Hello from the winter wonderland that is Denver. I didn’t do my due diligence on my weather reports over the weekend, so I’ll admit that I was surprised by the sunrise blanket of snow, especially because I took my insistent puppy out for a 2 a.m. walk and there wasn’t a flake on the ground. Fast forward four hours and I could have carved my way through fresh powder down the steps of the Capitol (it’s been done before! Check this photo I took 12 years ago during the blizzard of ’06).
We have a pretty wild variety of stories in today’s edition, so let’s sear this bulgogi, shall we?
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>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Move over China, the biggest buyer of Colorado beef is South Korea
Tamara Chuang has a fascinating story about how the mechanism of international trade — and culinary tastes — affects the feedlots that dot Colorado’s agricultural community. From selling all the parts of a cow that Americans don’t usually eat to pushing steaks from the Western U.S. as a brand for South Korean consumers, watching the wheels of international commerce work in our own backyard is really something.
The Democrats control Colorado’s government. So how do Republicans stay relevant?
“Republicans are in an unbelievable pickle. And what do you do? Do you make everything a fight to the death?”
— Former state Sen. Greg Brophy, an Eastern Plains Republican who was in the minority during 10 of his 12 years in the Colorado legislature.
Jesse Paul talked to a broad swath of what has become, at least for the next two years, Colorado’s minority party about what tools they have at their disposal. While some are focused on having a voice in legislation, others are already deploying filibuster-like protests and news releases to make their presence known.
Hospitals in Colorado are trying to stop opioid addiction before it starts
“I wouldn’t say it’s great. But it’s getting better.”
— Rob Valuck, the director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
Reporter John Ingold has some positive news on Colorado’s battle against the opioid epidemic this morning: hospitals are taking new steps to dramatically reduce opioid prescriptions. And they seem to be working as officials struggle to stem the tide of overdose deaths.
More from The Sun
- “It feels like a Band-Aid”: Colorado federal workers’ unemployment claims were up to nearly 3,000 — with almost $450,000 paid out already — before Friday’s short-term shutdown deal was reached.
- Michael Bennet, in the wake of his now-viral rant against Ted Cruz, floated what would be the largest public lands bill since 1993 that would protect 400,000 acres across Colorado.
- AP has the rundown of what is the first prosecution of a legal pot enterprise in the U.S. in Colorado.
>> FROM THE OPINION PAGE
- Former Denver Post opinion editor and current University of Colorado instructor Chuck Plunkett gave a speech about some of the more treacherous threats facing local journalism in our backyard and around the country. (A big shoutout to our former colleagues at The Denver Post who are continuing to put out quality journalism — more on that below — under difficult circumstances.)
- Former state Sen. Cheri Jahn (one-time Democrat who switched to Unaffiliated for the last years of her time at the statehouse) writes that facts, not ideology, should drive Colorado’s transition to renewable energy from oil and gas.
- Gary Wockner argues that population growth is the fly in the ointment for Colorado’s fight to rein in climate change.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// Jessica Seaman with The Denver Post launched a series on families with multiple Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses called “Mourning the Living.” With photography by Helen Richardson and some excellent graphics (including a stark reminder that Alzheimer’s is the only Top 10 cause-of-death disease that can’t be prevented, cured or even slowed), this is a series you’re going to want to check out. // The Denver Post
// Sign of the times: Two artists and designers are leaving the high rents and insecurity of Denver for the affordability and stability of *checks notes* New York City. // Westword
// On this suddenly snowy day, think warm thoughts and imagine driving the 643 miles of I-25 (Denver to Las Cruces) that Gustavo Arellano has dubbed the “Great American Chile Highway.” It’s a great look at the shared Colorado/New Mexico culinary heritage and a reminder that people outside of the region might not know what “smothered” means. // Eater
// The Sentinel looks at the story of a black family leaving Grand Junction after “the little things” — acts of discrimination and racism — added up to too much for them to take. // GJ Daily Sentinel
// This story about the ’70s and ’80s regional trend of “Pizza and Pipes” (basically a pizza cafeteria featuring a huge pipe organ and light show, a precursor to Chuck E. Cheese) is a very fun read, even if it only has the most tenuous connection to Colorado. That connection? The world’s largest Wurlitzer organ, currently inside Arizona’s Organ Stop Pizza, was originally built in 1927 for the Denver Theater. // Citylab
// New year, new minimum wage, new story about restaurants dealing with the increase. // Coloradoan
// Colorado has its first-ever woman in charge of state agriculture. KUNC’s Esther Honig has a nice interview with Kate Greenberg about her history and challenges for young farmers in Colorado. // Harvest Public Media
// Two quick things on climate change: Quartz’s latest “obsession” is skiing — and its warmer, less accessible future. Meanwhile, glacial retreat exacerbated by climate change is revealing land that hasn’t been ice-free for 40,000 years, according to a new CU study. // Quartz, CU Boulder
>> TODAY’S THING
Why You Might Like It: When Spotify’s hard-working algorithm suggested a song off an album with the unwieldy title of “Ethiopiques, vol. 21: Emahoy (Piano Solo),” I was confused and skipped it. But when it suggested another track, I gave in and found a whole album of music that might be the perfect music to write to (newsletters or otherwise). And it turns out this extremely pleasant music doesn’t even scratch the surface of the career of what The Guardian called “Ethiopia’s Honky Tonk Nun.” Fittingly, it’s perfect music for staying focused on a snow day.
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 hope you’re enjoying your hot beverage of choice by now, but if not, be safe out there.
In the meantime, don’t forget to let your family and friends know about The Colorado Sun and consider joining us, for just $5 a month, to help ensure our longevity. We’re all in this together and your help — whether via membership or just helping us get the word out — can make all the difference.