Axios Denver

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Happy Wednesday, neighbors.

  • ❄️ Today's weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 40°, followed by a 60% chance of snow after 4pm, the forecast says.

😷 Situational awareness: Nearly 1 in 4 people in Denver are testing positive for the Omicron variant amid the most severe COVID-19 surge since the start of the pandemic, local health officials said.

  • Hospital capacity remains "razor thin," with the vast majority of beds occupied by unvaccinated residents from outside the city, the mayor said.

Today's newsletter is 935 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Pit bull bites outnumber those of any other breed

Denver dog bites by breed and severity in 2021
Data: Denver Animal Protection; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

One year after pit bulls were allowed to strut down Denver sidewalks again, new city data provided to Axios shows the dogs were responsible for more reported bites on people than any other breed in 2021.

Flashback: City voters lifted Denver's pit bull ban in November 2020 after more than 30 years.

  • Residents overrode Mayor Michael Hancock's first-ever veto blocking the measure, passed by the Denver City Council.

By the numbers: Denver Animal Protection identified 117 bites in 2021 from pit bull breeds. Of those, 10 were reported on young children, agency spokesperson Tammy Vigil tells Axios.

  • By comparison, only 54 bites were reported by Labrador retrievers and 61 by German shepherds.
  • Pit bulls also topped the list for the most multiple-bite injuries, considered Level 5 offenses on the Ian Dunbar Dog Bite Scale, which goes up to Level 6, signifying death. The city reports 3% of pit bull bites in 2021 reached this severity.
  • "Since pit bulls were not legal in Denver until 2021, we're really looking at this data as our baseline and we're not able to extrapolate much about what it means yet," Vigil explains.

What they're saying: Proponents for legalization downplayed the numbers and questioned the data collection.

  • "It's not fair to combine three breeds into one dataset," councilperson Chris Herndon says. "It's important to ask if this is the most efficient and most transparent way to track the data."

Of note: The Denver Animal Shelter saw 100 pit bulls adopted last year, making it the second-most adopted breed behind chihuahuas.

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2. What's next: Denver dining scene forecasts

Noble Riot, a RiNo wine bar, has had to completely change their business model to become Noble Fry-it, a fried chicken pickup/delivery business.

Noble Riot, a RiNo wine bar, changed its business model in 2020 to become Noble Fry-it, a fried chicken pickup/delivery business. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

After COVID-induced shutdowns, repeated regulatory changes, labor shortages and supply chain challenges, restaurants and their patrons have been left to wonder what 2022 has in store.

By and large, the industry maintained its hopeful, albeit cautious, tenor as purveyors shared forecasts with Axios for the year ahead:

  • "Supporting the local food movement will not only be a trend, but a necessity due to the disruption of the supply chain ... I think we'll start to see a lot of new purveyors popping up and producing specialty ingredients," Cody Cheetham, executive chef of Tavernetta, said.
  • "I think 2022 is the year of vegetables," predicted chef Jeff Osaka.

More food for thought, and read our first two installments of this week's What's Next in 2022 series

3. Louisville police chief lost home in fire

Aerial photos of the devastated neighborhoods left behind from the Marshall Fire in Louisville. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post via Getty Images

Aerial photos of the devastated neighborhoods left behind from the Marshall Fire in Louisville. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post via Getty Images

Louisville Police chief David Hayes experienced the destruction of the Marshall Fire firsthand.

  • His house was consumed by the flames. His car melted in the driveway. His uniform was charred.
  • "What used to be a house was mostly collapsed into what was our basement," the chief told the Colorado Sun.

What happened: The first flames Hayes saw last Thursday were outside his office window as the station's landscaping caught fire.

  • He evacuated the building and then spent hours at a King Soopers planning and executing the evacuation of the town.

How he found out: The eight-year veteran chief says he didn't think about his own house until much later. He lives alone in the home he's had for 32 years.

  • He found his neighborhood decimated late Thursday evening.

What's next: Hayes, who is campaigning to replace Boulder County sheriff Joe Pelle in the 2022 election, plans to rebuild.

  • "This might sound crazy, but I want the same exact house back," he said. "I want the same rooms where they are. The furnishings, of course, will be different."

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4. Nuggets: Get informed with these new bites

A "Now Hiring" sign outside a King Soopers supermarket location in Colorado. Photo: Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A "Now Hiring" sign outside a King Soopers location in Colorado. Photo: Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images

King Soopers is considering legal action against a union representing its workers after members voted to strike when their contracts expire Sunday; the workers are citing unfair labor practices. (Westword)

🚨 Denver police were alerted in January 2021 to a possible theft involving Lyndon McLeod, the alleged gunman who killed five people on Dec. 27, but said they found no evidence of a local connection to a crime. (9News)

🚔 A Louisville man who threatened a firefighter about mandatory evacuations from the Marshall Fire was found with 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a loaded AR-15 rifle and a 9mm handgun, an arrest affidavit shows. (Denver7)

🐴 Sanford schools are the first in the state to discontinue use of a Native American mascot since the passage of a law banning them. The San Luis Valley district chose the Thundering Mustangs. (Colorado Politics)

🏈 Former Denver Bronco and Northglenn Mayor Odell Barry, the first Black elected mayor of a major city in Colorado, died Monday. He was 80. (Denver Post)

New jobs to check out

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5. 🎬 Denverites created popular Netflix film

Left to right: Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky, Leonardo DiCaprio as Randall Mindy and Timothée Chalamet as Yul in "Don’t Look Up." Photo: Niko Tavernese/Netflix

"Don't Look Up," a celeb-packed satire, has drawn millions of viewers since debuting last month on Netflix — but few of its fans know who's behind the film.

  • The movie details the world's reaction to a comet heading toward Earth after it was discovered by a pair of scientists, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.

Why it matters: "Don't Look Up" was created by two Denver masterminds on a mission to save the planet.

  • Adam McKay, a Mile High City native, directed the film. He's known for other notable movies, including "The Big Short" and "Anchorman."
  • David Sirota, a local activist and podcaster, co-created the motion picture.

What they're saying: In a recent Denver Post interview, the duo said the movie is intended to address the climate crisis.

  • McKay explained: "I realized we need to be able to laugh when dealing with something as overwhelming as the collapse of the livable atmosphere."

🍿 Read the rest of the interviewand watch the movie

6. 💔 1 goodbye to go

The now-closed Breakfast King on Santa Fe Drive. Photo: John Frank/Axios

The now-closed Breakfast King on Santa Fe Drive. Photo: John Frank/Axios

We wrote a couple months ago about a handful of our favorite greasy spoons closing, and explained why it matters.

🥞 What’s new: Now one more iconic eatery for movers, shakers and average folks is shuttered.

Our picks:

🔥 John is reading this National Weather Service timeline of the Marshall Fire.

💙 Alayna is watching this heart-warming clip of a local restaurant helping the Marshall Fire's first responders in the kindest (and tastiest) way.

Got a story idea, tip or hot take? Just hit reply.