And all of a sudden, it’s Friday. I hope you had a satisfying, productive week and, more importantly, that you have plans to make the most of your weekend, even if that means doing absolutely nothing for 48 consecutive hours. We had a heck of a busy week on the news front (if you missed anything, you can catch up by scanning the last few Sunrisers here) and all of us on staff just want to say thanks for reading and sharing our stories, with extra special thanks to those of you who have become members.
If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, memberships start at just $5 a month (with perks for higher tiers) and it’s one of the most direct ways you can help bolster local journalism here in Colorado. Just head to coloradosun.com/join to get started.
Every dollar we take in goes directly toward the journalism we produce.
OK, enough chatter. Let’s blend this smoothie already, shall we?
>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Cordillera resort to reopen as a tony drug-treatment facility for a “seriously underserved population” — the very rich
$40,000 per month
That is a big number. But what if I told you that $40,000 a month is actually the low end of the cost spectrum for the addiction recovery program coming to the former Cordillera Lodge and Spa outside of Vail? (You may remember Cordillera as the site where a 19-year-old concierge accused Kobe Bryant of sexual assault.) There are so many fascinating — and jaw-dropping — angles in Jason Blevins’ excellent breakdown of the battle waged between the developers of the rehab clinic, a handful of neighbors and the rest of the Vail Valley that I can’t sum them up here. You will not regret reading this whole story, even if you’re not in the tax bracket that can afford $120,000 a month to get a room in the lodge’s private mansion.
Colorado is dead last in MMR vaccination rates. One lawmaker’s push to fix that has an unexpected opponent: Jared Polis
Click image to see the full-size chart.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that populations that fall below 95 percent vaccination rates for measles are at risk for outbreaks, like the 17 that the U.S. experienced last year. Colorado’s kindergartners have the lowest rate of MMR vaccinations in the country at 88.7 percent, largely because of the state’s loose policy around “personal exemptions” to vaccines. Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn, who works as an ER nurse, is sponsoring legislation to remove all non-medical exemptions in Colorado to match other states, but he’s receiving opposition not just from conservatives and vaccine critics, but from Gov. Polis.
Lobbying is big money in Colorado, but tracking the real spending is difficult
That’s the ratio of official lobbyists to lawmakers under the dome at the Colorado Capitol. Our political finance contributor Sandra Fish took a deep dive into the lobbying numbers from the past five years at the statehouse, explaining how lobbying works, who is doing it and why tracking the actual amount of influence spending is hard to do in Colorado.
He fled China 30 years ago in search of the American dream. Now, he helps others build a better life in Greeley.
Yukwan “Nick” Lee smiles as he talks with friend and tenant Richard Nolan while visiting on Feb. 5 in downtown Greeley. Nolan has rented his space from Lee since 1982. (Josh Polson, Special to The Colorado Sun)
It’s so nice to write about good news every once in a while. Contributor Dan England has a really uplifting story about Yukwan “Nick” Lee, a man who literally jumped off a cliff to escape China in the ’80s and landed in Greeley, where he’s made a life out of helping his friends and neighbors.
>> DON’T MISS
“This accident is especially tragic because this person didn’t trigger the avalanche.”
— Ethan Greene, Colorado Avalanche Information Center
- An avalanche, triggered by out-of-bounds snowboarders on a slope above Telluride, killed 47-year-old Salvador Garcia-Atance as he skied on a well-traveled trail below. Garcia-Atance became Colorado’s fifth avalanche death of the season and the third in four days.
- The effort to tie Colorado’s Electoral College vote to the national popular vote is headed to Gov. Polis’ desk. As Jesse Paul writes, the effort is notable politically because it’s the first marquee policy to sail through the legislature without a single Republican in support, despite polling that shows bipartisan support.
- Yeesh. 50 million gallons of polluted water pours out of mine sites around the country every day, including in Colorado.
>> THE FUN STUFF
// Drew Litton tells the tale of two incomes (in Denver’s housing market).
// Jim Morrissey takes on private prisons.
// In this week’s What’d I Miss?, Myra remembers when the word “followers” was reserved for cult leaders. (Weekly reminder: Go back and start this strip from the beginning. You’ll enjoy it, I promise.)
Colorado journalist Ian Neligh is this week’s SunLit featured author and his book, “Gold! Madness, Murder, and Mayhem in the Colorado Rockies” is a creepy, cool look into the history of Colorado’s gold rush and, intriguingly, the people still caught up in the fervor. Oh, and bats. Lots of bats. Read an interview with Neligh here and check out a bat-filled excerpt from “Gold!” here.
