Mornin’, Colorado! ‘Tis the season in journalismland to sing our own praises, with awards announcements and banquets aplenty. (Last week our own Jennifer Brown was in Washington to receive the Anna Quindlen award “for excellence in journalism on behalf of children and families” from the Child Welfare League of America. Yay, Jen!)
But I also wanted to use these precious paragraphs to deliver a different kind of tribute to some people who have made and continue to make Colorado journalism such a special community to be a part of.
Jonathan Wolman, the editorial page editor at The Denver Post from 2004 to 2007, died earlier this week of complications from pancreatic cancer. When he was a top executive at The Associated Press, he was a mentor to our editor, Larry Ryckman, who remembered Wolman for “his sharp mind, keen judgment, cool head in a crisis and unfailing, quiet kindness.”
“I will just say that I am forever grateful to have had such a great boss and friend,” Larry said. “I am better for having known him and worked for him.”
It’s been a rough few months for journalists and cancer in Colorado. Boulder Daily Camera editor Kevin Kaufman died in February, also of complications from cancer.
So that made reading this announcement from Craig Press editor Jim Patterson about his cancer diagnosis especially difficult. I urge all of you to make some time for it, if for no other reason than to remind yourself that the world is full of good, smart people working tirelessly to make their corner of it a better place.
In a piece packed with beautiful lines, I think this was my favorite: “Please don’t ever give up, and please don’t ever let anyone convince you your community is dead. It isn’t.”
So, with that, let’s gather these rosebuds, shall we?
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>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Has Jared Polis kept his campaign promises?
We’re really excited about this one: Our reporter John Frank has undertaken a massive project tracking more than 125 promises that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis made on the campaign trail. And now that Polis has reached the 100-day mark of his administration, John and Sun contributor Brian Eason look back to see how Polis is doing with those promises. The result? There have been a couple outright broken promises, and there’s been no discernible action taken on the majority. But about a third have seen at least some movement.
>>Read John and Brian’s explanation of why Polis’ promises will likely get a big boost between now and the end of the legislative session, plus Polis tells John about the hardest moments of his first 100 days.
- Take a look at the full Jared Polis Promise Tracker, with promises broken down by topic, easy-to-understand graphics and a link to our database with explanations of every promise. (Make sure to bookmark that page, because we will be updating and improving it throughout the governor’s term!)
- Pressed for time and just want the TL;DR version? John and Brian detail Polis’ 10 biggest promises — and what he’s done on them since taking office.
How an iPhone anti-theft feature is thwarting efforts to reuse them
That’s how many perfectly good iPhones and iPads — all donated in just the past three weeks, with the hopes that they can be refurbished and put back to use — are sitting in a Lafayette warehouse waiting to be trashed. Tamara Chuang explains how the “Find my iPhone” feature became the bane of recyclers’ existence but also digs deeper for an insightful piece on the way that the push to be less wasteful has crashed head-on with the push for greater tech security.
Some of the millions of old cellphones collected by the Wireless Alliance in Lafayette that pays for donated phones. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun)
The secret life of Denver 311 agents
Chatbots that know everything about your garbage pick-up schedule. A quote from a guy whose title is “futurist-at-large.” Another from a guy whose Twitter handle is @NoSquish. These are the makings of a great story, and Sun contributor Michael Booth delivers in this wildly entertaining look at Denver’s efforts to provide better service to its residents through its 311 system. And if that’s not enough to entice you, there’s also a quiz to see if you could hack it as a 311 agent. (Spoiler: You couldn’t.)
More from The Sun
- Are licensed Colorado marijuana businesses in the crosshairs of Colorado’s new U.S. Attorney? Jason Dunn tells our Jesse Paul that he supports the rescinding of an Obama Administration memo that urged federal prosecutors to take a hands-off approach to state-legal marijuana, though cannabis business advocates don’t seem to be too concerned. In a Q&A, Dunn says to expect “some significant activity” by mid-summer cracking down on black-market marijuana grows that are shipping weed out of state.
- Gov. Jared Polis signed the hotly debated oil and gas regulation overhaul bill, and Erin Martinez, the Firestone woman whose husband and brother were killed in an industry-linked home explosion, was in the audience to watch it happen.
