What an insanely glorious weekend we had after an insane weather week. I’m probably not the only one who spent less time indoors than out on Saturday and Sunday. My days were dedicated to reacquainting myself with the lovely community that is my block. While we checked for early signs of this summer’s crops, my friend Beth and I got to catch up on the news missed during the winter, pet new dogs that have moved to the ‘hood and hope for a glimpse of the new baby born around the corner last week.
And then, in full view of neighbors sprucing up their own gardens, the ultimate community event occurred: My bee hive swarmed, the definitive signal that my colony had made it through the winter in fine shape. Since the community split while I was at home, sending thousands of bees out in search of new digs, I was able to capture the swarm and send it home with a newbie beekeeper who has set up a hive in central Denver.
It’s these kinds of serendipitous events that reaffirm that community is what you make of it, where you find it — in a rag-tag group of beekeepers, in friends who come together to blab and dig in the dirt, in people who have come together to support local journalism.
If you want to be a part of making a strong news community for Colorado, and haven’t already stepped up to join the colony of busy minds, you can become a member here. At $5 a month, it’s a pretty low-stakes way to participate (I promise, you’re not going to get stung.)
So let’s get this hive organized, shall we?
>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Jared Polis is learning early on about one of the hardest parts of being governor: serving as Colorado’s chief mourner
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis responds to a question about the shooting at STEM School during a news conference on May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Gov. Jared Polis was barely two months into the job when he found himself called upon to be the state’s consoler-in-chief after a Colorado State trooper was killed during a blizzard. And then it happened again last week, when teenage shooters allegedly opened fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch, leaving eight of their classmates wounded and another dead. Polis’ predecessors say it’s one of the most difficult roles the governor plays, and one that weighs especially heavy in a job that already has intense demands. “There’s a burden from being the chief mourner that visits you differently than any other gubernatorial responsibility that you have,” said former Gov. Bill Ritter.
>> The governor didn’t want to talk about it, but past state chiefs and their handlers explained to reporter Jesse Paul why guiding the citizenry through dark times is one of the toughest, and more important, tasks of the job. Read it here.
How much do you pay for hospital services in Colorado? Likely many times more than what Medicare pays.
People leave Boulder Community Hospital in October 2018. (Jonathan Castner, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Oh? The prices Colorado hospitals charge people with private insurance are, on average, 269% higher than what Medicare is charged? RAND Corp. looked at claims data in 25 states and found that Colorado’s hospitals are the sixth most expensive in that group. Looking for someone to blame? RAND says it’s the result of hospital consolidation.
>> The hospital industry says the conclusions of the RAND study are misleading. John Ingold explains their thinking and also explains how the study provides important context for the cost of health care in Colorado. You’re going to want to click through and read this one.
A first look at how Colorado will become a zero-emissions vehicle state: the rule, the cost, the debate
Two roads diverged in a Colorado Air Quality Control Commission debate, and we don’t yet know which one the state will travel. On one, the state will require automobile manufacturers to make almost 5% of the vehicles they offer for sale here be electric. The other would just let the carmakers make good on a promise to offer their full line-up of EVs for sale in Colorado.
>> Tamara Chuang lays out the fierce debate over whether Colorado should adopt California’s EV standard to help clean up our air and whether it would boost sales of EVs, which account for about 3.5% of the market here.
Gov. Polis cheered the 2019 legislative session. His scorecard tells a different story.
During his State of the State address, Gov. Jared Polis laid out an ambitious slate of goals he hoped the legislature could meet during the 120-day session. Most weren’t surprises — they’d been talked about at length on the campaign trail. Three of his four biggest priorities passed this session. But among the rest of them, about half remain unfinished.
WATCH: Can’t make it to The Colorado Sun’s post-legislative forum tonight at 6 p.m. at the University of Denver with Jared Polis? You can watch it live here: How to watch the forum. Among the guests that aren’t the governor:
- House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder
- Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder
- House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock
- Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker
If you are planning on going, take our advice: Get there early to get the best seats (more on that at the end of this newsletter).
More from the Colorado Sun
- If the recall against her wasn’t ugly enough, state Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, has resigned citing unspecified allegations against her that have nothing to do with her support of the bill that overhauled oil and gas regulation in Colorado. Greeley police are investigating.
- There wasn’t a Douglas County deputy working as a school resource officer at STEM School Highlands Ranch last week because of a disagreement between school administration and the sheriff’s office.
>> THE OPINION PAGE
- Lawyer and outdoorsman Forrest Merrithew explains why reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund was important. But figuring out how to direct more of the $900 million collected annually from off-shore drilling to actual conservation is mission critical.
