The Message

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For his part, the Daily's Miller thinks his paper is in a good position to withstand Dirt's challenge. Over the past three years, he says, the Daily has doubled in size, and next month, it will become a member of the Associated Press via a new program it helped develop in conjunction with the AP. Nonetheless, he admits to at least one worry: "Predatory pricing -- them using the strength of their operation to undercut our costs and drive us out of business -- is certainly a concern. But they're smart people, and they know that's illegal, so I'm sure they won't do it. If they don't, we'll be fine."

Destroying the Daily isn't Dirt's goal, Anderson insists. "I think the Colorado Daily is way too strong for us to have any visions of displacing it," he says. But in the next breath, he implies that the Daily's name recognition isn't as daunting as it might seem. "CU reloads with five to seven thousand new students a year, and with them, we're on equal footing. I don't know if that will help us or not, but it's encouraging."

So is Parker's cockiness. "The inevitable question is, 'Do you think they'll censor your content? After all, this is a paper put out by a big media company,'" he says. "Well, I've been told that's not going to be the case, that we'll have full editorial reign on this thing. And if we don't, I probably won't be doing it for long."

Hope it's fun while it lasts.

More hours for towers: A year ago, the long-running fight over construction of a new, 730-foot broadcasting tower on Lookout Mountain finally seemed over -- "seemed" being the operative word.

Back then, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners heard widely varying arguments from the pro-tower Lake Cedar Group, a coalition representing channels 4, 7, 9 and 20, and Canyon Area Residents for the Environment (CARE), a homeowners collective unconditionally opposed to the plan. The officials holding positions on the board back in 1999 rejected a proposal to build a similar structure based on a variety of aesthetic and safety grounds, but their successors sided with the Lake Cedar Group. Before the tower could be erected, however, CARE and the City of Golden sued the county, the commissioners and the Lake Cedar Group to stop the project from going forward, and in March, Jefferson County District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson granted a preliminary injunction. Jackson ruled that Lake Cedar Group submitted new documents to the commission less than 21 days before the hearings ended, thus breaking a county rule, and submitted no evidence regarding the guy wires that are supposed to prevent the tower from toppling.

Commissioners responded by setting an August 12 date when combatants will be able to take on the documents in question, and Deb Carney, CARE's attorney and driving force, is looking forward to the opportunity. "I think the commissioners have had a year to reflect on their decision," she says, "and hopefully, after the correction by the judge, they'll have open minds."

In the meantime, Carney is eagerly awaiting a report from the Colorado Department of Health about cancer rates in the area around the current antenna farm; it's slated for release on July 22. Jane Mitchell, an environmental health researcher for the department, says the new survey updates 1999 data that showed a statistically elevated rate of brain- and central-nervous-system tumors among residents in two of seven geographical areas in the vicinity of the towers. The earlier study wasn't designed to establish a causal relationship between the ailments and radiation from the broadcasting equipment, and inconsistencies cropped up because researchers were working with numbers that dated back to the 1990 census. Mitchell expects that figures from the 2000 census will help make the new results more useful.

There's no guarantee that commissioners will address the new health report at the August 12 hearing even if the results are worrisome. A Jefferson County press release about the session hints that only the specific areas targeted by Judge Jackson are on the table. Whatever the case, CARE members will definitely tackle the topic at a town-hall forum on July 26 at the Crystal Rose, 636 Lookout Mountain Road. Two of three county commissioners are vacating their positions next year, and at least five candidates who want to take their place have agreed to attend. Visit for more information.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts