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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Kristine Kirk's murder, Richard Kirk's arrest and debate over possible pot role (50)

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Big photos, video below.
Update: The murder late Monday night of 44-year-old Kristine Kirk, seen here, near the DU campus (see our previous coverage below) came as a profound shock to her friends, family and loved ones -- as did the arrest of her husband, Richard Kirk, for the killing. Meanwhile, plenty of questions remain unanswered in regard to the possible role of marijuana in the crime and the length of the 911 phone call Kristine was making at the time of her death: twelve minutes. Look below for photos, video and the complete report, which makes no mention of pot.

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Spice bust in Loveland puts focus on dangers of "synthetic marijuana"

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Big photos below.
Last September, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment issued an alert suggesting that spice, inaccurately but popularly known as synthetic marijuana, could well be more dangerous to kids than the real thing. Yet despite the January 1 start of recreational pot sales in Colorado, spice continues to be available -- although no longer at the Down Low Glass Detox in Loveland, where three people were busted and more than 700 grams of the stuff was seized, including spice packaged under the product name Scooby Snax. Photos and details below.

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Reader: Not all hit-and-runs are necessarily the drivers' fault

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Yesterday's post about four metro-area hit-and-runs that took place within 24 hours proved to be a conversation starter, in part because so many similar incidents have taken place in Denver and beyond lately. This reader feels that automatically blaming drivers for causing such accidents (as opposed to leaving them) may not be justified.

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Does Denver have a better music scene than Austin because there are more venues here?

Categories: Denver Blogs

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Denver blogs have the music in them -- and other stuff, too.

At our Backbeat blog, Kiernan Maletsky notes that Denver has more live music venues than Austin, then asks, "Does it matter?"

Colorado Peak Politics thinks Senator Mark Udall's own words doom his campaign.

The Colorado Independent's Mike Littwin sees the race for Colorado governor as a mad tossup.

Dave Philipps of the Gazette wins the Pulitzer Prize: Here's some required reading

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Dave Philipps.
Dave Philipps, an investigative reporter for the Gazette in Colorado Springs, just won the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for "Other Than Honorable," his three-day investigative series that examined how soldiers injured during war were being discharged without benefits.

Philipps wasn't in the newsroom when the announcement of the Pulitzers came down yesterday afternoon: His paper reports that he was at the airport in Washington, D.C., where he was one of four finalists for the Michael Kelly Award. He didn't win that one.

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Washington Park beer ban decision expected soon -- but why do we even have 3.2 beer?

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April is here, and Denver's parks are abuzz -- but not because of daffodils, robins and honeybees. Rather, it's our First World right to get buzzed -- whether it's with booze or with pot -- in these public places that has people springing into action. And while the 4/20 Rally in Civic Center has its own set of issues, a major booze battle could reach its peak today or tomorrow in Washington Park, where City Councilman Chris Nevitt wants to ban beer for six months after complaints from neighbors about boozy behavior reached the point of overflow.

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Eddie Simon faces possible life sentence for brutal cold-case sex assault

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Big photos below.
We recently told you about the role DNA played in the arrest and subsequent guilty plea of Alfred Flores in a 2011 head-shot murder. Turns out DNA also proved key in an even older crime: a 2001 sex assault for which Eddie Simon was busted more than a dozen years later.

Now, a jury has found Simon guilty, and he could face a sentence up to life in prison. Continue for the details, including photos and his complete arrest report.

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Photos: Ten happiest American cities -- and the two Colorado places on the list

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Boulder frequently tops the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index -- popularly known as the happiest cities list.

Not this year -- although Boulder and one other prominent Colorado community place high in the rankings.

Continue to count down the photo-illustrated top ten, complete with blurbs from each city's Wiki page and the complete report.

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The pros and cons of using the a$$hole lane

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I have a confession to make: I use the asshole lane. What's that? Well, when a sign announces that, for example, the left lane ends in 1,000 feet, drivers are supposed to immediately move right. But especially when traffic is backed up, I stay in the other lane until just about the point when it disappears, passing lots of other vehicles in the process. I call it "the asshole lane." I'm starting to rethink my strategy, though, after nearly getting into two accidents in as many days -- in part because I encountered a pair of fellow assholes. I'm not sure which of us was bigger, but it was probably me.

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Alison Michelle Ernst, Hillary Clinton shoe thrower: Misinfo in ties to James Holmes case

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Big photos, videos below.
Last week, Alison Michelle Ernst hurled a shoe at Hillary Clinton while the latter spoke at an event in Las Vegas. Afterward, the press found a tie between Ernst and the case against Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, and it's legit. However, major outlets such as the Associated Press are reporting that Ernst filed bizarre motions in the matter, with one claiming that Holmes had invaded her brain. That's wrong, and we bet the misinformation thrills the real man behind the document: Jonathan Lee Riches. Here's the twisted story.

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Marijuana: Denver hotel searches for 4/20 weekend up 73 percent

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Graphic and more below.
As we've reported, State of Colorado and City of Denver tourist agencies have resisted the temptation to use marijuana as a way to lure visitors to the area, despite mainstream media pot coverage that's essentially free advertising.

Against that backdrop comes word that hotel searches for Denver on 4/20 weekend are up 73 percent from this time last year -- and a national cannabis activist thinks the digits might be even higher if officials weren't so shy about embracing weed.

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Rebecca Maez pleads guilty in drunk-driving death of Jenny Kush

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Rebecca Maez.
Labor Day weekend is one of the biggest drunk-driving holidays on the calendar. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 1,342 people were arrested over a nineteen-day stretch between August 16 and September 3 of 2013 for suspected driving under the influence. One of them was Rebecca Maez. She was drunk and driving the wrong way in an I-25 HOV lane early on September 1 when she smashed into another vehicle. The driver of that car was seriously injured; passenger Jenny Kush was pronounced dead.

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Dave Grohl exposes himself too often?

Categories: Denver Blogs

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Dave Grohl.
Denver blog posts know when to say "when."

At our Backbeat blog, Jaime Lees asks for a break from Dave Grohl, at least for a while.

Denver Frank on #bubbleporn: "It's not what you think."

Big Media's Jason Salzman check in with an Onion-ready headline: "Media should not report Satan is real."

Readers' favorite places to eat in Denver when they're drunk and shameless

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Our Denver Blogs feature recently highlighted a Cafe Society comment in which one reader said he ate at Viva Burrito when he was drunk and without shame. When we shared it, we asked Facebook followers for their favorite drunk-and-shameless stops, and we got loads o' responses. Here's a sampling.

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Denver Public Schools: Read the story of another teacher who was facing unpaid leave

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For this week's cover story, "Wrong Answer," we spoke with five of the teachers behind a lawsuit against Denver Public Schools. Their complaint? That DPS is unfairly using a provision of the state's landmark 2010 teacher-effectiveness law to get rid of good teachers like themselves.

And those five teachers aren't the only ones who feel they've been mistreated. We spoke with several other teachers who say they experienced the same thing. Keep reading for one of their stories.

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Liquor sales okayed during 4/20 event at Civic Center Park but public pot smoking illegal

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As we've reported, city officials expect organizers of this weekend's 4/20 event at Denver's Civic Center Park to actively discourage public pot smoking -- an activity that's illegal under Colorado law. However, liquor will be sold and can be consumed at the McNichols Building on the Civic Center complex during the festival.

Among those who sees this situation as contradictory is Miguel Lopez, the 4/20 weekend's organizer who applied for the right to sell beer in the first place.

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