Happy freakin’ Friday, Coloradans! As a childless grown man, I don’t get to experience the visceral joy of the last day of school any more, but I’ll be damned if the last day of this legislative session isn’t giving me a case of senioritis. We’ll get into that down below (bookmark this page if you want up-to-the-minute updates), don’t worry.
But first, I wanted to give a quick shout out to all of our new readers from /r/denver, the Denver subreddit where some very kind people had some nice things to say about The Sun’s coverage. Cruising Colorado’s subreddits is one of the few remaining online joys, because our state is full of people who can a) take great landscape and food photos and b) unearth things like this 1982 discorific photo of London House in Glendale.
We’ve got some very cool stuff planned this summer for the little Colorado Sun community we’re building here, so thanks for being a part of it (and thanks in advance for becoming a supporting member for just $5/month or helping recruit your friends, family and neighbors to join!).
We’ve got a lot of news to tackle rapid fire today, so let’s batten down the hatches and get to it, shall we?
>> ABOVE THE FOLD
It’s not just Denver: Rural Colorado feeling housing crunch, with more folks spending half their income on a place to live
One of Yuma’s mobile home parks sits next to the railroad in the shadow of a grain elevator near the city’s largest park and public pool. Many homes in Yuma are aging as distance from construction labor and resources makes new building and upgrades expensive and hard to manage. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)
This story from Kevin Simpson hits close to home for me in the most literal sense. There’s an idea that places like my hometown of Yuma must be affordable to live in. Look at all that cheap land! But Yuma County is one of more than a dozen Colorado counties that have seen big jumps in the percentage of people “severely burdened” by housing costs — spending more than half their income on housing.
>> Kevin gets deep into the spreading housing crisis in rural Colorado — from a lack of inventory to hard-to-get construction materials to waiting-list-only services. Read the whole story here.
“I think I want to do this forever. How does that work?” For dancers, it doesn’t.
Sarah Tallman has been one of Wonderbound’s most enduring dancers, performing in more than 30 ballets choreographed by Garrett Ammon. The stability allowed her to branch out into choreography. (Photo by Amanda Tipton.)
Mark Jaffe has a really great piece on what the end of a career feels like for someone who is of the age where most careers are just starting to peak. Take some time and get to know Wonderbound veteran Sarah Tallman as she prepares for life after a career of genre-defying ballet.
The clock is ticking at the Capitol: What’s dead (vaccines & nicotine), what’s left (a lot) and what lessons have been learned
Lawmakers meet in the Colorado House of Representatives on May 1, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
This headline says just about everything: “Colorado’s 2019 legislative session was a doozy, from Democrats’ growing pains to a blabbermouth GOP strategy.” In that story, Jesse Paul, Jennifer Brown and John Frank give you a taste of just how wild this lawmaking session has been — and what lawmakers will be taking with them as they head back to their districts.
// We’ve been keeping track of the big movement under the dome as the clock winds down (including Dems choosing to skip discussing the bill to improve Colorado’s worst-in-the-nation vaccination rate in order to free up time for other bills). You’re going to want to check back with this one all day: “The final tally: Running updates from the last three days of Colorado’s 2019 legislative session”
// The other big bill to fall late was the effort to put a tobacco and vape tax in front of voters in November, which was overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate last night. That’s a big loss for Gov. Jared POlis, who was pushing the effort.
// Back in December, John Ingold looked at all the Democratic bills that were killed by Republicans when they controlled the Senate in 2018 as a “road map” for how the Dems would proceed with their newfound power. Now he has tallied how they performed.
More from The Sun
“Skiing hasn’t changed a ton in the last 30 years. The last big changes to in-bounds skiing were the terrain park and the snowboard, and that was a long time ago. We really think there’s a need in this area for a backcountry-lite resort, and we’re trying to figure out a way to make that happen.”
— Erik Lambert, Bluebird Backcountry
- If you’re a subscriber to The Sun’s premium outdoors newsletter The Outsider (here’s how to become one) you saw a sneak preview of Joe Purtell’s story yesterday: Two entrepreneurs think the world of resort skiing has gone a little stale, and they’re betting big on creating a lung-burning ski area with no lifts — not to mention making it easier for newbies to safely get into backcountry skiing.
- Jason Blevins looked at thousands of acres of land that resorts like Bluebird could use, right under existing ski areas’ noses.
- It’s official: Michael Bennet is running for president. If that news hit you like an untoasted piece of white bread, John Frank might get you interested with his breakdown of where Bennet fits in the now-21-person-deep Democratic primary field.
- Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the gun rights group even more forceful in its beliefs than the NRA, has joined with Colorado Republicans in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Colorado’s new red flag gun law, citing an illegally carried out legislative procedure.
>> THE FUN STUFF
// Drew Litton: You can have great, fun-to-watch teams in the playoffs or you can have a good night’s sleep. You can’t have both. (You’re going to want to share that one with the Avs/Nuggets fans in your life.)
