Compiled by Eric Lubbers,
CTO/Newsletter Wrangler, @brofax

Good morning, Colorado and beyond! The Colorado Sun virtual newsroom is buzzing this morning after we learned last night that our staff landed two honors in the Best of the West journalism contest — one of the most prestigious awards in journalism (more on that below.)

But before we ride that wave of endorphins into today’s news, a quick reminder about our Steamboat Resort lift ticket drawing. All new members (who can join at until 5 p.m. today are eligible for the drawing, so even if you’re already a member, tell your friends!

(No purchase necessary to enter. Current and non-members can email to enter).

OK, no more stalling. Let’s unseal this envelope already, shall we?


The Latest from The Sun



Behold, the almighty can is the new king of craft beer

Chris Thibodeau surveys the new canning line donated to Metropolitan State University by Cask Global Canning Solutions. Thibodeau is a student at the university’s brewing program and an intern at Tivoli Brewing in Denver. (John Frank, The Colorado Sun)

The humble aluminum can was once scoffed at in craft beer circles, so much so that it was seen as a major departure when Oskar Blues Brewery became the first craft brewer to start canning. Fast-forward almost two decades and cans are king, with Colorado breweries and canning supply companies fully at the helm.

>> Read John Frank’s analysis of the rise of the can, from Coors to craft, here.


As climbing skyrockets, so has its environmental impact. “We really have to step up.”

Sun contributor Joe Purtell brings us the story of how climbing coalitions are forming around the country, including Colorado, to help keep climbers and hikers from loving delicate rock formations and trails to death with anchors, bolts and overuse.

>> Read all about how the coalitions work — including how they lobby to keep public lands accessible — here.


Colorado Springs has big plans for its downtown. But first the city must deal with the Martin Drake Power Plant.

The Martin Drake Powerplant in Colorado Springs pictured on Dec. 12, 2018. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

You can’t miss it. The Martin Drake Power Plant is as prominent as it is controversial in Colorado Springs, as the city with its sights on becoming a world-class destination wrestles with a giant coal-fired plant right next to downtown. Jesse Paul tackles the interlocking issues at play, from grand development plans, power grid engineering, existing environmental plans and more. Even if you don’t live in the Springs, you’re going to want to read this story.

>> Read all about the downtown power plant — including how the REI flagship in downtown Denver is both a role model and a warning — here.


Gov. Polis is about to sign a Colorado net neutrality bill — one with some serious teeth

“This bill says that if you’re going to ask to be funded by the people in Colorado directly out of their paycheck then you need to adhere to these principles.”

— Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail

While much of the debate over net neutrality (short version: making internet providers treat all data the same vs. prioritizing some products over others) has been focused on the FCC and FTC, lawmakers at the state level around the country have been trying to find ways to enshrine it in state law. And with Democrats in charge at every level, Colorado has joined the fray with a bill that has more teeth than previous attempts.

>> Read about the ways ISPs would be on the hook to keep net neutrality alive in Colorado here.


More from The Sun

“We’re going to dig through the couch cushions.”

—Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, who sits on the Joint Budget Committee



I’m still excited about this and it’s been 12+ hours since we found out that The Colorado Sun pulled down two honors at the Best in the West contest (“recognized as the West’s most prestigious” is how they describe themselves). So I’m going to take a small bit of today’s Sunriser to not only congratulate my colleagues, but resurface their winning work in case you missed it the first time.

// The first was a second-place finish in the tough News Writing category for Jennifer Brown’s piece “He seemed to have it all: Arapahoe High School senior’s suicide rattles emotionally fatigued, frightened community.” which a judge described as “A narrow and deep exploration of teen suicide that features great insights and wonderful writing. It is an issue many media outlets have tackled, but few as well as this piece.” And as recent events at Cherry Creek High School have shown, it’s an issue in Colorado that is far from being resolved.

// The second was a third-place finish for the team of Jennifer Brown, Tamara Chuang, Kevin Simpson and John Ingold for The Sun’s series on waste in Colorado, published just a week after we flipped the switch back in September of last year.

If you missed that series the first time around, it’s definitely worth your time. And I have to say I’m very proud of John Ingold for getting an official contest judge to write the following sentence: “The human feces story, opening with a visual of New York’s poo train, is brilliant reporting, engagingly illuminating the lifecycle of human poo.”

Note: There were several other Colorado winners announced yesterday, including this great piece from Westword’s Chris Walker, Colorado Public Radio’s excellent “Purplish” podcast and several design and photography awards for the Colorado Spring Gazette. Congrats to all!

The Colorado Sun is just 11 reporters and editors working hard to bring you news from across the state. If you like what we are doing and want to see more of it, now is the time to join our community and become a member, starting at just $5 a month. Every dollar you give goes directly toward the journalism we produce, so we need your help (today!) to make an impact.