- Speaking of conservation, Pitkin County Commissioner Greg Poschman writes that the CORE Act (backed by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Boulder) that aims to preserve 400,000 acres of Colorado wilderness also honors Colorado’s legendary skiing soldiers. Like his dad.
- Bell Policy Center boss Scott Wasserman thinks the campaign to cast what happened during the 2019 legislative session as Democratic “overreach” is a cynical, confusing attempt to convince Coloradans we don’t need solutions to the dramatic changes happening here.
- Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is a vexing influence on the state’s budgeting process. And attempting to reform it has exposed hypocrisy in the GOP caucus, writes Barrett Rothe, chairman of the state Democratic party’s Fiscal Reform Initiative.
- For voters in local elections, it’s the growth, stupid! Environmentalist Gary Wockner uses Denver’s recent mayoral election to explain.
- When the hour of utter evil arose before STEM School student Kendrick Castillo, he did not hesitate or succumb to helplessness. He met the moment and gave his friends safety, writes columnist Mario Nicolais, whose wife is a Douglas County teacher.
- Colorado filmmaker Brian Malone grew up in and still lives in Douglas County. He worries that we will be lulled into passing judgment on the families of the STEM School shooters. And, he writes, we can do better than that.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// The city of Denver has big plans to add 125 miles of bike lanes over five years. The first 17 miles are coming this year. And the nice thing is, they’re not necessarily targeted for the routes pedaled by two-wheeled road warriors. // Streetsblog Denver
// Canarchy, the parent to beloved Oskar Blues, the do-gooder Boulder County craftbrewer, is in big trademark trouble for its Guns ‘N’ Rosé ale, on tap since 2018. Rock band Guns ‘N’ Roses (fun fact: the band’s enduring keyboardist, Dizzy Reed, grew up in Boulder, near Baseline Reservoir) has sued the brewery for infringing on the name and confusing consumers into believing the copper-colored brew and related merch is associated with the band. // Beer Advocate, Reuters
// Round and round the runoff wheel goes, who will be the winner in the Denver mayoral race, nobody knows. But looking at precinct-by-precinct data in the primary is pretty telling.// The Denver Post 🔑
// There’s always a lot of talk about changing the business ecology outside metro Denver to make it easier for startups to, well, start up. A long-time Durango family is helping it happen in southwest Colorado with a new business incubator. // The Durango Herald
// Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams — who made some national headlines when he said he’d rather sit in his own jail than enforce the state’s red flag gun law — said in a Facebook post last week that he’s a high school shooting survivor. He provided no details. // Greeley Tribune 🔑
// That apocryphal tale about The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park exploding back in 1911? Ghosthunters (really) have found supporting evidence. // Estes Park Trail Gazette
>> TODAY’S THING
The Thing: Farm stand asparagus, about $8 a bunch
Why You Might Like It: Back, I think, in the ’90s, marketers convinced us that the best asparagus is the skinniest asparagus. But the truth, as told to me during a conversion experience at Kiowa Valley Organics’ farmers market booth a few years ago, is that fresh-cut asparagus about the size of my index finger is sweeter and more tender. And the bigger stalks have the added bonus of being able to stand up to a minute or two on the grill without incinerating. I picked up my first bunch of this season this weekend at Isabelle Farm Stand, busted off the dry ends and dropped the spears into salted, boiling water. I fished them out of the water after a couple of minutes, tossed them with salt and olive oil and then put them on the grill, alongside a grass-fed steak, just long enough to give the bright green spears a little char. It was the perfect meal to end a weekend. Though the supermarket industry would have you believe differently, the asparagus season ends around the middle of June, so keep your eyes open and seize the opportunity while you can.
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!
Well that’s a wrap. We’re off to prepare for tonight’s post-leg forum, where we’ll be making a run at community in a different fashion. Many of you signed up for the event — it starts at 6 p.m. at Davis Auditorium in the Sturm Hall at the University of Denver and it’s first-come, first-seated, so get there early — where, with the help of CBS4, we’ll try to get a better understanding of what happened during the 120-day legislative session and what’s ahead for Colorado politics.
While we’re doing that, please keep sharing the buzz about us and be sure to step up and become a Colorado Sun member here if you haven’t already. It takes just $5 a month.
For those of you who are supporting our work, thank you so much. You folks are making more journalism possible every day. Our community is growing stronger by the day with your help.
And for those mourning, don’t worry, Eric will be back next Monday!