Warrant: Richard Kirk may have been on pain meds, pot edible when he killed his wife (50)

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A photo from Richard Kirk's Facebook page.
Update: During our last update about the tragic murder of Kristine Kirk (see our previous coverage below), we shared a probable-cause statement that made no mention of marijuana use by Richard Kirk, Kristine's husband, who's accused of killing her, despite multiple reports from law-enforcement sources to that effect. Now, however, a search warrant has surfaced that cites a specific pot edible Richard is said to have consumed prior to pulling the trigger -- but also raises the possibility that he had also taken prescription pain medication. Continue for the latest.

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: Elevate Wellness Center in Denver

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Elevate Wellness Center.
As I said a few weeks ago, if you're going to open your doors to the public, I'm not going to be concerned with how much time you've had to iron out the kinks. The bud is grown at that point, and there's no changing what's on your shelves until the next harvest. I still feel that way. But I still partially regret the timing of my visit to the newly opened Elevate Wellness Center, which seems to have lined up all the right factors for a great dispensary but didn't have a single nugget of its own herb on the shelf.

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Reader: I was a hit-and-run victim -- when a homeless cyclist crashed into my truck

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In a recent Comment of the Day, one reader argued that not all hit-and-runs are the driver's fault.

These assertions unleashed a slew of interesting stories, including this highly unusual hit-and-run tale.

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Denver loses a cross between the Soup Nazi and Mr. Miyagi

Categories: Denver Blogs

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Denver blog posts have multiple personalities.

At our Cafe Society blog, Patricia Calhoun shares the comment of a reader saddened by the closure of Oshima Ramen, whose owner is described as "Soup Nazi meets Mr. Miyagi."

Denver Stiffs' latest podcast debates which Denver Nuggets will stay and who will go after a particularly desultory season.

Denver Egotist celebrates CU-Boulder's strong results at One Show.

DPS lawsuit: Meet teachers who reject claim district is getting rid of good educators

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DPS teacher Zachary Rowe.
Last week, we introduced you to the teachers behind a lawsuit against Denver Public Schools. The teachers claim that DPS is using a provision of the state's landmark 2010 teacher-effectiveness law to get rid of good teachers -- which they say isn't the law's intention. Furthermore, the teacher-plaintiffs claim that what DPS is doing is unconstitutional.

But not all teachers agree with them. We spoke with three teachers -- two from DPS, one from Jefferson County -- who disagree with the lawsuit.

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Update: Justin Jay Hatfield busted in alleged sex assault, kidnapping of male Good Samaritan

Categories: Colorado Crimes

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More photos, video below.
Update below: The online profile of Justin Jay Hatfield suggests that he's among the unlikeliest kidnapping-and-sex assault suspects ever. Most of the recent posts on his Facebook page highlight paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and a YouTube video shows him singing opera. Yet the Colorado Springs Police Department has named him a suspect in a crime involving a man who was allegedly victimized after acting as a Good Samaritan. Details and more photos below.

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Photos: Top ten solar cities in the U.S. -- and why Denver's finish isn't good enough

Categories: Environment

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"Shining Cities," a new report from Environment Colorado, compiles an incredible amount of data about solar power, including a ranking of the top ten solar cities in the United States.

Yes, Denver made the list -- barely. But while this accomplishment might seem worthy of praise, Environment Colorado energy associate Margaret McCall believes the community should be doing even better.

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Kirk Montgomery leaving 9News, latest station to target an entertainment reporter

Categories: Media

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Kirk Montgomery.
Today brings word that Kirk Montgomery is leaving 9News, where he's worked since 2001. And while he's landed on his feet, albeit in a smaller market, the decision of 9News not to offer him a contract is indicative of an ongoing trend in the economically challenged TV-news business that threatens to turn Montgomery's specialty area -- entertainment reporting -- into a thing of the past on a local level.

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Washington Park can be cleaned up without banning beer, says councilman Charlie Brown

Categories: Environment

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Denver City Council member Charlie Brown (in hat) at a hearing earlier this year.
Should 3.2 beer be banned in Washington Park? Two weeks ago, Denver City Councilman Chris Nevitt suggested the city try banning beer in Wash Park for six months in order to combat drunken behavior; he sent that request to Laurie Dannemiller, director of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation. And at a public meeting on April 10, both Nevitt and Dannemiller outlined the reasons for such a ban. But plenty of those in attendance argued against this move -- including council member Charlie Brown, whose District 6 actually includes most of the park and surrounding neighborhoods.

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23 crimes in one part of Denver over eleven days: See where they happened

Categories: Colorado Crimes

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Interactive graphics below.
Most of us tend to hear about major crimes in Denver. But what about the lower-profile offenses, such as robberies, burglaries and assaults? A website called RAIDS Online tracks them in a number of Colorado cities, including Denver -- and there are plenty of them. We looked at the quadrant of Denver that encompasses Westword's offices at 10th and Broadway and found listings for 23 crimes in just eleven days, from April 2 to April 13. What happened and where? Let us show you.

