Yes, Colorado has fireflies, but also look at these glowing scorpions

I’ve got two pieces of good news: First, there are indeed fireflies in Colorado. Second, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is gearing up for an entire exhibit centered around magic bioluminescence.

Asian forest scorpions illuminated by a blacklight at the Butterfly Pavilion, Feb. 13, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) science; animals; scorpions; butterfly pavilion; westminster; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Asian forest scorpions illuminated by a blacklight at the Butterfly Pavilion, Feb. 13, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

For those of us who grew up in more humid regions to the east, the memory of summer night skies filled with fireflies is tied to a deep sense of nostalgia. People who remember that fondly — like me — like to lament, from time to time, that we don’t see that magic glow in the arid west.

If this describes you, I’ve got two pieces of good news: First, there are indeed fireflies in Colorado. Second, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is gearing up for an entire exhibit centered around bioluminescence.


Denver “Black Panther” fans arrived fired up and dressed up for a screening hosted by SuCh

Fans at Alamo Drafthouse celebrated that the film represented blackness in a space where people of color have often felt left out.

Black Panther actress Janeshia Adams-Ginyard speaks with Denver musician SuCh at an opening for the movie at Alamo Draft House Cinema on West Colfax, Feb. 16, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) movie theater; alamo draft house cinema; black panther; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
“Black Panther” actress Janeshia Adams-Ginyard speaks with Denver musician SuCh at an opening for the movie at Alamo Draft House Cinema on West Colfax, Feb. 16, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

“Black Panther,” the new superhero movie that’s the first to feature a predominantly black cast, has already broken records at the box office. Its wide theatrical release on Thursday night put it at second place for a Marvel Universe opening weekend.

Beyond America’s normal frenzy for superpowered stories, the film has been celebrated for representing blackness in a space where fans of color have often felt left out. This was made clear before a special screening at Alamo Drafthouse in the West Colfax neighborhood where moviegoers showed up excited and dressed to the nines or in costume.


Denver hangs giant sign in support of immigrants as national debate languishes

The City and County Building got some new signage Thursday morning: a massive blue banner that reads, “DENVER ♥️IMMIGRANTS.”

A giant blue banner was hung on the City and County Building on Feb. 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) immigration; city and county building; copolitics; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
A large banner was hung on the City and County Building on Feb. 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The City and County Building got some new signage Thursday morning: a massive blue banner that reads, “DENVER ♥️IMMIGRANTS.”


DACA fight overshadows status battle for Denver’s Salvadorans as Washington heads into immigration debates

Jorge Velasquez already had a lot on his mind when he learned his legal status would be terminated.

Jorge Velasquez holds his sons Christopher and Kevin during a rally for Eliseo Jurado Fernandez, who was detained by federal immigration officials at this facility in Aurora, Jan. 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; immigration; aurora; geo; detention; protest;
Jorge Velasquez holds his sons Christopher and Kevin during a rally for Eliseo Jurado Fernandez, who was detained by federal immigration officials, Jan. 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Jorge Velasquez already had a lot on his mind when he learned his legal status would be terminated. On top of having three kids to raise and the rising rent for his south Denver apartment, his wife, Araceli, had been living in sanctuary for months to avoid deportation.

The immigrant from El Salvador has been in the U.S. for over 20 years. Since 2001, Velasquez has lived and worked here legally under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a case-by-case relief program that’s usually invoked to help migrants fleeing natural disasters. It was enacted for Salvadorans by the Bush administration after a massive earthquake.

Last year, the Trump administration announced it would terminate the program. Velasquez is now faced with the possibility that he’ll be forced to leave the country, or else live a shadowy existence in the U.S. without documentation.

“I don’t even want to think about going back to El Salvador yet,” Velasquez told Denverite through a translator. With raging gang violence and little economic opportunity back home, he said, it’s simply not an option for him or his kids. Until his legal status is revoked in September of 2019, Velasquez says he and immigration activists have time to lobby congress for a path to citizenship. But higher-profile immigration fights have so far overshadowed efforts to protect TPS holders.


In just 20 years, the Amercian elm all but disappeared from Denver

You asked, we investigated. There once may have been as many as 200,000 American elms in Denver. Today, there are just about 3,000 left.

An article written in the Denver Post on April 20, 1969`. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection)
An article written in the Denver Post on April 20, 1969`. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection)

When you write in with a question, no matter how obscure or relevant, we do our best to answer in the fullest.

A few weeks ago, reader Steven Grupe wanted to know: “Why have American elm trees survived in Denver even as they were decimated in many parts of the U.S. by Dutch elm disease?”

Sadly, Steven, we were not spared.