A scene from the El Capitolio neighborhood of Havana, Cuba, in December 2018. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
The nation of Cuba is slowly and jerkily opening up to Americans. Our own Jesse Paul toured the country with his family and came back with a lot of thoughts on a country both stuck in the past and hopeful about the future (and a lot of great photos).
JOHN FRANK’S BEER PICK!
The Brut IPA is growing in popularity for a reason. The beer is light in body, making it drinkable, but still offers a tropical hop aroma and flavor that can satisfy folks who like — and don’t like — hoppy beers. The easiest to find is New Belgium’s Brut IPA, which is only available for a few more weeks, but you can find smaller brewers experimenting with the style, too.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// Vic Lombardi, the bombastic broadcaster who has been a constant presence in Denver sports for decades, has prostate cancer. Nick Kosmider has a wonderfully written piece on Lombardi’s life, career and what the diagnosis did to his outlook. // The Athletic 🔑
// 🏰⛰🔜💩+ ♻ = 💧(link) // The Denver Channel
// I’ll admit it. During my trip to Akumal in December, I did a lot of daydreaming about buying the cheapest condo in town and internationally telecommuting to work. That said, I am not a newly elected La Plata County commissioner like Clyde Church, who attended his first month of meetings from sunny Playa Del Carmen. // Durango Herald
// I still haven’t seen “Green Book” — I have a feeling this 2016 episode of 99 Percent Invisible is a more informative take on the subject — but Colorado Public Radio has a fascinating look at some of the Colorado places that were in the original “travel bible” for black Americans, including Winks Lodge at Lincoln Hills, west of Eldorado Springs, the only African-American resort in the West. // CPR News
// Ice climbing (we’ve reported on both the gym-rat version and the real thing down in Ouray) is coming to downtown Denver this weekend, and it looks like the Russians are large and in charge. // The Colorado Sun, Rock and Ice
// There seems to be a belief among some urban dog owners that snow contains a magic enzyme that will evaporate dog poop, evidenced by the fresh crop of mummified, uh, remains that show up after every thaw. That said, this threatening sign posted in my neighborhood is an extremely uncool way to deal with what is a real inconvenience. // The Denver Channel
// Here is a fascinating piece about Warren Washington, a researcher from Boulder who has been sounding the alarm on climate change for decades while dealing with racism in academia. Washington was just awarded the Tyler Prize, the environmental version of the Nobel Prize, and he talked about it on Colorado Matters. // Forbes, CPR News
// Rep. Jason Crow was denied entry at the GEO Group immigration detention facility in Aurora on Wednesday after reports of another viral outbreak in the facility. // Aurora Sentinel
// From Sun contributor Sandra Fish: “Younger Colorado students seek access to mental health care, without parental permission” // Chalkbeat Colorado
// There has already been a lot of ink spilled about the alleged hoax perpetrated by Jussie Smollett. But consider this a reminder that for each hoax, there are literally 500 real hate crimes. And it’s not some distant problem: the number of hate groups in Colorado is growing. // Quartz, The Denver Post
// The idea of a community of 50,000 people between Boulder and Longmont that bans cars and is bicycle-friendly sounds like a utopia/fever dream. But please, please somebody workshop the name so it doesn’t end up being called “Cyclocroft, Colorado.” // Forbes
>> TODAY’S THING
The Thing: Bar Keepers Friend (available at most grocery stores, just look on the lower shelves in the cleaning aisle)
Why You Might Like It: I’ve been cooking seriously for about eight years now, since my mid-20s, when my wallet, taste buds and digestive system finally ganged up to tell me to stop going out for every meal. I’m just now confident enough to cook most of my staple meals without obsessively checking a recipe, so I’ve been slowly upgrading the equipment in my tiny kitchen. The new star player on the team is a big, heavy tri-ply stainless steel pan my parents got me for Christmas that has been used at least five times a week since Dec. 26. It’s awesome. But it’s also stainless steel, and from the first time I gently laid salmon into some hot oil, it went from pristine to “mosaic of scorch marks” almost instantly. Enter Bar Keepers Friend. My pan gets a scrub from the powder — manufactured with the same formula for 137 years and counting — once a week and it might be one of the most satisfying cleaning experiences around. It takes a little elbow grease, but the pan looks ready for a catalog photo shoot every time. And there are apparently a bunch of other uses I haven’t tried yet to boot!
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. Got a suggestion? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and you could get published in a Sunriser!
You’ve reached the end of The Sunriser and, depending on your schedule, you’re nearing the end of your week. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for helping get our stories out into your networks.
Go have a great weekend. That’s an order. See you on Monday.