Denver Maps puts Google Maps to shame. Not only can you get aerial photos, but you can ask the online mapper to show Denver City Council districts, police stations, golf courses, future streets, a Wastewater Management Platmap Index, Enterprise Zones, schools, polling places, bike paths and more -- all layered on one map. There's also a list of every neighborhood organization associated with a particular address, complete with contact e-mails and phone numbers, personal-property records, and a neighborhood map for figuring out the ever-confusing boundaries of Five Points or deciding where Highland becomes Sloan's Lake. Take that, Google!
Murder, drugs, arson, rape, sexual assault, armed robbery, shoplifting, burglary, DUI, arson, larceny, assault, menacing, prostitution and soliciting a prostitute -- it's all at your fingertips, thanks to cbirecordscheck.com. For a mere $6.85, you can get the criminal history of anybody who's ever been arrested in Colorado. All you need is a name, date of birth and vague description (e.g., male or female, white, black or brown), and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations will hook you up. No private eye, no police officer, no sheriff or other snoop necessary.
Small businesses hatch and grow at the Microbusiness Development Center, a one-stop non-profit business resource that helps low-income entrepreneurs through micro-loans, skills programs, a computer lab and general boosterism. Clients who've gotten a jump start from the organization include a seamstress, importers of African merchandise, a gelato-maker, a 24-hour personal receptionist, numerous caterers and even the maker of a squeeze-free juice-box holder for toddlers. With a recent move to a new facility come bigger and better plans for MBD's future: The group hopes to add a fully equipped commercial kitchen for startups, community centers for small-business and youth entrepreneurs, a library and more.
For 42 years, the non-profit SCORE has offered free confidential counseling and low-cost workshops for entrepreneurs trying to start, operate or rescue a small business. The Denver chapter (there are offices in Longmont and Steamboat Springs, too) has more than eighty counselors -- mostly working or retired executives -- whose tips on financing, marketing, accounting and fine-tuning business plans come from years of happy (and sometimes bitter) experience. That's a lot of expertise for no money down.
Tyler Stans knows sweet rides. To see him tooling around Denver on one of his custom lowrider bicycles, his dreads trailing behind him, is to see a man who understands style. Stans started chopping Schwinns three years ago after a friend pulled three old bikes from the trash and sold them to him for $300, and proceeded to make a name for himself as a talented restorer of antique bikes. But while that's still his livelihood, he prefers creating custom cruisers. Bikes go for at least a grand, but each one is a street-legal piece of art.
Used to be the only ways to get to Mexico were to sign on for some cheesy tour or sit at the Colorado Boulevard on-ramp to I-25 South with a "Mexico or Bust" sign, a handful of pesos and a willingness to do anything the trucker who picked you up demanded. Anything. A few selective-memory blackouts and a couple of burro rides later, you were smack-dab in the heart of Mexico City. Okay, maybe getting to Mexico only required a layover, but that's almost as bad -- and George Bush International Airport sucks for so many reasons. But today Denver International Airport offers nearly 25 non-stop flights a day to Mexico -- some guided by Frontier's friggin' Flip -- with fares often equivalent to those for a domestic flight, upgrading a weekend getaway to Mexico from possible to feasible. Arriba!
Keith-David Hammock works seven days a week, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., shuttling the city's inebriated in a converted RTD Access-A-Ride van that was gifted to him by the Bianchi brothers, owners of Sancho's, Quixote's, Cervantes' and Dulcinea's. In exchange for driving Bianchi bar customers between the hippie empire's establishments, Hammock can transport whomever else he pleases, wherever they please, at a price typically cheaper than your standard cab. But it's not just the cost that makes the Rastavan such a savvy Rasta Keith's laid-back, friendly and cool demeanor ensures that everyone enjoys their time on the bus, be they concert-goers, birthday-celebrators or yuppie businessmen. Being able to bring your own booze on board doesn't hurt, either.
The Jester, a gypsy cab driver, has weathered some turbulence this year. But he recently rescued his storied lime-green Chevrolet Impala from hock and is once again rolling around D-town in style, offering clandestine rides to the stranded and the impatient. In the plus column, he picked up Sound Tribe Sector 9 from an after-party, and the appreciative rap group found some, uh, herbal way to compensate him. On the negative side, one evening the G-Ride crossed paths with Ross Alexander, president of Yellow Cab, outside the Pepsi Center -- and then had to lie low for a couple of days. But Jester's now back on the mean streets of Denver. It's what he knows, and he enjoys getting people home safely -- for a bartered price -- as much as he appreciates being able to make a living doing it.
Taxis are not glamorous. They're temporary and transitory, the mobile equivalent of a phone booth: meant for quick use and quick turnaround by lots and lots of people. But with Central Car Service, being driven around town can be damn near classy, thanks to a fleet of newer Cadillacs outfitted with lush interiors and functional air-conditioning and stereo systems. They'll still pick you up at a dirty dive bar and take you through the Taco Bell drive-thru at 2 a.m., but you'll look good doing it.
NoDuiDenver.com has done the barflies of Denver an immeasurable service by eliminating the morning-after "Where did I leave my car?" game. For just a little more than the cost of a cab, NoDui's drivers -- a plucky, sober, background-checked army -- will drive you home in your own car when the party's over. And don't worry if you're too sauced to say where you are: They'll find you, and the company uses GPS technology to pinpoint its drivers and then send someone to pick them up when the ride's over. NoDuiDenver.com is a smart, simple solution to a very basic need: keeping drunk drivers off the street and out of DUI court.

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