Off Limits

One flew over the cuckoo's nest: New flight paths introduced last week at Denver International Airport are supposed to cut down on noise--both from the planes themselves and from irate citizens who complain when they thunder overhead. But echoes of earlier problems still resound.

Next Tuesday, Paul Grant is slated for a jury trial in Denver County Court on charges of harassment. Specifically, the Parker man is charged with making repeated phone calls to both the Federal Aviation Administration's control tower and the city's DIA Noise Abatement Office to loudly protest all those aircraft passing over his rural home.

But before Grant gets his day in court, his attorney, Kevin Donovan, will be there Friday arguing that Colorado's harassment statute is unconstitutional. At the very least, he says, it may not be applicable in his client's case, because the original complaint against Grant offered only a "blanket description of repeated communication" rather than a breakdown of specific calls. "They're repeatedly flying the planes overhead," Donovan points out. "And every one of them is grounds for a new complaint."

No word from Grant as to whether the recent changes have improved the situation. But he's certainly in a position to know what airplanes sound like: He works for Continental at DIA.

During her April 1 visit to the Tracon radar room to report on those new FAA flight paths, Rocky Mountain News reporter Ann Imse found herself getting the silent treatment from supervisor Linda Thompson. But then, Imse and John Brinkley were the ones who broke the story about FAA employees getting improper moving-expense reimbursements--totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars--for the move from Stapleton to DIA. Thompson figured in the story; she'd bought her boyfriend's house and claimed $60,000 in expenses for moving across Englewood. But unlike other FAA employees, who have been ordered to pay back the government, Thompson never got the money; Imse's story broke about the same time she filed her reimbursement forms. Which could account for Thompson's muttered "Good riddance" as Imse left the radar room.

Ducat out: The hottest tickets in town are for the 37 chairs in Judge Richard Matsch's courtroom reserved for journalists covering the Oklahoma City bombing trial. But at Tuesday's hearing, the News figured out a way to weasel more than its alloted solo press seat: Reporter Charlie Brennan got one of the spots reserved for the general public. Court clerk James Manspeaker says he'll watch out for that in the future--particularly when the crowds get bigger.

In honor of the trial, the News is doing more retrenchment than merely cutting back its circulation territory: The paper's added new levels of security, including putting concrete barricades at its old drive-up entrance.

Open to interpretation: If you were the new editor of a major daily, would you want to boost morale by touting the paper's positive points--or bust it by picking nits? Apparently, the trend is toward the latter. Upon arriving in town, Denver Post editor Dennis Britton made timely corrections of all errors, no matter how small, one of his top priorities--and last week also chided reporters for allowing "opinion" to enter news stories. The new editor of the Boulder Camera has taken political correctionness one step further: She's dictated that all errors be immediately corrected, including "errors in tone and intepretation."

Just what, exactly, does she mean by that


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