Axios Denver

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Today's newsletter is 911 words — a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: The pandemic's heavy toll on LGBTQ+ kids

Illustration of the colors of the LGBTQ Pride flag projected over the silhouette of a teenager.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Many LGBTQ+ teens in Colorado and across the U.S. already feel a sense of isolation from those around them — even without social distancing guidelines or quarantine mandates. But experts say the pandemic has made those feelings even worse.

The big picture: For Colorado children of all identities and backgrounds, suicide attempts and calls for psychiatric help are surging.

  • Children's Hospital Colorado recently declared a pediatric mental health emergency — a first in its 117-year history — and leaders are demanding more funding for resources, which they say have run dry amid "skyrocketing" demand.
  • The hospital system has seen a 90% increase in behavioral health visits in the past two years, officials report.

Driving the news: A recent poll from the Trevor Project found 42% of LGBTQ+ youth across America reported seriously considering suicide during the pandemic, and 70% said the coronavirus negatively affected their mental health most of the time.

  • The survey of nearly 35,000 young people found that being cooped up at home — a place where only 1 out of every 3 LGBTQ+ youth said they were allowed to be themselves — was a main driver.

Read the whole story

2. The link between gun and recall bills

Protesters demonstrate ahead of a 2013 special recall election.

Protesters demonstrate ahead of a 2013 special recall election. Photo: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado Democrats are poised to approve a sweeping set of tougher gun laws, and this time the move comes with an electoral safety net.

The state of play: The prior two attempts by Democrats to make it harder to get a firearm in Colorado led to threats of recall elections.

What's new: Any effort to recall a lawmaker this time would prove more difficult under Senate Bill 250 — a sweeping elections overhaul. The new rules would require the recall petition signed by voters to include:

  • The cost to taxpayers for the special election.
  • A rebuttal statement from the incumbent.
  • A prohibition on false statements on the petition, which faces questionable constitutionality.

Keep reading

3. Meet Colorado's new snowplows

Illustration with a snowplow

Image courtesy of the Colorado Department of Transportation

Colorado announced the winners of its first-ever Name That Plow contest, which drew more than 1,100 submissions from elementary school kids from all corners of the state.

Meet our newest fleet:

  • Abominable
  • Arctic King
  • Bigfoot
  • Blizzard
  • Cheese Ball
  • Darth Blader
  • Eisenplower
  • Fresh Plowder
  • Frosty
  • Jack Frost
  • Mr. Plow
  • Mr. Snowtastic
  • No-way Snow-day
  • Olaf
  • Plowzilla
  • Sno-way
  • Snow Crusher
  • Snowball
  • Snowtorious B.I.G.
  • Zebulon Ice

Alayna's thought bubble: Gov. Jared Polis needs to work on his sense of humor, because he excluded ALL 17 of the best suggested names I rounded up after digging through the entries.

  • Read the (actually funny) list here.

4. Top biz leader a "formidable" candidate

Kelly Brough at the Union Station Great Hall Gala in 2014.

Kelly Brough at the Union Station Great Hall Gala in 2014. Photo: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

Kelly Brough is stepping down as CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, a move that is furthering talk about a potential bid for mayor in 2023.

What to know: Brough, 57, led the chamber for 12 years and served as the first woman in the post.

  • In the role, she acted as the area's top economic development recruiter and pushed major policies at the state Capitol and ballot box.
  • She previously worked for three years as chief of staff to then-mayor John Hickenlooper.

The intrigue: In announcing her departure — effective Sept. 1 — Brough said she has no plans to run for office. But she hopes to remain involved in housing and education issues, the Denver Business Journal reported.

The state of play: The mayor's race is expected to be a wide-open affair, but if she entered, Brough would be one of the better-prepared candidates.

  • "Kelly is smart, knows the city well and will have the business community behind her. All of which would make her a formidable candidate," Sheila MacDonald, a Democratic strategist in Denver, tells John.

Yes, but: Brough's alliance with business interests and opposition to key Democratic measures at the Statehouse could work against her as the city trends further to the left.

5. Nuggets: A quick dig into the headlines

Illustration of a pixelated pickaxe hitting a pixelated rock with gold in it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  • The relatives of the Boulder mass shooting are demanding that a special master distribute the donations to victims because the nonprofits currently handling the $6 million collected so far are not being transparent. (AP)
  • 25 young, vaccinated Coloradans ages 12 to 17 will be randomly chosen to win a $50,000 college scholarship over the next five weeks as part of a new state health initiative to up vaccine rates. (9News)
  • As other states add limits on abortions, women are coming to Colorado, one of seven without restrictions. A fund helped 1,162 people access abortions last year, 20 times as many as in 2017. (Colorado Sun)
  • The new reservation system at Rocky Mountain National Park is about as popular as expected — which is to say it's not. It drew an hourlong wait to get into the park and screaming-mad tourists. (Denver Post)
  • A Denver firefighter was arrested at his fire station Wednesday for allegedly uploading videos to the internet of kids being sexually abused. (9News)
  • Colorado-based Lockheed Martin Space is part of two research missions to Venus that will launch as soon as 2028, NASA announced. (Denver Business Journal)

6. Hot home: Cherry Creek chateau asks $7.5M

A dining table with purple chairs inside a spacious home.

Photo: Nate Polta, courtesy of Danielle Dolan

One of Denver's more stunning homes — a chateau in the middle of the city — is on the market.

  • The custom dwelling drips luxury with extensive millwork, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, a sunken living room and an elevator, Axios' Brianna Crane writes.
  • It was crafted by BOSS.architecture and Montare Builders just two years ago.

Details: At 5,310 square feet, it has five beds and seven baths.

Take a look around

Our picks:

🐻 John is reading this story (and watching the amazing videos) of wildlife crossings.

ğŸŽ‚ Alayna is celebrating a dear friend's 30th birthday at this French restaurant.

🍟 Thanks to all who shared their favorite fries in Denver! Top spots included Vesper Lounge, Cafe Rendezvous, The 49th and Steuben's.