Compiled by Kevin Simpson,
Writer/Sub Newsletter Wrangler, @kevinjourno

Some Friday mornings you wake up and feel like the workweek is going to segue quietly into the weekend, with little to quicken the heartbeat or stimulate the mind beyond that first cup of coffee. This is not one of those Fridays. And truth be told, that’s how we like it. It has been an eventful couple of days since we last chatted, and we’ve got tons of important stories to power you into the weekend confident that you’re all caught up.

And while we’re anticipating the weekend, here’s an idea to get things started: If you’re in or near Boulder this evening, join members of The Sun staff, as well as our partners at the University of Colorado, for an evening of celebration, socialization and good conversation about all things journalism. We love talking to readers, so please join us! RSVP and find the deets here.

Now that we’ve gotten the preliminaries out of the way, let’s stir this cocktail, shall we?


RezDawg Rescue relocates dogs and cats from high-intake shelters and animal control facilities on Native American Reservations throughout the Four Corners area. Puppy and kitten season is coming and we’re looking for animal-lovers who can help us make a difference by fostering animals-in-need. Click here to learn more … and check out our available animals too!



The Latest from The Sun


Mountain health care premiums still force hard choices, but Summit County may turn the tables on rising costs

One of Colorado’s most pressing health care problems — prohibitive insurance costs in mountain communities — still haunts residents who have to balance broken bones with breaking the monthly budget. But Summit County has re-examined Colorado law and zeroed in on an idea — reordering the way prices are negotiated — that could be a game-changer and ease the burden on those who pay some of the highest premiums in the country.

>> Read John Ingold’s report on how this innovative idea could become a model for the rest of Colorado.


Speaking of rising costs, lawmakers issue rebuke to prisons budget that approaches $1 billion

“They cannot thumb their nose at us and say our decisions don’t matter.”
— Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, Democrat from Adams County

The outrage from legislators was aimed more at the Hickenlooper administration than recently elected Gov. Jared Polis. But now, important discussions loom about the costs of refurbishing a previously closed facility, even though it’s a key element of Polis’ plan to reduce recidivism and focus other facilities on mental health and long-term care.

>> John Frank helps you navigate the labyrinth of legislative policy and budget that engulfs the state Department of Corrections.


As rock climbing gains in popularity, sheer numbers have eroded rites of mentorship. One man resolved to revive the tradition.

Heather Mobley, who is mentored by Marcus Garcia at his Durango Rock Lounge, is preparing for a climbing competition in Finland. She has been climbing for two years and ice climbing for only four months but competed in the Ouray Ice Fest a few weeks ago and “conquered a lot of my fears.” (Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Years ago, before rock climbing gained its current cachet, aspiring athletes such as Marcus Garcia were introduced to the sport through the guidance of experienced mentors who took them under their wing in a local climbing gym and eased them along the steep uphill path to success outdoors. But now, the numbers are out of whack — there aren’t enough mentors to handle the influx of new climbers. And that could have serious consequences once those newbies leave the gym to take on real-world adventures.

>> Sun freelancer Joe Purtell takes you inside the sport where Garcia honors his own mentor by instructing a new generation of climbing enthusiasts.


“Red flag” gun-safety laws have proliferated nationally since Parkland. Here’s how Colorado’s proposal compares.

“It’s a saving-lives bill.”
— State Rep. Tom Sullivan, a Centennial Democrat whose son, Alex, was murdered in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

With Democrats controlling the legislative levers of power, it’s no surprise that this week they introduced a bill proposing a so-called “red flag” law, which would allow a judge to order firearms be temporarily confiscated from a person deemed a risk to themselves or others. But there are many variations on the theme of “extreme risk protection orders,” and Colorado’s version has its own twists.

>> Jesse Paul has reviewed every detail and lays out all the differences in a way that’s easy to understand.

>> To understand Rep. Sullivan’s determination, read his powerful statement at the end of Thursday’s news conference introducing the bill:



The Fun Stuff



// Our Sunriser guru, Eric Lubbers, keeps telling you (and now I’m going to pile on): If you’re not following along with “What’d I Miss?” — the weekly cartoon by the talented Alan Brooks and Cori Redford — you don’t know, um, what you’re missing. Seriously, this witty and poignant look at life in and around Denver captures timely issues and timeless truth. Start from the beginning and enjoy all 22 installments. Then click on over to get Drew Litton’s take on the Broncos’ latest quarterback acquisition — Litton is a master.


