Off Limits

The Denver Police Department had its biggest dope bust ever last week, recovering 763 pounds of pot. For now, it's stashed in the DPD's evidence room -- but once the case is adjudicated, it'll be tagged for burning at Denver International Airport.

Yes, the incinerator is back in business after that unfortunate little problem last July, when incinerator operator Stephen Martinez was arrested for taking cocaine, marijuana and money from the oven. After that, airport officials stopped all drug-related burning while they reassessed their policies.

"In the past, some agencies would come in, throw in the drugs, start the fire, get it burning and then leave," says Dan Melfi, DIA's assistant marketing director. "A lot of times after the police would leave, a city employee would come and turn off the fire and take what wasn't burned."

Under DIA's new rules, city employees will never handle the contraband (which should spare them the thirty months in federal prison that Martinez was sentenced to on January 17). Instead, a DPD officer and a city employee will go into the incineration room, weigh the drugs, and log the amount. The drugs will then be placed in the burner, the fire started and the door sealed. "If, for some reason, that door is opened while the temperature is at a certain level, then an alarm is signaled in maintenance control," Melfi says. "We now have redundant systems."

Even so, police will have to stick around until their stash is completely crisp. But don't worry that Denver's finest might get a contact high: The incinerator has a charcoal baffle to prevent exhaust from dissipating into the air. "We're restricted under environmental laws," Melfi says. "We don't have everybody getting nose hits off of it."

He laughs, then adds, "Actually, that's why all the employees here are so happy."

The end is near: The Apocalypse is upon us. And we have Kenn A. Solomon, better known as Nuggets mascot Rocky, to thank.

In a special Martin Luther King Day edition of Lou Dobbs Moneyline, the conservative commentator reported on the decline of American values, focusing on the profanitization of language (with all the expletives bleeped, of course), the dysfunction of television families (they're not real, Lou), and the lack of sportsmanship in sports.

"The crime of choice for most top athletes these days appears to be wife or girlfriend beating," said CNN correspondent Casey Wian, opening the sports segment. "We counted 32 cases of domestic violence against major college or pro athletes in just the past year. Even the mascot of the Denver Nuggets was jailed following a domestic dispute."

Solomon had the dubious honor of being tagged a wife-beater (although he has not been convicted) on national television alongside four other dubious sports entities: Dallas Cowboy Dwayne Goodrich, who killed two men in a hit-and-run accident; the entirety of the Portland Trailblazers, who are being boycotted because of their "jailblazing" activities; New Jersey Net Jayson Williams, who police allege shot his limo driver; and New York Knicks Latrell Sprewell, who has offenses too numerous to note. This was all shocking evidence that sports figures commit crimes, proving Dobbs's assertion that America may be principly challenged and its people fundamentally, fatally flawed.

Dobbs and Wian should watch the Nuggets dancers -- there's the real crime.King for a day: This year's Martin Luther King Jr. Marade was the first to gather around Ed Dwight's million-dollar sculpture, which places the civil rights leader on top of a three-layer pedestal bearing bronze representations of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks. That sculpture replaced "King and Companion," a perfectly good -- if artistically vilified -- statue of MLK and fourteen-year-old civil rights martyr Emmett Till that stood in City Park for three decades.

After first offering the spare statue -- now described as "a beautiful sculpture that has graced the city for so many years" -- to local schools, the city finally donated "King and Companion" to the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission and Cultural Center in Pueblo. The center built a new base for the piece, and Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma (who pushed through Colorado's MLK day holiday when she was in the Colorado Legislature), went down for the unveiling in August.

"He looks pretty nice down there," says Cara Roberts, director of the mayor's Office of Art, Culture and Film.

Nicer there than here.