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The Sunriser

Gas tax battle playing at the pump / Bennet’s presidential bid deconstructed / Targeting high drug costs / Conservation land eyed for housing / more

Your guided tour through Colorado news, compiled by your friends at The Sun.

Compiled by Jen Brown, jennifer@coloradosun.com (and Dana Coffield, dana@coloradosun.com)
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Fluffy snow on top of crunchy snow on top of frozen tire ruts in my cul-de-sac made me feel like I needed extra momentum when I backed out of the garage the last few days. That’s how I came to shoot out of there yesterday and slam into the garbage and recycle bins as I headed out for school drop-off, sending the recycling flying into a snow pile. 

Not an awesome way to start the day — plucking beer cans and flattened cereal boxes out of the drifts. Why does that kind of thing always seem to happen when you don’t have time for that kind of thing? 

Don’t actually answer that, but take my advice, friends: pour a mug of tea and take some time to sit still today. Oh, and while you’re relaxing, why not soak up some of this journalism we’ve made for you? 

Let’s lower the blade on the snowplow, shall we?

 

The Latest from The Sun

 

Michael Bennet ends his presidential campaign after a disappointing New Hampshire finish.

“Tonight is not going to be our night. But let me say this to New Hampshire: You may see me once again.”

— Michael Bennet

Michael Bennet poured everything he had left into New Hampshire, moving staff and money there while his rivals were still focused on Iowa, but he came up short Tuesday night. The senator attended 50 town halls in the last few weeks, trying to cast himself as the moderate alternative who could beat President Trump. Our political reporters John Frank and Jesse Paul have followed Bennet’s campaign from the beginning and were working late to record its finish.  >> STORY

 


 

As Coloradans grow older, there’s a push for policies that benefit all ages.

“We started realizing that we couldn’t just talk about reframing aging to older people. We needed to talk about reframing aging to employers, and if you will, reframe the older worker in their mind.”

— Janine Vanderburg, director of Changing the Narrative

Colorado has one of the largest populations of people over age 65 in the nation, and they’re living longer and working longer. Business writer Tamara Chuang tagged along with Changing the Narrative, an age-focused initiative of the Rose Community Foundation that went on listening tours across the state. Turns out, it’s the employers looking for workers that need to evolve — not the older adults. >> STORY

 


 

5 numbers that explain why Colorado lawmakers want more insight into prescription drug costs.

“We just want to see where all the money is going.”

— State Rep. Dominique Jackson, Democrat from Aurora

Colorado’s Medicaid program spent $994 million on prescription drugs in 2018, before rebates. You’ll have to read the story to get the other four numbers that our health care writer, John Ingold, uses to explain why lawmakers want to do something about the high cost of prescription drugs. Legislation headed for a hearing this week would require more transparency from health insurers, drugmakers and others on why drugs cost so much.  >> STORY

 


 

More from The Sun

  • SICK OF I-70 TRAFFIC? HOW ABOUT A GAS TAX?: As state lawmakers once again consider how to tackle Colorado’s transportation and traffic problems, a conservative political group is already fighting back. Americans for Prosperity’s Colorado chapter is airing 15-second commercials on screens at gas pumps in the Denver area. John Frank has the details on what’s ahead and whether the statehouse can find a solution.  >> STORY
  • WATER CONSERVATION IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES: A proposal at the Capitol this year would push local governments to better integrate water conservation into their land-use planning. Moe Clark explains how one community, Woodland Park, is a model for others to follow.  >> STORY
  • SENIOR HOUSING IN SUMMIT COUNTY: County leaders have their eye on Fiester Preserve, 6.125 acres of land placed under a conservation easement more than 20 years ago, for senior housing. Jason Blevins gives us the rundown on how the idea to build on the open space isn’t popular with everyone. >> STORY
  • IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS: A bill being brought by one of the legislature’s fiercest defenders of immigrants would limit the sharing of personal information between governmental agencies — in particular the state Division of Motor Vehicles with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, tells Jesse Paul she isn’t intimidated by what happened when New York passed a similar law.  >> STORY
  • ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW ROLLBACK: The only hearing outside Washington on plans to revise the National Environmental Policy Act was held in Denver on Tuesday. The Associated Press reports that it wasn’t pretty. >> STORY
  • TEACHING TEACHERS: Colorado last year passed a law requiring teachers to have instruction in how to teach reading. Chalkbeat reports that state education officials are worried the rule is too vague to be effective. >> STORY
  • NUCLEAR GUARDS & DRUGS: Security guards at an Air Force base responsible for protecting strategic nuclear missiles in three states are under investigation for alleged marijuana use, Air Force officials said Monday. They are part of the same security force whose members were caught using the hallucinogen LSD four years ago. >> STORY

