Conversations We Can’t Forget From 2016 On Colorado Matters

December 21, 2016

We combed through a year's worth of interviews and reports in Colorado Matters, and also looked for the stories you told us via email, social media and phone that you found most memorable. Here's our list, along with a fresh opportunity to listen all over again.

Denver Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber On 'Finding God In All The Wrong People'

Photo: Denver Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber_FEATURE
Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber founded the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver.
Audio: Nadia Bolz-Weber speaks with Ryan Warner

She’s covered in tattoos, swears like a sailor and considers herself a misanthrope. Not the characteristics often associated with a pastor, but Nadia Bolz-Weber is one -- she founded The House for All Sinners and Saints, a Lutheran church in Denver. Bolz-Webber is also a former stand-up comedian and by her own accounts once had a drinking problem. And she’s a New York Times best-selling author for her memoir "Pastrix." Listen to her talk about her life and her latest book, "Accidental Saints: Finding God in all the Wrong People."

How Holocaust Survivor Walter Plywaski Found His Way From Auschwitz To Boulder

Photo: Walter Plywaski 1 (MDY)
Walter Plywaski at home in Boulder.
Audio: Walter Plywaski Speaks With Ryan Warner

In the winter of 1939, Walter Plywaski watched armed men wearing swastikas come into his family's pharmacy, threaten his father and give the family half an hour to leave forever. His family wound up in the Lodz Ghetto in German-occupied Poland, and then Auschwitz, where Plywaski, now 86, lost his mother to the gas chambers. Later, at another camp, Plywaski watched as his father was beaten to death by a Nazi commander. Plywaski survived and now lives in Boulder. Listen to him talk about  his life before, during and after the Holocaust, including how he received Poland's highest honor.

‘Humans Of The Colorado Trail’ Chronicler David Fanning

Photo: Hikers Humans of the Colorado Trail montage
In 2015 David Fanning, of Fort Collins, hiked the Colorado Trail and met more than 100 people, including, clockwise from top left, Ava and Perrin, a hiker known as "Blackhawk," and Cesar.
Audio: David Fanning speaks with Ryan Warner

Take a nearly 500-mile walk from Durango to metro Denver and you will meet a lot of interesting characters. That's what David Fanning discovered last summer when he trekked the Colorado Trail. Ava and Perrin are sisters who took to licking the inside of their peanut butter bag to get sustenance on the trail. A hiker known as "Blackhawk" from Dallas spent just one night outdoors as a kid. Cesar, a paramedic from Denver, thought about spirituality out on the trail. Fanning collected about 100 stories like this on his blog, and is now working on a book. He told us he’s inspired by the popular "Humans of New York" blog.

A Police Encounter Over A 911 Gun Call Ends In More Than Black And White

Photo: Jo Ann's Golf Clubs 1
News host Jo Ann Allen and Arapahoe County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Finley in the CPR studios on Oct. 13, 2016
Audio: A White Deputy And A Black Civilian Talk About Their Encounter

When an Arapahoe County sheriff's deputy stopped an African-American citizen on Sept. 20 in the Denver Tech Center it didn't make the news, but it’s still noteworthy. The encounter began with a 911 call from a woman who said she saw a  “black man, black in dress, carrying a -- I assume -- a rifle.” Deputy Tom Finley just happened to be near the sighting and saw the person -- who wasn't a man, but rather a woman: our colleague, Jo Ann Allen. The object in question also wasn't a rifle, but golf clubs rising from a portable carrying case. We brought the two of them together to talk about what happened next, and what they learned from the encounter.

Fear And Loathing In Woody Creek: Growing Up With Hunter S. Thompson

Juan Thompson and Hunter S. Thompson
Six-year-old Juan Thompson with Hunter S. Thompson in the kitchen at Owl Farm, circa 1971.
Audio: Juan Thompson speaks with Ryan Warner

What was it like to live down the road from Aspen, in Woody Creek, and have author Hunter S. Thompson as a father? Juan Thompson says it’s the question he’s most often asked. To fans, Hunter Thompson was a groundbreaking writer, the celebrated pioneer of “gonzo” journalism. To his son, he was a remote figure, an addict with a mean streak. But the love between father and son was always there, even when it wasn’t obvious. Juan Thompson talks about this and his new memoir about his father and their complicated relationship.

