Compiled by Eric Lubbers, eric@coloradosun.com
CTO/Newsletter Wrangler, @brofax

Good morning from a short-lived peek at T-shirt weather! Here in Denver we’re looking at temperatures in the 70s, which may inspire a “work from the park” session later this afternoon for a certain newsletter writer. But of course, in true Colorado fashion, the latest weather service map shows that most of the Western Slope is being advised that rivers and creeks will be on the rise from snow melt until another storm rolls in on Friday, while just a few counties over, the San Luis Valley is still under a red flag fire warning.

This state, like Walt Whitman, contains multitudes.

John Ingold told you all on Monday about The Outsider, our new outdoors newsletter by the singular force of nature known as Jason Blevins. But all this talk of Colorado’s beautiful, challenging weather highlights just how valuable this newsletter will be, whether you’re in the outdoors industry or just a happy participant. As a reminder, here are all the ways you can subscribe to The Outsider (and keep an eye on your inbox for tomorrow’s final free preview).

OK, let’s break this trail already, shall we?


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It’s time for Colorado to ensure every child has access to full-day kindergarten — no matter their ZIP code or their family’s ability to pay. Read more at FullDayK.co

 

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The Latest from The Sun

 

 

By law, mental health benefits are supposed to be as good as medical coverage. In practice, that’s not happening.

“If you are very wealthy, you have access to behavioral health care. If you are very poor and can get into the safety-net system, you can get good care. Everybody in the middle? It’s pretty much not there.”

— Dr. Carl Clark, CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver

On paper, there is a federal mandate requiring insurance companies to provide the same coverage for illnesses of the brain as illnesses of the body. It’s been the law for more than a decade, but, as Jennifer Brown writes, that law is largely unenforced. That lack of enforcement has left huge swaths of the population without adequate access to affordable care after decades of isolating mental health services from other health care, “ghost networks” that look impressive (but don’t accept new patients) and other complicating factors.

>> Read the whole story, including how a new Colorado bill would add teeth to enforcing the law in the state, here.

MORE: Colorado could become the first state in the country to try to fix high health insurance premiums by forcing hospitals to charge some patients less. Take a minute to read John Ingold’s easy-to-digest explainer of “reinsurance” and why it could be a very big deal in Colorado — and the nation.

 

Resorts, desperate to stem crushing traffic, bet on a new ridesharing app that splits lifts to the lifts

“We can scale this thing to any resort. From Day One, we knew this was a problem all resorts have, so we worked to not solve this just for us, but let’s engineer this thing for use by everyone who wants it.”

— Snowbird marketing director Dave Amirault

All around the West, ski resorts are using the lure of discounted passes to bring bigger and bigger crowds to the high country. But while the slopes can handle the extra skiers and boarders, the twisting roads and tiny parking lots can’t handle their cars (see Arapahoe Basin’s decision to drop out of the Epic Pass). Jason Blevins reports on RIDE — Reduce Individual Driving for the Environment — an app created by Utah’s Snowbird ski area that uses rewards from resort swag to discounted lift tickets to encourage and connect carpools to the slopes. (Aside: In Utah, the resort also rewards people who take public transit to the slopes, something that I’m sure Colorado resorts would be happy to do if there were, you know, any real public transit options available).

>> Read about how RIDE works and which Colorado resorts are launching it for next season here.

 

To help students improve inside the classroom, Manitou Springs Middle School is taking them outside

At the end of every session on the farm, Mr. Barak asks each student to describe what they learned that day. Esther Sweezy said that she learned, “How to be careful with the goats. I learned the goats are getting more comfortable with us.” (Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Hey, look at that, some good news! Contributor Joe Purtell brings us this fun story of the excellently acronymed Growth-based Alternative Learning and Leadership Opportunity Program — or GALLOP — that is taking kids who have trouble learning in a classroom setting out into the world to connect concepts like math, history and language with physical experiences.

>> Read the story — including first-hand testimony from students — here.

