Best Sign of the Times 2010 | Belcaro Paint and Decorating Center | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Coming or going, rush hour on Leetsdale Drive is a toxic sea of traffic and exhaust. Which makes Belcaro Paint's changing electronic sign a breath of fresh air. Not content with simply offering the temperature and time, this sign will occasionally make you laugh out loud by flashing such come-ons as "We shake our cans for you," "We have big tints" or "Pick up gals. here." We brake for funny.

It took Gallup two years to do all the research for its Well-Being Index, asking 1,000 Americans key questions about aspects of their lives ranging from emotional health to physical health to work environment. The result of all that nosiness? Boulder was crowned the happiest city in the country.

Yeah, he co-founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company and ran it for many years thereafter, but mayor and now gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper didn't turn his back on beer after becoming a politician. In fact, Hick can be seen imbibing around town every so often, whether it's at an event, a personal dinner or even a political fundraiser. Hell, Hick even served beer at the grand opening of his campaign headquarters in February. At last, a politician we can drink to. And with. Cheers.

Now that business boy Gregg Moss has rejoined longtime co-anchors Gary Shapiro and Kyle Dyer, as well as affable sports reporter Susie Wargin and weathercaster Becky Ditchfield, it's once again safe to turn on the television when you wake up. This low-key crew delivers news and morning chit-chat in equal measure, without becoming strident or silly. We'd missed Moss, whose informative, entertaining business reports are a real pleasure. With him back in the fold, local TV's most functional family is back in top form.

Best Hair on a TV Personality — Female

Gloria Neal

Longtime local radio personality Gloria Neal is a welcome sight on television — particularly now that she's contributing reports at 6 p.m., when we're a little more awake than we were during her morning appearances and able to appreciate her down-home delivery. Since Neal's hair is shorter than that of most male anchors, viewers can stay focused on the story and not an impossibly complicated spray job.

Just like little old ladies, who like to share their whimsy through yard art, little old veterans like to share the grandiosity of their glory days through yard artillery. The strip of lawn surrounding the parking lot of the Ray R. Brannaman VFW Post is groaning with glory in the guise of three big guns, a troop transport vehicle, a jeep truck and a baby-dolphin-sized shell casing hanging beneath the front eave. A classic cannon protects the entrance, which is backed up by a pair of matching howitzers. Don't let the heavy armaments deter you from thanking these fellows for their service and letting them know this place is the bomb.

No one wants to have to take their kid to the Children's Hospital, but the facility has done all it can to make the experience a brighter one, and that includes the colorful layout — from the glass elevator to the kids' artwork on the walls to the 12,000-LEGO brick scale model of the hospital, built in August 2007 by a LEGO Master Builder to 1:89 scale. The 21-inch-high replica stands on the second floor of the atrium — right outside that glass elevator — and faithfully represents many details of the real hospital and its grounds, from trees to helicopter landing pad.

Back in the '70s, when the specter of school busing was scaring the double-knit pants off of suburbanites, Colorado passed the Poundstone Amendment, to prevent the City and County of Denver from annexing land. As a result, while other metropolitan areas swallowed suburbs (and their tax revenues), Denver suffered from stunted growth and seemed doomed to never pass the half-million mark in population. But now, with new-urbanism projects at Stapleton and Lowry and more infill in the Platte Valley and RiNo, Denver's growing again. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it's now the fourth-fastest-growing county in the country, with a population of just over 600,000.

He represents a college town, so he might as well do it right. Second District Representative Jared Polis barely balked last August when comedian Stephen Colbert brought out a six-pack of Coors Light and a red funnel and challenged him to do a beer bong during taping of The Colbert Report. Polis, who had described Congress as "like going back to college," slammed part of the beer — and then Colbert finished it. That's bipartisan support!

The basic theory about Colorado's volatile climate: If you don't like the weather now, wait a minute. But when it comes to weather forecasts, TV viewers have always had to wait more than a few minutes, since local news broadcasts traditionally like to put weather news at the end of the show, compelling viewers to stay tuned through everything else. But finally this year, Channel 4 decided to experiment with presenting the entire forecast early in its evening broadcast — at the behest of KCNC's chief meteorologist, Ed Greene. Combined with the always dependable Jim Benemann, along with solid performances by new co-anchor Karen Leigh and sports lead Vic Lombardi, Channel 4's new format makes the forecast look bright for this nightly news show.

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