Compiled by Eric Lubbers,
CTO/Newsletter Wrangler, @brofax

Good morning and happy windy Monday, folks! It’s the first full, five-day week after the holiday season, which inevitably becomes a marathon of catching up on email, returning phone calls and otherwise plugging yourself back into reality.

If you missed the last few weeks of Colorado Sun stories, one of the quickest ways to get caught up is to look at our archives for The Sunriser, which you can find here. But before you click away to catch up, we’re diving headfirst into the new year today with stories from Colorado’s mountain towns, the halls of the statehouse in Denver and … the South Pole. Yes, really.

Let’s thump this melon, shall we?

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Amazon deliveries — essential in Colorado mountain towns — causing package pile-ups, long lines at tiny post offices


Customers wait their turn in line, many for up to an hour, in the Crested Butte Post Office on Dec. 31, 2018. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

One quirk of living in an “end-of-the-pavement” community like Crested Butte is the practice of heading into the local post office to pick up your mail, because the small post office doesn’t even offer home delivery. That’s fine for a P.O. box full of letters, but as mountain towns increasingly rely on online shopping from places like Amazon for everything from essentials to Christmas gifts, the lines to pick up packages are spilling out into the street and residents are bringing supplies to help pass the time. Nancy Lofholm has the story about small-town post offices struggling to keep pace with the Amazonification of shopping.

>> Read the whole story, including the very Colorado reason the post office is having trouble hiring.


Colorado polar explorer Eric Larsen falls short on record-setting push to the South Pole

“I feel like I’m pretty good at working alone, but 15 hours of just nothing was something I’ve never experienced before in my life. That was hard.”
— Eric Larsen

“Ambitious” doesn’t quite encapsulate just how daunting Eric Larsen’s goal was: Ski across 700 miles of Antarctic ice and reach the South Pole in just 24 days. He’d set records like this before (see Jason Blevins’ previous report), but this one was going to be even tougher. The headline technically spoils the result, the story of his attempt is riveting and will make you think twice before complaining about taking the dog out during the next snow storm here in Colorado.

>> Read Larsen’s tale, written by Jason Blevins, and see some videos of him in action here.


Meet America’s first pot governor, Jared Polis

“He doesn’t want to go slowly about pot at all. I’m not saying it’s wrong, it just different. We thought at the beginning we should go more cautiously. He wants to go fast.”
— Outgoing Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Jared Polis

When John Frank labels Jared Polis — who officially takes office tomorrow — the first “pot governor,” it’s not just media shorthand. Polis was one of the most high-profile and earliest politicians in Colorado to support the legalization and regulation of marijuana, and he made the industry a core part of his election campaign (more on that here). Now that he’s in office, the industry expects a closer embrace than they experienced with Gov. Hickenlooper.

>> Read about how the industry is looking to Polis to move it forward here.


Colorado politics, with “Pop-Up Video” style context

I know that you probably had a busy Friday last week and didn’t really get to dig into our new Capitol Sunlight project. Part of that project is rethinking some of the traditional ways we cover politics in Colorado. The two new Democratic leaders of the state House and Senate delivered their opening remarks on Friday, and they were chock-full of insider references to past drama, coded policy talk and other stuff that you need to be an expert to decipher.

Luckily, we’ve got two such experts on staff! They created annotated (think VH1’s “Pop-Up Video” but for text) editions of each speech that put the necessary context right in line with the remarks. Check out the links below to get up to speed as the legislature kicks into high gear this morning.

>> Senate President Leroy Garcia’s opening remarks are notable for what he didn’t mention.

>> House Speak KC Becker outlines aggressive agenda in her opening remarks.


We’re now in week three of the government shutdown, which means a third week of nearly 800,000 federal employees going without pay. Have you, your family, friends or business experienced effects of the shutdown? Share your story with us and send it to with “Shutdown” in the subject line.


From the Opinion Page

// Diane Carman says that as “Denverization” becomes a dirty word around the country, she has a list of ways the next mayor can un-Denverize the city.

// Mario Nicolais says that voters — and the state GOP — are watching Democrats closely as they figure out the boundaries of the mandate voters handed them in November.

The Shortlist

Stuff about Colorado worth checking out


// Denver (measured at DIA) received less precipitation last year than Phoenix, which last I checked was in an actual desert. // Westword

// The Greeley Tribune launched a major investigative package titled “Life on the Edge” about the nearly one-third of Weld County residents who struggle to make ends meet, even while working multiple jobs. // Greeley Tribune

// This is a pretty insidious scam: “Don’t Buy Offers Of ‘Cheap’ Tickets To Breckenridge Snow Sculpting Event; It’s Free// KUNC

// One of the best ways to track just how intense development has become around Denver is DenverInfill’s tower crane census, which tracks every single tower crane installed and working around the city. The winter 2018 edition of the census is out so you can identify exactly what your local tower crane is helping to build. // DenverInfill

// There are two great journalists involved in this next link: Gustavo Arellano wrote a really excellent piece about Westword’s eternal editor Patty Calhoun on the alt-weekly’s perseverance as the media landscape bucks and shifts around it. // High Country News

// A restaurant transplanted from Aspen to downtown Denver is working to preserve native Oaxacan peppers by putting them in delicious-looking dishes. // The Know

Your Thing for Today

The Thing: The “pressure cooker” tag on Serious Eats (Link)

Why You Might Like It: I first got an Instant Pot in the dog days of summer in 2016. I tried a few of the trendy recipes at first, created a Hatch green chile/sweet corn chowder to take advantage of what was in season at the time (it was delicious) and then … I just kind of stopped using it. Maybe it’s my very small kitchen, but often, it seemed like more trouble than it was worth to haul it off the shelf. But then I was tipped off to Serious Eats’ tag page for “pressure cooker,” where there are easy(ish) recipes for everything from risotto to enchiladas to the dish I made last night — anchovies and all — “Pressure Cooker American Beef Stew.” It was an umami bomb featuring the aforementioned anchovies, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and, in a first for me, unflavored gelatin to create the silkiest broth I’ve ever made. All with about 45 minutes of prep work! So if you just got an Instant Pot over the holidays or it’s been gathering dust on your shelf for a while, it’s a great, free jumping off point to get inspired.

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 it for today. We’ve got a big week, month and year planned here at The Sun, and your support is the gas in our engine (or the charge in our battery, to be more forward-thinking). It may not seem like much, but every time you share one of our stories or let people know that you’re reading and enjoying The Sun, it helps widen our readership a little bit at a time. And every little bit helps us get to our goal of helping the whole state understand itself better.

Thanks again, and have a great week!

— Eric

Eric Lubbers is one of the co-founders of The Colorado Sun, focused on making technology work hand-in-hand with journalism. He was born and raised in Yuma, Colorado, and since starting his career with the Rocky Mountain News/YourHub in 2005...