G’mornin’, Colorado! I’m typing with tip-toe fingers this morning as my 7-week-old daughter, having spent all night treating our efforts to get her to sleep with extreme skepticism, finally decided to give it a try. So, if we could keep our voices down, it would make two tired parents very happy.
But that’s hard to do this morning because we have so much news. Fish ladders! Political in-fighting! And a murder mystery novel that revolves around ukuleles!
Before we get to that, don’t forget to book your place at our Colorado Sun anniversary bash on Sept. 5. Tickets are $10 for non-members and free for you beautiful people who are already members (or want to become members at coloradosun.com/join).
And now that I can see my angelic insomniac stirring, let’s tickle this tummy, shall we?
>> ABOVE THE FOLD
60 years ago, the first woman to complete a U.S. marathon ran to the top of Pikes Peak and back down again
Arlene Pieper Stine got into the Pikes Peak Marathon in 1959 as a stunt to market her Colorado Springs health club. When she finished, the 29-year-old mother of three was in the record books as the first woman to finish a sanctioned marathon. Unlike the Boston Marathon, the Pikes Peak race never had a prohibition on women participating. (Photo provided by Pikes Peak Marathon Inc.)
This weekend, hundreds of people from across the country will line up in Manitou Springs for the starts of some of the most famed and grueling endurance races in the world — the Pikes Peak Ascent and Pikes Peak Marathon. But 60 years ago, when these were mostly races for loco locals, the first woman ever to complete a sanctioned marathon in the United States toed the line. And she wore shoes from the five-and-dime to do it.
Why John Hickenlooper says he is running for U.S. Senate after repeatedly claiming it’s a job he doesn’t want
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks to reporters on Aug. 22, 2019, the day he announced he was running for U.S. Senate. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
“I look at how dysfunctional Washington is, and I know I’ve criticized it relentlessly, and I can either take cheap shots and poke at it or actually try and be part of the solution.”
— John Hickenlooper
Just five months ago, during his adventures in presidential campaigning, former Gov. John Hickenlooper was telling reporters that he’s “not cut out” for the U.S. Senate. So why did he decide to toss his hat into an already-packed Democratic primary to take on Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner? He tells our Jesse Paul that it came down to a choice between doing something and doing nothing.
Is Colorado’s 2019 ballot question about TABOR spending caps really a tax hike? The answer is sort of.
“The (tax) rates are not changing at all. It’s not increasing your taxes.”
– House Speaker KC Becker, a Boulder Democrat
“How would a reasonable person see this? When you keep and spend more of our money, it’s a tax increase.”
— Michael Fields, head of the conservative political group Colorado Rising Action
The fight over Proposition CC is shaping up to be a political ink-blot test for the state. There are a couple basics about the measure that everybody agrees upon: it unequivocally is designed to let state government hold on to more money and it does not increase the tax rate. So, as Sun contributor Brian Eason — a guy so knowledgeable about Colorado tax policy that the Colorado Supreme Court once quoted him in an opinion — explains, the real contest is in defining how voters should feel about this.
Aurora and Colorado Springs replaced the 1964 Homestake Project diversion on the Arkansas River below Granite with a fish ladder on river right, a spillway for flood-level flows in the middle and a boat chute allowing raft passage. (Zach Mahone, special to The Colorado Sun)
Is there any phrase in English more evocatively charming on a Friday morning than “fish ladder?” But, as Jason Blevins explains in this story, a project to put little trout stairways into a stretch of the Arkansas River south of Leadville is one part of a massive water infrastructure system of pipes and pumps that makes it possible for people in Colorado Springs and Aurora to take showers or water their lawns. My mind never fails to go dizzy when I realize how much work and planning is involved in letting people on the Front Range turn on their faucets.
>> Read Jason’s story to learn more about how this new infrastructure project will mean, for the first time in more than half a century, you will be able to raft uninterrupted all the way from Leadville to Cañon City.
More from The Sun:
- The Colorado Classic, which kicked off yesterday in Steamboat Springs, has some of the world’s best cyclists, big parties, an innovative streaming-broadcast model and a timely message of empowerment for women. Is that enough for it to survive in a landscape that generally hasn’t been favorable to bike racing in America? Jason Blevins explores.
- Concerns about money in politics rarely result in, you know, actual consequences for the decisions of elected officials. But, in an extraordinarily rare move, a judge in Larimer County has ordered county commissioners to reconsider an approval for a gravel pit after concluding that one of the commissioners should have recused himself from the vote because of a prior, sizeable campaign contribution from the mine owner. Sandra Fish has the details.
- The U.S. military’s Space Command — which used to be a thing, then wasn’t a thing anymore after it was consolidated into another thing, and now is set to be a thing again as part of President Donald Trump’s push for a Space Force — will initially be headquartered in Colorado Springs, giving leaders in Colorado hope that our state will be chosen as the official home for the new command. The Associated Press reports.
