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City Planning Employees Hone Skills with SimCity amid Corona Furloughs

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The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused much disruption in Northern Colorado as everywhere.  With layoffs and furloughs everywhere, not only are people finding themselves unemployed, our more skilled workers are also faced with the following dilemma regarding their skills: if you don’t use it, you lose it.  But not so with one Northern Colorado town…

At his upscale home near the Ptarmigan golf course, Deputy-Assistant-Vice-President for City Planning and Management for the town of Windsor, Mohammed Smith, bides his time.  Speaking from his patio couch, Mr. Smith granted your reporter, Ludwig Schnee an interview.  “Truth is, there just isn’t much we can do right now in the real world.” He went on, “But we can’t just let ourselves get soft.  We have vital skills that we can’t let go by the wayside. We gotta practice.  That’s why I play SimCity.”  The town of Windsor employee referred to the 1989 computer game made for the Commodore 66.  He went on, “It’s EXACTLY the same thing as my actual job.  It involves zoning, taxation, managing a city within a budget, electric grids, roads, rail lines, policing, crime, housing… and the occasional disaster!  I’m telling you, it’s just like managing a real city… and I can do that from the comfort of my own couch!”

Disturbed by the flippant overlooking of a critical factor, your reported inquired about the most critical thing of all in managing a city: the human factor- citizens, city councils, county commissioners, cops, workers, et al…

“Naaah!  No problem there.  If SimCity doesn’t have that problem factored in, then reality won’t either.  Simple as that.”  He changed the subject,  “It’s too bad I can’t get paid to play this game… err… keep my skills honed during this pandemic, but maybe the city might come up with some Donald Trump dough for me… and maybe my family too.”

State, City, County Riot Police Mobilized for Montava Community Meeting; National Guard Held in Reserve

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After repeated cancellations, delays and enough insipid excuses to make the board look like a bi-polar girlfriend who lost her lithium, yet another meeting for community input on the new Montava housing development is scheduled.  Given the controversy that the proposed new housing development has caused, meeting planners are taking no chances.

“We’re pulling out all the stops,” Ben Dover, project spokesman told Focopolitan Tribune reporters, “to show that the safety  of everyone attending the meeting is paramount. So no, we are not going overboard. In fact, we might just be underestimating things.”

So what does pulling out all the stops mean?  A task force of riot police from the city of Fort Collins and Loveland, Larimer and Weld counties, and the state police will be setting up the event. “I talked to governor Polis, and he’ll be putting the National Guard on alert, so they’ll be in the barracks, until such time as they’re needed.  These Country Club Road residents are royally pissed.”

To recap: the Montava development seeks to develop some 900 acres of agricultural land near the Budweiser plant.  This will cause massively increased traffic in Ft. Collins’ Northeast corridor.  Meetings over this matter have gone from Methodist post-sermon coffee and fellowship to Jerry Springer-like behavior over the space of mere months.

A resident of Country Club Road, Celeste Krieger, spoke with your reporters about the development. “I paid $950,000 dollars for my little 3500-square foot shack and I can barely leave my driveway as it is! Now you want to build more stuff and house poor people where they have to drive their hoopties past our houses? I’ll have to use my husband’s helicopter to leave the house; that’s not fair when all I want to use is the Rolls!” she wept. “This is war!  We’re on!”

With more people moving to FoCo and housing as tight as it is, we find it self evident that building more housing, particularly for our lower income residents is paramount.  That said, the interests of the residents of Country Club Road must be heard and taken into consideration.  After all, they were there first.  We call upon citizens’ civility, but just for caution’s sake, if you don’t live in the are, avoid these meetings like you would avoid a riot.

Foothills Fashion Mall Provides Refuge for Non-Shoppers this Christmas Season

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For yet another Holiday shopping season, FoCo’s oldest mall has paradoxically provided Focopolitans with a venue to hang out and not shop.  With Old Town taken over not only by stressed-out shoppers, the usual rabble of hipsters, hippies and homeless, overwhelmed people are looking for some peace of mind and a warm place to just take a walk on a cold winter day.  Enter the Foothills Fashion Mall.

Built back in the 1980s, the FFM used to be a place for people to hang out and shop, but ever since the revival of Old Town and the subsequent rise of online shopping websites like E-bay and Amazon, the mall lost its shopaholics appeal. Yet its usefulness still remains due to the one innovation that Old Town lacks: central heating.

Invented in the 19th Century, central heating consists of a large heat source- nowadays natural gas, but historically wood, coal or bunker crude oil- that is then relayed throughout an enclosure by means of radiators or ventilators.  This simple technological evolution has given the FFM an edge over Old Town for best place to hang out and not shop.

Nearby resident Ralph Anderson attests to the appeal of central heating, “I’ll tell ya… this central heating thing here is pretty amazing.  Ain’t no way I’m gonna go to Old Town to hang out and not shop anymore.  Nothing beats the mall for going to a place and not shopping. It also is a great place to exercise in as I won’t run into ANYONE!  Top that, Old Town!”

New Belgium Brewing Sold In Cash Deal; Armored Truck Delivers Small Bills To Kim Jordan’s Residence

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Focopolitans were surprised last week to find out that our beloved local institution, New Belgium Brewing has been sold to the Japanese beverage mega-conglomerate Kirin Holdings.  Mourners were seen in Old Town wearing black sheaths and carrying a large mock coffin symbolically marking the end of an era of exceptional beer drinking and capitalist leadership in our beloved Fort Collins.

While Focopolitans mourn and wonder about the future of Tour de Fat, and whether or not we have forgotten Pearl Harbor, New Belgium’s biggest stakeholder, and co-founder, Kim Jordan, has received her payment of the cash deal.  A Brinks armored car arrived at Ms. Jordan’s residence together with a beefed-up contingent of armed security men this morning with its hold full of greenbacks, and knocked on the front door of Ms. Jordan’s home.  As luck would have it, your reporter was there to see it all go down…

This development came as a surprise to Ms. Jordan who appeared somewhat flabbergasted.  She had this to say, “Wha-?  It was a cash deal, but I wasn’t expecting this!  I’ve never seen so much dough in my life!  How in the hell am I supposed to get all this green shit??  I’m gonna need a forklift, and those are all back at the brewery.  A– and where am I gonna put it all?  It’s not like I can put nine figures and change of moolah in my pocket!  What the…”

Brinks driver Al Moore, the guy in charge of the delivery, had little to say about the whole deal, “I dunno.  I ferry cash around all the time.  Sometimes in bags, sometimes on pallets, like today.  It’s usually to banks, and this is a residence, so that’s a first.  Other than that, I’m just doing my job.  Ms. Jordan, can you sign for this, please?”

Unwanted Haunting at Fort Collins DMV

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Fall has hit the Northern Colorado front range; nights are colder, leaves are changing and the time for ghouls and ghosts is just around the corner. This year the Fort Collins’ Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) found itself hosting someone extra.

“Dude, he just appeared. Like: what the fuck?!?!” exclaimed one frightened, yet concerned young man, whilst waiting to renew his license. “Can’t you see to take a fucking number? I’ve been waiting for, like, hours!”

“He did just appear,” exclaimed DMV spokesperson Claudia Peterson. “He hasn’t harmed anyone or any property and just seems to float around. He does speak to people and that can be a bit disconcerting. However, we tolerate diversity in this building and as such we suggest that people ask nicely for him to move along if they don’t wish to interact. I know he has caused some controversy” she pointed to the few men and women outside with placards, “but I am in favor of showing the community how tolerant we are for ghosts who would like to exercise their right to assembly, as those people are doing as well.”

A resident psychic summoned the spirit, and amazingly, the ghost in question sat down with your somewhat frightened reporter for a few questions.  His identity shocked us as much as did his existence.  “Yes, indeed, I am Pontius Pilate. I heard about the DMV from a few other ghosts and wanted to check it out; I mean, this is great! Look at how deep the bureaucracy goes in this place.  Bureaucrats here are inventive!  You actually make people who want to pay you money, wait.  And what do they wait for?  To get a little paper that gives you permission to drive from one place to another!?!?  Caesar himself would not have come up with a racket like that!  There are things implemented here that I would have loved to have done. I mean, can you imagine what I could have done with that box thingy that allows you to see anything in the world?”

