Good morning and happy autumnal equinox, dear readers! As we drift into fall, don’t fire up plans for your foliage-peeping trip quite yet. Thanks to this summer’s hot weather all over the country, the Smoky Mountain National Park Fall Foliage Prediction Map (say that a few times fast) doesn’t have Colorado hitting peak leafin’ until early October.
(Smoky Mountain National Park)
I’m officially opening the inbox for all of your great fall content, so send shots of pretty leaves, giant gourds, interesting recipes or anything else autumnal here and I’ll post a few here in the newsletter.
OK, let’s mull this cider, shall we?
A herd of elk graze at sunset near Aspen on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
The Latest from The Sun
A Colorado town removed its police chief and paid $50,000 to settle allegations against an officer. Then it hired a cop with past complaints.
“… these recent complaints are not the first time during your tenure as chief of police that there have been complaints from citizens regarding your conduct …”
— An excerpt from a memo sent by Springfield town manager Rebecca Clark to then-police Chief Dennis Bradburn in 2018
After months of open records requests, Jesse Paul brings us the story of turmoil in an Eastern Plains police department, including allegations of inappropriate behavior by an officer toward a teen girl, a contentious relationship with the town’s then-police chief and the hiring of a new officer recently fired from another rural department for a list of alleged transgressions.
++ Also, check out this thread on how we reported the story.
Finnegan Daly, seen here on Mount Evans, died from a gunshot wound Jan. 14, 2018, in the house he shared near the Colorado State University campus. The 21-year-old was entering the spring semester of his senior year. (Provided by Regina Daly)
First, if you haven’t read John Frank’s original story about the Snapchat photo that led police to reopen the investigation of the death of Colorado State University student Finnegan Daly in 2018, start here. In today’s update, a newly released court document says that the roommate now facing a weapons charge in connection with the death tampered with evidence before calling 911.
A hallway leads through the lobby of the Della Cava Family Medical Pavilion. Boulder Community Health has integrated mental health care into 10 of its primary care clinics. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)
“We hope that we can help small storms from becoming tornadoes.”
— Julie Jungman, Boulder Community Health
This is going to sound so obvious when I say it, but it’s nothing short of revolutionary in the way we treat people in America: Mental health and physical health are connected. Simple, right? But in a medical system that largely isolates the treatment of such issues as anxiety and depression from the treatment of conditions including high blood pressure and headaches, creating a system that organically connects the two kinds of treatments is rare.
More from The Sun
- With new forecasts, we now know the actual dollar amount of money that is at stake for November’s vote on Proposition CC and the future of TABOR refunds (which would range from $10 to a little over $600 per taxpayer, with most receiving less than $200 back). John Frank crunched the numbers, so take a look for yourself.
- The Bureau of Land Management’s relocation stoked concerns that the bureau’s influence would be diluted in Washington and become more easily influenced by oil and gas developers. BLM signing a lease for its headquarters in Grand Junction — in the same building that houses some of the oil and gas companies it regulates — isn’t helping stem those concerns.
- A fashion designer created hoodies with fake bullet holes and the names of schools where mass shootings took place (including Columbine) to help spread a message about gun violence, but instead found widespread backlash.
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From the Opinion Page
- Columnist Mario Nicolais: “Have anti-abortion Coloradans finally proposed an initiative that can pass?”
- DREAMer and former teacher Marissa Molina: “Colorado’s students deserve better — pass protections for Dreamers”
- Hunter and rancher Tai Jacober: “Cory Gardner, you’re no Theodore Roosevelt”
// If “Parked,” the mobile home reporting project we debuted last week seems a little intimidating to get into, here’s a great way to start: Listen to reporter Jennifer Brown talk about the project with our partners at KDNK radio. Then you can head to coloradosun.com/parked to read the whole series. // KDNK, The Colorado Sun
// Sun contributor Nancy Lofholm has a dispatch from Grand Junction on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s speech to Club 20, including that he believes the office will be open this winter. // CPR News
// How do Bureau of Land Management employees really feel about moving to Colorado? Leaked audio from a recent meeting obtained by High Country News suggests they aren’t happy. // High Country News
// I am fascinated by the “sovereign citizen” movement, and in case you aren’t familiar, this story about one of the men charged with six felonies for squatting in a multi-million-dollar Aspen house for three months is a pretty good introduction to this bizarre belief system. // Aspen Daily News
// The Yuma hospital I was born in has been a lot of things since 1984: the Yuma Public Library, a bank and briefly City Hall. But its next role is interesting: The first branch campus of Northeastern Junior College. Why Yuma? NJC says the city has kept more young people staying at home and the need for higher education there is growing. // Yuma Pioneer
// The town of Ridgway adopted a “Dark Sky-approved” lighting ordinance, joining other towns in southwest Colorado that are consciously fighting light pollution. // Telluride Daily Planet
// I will never stop sharing stories of people fighting to keep video rental stores alive: “One of the last video harbors in the region keeps the movie business alive.” // Aurora Sentinel
// I am extremely interested in tasting this lumpy melon called The Greeley Wonder. // CPR News
// Let’s wrap up this section with three longreads (and an architecture feature) that aren’t specifically about Colorado, but touch on forces that are shaping Coloradans’ lives:
- The Trump administration has spent $28 billion on payouts to farmers whose trade was impacted by the president’s trade war with China (for context, the bailout of American automakers in 2009 clocked in at around $12 billion). // Bloomberg News
- There’s a good chance your license plate — and location — have been scanned (probably several times) by one of the most powerful surveillance networks in the country — but it’s not run by the government or a big tech firm. It’s for repo men and private investigators and just about anyone can get access for the right price. // VICE
- You might be tempted to dismiss TikTok as just another viral social media craze. But as Jia Tolentino writes, TikTok isn’t just another startup: Engineered with massive artificial intelligence algorithms from China and Japanese investment money, it has turned into a meme-making, attention-hoarding machine that is dominating the thoughts of kids around the world. // The New Yorker
- OK, this one has nothing to do with Colorado, but I can’t stop thinking about designing a house featuring this acoustic dampening, aesthetically pleasing “crinkle concrete.” // CityLab
The Thing: “Fleabag” (Amazon Prime)
Why You Might Like It: By now you don’t need my stamp of recommendation to go watch “Fleabag,” but after it won four Emmys (writing, directing, lead actress and outstanding comedy series) it feels like as good of a time as any to talk about it. The show by creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is very British (two seasons of just six episodes each) but manages to be cleverly universal. The characters, especially the eponymous Fleabag, are allowed to be complex and messed up without being turned into dramatic cautionary tales and they are allowed to have good moments without being rendered pious saints. In other words, they are allowed to be fully, completely human. Doesn’t hurt one bit that it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen while also being a deeply moving exploration of grief and faith. Seriously, it’s less than 6 hours total, so just watch it all over the next couple of days.
BONUS: If you just can’t get enough of Waller-Bridge, she wrote and starred in another show the same year “Fleabag” premiered called “Crashing” that’s available on Netflix and is similarly delightful.
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Have a great day and we’ll see you back here on Wednesday!