Colorado’s Lumineers On Fame, Grief & How The Band Got Its Name

Photo: The Lumineers press shot 2016
The Lumineers
Audio: The Lumineers Talk Their New Album ‘Cleopatra’ With OpenAir

The Lumineers hit it big in 2012 with songs like "Ho Hey" and "Stubborn Love." The Denver band's self-titled debut album went Platinum Plus and the trio was nominated for two Grammy awards. Now they’ve released their sophomore album, "Cleopatra." Songs such as "Ophelia" are meditations on the band's fast rise to fame and what comes next. Other tracks from the new album like "Gun Song" and "Long Way From Home" tap into a deeply personal side of frontman Wesley Schultz. He and percussionist Jeremiah Fraites talk about the band.

The Last Tour Of The American Eagles Mine

PHOTO: American Eagles Mine Hauler
This haul truck has a capacity for hundreds of tons of material. It stands two stories tall.
Audio: Nathan Heffel Goes On The Final Tour Of The American Eagles Mine

Gold was pulled from American Eagles mine in Victor from the time it opened in the late 1800s until 1940. Then, in 1995, the highest mine in the area at 10,750 feet was transformed into American Eagles Overlook and Historic Mine, a popular tourist destination. But the final public tour of the mine took place on May 21. Dozens of locals and tourists took the trip organized by the Newmont, Cripple Creek and Victor mining company and the Southern Teller County Focus Group, a non-profit focused on area history.  We went along and filed this report.

Here's What Happens To Leftover Hot Dogs When The Rockies Leave Town

Photo: We Don't Waste Morgan Gengenbach Coors Field food waste
We Don't Waste's Morgan Gengenbach loading pans of food from Coors Field.
Audio: Arlan Preblud Speaks With Andrea Dukakis

The Rockies started the second half of the season after MLB’s All-Star break. That gave fans another three months to eat all the hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack they wanted at Coors Field. But not all the food prepared for home games gets purchased and eaten. This year, for the first time, Coors Field's food vendor is working with a nonprofit called We Don’t Waste to put the leftover food to use instead of throwing it out. "It’s perfectly edible, good food," said the nonprofit's director of operations, Tim Sanford.

Folksinger Gregory Alan Isakov Connects His Boulder County Farm And His Music

Audio: Gregory Alan Isakov Welcomes Ryan Warner Onto His Farm

Folksinger Gregory Alan Isakov's music is often intimate, almost like a whisper. But it takes on a much bigger sound on his new album, when he's backed by the Colorado Symphony for an 11-track release of rearranged favorites and one previously unrecorded track. The album is called "Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony.” Isakov’s Boulder County farm has always loomed large in his art. Agriculture brought him to Colorado and when he's not on the road the farm is his refuge. His music studio is also there and it's where he mixed his new album. The singer-songwriter gave us a walking tour of his land.

Disabled Vet 'DT' Del Toro, A Champion Shot-Putter, Aims For Rio Paralympics

Photo: Del Toro Shot Put
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro throws a shotput during the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Fla. May 10, 2016.
Audio: Master Sgt. Israel ‘DT’ Del Toro Jr. speaks with Andrea Dukakis

Master Sgt. Israel "DT" Del Toro Jr. was severely burned and wounded during an explosion in Afghanistan 11 years ago. The doctors gave him little chance to live. Now he's a gold medal shot-putter and the first 100 percent disabled airman to reenlist in the U.S. Air Force. He lives in Colorado Springs where he trains at the Olympic Training Center and hopes to make the team that's headed to Rio de Janeiro for the paralympics this summer. "Sports is a great recovery tool for any person that is going through something like I did,” Del Toro told us. “Being able to do sports and know that you can still be outside enjoying life is a very comforting thing.”

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