Good morning, Colorado! I missed you! I wasn’t really gone, just taking a break to get above water on some projects (some exciting, some dreadfully boring) for the future of The Colorado Sun. (Real quick, how great were the Sunrisers written by my multi-talented colleagues while I was out? It was fun being a reader for a couple of weeks.)
Before we dive into today’s news, I want to share a story that highlights the kind of journalism you won’t find at The Colorado Sun. Last week, quickly written headlines claimed that a majority of Americans used pools instead of showering. Gross, right? Nearly unbelievable, you might say. But those stories were quickly outed as being based on a badly written “survey” conducted by … a trade group for the chlorine industry.
Because The Sun is supported by readers like you and not empty clicks, we don’t feel pressure to chase every shocking press release and we can focus on doing deeply reported work that matters to your day-to-day life. So if you’d like to turn up the signal and turn down the noise in your local journalism, it would be a great time to become a Colorado Sun member (or persuade your friends/family/coworkers/neighbors to become one if you’re already supporting us). As little as $5/month at coloradosun.com/join can make a huge difference.
OK, let’s shake this umbrella already, shall we?
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>> Above the Fold
Will Colorado enact gun-storage laws after STEM shooting? Plus the state’s 20,669 gun deaths, explained in charts
On stage at the University of Denver, when asked exactly what kind of laws could have been passed to prevent the shooting at the STEM School, one of the state’s top Democratic lawmakers revealed that they are starting to look at legislation stipulating how guns must be stored — something that doesn’t exist anywhere in Colorado’s current laws. But how do gun storage laws work? And are they effective?
>> GUN LAWS: To find out, Sun reporters Jennifer Brown and Jesse Paul analyzed gun storage laws in more than a dozen states and broke down the early opposition to the efforts. Read their analysis here.
// CHARTS: Much of the debate over gun violence happens in the abstract. But when you look at the hard numbers, patterns (and hopefully solutions) start to emerge. Here are Colorado’s 20,669 gun deaths since 1980, illustrated in five charts.
Mushrooms aren’t actually legal in Denver — surprise! Plus, coming out of the dark ages on psychedelic medical research.
Now that social media and late night talk show hosts have had their fun, it’s time to look at what Denver’s vote on magic mushrooms actually means for residents (for starters, they haven’t been “legalized” — Denver just told its police to “deprioritize” enforcement of the laws surrounding them). But beyond the partiers, Jason Blevins talked to scientists and therapists who are looking to advance the understanding of psilocybin and other psychedelic substances for treating severe cases of anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD.
Where Colorado stands after an abortion bill more severe than Alabama’s was debated — and defeated — during this year’s session
“We are never as far from those other states as we think we are. It’s only one election.”
— Karen Middleton, the executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado
With the passage of Alabama’s restrictive abortion law — which even its writers say is likely to be found unconstitutional (at first) and is designed to test Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court — John Frank looked at a measure debated at the Colorado Capitol earlier this year and where it fits into the still-ongoing battle over reproductive rights nationwide.
>> BEHIND THE SCENES: Read the whole story, including where abortion advocates are looking to make protections permanent in Colorado and why the GOP will continue to push Alabama-style laws.
More from The Sun
- In just three school years, there could be almost 20 schools in the Denver Public Schools system with fewer than 215 students, which means consolidation is on the table. Chalkbeat Colorado has more.
- Austin Eubanks, who survived the Columbine shooting and became an advocate for battling addiction, was found dead in his Steamboat Springs home at the age of 37. Autopsy results are expected this week.
>> From the Opinion Page
- Are we doomed? Diane Carman asks whether we can overcome our selfish gene and take action to save our planet from climate change.
- Mario Nicolais worries that we have condemned shooting survivors at STEM school Highlands Ranch to be just another statistic until we learn from our mistakes and fix our errors.
- Speaking of school shootings, Nichole Noonan says communication, relationships and mental health intervention are among our best safety tools.
- Denver business owner Laura Packard says she’s lucky to be alive. The stage 4 cancer survivor credits the Affordable Care Act and worries about looming legal storm clouds.
- Patrick Gillespie and David Stewart write about the importance of wilderness and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act.
- One good year of heavy snowfall doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods with our water supply, Marshall Brown writes.
>> The Shortlist
Scott Elementary School the way it appears today, and the photo of a photo album page on the right shows the school in the 1960s. (Greeley Tribune)
// I’ve never seen Greeley’s extremely ’60s “round” schools, but the architectural phenomenon in northern Colorado resulted in a number of buildings that are now at the top of the city’s list to replace. Don’t miss the cool drone footage of these unique designs. // Greeley Tribune 🔑
// Meet Kym Lucas, The Episcopal Church in Colorado’s new bishop, who happens to be the church’s first female bishop and first black bishop. // 5280
// Denver’s “Turn Over a New Leaf” program has qualified 84 people to clear their record of old marijuana convictions. // The Denver Post 🔑
// Much like the move to relocate the Bureau of Land Management headquarters west, there’s an effort afoot to move two big federal agriculture agencies out of D.C. But scientists say the move is an anti-science effort to “dilute [the agencies’] effectiveness as well as their relevance.” // KUNC
// The battle between drivers and cyclists isn’t slowing down or getting less hostile — though it’s pretty one-sided, considering American cyclists are among the most likely to get killed by a car. But this interesting essay by a cyclist who just completed an LA-to-Denver trip has a cheap, colorful suggestion: pool noodles as safety devices. // The Atlantic, Quartz
// Because this section is apparently “Pool Noodle News” now, did you know that farmers will use pool noodles to make aggressive goats safer to be around? Yes, there are photos. // @41Strange on Twitter
// Good news! Denver-born billionaire Robert F. Smith is paying off $40 million worth of student loans for this year’s graduating class of Morehouse College. Bad news: It’s part of a trend of billionaires who aggressively oppose higher taxes on ultra-rich investors performing (relatively) small acts of charity to try to earn goodwill. Doesn’t make the effort any less noble or awesome for those students, but context is important. // CNBC, NY Times 🔑, Anand Giridharadas
>> Today’s Thing
The Thing: Kevin Morby (sampler playlist on Spotify)
Why you might like it: Today’s Thing is directly aimed at anyone who has said (or even thought) “there’s no good rock ‘n’ roll music coming out these days.” Believe me when I say I could give you several long essays of critical theory for why I think you’ll like Kevin Morby, but no one wants to read that. So instead, I made you a sampler playlist (it’s perfect for today’s weather and includes his entire new release “Oh My God”) and also this list of bands and songwriters that I thought of (flatteringly) during Morby’s show at The Bluebird on Saturday:
- Fleetwood Mac
- The Velvet Underground
- Lou Reed (separate thought)
- Bruce Springsteen
- The E Street Band (separate thought)
- Joe Strummer
- Electric Light Orchestra
- Kate Bush
- The Killers
- Leonard Cohen
- Mavis Staples
- Bob Dylan
- … and on and on and on
What’s your thing? Do you have a book, song, lifehack, recipe, movie, show, gardening tip, dog toy or any other thing that you can’t stop raving about? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could get published in a future Sunriser!
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Have a great day, stay dry and we’ll see you back here on Wednesday.