 

From the Opinion Page

 

 

The Colorado Report

THE BEST JOURNALISM FROM IN AND AROUND THE STATE

// HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK: While the nation and much of Colorado deals with a hepatitis outbreak, Larimer County has managed to miss it. Local public health officials think they know why — their nurses took to the streets with vaccines to find the most vulnerable populations for the illness, which includes those who are homeless, using drugs and recently imprisoned. // The Coloradoan 

// PITBULLS ARE BACK: A split vote by the Denver City Council this week effectively ended the city’s 30-year ban on pitbulls. Now, people can own a pitbull but must get a breed-restricted license. The dogs will have to be spayed or neutered, and there is a limit of two per household. // Denverite

// DUI, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, RECALL: It’s not just Aurora wrangling with what to do when a cop is accused of DUI. Up in Ouray, citizens fed up with multiple allegations of domestic violence and a pending DUI have started circulating petitions to recall their county sheriff. // Aurora Sentinel, Ouray County Plaindealer 

// SCHOOL LUNCH DEBT: No kid has been denied food this year because they’re carrying debt, but the Durango School Board on Tuesday agreed — in concept — to remove a rule that allows cafeterias to give a “partial” lunch (a piece of fruit and a package of string cheese) to students who have a balance due. The $1,300 in lunch debt districtwide? That’s mostly owed by students whose families can afford to pay, the superintendent says. // Durango Herald 

// PUEBLO UTILITY COMPANY?: Boulder is doing it, so why not Pueblo? The southern Colorado city will ask voters in May whether the community should end its long-term relationship with Black Hills Energy and start its own electric company. // Daily Camera, Pueblo Chieftain

// TAMPERING WITH A CORPSE: Though it’s hard to believe tampering with a corpse not already a felony, Western Slope state Rep. Matt Soper says it should be. His district is near the one that includes the defunct Sunset Mesa funeral home that shut down amid allegations that its owner was selling body parts. // Grand Junction Sentinel, The Colorado Sun

// TUCKER(ED) OUT: Three days after saying that he totally, no way, no how, was not going to take the open coaching job at Michigan State University (and repeating it to multiple media outlets on Tuesday), University of Colorado head football coach Mel Tucker — the state’s highest-paid public employee — is … going to take the open coaching job at Michigan State University. Chip, the Buffs’ mascot, is not amused (in a now deleted tweet). // Twitter, BuffZone, ESPN, BuffZone, Saturday Down South

// DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS!: Video taken by an Evergreen woman as she fed mule deer — in her living room!!! — went viral on Twitter this week after it was shared by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The woman narrates as she lures deer into her house with bread, bananas, apples and cereal. “These egregious acts of feeding wildlife need to stop,” CPW tweeted. “Let wildlife be wild.” FWIW, she has been charged. // CPW Northeast Region, Denver7 

Thanks for helping us plow forward on the future of journalism for Colorado. We’re grateful for your support of The Sun and we couldn’t do this without you.  

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Thanks for catching up on the news with us at The Sun. We choose our stories based on what we think you should know about your state, and we strive to find the kind of meaningful stories that will stick in your thoughts and come up in your conversations. Let us know if there is something interesting going on in your community. And, as always, please share our stories with people who might find them interesting, too. 

-Jen and Dana