G’morning, Colorado! As we arrive at the end of a really difficult week, another one marked by tragedy and grieving and all the messy emotions that come with that, I want to take a beat and ask you to check in on yourself. How are you?
If you feel like you’re in a rut that you can’t pull yourself out of, Mental Health Colorado has easy-to-use resources and screening tools on its website. And if you need to talk to someone right away, Colorado Crisis Services — phone number: 1-844-493-8255 — is a great place to start. Trauma that comes from just reading or hearing about horrible events is still real, so don’t deny yourself help because you think you don’t deserve it.
Lastly, if these services aren’t for you, I’m going to assign you a little weekend homework — adapted from a lecture former Mayo Clinic doc Amit Sood gives. Spend some quiet time thinking about all the people you love in the world, picture their faces and imagine what it feels like to hug them. Then think about the people in your life who have shown you kindness and the things you are grateful for. And, lastly, make some time to do something that brings you joy.
You’ll be in my thoughts. Now, let’s find our mantra, shall we?
>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Heroic stories emerge from STEM School
“Colorado will always remember the heroism of Kendrick Castillo,” Gov. Jared Polis said. That’s a fitting tribute to Castillo, whose legacy will be how he gave his life during the shooting to protect those around him. Other students joined him in their courage — a testament to their strength and to a world where kids are now sometimes called upon to literally defend their right to a safe education.
Administrators push back against anonymous complaint alleging danger at STEM School months before deadly shooting
Nearly five months before the attack this week at STEM School Highlands Ranch, an anonymous phone call to a Douglas County school board official alleged a pressure-filled environment at the school, including bullying, that could lead to a Columbine-style shooting. The school investigated and said the allegations were uncorroborated. The school and its principal also took the unusual step of filing a defamation lawsuit against the anonymous “Jane Doe” who made the call, seeking monetary damages. While media focus on the school’s culture is growing, administrators are pushing back and citing a successful environment they’ve worked hard to cultivate.
More on the STEM School attack
Real talk: It can be hard, even for a professional journalist, to keep reading stories about a tragedy as the event recedes into the distance. Compassion fatigue among readers is a thing; the urge to turn away for your own protection is strong. There’s no shame in that. It’s only with space that we truly begin to understand events like this. So here are a few more stories about the attack worth reading, when you’re ready for them:
- Students, teachers and staff are increasingly being taught to battle back in school shooting situations, a shift that’s been highlighted by Kendrick Castillo’s heroics and another recent campus shooting in North Carolina. // The Associated Press
- Hidden away inside classrooms, kids of all ages knew what to do during a school shooting until they didn’t. // Colorado Public Radio
- “My children are not OK”: What’s it like for students and parents when school feels unsafe? // The Denver Post 🔑
- This is what it sounds like hiding in a dark classroom during a school shooting. // BuzzFeed News
- Lastly, nearly two years ago, the Highlands Ranch Herald profiled Castillo in a story on high school internships. What an awesome kid: Internship benefits business, high school students. // Highlands Ranch Herald
President Trump signals support for Colorado plan to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada
That’s how much Colorado lawmakers hope they can save people on the cost of some prescription drugs by importing them from Canada. But when they passed a bill this session to do just that, it faced a pretty high hurdle: Winning approval from what appeared to be a skeptical federal government. That may have changed earlier this week, when Trump told Gov. Jared Polis during a phone call that he supports the plan.
From Tinkertoys to avocado greens: Denver Art Museum show presents play as a serious form of inspiration
Charles Eames with the Solar Do-Nothing Machine. In 1957. Charles and his wife, Ray, designed the toy for Alcoa. (Eames Office photo)
Are you a fan of the midcentury modern aesthetic? (cf. “Mad Men,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Incredibles” franchise.) Then hurry your skinny tie or pencil skirt down to the Denver Art Museum, where a new exhibit highlights the playful side of this serious design style. From furniture to corporate marketing to children’s toys, the exhibit brings a jolt of nostalgia for those who grew up playing with Tinkertoys — and what I am going to dub nearstalgia for those of us who missed the midmod wave but wish we hadn’t.
More from The Sun
- With all the snow this winter, Colorado’s fire season is officially predicted to be below-average this summer. That’s the good news. The bad: Below-average these days is still pretty rough.
