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Jessie Hernandez Death
In January—five months after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, changed the tenor of the discussion around police brutality—Denver officers shot and killed 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez as she was driving toward them. They said it was in self-defense; the coroner ruled Hernandez’s death a homicide. Four months later, District Attorney Mitch Morrissey declined to file criminal charges against the officers.
Big Brewery Expansion
For the past few years, small neighborhood breweries have beenpopping up by the dozens; 2015, however, was the year of the big craft brewery. Well-established operations Avery, Great Divide, and Breckenridge all expanded into slick new facilities, pushing the boundaries of what’s considered “micro.” Nevertheless, we don’t see how more White Rascal, Titan, and Vanilla Porter could be a bad thing.
In an uncharacteristically sane move, the federal governmentdeclared 21,586 acres around Browns Canyon a national monument in February. (Seven months later, another beloved patch of wilderness—Rocky Mountain National Park—turned 100.)
In April, Boulder’s Teller Lake Number 5 was overrun bygoldfish after someone dumped their scaly pets into the lake and the fish took over. Officials estimate there were 4,000 goldfish in the lake—until pelicans (yes, pelicans) gobbled up most of the invaders.
This past May, the University of Denver becamethe first college west of the Mississippi River to win a national championship in lacrosse.
In the spring, Denver was labeled one of the hottest (read: most unaffordable) housing and rental markets in the country. For that, we can thank—or blame—an influx of new residents and a low unemployment rate.
Mother Nature dumped 10 inches of rain in parts of theFront Range in one month this past spring, staving off drought and easing wildfire concerns. In June, an afternoon of heavy rain, hail, tornadoes, and other apocalyptic weather turned Bike to Work Day into Paddle Home Day.
Peyton Manning Symphony
Peyton Manning conducted the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of “Rocky Top” in June. But in the Broncos’ season opener, it appeared he was barely able to conduct an offense. Things improved after that, but we’re still betting on the notion that defense wins championships.
Hundreds lined up outside Denver Botanic Gardens in Augustfor a chance to see (and smell) the corpse flower—and some quickly raised a stink when the rare bloomer under-delivered in the smelly department.
Instead of cleaning up an abandoned mine near Silverton, in August an EPA employee accidentally caused millions of gallons of toxic waste to spill into the Animas River, which turned an unsettling shade of yellow.
GOP Presidential Debate
After the October debate in Boulder, Donald Trump, surprisingly, couldn’t claim the biggest bonehead comments. That prize went to CNBC, whose moderators were widely criticized for being overly combative and underprepared.
In August, after less than seven hours of deliberation, the jury in the James Holmes trial returned a verdict of life in prison, prompting summertime discussions on whether the death penalty still has a place in Colorado.
The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight opens this month. Earlier this year, Tarantino traveled to Telluride looking for a blizzard for his movie. Instead, he found climate change: A warm spring slowed production, which translated into a boon for Colorado businesses.
—Embedded photos courtesy of the Hernandez family; iStock; Wikipedia; Sarah Boyum; Shutterstock; Avery Brewing Company