// After you’ve had your mood lightened, check out this week’s SunLit offering for an elevator ride to the depths of desperation. “Blood Business” is an anthology of crime stories, and the editors chose an excerpt from a piece called “The Pledge” for its riveting narrative about a war-damaged woman’s return to Denver. This slice of fiction will give you plenty to think about.


// If you’re lucky, you’ll see the once-a-year return of Pliny the Younger, a super-hopped IPA with a cult following. The Russian River Brewing beer is a must-try and a handful of locations will get the coveted kegs, including Parry’s Pizza and Falling Rock Tap House. Or try it at 5:30 p.m. today at Freshcraft in downtown Denver. They will also pour other amazing Russian River beers, including Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig IPA, STS Pilsner and two sours.

// The man, the myth, the legend. Everyone wanted to know the story behind the trail runner who killed the young mountain lion that attacked him. KUNC’s Luke Runyon got the scoop that introduced us to Travis Kauffman. //KUNC

// Whether you regard it as a principled stand or a misguided business move, the result was the same: A Colorado Springs sporting-goods store that boycotted Nike after the company ran its controversial Colin Kaepernick ad went out of business. // 9News

// Although Denver’s population has risen 20 percent since 2009, the number of traffic tickets filed in Denver County Court has dropped by 45 percent, even as fatal crashes are on the rise. // The Denver Post

// On the first anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, Westword’s Michael Roberts offers a window into the lives of 15 Colorado kids and teens killed by gun violence in that span. // Westword

// RTD doesn’t have the technology that might have prevented the light-rail incident last month in which a passenger lost a leg as the train derailed while rounding a bend at high speed. // The Denver Post

// You knew Denver’s traffic is a nightmare that keeps getting worse. But now you know that local drivers spent 83 hours in traffic last year, piling up $1,152 in direct and indirect costs that ranks the city the 19th most-congested in the nation. // Denver Business Journal

// When a woman went into labor on Fremont Pass, while being driven by her mother-in-law to an obstetrician appointment in Frisco, the baby wouldn’t wait. So they pulled off at Copper Mountain and she had the baby — at a ski clinic. // Summit Daily

// Halfway through its scooter pilot program, Denver reports that riders have zipped along on about 800,000 trips totaling nearly 1 million miles. And providers Lime, Lyft and Bird are eligible to add even more of the two-wheeled vehicles to the mix. // 9News

// When it realized that more than 100 students in Durango lacked permanent housing last school year, the nonprofit Community Compassion Outreach expanded its proposal for 10-15 homes to a village of 40 micro-homes and a campground to accommodate homeless residents. // Durango Herald

// Swipe right? When the Denver Zoo is trying to keep a species from going extinct, Hollie Colahan steps in to make sure the amorous beasts hook up with a compatible mate — “like online dating for animals.” // KUNC

// The multistate Drought Contingency Plan, a complex arrangement drawn up to keep the Colorado River’s water levels from continuing to decline, hit a snag when an Arizona legislator introduced a bill that would threaten water and land rights of the Gila River Indian Community. // Phoenix New Times


Today’s Thing


The Thing: Dryer sheets.

Why You Might Like It: Have you ever bought a pair of shoes that looks absolutely terrific on you, but when you take that first step you realize that a persistent, annoying squeak poses an existential threat to your fashion statement? Enter the dryer sheet, which, while designed to make your laundry soft and fresh-smelling, also can serve to silence your footwear. Simply remove a shoe’s insole, place the dryer sheet in the shoe and then replace the insole. Problem solved. OK, so it’s not a whiz-bang app or a cool, undiscovered rock band. It’s these little life hacks that keep us moving forward as a civilization.

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.

By now, you should be more than ready for whatever the weekend holds. Stay safe, make good choices and always — always — remember to tell friends about the good stuff you found in The Sun and encourage them to become a member, or even just sign up for the newsletter.

It’s been fun. See you in Boulder?

— Kevin

Kevin Simpson is a co-founder of The Colorado Sun and a general assignment writer and editor. He also oversees the Sun’s literary feature, SunLit, and the site’s cartoonists. A St. Louis native and graduate of the University of Missouri’s...