- The Democratic primary to pick the person who will try to unseat GOP U.S. Sen Cory Gardner in 2020 isn’t quite as crowded as the field for president — but it’s getting there. Alice Madden, a former Democratic leader at the statehouse with a long history of working on environmental issues, makes it an even dozen.
- So Colorado lawmakers this session spent a ton of time trying to make health insurance more affordable — for about 8% of Coloradans. Here are three reasons why the relatively small individual market for health coverage gets so much attention.
- In response to the scare in Colorado schools last month caused by a young woman from Florida, U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Aurora, has introduced a bill that would prohibit out-of-state visitors from walking into a gun store somewhere other than their home state and walking out with a rifle or shotgun.
- Read a Q&A with the new head of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, an accomplished kayaker who hopes to build out the infrastructure needed to expand the recreation economy to more places in the state. (Subscribers to Jason Blevins’ delightful and informative newsletter The Outsider got to read this story early. Here’s how to become a Newsletters+ member to get it.)
>> THE FUN STUFF
// As the seemingly endless succession of school shootings again touches Colorado, Drew Litton notes the particular heartbreak these tragedies bring to this weekend.
// In “What’d I Miss?” this week, Myra gets back in touch with her rock ‘n’ roll roots — and finds that even after a 30-year coma, her taste holds up pretty well. (As always, you can quickly catch up on the whole story here. It’s totally worth it.)
From our SunLit maestro Kevin Simpson: When a friend told her about a group of Soviet women pilots in World War II called the Night Witches, author Aimie K. Runyan just knew she had to build a historical novel around one of these heroines. That was the genesis of “Daughters of the Night Sky,” which melds history with a compelling fictional narrative set to the violent backdrop of the war. In this week’s excerpt, she introduces us to the young Katya and her dream of flying. In her SunLit interview, Runyan also tells how she rose to great heights in researching her novel — in an open-cockpit biplane.
John Frank’s Beer Pick
Oskar Blues’ Burning Can Festival is a celebration of the beer and the outdoors in Lyons, Colorado. (Photo courtesy of Oskar Blues)
This is normally the space where John Frank, our sultan of suds, our baron of barley, gives advice on a beer you should try. Not this week. JF went long with a guide to all the great festivals taking place across the state in June, the best month for beer.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// A number of outlets had a decidedly trippy version of a “Dewey defeats Truman” moment this week, with headlines that proclaimed the Denver magic mushrooms initiative likely defeated only to later report that it had risen from the ashes. But none did so with the panache of the Aurora Sentinel, which headlined an Associated Press story on its website: “SPORE LOSER: Denver ‘magic mushroom’ measure withers” // Aurora Sentinel, The Associated Press, Denverite
// Meanwhile, The Onion’s headline on the psilocybin news was not only pretty great — Denver’s Flaming Skull Mayor Announces Plans To Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms — but it also got actual Denver Mayor Michael Hancock looking over his shoulder. (And here are the answers to your questions about how this law change will work, or won’t.) // The Onion, Twitter, The Denver Post 🔑
// 9News dug into Colorado’s skyrocketing spending on a drug to treat opioid addiction — at $1,300 a shot — and found a trail of emails from drug company reps to Colorado jail and prison officials. A really great investigation here. // 9News
// The Fort Collins Coloradoan tells the story of how a change to Colorado law gave hope to a teen who had come to the country illegally with her mother when she was 8 — hope that carried her all the way to graduation at CSU. // The Coloradoan 🔑
>> TODAY’S THING
The Thing: Plant Select
Why You Might Like It: If you’ve been living and gardening in Colorado for at least a couple of years, this is the ultimate no-duh suggestion. But if you’re new here (or just new to planting), you might be finding yourself trying to figure out what kind of perennials to put in the ground this spring — once it finally stops snowing. Enter Plant Select, a nonprofit collaboration between Colorado State University, the Denver Botanic Gardens and others. Its mission is to seek out attractive, bomb-proof plants for our high and dry climate, with a new class of selections released each year. This year’s group includes a fiery flowered penstemon and a silky ornamental grass, and it’s also easy to search through past selections to find plants for a xeric garden that suit your style. Now go get your hands dirty!
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!
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