Wake-Up Call: Snow job!

The pert young anchor turned to the avuncular weathercaster. "So," she said. "What happened to that eight big inches you promised me last night?"

The inches have changed over the years -- to ten, to twelve -- as the story takes on all the trappings of an urban legend, but its origins are definitely in Denver, at a time almost two decades ago (before the start of Westword's online archives), when Channel 4 hired a pretty, inexperienced woman to liven up its newscasts. She succeeded, all right, largely because of a series of amazing malaprops.

I was thinking of that legendary newscast last night, on the last hundred miles of a 2,000-mile road trip, when, finally, the flakes started to fall as I headed towards Denver. It wasn't the promised eight inches, but it brought back a blizzard of memories about just how unpredictable springtime in the Rockies can be.

About as unpredictable as attempts to win TV viewers with gimmicks and gizmos.

There will be plenty to watch this week as the University of Colorado's 61st Conference on World Affairs kicks off in Boulder, with dozens of free programs running today through Friday, all focusing on the theme "Perspective 360." Find the complete schedule at www.colorado.edu/cwa/. The University of Northern Colorado hosts a sustainable enterprise conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, with business owners and organizational leaders talking about "Building Competitive Advantage Through Environmentally Friendly Practices." For details, go to www.mcb.unco.edu

Expend more energy at the Smart Grid RoadShow, an Xcel Energy hands-on exhibit, which lands at the Marriott City Center today and tomorrow. For more info, go to www.xcelenergy.com/smartgridcity. The 2009 American Indian Business Expo comes to the Doubletree Hotel, 3203 Quebec Street, April 7-8; learn more at www.rmicc.org. And the Sustainable Business Group hosts "Winning Big in a Down Economy" from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 10, at the World Trade Center, 1625 Broadway. To register for the free seminar, e-mail kathleen@sbizgroup.com.

Two more events guaranteed to generate energy this week: As early as today, the Colorado Senate will start discussing Chris Romer's proposal to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges. But count on the debate to end by Friday afternoon, when the Colorado Rockies play their first home game.

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