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

Happy Frigid Friday, folks. Alliteration aside, it has been wonderful to actually experience real winter weather again (and a reminder that I need to buy some better gloves). We’ve got a lot to get to today, but I just want to remind you of two things before we dive in:

  • Don’t forget that next Friday (Feb. 15) the staff of The Sun will be hanging out in Boulder, and we’d love for you to drop by and say hi. Details here.
  • Colorado businesses are claiming underwriting slots in this newsletter for the next few months, so if you’re interested in supporting local journalism and getting your name in front of one of the most engaged audiences in the state, send an email to our editor, Larry Ryckman, for rates and availability.

And welcome to all the new members we’ve added this week! (You can join them/us here.)

OK, chatter over. Let’s steep this tea, shall we?


The Latest from The Sun


Women continue to scale outdoor-industry mountains. And they’re giving others a hand on their way up.

Click here to read bios of each of the women featured in this image grid. (Photos by Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)

“The Year of the Woman” has a nice ring to it, but Deanne Buck, the executive director of Camber Outdoors, says, “Really, it’s been the ‘Decade of the Woman,’ and we are nearing the end of the decade.” And as women in executive positions in companies such as SmartWool and Vail Resorts become the new normal, those women are working to help bring the outdoor industry to other overlooked groups.

>> Read Jason Blevins’ report on how the outdoor industry is pushing to be more welcoming to women, people of color and the LGBTQIA community.


Purdue Pharma, sued by Colorado for damages related to the opioid epidemic, says everything it did was FDA-approved

“Contrary to Purdue’s assertions, the State’s claims arise from, and seek relief for, a host of deceptive marketing practices beyond simply promoting opioids as a treatment for chronic pain.”
— From the Colorado Attorney General Office’s response to Purdue’s request

Lawsuits from around the country keep revealing more about the connections between the aggressive marketing tactics by Purdue Pharma and the opioid-overdose epidemic. But in response to Colorado’s lawsuit against the company (read John Ingold’s explainer of the case here), Purdue asked a Denver judge to dismiss the case, saying that all of its marketing was nice and legal.

>> Read John Ingold’s explanation of the motion, including the state’s response, here.


Whistleblower lawsuit claimed READ Act failed because state education officials gave in to political pressure from local school districts

Last week, we published Christopher Osher’s investigation into the failure of the READ Act (which you can read here). Today we have a follow-up, bringing to light a since-dismissed lawsuit that provides a front-row seat to the intense infighting over the legislation that occurred mostly outside of the public’s view. Chief among the criticisms was that the act did not require the money to be spent on specific teaching techniques, and instead allowed each district to use its own programs.

>> Read more, including how treatment of Spanish-speaking students became a sticking point, here.


Colorado lawmakers for a fifth — and probably final — time will weigh whether to ban gay “conversion therapy”

Silas Musick is an activist against conversion therapy for people under the age of 18. After a same-sex relationship in college, Musick studied at Focus on the Family Institute in Colorado Springs but remained gay. Musick later transitioned to male. He was photographed at the Epicentral Coworking shared workspace in Colorado Springs on Feb. 5. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Colorado Democrats have tried to ban gay “conversion therapy” statewide four times, with each previous attempt getting tossed out by Republican-controlled committees. But with Democrats in the majority in both chambers of the statehouse this year, the fifth time looks to be the charm for advocates of the ban. Jennifer Brown has the details of what the bill would entail and why conservative groups continue to push back against the ban.

>> Read the whole story, including accounts from people who underwent conversion therapy, here.


The Fun Stuff


Out in the fiddle of nowhere, old-time music is sprouting forth

Members of The Bluegrass Offenders perform during the first night of the 2019 Pea Green Saturday Night music series in Pea Green on Jan. 26. (William Woody, Special to The Colorado Sun)

I’ll let photographer William Woody do the introduction to this story about how the historic Pea Green Community House lights up with the sounds of Americana: “Way out in the middle of sweet-corn country, at the intersection of two roads on the way to someplace else, is a destination that regularly revives a lost era of American music.”

>> Read William Woody’s story about Pea Green Saturday Night (and watch his video with the sound on) here.



// Jim Morrissey found a new addition to Colorado’s reading curriculum.

