Best Of :: People & Places
This past January, 30,000 people marched from City Park to Civic Center Park in Denver's Martin Luther King Jr. "Marade" (a word that combines the civil-rights leader's name with 'parade') to remember one of the greatest men in American history. The annual event -- one of the biggest MLK celebrations in the country -- is also just plain fun. For one day, differences between people seem to melt away, as black grandfathers march with Hispanic teenagers and white mothers pushing strollers, politicians rub shoulders with labor leaders and teachers march with students. The whole thing makes Colfax Avenue seem like the friendliest place on earth.
Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen at 14,110 feet. Maybe it was the stunning view from the top of Colorado's most famous mountain. Whatever it was, something clicked in Katharine Lee Bates's brain on July 22, 1893. As she stood at the summit of Pikes Peak, and as a carriage carried her back to the bottom, she scribbled down the first lines of what would eventually become "America the Beautiful." Although not as well known as the national anthem, of course, the rousing song has made a major comeback since September 11; it's been sung since then at nearly every professional sporting event (in addition to the "Star-Spangled Banner") and other events of all kinds. But the best place to belt out the lyrics -- "O beautiful for spacious skies/For amber waves of grain/For purple mountain majesties/Above the fruited plain!/America! America!/God shed his grace on thee/And crown thy good with brotherhood/From sea to shining sea!" -- is amid the majesty of Pikes Peak itself, on the very spot that inspired those words.
Westward ho! Bright lights, big titties! Come see her mountains! We put the strip in strip-mining! Georgetown: Where the scenery is on us, and the mayor is on you. Thanks to a mayor with a penchant for inflating both her stories and her breasts, Georgetown wound up in the media G-spotlight this past year. Stripper-turned-hairdresser-turned-mayor Koleen Brooks kept the old mining town hopping with her attempts to oust city officials, her admission of pot-smoking, her insistence that she'd been assaulted (CBI investigation to the contrary). But in the end, her antics were self-defeating and her career self-deflating, another in the series of endless boom-and-bust and boom-boom-and-bustline tales that abound in the West. The results of an April 2 recall election may keep things quiet in Georgetown for a while, but damn, it was fun while it lasted.
Denver's short on seafood restaurants, and Wynkoop Brewing Co. owner John Hickenlooper is long -- very long -- on lost causes. Could any cause be more lost than Ocean Journey's? If the place does tank -- and it's only barely keeping its head above water in bankruptcy court -- Hickenlooper could be the one to pull it up from the depths, turning the fried fish house into Long John Hickenlooper's, a restaurant where diners get to watch their favorite fish become the catch of the day. Come on, John, take the bait!
Hey, if Time magazine could sell Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone a bill of goods, there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to return the favor. Back in the fall of 1999, when it seemed as though the wounds of Columbine might actually start healing, Sheriff Stone got snookered by a Time magazine reporter, who got Stone to pose for an embarrassing photo with the killers' guns -- and also let Time see tapes that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had made in Harris's basement, tapes that Jeffco hadn't yet shown the victims' families. The magazine used him as a dupe, Stone said. Or was that dope? With a dozen candidates now running for sheriff, almost all of them on Stone's record, the current sheriff should soon have plenty of dialing time.
Sorry, wrong number. Coloradans have lots of ideas for what current Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio should do next -- and most can't be published even in this newspaper. But if we really want Jumpin' Joe to feel our pain, a position as a prison janitor, or a checkout clerk for Kmart blue-light specials, or an Arthur Andersen accountant, just isn't bad enough. Much better that he be demoted to Qwest customer service, where he can listen to customer complaints for all eternity without a hold button as an option.
When he retires as House Speaker this fall, state representative Doug Dean should have a lock on any future opening Home Depot might have for a greeter. After all, Dean knows how handy the right tools can be. With a screwdriver he just happened to find in his car, for example, he was able to break into his then-fiancée's home last May (reportedly to retrieve his cell phone), netting him lots of embarrassing headlines, a domestic-violence investigation (no charges, though), and, this past fall, a new wife. Ain't love grand?