Aurora's got a poet laureate but Denver doesn't? You can bet the Big Blue Bear's butt on it

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Jose Guerrero.
The highlight of Monday's luncheon for Imagine 2020, the city's first cultural plan in 25 years, was local slam poet and DU student Jose Guerrero, who'd written a poem about Denver for the event that included a memorable reference to the "Big Blue Bear's butt" and even more telling lines about how this city's kids want to express themselves whether in graffiti or poems. And when he repeated his performance before Denver City Council that night, the response was so strong you could imagine him being named Denver's poet laureate on the spot.

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Read Westword's winners in the Colorado Press Association contest

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Looks like a winner!
It had been more than a decade since Westword had competed in the Colorado Press Association awards -- since the last time we were able to challenge the state's major dailies, in fact.

That was back when the Rocky Mountain News was still going strong; after the News complained to the CPA about allowing Westword in the big-paper category, that loophole was closed.

But it's open again.

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Emily Griffith school up for sale, but name lives on at Emily Griffith Campus

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The Emily Griffith Opportunity School could soon be history -- literally, since the circa 1926 school building at 1250 Welton Street has been recommended for landmark status. But the name of this pioneering educator will live on. This morning, Denver Public Schools will announce the name of its ambitious project (previously called "Project Lincoln," then "Operation Unite") at 1860 Lincoln Street, a fifty-year-old highrise that's being converted into space for three schools and DPS administration headquarters. And that name? The Emily Griffith Campus.

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DPS sells Contemporary Learning Academy for $12 million

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For over a decade, I've enjoyed sharing my neighborhood on the edge of LoHi with the students of the Contemporary Learning Academy, a DPS high school for kids whose needs and/or schedules just don't fit with the system's more traditional high schools. When DPS first bought the building overlooking I-25, this wasn't a hot area, and not only was the property a real deal for DPS, it also had a central location that worked well for students coming from all over town.

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Bronco sunrise over the Mile High City

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As the sun rose this morning -- reflecting off the blue-and-orange-hued Elitch Gardens Ferris wheel and the still-glowing Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium -- the real show was just over downtown....

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MLK Marade kicks off in City Park today; free dinner and demonstrations follow

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Editor's note: Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- a federal holiday. The Westword office is closed, but we'll be posting occasional updates on westword.com today.

The country's largest parade in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. -- the Marade -- will kick off this morning by the MLK memorial in City Park in Denver, Colorado, a mid-sized city with a small black population, but a big record of fighting for equality.

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Spirit Airlines is high on marijuana's marketing potential

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Despite obvious interest across the country, Colorado's big tourism boosters are still shying away from any reference to recreational marijuana: On Colorado.com, the Colorado Tourism Office's otherwise expansive site, and Coloradoski.com, Colorado Ski Country USA's site, searching for "marijuana" nets you exactly...nothing. But some tourism businesses see the possibilities: "We're High!" crowed Spirit Airlines in an e-mail sent yesterday. "(At least 30,000 feet.)"

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Marijuana: Eighteen Denver stores and other Colorado spots that could sell pot January 1

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Update below: The DenverDepartment of Excise and Licenses just updated its list of stores now fully licensed to sell recreational marijuana on January 1 -- although there's no guarantee that all eighteen will be open tomorrow. Although the lion's share of the retail applicants are in Denver, 25 more municipalities have been hurrying to issue local licenses to businesses in their jurisdictions that have already gotten the okay from the state. Current estimates have at least thirty stores around the state ready to sell on January 1.

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Heat is on for drivers under the influence -- whether of alcohol or pot

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Before the ball drops tonight, the cops could get a drop on you: Once again, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol have teamed up with 76 law-enforcement agencies throughout Colorado to increase DUI enforcement through Thursday, January 2. During last year's New Year's Eve enforcement period, 501 people were arrested on state roadways for DUI, and there were two alcohol-related fatalities. And despite the start of retail sales of recreational marijuana tomorrow, law-enforcement won't care what drivers are under the influence of...

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Radio talk-show lineups changing in January -- will Tom Martino be a part of them?

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Troubleshooter in trouble?
Do touch that dial! Because when you switch on your radio after the new year's festivities, you'll find some changes at Denver's local talk stations. Peter Boyles, who moved to KNUS 710 AM after Clear Channel fired him last summer, is beating the competition at his new gig, which will expand by an hour on January 6, giving him his old, familiar time slot of 5 to 9 a.m. And what's happening to the colleagues he left behind at Clear Channel? The lineups are changing there, too -- some because of corporate dictates, some because of unexpected developments.

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