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

Categories: Colorado Crimes

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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?

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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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

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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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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