Good morning and happy 50th birthday to Colorado’s fifth-largest city,
Jefferson City Lakewood (the city changed names just a few months into existence)! Even as Denver tries its best to get denser, the real surge in Colorado’s population is happening in Front Range suburban areas like Lakewood, which in 1969 resisted being annexed by Denver and in 2019 (next week, in fact) will vote on a NIMBY-flavored measure to put a major cap on growth.
The suburbs have been and will always be an interesting laboratory for how Colorado deals with its major issues, so keep an eye on how Lakewood reacts next week.
From the suburbs to the far reaches of rural Colorado to your grocery store parking lot, we have a lot to get to today.
Let’s weed this garden, shall we?
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>> ABOVE THE FOLD
Should schools and buildings be torn down after mass shootings? Columbine looks to others as it struggles with trespassers
Officers from Jeffco Public Schools direct a motorist away from Columbine High School property on June 13, 2019, in Littleton. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
— The number of people stopped or arrested for trespassing at Columbine High School between June 2018 and May 2019. Other Jeffco schools average three to four calls per year.
Even as the tragedy of the Columbine High School shooting drifts further into the past, worldwide obsession with the site of the attack is growing, according to Jeffco Public Schools Superintendent Jason Glass, who earlier this month floated the idea of knocking down and rebuilding the school. This idea has been percolating for a while, but what can Columbine learn from other sites of mass violence?
>> HOW BAD IS THE PROBLEM? Carol McKinley obtained security records to find out just how prevalent the issue of trespassing is at the school. Click through for more details and to see how current and former students and teachers are split on the idea.
PERA lost $1.8 billion after brutal finish for 2018 stocks. Now public workers and taxpayers will pay more.
“I would say the bill’s working like it’s meant to. The unfortunate thing was that the bad-return year just happened to be the first year.”
— State Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial and co-sponsor of last year’s PERA fix bill
The roller coaster ride that has been the stock market over the past 18 months has triggered some of the legislative guardrails installed to protect the massive Colorado state workers’ pension fund.
>> WHO PAYS, HOW MUCH AND FOR HOW LONG? PERA whisperer Brian Eason has the details on which parts of the law were triggered, why they were built the way they were and what it means going forward.
“The census shouldn’t be partisan. Counting people shouldn’t be partisan.”
— State Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster
For every 1% of Colorado residents that are undercounted in the upcoming census, the state could lose $63 million in federal funding. But like most topics, debate over the state spending $6 million to help the feds accurately count everyone in Colorado — even in hard-to-reach rural areas — has become a point of party-line bickering.
>> THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF COUNTING PEOPLE Go inside the mechanics of counting people with no internet access and no mailbox and see why some Republicans are balking at spending state dollars.
More from The Sun
- Get ready to talk about wolves in your supermarket parking lot. Advocates for a question to reintroduce gray wolves into Colorado need a whole lot of signatures to get it on the ballot. Jason Blevins has the whole story.
- The awe-inspiring runoff from this year’s ridiculous snowpack has already claimed five lives on Colorado’s rivers, including two more women who died Friday on the Gunnison River. A sixth person has been missing for days after being swept away by the Rio Grande. Be careful out there, please.
- Colorado appears to be one of the few states jumping headfirst into legalizing sports betting with its upcoming vote, with many others staying on the sidelines or resisting it all together.
>> FROM THE OPINION PAGE
- The largest conservation organization in North America, The Nature Conservancy, is in the throes of a #MeToo-related shakeup, including the exits of a series of top executives. Colorado State University’s Megan Jones and Jennifer Solomon write about the lingering equality problems in the conservation movement.
- Diane Carman offers some advice for Colorado girls thinking about competitive athletics: “Be careful about being a winner,” or risk inflaming the crackpots who criticized the U.S. women’s team for doing so well in World Cup soccer (even as the team is — as of this writing — sparring with Spain in the first knockout stage).
- U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner promised to be “a new kind of Republican” when he was campaigning in 2014. He has failed to deliver on that promise, the executive director of Conservation Colorado writes.
- The recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling on efforts to repeal TABOR has Mario Nicolais worried that the high court “undercut judicial precedent in the process.”
- Ned Breslin writes that Colorado’s child welfare system is making great strides in how it treats LGBTQ kids, particularly when compared to our neighbors.
>> THE SHORTLIST
// There was palpable tension here in the metro area this weekend. Reports of ICE raids targeting families in Denver and Aurora led to a surge of action by activists. Longstanding events like the Colorado Latino Festival were postponed. Even though the raids were delayed (for now), new reports of inhumane conditions at detention centers for migrant children — that violate just about any international treaty signed since WWI about the treatment of prisoners, let alone children of people legally attempting to apply for asylum — have pushed discussion about the Trump administration’s immigration policy even further from politics into talk of basic morality.
The normally stodgy New York Times Editorial Board, in its rebuke of the policies, even lists ways individuals can do something to react to the situation, both in the political realm and via activism, which should indicate just how extraordinary this situation has become. This is something that won’t — and shouldn’t — fall out of our national attention. // Aurora Sentinel, Daily Camera 🔑, NPR, NY Times 🔑
// “We have tried in every way we possibly can to figure out how to discourage them from building there … but the problem is … there’s no law that says you can’t do this.” New homes are coming to replace parts of Weld County’s Dearfield, a historic black farming settlement. // KUNC
// Speaking of land ownership, I haven’t had a chance to tuck into Julie Turkewitz’s epic “Who gets to own the West?” investigation into the group of billionaires buying up vast swaths of land. But it comes highly recommended by journalists and nonjournalists alike. // NY Times 🔑
// The bison herd near Fort Collins has jumped to 76 from 10 in just three years, butting up against the max capacity of the reserve they live on. // 9News
// It’s a good time to own parking lots in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood. Just ask Pepsi, which made a refreshing $36 million from selling its bottling plant lots last week. // BusinessDen
// Streetsblog Denver has a new entry in its series on bus driver shortages (Part 1) that focuses on exactly what it takes to drive the Bustang (the popularity of which we’ve written about before). // StreetsBlog Denver, The Colorado Sun
// The baseball brawl in Lakewood has reached true virality: Not only did it get skewered by our own Drew Litton it has now earned the full ire of Mitch Albom, writing for the Detroit Free Press. // The Colorado Sun, Detroit Free Press
// Bruce Finley has a longread from the Yampa River that touches on Colorado water policy, runoff, conservation, politics and more. // The Denver Post 🔑
>> TODAY’S THING
The Thing: “On Something” a charming, informative podcast from CPR (subscribe link)
Why You Might Like It: As a multiple-hours-of-podcasts-per-day addict and someone who worked in local news during the entire marijuana legalization saga here in Colorado, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical that a new podcast on pot would keep my attention. But as the host of Colorado Public Radio’s new show Ann Marie Awad puts it in the pilot, the podcast could have just been “is legalization good or bad?” but thankfully she resisting that oversimplification by (skillfully and charmingly) using this podcast to tell the complex stories of people lost in the gaps of Colorado (and the world’s) overlapping, contradictory cannabis laws and economics. It didn’t take long to add this to the coveted “Auto-Download” queue in my Pocket Casts app so I don’t miss an episode.
>> 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!
Thanks for getting to the bottom of this Sunriser, especially for all of our new and upgrading members who joined us during last week’s mini-membership drive. The outpouring of support we received was invigorating and a great way to head off into the summer to tell the stories of our fellow Coloradans.
It’s never too late to join or upgrade your membership (coloradosun.com/join or go to your settings to upgrade) but one of the ways you can help us in the long term is to get your friends hooked on The Colorado Sun, whether it’s through this newsletter or following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
The more the merrier in this community!
Have a great week and we’ll see you back here on Wednesday.