Top ten Strange But True stories of the decade in Colorado
Next week, Westword will be capping off 2009 with a blizzard of blogs leading up to our annual Year in Review issue: Look for them in this space.
Bush to use near your bush -- or at least in the vicinity.
But before long, we'll be ending a decade, too. And with that in mind -- and to whet your appetite for lists to come -- we proudly present our ten favorite strange but true stories by Westword writers past and present from previous Year in Review issues, linked for your perusing pleasure. Look back with us at peeping toms, battling newlyweds, decomposing whales, unruly bears and the guy who was busted by the Secret Service during a presidential visit for pimping toilet paper called "Bush Wipe."
Those were the days. Read on:
A notorious Peeping Tom, who liked to stand at the bottom of the sewage vault in a park outhouse near Fort Collins and videotape women using the latrine, was finally apprehended in January. Robert Thomas Cobabe, 42, had eluded police for more than a year before they finally compared fingerprints at the scene of the crime to state records. Cobabe had recently submitted his prints to the Colorado Department of Education because he was pursuing a teaching license at Regis University.
[George W.] Bush, who'd already shown Colorado how much our state matters by skipping us entirely during his campaign stumping, thanked these top GOPs by waiting until August to grace us with his presence, and then only for 24 hours. During that busy day, Bush visited Rocky Mountain National Park to pitch his wildfire protection plan and pose for rugged photo ops, hosted a million-dollar fundraiser for Owens and Senator Wayne Allard, and attended part of a Colorado Rockies game. Thanks, George. Hell, even Vice President Dick Cheney lasted a couple of days in Colorado -- even if he spent them fishing at the exclusive Wigwam Club near Deckers.
But the President's trip was long enough for Longmont entrepreneur John Fischer (another ex-Texan) to get himself arrested by the Secret Service and charged with disturbing the peace. One of many protesters who weren't allowed to get anywhere near Bush during his Rocky Mountain high, Fischer handed out sample rolls of toilet paper he sells online that feature a picture of the president along with the words "Bush Wipe." Fischer also sells versions with Cheney ("Dick Wipe"), Secretary of State Colin Powell ("Colin Wipe"), and Attorney General John Ashcroft ("Ash Wipe"), as well as anti-Bush bumper stickers, T-shirts and other paraphernalia.
Witnesses told Estes Park police that Fischer, who had wrapped his body in toilet paper, was encouraging people to throw their rolls at the president's motorcade. He denied the charge, but the ensuing national attention sparked a major business boom.
Way to go, and go again, John.
The Jesus Run, organized by a Highlands Ranch ministry of the same name, sent out a call for world-class runners for a June race in Denver. As a further inducement, race director Rob Sigmon promised to establish a marathon and 12K Jesus Run Israel around the Sea of Galilee. But problems bedeviled the local event from the start. One runner complained that the course was confusing, and others ratted off participants for running distances other than what they signed up for. And a top competitor, who said he was promised prize money for finishing second in a half-marathon, claimed he never got his $500 prize. Jesus Run ministries has since laid off its paid staff. It the race makes a comeback, it will be a miracle.