Police district station 1, in Denver's northwest quadrant, was a hotbed of rodent activity. "We had so many mice," says Captain Dan O'Hayre, "the night shift had given them all nicknames." That ended in October 1993, when O'Hayre brought in an exterminator--a gray-and-white cat the cops dubbed "Magnum." The mice are now long gone, but Magnum is still much in evidence, plopping himself atop crime reports and demanding backrubs and ear scratches. He's also proven to be a useful public-relations tool in the neighborhood. After he got in a scrape this spring and was seen, sore and hobbling, in and around the station, "we had people calling and coming in saying they'd heard something was wrong with Magnum," O'Hayre says. "They wanted to know if he was okay."
Best Window Dressing
Jerry Breen Florists
1770 Blake St.
Buster is a pug. On weekdays he lives in a Blake Street storefront, where he's such a popular sight with in-transit ballpark-goers that he's inspired his own voice bubble. Taped to the window--which is where Buster sits, faithfully checking out the passersby day after day, it tells it like he is: "Hi, I'm Buster." Tige--the similarly mash-faced comic canine belonging to Buster Brown shoes--would be proud.
Best Denver Zoo Animals
Howler monkeys, Tropical Discovery exhibit
Forget Klondike and Snow, who sleep too much--the howler monkeys are great for a show at nearly any time of day. The baby monkey "Eugene" actually gets out of the enclosure and forages for food for his parents, Avery and Beanie. When he's not quick enough, the 'rents have been known to start making the kind of noise from which howlers get their name. Sounds like a foghorn, looks even funnier.
Best Zoo Baby
Jasiri, lowland gorilla
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs
If you look closely, this growing baby boy looks a lot like your distant cousin. And family's family. How long has it been since you made that trek up Cheyenne Mountain, anyway?
Best Doctor Dolittle Imitation
Prairie Wind Wild Animal Refuge, Kiowa
Jurich is about as far from an Englishman as you can get, but it does appear as though he can talk to the animals. He shares his 42-acre homestead with Bengal tigers, African lions, bobcats, mountain lions, jaguars, black bears, coyotes, foxes, wolves and raccoons, all of which he saved from one form of destruction or another. They eat pretty regular; he sometimes doesn't. There's no question where this man's heart is.
Best Bike Messenger
The Boulder-Denver Couriers team went off to London in a blaze of glory last August to maneuver a course designed to perfectly simulate an average day in the high-octane life of a bike messenger. When it was all over, team member Marc Anderson had put his feet down so effectively that he placed eighteenth in the world--the highest-ranking North American in the competition. According to Boulder-Denver Couriers founder Chris Grealish, Anderson and four other teammates (including one woman) are headed this year to Toronto for another international traffic scram. May the best lunatic win.
Best Fish in the Fundraising Sea
Food Bank of the Rockies
What would you do with 40,000 pounds of fish from an "abandoned catch"? Food Bank of the Rockies, when faced with just such a twenty-ton opportunity, turned to officials at the School of Culinary Arts, who arranged an on-the-spot cooking session for volunteers. Thanks to chef Gary Prell and his staff, the Food Bank, which is equipped with substantial freezer capacity, got the surplus turbot and served it to inner-city children and homeless people. Nobody threw it back.
Best Place for a Husband to Sit While the Wife Shops at the Tabor Center
16th and Arapahoe streets
This downtown oasis of trees and fountains is an urban Garden of Eden every day the sun shines--that's when Hooters opens up its sidewalk patio. Sitting on the park's concrete terraces allows husbands a fine view along with their fresh air, as the tables fill up fast for feasting on Hooters' famous buffalo wings. The patrons never complain about the lack of dressing.
Best Boob Man
Dr. James Bachman
Frisco Medical Center
Life in Colorado's high country hasn't been so tranquil for women with breast implants. For years their complaints could hardly be heard above the din of weird sloshing noises coming from their chests. Many became so upset that they canceled their Colorado vacations. So in the interest of saving the local economy, a doctor at the Frisco Medical Center put his ear to the grindstone to find out what was causing the sounds. Dr. James Bachman discovered that, for many full-figured visitors, traveling from a low to a high altitude displaces the air dissolved in saline implants; the movement makes the noises. The condition isn't dangerous, and the sloshing sounds eventually stop. Travelers can now breast in peace.