- Special education teachers are hard to find in Colorado. They’re also some of the hardest educators to keep, a new study shows.
>> THE FUN STUFF
// Well, it looks like the “meaningful games in September” ship has pretty much sailed, but Drew Litton can still give you a chuckle as he simultaneously takes stock of the Rockies’ turkey of a season while channeling an iconic episode of “WKRP in Cincinnati.”
// In “What’d I Miss?” Ossie has been learning about the rhetorical devices that invade too much of our political discussion. But he finds they don’t work as well in everyday financial transactions.
// Meanwhile, Jim Morrissey ventures into the absurd to underscore one unfortunate modern aspect of the back-to-school blues.
How do you build an award-winning murder-mystery around … ukeleles? Author C.C. Harrison explains the process in this week’s SunLit interview, as well as how her novel “Death by G-String” got listed as underwear on Amazon. And if all that strikes a chord, let her introduce you to her uke-playing protagonist as well as the mysterious bald girl who seems destined to figure prominently in this whodunnit.
John Frank’s Beer Pick
Our guru among the growlers, John Frank, is on vacation. But don’t forget that he has a whole new book of beer suggestions. Read our Q&A with him about “Beer Lover’s Colorado” or pick up a copy at BookBar, Tattered Cover or Amazon. It pairs perfectly with those moments when you have folks coming into town and all you can think is, “Gawd, where am I going to take these people?”
>> THE SHORTLIST
// Colorado Gov. Jared Polis encouraged the district attorney in El Paso County to seek an independent review of the investigation into the death of De’Von Bailey, who was shot in the back by police as he was running away. That prompted an immediate response from Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers — a man who used to be the El Paso County DA and who said Polis’ statement “appears politically motivated.” And this came as about 60 people protested outside Colorado Springs City Hall, calling Bailey’s death a murder. // Twitter, The Gazette🔑
// For leaders of RTD, the sprawling transportation district that runs buses and trains across the metro area, one of the biggest existential questions is whether the district should try to cover everywhere or just do a really good job of covering a few places. So, Colorado Public Radio’s Nathaniel Minor asked all 15 RTD board members: Go broad or go dense? The answers reveal a lot of uncertainty. // CPR
// In hunting for a mountain lion that attacked an 8-year-old boy in Bailey, officers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife euthanized two cats they found in the area, one of which they believe was likely the attacker. And while we’re on the subject of nightmare mountain lion encounters, our friend Erin McIntyre at the Ouray County Plaindealer has a harrowing story about a dog that was literally in the jaws of a cougar — and survived. // 9News, Canyon Courier, Ouray County Plaindealer🔑
// We told you the Colorado Classic kicked off yesterday in Steamboat Springs. Here’s a story about a 42-year-old recently unretired hometown cyclist who started yesterday’s race — and kicked ass. // The Steamboat Pilot
// While Colorado lost a few publicly-traded tech companies this year with SendGrid and Zayo Group getting acquired, Denver’s Ping Identity just filed paperwork to become the state’s next IPO. The cyber-identity company, owned by Vista Equity Group (that’s billionaire Robert F. Smith’s firm), wants to raise $100 million. // TechCrunch, SEC
// Virtika outerwear founder David Lesh says crashing his plane into the Pacific off of the coast of Half Moon Bay, California, wasn’t a stunt. But his past history of being ticketed for chasing a moose in Summit County in 2014 and being accused of snowmobiling in sensitive wilderness areas near Independence Pass — when there was no snow on the ground — has people talking. // KTVU, The Aspen Times
// Happy 103rd birthday, National Parks Service! The celebration includes free admission Sunday to Colorado’s four national parks: Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. // National Park Service
>> TODAY’S THING
Today’s thing comes from our own Tamara Chuang. Have a thing of your own? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be published in a future Sunriser!
The Thing: KDNK radio
Why You Might Like It: When the first spark of The Sun was lit in the Spring of 2018, it coincided with a parallel effort among journalists and the community to rethink local journalism in Colorado. The non-profit Colorado Media Project took shape, and one project this summer is a marketing partnership between The Sun and KDNK, the public-access radio station serving Carbondale, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and surrounding areas. Our friends at KDNK are doing good work covering local news and culture, and we want to support that. And guess what? The station’s annual membership drive is going on right now. If you live in its broadcast area (or just want to support them), you can tune in and support KDNK’s local community coverage right here: kdnk.org/post/kdnks-membership-drive-underway
Hey, look, you made it to the bottom of another Sunriser! If you will allow me to get a little Friday morning mushy here, thank you so much to each and every one of you who is a Sun member, or who reads our newsletters, or who shares one of our stories, or who has generally said anything to anybody anywhere talking up The Sun.
All of us here are working so hard to build an organization that is deserving of serving this magnificent state and its people, and we genuinely appreciate all of you being a part of that. Happy weekend!