Denver news in 5 minutes: What you need to know today, Dec. 27

G Line testing, the dangerous conditions of our roads, short-term rental regulations, the slanderous meaning of “Californian” in Colorado politics and more.

Holiday flamingos in Capitol Hill, Dec. 22, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

christmas; yard art; kevinjbeaty; capitol hill; denver; denverite; colorado;
Holiday flamingos in Capitol Hill, Dec. 22, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) christmas; yard art; kevinjbeaty; capitol hill; denver; denverite; colorado;
Holiday flamingos in Capitol Hill, Dec. 22, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

It’s another day full of news. We’ve got stories about G Line testing and the dangerous conditions of our roads, the results of an audit of the city’s short-term rental regulations, the slanderous meaning of “Californian” in Colorado politics and lots more.

Read on.

Transportation

A judge ruled that testing on the RTD’s G Line to Wheat Ridge and Arvada can resume, but it will be months before the line might possibly open. RTD will still need to use flaggers at at-grade crossings, but this means the agency doesn’t have to wait for all the A Line issues to be resolved before moving forward. Neil Westergaard reports. (DBJ)

David Sachs looks at how Seattle has managed to add people without adding nearly as much traffic as Denver has. That city has managed to get a lot more people to not drive alone. (Streetsblog)

As of Tuesday, 615 people have died on Colorado’s roadways in 2017. That number is higher than in all of 2016, and that year’s traffic fatalities were the highest in a decade. This isn’t a good trend. Jesse Paul and Tom McGhee report. (DP)

In response, Republican AG candidate George Brauchler said the state needs to crack down on seatbelt violations. Joey Bunch has that one. (Colorado Politics)

The Georgetown Loop Railroad tipped over while it was carrying passengers. There don’t appear to be any serious injuries, fortunately, but it brings to mind the Tiny Town train derailment from a few years back. You want to think these things are safe. (31)

Democracy

It started more than a year ago, really, with the election of President Donald Trump. Since then, Denverites have taken to the streets (and to the airport) over and over again. Kevin Beaty’s been there all along the way, and we’ve rounded up his best photos and GIFs. (Denverite)

Coffee

We’re on the round of 16 in our Mile High Coffee Quest. Get sipping and get voting. (Denverite)

Culture

Ray Rinaldi asks an important and potentially offensive question: Is Denver finally getting interesting? Some might argue that Denver was far more interesting in the past, when it had fewer chains and more quirky local institutions. Rinaldi sees an openness, tolerance and experimentation in all the new stuff going on in Denver, whether it’s a gay bar just for the older set, a co-working space that caters to women or art happening in neighborhood garages. Go read it and see what you think. (DP)

Neil Westergaard asks another important question: Is now the right time for Denver to explore an Olympic bid? Probably not, he concludes. He ponders why, in a city that has a history of rejecting the Olympics and in a time when many people are willing to say a resounding “no thanks” to the economy-boosting opportunities of Amazon’s HQ2, exploring an Olympic bid would seem like a good idea. And he asks whether the committee doing this exploring is primed to say “yes” when the people want to say “no.” (DBJ)

If you say so …

The owner of a shuttered Longmont sugar mill that has twice caught fire thinks the culprits might be practicing terrorism or perhaps be inspired by the new Star Wars movie. Mitchell Byars has this surprising story. (Camera)

There’s a notice of application for non-historic designation posted at the Cherry Cricket, but its owners swear they have no intention of trying to demolish the building. Marshall Zelinger reports. (9)

The libertarian-leaning Independence Institute has nominated five Coloradans as “Californians of the Year.” They include the Democratic frontrunner for governor and a Republican lawmaker from the eastern plains. Executive Director Jon Caldara says he thinks people know what “Californian” means. (Denverite)

Economy

A $74 million investment by Boulder County taxpayers in protecting open space and natural areas won’t stop those areas from being exploited for their oil and gas. Jerd Smith reports. (Camera)

Denver doesn’t know if short-term rentals hurt neighborhoods and affordable housing, Auditor Tim O’Brien said. Those were major concerns when Denver City Council voted to regulate Airbnb and the like, but in an audit, O’Brien found the city isn’t really monitoring those issues and it isn’t clear whose job it is to do so. Adrian has this one. (Denverite)

Education

Activists are worried DPS is overstating students’ literacy, so parents will get individual progress reports next month. Melanie Asmar reports. (Chalkbeat)

Animals

Larimer County animal control officers rescued more than 80 tame rats that had been left in two natural areas in Fort Collins. The rats reportedly were very friendly and ran up to passersby, with one even running up a person’s leg. They will be made available for adoption. Julia Rentsch reports. (RH)

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.