Mr. Pilate seemed equally curious about a map taped to the wall and the vehicles continuously pulling up and parking. “Do you know how many Judeans I could have just run down with that thing?” he pointed to an Escalade. “Woulda made my job easier.”

When asked why he decided on Fort Collins and the DMV he had this to say, “I wanted to give support to my fellow bureaucrats. Sometimes we get a bad rap, but I just wanted to show them that you can be a mid-level, papyrus-pushing, nobody bureaucrat and end up famous. Hell, I’m in a prayer that is said every day by a billion people that worship the guy I condemned to the worst possible death devised by Rome. I wasn’t even trying to hit that level of stardom! Just doing my job.  I ought to be an inspiration to these folks!”

Bernie Sanders Elected President… of Loveland Elks Club

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In a prepared speech at a press conference outside of a Las Vegas hospital, last Friday, spokesman for the Loveland Elk’s Lodge #10334458, Mortimer Moore stated, “On behalf of Elk’s Lodge #10334458 of Loveland, Colorado, we wish the Senator from Vermont a full and speedy recovery.  Furthermore, noting the good Senator’s great interest in the betterment of the lot of all Americans, our lodge has elected him honorary president.  Given his health, it appears that this will be his last and best chance at being president of anything.  What’s more?  Our lodge is less than a five minute ambulance ride from the finest cardiac nurses and surgeons at MCR.  For real- those folks work with Greeley’s meth heads all the time, so treating a guy like Bernie’s gonna be a breeze for ’em, but that’s a little off subject.”  He went on,  “Seriously, the senator needs to chill out with us and reduce his chances of another cardiac episode, and when it comes to calming down, nobody beats the Elks.  Don’t believe me?  Just come on a Friday night, and watch re-runs of the Lawrence Welk Show with us and you’ll see what I mean.”

This gesture by the Loveland Elk’s Lodge has not gone unnoticed.  The Fort Collins Lions and Tigers and Bears Club, when contacted had this to say, “Awww… Dammit!  Why didn’t WE think of that?  I’ll tell you what: we’ll dispense with our usual breakfast of coffee, pancakes, bacon and eggs for a Kosher option lox and bagels- no cream cheese or coffee-just too dangerous.”  The unidentified Lions and Tigers and Bears Club secretary proceeded.  “Oooohhhhh… so the Loveland Elks are selling the fact that they’re a five-minute ambulance ride away from the hospital?  Well… we’re only a fifteen minute hearse ride away from the Synagogue, in the event…  Y*w3h calls him.  I’d like to see them guys in Loveland give Bernie a proper chevra kadisha.”  He nervously cleared his throat.  “In any event, folks in the community’ve been giving us all manner of shit about being too white, old and Christian.  Letting a guy like Bernie into our ranks would surely contribute to our diversity and reduce our average age by several years.”

Your reporter Ludwig Schnee contacted the Sanders campaign which duly put us on the line with the Senator who apparently has been recovering well.  The Senator had this to say, “At least I was treated by private doctors.  If I got the medical treatment I proposed for the American people, I’d be at Temple and you’d be praying Kaddish.”

Fort Collins Summer Festivals to Merge into Unending Season-Long Party

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In an announcement today, the City of Fort Collins Party Authority (CFCPA) announced that for simplicity’s sake, all Fort Collins summer festivals will now conglomerate into one summer-long event.  Starting in 2020: A Taste of Fort Collins, the Colorado Marathon, New West Fest, Tour de Fat, Tour de Corgi, the Old Town Car Show, the Harvest Festival, the Pagan Festival, the Peach Festival, Brewfest, Octoberfest, the Fourth of July, Pride Day and some two dozen other festivities will all become one, big, giant, non-stop, celebration of everything and nothing.  This event will feature 16 stages, 1200+ bands, 116 different breweries, two farmers’ markets, ganja, young buxom maidens riding bikes in nothing more than body paint, six non-stop food truck rallies, four artisan camps and the kind of nihilistic fun that would make an episode of Seinfeld look like a Baptist seminary.

