The drive-thru speaker at Good Times, 2095 S. Broadway in Denver. During breakfast hours, the Colorado burger chain is experimenting with an artificial intelligence-powered drive-thru cashier. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

Compiled by Eric Lubbers,
CTO/Newsletter Wrangler, @brofax

Good morning! Colorado may be landlocked, but the sheer variety of ecosystems in our 104,000 square miles (or about 49% the size of France) never ceases to amaze me. For example, down in the southeast region of the state, August is both time for kids to go back to school and for thousands of male tarantulas to start roaming the plains looking for a mate (if you’re looking for something stronger than coffee to get you going today, here’s a video from La Junta).

Just goes to show you that you can’t box this state into some monolithic stereotype, or run out of stories to tell. And that’s why The Colorado Sun is so committed to bringing stories from every corner of this beautiful state (as you’ll see in the collection we have for you today).

Speaking of, let’s spin this silk (tarantulas don’t make webs) already, shall we?



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The Latest from The Sun


Recent mass shootings have renewed debate about universal background checks. Here’s how they’ve worked in Colorado.

In the wake of deadly mass shootings that left more than 30 people dead around the country in less than a week, a federal requirement for background checks on gun purchases is getting vocal support from Democrats and, briefly, President Trump. Colorado has required background checks since 2013, and Jesse Paul analyzed the data to see exactly how they’ve worked here. Interesting fact: More than 2,000 private sales, which would not have been subject to checks before the law, have been rejected since 2013. 

>> Read the whole story.


Understanding AI through Holly, the fast-food bot taking breakfast orders at Good Times

The drive-thru speaker at Good Times, 2095 S. Broadway in Denver. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

Humans have been warning about robots coming to take jobs since the word “robot” was coined by a Czech playwright in 1920. But just under a century later, a gray box inside a Good Times on South Broadway is taking drive-thru orders — and is already the sixth-most tenured employee at the burger joint. Tamara Chuang looks at the Denver firm working on the next generation of service industry artificial intelligence — and what it means for workers.

>> Read the whole story.


Can rangeland apprenticeships stem the exodus of Colorado ranchers and keep America fed?

Whitten Ranch foreman Hana Fancher grew up working on her family’s ranch in Wyoming and has apprenticed under two of the Whitten’s previous apprentices on their own ranches. (Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)

The average American farmer is 58 years old. Many inherited their generations-old operations from parents and grandparents, but now find they don’t have anyone who wants to take over. Joe Purtell brings us the story from the San Luis Valley about the generational ranchers who are working to train the next generation of ranchers.

>> Read the whole story.

  • MORE: Colorado State University extension agents are some of the most trusted, well-known members of communities all over the state. Which is why the university is hoping that training them to reach vulnerable families can have a major impact on the opioid crisis in rural Colorado. Read Monte Whaley’s story on this program (and learn a thing or two about the CSU Extension agents).


The night she looks forward to all year: Prom, and belonging, at a Colorado camp for teens with disabilities

Kate Saldana, center, poses for a photo with friends Elise Miles and Korie Pries during prom night at Rocky Mountain Village Easterseals Camp. (Jennifer Brown, The Colorado Sun)

“When I come to camp, I feel like a completely different person, but it’s a great person, I think.”

— Kate Saldana, 21, who has spinal muscular atrophy

I promise you’ll be smiling by the end of this story. Jennifer Brown went to the Rocky Mountain Village Easterseals Camp in Clear Creek County to see the culmination of a summer’s worth of outdoor fun for people with disabilities: Prom.

>> Read the whole story.


Gov. Polis is looking to take innovative Summit County health insurance alliance model statewide

“We’re also looking at a statewide model that essentially empowers the customers to have better negotiating leverage with the providers to negotiate better rates.”

— Gov. Jared Polis

The alliance in Summit County that banded together and succeeded in getting its local hospital to lower prices by 20% could be going statewide if Jared Polis has his way. John Ingold explains how the small-scale program could be scaled up, how much it would save and the next steps.