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4/20 at Civic Center Park: Cops pledge greater presence, "discretion" with smokers

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Photo by Brandon Marshall
Police at Civic Center Park in the aftermath of last year's 4/20 shooting.
There'll be a lot of pressure on Denver police officers working this weekend's annual 4/20 event at Civic Center Park. Organizers have been asked to discourage public smoking even though lighting up at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 is arguably the gathering's most sacred tradition -- and security concerns are higher than ever given a still-unsolved shooting last year that resulted in one day's worth of festivities being canceled.

We asked Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson about these issues and how the department plans to approach them. Here's what he had to say.

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Update: Cop Michael Ryan cited in apparent prostitute blowjob incident, delay explained

Categories: News

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Michael Ryan.
Update: Yesterday morning, we wrote about the decision not to immediately cite Denver Police Department Detective Michael Ryan after Lakewood police officers found him in a compromising position with a prostitute; see our previous coverage below. Toward day's end, Ryan did indeed receive a summons for the incident. Why the delay? Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis believes that "the complexity of what was going on was probably the biggest reason."

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Marijuana: Recreational sales down, patient numbers and medical pot sales up

Categories: Marijuana

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It's been three-and-a-half months since the start of recreational cannabis sales in Colorado, but recent stats show that medical marijuana sales still far outpace recreational sales -- even with a patient base of fewer than 114,000 people.

Retail sales tax collected in the state in February for retail cannabis sales was about half that collected from medical sales, according to Colorado Department of Revenue data. Medical marijuana sales were somewhere around the $35 million mark, while retail sales totaled about $15 million.

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Black Hawk at 150 years is a boom town with a view

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Black Hawk today.
On April 12, 1864, Black Hawk became the second city in Colorado to be incorporated -- three years behind Denver and just a few hours ahead of Central City, the booming mining town up Gregory Gulch. But Black Hawk is the boom town today -- thanks not just to its location a mile below the slumping Central City, but also to some savvy positioning two decades ago, after Coloradans approved a constitutional amendment allowing limited-stakes gaming in Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek. While Central City took things slowly, all bets were off in Black Hawk.

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Did the Blood Moon have any strange effects on you?

Categories: Denver Blogs

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Denver blog posts aren't eclipsed by anything.

At our Show & Tell blog, Bree Davies offers an amateur's guide to astrology, tinctures and worshipping celestial bodies.

Colorado Pols wonders whether it's possible for a politician who's not from metro Denver to win a statewide race.

Mile High Hockey's Cole D. Hamilton scouts the Minnesota Wild, the Avs' first-round playoff opponent.

Reader: No weed but beer at 4/20 Civic Center Park event is a slap in the face

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Our post about liquor sales being allowed at a building at Civic Center Park during this weekend's 4/20 event amid restrictions against public pot smoking got a lot of people talking. Included among them was a reader who referenced a guilty plea in the DUI death of marijuana advocate Jenny Kush.

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Top ten alternative Denver places to take Republicans deciding on 2016 convention site

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Big photos below.
Earlier this month, we noted that Denver had made the latest cut of cities being considered to host the 2016 Republican National Convention -- and today, GOP advisers are reportedly in town to scout the city.

Where should they visit to get a sense of the Mile High City beyond the usual tourist attractions? We came up with an alternative list for a 2012 travel blogger convention that should either convince the Republican staffers to recommend Denver or send them fleeing to Cleveland. Count them down below.

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Westboro Baptist Church announces plan to picket CSU graduation

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More photos below.
Any hope that the Westboro Baptist Church would refrain from its vile activities following the death of founder Fred Phelps last month has now been officially squashed.

The WBC has announced plans to picket next month's graduation ceremonies at Colorado State University for the usual nonsensical, repulsively homophobic reasons.

Among the declarations in its latest twisted release: "GOD H8S RAM FAN BRATS!"

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Update: See all 73 recreational marijuana shops Denver has licensed so far

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Big photos below.
It's not easy to keep up with all the recreational marijuana shops licensed by the City of Denver.

Our most recent update, published on April 3, featured 65 stores that have won the blessing of officials. Now, during the lead-up to the annual 4/20 festivities, the total has reached 73.

All the licensed shops are included here, along with photos, videos, links and excerpts from reviews of the ones visited by Westword marijuana critic William Breathes. Count them down below.

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Henry Ford arrest update: Charges against deputy include incest

Categories: Colorado Crimes

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Photos, video below.
Update: Last week, we told you about the arrest of Adams County Deputy Henry Ford in regard to suspected sexual assault on a child. See our previous coverage below. Now, Ford has been formally charged, and one of the accusations -- incest -- reveals that the alleged victim in the case is his own daughter.

Thus far, law-enforcement sources have been extremely cautious about releasing information about the case against Ford. Indeed, prosecutors shared one detail only to ask the media not to divulge it.

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