Axios Denver

Picture of the Denver skyline with DEN written across it.

It's Thursday, and we've got a full plate of news for you.

  • Today's weather: Sunny and hot, with highs near 97°.

🚨 Situational awareness: Authorities are investigating the death of a 14-year-old boy whose body was found at the Southwest Recreation Center on Monday afternoon.

  • Josiaz "JoJo" Aragon would have turned 15 yesterday.
  • Denver police said the boy's body showed signs of trauma.

Today's newsletter is 871 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: New Broncos owners mum on stadium

From left, Greg Penner, Condoleezza Rice, Rob Walton, Mellody Hobson and Carrie Walton-Penner during an introductory press conference on July 10. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

The Broncos' new owners made their first public appearance together on Wednesday, but fans and residents remain in the dark about a possible new stadium.

What they're saying: "Empower Field at Mile High is a terrific facility," co-owner Greg Penner told reporters. He said it's too early to say how the owners would pay for a new stadium, let alone whether they want one.

  • "We've got a partnership with the stadium district, and with 10 years left on our lease, we've got some time to go out and see what the different options are, consider everything, then make a decision," Penner said.

Driving the news: Five of the six members of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group were introduced at the UCHealth Training Center in Englewood

  • Absent was Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who last week was publicly announced as part of the ownership group.

Flashback: Empower Field opened in 2001, and 75% of its $400 million price tag at the time was covered by a multi-county sales tax, while the team paid the remaining 25%.

  • It's unclear whether local taxpayers now have an appetite to pay for a new stadium.
  • Last year, voters in Denver overwhelmingly rejected building a new — albeit significantly smaller — multipurpose arena by borrowing money.

Read more ... The intrigue

2. These GOP candidates know law enforcement

Illustration of a political lawn sign shaped like a police car
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In an election where public safety is a prominent issue, Colorado's Republican ticket holds a distinct advantage.

  • Both Joe O'Dea in the U.S. Senate contest and Heidi Ganahl in the governor's race come from law enforcement families.

Why it matters: The intimate connection gives the GOP contenders a unique vantage point to address the issue at a more personal level.

  • And their familial ties influence their policy positions, both candidates told Axios Denver.

What they're saying: "The pendulum has swung too hard toward the criminal," O'Dea told us. "I think we've shifted some liability onto the cops."

  • "My desire to have the backs of law enforcement officers … comes from [my upbringing] probably," Ganahl added. She said, "I have a different viewpoint than [Gov. Jared Polis]."

Meet the candidates: O'Dea's late father, Edward "Doc" O'Dea, worked as a Denver police officer.

  • O'Dea describes his upbringing as "law and order on steroids. The expectation was you're not going to do anything stupid that's going to embarrass your dad."
  • O'Dea said his father didn't want him to become a police officer. "He said, 'If you want to serve, go be a fireman. They don't shoot at you.'"

Ganahl's father, Harvey Haight, worked as a reserve officer for agencies in Southern California before the family moved to Colorado, where he was a volunteer officer with the Palmer Lake agency.

  • For him, it was about service after growing up in a military family. "Law enforcement was his pivot," Ganahl says.

Keep reading ... Where they stand

3. Denver's minimum wage gets a boost

Chart: Axios Visuals
Chart: Axios Visuals

Starting next year, Denver will join a few dozen cities across the country with a minimum wage above $17 an hour.

Details: The city's minimum hourly wage is currently $15.87, and will rise to $17.29 starting Jan. 1, 2023.

Why it matters: This is good news for minimum-wage workers facing rising costs due to inflation, but it may further burden business owners feeling the squeeze of high costs.

Context: The hike was mandated by a bill signed into law in 2019 boosting overall pay for local workers.

  • The law requires that the city use the consumer price index to determine new wages for 2023.

The big picture: The increased wages mean Denver's hourly rate is nearly $5 more than the state's minimum of $12.56, and just over $10 more than the federal minimum of $7.25.

What they're saying: "For the majority of independent restaurants, if not all, this makes zero sense," Juan Padro, founder of the Culinary Creative Group, told BusinessDen.

Share this story

4. Nuggets: The latest headlines to know

 Democratic state Sen. Pete Lee, right. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post
Democratic state Sen. Pete Lee, right. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

👀 Indicted state Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) acknowledged on a recording that he knowingly gave false information about his residence while voting. The Democratic Senate president and the attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party knew about the issue. (9News)

Colorado regulators approved a 34-square-mile oil and gas drilling project on a cattle ranch near Roggen in Weld County submitted by Houston-based Occidental Petroleum. (Denver Business Journal)

💰 Colorado political donors pumped at least $363,000 into embattled U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney's re-election campaign in Wyoming — more than double the total to her opponent backed by former President Trump. (Colorado Sun)

👋 9News anchor Gary Shapiro announced yesterday that he would retire in December, after four decades on the air. He has led the station's morning show since 1989. (9News)

A new career is waiting for you

💼 Check out who’s hiring now.

  1. Investment Advisor at Flock Homes.
  2. Financial Wealth Management Analyst at AMG National Trust.
  3. Accounts Receivable Specialist at All Copy Products.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. 1 chart to go

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Colorado's inflation rate dipped ever so slightly in July — a small but welcome reprieve.

By the numbers: The 12-month inflation rate dipped to 8.2%, down from 8.3% in May, according to numbers published Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Yes, but: Prices in the state rose 1.7% for the two months ending in July, driven largely by increasing energy costs (up 9%) and food (up 3.2%), regional commissioner Michael Hirniak noted.

What they're saying: Chris Brown, an economist at the conservative-leaning, business-funded Common Sense Institute in Colorado, says that costs still outpace earnings.

  • In July, he said the average household spent $821 more because of inflation.

Our picks:

🎵 John is buying tickets to this music festival in Lyons, featuring favorite North Carolina band Watchhouse.

🍺 Alayna is relaxing on vacation, we hope.

🧘🏽‍♂️ Esteban is taking suggestions for beginner yoga classes.

🍾 Congratulations to our contest winner! Lots of you correctly guessed the Le Méridien hotel in downtown Denver as the home of a champagne vending machine.