Wake-Up Call: And so it grows

Everywhere I go in Denver, in Colorado, I'm reminded of John Parr and Sandy Widener, the much-loved couple who did so much to change the psychic landscape of this state before they were killed in a car crash with their daughter, Chase, in December 2007.

I think of them when I walk out my front door,\ and I see the plant that a friend had transplanted from the garden outside their home in Cheesman Park and then shared with me, taking root, taking over, making this just a little better place.

Like that plant, the honors just keep growing for John, a longtime public-policy expert who helped craft the strategy that booted the 1976 Olympics from Colorado, and Sandy, Westword's spitfire founding managing editor, who met John while researching a story. And tonight,Denver City Council will hear a proclamationrecognizing the sixtieth anniversary of the All American City Award handed out by the National Civic League -- the organization founded by Teddy Roosevelt, whose national offices Parr moved from New York City to Colorado -- and the establishment of the NCL Emerging Leaders Award in commemoration of Parr.

Too bad they can't give the recipient a plant rather than a plaque. But at least the presentation should be a welcome break from the most pressing business of this city, this state, right now: balancing the budget.

Late last week, Mayor John Hickenlooper revealed that the hole Denver must fill has grown to $120 million -- a staggering number that's bound to color tomorrow morning's State of the City speech, Hickenlooper's seventh annual address, slated for 8 a.m. July 14 in Civic Center Park.

At the same time that Hickenlooper's delivering that speech, Governor Bill Ritter will convene a Recovery Act Fair that will runs from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, July 14, at the Tivoli Student Union, and is designed to encourage small businesses to bid for contracts through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Ritter has given his department heads until July 20 to come up with 10 percent cuts -- a drop in the bucket when this state is looking at a shortfall of more than a billion over the next two years. Admission to the fair is free, but registration is required at 303-892-3764. For more info about Colorado's involvement with the Recovery Act, go to www.colorado.gov/recovery.

Frontier Airlines will be in court today, trying to recover from its chapter 11 bankruptcy filing -- and seeking approval to become a subsidiary of Republic Airways. Other bidders have until August 3 to come up with their own plans for the homegrown airline, which could fly the coop from its Denver base if acquired by Republic, which headquarters in Indiana.

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