The Pallavicini chairlift at Arapahoe Basin carries skiers and snowboarders on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)




Compiled by Jesse Paul,
Politics reporter, @jesseapaul

*Tap, tap.* Is this thing on?

Howdy, Sunrisers! Eric Lubbers is taking a vacation next week (I tried stealing his passport, but he’s really fast on his electric scooter) so a few new voices are going to take over this newsletter before and while he’s gone. Starting with me!

I know you’re not here to listen to me grumble (how about the driving on I-70, eh?) so let’s just get straight to the great journalism we have to share with you today. But, quickly…

  • Please consider becoming a Colorado Sun member if you haven’t done so already. For just $5 a month you can help me sleep easier at night. If everyone who read this newsletter was a member we could do some amazing things.
  • We now have gift memberships! It’s another great way to … help me sleep easier at night! JK, you’ll be supporting great local journalism too.

If you need another reason, tomorrow is Colorado Gives Day. What better way to give back to your community than by supporting The Sun?

OK, enough. Let’s shred this mountain, shall we?




Modworks is co-working for the modern professional and a proud supporter of The Colorado Sun. Take a look at the available spaces.


A “once-in-a-lifetime transformational” company in Denver

Rachel Romer Carlson, CEO and co-founder of Guild Education, enjoys a visit from her six-month-old twin daughters, Magnolia, left, and Lily Grace at her downtown Denver office on November 30, 2018. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

I love this story on Guild Education, and not just for this line: “Rachel Carlson, 30, is not your typical CEO, or tech entrepreneur or venture-backed executive. For one, she’s a she.” The company is taking the worker-education industry by storm. It was co-founded by two women, headquartered right here in Colorado and has raised a truckload of cash. So far, the results are really positive. And did I mention that its whole mission is to better educate working adults who’ve given up on college?

>> Read the whole story here.

Hickenlooper’s hopes for Polis

“We felt like you couldn’t just end the conversation, as if we can walk away at the end of 2018.” 

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne on how the Hickenlooper administration is handing off the baton with a to-do list

Gov. John Hickenlooper is leaving office next month, but that doesn’t mean he’s planning on having a back-seat role in Colorado’s future. The current administration has given Gov.-elect Jared Polis, a fellow Democrat, a lengthy to-do list that includes performance goals for everything from education to economic development. Polis isn’t beholden to the list, of course, but the document offers guidelines for Polis to build on the current administration’s work, which he pledged to do in his campaign. John Frank has the details.

>> Read the whole story here.

The true story behind the snow-drought relationship

The Pallavicini chairlift at Arapahoe Basin carries skiers and snowboarders on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2019. Snowpack levels across the state are near or above average, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a silver bullet for the state’s drought. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

If you’ve been in the high country lately, you’ve seen snow conditions that look more like midwinter than the typical rock season of early December. That has some feeling confident about the eventual runoff season and what it will mean for Colorado’s drought. But all of this snow might not be the saving grace. “You need more than one great snowpack to pull yourself out of the drought, especially on the heels of a pretty bad water year like we had in 2018,” one water expert told me.

Plus, we’ve got photo sliders in the story!

>> Read the whole story here.

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Our Sunday Opinion Page

// Opinion columnist Mario Nicolais writes that “If we should have learned anything from the defunct ‘War on Drugs,’ it’s that end users aren’t the enemy, they are usually collateral damage with a substantial price tag. Safe injection sites recognize that reality.

// How old should someone have to be to get married in Colorado? At the very least old enough to have a driver’s license, Diane Carman writes in her latest opinion column. The piece comes after The Colorado Sun reported about the state’s lack of a minimum age for marriage and the problems therein.

// Ari Armstrong thinks Republicans need to take a harder look at their slate of candidates as they move forward after the party’s devastating 2018 losses in Colorado.

A quick plug: If you love The Colorado Sun and want EVEN MORE news from us, check us out on Instagram and Facebook.

