Good morning and happy Wednesday the 13th! I thought putting that in italics would make it sound scary, but the only people truly frightened by today are the unfortunate souls who get paid on the 15th of the month who suddenly remember that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. It’s a never-ending struggle for romance here in the world of late capitalism. If you’re scrambling for a gift, there’s always The Colorado Sun store (membership gift cards don’t need to be shipped, hint, hint).
Don’t forget that you can still come participate in a totally platonic, journalistic lovefest in Boulder with the staff of The Sun on Friday (Feb. 15). All the details are here.
But we’ve got news for lovebirds, the lovelorn and everyone in between to get to, so let’s box these chocolates already, shall we?
>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Lawmakers want to drastically expand Colorado’s troubled immigrant driver’s license program
“This was a completely partisan issue back in 2013. There were no Republican (lawmakers) who supported the program whatsoever. Now, that’s changed — and I think that’s laudable.”
— Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City and a sponsor of this year’s bill
A program that advocates say makes Colorado roads safer — and detractors say encourages illegal immigration — could get a huge expansion after years of partisan gridlock. The program lets drivers that can’t prove legal residence but have passed driving exams get a driver’s license, which supporters say decreases the number of uninsured drivers on the roads and helps fill agricultural jobs that require licenses. But with 190,000 unauthorized immigrants in the state and only four DMV offices that could accept appointments, the backlog kept many people from participating.
What might be the coolest MBA program in the country is in Gunnison
The 23 Western Colorado University students in the school’s outdoor MBA program, pictured here at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver, have one year left. The program is centered on them being able to work in the industry while also taking classes. (Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Out at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, the business school is taking on one of the biggest gaps in the $887 billion outdoor economy: Creating home-grown business leaders who are as comfortable in a kayak as they are in a boardroom. And with more than double the expected applicants in the first year, this first-in-the-nation outdoor industry MBA program is already taking off.
A Denver-based lobbying firm, still working for Saudi Arabia, met with the White House amid the fallout from the killing of a journalist
In the weeks after the brutal murder of U.S. resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey — an act U.S. Central Intelligence says was ordered by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman — Denver-based powerhouse lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck obtained a meeting with a White House official on behalf of the kingdom. As John Ingold reports, the firm released a statement saying the meeting was about “current legislative status” and not Khashoggi, but documents filed by the firm show that the lobbying would likely have at least touched on the killing.
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>> DON’T MISS
- The private data of more than 90,000 Coloradans were breached since Sept. 1, which we only know because of a new state law requiring companies to disclose it. Tamara Chuang finds out why there were likely more unreported data breaches.
- WARNING, GRAPHIC DETAILS: Colorado lawmakers are working to close a loophole in the legal definition of sexual contact that overturned a man’s conviction for sexually assaulting one of his foster children. Read Jesse Paul’s story for the graphic details of the case and why lawmakers were outraged at the loophole.
- One Colorado electric co-op’s fight for renewable energy could upend how rural communities are powered. Mark Jaffe’s story is a master class in both the current backbone of rural electricity in the West, as well as a guide to how that could all change.
- A major public lands bill that reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which adds 1.3 million acres of protected wilderness, expands national parks and creates five new national monuments, just overwhelmingly passed the Senate.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// The temporary tiny home village in Denver needed a new plot of land, but after the city said land at the Taxi development wasn’t appropriate, the city decided to move it to Globeville. As Donna Bryson writes, both the tiny home residents and Globeville neighbors feel mistreated in the process, leading to a tearful and tense community meeting. // Denverite
// There’s a lot more foreign-owned farmland in America than you’d think. You can see exactly which countries own land near you with this tool, which is how I found out that there is a lot of land in Yuma County owned by Swedish and Japanese companies. // Modern Farmer, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
// Hope you like hot weather. According to a study from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Denver’s weather will resemble the historic climate of Texas. (UMCES released a tool so you can play with predictions yourself, but it seems to have broken under the weight of people concerned about their future). // The Atlantic
// The latest on the Denver teachers’ strike:
- The strike will continue for a third day, after the first full day of negotiations showed a little progress. // The Denver Post
- Only about half of the teachers in DPS used to choose to join the union. But in the ramp up to the strike, the union ranks grew to 72 percent. // Chalkbeat Colorado
- Some immigrant teachers are too afraid of being reported to DHS to join the strike. // Chalkbeat Colorado
- Two Denver teachers wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post explaining what drove them to strike. // The Washington Post
- In the same vein, CNN came to town to talk to Denver teachers about their second (and third) jobs. // CNN
- One of the most interesting aspects of the strike protests themselves: Student journalists sending video and photos from inside schools (like this East High hallway dance party) are receiving pushback from their school administration, despite Colorado being a state that provides specific protection against censorship of high school students. // The Denver Post, The Washington Post
// Florence residents might be getting a new neighbor: El Chapo. // CPR News
// As a Cap Hill resident and non-drinker who is often out in the wee hours of the morning, the news that Tom’s Diner is for sale is a huge bummer. // The Know
// Good news for anyone looking to buy an old ski recreation area in Greeley with a cool name: Sharktooth is for sale. (Backstory here, including memories of their best-selling concession item: Hot Dr. Pepper.) // Greeley Tribune
// Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins is a pile of rubble, but neighbors are already concerned about the 600- to 700-home development that will take its place. // Fort Collins Coloradoan
// If that sounds familiar (neighbors raising hackles against any new housing while the state continues to have a massive housing crunch), David Sachs lays out the almost formulaic pattern that comes with seemingly every new development plan along the Front Range. // Denverite
// Tech investor news: After Zayo Group in Boulder rejected buyout offers, an activist investor urged the telecom to reconsider and now two public-equity firms are revising their offers, according to the New York Business Journal. Zayo also clarified in a SEC filing that it’s no longer splitting into two publicly-traded companies. // New York Business Journal, SEC
// And just to wreck the entire day (maybe week) of anyone reading with design taste, here’s reddit user lyu18’s abomination, “Colorado but the C is in Comic Sans.” // r/denver
>> TODAY’S THING
The Thing: “Russian Doll” on Netflix
Why You Might Like It: So here’s the thing about “Russian Doll”: I can’t really talk about it. I am brimming with thoughts about it and what it means re: existentialism, morality, feminism, mental health and pop culture, but this is a show that benefits from entering with as few preconceived notions as possible. So I’ll just say the acting is phenomenal (Natasha Lyonne continues to be one of the most underrated actors around) and the soundtrack is killer (it’s on Spotify, if you’re curious). You’re going to want to set aside some time to pay attention (put the phone down!), as it’s more complicated than it appears. I finished it on Sunday and I’ve missed having it to put on all week.
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.
Depending on when you’re reading this, you should have just crested the hill of this week, with gravity coasting you into the weekend. Thanks for reading, keep up the good work of sharing anything you find interesting with your various networks and have a great Valentine’s Day.
See you on Friday.