Back in 1908, the Democrats trucked in piles of snow to amuse delegates to the Democratic National Convention. A century later, the best entertainment inspired by the 2008 Democratic National Convention may leave a more permanent legacy. Celebrate 1908 was a two-day, multimedia festival of political and historical flashbacks that brought the issues and arguments of 1908 back to the Tivoli Turnhalle on the Auraria campus in late July. Technically a benefit for Auraria Casa Mayan Heritage, an organization that commemorates the Latino community that centered on the Casa Mayan restaurant, Celebrate 1908 was a true celebration of the people whove contributed to the melting pot of Denver over the past century.
It looks like this fireplace escaped from the family room of some 1970s sitcom in search of a better life, then stopped to grab a smoke (because that's what fireplaces do) at the southeast entrance to Addenbrooke Park. That's not the real story, of course. This park was once home to a pioneering family for more than a century. Patriarch (and geologist) Tom Everitt built the original house, complete with a fireplace incorporating rocks from every state and some foreign countries, as well as Native American artifacts that he found on the property. The City of Lakewood acquired the site in 1987 and tore the house down in 1997, but kept the fireplace as a park centerpiece. After all, home is where the hearth is.
When Channel 2 merged with Channel 31, Ernie Bjorkman got the heave-ho. But he had something that other jettisoned anchors, such as 9News's Bob Kendrick and Channel 31's Steve Kelley, didn't: a great story. Seems Bjorkman had been preparing for life after television by studying to be a veterinary technician — a career transition that landed him in a story in the New York Times and a segment on 20/20. In fact, he received far more national publicity for leaving TV than if he'd stuck around.
Employees at the Rocky Mountain News did not learn that their February 27 issue would be the tabloid's last until around noon on February 26. This didn't give them much time to prepare their swan song, even though months earlier selected staffers had started preparing the 150th-anniversary tribute edition, which they'd hoped to publish on April 23. Somehow, though, the final issue of the almost-150-year-old Rocky managed to capture the paper at its best, from compelling history to excerpts from long-gone columnists to a back page listing the current employees. It's a testament to these journalists' professionalism and dedication that the Rocky went out at the top of its game.
In February, Ms. Malkin returned to Denver to take part in a rally at the State Capitol against President Barack Obama's economic-stimulus bill. To emphasize the amount of pork in the measure, she assembled sloppy pig's-flesh sandwiches for hungry supporters with her bare hands — how hygienic! — in between posing for photos with Swastika Guy, a protester sporting a sign with the Nazi symbol inside the first letter of Obama's last name. She subsequently suggested that Swastika Guy was planted by progressives to embarrass her — but she didn't really need any help.
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, a conservative from the really old school (think Genghis Khan), currently calls Colorado Springs home. But she ventured north for the DNC, little knowing that her visit to a Re-create 68 protest outside the Denver Mint would lead to a bizarre confrontation with Alex Jones, self-proclaimed leader of the 9/11 truth movement. "Shame on you, you little monster! You little fascist piece of trash!" he shouted, to the disinterest of assembled police and the discomfort of Malkin, who eventually ran away, Jones in hot pursuit. What a perfect couple.
There were many great moments for Denver during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. But we have to admit that none were as deeply memorable and satisfying as the second we were actually able to plop our collective asses into the plastic seats of Invesco Field at Mile High to hear Barack Obama's historic acceptance of the nomination, exactly 45 years to the day after Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. And it wasn't just because we'd survived an insane, two-mile-long line in the August heat to get into the stadium. It was the realization that, after almost two years of planning, Denver had made it through the gauntlet of security checkpoints, the clogged roadways and the throngs of protesters, and emerged as something new. As Obama stepped onto the stage, the world finally saw the Mile High City we've known all along.

Best National Nod to a Local Institution

Mercury Cafe

Mercury Cafe
Marilyn Megenity's Mercury Cafe is a Colorado institution, beloved both inside and outside of this state. It's also a no-brainer for a left-leaning catalogue of American collectives, co-ops, eco-conscious and alternative businesses, think tanks, coffee houses, favorite leftist anthems and restaurants for locavores, but we were still happy to see that The Nation Guide to the Nation mentions Denver's long-lived, free-thinking hippie outpost not once, but twice. Lauded for its rooftop windmills, organic fare and alternative politics, this Mercury is still rising.
It's not law — not yet — but Colorado ASCENT, the bipartisan legislation sponsored by state senator Suzanne Williams and representatives Mike Merrifield and Tom Massey, and heartily endorsed by Governor Bill Ritter, is well on its way to becoming the most welcome new law this legislative session. It would establish a statewide concurrent-enrollment plan that gives students an opportunity to earn a college associate's degree while finishing high school. It will also replace several different, and often debated, plans in school districts around the state with a single, uniform program. Let's just hope the kids don't get too much education; they might start questioning how such a bipartisan group ever came up with such a wacky name. For the record, ASCENT stands for Accelerating Students through Concurrent ENrollmenT.
We may not like his position on House Bill 1299, which would pledge all of Colorado's electoral-college votes to the presidential candidate who wins the state — but otherwise, we're with Democrat Joe Miklosi all the way. For years, he worked behind the scene, as state director for Progressive Majority, as director of the Democratic State House Caucus for then-Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff; as chief of staff for then-House Minority Leader Jennifer Veiga; and as a health-care legislative aide for U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum. Last year, he decided to run for office himself, and the candidate who bills himself as "not your average Joe" handily won in his south Denver district. In the Statehouse, he's proved himself above average, pushing for such measures as online voting registration and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants — even going on Peter Boyles's show to debate the issue. Now, that takes cojones.

Best Of Denver®

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