Jaelynn Martinez, left, shows her mom, Erin, a pen Gov. Jared Polis used to sign Senate Bill 181 on April 16, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
- The race to be the Democrat who takes on Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is getting clown-car crowded. The newest entrants are former U.S. Attorney John Walsh and former diplomat Dan Baer.
- Sticking with that Senate race, Gardner outraised any of his Democratic challengers in the first quarter of 2019. But most of his money came from out of state, as was also the case with Mike Johnston, the top-raising Democrat.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// Joel Minor, an attorney specializing in clean air and oil and gas issues in Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain office, writes in an opinion piece that the new oil and gas law gets it right and that now the real work begins. // The Colorado Sun
// More than half a million kids in metro Denver are out of school today as authorities hunt for an 18-year-old Florida woman who is reportedly obsessed with the Columbine High School attack, which happened two years before she was born. The Miami Herald calls her a “waif-thin teen” enrolled in honors classes. // 9News, Colorado Sun, Denver7, The Miami Herald
// With many Denver area families feeling uneasy this morning, a new poll shows most Americans believe schools have become less safe in the 20 years since Columbine. // Colorado Sun/AP
// Anadarko, Colorado’s largest oil and gas producer, is in the midst of a megasale to Chevron. But newly surfaced allegations of sexual harassment in the company’s Denver office could complicate that. Multiple former employees told Bloomberg of a company culture that demeaned women, punished those who complained and promoted men accused of wrongdoing. A letter from a former Anadarko spokeswoman lays out even more allegations — including of male executives having sex with female subordinates, in their downtown Denver offices during work hours. // The Colorado Sun, Bloomberg, CPR
// The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is suing the U.S. Army, alleging that toxic chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals are leaching into the groundwater at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a former weapons plant northeast of downtown Denver that has now been turned into a wildlife refuge. // The Denver Post 🔑
// To reduce teen suicides, should mental health professionals be allowed to tell school districts when a student is receiving counseling? That’s what officials in Mesa County told U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner needs to happen. // The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
// Again, I must ask: What in blue blazes is going on up in Aspen? The last time I wrote a Sunriser, I included a couple stories about cops there allegedly run amok. Now, a former city councilman, mayoral candidate and Aspen Skiing Co. exec has been arrested on charges of stealing $2.4 million worth of skis, snowboards and other gear. // The Aspen Times
// A youth theater program in Lamar that was started as a way to deter kids from substance abuse brought down the house with its latest production and, in doing so, gave the community a cultural outlet it has been lacking. The enthusiasm in this story’s quotes is so infectious. // The Lamar Ledger
// Demonstrations against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s tactics aren’t just a Denver thing. About 40 folks protested outside ICE’s office in Durango on Tuesday. Meanwhile, ICE extended for another year its contract for a 432-bed annex at a private detention facility in Aurora. // The Durango Herald, Sentinel Colorado
// A different kind of rally took place in Alamosa, where a group of residents is trying to save the city’s J.C. Penney store. This is a standalone photo, but its three-word headline tells an epic: “Please don’t close.” // Valley Courier
>> TODAY’S THING
The Thing: The Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Memorial Lecture
Why You Might Like It: Lucile Berkeley Buchanan was the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Colorado — a fact that somehow wasn’t really known until 1993. CU’s Center of the American West now honors her every year with a memorial lecture, and this year’s looks like a doozy. University of Washington history professor Quintard Taylor, who created the reference website BlackPast.org, is giving a talk subtitled: “Six African American Women You have Never Heard of Who Changed the West (and the World).” The lecture is tomorrow night, April 18, at 6:30 p.m., in room 180 of CU-Boulder’s Benson Earth Sciences Building. And it’s free. More information available here.
If you can’t make it but want to learn more about Buchanan, CU media studies professor Polly E. Burgos McLean has written a book about her titled “Remembering Lucile: A Virginia Family’s Rise from Slavery and a Legacy Forged a Mile High.” (Available at Book Bar, Tattered Cover, Amazon or your local library.)
What’s your thing? If you have something that you just can’t stop raving about that you’d like to share, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be published in a future Sunriser!
Thanks for making it to the bottom of another hearty Sunriser and allowing me a longer-than-usual intro. Eric will be back at the controls on Friday, but, until then, please do us a solid and tell people about the stories you read in The Sun. You wouldn’t believe how happy we are when we publish a story that gets people talking about Colorado.