At a press conference, spokesman Fred Alborghetti commented with unusual candor, “We’re just formalizing what’s already happening.  I just got sick and tired of everybody always bitching to me asking why the roads in Old Town are all blocked, so we [at CFCPA] just rolled all these festivals into one whole, big ball-o-wax.  It just makes things simpler.  Not only that, but we get to pass off other people’s boozing as local culture.  All the while, of course, we cash in.  It sure keeps the economy going.  As I see it, it’s like our own New Deal, except it’s centered around fun, instead of work.  I never thought watching adults with too much money pursuing frivolous pleasure could be so rewarding!”

Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) spokesman Mohammad Rodriguez had this to say about the summer-long festival. “It will definitely give us something to do. I mean, hell, do you know what it’s like to hear our guys bitch and complain about the chronic lack of action in this town?  I just hope things become a little bit more like Sturgis at the rally when the Hell’s Angels and the Mongols meet after drinking too much.  This will greatly help our downtime!”

New business owner Todd McPherson who operates an organic, locally grown, vegan pet food store and boutique on the main drag also seemed excited about the change. “Finally! Now I”ll always know where to park since the damn road closings will remain the same! Never again will I have to guess where the fuck to park my Oldsmobile.”

Random questioning of various people in Old Town also seemed to generate a positive review of the move by the Fort Collins Party Authority. “Now I can stay drunk the entire summer! Thanks for making it easier!,” gushed one young man as he stumbled down Mountain Ave. Another dread-locked Trustafarian took a hit and smiled, “Hell, yeah!  I ain’t leavin.'”

We at the Focopolitan Tribune agree with everyone and are SO there!  We can’t wait.  Your reporter, Ludwig Schnee is gonna do his best to make Burning Man seem like a trip to the mosque compared to this.

Op-Ed: City Police Disappointed with Boring Labor Day Weekend

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This weekend saw LOTS of stuff happening in town.  As always, Focopolitans and outsiders joined in on our unique brand of nihilistic, senseless fun known as Tour de Fat.  To those readers unversed in Focopolitan traditions, the Tour de Fat is a parade where thousands of strangely-costumed bicyclists ride their equally-oddly outfitted bikes a whole of maybe three miles from Downtown Fort Collins all the way to New Belgium Brewery in order to celebrate Labor Day.

Yeah I know, it makes about as much sense as Easter, when we celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead after three days by eating chocolate eggs and hiding real ones, but that’s another story.  The kicker is that there are always thousands people around and there is always alcohol.  Yet for the umpteenth year in a row, with mobs of people, and beer aplenty, we have not yet seen major violent events and therefore no action for our city police force.

Focopolitan Tribune reporter Ludwig Schnee contacted public affairs officer Mohammad Hernandez at Fort Collins Police Services who ad libbed, “Yeah, dude… we’re like… totally disappointed at this.  First off, we had a rout of the CSU football team [in the game against CU] on Saturday.  Back in the day, there’d be rioting.  But even with a brand new stadium and tens of thousands of students back for some action what do we get?  A big nothing burger without fries.  Then there was that whole Tour de Fat thing, where we were HOPING for something to happen, but people just went on their merry way, and we didn’t get anything more than a few DUIs and disorderly conduct.  It’s not like [the year AD 19] 97 when we had couch-burnings every other weekend just ’cause CSU started and the football team got spanked.  That was the shit, back then.  Nowadays, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were cobwebs on our riot gear.”  When asked what FCPS hoped for next year, officer Hernandez simply replied, “I’m just disappointed in the community.  We just need…well…more crime.  With a community as peaceful as this, we’ll be out of a job sooner than later.”

County Expands Housing Program for the Homeless

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In a 3-0 resolution passed on the 16th of this month, the Board of Commissioners voted to expand the only current program for housing Larimer County’s homeless.  The resolution expands the current facility to include 250 more beds from the 617 existing ones.  When asked spokeswoman Gail Byrd of Larimer County Corrections replied with, “This facility is currently the BEST that Larimer County has to offer our homeless, so why not expand it?  More beds are needed, so let’s just get ’em ya know… If you’ve got a winning formula, just stick to it.  I congratulate our commissioners on their foresight and the slam-dunk vote.”

