Giving, taking and regifting in Denver

Last week, Off Limits got you inside the big blue head of the Big Blue Bear, via an interview with the Visit Denver staffer who'd donned the costume of the iconic statue for an appearance on Good Morning America. On the December 5 show, Mayor John Hickenlooper was in GMA's studio to unveil a New York holiday window devoted to Denver; the segment cut away from the set to show scenes of the real Denver as well.

While Blue was waving to the masses from Union Station, his boss, Rich Grant, the longtime communications director of Visit Denver (formerly known as the Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau), was in Times Square making sure that the $50,000 heavily ski-themed holiday window was a breakout success.

Unfortunately, breakouts, or rather break-ins, turned out to be the theme of Grant's trip. On December 6, while he was still in the Big Apple, Grant got a call from a Denver Police Department detective informing him that his 1999 Honda Civic — which he'd left at the Stapleton park-n-Ride before hopping a bus to DIA — had been recovered near North Park Hill with a broken steering column. Since Grant was going to be in New York for several more days, the vehicle was towed to a police garage, where the DPD crime lab "recovered several blood samples" from the interior, according to the police report. "It is unknown if the vehicle was used to commit any other crimes."

Grant says the blood had been cleaned up by the time he picked up his car last week. And aside from the inconvenience, the theft of his $8,000 ride was "no big deal.... It happens every day [in Denver]," he says. "I'm sure there's fifty cars stolen."

(Pssst: Rich, that's not a very good slogan for Denver.)

Grant does find it amusing that the crooks stole his book of CDs, which consisted largely of Civil War reenactment recordings.

"I'm a big Civil War buff, so I'm wondering which one of my Civil War CDs the thieves are now listening to," he says with a laugh. "If anyone happens to drive by a car that is just reverberating with fife-and-drum music, let me know the license plate."

It's a gift!: Thanks to Senator Ken Salazar's being tapped for the Secretary of the Interior post, Governor Bill Ritter may soon be able to regift one of the most precious presents of all: a seat in the U.S. Senate. How convenient, then, that Ritter has already recognized December 18 as National Regifting Day, via an October 24 proclamation noting that "regifting is accepted as a way to save money and avoid debt as well as spread holiday warmth" and recognizing "National Regifting Day for its environmentally friendly goals and for its intentions to reduce the financial burdens on the families of our state."

Whoever gets picked to replace Salazar isn't likely to face any undue financial burden — not given the brouhaha over the rumored million dollars that Illinois's governor had been asking for Barack Obama's vacant seat. On Monday, an Off Limits operative asked Ritter just how much a Senate seat might go for in Colorado. "I'm not answering that one," he said.

Ho ho hope.

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