Good morning and happy (Good) Friday! This has been a bit of a draining week in Colorado, so before you head off into a holiday weekend (or just a weekend enjoying our state’s beautiful weather), I’m happy you’re spending a little time catching up on the news.
Let’s knock it through this windmill already, shall we?
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ABOVE THE FOLD
A Nazi flag led this Western Mayberry to confront hate once again. Now Fruita aims to send a different message.
Barista Frankie Crego helps customers in the Bestslope Coffee shop in Fruita. (William Woody, Special to The Colorado Sun)
“I’m his mother, and I am not going to let that happen. The flag isn’t here anymore.”
Nancy Lofholm brings us a story from Fruita, a Western Slope Mayberry that was thrust into the national conversation around surging “in-your-face” incidents of hate after a resident flew a Nazi flag outside a home. While the flag is no longer flying — according to the mom quoted above — the story highlights the town’s major effort to put inclusivity at the forefront.
The politically connected owner of a Glenwood Springs quarry wants a massive expansion. Residents are preparing for a fight.
The battle between the Colorado high country’s two biggest industries, extraction and recreation, has a new arena. Just above Glenwood Springs, a quarry owner with connections to the powerful Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lobbying firm — and former Brownstein lobbyist and current Interior Secretary David Bernhardt — wants to dramatically expand the quarry’s gravel pit. Residents and tourism businesses, though, are gearing up for a fight to stop it.
Former Colorado foster youth make themselves heard for “sibling bill of rights,” driver’s license bill
“Separating siblings shouldn’t happen. They are our support systems. They drive us to be better. I feel like if I was able to be with my sisters, we could have had the same opportunities. We could all be living a beautiful life together.”
—Davion Bugarin, testifying before the House human services committee
Two bills in front of lawmakers seek to rectify some of the extra hardships put on foster youth in Colorado that you may not have even known about, from helping keep siblings together in the system to helping kids get driver’s licenses to ease the transition into adulthood. Jennifer Brown has the story of the generation of foster youth that is advocating for change louder than any before them.
Goodbye spaghetti, hello … putt-putt?
The Denver City Cable Railway Building housed the Old Spaghetti Factory for 45 years. Its new tenant will be Urban Putt, an artsy interactive miniature golf facility, restaurant and bar. (Jeremy Sparig, Special to The Colorado Sun)
One of the most visible reminders that the city of Denver used to be criss-crossed by cable cars had been serving spaghetti for the better part of 50 years. The Denver City Cable Railway Building lost its longtime tenant, the Old Spaghetti Factory, in September, but as Kevin Simpson writes, the next occupant will keep both families and the building’s sense of history intact.
The already crowded field to battle Cory Gardner could soon add some high-profile women
Five women are already in the crowd running to go up against Sen. Cory Gardner next year, but none has much political experience or financial support to get over the high bar of making it onto the primary ballot (we’re keeping track of all the candidates here). But the names of two women — former Colorado House Speaker Alice Madden and newly elected Secretary of State Jena Griswold — are now being tossed around.
After the lockdown
- John McDonald was already losing sleep over the Columbine groupies that come every year, but the threat that shut down hundreds of schools “felt different” to the man in charge of keeping Jeffco Public Schools students safe. Christopher Osher reports from behind the scenes of the decision-making process.
- Many people were wondering how Colorado’s red flag law may have applied to the Florida woman whose threats shut down many of the state’s schools. Jesse Paul laid out the tricky legal web — and the huge asterisk — that would have applied to this situation.
- By this point, I’m sure you’re being inundated by coverage of tomorrow’s anniversary of Columbine. So I’ll just remind you of our investigative series “After Columbine” that we hope gives a forward-looking take on how Columbine shaped the school experience in Colorado and beyond. You can see what we learned here.
More politics under The Sun
- Voters could decide to legalize sports betting in Colorado this November. Jesse Paul breaks down the just-introduced bill, including which fund would benefit from the generated tax revenue.
- Speaking of tax revenue, Colorado homeowners will likely be seeing higher taxes based on rising home values — without much benefit from the Gallagher amendment. But with more tax revenue, school districts, local governments and special districts will have a little more breathing room. Confused? Brian Eason explains it all here.
- From Chalkbeat: “Think teacher pay is low in Colorado? Try teaching preschool.”
THE FUN STUFF
// After the Nuggets’ performance last night, it seems like Drew Litton chose the right subject for his latest take on Colorado sports.
