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

Good morning and happy Friday, folks! We had a solidly packed week of news, and the new stuff published this morning is no exception, so there won’t be much dilly-dallying here in the intro today.

Let’s herd this yak, shall we?

Fresh powder + Journalism = A win for everyone

Because we’ve had snow on the brain, we’re offering a 10 percent discount for new members of The Sun with the discount code SKISILVERTON19 (details here). Not only will you get a discounted membership to support independent local journalism and the accompanying warm fuzzy feelings, new members will be entered to win two ski passes to Silverton Mountain. The discount is only available through 6 p.m. Sunday, so get cracking.


The Latest from The Sun


#MeToo at the Colorado Capitol stalls

“This should be enough of a priority that the conversation will continue. We can’t pretend to fix it in one year.”
— State Sen. Faith Winter

A year after a series of #MeToo moments shook the foundations of the Colorado statehouse, many of the promised changes to how the Capitol culture handles sexual harassment complaints remain unfinished. John Frank talked to lawmakers pushing for change about the challenges and the particular steps that need to be taken.

>> Read the whole article, including which parts of the plan are getting pushback from lawmakers.


A state report says Colorado hospitals shifted billions in costs to privately insured patients


This table shows how much money various types of coverage underpaid or overpaid hospitals relative to how much the services cost. The cost shift to private insurance reached $1.2 billion in 2017. (From the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing’s draft Cost Shift Analysis Report, page 17.)

In the murky, often-confusing world of hospital billing, one thing hospital administrators will tell you with regularity is that Medicare and Medicaid payments don’t match up with the costs of care. But as an explosive new state report shows, in the years since Obamacare and the expansion of Medicaid in Colorado, hospitals are overcharging people with private insurance relative to the cost of care by the billions, more than wiping out any losses from Medicare and Medicaid with a surplus over $1.2 billion.

>> Read John Ingold’s easy-to-follow explainer of the report and how this data will factor into Gov. Jared Polis’ push to rein in medical costs in Colorado.


Ouray’s iconic ice park ready for the future


Climbers work their way up the frozen walls in the Ouray Ice Park on Dec. 29, 2018. (William Woody, Special to The Colorado Sun)

I’m not going to spend much time selling Jason Blevins’ excellent explainer of how the Ouray Ice Park, after 25 years of transforming the town’s winter economy on the backs of volunteer labor and sweetheart access deals, has emerged from a rocky transition in management, or how the work done to preserve the park could be a blueprint for other troubled Western wonders. Because I know you’re already sold and want to go look at some gorgeous photos.

>> Click on through to see ice climbers in action and see just how fraught the park’s new plan really was.


Three ballet companies click heels for a whirlwind, puppet-filled “Wizard of Oz” in Denver


The Winged Monkeys watch from the wings during a Colorado Ballet rehearsal for the upcoming performances of The Wizard of Oz on Friday, Dec. 11 2019 at the Ballet’s Armstrong Center for Dance in Denver. (Andy Colwell, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Three ballet companies from around North America. Ten-foot-tall flying monkeys. Dueling egos, 100 costume changes, wired tornado choreography and a big-eyed little Toto puppet. These are just some of the components behind the whirlwind “Wizard of Oz” performance coming to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in February.

>> Read Mark Jaffe’s tale of how the million-dollar-plus production came together (and see more behind the scenes photos) here.   




Kirk Woundy, communications and grants manager for the National Alliance on Mental Illness affiliate in Colorado Springs, holds “Below the Surface” posters created for an awareness campaign to prevent youth suicide. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)


The Fun Stuff



“Don’t let your guard down, keep learning.”
— Charlie Papazian

John Frank talked to Charlie Papazian, a founder and former leader of the Brewers Association and author of the million-plus-selling “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” book (aka a “father of craft beer”) on the eve of his retirement. If you’re a beer lover, you need to read these words of wisdom.


