Really, 2020? Really?
From a plethora of miller moths to murder hornets, and ravenous rats looking for their next meals because of restaurant closures, May had plenty of weird headlines. And lots of other news to keep us glued to our phones. In case you’ve been busy dealing with, oh, a global health crisis, we’re here to recap some of the month’s biggest stories.
The News Reel
- The number is daunting: More than 100,000 Americans have died from the new coronavirus. Last week, the New York Times dedicated a front page to listing some of the names of people who have died, a somber memorial on a weekend when we also paused to remember those who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. As of May 28, Colorado had reported 1,421 deaths among 25,121 COVID-19 cases. The tragic milestone also came at a time when models show the state’s incidence rates are decreasing after stay-at-home and safer-at-home measures were put in place.
- On May 28 and 29, people gathered in Denver to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis. A cellphone video shows a police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes after he was unresponsive. The four officers involved have been fired. Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted out a call for murder charges, and on Friday the officer shown in cell-phone videos to be kneeling on Floyd was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Nationally, protestors gathered to demand more be done and, in Denver, people met near the state Capitol where peaceful protests were overshadowed by violence (broken windows and vandalism), shots fired, and tear gas deployed by the Denver Police Department. More protests are scheduled in Denver this weekend, and RTD has stopped bus and light rail service in downtown on Friday and Saturday (this is a developing story).
- This month, the state and the city of Denver continued to ease safer-at-home restrictions. The updates were fast and furious and, occasionally, differed from municipality to municipality. As of Wednesday, May 27, Colorado restaurants were allowed to reopen, and in Denver, eateries are applying—by the hundreds—for permission to use outdoor space to serve customers.
- While restaurants and the food industry have adjusted to new rules and closures, they’ve also focused on feeding Denver—especially vulnerable populations, people without access to food, and frontline workers. Often those efforts are made while facing their own challenges. For instance, in March, 5280 food editor Denise Mickelsen reported that GrowHaus had to close its Elyria-Swansea site because of structural issues with the building. Despite that setback, the nonprofit announced this week that it has distributed free food packages that amount to 100,000 meals to local residents, including flour, produce, and other essentials.
- This year’s ski season was cut short, but spring skiing fans can squeeze in a couple more runs because Arapahoe Basin reopened earlier this week. Yes, there is slush. Yes, there is mud. But, more importantly, there is schussing. Reporter Shauna Farnell was there to capture the mood and some pictures of the unusual day.
- The Supreme Court of the United States heard socially-distanced arguments regarding faithless electors this month, which could have an impact on future elections. Colorado plays a major role and a decision is expected this summer.
- Local parody site Westish launched to provide a little bit of humor in an unusual time. The site, which is similar to the Onion, posts local, fake stories. Headlines include “Local Man Forced to Summit 14er a Second Time after Forgetting Cardboard Sign in Car” and “Despite No Football in Months, Garrett Bolles Flagged for Offensive Holding.” Now, that’s funny.
- The state legislature is back, but it has been anything but business as usual. Many legislators are wearing masks, plexiglass shields are up, and the cafeteria is closed. Pieces of legislation are getting shelved as the focus shifts to how to overcome what is estimated to be more than a $3 billion shortfall. Legislators also voted to change the way they do business, to allow some members to be a part of the process from afar. And, the whole thing shut down again on May 29 and May 30 after the protests around the Capitol on Thursday night.
- Its official! Colorado has a new state park. Colorado Parks and Wildlife purchased Fishers Peak, near Trinidad, but you can’t go there—yet. It will take some time to get the park ready for its big debut.
- Graduates: We know May is your month. We know this probably isn’t how you wanted to celebrate your milestone. We know you’ve worked hard. So, congratulations! You’ve earned it.
(MORE: Read last month’s ICYMI)