Good morning and happy Monday, folks!
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that we’ve had a weird summer. Above-average rain, above-average heat, a civic battle over the fate of geese and a surprising number of urban (non-goose) wildlife sightings.
I had a sighting of my own on Thursday, with a dashing young buck popping out of Washington Park while I waited at a stoplight on Downing. It apparently made it all the way to Cheesman Park, where residents got much better photos than I did (once I actually got my phone out and the camera turned on).
The backside of a young buck deer after it exited Washington Park and headed toward Alameda Avenue in Denver on July 25, 2019. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)
Mother Nature seems to want to remind us city-dwellers that we’re all in the same ecosystem (but please, whatever you do, don’t get involved, no matter how cute or scared the critters may seem).
We’ve got quite a lot of newsletter to get to, so let’s rev this engine already, shall we?
ABOVE THE FOLD
Clumps of Japanese beetles eat their way through roses at the War Memorial Rose Garden on July 25, 2019 in Littleton. (John Leyba, Special to The Colorado Sun)
If they weren’t such little jerks, they’d be kind of beautiful. Japanese beetles are the scourge of just about every heavily watered lawn and garden along the Front Range. They’re hungry and they mate quickly. While there are plenty of techniques to minimize the damage in your own garden (we’ve got a tip sheet in the article), the story of how the town of Palisade managed to eliminate them is a lesson in cooperation.
>> HOW PALISADE CONQUERED THE BEETLE Tamara Chuang takes us through the process that horticulture-dependent Palisade used to stop the beetle — and why the town’s success is so hard to replicate elsewhere (hint: it’s your lawns).
Colorado advocates see rise in immigrant domestic violence victims reporting deportation threats by their abusers
“We’ve had some of our survivors in shelters threatened by another survivor with deportation. So the immigration piece, it’s big. People just use it as a scare tactic.”
— Angela Ceseña, executive director of Latina Safehouse
In reality, immigration services doesn’t come knocking because of a single tip about a person living in the country illegally. But in an environment full of anxiety over raids from ICE and rhetoric from the Trump administration, there has been a spike of domestic abusers wielding immigration status as a threat to their partners.
>> USING FEAR AS A TOOL OF ABUSE Jesse Paul talked to the leaders of Latina Safehouse — a Denver nonprofit serving domestic violence victims who are refugees or are living in the country illegally — who say they have served more than twice the number of victims so far in 2019 than they did in all of 2018.
DNA testing leads to break in decades-old Colorado murder case. But privacy questions are being raised.
Michael Whyte and Darlene Krashoc. (Photos courtesy of El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the Krashoc family)
A combination of distant relatives’ DNA and a discarded fast-food cup led investigators to zero in on a suspect in the 1987 death of 20-year-old Fort Carson soldier Darlene Krashoc, one of the latest in a series of cases cracked by genetic forensics.
>> FROM GOLDEN STATE KILLER TO COLORADO Carol McKinley has the details of how investigators arrived at Michael Whyte as the prime suspect in the case that had gone cold, as well as how privacy advocates are concerned about the currently unregulated world of genetic forensics. (Fun fact: Did you know that even if you never take an at-home DNA test yourself, you could still be identified by the database as long as your third cousin (or closer) did?)
More from The Sun:
“Basically, they scanned our front door to see, ‘Are there any vulnerabilities?’”
— Colorado election director Judd Choate
- Colorado officials confirmed that a suspected Russian hacker “jiggled the lock” on the state voter database in 2016 — but couldn’t get in. John Frank has the confirmations and context after the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report that hackers targeted election systems in all 50 states was released last week.
- The long-embattled merger between T-Mobile and Sprint was given the go-ahead by the Justice Department — with the stipulation that Sprint give Colorado’s Dish a bunch of wireless customers and a chunk of spectrum to start their own 5G network. Tamara Chuang gets into all the details.
- Our partners at Chalkbeat highlight one unexpected cost for Colorado schools: Rising insurance premiums due to hailstorms.
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FROM THE OPINION PAGE
- Kicking things off on our Sunday editorial page is a note from our editor Larry Ryckman, explaining how opinion columns work at The Sun and the role they play in discourse: “Every week, some readers aren’t happy with us. Here’s why we’re OK with that.”