The Shortlist

Stuff about Colorado worth checking out


// The 2013 government shutdown cost Colorado and other states big sums to keep federal parks open. Utah shelled out nearly $1 million to the federal government and isn’t expecting to see a penny of that back. // The Colorado Sun, The Salt Lake Tribune

// Sunday night was the first night of Hanukkah. I got to enjoy my new, guitar-themed menorah for the first time. In light of the holiday, check out this story looking at the historic wins by Jewish candidates in Colorado’s 2018 elections. // Westword

// Have you checked out The Gazette’s new podcast yet? Colorado Cold Case examines the 2017 slaying of 16-year-old Nate Czajkowski, who was killed in Colorado Springs during the second of two triple shootings that occurred just hours apart. It’s captivating. // The Gazette

// There are a lot of interesting laws out there. Denver7 has a whole story dedicated to weird ones in Colorado, including a ban on firing catapults into buildings in Aspen. In Severance, an ordinance bars people from tossing snowballs. A 9-year-old boy ain’t too happy about that one — who can blame him, really — and is making an early start to his political career in working to overturn the ban. “I want to be able to throw a snowball without getting in trouble,” Dane said. // Denver7, The Greeley Tribune (h/t Julie Turkewitz)

// Six months after the 416 fire began, scorching 54,000 acres in southwest Colorado, authorities still haven’t said what started it. (Suspicion has been swirling around the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.) // Durango Herald

// Now that my main man Dave “From the Burbs” Krause has moved to the Aspen suburbs from the Denver suburbs he wants first-chair lift etiquette to be taught in ski school,  He’s not wrong, but as a fellow first-chairer, I’m not totally sure he’s right… I’m curious to know what your thoughts are. // The Aspen Times (h/t Dave Krause)

// Vic Vela, a reporter from Colorado Public Radio you should know, has the best take on news that the RTD A-Line could be suspended by the feds because of its ongoing problems. // Colorado Public Radio (h/t Vic Vela)

// Montrose is trying to stop teen vaping with a new law. This comes as other mountain towns have raised the age to purchase tobacco and Gov. John Hickenlooper is on an anti -teen-vaping tear. // The Daily Sentinel + CBS4

// Colorado Springs police Chief Pete Carey is retiring. That might seem like small news, but he led the department through a pretty massive transformation when he took the helm in 2011 and then saw the force through the 2015 Planned Parenthood shooting. His tenure didn’t come without controversy. Nonetheless, this is a big moment for southern Colorado’s largest city as it looks to fill his shoes. //  Facebook, Twitter, The Gazette

// Denverite reporter/editor Ashley Dean has an awesome story about the “Weird Goose” she encountered at Denver’s City Park and the *ahem* wild-goose chase that the bird launched her on. // Denverite

// Football is known for a lot of things. Helping non-gender binary middle schoolers navigate a tough age is not one of them. But in Clarksville, Tennessee, that’s exactly what’s happening. This story has nothing to do with Colorado, but it’s something you’ll want to read. // The Leaf Chronicle (h/t Alex Scoville)

Your Thing for Today

The Thing: This Land: America Lost and Found (By Dan Barry)

Why You Might Like It: This has nothing to do with Colorado, but in a lot of ways it has everything to do with Colorado. A new book from New York Times reporter Dan Barry captures all of his “This Land” columns from over the years. They are poetic and compelling and do a better job than anything I’ve read in recent years of capturing the mood of the nation. I particularly love this story about a car crash that severely damaged an Arkansas town’s telephone booth. There aren’t any Colorado-based columns in there, but if you’ve traveled around the state’s rural corners you’ll see some familiar themes in this book.

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.

All right, folks. That’s it for me today as I limp around after a weekend full of skiing. Look for a new Sunriser on Wednesday — with another new author! — and remember to tell everyone you’ve ever met about The Colorado Sun.

Peace out!

— Jesse

The Colorado Sun —

Desk: 720-432-2229

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul