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I should have written this newsletter last night, but wanted to wait to hear what was said at the funeral of President George H.W. Bush. Since he died Friday at age 94, I have been wracking my brain for a feeling — any feeling — about his presidency. There has been nattering around the office about this misstep or that during his one-term presidency. And I laughed to tears when Saturday Night Live paid tribute to him by replaying hilarious Dana Carvey impressions and Bush’s equally funny response. But my feeling for the man is just neutral.
Sure, I can remember sitting head between my knees in the locker room during grad school, worried that Scud missiles flying around the Middle East during the Gulf War were going to kill my best friend, who was living in Jerusalem. But beyond that, nothing. And I think that is a good thing. His presidency is marked by a sense of service and diplomacy, work done in the service of the nation, not in service to self. His idea of a “thousand points of light” was made fun of when he uttered it during his 1988 run for president. He intended to shine light on the power of community and religious organizations, and that’s what I’m thinking about this morning. In particular, I’m reflecting on a letter he wrote a decade later to further explain himself:
“Some of my happiness still comes from trying to be in my own small way a true ‘point of light,’” Bush wrote. “I believe I was right when I said, as president, there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others. So I do that now, and I gain happiness.”Alright. Let’s light that light!
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How bad is trying to sign up for health insurance here? Not as bad as in the rest of the U.S.
If you’re buying medical insurance on Connect for Health Colorado, and you want to be covered on Jan. 1, you need get in there by Dec. 15. And it turns out a lot of people are opting for coverage through the exchange even as numbers dwindle nationally. About 15 percent of those signing up in Colorado are new customers. John Ingold explains why we’re bucking the trend — at least for now.
You bring the bobsled track, we’ll handle the downhill
Sometimes a big, important family party is too much for one person to handle, so attendees are asked to bring a dish, or maybe help set the table or do the dishes, right? The 36-member Denver and Colorado Olympic and Paralympic Exploratory Committee has come up with the functional equivalent, proposing that Colorado co-host the 2030 Winter Games with cities that already have expensive venues, like a bobsled track. Former Gov. Dick Lamm told Jason Blevins he still thinks Coloradans should vote on the matter.
Hick’s Hail Mary to solve our Gallagher tax problem failed. Now what?
I think everyone understood that Gov. John Hickenlooper’s request that the state Supreme Court solve our Gallagher Amendment tax problem was a long shot. So what are we going to do now to solve the looming budget crisis that this fall led more than 100 special districts anticipating budget cuts because of the state tax mess to directly ask voters to fund fire departments, schools, hospitals and library districts? Brian Eason talked to a ton of people and it looks like there are maybe five possible routes the legislature could take to solve the problem. Will they work? Well, that’s another issue.
Xcel cites climate change, promises zero carbon emissions by 2050
In case you missed it yesterday, Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility, pledged to reduce the amount of carbon emitted during electricity generation by 80 percent by 2030 and to zero by 2050. Yes, yes, the zero carbon emissions goal is aspirational. Oh, and as Jesse Paul reports, we might be needing to get comfortable with nuclear power again.
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Stuff about Colorado worth checking out
// Severance — the Northern Colorado town more famous for a different type of balls — Monday night overturned its municipal prohibition on throwing snowballs. You can thank a 9-year-old for moving his government to action. // Coloradoan, Greeley Tribune
// One of these times I’m gonna be around to hear Klaus Obermeyer yodel for his birthday. Happy 99th to the man who gave us puffy down coats. Also, he told Jason Blevins last summer that skiing is easier than walking. // Aspen Times, (h/t Jenn Fields, and @nextlevelskiing)
// If you want to send Obermeyer a card, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. The U.S. Postal Service is observing the National Day of Mourning in honor of President George H.W. Bush. However package delivery will continue as usual. // USPS
// Crestone Peak and 8 North still are fighting over their ability to drill for oil and gas under Boulder County open space, but Extraction Oil and Gas seems to have gotten a deal together to do a project under a farm owned by Larimer County. The Little Thompson Farm project will help pay back some of the $8.4 million the county Department of Natural Resources paid for the former Malchow farm. // Daily Camera, Loveland Reporter-Herald
// I guess I was shielded/off at college or something when the horrific hammer murders occurred in Aurora back in 1984, so much so that the killer known as “Hammerman” barely registered when I read Matthew Sullivan’s novel “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore.” (Highly recommend, BTW.) About five minutes after I finished the fiction, the truth turned interesting, with a suspect in the unsolved murder being arrested in Nevada. Alleged spree killer Alex Christopher Ewing was ordered extradited to Colorado on Tuesday. // 9News, @writerkev
// Can we just stipulate that Greenwood Village-based Perky Jerky probably didn’t anticipate that John Allen Chau, the “micro influencer” it sent jerky to in exchange for promoting its caffeine-infused snacks on social media, was going to set off an international incident and get killed trying to proselytize to a mostly uncontacted community on a remote island in the Indian Ocean? // NYT
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Your Thing for Today
The Thing: “Civil / Wild #1 The Vulture Trees,” by Sue Ring deRosset, illustrated by Jessica Owings Crouch
Why You Might Like It: A beautiful essay by naturalist Sue Ring deRosset memorializing the tragic beauty of turkey vultures and lamenting the loss of massive trees that once drew them to her Fort Collins neighborhood. Originally published in Matterhorn journal a few years ago, the writing has been reprinted as a chapbook illustrated with linocut prints by Jessica Owings Crouch. Wolverine Farm — a publishing house and creative space where classes are taught for all kinds of makers — has packaged the book with a half-dozen postcards of Crouch’s linocuts printed on the farm’s Vandercook SP15 letterpress. The book is numbered as though there is a Civil / Wild series afoot. Here’s hoping so. ($12 at wolverinefarm.org or off the shelf at The Emporium at The Elizabeth Hotel in Old Town Fort Collins.)
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.
That’s all from the Northern Colorado Sunriser bureau. We’ll be back in your email box on Friday with another puny pretender standing in for Lubbers while he’s off getting tan, fit and ready for the new year.
In the meantime, have a great today and tomorrow, and don’t forget to tell everyone you know to read every story ever published by The Colorado Sun.