Wake-Up Call: Shooting from the lip

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Independence Institute chief John Caldara lost the battle of the sexes shoot-off at the organization's annual ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- but not in that order) event at the Kiowa Shooting Club on Saturday, but he's still a master at shooting from the lip. "I always aim for the left wing," he said, after nicking one clay pigeon.http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/

This year's featured ATF speaker was Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, whose fifteen minutes of fame have stretched considerably past the day last fall when he asked Barack Obama a question about how his tax plan would affect small businesses.

Still, the best line of the day belonged to Amy Oliver, director of operations for the institute, who wore a Snuggie as she ferried participants around the event, celebrating "the right to wear arms."

They won't be as fun, but opportunities abound this week to get involved in grassroots government.

Denver officials have taken aim at two ambitious targets: zoning and the budget. From 6-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, the city will hold briefings on the new zoning code in three city council districts: June 23, district 5 (Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape Street); June 24, district 8 (Blair Caldwell Library, 2401 Welton Street); June 24, district 4 (Temple Sinai, 3509 South Glencoe Street). The meetings continue next week; for information, go to www.newcodedenver.org, where you'll also find the proposed fix on the city's 53-year-old zoning code.

Public budget hearings also run from Tuesday through Thursday: from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on June 23 in northwest Denver (Asbury Event Center, 3011 Vallejo Street); from noon to 1:30 p.m. June 24 at the Denver Public Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway; from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 24 at Johnson & Wales University, 7150 Montview Blvd.; and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 25 at Green Valley Ranch Recreation Center, 4890 Argonne Way. The final hearing is next Tuesday; for more information or to comment on the budget, go to www.denvergov.org.

More talk on sticky subjects: From 4 to 5 p.m. on June 24, the Downtown Denver Partnership will host a discussion on rehab alternatives for the 16th Street Mall; at 5:30 p.m. on June 25, the conversation will focus on parking downtown (in the meantime, the DDP is looking for volunteers to talk about their experiences and expectations regarding parking). For information on both discussions, which will be at the DDP offices at 511 16th Street, go to www.downtowndenver.com

Take a break from all this future shock when Denver Story Trek -- a Historic Denver project that takes urban explorers on tours of visual records of Denver's history -- relaunches with a new interactive website, available June 24 at www.denverstorytrek.org.

And the rest is history....sooner or later.

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