Welcome to Wednesday, what I like to call the midweek-crisis day (this comes from my favorite radio station growing up in San Diego, 91X). No, I’m not a Colorado native (and I’m not Eric, who is a native). I’m one of those people who moved to this welcoming state and now call it home.
During my time here, I’ve come to learn shocking (open) secrets about Colorado. Air quality is terrible. Teacher pay is worse. Per-pupil funding is among the bottom eight states in the nation. And this week, I learned that Colorado ranks No. 1 for school districts on four-day instruction schedule. More on that below…
Not to bag on Colorado, because I have grown to love this place way more than the West Coast. The community is awesome. The stories we get to write can’t help but be diverse. And the support of readers who believe independent journalism is vital for democracy is heartwarming.
So let me remind everyone, we’re having an anniversary party and EVERYONE IS INVITED! (Members get in for free — check your email for the special link.) Meet me and the rest of the staff in person next week in downtown Denver and tell us what you loved/hated/bookmarked/shared about Colorado’s newest news source.
But enough intro. Let’s wrap up this Wednesday, shall we?
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ABOVE THE FOLD
Nikol Kelley, a language arts teacher at Centauri Middle School, lectures her class of seventh graders on how to read an essay. The school is part of the North Conejos School District and operates on a four-day week. (Mike Sweeney, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Most of the 111 Colorado school districts on four-day weeks switched because of financial issues. Parents love it, so do the kids (duh). But what’s the educational impact on children? Reporter Jennifer Brown dug into the limited research and found the harsh reality that dropping a day of school might negatively affect the have-nots more than you’d think.
>> And in the latest installment in our series, Kevin Simpson and I answer your next question: What do kids do on that fifth day? Hint: Prep for the rodeo, ski for free, start a business or, sometimes, stay home and play video games.
Our series on four-day school weeks continues through Friday…
A Douglas County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle outside of STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
The prolific Jesse Paul scored another big scoop. As we reported first yesterday, the security guard at the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting wasn’t supposed to be armed. He ended up firing at a sheriff’s deputy responding to the May 7 attack on the school and accidentally wounding an uninvolved student. On Twitter, Jesse details how he got the story despite roadblocks and gives readers the behind-the-scenes insight into what it takes to investigate a situation like this.
Any time dirt is disturbed for construction at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, City Archaeologist Anna Cordova is there to assure that artifacts left by Native American tribes who were present in the area are handled appropriately. (Nina Riggio, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Remember that crazy story about a historical trash heap discovered in the Garden of The Gods? Joe Purtell talks to archaeologist Anna Cordova, who uses artifacts like trash to educate and build relationships with Native American tribes. There’s also the business side. Joe writes: “By consulting frequently and early, she says the city can take the tribes’ advice without adding significant expense.”
Emergency rooms have had limited options when treating patients in opioid withdrawal. Usually they just patched people up and sent them on their way. But now more hospitals in the Denver area are trying to tackle the underlying problem: addiction. Jesse Paul (remember, prolific) writes about the shift to on-demand, medication-assisted treatment as a new first line of defense against an epidemic that killed 543 people last year in Colorado.
>> Read the story on the new opioid-addiction treatment programs at Colorado hospitals.
>> Speaking of opioids, the constellation of cases against Purdue Pharma (including one from Colorado) over its role in marketing the painkiller OxyContin are progressing. The company is now in settlement talks — the result of which would see the Sackler family give up ownership and give billions of dollars worth of opioid treatment drugs and revenue from other drug sales to the cities and states that are suing it — with attorneys general nationwide. It’s unclear right now whether Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is participating.
More from The Sun
- When people are undercounted in the U.S. Census, that means fewer federal dollars for the community. And one of the most undercounted groups is children under 5. John Ingold analyzes the new “Kids Count” report from the Colorado Children’s Campaign, which estimates as many as 18,000 kids in the state were missed in 2010.
- In our opinion section, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Dan Baer chastises Republican Cory Gardner and the gun industry for blocking efforts to end violence against women.
// Look at this cute promotional Denver jigsaw puzzle from 1984, featuring Heritage Square, the May D&F building and surprisingly little traffic. // r/Denver
// It’s the law: electric scooters are now only allowed where bikes are allowed in Denver — meaning bike paths and in the street, but not on sidewalks — and they can be parked on the street, like cars. // Denverite
// It’ll be back in the 90s in Denver today, and teachers and parents are ramping up their protests over the 60 schools in the Denver Public Schools system that don’t have air conditioning. // Chalkbeat Colorado
// Got an Ikon Pass? Now you can ski the Matterhorn (if you can afford the airfare to Switzerland). // Aspen Times
// You hear this a lot in the tech world: How can we interest more girls in pursuing computer science and technology careers? Have female role models. Makes sense that this applies to other industries, including fly fishing. // CPR News
// Potato acreage in Colorado’s San Luis Valley is down 8 percent this year, reports The Produce News. One reason? Expanding acreage for hemp. // The Produce News
// Rivers don’t flow the way they once did as engineers build dams to control and contain the precious resource. Luke Runyon at KUNC dives deep into the Yampa River, its ebbs and flows and impact on farmers. And importantly, he asks how to protect it. // KUNC
// If you somehow managed to try the now-viral-phenomenon that is a Popeye’s chicken sandwich, here’s hoping you were extremely nice to the employees, who told Business Insider about 100-hour work weeks, threats from angry customers and expectedly terrible morale. // Business Insider
The Thing: “Colorado = Security Podcast”
Why You Might Like It: Cybersecurity affects everyone. (I’m talking to you, my old Tech+ readers who more than once asked whether to share their credit card with online strangers offering tech support — NO!!!!) The good news for Colorado is that the state has become a hub for cybersecurity companies, which means many employees live among us. And many are quite friendly, like Robb Reck, who co-hosts the “Colorado = Security Podcast.” I happened to be a guest on an episode that airs soon. But enough about me. The podcast highlights local security news, events and people in the security biz. One thing Reck wouldn’t talk about? His employer, Ping Identity, recently filed for an IPO.
REMINDER: 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!
That’s it for me today.
One shout-out: To my colleagues. My nine co-founders and I began publishing The Sun a year ago next month. Everyone works harder and does more than they probably have ever done in their journalism lives.
We’ve learned so much about the business side of journalism, too, and we’re encouraged by The Sun’s progress, readership and what the future may bring. What I say to the future of sustainable journalism? Bring it!