Larimer County taxpayers will now foot the $75 million re-model for this iteration of public housing (that’s about $215 for each man, woman and child in the county) that will include beds, three meals a day, bathrooms, basic exercise facilities and concierge uniform services. “It’s like a home away from home, except, I guess, they don’t have a home.  Our guests call it ‘Club Larimer.'”

When asked if the expansion would still be used for traditional incarceration and pre-trial detention, Ms. Byrd had this to say. “Of course we’ll still have a detainee population, I mean, we can’t give up on them either. But we’re expanding our services to show that we are also an organizational resource for those who need it.  Nevertheless, let’s not forget that it’s criminals that ultimately keep us in a job, so this is a shout-out to the criminal community of Fort Collins.  We appreciate you: no one supports the blue quite like you! And it’s time that we show you how much you are appreciated.”

 

U-boat Restorer to Offer Rides at Horsetooth

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This year a new feature is coming to the Wings of Freedom Tour that is held the weekend after the Fourth. However, this new entry will not be featured at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport because, well, submarines cannot fly by themselves. Instead of heading to the airport, drive over to Horsetooth Reservoir for the experience of a lifetime with Fins der Fuhrer.

Ray Gilbert, 75, a former Naval submarine officer himself, has painstakingly and lovingly restored a Type IXC/40 German U-boat from World War II. He started the project when he was 30 but only finished it a couple of years ago.

“Yes, it did take awhile to complete; took a bit of money to do so also, and my wife was infinitely patient for the entire length of the project. It’s not like you can just fit the sub in your garage and start restoring. Heck, I even had to learn German in order to read some of the manuals that I found.”

While Mr. Gilbert attempted to find parts through contacts within both the United States and the European Union, most times it came down to using his own machinist, his best friend, Norman New, who was also at hand for the submarine’s voyages in Horsetooth.

“We took her out yesterday,” commented Mr. New, “and she’s running just fine. We don’t go too deep or too far just because we don’t have much of a crew and everything was restored according to strict standards. In other words, this baby does not run with an app or just a push of a button so we don’t want to push her too hard.”

So, does this mean that she will be available for rides to the public during the weekend tour? “Of course, that’s why we brought her out here!” exclaimed Mr. Gilbert.

The two are offering two types of rides: the full experience and the day-cruise. The full experience will have the submarine being submerged fully so that riders will get a feel for what it was like to be in a U-Boat, while the day-cruise will be riding outside. The latter will also perambulate the entire reservoir while the former will be half-out and then back. In between, to refit and refresh the sub, they will be doing short tours.

“To be able to accommodate both the submarine requirements and the fact that we will have civilian riders, we will be taking small groups. We will have a few more crew members as well but not a full complement,” said Mr. Gilbert.  “It squeezes real tight in a U-boat.  Besides that, some of the civvies just don’t pay attention!  Once when I was trying to submerge, someone flooded the batteries instead of the ballast tanks.”  A large plume of toxic chlorine gas ensued, ending tour operations for that day, Mr. Gilbert explained.  “Well, at least nobody got asphyxiated or badly injured.”

There is understandably a price difference between the two experiences as well as the tour. The day-cruise will be $2200 a person while the full experience is $5000 per person. The tour, which will feature the bridge, sleep quarters, gallery and radio room, is available at $430 per person. There is an age limit of 14 or older for all experiences and a legal waiver the size of a Papal Encyclical.

Surprisingly, there are already waiting lists for the two types of rides. “And we’re almost full for just the tours,” said Mr. New.  “I’m gonna have to get creative about the realism of the rides- ya know. Of course, U-Boats back then had no showers or laundry, so I’m thinking of adding a super BO and mold realism feature.”

Last question? “Of course, the guns work,” replied an exasperated Mr. Gilbert, referring to the 20 mm mount on the conning tower. “And we got the ammo for it too, in case the bomber pilots decide to play a re-enactment on us.”

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