The Fun Stuff




// Jim Morrisey on the death penalty’s fifth stay of execution since 2000.

// Drew Litton finds the only bad thing about having so many pro sports teams crushing it in Colorado (sorry, the Broncos are not included in that description).

// What’d I Miss? this week is a little lighter than last week, but contains some sick Latin burns. (And as always, if you’re just dipping in, you can start from the beginning and catch up in just a couple of minutes).


Colorado’s Sandhya Menon brings us this week’s SunLit feature, “When Dimple Met Rishi,” which was the 2018 Colorado Book Awards winner for Young Adult Fiction. Check out an excerpt here and make sure to read the interview with Sandhya, who said she was driven to fill a void for people of color in the world of YA fiction.

If you’re a fan of our SunLit feature or just want to support Colorado authors, head over to BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St. in Denver, at 7 p.m. to hear readings by finalists for the 2019 Colorado Book Awards. Tonight, it’s mystery, science fiction/fantasy and thrillers — and there’s a rumor that The Colorado Sun will be there with free bookmarks.

John Frank’s Beer Pick

The nation’s craft brewers will descend on Denver starting this weekend, and they’re bringing beer. The occasion is the Craft Brewers Conference that starts Monday and represents the nation’s largest craft beer industry gathering. It’s not open to the public — and there’s no big festival like GABF — but breweries and beer bars in the Denver area are hosting special tap takeovers and collaborations that make it the next best thing.

The fun part is an influx of beer from breweries that don’t distribute in Colorado, including the likes of Bissell, Trillium, Fort George and more hot spots. The list of events is too long to reproduce here, but check out social media pages for Hops & Pie, Falling Rock Tap House, Freshcraft, First Draft Taproom and Kitchen, Our Mutual Friend and other great beer places.


// Several candidates for Denver mayor, including musician and activist Kalyn Rose Heffernan, participated in a “race” across Denver using public transportation so they could see firsthand the challenges facing wheelchair users. // Denverite

// A Colorado State University student wrote a Facebook post detailing what she called discrimination and racism during her time on the team that escorted CAM the Ram, the school’s mascot. The Coloradan has the story of the post and the school’s reaction. // Coloradoan ?

// A Greeley brewery got a legal smack from Sonic Drive-In over cans of “Slush” craft brews that featured a parody of the fast-food joint’s logo. // Westword

// Lest you think that hate crimes are some other state’s problem, two swastikas were spray-painted on a Denver synagogue just a few days ago. // 9News

// One of Colorado’s most exciting athletic products, Mallory Pugh, went hard for the home crowd, scoring two goals for the U.S. Women’s National Team out at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last night against Australia. // The Denver Post ?

// Warning, this is a tearjerker: A high school senior in Virginia wanted to live in Colorado. But after he lost his life in a car accident, his mother and his friends have kept his legacy alive by taking photos of Cameron Fitzwater on the adventures here in Colorado he never got a chance to take. // The Roanoke Times

// I’m going to end this section with two non-Colorado long reads that are perfect to read on a sleepy weekend morning: Over at Popula (a fellow Civil First Fleet newsroom) Sarah Miller has an excellent essay about buying and selling luxury real estate in a section of Miami that is all but guaranteed to be physically underwater — thanks to rising sea levels — before a 30-year mortgage could run its course. Back here in the West, Jessica Camille Aguirre has a brutal and beautiful look at the resurgence of women bronc riders: “The Women Who Nod At Death And Say Let’s Go.” // Popula, Deadspin

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Today’s Thing



The Thing: A $2 extra-long shoehorn (Ikea)

Why You Might Like It: With a name like OMSORG, it has to be good! Good and/or an unspeakable Lovecraftian Elder God. But rather than a creature from the deep, this is a simple tool that has made a huge difference in my daily routine over the years. I’m lucky enough to be a young(ish) able-bodied person, but I’d rather not spend any of my time bending my back or squatting down to put on shoes. Enter the $1.99 super-long shoehorn. I have several hanging strategically around my apartment and it’s especially great for a surprise 2 a.m. dog walk. You can order them online from IKEA, but if you happen to be going there it’s the ultimate guilt-free impulse buy.

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

I thought the buzz from our Best of the West wins would have worn off by the end of today’s Sunriser, but I’m still feeling great about it. It’s a pretty solid way to enter the weekend.

But while honors like this are great, it’s the support and attention from readers like you that are the real reason we embarked on this trip. So please don’t forget to tell everyone you know about our work. (And become a member if you haven’t already. To those who are already supporting us, you make what we do possible. Thank you!)

Enjoy the sunshine! And if you’re heading to Rockies opening day in Denver this afternoon, play ball!

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 tech stuff. Email: