Good morning, folks! There are a few things I hope for you today: First, that you had a good, relaxing weekend, and second, that your commute does not involve eastbound U.S. 36, which is literally still collapsing this morning. This landslide under the turnpike is the latest side effect of the state’s wet winter, and something tells me it won’t be the last.
We have some truly fascinating stuff for you today touching on forensic environmentalism, a tense political battle and a method of addiction treatment most people don’t consider.
So let’s inflate this paddleboard already, shall we?
ABOVE THE FOLD
Destiny Trujillo stretches as she prepares to lift during her workout at The Phoenix Gym. (Joshua Polson, Special to The Colorado Sun)
An underrated obstacle to addiction recovery is boredom. The use of drugs and drinking is often associated with friends and events, and giving that up for sobriety can be as hard as the physical symptoms of withdrawal. In an engrossing longread, Sun contributor Dan England explores the connection between extreme endurance athletes and addiction.
>> NOT JUST FOR EXTREME ATHLETES While some ultramarathoners have histories of addiction, Dan also explores a more accessible method of using exercise to battle addiction through facilities like The Phoenix Gym in Denver, which has a very specific entry fee: 48 hours of sobriety.
Acres of destruction left by Colorado’s historic avalanche season are also delivering climate change evidence
Two student researchers were sent with chainsaws to a debris field above Silverton to collect tree-ring specimens for dendrochronologists looking for data. (Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)
The devastating avalanche season in Colorado left scars that will mark the state’s landscape for years. But a silver lining to the destruction may come from climate change researchers.
>> THE DATA IN THE RINGS Joe Purtell writes about the sudden and massive new data set — in the form of downed trees — that climate researchers can use to understand how climate and avalanche cycles intersect. This story is fascinating, and Nina Riggio’s photos put the scale of destruction into context.
“I don’t want mob rule. I want to function as a republic.”
—Ann Howe, of Monument, who signed the petition to repeal Colorado’s national popular vote compact
“… The Electoral College system is kind of an antiquated, undemocratic concept.”
— Gov. Jared Polis, to a luncheon of business leaders
John Frank explains the current state of the fight to repeal the Colorado law that — if enough other states join the same compact — would award the state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
>> REPEALS, PHILOSOPHICAL BATTLES AND MARGARINE The repeal effort says they already have enough signatures to get the challenge on the 2020 ballot (which still must be certified by the Secretary of State) but John’s piece explains just how it fits into an already contentious election cycle — and includes the fun fact that the last law repealed by Coloradans was a tax increase on oleomargarine in the midst of the Great Depression.
More from The Sun
- Gov. Jared Polis did something Friday that no elected Democrat has done before: He took the stage at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. John Frank’s detailed dispatch from the floor is fascinating reading, no matter what your politics are.
- Petitions to recall two Democratic state senators were approved, kicking the Colorado Republicans’ recall efforts into high gear after months of saber-rattling.
- A Colorado state email account for child abuse reports went unchecked for four years until May, and five new cases have been opened based on the emails inside.
- Aurora police are investigating the removal of the U.S. flag during a protest at the privately run immigration detention center in Aurora (which organizers of the protest say was the act of rogue protesters).
FROM THE OPINION PAGE
- It sounds like a bad joke: A Jewish doctor walks into a black barber’s shop, but the powerful life lesson Dr. Michael Milobsky learned is no laughing matter.
- Denverites love their dogs and cats, but when it comes to geese in parks, apparently they suffer from a case of NIMBYism, write University of Denver law professor Justin Marceau and University of Colorado professor emeritus Marc Bekoff.
- Colorado has taken a step toward addressing the unconscionable violence and abuse faced by transgender prisoners, writes Mario Nicolais.
- A pair of writers countered a previous opinion column that praised Lakewood’s new growth-limiting law as an act of fighting climate change. Anthony V. Berkley says those voters deserve condemnation, not praise. Morgan Smith writes that climate action requires smart growth, not a plan that encourages sprawl and displaces growth.
// The Trump administration said ICE “raids” would take place around the country this weekend, but in the Denver metro area and most other major cities, there seems to be no evidence that any such action took place. // 9News
// Here are three stories that are all part of the same narrative:
- Last year, Vox used Denver as an example of how not to plan public transportation, resulting in a system that costs a lot but doesn’t actually fit residents’ real transit needs. // Vox
- From January, Streetsblog Denver notes that RTD’s new fare structure makes taking the bus and trains more expensive here than just about every similarly sized (or larger) metro area in the country. // Streetsblog Denver
- Which brings us to the most recent news: Ridership on RTD’s light-rail lines has plummeted since 2018. // The Denver Post 🔑
// Vesicular stomatitis, a virus that can infect horses, donkeys, mules, cattle, swine and yes, even humans — is hitting Weld County the hardest of anywhere in the country. // Greeley Tribune
// The bigwigs at the top of Colorado’s largest oil and gas producer stand to get some shockingly huge golden parachute payments when the company’s merger with Occidental closes. // Denver Business Journal 🔑
// The felony case against two Realtors accused of operating a short-term rental out of a non-primary residence is proceeding in Denver, and more charges are expected. // Denverite
// It’s been legal to use greywater (the waste water from your shower, sink and washing machine) for things like gardens in Colorado since 2013. So why isn’t the state doing anything with it? // CPR News
// The second episode of “On Something” the CPR/NPR podcast about the untold stories of the world of legal marijuana is out, and it’s on a subject I am personally fascinated by: the “legal hangover” of marijuana arrests from before pot was legalized. It’s a good episode. // On Something
Iggy, just before enjoying his first doggy paddle.
The Thing: Jackson Lake State Park (more info)
Why You Might Like It: I received so many great suggestions about short-drive, dog-friendly destinations (I’m working on a bigger list to publish soon) but one thing they all had in common was the compass direction: Drive west from Denver. But thanks to an invitation from my sister (hi Emma!) visiting from Texas, I took Iggy east to Jackson Lake State Park on Sunday, and it was a great (if too short) experience. There are campsites aplenty, big sandy swim beaches with warm water and plenty of fishing if you’ve got the knack for it. All within an easy drive (just over an hour, depending on city traffic) northeast of Denver. I will definitely be returning soon for a lot longer than an afternoon.
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Have a great week and we’ll see you on Wednesday!