 

What the $30.5 billion Colorado state budget means for you — yes, you

It’s the longest bill of the year, and technically the only bill that the legislature must pass by the end of the session. Yes, it’s state budget time. But rather than lay it out point by point, John Frank has taken on the task of explaining exactly what the spending bill will mean for a whole host of different groups, from young students to government employees to commuters to business owners to rural residents.

>> Dive in and cut through the confusion to discover the personal way the budget will impact you here.

MORE POLITICS: It’s been a busy week already at the statehouse. Here’s a quick rundown of other coverage from The Sun:

More from The Sun


 

// From John Ingold: Earlier this year, we told you about a state report arguing that Colorado hospitals, even as they were benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, also increased their profits by raising prices on people with private insurance. Well now, Kaiser Health News dug into the finances of one hospital in Grand Junction and connected them to nationwide concerns about hospital prices. // The Colorado Sun, Kaiser Health News

// There is a fascinating battle of wills happening in Durango between School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger and the local media, highlighted by a cover story and two-page spread in El Diablo, the student-run newspaper at Durango High School. Just click through and read this one. // Durango Herald

// Many a Little League game during my childhood in Yuma was canceled by the wailing of a tornado siren, so it’s a little (personally) bittersweet that more towns on the Great Plains are ditching the sirens in favor of TV, radio and cell phone alerts. // KDVR

// I can’t get over this lifted Batman El Camino spotted outside of Mutiny Cafe on South Broadway yesterday. // @milehighgotham on Instagram

// Goodbye, yellow (and orange)-hued lights. Denver is following in the footsteps of other major cities by switching to clearer, more energy-efficient white LEDs. When Los Angeles made a similar switch in 2014, film buffs remarked that “Hollywood [would] never look the same.” // The Denver Post ?, Gizmodo

// The long saga of the Denver Meadows Mobile Home and RV Park in Aurora has reached a final contract, offering some financial assistance to the park’s remaining residents. Kara Mason has a good rundown here. // The Aurora Sentinel

// “Colorado truck driver shortage a challenge for the industry, but an opportunity for immigrants”  // The Denver Post ?

// Todd Helton was cited for a DUI in Tennessee, his second after an arrest in Thornton in 2013, and has checked into a residential treatment program. // 9News

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Today’s Thing

 

 

The Thing: “Mathilde” by Scott Walker (YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music)

My friends, don’t count on me no more
I’ve gone and crashed through heaven’s door
My sweet Mathilde’s here
Once more, once more

Why You Might Like It: There was, quite literally, no one else like Scott Walker, who died this week at the age of 76. From hanging out on the Sunset Strip to sudden stardom in ’60s England as part of The Walker Brothers to a decades-long solo career that saw him create some of the most ambitious and sometimes downright terrifying music, Scott never really stopped chasing the sounds in his head to wrangle them into a recording (Example: There’s a scene in a 2006 documentary about him where he gives really detailed instructions to a percussionist on how to punch a side of beef as part of a recording session). Among his discography, there are iconic pop songs (“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”), perfect little 90-second folk songs (“30 Century Man”) and frightening soundscapes (“Cossacks Are”). But the Scott Walker song to me is “Mathilde,” the first track from his first solo album in 1967, a translation of a song by a Belgian songwriter backed by a Sinatra-style big band. That big band, by the end of the song, actually sounds like the delirious fever dream of the narrator, a man who steadily loses his mind at the mere news that his former love, Mathilde, is back. Somewhere on my bucket list is finding this song at a karaoke bar and making an absolute spectacle of myself to a very confused audience. RIP.

REMINDER: If you have something that you just can’t stop raving about that you’d like to share, send us an email at things@coloradosun.com and you could be published in a future Sunriser!


You made it all the way to the bottom of another long Sunriser! Reward yourself by getting outside today before the cruel gods of Colorado weather hit us with another storm.

And, as always, thanks for reading, supporting and especially sharing the work you see here with your friends and family. Every new person that sees one of our stories or reads one of our newsletters is a potential new member, and we want to get as many Coloradans in our growing community as we can!

Have a great day!

— Eric

The Latest

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...