Compiled by Eric Lubbers, eric@coloradosun.com
CTO/Newsletter Wrangler, @brofax

Good morning, Colorado! Forgive my exclamation-point enthusiasm, but I’m just back in our beautiful state after a week in sunny Akumal for my first out-of-state (let alone out of the country) vacation in more than two years. Sure, like most people back from vacation I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out how to permanently live on that beach (or at least split time), but I was genuinely excited to get back to Colorado and back to work.

I have to stop and take a moment to thank my amazing coworkers for stepping into Sunriser duties and absolutely crushing the task at hand (if you missed any of them, you can read them here).

But we’ve got a weekend’s worth of news to get to, so let’s juice this lime, shall we?


JUST IN: Nix this futuristic transportation off Denver’s list: Arrivo isn’t arriving. The high-speed pod transport that aimed to move people from downtown Denver to DIA in 9 minutes has ended plans to build a test track near an unused E-470 toll station and development facility in Commerce City as Tamara Chuang reports. Read the whole story here.


Declining number of avalanche deaths in Colorado, the West, have people feeling hopeful


About 30 snowmobile trailheads in Colorado feature these solar-powered, beacon-checking signs, urging motorized backcountry travelers to carry avalanche equipment. (Scott Jones, Provided by Colorado Snowmobile Association)

“We are seeing a success story. But the source of that success is very complicated.”

— Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center

I’m going to spoil the big number in Jason Blevins’ gripping story: 11. That’s the number of avalanche fatalities in Colorado over the past four years, which is the lowest of any four-year stretch since the 1970s in the state. But even though I spoiled one stat, you need to click through to read Jason’s story of how the state — and the entire Western U.S. (including Alaska) — has been using technology and training (and luck and weather) to reduce the number of fatalities.

>> Read the whole story here.

RELATED: While the number of deaths is going down, Jason found a worrisome growing trend of avoidable accidents in the data. Read more about the basic mistakes skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers are making.

The world’s first marijuana-derived pharmaceutical is now available for prescription. So why can’t patients get it?

Bottles of Epidiolex are seen at a production facility. Epidiolex is a tincture derived from marijuana plants and FDA approved to treat seizures. (Provided by Greenwich Biosciences)

You probably haven’t heard of Epidiolex (EH-peh-DYE-oh-lex, according to the FDA). It doesn’t have commercials during football games or posters in your doctor’s office. It does happen to be the first FDA-approved drug based on compounds derived from marijuana, though. But as John Ingold reports, many patients (mostly children with rare seizure disorders) who have been prescribed the drug are still waiting to receive it weeks after their prescription.

>> Read why the CBD-based drug is so hard to acquire here.

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Stuff about Colorado worth checking out

 

// Bad sports news: This is the first time since 1964 that the Broncos will miss the playoffs, the big college football teams are all missing bowl games and all four teams will have losing records. Good sports news: The Nuggets are in first place in late December in the ridiculously competitive Western Conference, the Avs are 18-9-6 and playing phenomenally and the state has two teams in the NCAA Football Division-II top 25. // Brian Howell, Mike Singer, Sportsnet, NCAA.com

// Folks, we’ve got an old-fashioned, horseback cattle rustler on the loose in eastern Aurora. And as my Twitter friend Miles Buckingham pointed out, it’s time for the 58 professional livestock brand inspectors employed by the state of Colorado to shine. // 9News, Colorado.gov

// There’s a subhead in this story (“The best and worst cities in America for public transportation, according to an urban planner”) that reads What city is doing it wrong? Take a wild guess which city map is under that headline. Key quote:

“I think one city, for example, is Denver, which has built a huge amount of transit, but in the process of building a huge amount of transit, they haven’t actually reached a lot of the places where people want to go.” // Vox

// Denverite is kicking off “Map Week” with a look at all the weird little places inside the map of the City of Denver that aren’t actually part of Denver, including an apartment complex with one tower in Denver and one in Arapahoe County and a single house that is technically in Jefferson County.  // Denverite

// I was already excited to see “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” but finding out that local hip-hop star Trev Rich is on the soundtrack has me even more jazzed up for it. // 303 Magazine

// Here’s a bunch of nouns I didn’t expect to see in a single headline: “Planned Windsor Drag Queen Story Hour sparks controversy// Windsor Tribune

// Have you heard of #agtwitter? The little hashtag on Twitter went from a way to discuss fertilizer and farm equipment to a surprisingly open space for farmers battling depression and isolation to get connected. // KUNC

 

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TRAVEL

Your Thing(s) for Today

The Thing(s): The Mobile Passport App (Download it here) & Travel-sized Space Bags (Amazon, Bed, Bath & Beyond)

Why You Might Like It: I’m not a seasoned traveler (as in, I can count the number of plane trips I’ve taken without running out of fingers). But I’ve wanted to be a seasoned traveler my whole life and I read a lot of tips and tricks to file away for the rare occasion I get to use them. These two things saved me so much of the two most precious things on an international trip (space and time) that I had to share them.

Mobile Passport App: This is a mandatory app if you are traveling out of the country. You know all of the rigamarole you go through in customs (answering questionnaires, taking that weird monochrome photo of yourself, etc.)? This free app (authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection) lets you do all of that while you wait to deboard your plane. While that’s good, the secret is that there are special lines for mobile passport users at DIA that saved us at least 45 minutes of waiting in line on Saturday. Go ahead and download it now, even if you don’t have a trip coming up, so you can remember it and feel like a genius next time you do.

Space bags: I picked up this pack from Bed, Bath & Beyond, but a look around the internet shows a number of bags with similar tech. It’s a simple concept done well: A big Ziploc bag with a one-way air valve on one side. You fold a stack of clothes, put it in the bag, seal it up and slowly roll the bag until all the air is out (watch this for a few seconds to get the gist). Using two of the carry-on size, I was able to pack for a seven-day trip in my standard backpack, including all of my various camera gear and electronics.

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.


I’m going to leave today’s Sunriser with a link and a request.

First, the link: Read this opinion piece from Bloomberg’s Cathy O’Neil. It’s a frightening look at the pieces of a fully functional Big Brother surveillance state being assembled around the world. And what’s more frightening is how so many parts of what you do every day (shopping, social media and even reading news sites) are adding to the big pile of data that could potentially be used against you should that system come to pass here in the U.S.

Now, the request:Become a member of The Colorado Sun (or if you’re already a member, get your friends/family/neighbors signed up for our newsletters).

How are those two things related? The Colorado Sun is committed to publishing a clean website that is free of the tracking and advertising software that is rampant on most other news websites. (Note: We do use Google Analytics, but we pay to keep that data private even from Google itself.) And while we have active (and useful!) Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, we are also working to create a large community of readers right here via email newsletters to cut out Big Tech middle men.

Your direct connection to The Sun with a membership not only supports the journalism we do, but it’s a great way for you to stay informed about your state without participating in the Big Data machine.

And on that cheery note, I hope you have a fantastic day and week! And as always, if you’ve got thoughts or ideas, my inbox is open.

—Eric

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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...