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Steer stroll down 17th Street during the annual National Western Stock Show Parade on January 9, 2020. Photo by Jay Bouchard

ICYMI: Local Stories that Defined January

Life is busy, but the news cycle doesn’t stop. Here’s a quick primer to some of the top Centennial State stories from January.

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Has January felt like a full sprint rather than a quiet, winter month? Whether it is post-holiday burnout, work, ski weekends, or the usual to-do list that kept you exceptionally busy this month, the news cycle was also packed. January saw the return of a Denver classic: the National Western Stock Show (more on that below) while two other perennial favorites—snow in Denver and Broncos in the playoffs—were noticeably absent this year.

But there were plenty of other things going on around the state, from one Coloradan’s role in the impeachment hearings to snowshoe art. We’re still chatting about these local stories from January.

Jason Crow in the Spotlight
Representative Jason Crow might be a household name in Colorado, but he’s certainly becoming one on a national scale this month. On January 15, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Crow would join six others as a manager for the impeachment trial. The high-profile role has meant that Crow spent plenty of time in the spotlight this month. To learn more about him, read Kasey Cordell’s profile of the congress member’s first year in office.
The takeaway: Representative Jason Crow is a manager in the impeachment trial.

Denver Is Still a Cow Town, Long Live the Cow Town
I love to inform people who’ve just moved to Denver about the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) parade so I can be the one to tell them that downtown’s 17th Street will shut down for a livestock procession. This year’s event—which was bolstered by a warm, sunny day—delivered the same crowds and nostalgia of years past. The show also drew in plenty of people: Attendance topped 707,000 and was the second highest of all time. If you went, you probably noticed there’s a whole lot of construction going on. Here’s a breakdown of what is happening at the National Western Center, the home of the NWSS.
The takeaway: The NWSS is still a hit, so mark your calendar for the 2021 event, which will run from January 9 to 24.

Animal Instincts
For more than three decades, Denver has banned pit bulls from the city—but that could change soon. Council member Chris Herndon has proposed to replace the breed-specific ban with a license process for owners. The plan has passed committee and is headed to a council vote in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, in other animal news, a plan to reintroduce wolves to Colorado made it onto the November ballot (a topic we were talking about last month). But, go figure, Mother Nature doesn’t seem too concerned with our election schedule: Colorado Parks and Wildlife has confirmed that a pack of wolves was detected in Moffat County this month (Governor Jared Polis even welcomed the canines back to the state in a statement). The issue will stay on the ballot, as a planned reintroduction is still up for debate.
The takeaway: Denver is this|close to lifting its ban on pit bulls and there’s a pack of wolves in Colorado.

Colorado Goes to Washington
I know, I know: It feels like everyone is still talking about the 2016 election (don’t worry; we’ll have plenty of time to talk about 2020, too). That trend continued on January 17, when the Supreme Court of the United States announced it would hear arguments in two cases involving faithless electors (members of the Electoral College that do not vote according to their state’s rules). One of the cases, Colorado Department of State v. Baca, started in the Centennial State and will (likely) be decided before the 2020 election
The takeaway: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about faithless electors before the next presidential election.

Meanwhile, at the State Capitol
The state legislature is back in session, meaning that the Capitol is buzzing again (good luck finding parking in that area right now). Both parties have priorities for the session, and bills are working through the process. You can expect lots of discussion on bills about transportation, health care, and death penalty repeal. Also, State Representative Leslie Herod is sponsoring the CROWN Act, an effort to end discrimination for natural hairstyles. In Denver’s Senate District 31, longtime legislator Lois Court stepped down to fight Guillain-Barré Syndrome (an autoimmune disorder). Chris Hansen, who had been in the state House of Representatives, was appointed to fill Court’s seat. Also in the Senate, Brittany Pettersen gave birth to a baby during session, one of the first women to do so in the state.
The takeaway: The legislative session is just getting started.

Bonus: News to Smile About
The Colorado Rockies have had a tumultuous month as rumors of a Nolan Arenado trade have disrupted local baseball fans’ winter reprieve. But there was a spark of good news when right fielder Larry Walker was elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, the first Rockies player to make the cut. Also, Simon Beck, an artist who stomps out designs in powder while wearing snowshoes, created his first Colorado design this month in Silverthorne. The pictures are delightful, and, yes, this makes me want to up my snow-angel game this season. Finally, 5280 rounded up a lot of things this month, from coffee shops to dive bars and hand pies. Go retrace our steps (not necessarily in that order—or at one time).

(MORE: Read last month’s ICYMI)

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