- Columnist Mario Nicolais: “IT’S ALIVE! Colorado’s undead TABOR lawsuit lurches forward.”
- Poet, activist and CNN contributor Theo Wilson: “Colorado’s cowardly representatives in Congress remain silent in the face of Trump’s racism.”
- Western Energy Alliance VP Aaron Johnson: “Restore our national parks using oil and natural gas to fund repairs.”
- Attorney and founder of “The Western Way” Jon Anderson: “Sen. Cory Gardner’s commitment to conservation is unmatched.”
- Psychologist and U.S. Senate candidate Diana Bray: “Will Colorado’s air be OK to breathe today? We shouldn’t have to guess.”
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// No matter your politics, you have to admit that a sitting president attacking the citizens of an American city (which he, you know, represents as president) using dehumanizing language he reserves only when criticizing people of color is pretty shocking. Especially when one of the biggest landlords in the poor neighborhoods of Baltimore — rat problems and all — is the president’s son-in-law. The Baltimore Sun (no relation) editorial board did not waste time responding. // NPR, BBC, ProPublica, Baltimore Sun
// Closer to home, Vice President Mike Pence dropped into Aspen for a $35K per couple fundraising dinner — and skipped the security bill, leaving taxpayers in six districts footing the nearly $25,000 bill. An anonymous donor has stepped up and that’s sparked some campaign-finance law questions. // Aspen Times, FOX31
// This story is being pitched as heartwarming all over the internet, but it shows how little control most Americans have over their health and the health of their children when insurance companies make all decisions (with profit in mind): “‘My baby is going to have a chance’: Colorado mom thankful for insurance company’s change of heart” // Denver7
// Starting next year, local governments in Colorado can independently set their own minimum wage above state and federal levels. Talks about doing just that in Summit County are already seeing resistance from business owners. // Summit Daily News
// This is the week that a selection of homeowners — but not renters — in Stapleton will vote on whether the neighborhood will abandon its name because of its namesake’s KKK affiliation. // KDVR, The Colorado Independent
// Denver police are scanning every single license plate that passes through the West Sixth Avenue and Federal Boulevard intersection and running the plates through state and federal databases. Denverite looked at the records. // Denverite
// One underreported aspect of the effort to turn Tom’s Diner on Colfax into a historic landmark against the owner’s wishes are the plans for the building that would replace it. And I gotta say, it’s one of the most interesting-looking apartment building (renderings) I’ve seen. // Westword, KDVR
// A Scottish man who authorities say faked his death on California’s Carmel coast to avoid rape charges in Scotland was arrested in Colorado Springs last week. // AP News
// The Kroenke family already owns and/or controls the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Rapids, Arsenal and the L.A. Rams. So yeah, why not add a team in a professional video game league to the portfolio? (If the idea of a pro video game league sounds like science fiction to you, I highly recommend watching the “League of Legends” episode of the Netflix documentary series “7 Days Out.” You’ll learn a thing or two about the future of competition.) // Kotaku, Engadget
// Fun(?) fact: “Frasier” was supposed to be set in Denver, but Colorado’s passing of the anti-gay Amendment 2 prompted the creators to switch locations to Seattle according to CPR’s Vic Vela. // @VicVela1 on Twitter
The Thing: “Blown Away” (on Netflix)
Why You Might Like It: I’m a sucker for competitive reality shows that revolve around a skill. “Top Chef,” “Project Runway,” “America’s Next Top Model” (RIP), “Forged in Fire,” etc. Anything that requires the competitors to build/craft/make something feels like a celebration of talent — or at least that’s how I justify the hours spent watching to myself. Netflix, looking to cash in on this subgenre, decided to make its own … about glass blowing. Did I have any particular affinity for glass blowing before I watched this show? Absolutely not. Will I be seeking out more glass blowing content after? I doubt it. But as it is, 10 episodes of artists creating some truly beautiful (and some absolutely baffling) glass creations is a pretty solid streaming option if you need a little dose of something unscripted.What’s your thing? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be published in a future Sunriser!
Here’s a good time to remind you that we are always seeking out tips from our readers and members. If you have something you want us to dig into, drop us a line at email@example.com. Sometimes those suggestions launch us into really important, in-depth work.
(Here’s a reminder about that work is only made possible by our growing community of members. You can join them here.)