// Jim Morrissey strikingly illustrated the imbalance in Colorado school funding priorities.
I’m excited to get my hands on this week’s SunLit selection, “River of Lost Souls” by longtime Western environmental journalist Jonathan P. Thompson. The book is an investigation into the history of the Gold King Mine and the circumstances that led to the mine’s infamous 2015 toxic blowout. Read an interview with Thompson here and an excerpt from the book that focuses on the brutal 1939 Silverton strike and how the history of labor and environmentalism intertwine.
John Frank’s Beer Pick
Oskar Blues Brewery retired my favorite hoppy beer Gubna a while back. But the Longmont brewer’s newest IPA iterations are becoming a go-to. The Can-O-Bliss series debuted in February with a super-flavored Tropical IPA and the second iteration is next — Hazy IPA. Check it out, and keep an eye open for the new Steep Coast Strata Double IPA debuting May 1.
“We should move in the direction of offering lifelong insurance and medical care for football players who become badly damaged. But to do that is an implicit acknowledgment this game is incredibly dangerous to play.”
— CU Regent John Kroll, who voted against Mel Tucker’s coaching contract
// I’ve written about this before, but the future of football is something that is on my mind. A lot. I’m a former player with my fair share of undiagnosed concussions and until recently, a big fan of the sport. This piece by Michael Powell, about the small rebellion by two University of Colorado Regents protesting the future of football in Boulder, is a great place to start if you’re trying to grapple with the love of the sport and its undeniably damaging nature. // New York Times 🔑
// Powell also wrote a companion piece about Columbine HS/CU/Broncos lineman Ryan Miller and his struggle with some of the horrific physical repercussions of a lifetime of hits. // NYT
// Not to belabor the point, but I was shocked to find out that the story that has stuck with me the longest — “What Would the End of Football Look Like” — was published more than seven years ago, showing just how long we’ve been contemplating how this will all shake out. // Grantland
// The last remaining employee of the Sunnyside Gold Corporation in Silverton is retiring. The Durango Herald’s look at Larry Perino’s career also functions as a history of Colorado’s mining bust and legacy. // Durango Herald
// Hey, remember when Volkswagen cheated on their diesel emissions tests for years? A chunk of the multibillion-dollar settlement will pay for electric and other no-emissions buses around Colorado, including five in Fort Collins. // Coloradoan 🔑
// Denver’s “innovative” housing program — LIVE Denver — gets a lot of attention and is highly touted by the city. But in the nearly two years since it was announced, the program is only serving three people. // Pew Trusts
// There are a pair of pieces on the sudden and potentially massive rift between the NRA and its longtime advertising firm Ackerman McQueen (you might know them from producing NRATV and the rise of people like Dana Loesch). This Wall Street Journal article has the financial details of the lawsuits, while a piece from The New Yorker has a few more juicy details of the excesses enjoyed by the nonprofit’s executives — including a swanky wedding at the Broadmoor, complete with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic playing on the veranda. // Wall Street Journal 🔑, The New Yorker
“Absolutely something has changed” on the climate front, Scott said, “and I would argue that a lot of it has been for the better. Not the worse. The better.”
// Colorado state Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) had some … interesting thoughts on climate change at the statehouse. // The Colorado Independent
// The one thing Denver mayor candidates can agree on: All the new buildings in town are plug-ugly (I’m paraphrasing slightly.) // 9News
// I’ll leave you today with something to ponder and a topic that to me seems like the Great Unified Theory of Why Things Seem So Screwed Up Lately: The world is running out of empathy. // NPR
Why You Might Like It: No matter where you fall on the rainbow spectrum of religion (even if you fall completely off it all together), hearing a great gospel song at just the right moment in your day can absolutely boost your mood. And after this week, I think we could all use a little lift. I’m a latecomer to Dolly Parton appreciation, so it’s really fun to discover these little gems that are brand new to me but have meant so much to people over the years. (Bonus: I listened to this on a compilation that played her song “We Used To” immediately after “The Seeker,” and it not only pays direct homage to “Stairway to Heaven,” it fits right in to all sorts of my favorites like Nico, Lee Hazlewood and Serge Gainsbourg. Might not be the best sunny day listening, but keep it handy for your next moody session.)
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 email@example.com and you could be published in a future Sunriser!
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Now you’ve spent more than enough time here with me, go enjoy this beautiful weekend, no matter what your plans are. See you on Monday!