// Drew Litton is here to sympathize with your football withdrawal.

//  In this week’s “What’d I Miss,” Ossie questions which friends Myra is seeking out in her post-coma reunion tour. (I say this every week, but seriously, start at the beginning and read through this series. It’s so good and so Denver.)



The noise was as though hell itself had let loose. Yells and hollers raged with snorts and screeching as the reverberating boom launched the line forward—an uncontrollable, unstoppable wave of humanity.

This week’s SunLit takes you straight into the Oklahoma land rush at the end of the 19th century. Colorado author Jayme H. Mansfield, whom you may know from book-club favorite “Chasing the Butterfly,” used her novel “Rush” to explore the story of “Oklahoma Grandma,” her horse-riding, claim-staking, larger-than-life great-great-grandmother. We’ve got an interview with Mansfield and an excerpt of the book to persuade you to make this your next read.



Test your beer knowledge as you watch Wynkoop Brewing’s Beer Drinker of the Year competition at noon Saturday. It’s free to attend. And while you’re there, try Rye’d the Lightning, an amped-up new IPA.

// Denver teachers are set to strike Monday after Gov. Jared Polis decided not to intervene in their pay dispute with Denver Public Schools. But Polis fears that the fallout of an educator walkout could reach far beyond the district’s 92,000 students. // Colorado Sun

// Democrat Andrew Romanoff is making his third bid for Congress, announcing this week that he will try to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020. // Colorado Sun

// The neighborhoods featuring the “most polluted ZIP code” in the country are no longer toxic, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, but the residents breathing the air aren’t so sure. // Denverite

// Soybean farmers, including those in Colorado, are the ones bearing the brunt of the Trump administration’s trade war with China, writes Jonathan Ahl. Related reading: “The messy technological roots of the U.S. trade war with China.” // KUNC, Harvest Public Media

// Coffee cups are contaminating as much as half of Breckenridge’s recycling efforts, according to a new report, highlighting yet again how much our affinity for those paper cups complicates attempts to go green. // Summit Daily News, The Colorado Sun

// Durango and surrounding La Plata County don’t have the best broadband access, which is why Louisa’s Movie House was able to continue for so many years renting DVDs and Blu-rays. But even though broadband isn’t getting much better, the video-rental store is set to close next month. // Durango Herald

// Good news! There isn’t a single Colorado city on this list of the 50 worst cities to live in America. // USA Today

// The big GEO Group immigration detention center in Aurora, which has seen multiple outbreaks of chickenpox, is planning to open a 432-bed annex — and local officials aren’t happy they didn’t get notice. // Westword

// This is a very interesting look at how in 1917 Denver Mayor Robert Speer used what amounted to prison slave labor to bake bread for the city during a period of rising wheat costs. // Denver Public Library

// The federal government shutdown is over, for now. But for local immigrants who had been waiting for a decade to get their day in court, the pause in the immigration court’s backlog during the shutdown has pushed their cases even further down the docket — even into next year. (Don’t miss the great photography by AAron Ontiveroz on this piece.) // The Denver Post

// You may think you understand how a tip works, but in the world of Amazon, any “tip” you give your Amazon Now delivery driver here in Denver doesn’t get added to their daily pay — it becomes part of their base pay. // Los Angeles Times


Today’s Thing


The Thing: A graphic novella introducing a cool new band. (Read the comic here, see a performance here.)

Why You Might Like It: High Country News has been doing some really cool stuff lately, including using its Tribal Affairs desk to tell some of the untold stories of American Indians. Choosing to tell the story of three Navajo women who created their own desert surf rock band (trust me, it’s a real and very cool genre featuring bands such as La Luz) via graphic novel instead of more traditional ways just feels right, and High Country News did a fantastic job in the telling. It also has some behind-the-scenes information and photos about how the piece came together. Nizhóní Girls aren’t on streaming services yet, but you can buy their EP on Bandcamp or see a few of their performances on YouTube. Either way, it’s a pretty good way to think warm thoughts as we wait for the snow to melt.

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.

Now that was a week, folks. I hope it was a satisfying, productive one for you, and if it wasn’t, I hope next week rights the ship. Don’t forget to share the stories you read here far and wide and let people know you found them in The Sunriser (

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday.


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 tech stuff. Email: