A model home promoted by Sprout Tech homes, which plans to break ground soon on development in Pueblo where the partially pre-fabricated homes will be low energy use or even net zero. (Handout from Sprout Tech)

Compiled by Eric Lubbers, eric@coloradosun.com

CTO/Newsletter Wrangler, @brofax

Good morning and happy Friday, folks! I came into this newsletter ready to remark on how weird it is to be in a long stretch of sunny 50-degree days in December here in Denver (though it’s damp and chilly this morning), but a quick trip to the ol’ historic weather database shows that this is … pretty normal — though a little warmer and a little drier, as is the trend in the state overall.

It’s a good reminder to always double-check your gut feeling before you start complaining, no matter how much you trust it. Which happens to also be a great lesson in how to be thoughtful about the news you consume and share (more on that a little later).

And we’ve got a whole lot of double- and triple-checked news to get to, so let’s bale this hay, shall we?


Top five ways you can support The Sun:

Every dollar you give goes right back into supporting journalism.


Where “not guilty” does not always equal “actual innocence” in the eyes of Colorado law

“Attorney General Coffman should take this opportunity to agree that the State of Colorado should fairly compensate Mr. Moses-EL for the over 28 years he spent in prison as an innocent man.”

Gail Johnson, attorney for Clarence Moses-EL

“Petitioner’s acquittal does not constitute a finding of actual innocence.”

From the Colorado Attorney General’s legal response to Moses-EL’s petition for compensation.

Colorado has a law, passed in 2013, that in theory creates a hard and fast formula for compensating individuals who have spent time in prison for crimes they did not commit. But as Clarence Moses-EL — who spent 28 years in prison for a rape he was acquitted of two years ago — is finding out, it’s not enough to just be not guilty. John Ingold and Jen Brown go deep into the law and the complex case of Moses-EL.

>> Read more about the legal battle here.

Dreaming of a home with no energy bills? From Pueblo to Fort Collins, “net-zero” homes may not cost as much as you’d think

A zero-energy home built by Thrive Home Builders. The company is working on two large residential projects in Fort Collins that could add 5,000 net-zero ready homes to Colorado’s housing inventory. (Provided by Thrive Home Builders)

There are about 13,906 so-called zero-energy homes — housing units that produce more energy than they use via solar and wind — in the U.S. and Canada right now. But in Colorado alone, three projects (two in Fort Collins and one in Pueblo) could bring more than 5,000 more energy-producing homes online over the next few years. Tamara Chuang has a detailed look at the technology, demographics and economics behind why building modular, net-zero homes could be the future of housing in Colorado.

>> Read the whole story here.

How much craft beer is too much? We talked to the brewery on pace to brew 130 unique beers this year to find out

Kristin Popcheff, director of operations at Weld Werks, pulls one of the bottled beers while in the storage area on Thursday night at Weld Werks Brewery, 508 8th Ave., in downtown Greeley.

“More variety” is one of the main reasons people drink craft beer, according to a Nielsen poll earlier this year. Well, beer drinkers, be careful what you wish for. Our resident beer expert John Frank took a look at the never-ending appetite for “new” beers and talked to the folks at WeldWerks in Greeley, a craft brewer that blew past its goal of 100 different beers in 2018 and is showing no signs of slowing down.

>> Read John’s story here (with photos from WeldWerks by Josh Polson).

First time reading The Sunriser? Sign up to get it in your inbox.

More from The Sun

“The statesman in me hopes they did learn lessons in 2013 and they’ll be more reserved. The political side of me, would I take the opportunity if it was given to me? Sure.”

incoming Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Douglas County

The Fun Stuff


OK, folks, today’s the day you’re going to go catch up with our weekly strip “What’d I Miss?” Start from the beginning, right here, and scroll through the story so far. Writer R. Alan Brooks and artist Cori Redford have created a great little strip that touches on Colorado issues like gentrification and traffic as well as highlighting the weird stuff that exists in 2018 that we all just take for granted. It’s a must-read for any fan of comic strips or anyone who lives in Colorado.


“Fun” might not be the right word to use as a heading for this week’s SunLit feature, but Colorado Book Awards finalist “Trafficked” is a thriller from Peg Brantley that features a pretty stark look at human trafficking in America. You can read the first chapter here as well as an interview with Brantley about why she didn’t set the book’s location “over there.”


Each Friday, The Colorado Sun’s beer writer, John Frank, offers a recommendation for the weekend.

The shorter the days, the better the barrel-aged stouts taste. So get tickets for Ratio Beerworks’ party Dec. 8 celebrating the release of 2018 Genius Wizard. The party features six variants — including one with chai and another with Novo coffee — amid an immersive art experience in the brewhouse.

