2,000 down payment until he got his income-tax refund.
During a protest at the state capital, rural residents angry over proposed hog-farm regulations carried signs that read "Hogs Are Us."
Farmers meeting in Denver announced they were able to produce juicier, more tender pork chops by feeding their hogs potato chips.
The National Pork Board reported that Colorado "produced" roughly 1.2 million pigs last year.
In July, Denver Water issued an official statement denying rumors that the city adds hog urine to its water supply.
Retired Denver police chief Dave Michaud was put on a waiting list after he attempted to purchase a 9mm pistol as a gift.
An airliner carrying Hootie and the Blowfish from New York to Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver so that a man who'd been harassing bandmembers could be taken into custody.
A Denver pizza delivery driver was cited by police after he hit a man in a wheelchair while illegally pulling into a handicapped parking space.
Police in Greeley apprehended "The Baby Bandit," an eighteen-year-old who officers said had the looks of a twelve-year-old.
Police in Parker were on the lookout for the "Grocery Store Bandit."
Authorities in Durango asked residents for help in apprehending the "Holiday Bandits."
Using surveillance videotape, Denver area authorities finally got a look at the "Hotel Bandit."
Testimony from an 82-year-old woman helped convict the "Golden Age Burglar."
The Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Department reported averaging 58 "hunter rescues" per year.
A Littleton woman was arrested on suspicion of felony theft after she agreed to sell hundreds of wedding gowns on consignment and allegedly absconded with the garments.
The youth pastor at a Lakewood church was accused of trying to poison his wife by putting "toxic jimsonweed seeds" in her chicken-salad sandwich.
An Eaton man was arrested for investigation of atttempted second-degree murder after his wife awoke to find a "hissing propane bottle" in her bedroom.
A Boulder man was charged with indecent exposure and criminal tampering after he stripped in front of a 7-Eleven store, mooned the storefront and then stuck a condom wrapper and a lotto ticket to the front window.
A nonprofit ministry made plans to open the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs, where prayer requests from around the world could be assembled, evaluated for "urgency" and then assigned to churches or ministries for processing.
A robber in Colorado Springs held up so many fast-food restaurants that he had to laminate his demand note.
Six elementary school students in Castle Rock were sent to the hospital with "burning eyes and mouths" after an eleven-year-old girl brought a bottle of Total Insanity hot sauce to school on a dare.
A Nucla newspaper's offices were partially destroyed after the publisher's wife allegedly set the building on fire.
A Boulder County man awakened by the sound of his car horn ran out of his home to find a full-grown bear behind the wheel.
A bear was killed in what police described as a "hit and run" incident at Mesa Verde National Park.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife enforced a "two strikes and you're out" policy against bears caught damaging property or exhibiting aggressive behavior.
Authorities in Durango reported that a bear "panicked" after being spotted rummaging in a Taco Bell dumpster, ran into the street and was sideswiped by a car.
An Arvada man died after falling into a cement mixer.
A Fort Lupton man died after attempting to swim over a 300-foot dam.
A Denver man died after falling into a river while sunbathing.
An Adams County tree trimmer died after falling out of a tree.
A construction worker installing lights at a soccer field died when a 4,000-pound pillar rolled down a hill, crushing him.
A Fort Carson soldier died after the forklift she was driving rolled off a loading dock and landed on top of her.
A man died when he fell off Flagstaff Mountain while trying to retrieve his wallet.
While CPR was being performed on a South Dakota man who'd been struck by lightning near Dotsero, the man was struck by lightning a second time and killed.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.