Good morning from the frigid streets of Denver. I’ve had the pleasure (?) of being outside in the early dark for various reasons over the past few days, and I can say that it has been the coldest I’ve been in years. And I love it. It’s nice when Colorado lives up to the postcard vision that people outside of the state have of us.
That said, if cold isn’t your thing, just think warm thoughts and dive into the tub of news we have in store for you today. Let’s simmer this chili, shall we?
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>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Catholic dioceses are opening their records to an investigator to account for alleged sex abuse
“The damage inflicted upon young people and their families by sexual abuse, especially when it’s committed by a trusted person, like a priest, is profound. While this process will certainly include painful moments and cannot ever fully restore what was lost, we pray that it will begin the healing process.”
— Archbishop Samuel Aquila
The wave of sex abuse investigations hitting the Catholic church worldwide has come to Colorado. But, as Jesse Paul and Jennifer Brown write, Colorado’s is different from other states. For one, rather than an investigation by law enforcement, the voluntary investigation will be conducted by former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, with his fees paid by Colorado’s three dioceses and private, anonymous donors. There is a lot more to this story than the headline, so make sure to click through to read our report.
>> MORE: If you’ve been following the scandal in other states, you might wonder why Colorado didn’t just convene a grand jury like Pennsylvania did last year, leading to blockbuster revelations of decades of coverups. Well, things work differently in Colorado, as Jesse and Jennifer explain here.
What really led A-Basin to quit Epic Pass?
“We are pretty darn full on weekends and we don’t need any more people on weekends. If anything, we could probably whittle those numbers down a little bit.”
— Arapahoe Basin’s Alan Henceroth
Call it too much of a good thing, but the announcement that after 10 years of partnership, Arapahoe Basin was ending its relationship with Vail Resorts and its Epic Pass shocked skiers and boarders. But for anyone who has tried to visit A-Basin on the weekends, it wasn’t surprising.
GMO food labels are coming. But the battle lines have already shifted.
Nikki Weathers holds popcorn kernels grown on her farm near Yuma. (Austin Humphreys, Special to The Colorado Sun)
You’ve probably been on the receiving (or giving) end of a conversation about genetically modified organisms in food. The battles over them, from those pointing out that humans have been genetically “modifying” food for thousands of years to those armed with numbers about cancer, have been heated. But as contributor Michael Booth writes, the new federal standards to label “bioengineered” foods have just moved the battle lines for both food safety advocates and those who say engineering is essential to feed a growing world population.
>> DON’T MISS
Rotting vegetables, if they’re not properly composted, make methane as they decompose, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Whether due to a lack of farm labor or bad contracts with food brokers, farmers in Colorado and nationwide leave huge amounts of food to rot in fields, exacerbating both hunger and climate change. Contributor Aisha Down has a look at a Colorado startup that wants to help farmers get that food out of the field and put to good use.
- Turns out millennials (along with everyone else) likes the 140-years-young “Anna Karenina” when it’s performed at the Denver Center Theater Company. Joanne Ostrow has a look at the very old (and very new) works drawing a new crowd to the theater.
- The Zoo of the Future isn’t just a thing that would sound like it’s be right at home in a Kurt Vonnegut short story. It’s on the mind of new Denver Zoo CEO Bert Vescolani. John Ingold (who previously dug into the departure of the zoo’s polar bears) interviewed Vescolani about the mission of the zoo, including ugly frogs, fewer animals and how to make a zoo feel modern. Read the whole Q&A here.
- Two more men died in an avalanche near Crested Butte this weekend, bringing the total deaths in Colorado this season up to four in addition to an avalanche at Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico that killed two Colorado men.
>> THE SHORTLIST
Left, the loggia at Redstone Castle in Pitkin County in a photograph dating to the early 1900s. Right, the same loggia in 2019. (Left: Historic photo; Right: Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)
// Jason Blevins has the story of one of the most impressive historic renovations in Colorado, the iconic Redstone Castle, and how numerous historic preservation easements helped put it in the hands of just the right buyers. // The Colorado Sun
// Way back in the early days of The Sun (September 2018) we published a series on just how bad Colorado is at recycling and why the state’s systems are so tedious. In it, we referenced the fact that China, previously the largest buyer of recycling materials in the world, suddenly started restricting imports. Thanks to this excellent episode of 99 Percent Invisible, I know a whole lot more about why China made that move, including the ominous code name “Operation National Sword.” // The Colorado Sun, 99PI
// Andrew Kenney at The Denver Post has been following the story of cyclist Gary Suydam since his days at Denverite (start here for the backstory on the crash that changed his life) through Suydam’s historic $52.5 million verdict awarded by a Colorado jury. If you ride (or drive) in Denver, you need to read both stories. // Denverite, The Denver Post
// The Rocky Mountain Raptor program in Fort Collins is rescuing more birds than ever (which is both good and bad). // Coloradoan
// This series of shorts from Gabrielle Bryant for PBS, “The New Black Experience” is a really great way to celebrate Black History Month (by focusing on the present and the future). // Colorado Public Television
// A drunk woman was pulled over in Aurora, but after she indicated she was friends with the police chief, the officer turned off his body camera and gave her a ride home. CBS4 has the story. // CBS4
// Up in Craig, building codes and blighted homes are in the center of a debate over the future of the city’s development. // Craig Daily Press
// Robot Alert: Sphero is giving toy robots another go with RVR (pronounced “Rover”), a rugged wheeled creature to play and program. The Boulder maker, which discontinued its line of Disney-licensed robots last year, also partnered with Niwot neighbor SparkFun Electronics on tool kits and is supporting schools with a “Get a Bot, Give a Bot” plan. // Kickstarter
>> TODAY’S THING
Why You Might Like It: There’s this thing I do when I’m at a concert. It’s a kind of recurring, situational daydream. From a party rock band on a tiny stage to an ornate arena show, I try to imagine picking up various people from the history of art and music and dropping them next to me to get their opinion of what they’re seeing. Sometimes it’s a young David Byrne or Sister Rosetta Tharpe or Mozart or Curtis Mayfield. It’s a way to appreciate how music keeps changing through invention and reinvention and making old sounds blend with new.
All of that is to say that every single imaginary artist I brought with me to the Gothic Theatre on Monday night for Sharon Van Etten was gobsmacked by her performance. It’s not quite been a decade since her debut, but in that time she’s written more songs that can literally make you forget to breathe than just about any modern artist. Start poking around her discography, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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.
And just like that, you’re done with a nice, meaty Wednesday Sunriser. This was a long one, so pat yourself on the back for getting this far.
You’ve seen me say this before, but it’s always true: You are the best form of marketing we’ve got. We want as many Coloradans as possible to read our news, so sharing the things you read with your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, study groups and roommates not only helps them know more about their state, but helps us grow our community. So thanks in advance!
Have a great afternoon and we’ll meet back here on Friday.