Denver police are looking hard for a cop impersonator — and he’s been active in District 9, so heads up. This guy pulls drivers over as if for a traffic stop, then robs them.
Yesterday at about 5 p.m. an alert motorist thwarted this con artist’s latest attempt, which took place in the far northeast corner of District 9 near the intersection of 47th and Race. The driver was pulled over by a white car with red-and-blue emergency lights flashing over the driver’s side visor. The phony cop got out and asked to see the motorist’s license and registration, but when a passenger in the car asked to see the policeman’s badge and identification, the guy got back into his car and fled.
Suspect’s description: Tall white male, clean-shaven, light brown hair, wearing a tan work jacket with a badge-looking thing on the left side of his chest.
One of these ripoffs occurred in the 500 block of Santa Fe about two weeks ago, and another occurred on Monday at approximately 35th and Colorado Boulevard. They seem to occur in neighborhoods populated predominantly by Latinos and African-Americans.
While this guy is on the loose, DPD recommends that you observe the following precautions if you happen to be pulled over by a policeman:
Look for legitimate markings identifying the car as a Denver Police Department vehicle.
If you’re being pulled over by someone whom you suspect to be a bogus cop, don’t stop — drive to the nearest police station (following all traffic laws, signals, and signs en route).
If you feel compelled to pull over, find a well-lit or densely populated place to do so.
Ask for credentials, a badge, and a police photo ID card (not merely a business card).
Call Denver police on your cell phone and ask the dispatcher to send over an officer in uniform in a marked police car.
Denver police officers will almost never make a traffic stop when not in uniform.
Be alert. If you encounter this person or see him making contact with another motorist, call the police immediately.
Followup number 1: If you were thinking of requesting a free tree from Denver Digs Trees (see yesterday’s post), the deadline has been extended to March 1. I have to clarify one thing: They’re only available free to residents in certain neighborhoods. Most of District 9′s neighborhoods qualify: Baker, Chaffee Park, Elyria/Swansea, Five Points, Globeville, Lincoln Park, Sunnyside, Sun Valley, and Valverde are all on the list. Tough luck, Highland and LoDo. For more info, go here.
Followup number 2: I asked Denver Parks and Rec for report about last week’s Swansea Park redesign meeting. Jill Wuertz was kind enough to send one along — good info in there, so if you missed the meeting here’s a complete summary: 1-22-08-swansea-park.pdf.
I’ll have some information tomorrow about next week’s Colorado caucuses.
The city’s Web page on transit-oriented development (TOD) has been updated to include the Powerpoint slide show presented last Wednesday night at the kickoff meeting for 38th and Inca station area planning. It’s in PDF form. If you have any feedback about the meeting, the process, or the current state of the plan, leave a comment here. Judy’s reading.
It’s a busy week for deadlines; get your homework turned in on time, ev’ybody:
Requests for a free tree from Denver Digs Trees
are due Thursday, January 31. Since 1990, this program has passed out more than 30,000 trees for planting on parking strips and public rights-of-way. Lots of tree varieties are available; I recommend the Linden (we have one, it’s gorgeous).
A week from today, February 4 (ok, so that’s next week), is the last day to order free vegetable seeds from Denver Urban Gardens
. While you’re at it, now is a good time to sign up for a plot in one of the city’s 70 community gardens.
Finally, if you’re interested in becoming a member of the new Create Denver Advisory Committee (CDAC)
, your nominating form is due Wednesday, January 30 (form available online at the preceding link). Create Denver
, an initiative of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, supports artists, musicians, filmmakers, and the venues that features their work (galleries, clubs, etc.).
Daytimers open, everybody; busy week ahead.
On Tuesday evening, January 29, the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs will be hosting the Cultural Visioning 2028 Town Hall Meeting
at the Denver Art Museum. The purpose is to gather input from Denver residents about how the city can support and sustain a vibrant arts community. The meeting begins at 4:30 (doors open at 4 p.m.) and lasts for 2 hours; no RSVP or tickets required.
Parks and Rec will unveil its new Playground Master Plan
at the Children’s Museum of Denver on Wednesday night, January 30, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The presentation will include lots of fun for the kids, including some interactives and a play-area station. For the grownups, there’ll BE an overview of the master-planning process, a presentation called “Creating a System of Play for Denver,” and various other of those boring things we grownups like to do.
More than 100 people showed up for Wednesday night’s kickoff meeting to begin planning the 38th and Inca FasTracks station. According to project manager Tom Hoaglund, the attendees came from all three District 9 neighborhoods adjacent to the site (Globeville, Sunnyside, and Highland) and included homeowners, businesspeople, commercial property owners, and other interested parties. Nationally renowned TOD consultant GB Arrington also was on hand. During a short presentation (which will be uploaded soon to the 38th/Inca planning page — I’ll add a link when it’s up), the city listed some areas of preliminary concern, including
creating good connections across 38th Avenue, so that people on both sides of the thoroughfare have good access to the station (which will lie north of 38th)
upgrading the 38th Avenue underpass, under the railroad tracks
ensuring good pedestrian and vehicular connections to Globeville
encouraging reinvestment in adjacent residential areas
ensuring that development around the station includes a diversity of housing types and prices
The meeting then divided up into breakout groups, which reported out the community’s concerns and priorities. These largely overlapped with the issues the city raised in its presentation, but there were some additional ones:
enhancing connections among nearby parks such as Aztlan, Columbus, and Cuernevaca
creating connections between the neighborhoods north of 38th Avenue and the Platte River bike path
improving sidewalk conditions and overall pedestrian friendliness throughout the vicinity of the station, especially along 38th Avenue
This station has tremendous potential to unify disparate parts of District 9 and become a new living, working, and entertainment hub. If you missed the meeting, don’t worry; there’ll be plenty more opportunity to get involved.
Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s holiday. The rest of the week should be action-packed, beginning with important meetings tonight and tomorrow.
Tonight (Tuesday), Denver Parks and Rec will gather input from the community regarding the redesign of Swansea Park. Three different design concepts will be presented and explained, and you’ll have an opportunity to sound off on everything from where the playground ought to be located to what type of trees they should plant. At the end of the evening, the three designs will be put to a vote; if you want a voice, please show up. The meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. and runs until 8; it’s at the Cross Community Coalition building, 2501 E. 48th Avenue.
Tomorrow night (Wednesday), city planners will kick off the planning process for the 38th & Inca FasTracks station. It’ll be an important station — a transfer point for riders coming and going on the Boulder/Longment line, as well as prime candidate for transit-oriented development. The meeting runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Smedley Elementary School, 4250 Shoshone St. Contact project manager Tom Hoaglund (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission is looking for volunteers to come out on Saturday and clear the parade route of litter. If you can help out, be at the MLK monument in City Park at 1 p.m. or contact Jacqui Shumway at (303) 844-8686.
The actual Marade (that’s March & Parade) will start next Monday, January 21, at 8:30 a.m. at the monument, proceeding down Colfax to the State Capitol. The Holiday Commission is seeking donations of old cell phones (which will be refurbished and provided to women’s shelters) and nonperishable food (which will be given to food banks). And the festivities will wind up on Monday night at the African American Heritage Rodeo of Champions, getting underway at 6 p.m. at the National Western Stock Show arena. Tickets run from $13 to $35; information at (303) 373-1246.
“Better Denver,” the suite of infrastructure improvements that Denver voters approved last November, now has a project manager: CH2M Hill. The news came from Mayor Hick yesterday, accompanied by the announcement of Don Hunt as chair of the Better Denver executive committee; Hunt previously sat on the city’s Infrastructure Priorities Task Force.
You’ll be able to follow the progress of this initiative (which includes a lot of goodies for District 9) at the newly created Better Denver web page. The Council has created a Bond Implementation Committee, which Judy’s council colleague Rick Garcia will chair; there will be plenty of opportunity for public input as well. See Councilman Garcia’s thoughts on the process in this article.
On the calendar: Friday night the Latina Initiative will host a reception to celebrate the release of “I’m Latina and I Vote!”: An Examination of Latina Political Participation in Colorado. Authored by UCD professor Anna Sampaio, the report will emphasize Latinas’ opportunity to influence public policy, not only as officials (as in Judy’s case) but also as voters. The reception takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. at 2350 Lawrence Street; contact Dusti Gurule (dusti AT latinainitiative DOT org) for information.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s actual birthday was yesterday, but it won’t be celebrated until next Monday — and the buildup starts tomorrow night, January 17, with a free concert by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Featured performers will include Elena Urioste, one of the nation’s most acclaimed young violinsts; the Fourteeners of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Choir; the Spirituals Project Choir; and the Majestic Praise Choir from New Hope Baptist Church.
In addition, Tamara Banks will host the presentation of the 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awards. This year’s honorees are Colorado State Senate President Peter C. Groff; former Bronco receiver and philanthropist Haven Moses; advocate for the homeless Randle Loeb; Denver policeman Lt. Les Perry; community activist and youth leader Elisa Sagehorn; and community-based service organizations Project Angel Heart and Volunteers of America. The 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded posthumously to the late political activist and civil rights leader Wilma M. Taylor. Tickets will be available at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m. A large turnout is expected, so plan accordingly.
If you’re planning to join Judy at the Northwest School Showcase tonight at North High School (6 to 8 p.m.), look for information about the North High Task Force sponsored by Highland United Neighbors, Inc. (HUNI). The Task Force has launched a tutoring / mentoring program and is looking for participants; interested parties should get in touch with Liana Pomeroy (LPomeroy@ccmclending.com). In addition, the Task Force is about 1/4 of the way toward its fundraising goal of $18,000 (Judy’s office gave $1,000 to the cause).
The public schools got some nice news from Denver Parks and Rec this week: the department has made free Rec Center membership available to students at 60 DPS institutions — a total of 28,000 free memberships. It’s called the My Place program, and it’s designed to encourage Rec Center participation and attendance. Parks and Rec will track usage rates and patterns for a year, and then (if all goes well) roll out the program to all DPS students in 2009.