// I really felt this week’s What’d I Miss as someone whose pitch, timbre and vocabulary suddenly gets extra-formal and verbose as soon as a camera is pointed my way. (You can start the series from the beginning at any time to catch up, no worries)
From Colorado Sun’s SunLit wrangler Kevin Simpson: Every SunLit excerpt captures the imagination in some unique way. This week’s offering, from Karen Auvinen’s “Rough Beauty,” does it with the sheer power of language. She’s a poet, and that shines brightly through the vivid yet economical prose that peels off a slice of her rustic time spent living alone in the mountains. She tops it off with a compelling narrative about her dog, Elvis, his cancer diagnosis and how they learned to savor each day. Do yourself a favor. Start with this excerpt, then read the whole book.
John Frank’s Beer Pick
Left Hand Brewing is adding a popular beer to its year-round lineup, Wheels Gose ’Round. It is a raspberry gose (pronounced goes-ah) with a hint of lemon peel, and sales of the beer raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The German sour wheat is a once-forgotten style that is enjoying a comeback, thanks to its light body, refreshing tartness and the ability to add a pop of fruit flavor. It’s quenching and 4.4% alcohol by volume, making it a good finish to a long bike ride.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// Inspired by Kevin’s story about rural Colorado, let’s talk other housing factors in our beautiful, expensive state:
- Denver-area teachers can comfortably afford to buy only 5.4% of the homes on the market in the region. // Denverite
- Meanwhile, the average home is selling for more money than ever in Denver. // Denver Business Journal 🔑
- Want to buy an average home in Denver? You’d better make at least $91,700 (which puts Denver closer to D.C., Boston and New York City than places like Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas) // Visual Capitalist
- The construction boom trying to keep up with demand on the Front Range is sending the price of wholesale water soaring. // Water Education Colorado
- As Denver gets ready to vote on its urban camping ban, the story of Jerr-E-ville, an orderly homeless camp site, shows the tricky line the city is walking. // The Denver Post 🔑
- On the other end of the spectrum, look at this beautiful, curvy slab of windows in the middle of wildfire country near Colorado Springs — designed by Walter White (the architect, not the fictional drug lord) — that can be yours for just $2.5 million. // Curbed
// Interesting Event Alert: The Colorado Barbed Wire Collector’s Association convention in Burlington. // Burlington Record
// If I told you a Utah firm dropped 9 digits to acquire a Colorado software company, where would you think they were headquartered? LoDo? Boulder? Broomfield? How about Durango? // Durango Herald
// Controversial nominee Mark Kennedy will be the University of Colorado system’s next president after a 5-4 party line vote. // Boulder Daily Camera 🔑
// Every time I get on my electric scooter, I wear a helmet. I’m going to print out this headline and carry it with me every time someone looks at me like I’m a dork: “Electric scooter use results in 20 injuries per 100,000 trips, CDC finds” (Bonus points for this deck: “Fast, cheap and out of control”) // The Verge
// Three downs. A field 110 yards long and 65 yards wide. Access to poutine and Tim Horton’s. All these things and more await University of Northern Colorado lineman Zach Wilkinson as he heads to the Canadian Football League. // Greeley Tribune
// The phrase “cellar door” has often been described as the most beautiful-sounding phrase in the English language. I have a new suggestion that I want you to say with me: “Fish ladder.” It happens to be a real thing on the Cache la Poudre River but that’s beside the point. Just whisper it … “fish ladder.” // 9News
>> TODAY’S THING
The Thing: “7 Days Out” (Watch it on Netflix)
Why You Might Like It: Now, this is not going to be a weekend for lounging around watching Netflix. It’s going to be a weekend for throwing open the windows and drinking in the Colorado spring in big heaving gulps. But when the pollen or your atrophied hiking muscles or the exhaustion of cleaning the winter’s grime from every corner of your home inevitably knocks you back into the couch for the evening, you can’t go wrong with this amazing documentary series on Netflix. Focusing on the seven days before major events, each episode is fast-paced, deeply engaging and often thrilling. Whether you are already into some of the featured topics (fine dining, fashion/dog shows) or you have absolutely no clue what’s going on (professional video game tournament), you’ll find yourself utterly invested in the success and failure of these creative people.
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!
And just like that, you’re 5-10 minutes closer to your weekend. Along the way, if you read Sun stories you find particularly informative or entertaining, don’t forget to share them with friends, relatives and total strangers. We rely on reader support, and that’s you. If you haven’t become a member yet, you can easily sign up at coloradosun.com/join.
Programming note: I’m taking a short sabbatical from The Sunriser next week to work on some big projects to help The Sun have a successful summer, but we won’t miss a beat with my colleagues filling in. So be nice and make sure to tell them how great they do next week!
Have a great weekend!