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Fourteen for the Fourth: The best stories you may have missed

Some Colorado Sun longreads (and semi-longreads) you may have overlooked, from before the pandemic right up to today

Renan Ozturk (right) pilots a drone at advanced base camp while Matt Irving (left in red) operates the camera on a separate controller. Sherpa team looks on. (National Geographic/Thom Pollard)

What better opportunity than a three-day holiday weekend to carve out some time to dig into some of the deeply reported and carefully written journalism that you may have overlooked amid the constant flurry of breaking news that has marked 2020?

We’ve selected 14 pieces — 13 stories and one awesome photo essay — that offer gripping narratives from before the word “coronavirus” became part of our daily vocabulary, important accounts during the height of the shutdown, and most recently, reflective work on the importance of confronting racism as renewed protest takes hold in Colorado.

And there are also some fun ones in the mix — like a tick-tock of the shortest jet flight in the U.S. and a tale of the trout that got away.

Tales of the pandemic

State Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn, outside Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver where he works as an ER nurse. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

A lawmaker returns to frontlines of the coronavirus fight as an ER nurse: “You can see a tsunami coming” By John Frank


A Salvadoran immigrant worked at a Fort Morgan slaughterhouse for 24 years. Coronavirus killed him in 10 days. By Jesse Paul


A summer gone sideways: Coronavirus upended the big plans Colorado teens had for their break By Erica Breunlin

Photo essay

(Photos by Matthew Staver, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Essential. Portraits of — and thoughts from — Colorado’s essential workers By Matt Staver

Health

An RV from Front Range Clinic parked in Holyoke, in far northeast Colorado, in front of Melissa Memorial Hospital, on March 11, 2020, to bring opioid addiction treatment to the rural community. Nurse Christi Couron and counselor Nicky McLean are two of the three staff who work on the RV, along with a peer recovery specialist. (Photo by The Holyoke Enterprise)

Six RVs to help rural Colorado’s opioid addiction are coming to a parking lot near you By Jennifer Brown


A Denver businessman wants to fix America’s health care system — by doing your knee replacement in Mexico By John Ingold

Tech

Construction workers installing Project Thor fiber on Interstate 70 in Silverthorne. Project Thor is a 481-mile internet network built by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. The project was completed in April 2020 for about $2.6 million. (Provided by Northwest Colorado Council of Governments)

Internet service in western Colorado was so terrible that towns and counties built their own telecom By Tamara Chuang

Justice

Neil Elms at one of his favorite spots on the Housatonic River. He was fishing by this spot near his home when he received a phone call from his father telling him of a report released naming priests that abused children from his church. When he needs time or the load is too heavy fishing in this river is his retreat ( on January 25, 2020 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Joe Amon Photography)

A Denver priest — his dad’s best friend — raped him. The state’s Catholic Church abuse report revealed the secret. By Jesse Paul


Fort Collins police defend investigation in fatal shooting case, despite errors noted by prosecutors By John Frank

Fun/Outside

Team members during the expedition to find Sandy Irvine’s remains on Mt. Everest, in attempt to solve one of the mountain’s greatest mysteries: who was the first to summit Mt. Everest? (National Geographic/Matt Irving)

Colorado climber, moviemaker documents quest to solve one of Mount Everest’s lasting mysteries By Jason Blevins


Colorado researchers spent decades trying to save disappearing rainbow trout. Finally, they’re making progress. By Kevin Simpson


Coronavirus created the shortest commercial jet flight in the country — Eagle to Aspen. But it won’t last. By Jason Blevins

Race

Activist and speaker Regan Byrd leads an anti-racism training event held at Pine Street Church in Boulder, Colorado on October 19, 2019. The training, titled “Embracing Anti-Racism”, seeks to educate participants in ways to actively combat racism. (Photo by Mary Alice Truitt, Special to the Colorado Sun)

Training white people in Colorado to be “anti-racist” (not just “not racist”) is one step in the fight to correct historic wrongs By Jenn Fields


Why now? The roots (and possible future) of Colorado’s reckoning with racism past and present By Kevin Simpson

Rising Sun