>> Read the whole story.


More from The Sun

  • The Eagle County sheriff has been indicted by a grand jury on suspicion of official misconduct for his office’s spending. But both he and the county’s top lawyer say the district attorney prosecuting the case is misinterpreting the law. 
  • As the recreational marijuana industry matures in Colorado, the habits of teenagers are changing along with it. While teen use has remained stable since legalization, more teens are ditching smoking marijuana for THC-infused edibles.
  • “Fewer than one out of every 10 Colorado children who rely on free or reduced-price lunches during the school year are getting access to the state’s free summer nutrition programs, according to a new report.”


THE SUN IS SHINING IN PRINT! For our anniversary in September, The Sun is publishing a magazine of our best work from our first year. Here’s your chance to help us make the first Colorado Sun hard copy special (and get your brand seen all over the state).  If you liked what you read during our first year, email for sponsorship opportunities.

Just want a copy? Stay tuned to The Sunriser for details on how you can get one of your own.


// It’s been a few days since the two shootings that killed more than 30 people. Here are a few key updates:

// A video obtained by The Gazette appears to show two white Colorado Springs police officers shooting an unarmed black man in the back as he ran away from them.  // The Gazette ?

// The shift in Denver’s city council after this spring’s election is showing: The council voted to cut the city’s contracts with the two largest private prison companies in the country, GEO Group and CoreCivic. But the contracts, which funded halfway houses, could have ripple effects for the hundreds of people currently in the system. // The Colorado Independent, Westword

// New state water quality standards mean that some of the largest wastewater treatment plants along the Front Range need millions of dollars in upgrades, meaning sewer rates are likely to climb. // Colorado Community Media

// A sad case involving a van full of 15 Lhasa apso dogs has led to a U.S. District Court decision and new rules in Greeley on how to handle animal code violations. // Greeley Tribune

// Ash flows. Mine waste. Dead livestock. The Animas River has had a hard time of it, but keeps bouncing back. // Durango Herald

// John Ensslin, a giant of Colorado journalism who had just returned to the state to get back into the mix, has died at the age of 65 in Denver. Joey Bunch has an excellent look back at what he meant to journalism in this state. //

// I don’t think there are two more important restaurants in my childhood than the dearly departed Woody’s Drive-In in Yuma — whose iconic signage was stolen and recovered late last month — and Dino’s Italian Food in Lakewood, where the maternal side of my family has been dining together since long before I was born (and even before there was such a thing as “Lakewood”). Sadly, Dino’s is slinging its last sauce at the end of next month after 58 years, meaning that I’ll be eating my weight in their thick homemade noodles between now and then. // The Yuma Pioneer, The Denver Post ?

Dino’s Italian Food in Lakewood is closing in September. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)




Today’s Thing


The Thing: Nothing But A Heartache” by The Flirtations (YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music)

Why You Might Like It: It’s been a while since we had music in this section, and I can’t think of anything better than this 1968 track by South Carolina’s The Flirtations. It wasn’t a big hit when it was released, but for my money it’s up there with anything by The Supremes or The Ronettes and it contains maybe my favorite key change in recorded music history. It’s a real roll-the-windows-down summer jam.

Shout it from the rooftops! Send us an email at and you could be published in a future Sunriser! 



Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom here. Don’t forget, if your business or organization would like to be a part of The Colorado Sun’s first print magazine, get in touch with us at We’re really excited to get our work off the internet and onto paper and we want to make sure it’s extra special.

Have a fantastic day and we’ll see you on Friday!

— Eric


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Eric Lubbers

Eric Lubbers is the Chief Technology Officer and one of the co-founders of The Colorado Sun. A native of Yuma, Colorado, he writes The Sunriser newsletter in addition to handling most of the behind-the-scenes tech stuff. Email: