Happy New Year, from the mountain lion statue in front of the Colorado Department of Education offices on Colfax Avenue in Denver. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

Compiled by Eric Lubbers, eric@coloradosun.com
CTO/Newsletter Wrangler, @brofax

*whispering* Good morning, Colorado, and welcome to the 2020s. I don’t want to get too loud in case you had a little too much fun ushering the 2010s out the door last night. Today’s newsletter will be short and sweet, so you can get to exercising/cleaning up after last night/desperately trying to find a place that’s open to get coffee and a breakfast burrito. 

Let’s eat all 12 of these grapes*, shall we?

* I participated in the 12 grapes New Year’s Eve tradition for the first time last night. It’s a great way to start the year with some vitamin C!


The latest from The Sun


Makin’ whoopie (pies): How Colorado’s Cottage Foods Act has produced a batch of home-kitchen entrepreneurs

A packaged-for-sale, vanilla whoopie pie from Yoder Roots Baking, a cottage food producer in Severance, in Weld County. The whoopie pies are made from a family Amish recipe. (Photo provided by Yoder Roots Baking)

“I’ve found ways to be present with my family. In my past jobs, I’d be really sad to miss so much. Cottage foods has given me a chance to be a really good father.”

—David Kaminer, who bakes sourdough bread in a brick cottage in his yard and sells them as Raleigh Street Bakery

First, some history: In 2012, Colorado passed a Cottage Foods Act that allows people to sell goods they make in their own kitchens — without a license or inspection — as long as they don’t contain meat, dairy or other ingredients that could spoil.

Fast forward to 2019, and there is a whole class of home-kitchen entrepreneurs who say the act has been life-changing. Jennifer Brown talked to some of them — as well as state health department officials who wonder how many chefs are still operating outside the law. WARNING: This story will make you hungry. >> STORY AND PHOTOS



For the first time, TABOR triggers an income tax rate cut. Here’s how much you can save on 2019 taxes.


—The temporary flat income tax rate in Colorado, down from 4.63%, triggered by TABOR

Colorado exceeded the revenue cap imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights by so much that for the first time, the actual tax rate used by the state to calculate 2019 taxes will be lowered. And Gov. Polis is cheering the cut — despite campaigning with fellow Democrats to end TABOR rebates with Prop CC to help pay for underfunded transportation and education programs. John Frank explains just how much your cut could be — even though you won’t actually see a check. >> READ THE ANALYSIS HERE



More from The Sun


—The amount spent on TV ads by two groups attacking Gov. Polis’ proposed public health insurance option.

MEANWHILE… Looking for something lighter? Check out the favorite 2019 work of our cartoonists. (Here they are on Instagram, where you should give us a follow!)


What Colorado journalism looked like in 2019


Julio Guirra, migrant worker from Michoacán, Mexico, plays tug-of-war with other guests at the Child and Migrant Services’ Despedida in Palisade on Sept. 5, 2019. The annual farewell party honors migrant agricultural workers and shows appreciation for the community volunteers who provide services to the workers during the growing season. (Barton Glasser, Special to The Colorado Sun)

By this point in the holiday season, you’re probably sick of year-end wrap-ups. But I promise you haven’t seen one like John Ingold put together. This is a list, simply, of the best journalism about Colorado in 2019, created by writers at rural weeklies and radio stations and news startups and some of the biggest outlets in the world. (And no matter how comprehensive this list is, it can’t be complete, so if you have pieces you think belong here, send a link to John here.)

>> These 9 themes helped define Colorado in 2019. Here are the stories that illuminated them.

As I said on Twitter, looking at that list is a reminder of just how much people value the stories being told about Colorado — and how much the people who are covering it care about this state.

And it’s people like you, who are directly supporting journalism in your backyard, who are helping create the future of journalism right now. So I just want to kick the year off with a big, hearty thank you. I can’t wait to keep building this community with you in 2020.

But no matter how much good journalism is happening, the very real threats to local reporting aren’t going anywhere. Here at The Sun, we’re trying to build the future of impactful journalism right now, and we need readers like you to help us grow.

Becoming a Sun member is one of the most direct ways to make a difference in your community, and it takes just a few minutes (you can do it right from your phone) and as little as $5 a month to make an impact. So kick off 2020 by investing in your state.


(Special deal: Use the code DREW when you check out above and you can get a free copy of Drew Litton’s 2020 calendar!) 

Have a great first day, and I’ll see you back here on Friday!

— Eric

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: eric@coloradosun.com...