The brewers at New Belgium are officially making beer at their new location inside The Source hotel in Denver. Wander inside and watch them work from a balcony over the brewery, then head to The Woods tasting room on the eighth floor to try the stout. It is rich in color and flavor but finishes lighter and dry from the clever use of a saison yeast.


I was born but I shouldn’t have been.

That’s one of the jarring lines from this week’s SunLit pick, Charlotte Hinger’s “Fractured Families.” In this interview, author Hinger talks about the real-life setting for this “diabolical” murder mystery, the creepy “Garden of Eden” in central Kansas.

>> Read an excerpt from the Colorado Book Award finalist “Fractured Families.”



// Now, I’m not going to hold this comic against Jim Morrissey. Mostly because I am an electric scooter owner who used beard wax this morning and part of being That Guy™ is acknowledging that you are That Guy. Besides, I’ve almost eliminated plaid from my wardrobe as a small effort to avoid falling into this stereotype.

// In this week’s What’d I Miss? Myra reaches out to an old friend and finds something … less than friendly. (I really, really recommend reading this strip from the beginning.)

// Oy what a day for the state’s big school districts.

// Chalkbeat looks at the compensation for substitute teachers in Denver ($100/day during non-strike times) and how that compares to cities around the country. // Chalkbeat Colorado

// This is a striking story from Jackson Hole: After a woman was stuck in snow and slowly suffocating, her hot pink skis got the attention of a Boulder County man who was able to rescue her. // Jackson Hole News & Guide

// Two words: yak ranching.  // The Denver Post

// Three things are turning Lake Powell into a “dead pool”: climate change, politics and growth. // The Salt Lake Tribune

// One of the most interesting things going in prep sports (besides Regis Jesuit’s Fran Belibi dunking her way onto SportsCenter) is the steady rise of girls wrestling. Check out this feature on a brother-sister wrestling duo in Gilcrest and Brad Cochi’s piece on the growing demand for a girls wrestling division in Colorado. // ESPN, Greeley Tribune, BoCo Preps

// As is often the case, a man who was arrested after threatening to “kill as many girls” as he saw before the Womxn’s March in Denver has a lengthy history of harassment, threats and stalking charges. // The Denver Post

// As a palate cleanser: Here’s a Steamboat Springs truck with a whole bunch of stickers. (note to self: send him a Colorado Sun bumper sticker) // 9News


Today’s Thing


The Thing: “Jump Into The Fire” by LCD Soundsystem (Listen on Spotify & YouTube)

Why You Might Like It: I’m a big Harry Nilsson fan (you could spend all day just reading his Wikipedia page) and one of my favorite songs of his is “Jump Into the Fire.” I’m also a big fan of LCD Soundsystem, but somehow didn’t discover that the latter covered the former during their legendary “retirement” show at Madison Square Garden in 2011. Live recordings don’t usually do it for me (Bowie live at Santa Monica 1972 is a notable exception) but man, LCD Soundsystem does that crazy, rollicking song justice and then some on that recording. It’s Driving Away From The Office On A Friday Night Music™ of the highest order.

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.

We did it. Another Sunriser and another week in the books. Don’t forget about our special membership offer/drawing for those Silverton Mountain ski passes. If you’re already a member, maybe tell someone you think would appreciate the work we’re doing to pick up a discounted membership (details here) — and maybe they’ll take you with?

No matter how you spend the weekend, I hope it’s a good one. See you on Monday.


Chief Technology Officer

Austin, TX

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 has been in the daily Colorado news ever since.

Topic expertise: Photography, technology, data visualization, user experience, cooking

Education: Bachelor of Arts from Chadron State College, most of a master's degree in history from the University of Colorado Denver

Honors & Awards: Online Journalism Awards — Excellence in Social Media Engagement, Small Newsroom

Professional membership: Online News Association


X (Formerly Twitter): @brofax
Threads: @brofax
Instagram: @brofax
Mastodon: @brofax
Bluesky: @brofax