A plastic skeleton hangs above the entrance to Mountainside Skate Shop in Manitou Springs Wednesday, January 29, 2020. Photo by Mark Reis

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


A very toned photo of the strip of mountains visible from The Colorado Sun newsroom on Feb. 17, 2020. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)


Happy Monday, folks! I’m leaning hard on that exclamation point, because, at least from Colorado Sun world HQ, I can actually see the mountains beyond the city and clear blue skies. It’s technically a holiday in that your mail won’t be delivered and the stock markets are closed, but the news isn’t waiting.

So whether you spent your weekend sitting in nightmare traffic outside the Air Force Academy, hanging out with 11,000 or so Bernie Sanders supporters at the Convention Center, or taunting the mayor of Denver by holding a puppy (more on that below), it’s time to get recharged and dive into the news.

Let’s wield this quartz wand, shall we? (that will make sense in a minute, I promise)


The Latest from The Sun


The Witches of Manitou Springs: History, hysteria and wand-waving Wiccans behind a stubborn urban myth


A plastic skeleton hangs above the entrance to Mountainside Skate Shop in Manitou Springs. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)

“I’ve lived here for years, and I don’t even lock my doors. Everybody knows their neighbors. Everybody’s comfortable, everyone gets along here … They don’t worship Satan. That’s Hollywood.”

— Brenda Wheatbrook of Lane Mitchell Jewelers on Manitou Avenue in Manitou Springs
“There’s a lot of people that really don’t like us. And so a lot of people are hiding. And you can’t blame them. But they’re hiding in plain sight.””

— Celtic stormwitch and former Boeing inspector Curt Brasier

In the shadow of Pikes Peak is a quirky little mountain town that some would have you believe is just crawling with witches. Focus on the Family, just down the road in Colorado Springs,  even issued a warning on its blog about the “hidden traps of Wicca.” But what’s actually behind Manitou Springs’s witchy reputation? Four Colorado College student journalists set out to find out and came back with a thoroughly entertaining story, including a Beetle-driving stormwitch packing a 5-inch quartz wand and signs that the myth might be good for business. >> STORY + PHOTOS



“The craft beer of the ski industry”: How Ski Cooper is thriving in the era of the megamerger


Connie Walker of Fairplay skis near the new T-bar serving the recently-opened Tennessee Creek Basin at Ski Cooper. This was Walker’s second visit, and first time trying the new terrain. A visit to new ski terrain in Tennessee Creek Basin at Ski Cooper near Leadville. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)


First, a quick confession: I’m a Colorado native and I’ve been skiing fewer than a dozen times in my life. I know, I know. But nine of those times were at my beloved Ski Cooper, the nonprofit, publicly owned ski area north of Leadville that is expanding terrain and adding to the Lake County economy in a big way. Jason Blevins has more on what has become a rarity in a world dominated by mega passes. >> STORY + PHOTOS



Electric-vehicle makers want to skip the dealership and sell straight to Coloradans. Dealers say it’s a “solution in search of a problem.”


The Rivian R1S pictured here will be the Michigan startup’s first SUV. The vehicle is expected to be available at the end of 2020. (Provided by Rivian)


Manufacturers are prepping a wave of new electric vehicles, and because of some EV-friendly policies passed last year, Colorado is becoming a hot market. But many of the vehicle startups are not permitted by Colorado law to sell their cars to drivers directly. Dealers fought a similar proposal last year, and they say this one is even worse not just for them, but for drivers. Tamara Chuang breaks down the battle and gives an update on the electrification of Colorado. >> STORY



More from The Sun

  • SLIDE KILLS TWO NEAR VAIL: The snow that has relentlessly blanketed the Colorado mountains this month made conditions ripe for another deadly slide, this one north of Vail that left two people riding motorized snowbikes dead. >> STORY
  • DEADLY CHAIRLIFT ACCIDENT: A skier appeared to have suffocated on a chairlift at Vail Mountain’s Blue Sky Basin after he fell through an opening on a chairlift seat and became caught with his coat wrapped around his neck. >> STORY
  • SPRINGS VETERAN AND PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR DIES AT 97: Donald Stratton, one of the last surviving crew members of the USS Arizona who was on board during the attack on Pearl Harbor, died Saturday at his home in Colorado Springs. >> OBITUARY


From the Opinion Page



The Colorado Report


“This tactic may have worked elsewhere, but it will not work in Denver. Our hope is that all home-sharing platforms will comply with local laws and not request illegal and secret agreements in exchange for making partial commitments to comply with the law.”

— Eric Escudero, a spokesman for the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses

// AIRBNB’S SECRET DEAL REJECTED BY DENVER: Denver’s relatively strict rules around short-term rentals have a problem: sites like Airbnb are not doing much to help keep unlicensed listings off their sites. Conrad Swanson reports that the company, after dragging out negotiations for months, tried to propose a good-for-Airbnb sweetheart deal, but only if it was kept secret. // The Denver Post ?

// WHO OWNS THE WALLS OF RINO? RiNo has done a pretty good job of making itself known for the colorful murals adorning the walls of its old industrial buildings and quickly constructed Lego-block buildings. But what happens when those walls, free to be seen by anyone passing by, are used in Instagram ads without the artists’ permission? A lawsuit in U.S. District Court is testing those limits, Sara Fleming reports. // Westword

// I LOVE LOCAL SUBREDDITS: Not exactly the most newsworthy thing to share, but apparently a Waffle House in Colorado Springs was torn down and rebuilt facing the opposite direction, inspiring a conversation on the /r/ColoradoSprings subreddit that included some valid, fact-based context and one person who was completely played by a real estate agent who insisted that it’s because the new owner was left-handed and wanted the building to match. // /r/ColoradoSprings

// COLORADO IS LOSING ITS FILM INDUSTRY: Ed Sealover looks at the latest attempt to throw a lifeline to the the dwindling state of Colorado’s once-thriving film industry — fun fact, as the early film industry slowly migrated out of New York, some early studio heads considered putting down roots in Colorado instead of Hollywood — and why the state is losing out to Georgia, New Mexico and others in the race to provide film incentives. // Denver Business Journal ?

// RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA ON THE RADIO: Russia’s meddling with American politics is well-known by now, and, while the effectiveness of its tactics is still up for debate and the subject of much scrutiny, there is no gray area about this: Three radio stations in Kansas City are broadcasting actual Russian propaganda every day during drive time. // Bloomberg News, FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times

// GOV TROLLS MAYOR WITH PUPPY: If you aren’t as hopelessly addicted to looking at Twitter on weekends as journalists are, you likely missed out on the fact that Gov. Jared Polis posted a photo holding a pit bull puppy in the Governor’s Mansion — which is in Denver, where Mayor Michael Hancock just vetoed a City Council repeal of the city’s pit bull ban. Hancock responded with a cryptic “Wow!!”, and the governor replied with a GIF of Scooby Doo — who, for the record, is canonically a Great Dane and would thus be outside of Denver’s breed-specific ban. Politics are weird, folks. // Twitter, Denver7, Wikipedia

OK, that’s all for this President’s Day edition of The Sunriser. Thanks for spending some time with us, and remember we’re always looking to expand this community into every corner of the state. So please forward this email to the people in your life and let them know what you like about The Sunriser. The more the merrier!

See you on Wednesday!

— Eric

Eric Lubbers is one of the co-founders of The Colorado Sun, focused on making technology work hand-in-hand with journalism. He was born and raised in Yuma, Colorado, and since starting his career with the Rocky Mountain News/YourHub in 2005...