The Shortlist

Stuff about Colorado worth checking out

// Winter is here! The snowplow drivers … aren’t. There are more than 100 vacant openings for snowplow drivers as I type this, reports Eleanor Hasenbeck. // Steamboat Pilot

// I live within stumbling distance of Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium. I also go see live music every single week. Yet it’s been years since I’ve been to the Fillmore. But looking at my buddy Dylan Owens’ report on its 20th-anniversary makeover (garish video sign not included), I’m definitely keeping an eye on their calendar to check it out. // The Know

// The Coloradoan has a great, detailed look at the two-pronged problem of child care in Fort Collins: You can’t find it, and, if you can, it’s incredibly expensive. // Coloradoan

// Elizabeth Hernandez unpacks a new CU Denver study: “Exposure to racism stoked by the 2016 election made undergraduate Latino students internalize self-hatred.” // The Denver Post

// Something as simple as a white light and a purple light, when multiplied by thousands, makes for a powerful statement about Denver’s homeless population. // Denverite

// Durango rated all the pavement in town on a scale of “very poor” to “excellent.” So Bret Hauff went to talk to the people who live and work on a “very poor” street to see just how bad it is. // Durango Herald

// This is bleak and necessary reporting as climate change makes fire season permanent and worse: “Are Private Firefighters A Public Good Or An Unfair Perk For The Wealthy?// KUNC

Good lord, more cow (er… steer) news

// So Knickers — previously reported here — is still a big ol’ bovine, but he is not a cow. // Washington Post

// Not only is Knickers a steer, he’s not even the biggest steer. Meet Dozer the “gentle giant” from Manitoba who was saved from a beef farm by a vegan woman. // CBC

// Now for the serious stuff: One reason the Midwest and Great Plains (including Colorado’s High Plains) were good for raising livestock was that our hot summer days were followed by cool nights, giving the cattle a chance to recover. But climate change is making those nights much warmer and stressing out both cattle and crops. // Harvest Public Media

// You can’t talk about climate change and cattle without talking about their gas emissions. Cattle don’t process nitrogen well, and the result is a whole lot of ammonia that can throw off entire ecosystems. The FDA just approved a drug to reduce those emissions, but as Dan Nosowitz points out, just feeding them differently could be much more efficient. // Modern Farmer

Your Thing for Today

The Thing: Kanopy (Apps for iOS, Android and most streaming boxes)

Why You Might Like It: I pay for too many streaming services, and that’s on top of my cable service. So it’s bittersweet that my favorite new streaming service is completely free (if you have a library card). Head over to kanopy.com to see if your library offers access (Denver, Jeffco, DougCo, the Anythink system and most of the state’s colleges offer access from my rudimentary search), then you can pair it with an app on your phone, tablet, Roku or smart TV and start streaming.

You’d the think the selection for something offered up for free would be the digital equivalent of the Walmart 3 for $5 DVD bin, but Kanopy’s selection is stunning. The service hosts a huge selection of the Criterion Collection and, as of a few days ago, the entire library of indie movie studio A24 (you may know them from “Ladybird” or Best Picture-winner “Moonlight”), not to mention documentaries that have previously been unavailable anywhere else. It’s pretty impressive to have a service where you can watch “Breathless” and “Ex Machina” and the Frederick Wiseman documentary “Aspen” (filmed in 1991 and the source of the clearly dated gif above).

Editor’s note: Every Sunriser will include one … thing … to cap off our time together. The Thing will be just about anything, like a TV show or a book or a particularly cool dog toy.

FACT: I was researching how days of the week got their names (as one does) and saw that in Japan, Friday is Kin’yōbi (for the planet Venus) which combines the kanji symbols for “metal” and “gold.” And because this is how my brain works, I immediately jumped to Ralph Macchio whispering “Stay gold, Ponyboy” in “The Outsiders.”

So let’s make a pact, right here, to stay gold and have a legitimately awesome weekend.

Don’t forget to tell your friends, family and coworkers about The Sun by sharing things you read in The Sunriser and telling them where you found it! coloradosun.com/sunriser

— Eric

Programming note: I’m taking some rare time off next week, so starting Monday, you’ll be seeing some of my awesome coworkers here at The Sun taking the reins of The Sunriser. So welcome them with open arms and let them know that they’re doing a great job! They’ll appreciate the feedback!

Eric Lubbers

Eric Lubbers is the Chief Technology Officer and one of the co-founders of The Colorado Sun. A native of Yuma, Colorado, he writes The Sunriser newsletter in addition to handling most of the behind-the-scenes tech stuff. Email: eric@coloradosun.com...