It was the year when news never stopped — and it felt like one day bled right into the next. Whether you worked in news, lived the news or checked it every day (and maybe took a few breaks here and there) it was an unprecedented time that we all experienced. Here are the 2020 photos that feel most memorable from CPR News and Denverite photographers and reporters.
We traveled the state
listening to the voices of voters, followed the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Denver's Marade, investigated why Colorado has such a high rate of police officers shooting people, and watched the opening of t he 2020 legislative session. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News George Williams of Denver rides his horse Hollywood in the 2020 Marade marking the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Denver. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Voter voices in Monte Vista: At the Southern Rocky Mountain Ag Conference with Albert Claunch, who farms and runs livestock in the San Luis Valley. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Voter voices in Pueblo: At the Squawk coffee shop in Pueblo with owners Victor Levi, left, and Dave Swinston. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Voter voices in Craig: Moffat County Commissioners Don Cook, at left, and Tay Beck. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Bernadette Romero holds a photo of her late son Ronnie, 22, a suspected burglar, methamphetamine user and mail thief who was followed by Westminster police as he drove a stolen jeep from a burglary in 2018. Officers say Romero eventually turned the Jeep towards a motorcycle cop, who told investigators he feared for his life and fired into the car, hitting Romero in the back of the head. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite A man yawns in a bow tie during the first day of the 2020 legislative session at the Colorado State Capitol in January.
The first stories about the spread of coronavirus began to emerge, and
DIA officials said they were prepared to monitor travelers. We illuminated the plight of the homeless in Denver's suburbs, covered presidential candidate rallies, and President Trump in Colorado Springs, and followed a Coloradan over the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Denver International Airport, Feb. 27, as DIA officials first began to take notice of the pandemic. Sue Sanders inside her car, where she sleeps at night in a Centennial Walmart parking lot. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought her campaign for president to Denver's Fillmore Auditorium. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg stopped for a rally at the Crowne Plaza hotel near Denver International Airport. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News President Donald Trump campaigns in Colorado Springs, here mocking Democrat Amy Klobuchar for what he said was "choking" during a Democratic candidate debate. Vasha Hunt/For CPR News Sheldon Steinhauser walks the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge with an Anti-Defamation League tour group from Denver, in Selma, Ala. Steinhauser participated in the final leg of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights march, but had never visited the famous bridge where the march began following the earlier Bloody Sunday conflict of March 7, 1965. This was his first time walking the famous bridge.
The coronavirus pandemic reaches Colorado in earnest as the governor declared a state of emergency, ordered schools and ski areas closed, issued stay-at-home orders, asked everyone to mask up, wash their hands, social distance and join together to "flatten the curve." Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Gov. Jared Polis declares a state of emergency to deal with the spread of coronavirus on March 10. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News University of Colorado pulmonologist Dr. Marc Moss speaks to reporters about the the state’s progress in halting the spread of coronavirus. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Denise Donnelly sorts through boxes during a donation drive for personal protective equipment for healthcare workers at a warehouse at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A non-existent morning rush hour on Colfax, viewed from Federal Boulevard. The morning after Gov. Jared Polis advised people to stay home. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Vi O’Connor, the co-owner with her husband Don, of Any And All Bikes on Broadway in Englewood, helps customers on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The store remains open during the statewide stay at home order issued by Gov. Jared Polis. Under the initial order, bike shops had to close, but the order was amended March 26. Customers lined up outside the LivWell cannabis dispensary on South Broadway in Denver on March 23 after Mayor Michael Hancock ordered liquor stores and recreational pot shops to be closed by 5 p.m. Tuesday to combat coronavirus. He later walked that order back. Chris Neal/Shooter Imaging/For CPR News A sight typical of the ones many Coloradans began to see across the state: Medical personnel speak with people waiting in line to get tested for the coronavirus at a drive through testing facility at the La Plata County fairgrounds in Durango.
The state began to adjust to a
regimen of closed businesses and restaurants, emergency shelters, working from home, and wearing masks. In Denver, courting controversy, the city continued with its policy of homeless encampment sweeps despite the pandemic. And there were bright spots: a Western Slope pandemic drive-in movie, and the Lumineers helped launch Colorado Public Radio's Back From Broken podcast. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A man who gave his name as Robert listens as a city worker in a face mask as authorities descended on several square blocks near Champa and 22nd streets on April 30, 2020, to clear out a tent city. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Tom and May Johnston embrace in their Mineral Adit Rock Shop in Colorado Springs, on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. They’re not sure when they’ll reopen once the coronavirus lockdown ends for non-essential businesses. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A sign of the times: “The Player” statue outside Coors Field sports a face mask. Denver’s home of the Colorado Rockies lies dormant with Major League Baseball’s 2020 season currently shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Gov. Jared Polis leaves heads to his executive offices after briefing the news media Monday, April 27, 2020, on the state’s ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News/Pool The City of Denver opened a 300-bed women's auxiliary shelter April 20, with plans to run it in the same way as a similar men's shelter at the National Western Complex. Anyone seeking shelter there will be screened for coronavirus symptoms before entering. Once inside they'll have access to cots, portable showers, medical triage and other amenities. Stina Sieg/CPR News April Hunger and her son, AJ, drove down from Grand Junction for opening night at the Tru Vu in Delta. AJ, 7, had been wanting to see “Sonic the Hedgehog” since long before the pandemic shut down all the movie theaters in the state. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Back From Broken podcast host Vic Vela interviewed the founding members of the Lumineers, Jonathan Fraites and Wesley Schultz, at Denver’s Clocktower Cabaret. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A car speeds westward in rural Adams County as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains.
May was a brief respite.
We started to meet COVID-19 survivors, businesses were allowed to reopen with strict capacity limits, some folks ventured out to deal with their pandemic hair, others wondered if it was safe to date. High schools found innovative ways to stage graduation. Then, George Floyd was killed with a knee on his neck by a Minneapolis police officer and protests erupted. In Colorado, Denver was the epicenter of those protests, which eventually ran on for weeks. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Jason Jahanian and his wife Michelle watch as their kids Kestin, 8, at left, and Bryson, 4, play in the front yard of their Lone Tree home on Monday, May 11, 2020. Jason is a COVID-19 survivor. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News . Capitol Hill Books owner Holly Brooks in her reopened store on Colfax Avenue across the street from the Capitol. May 20, 2020. Brooks said she was relieved to be open again after being forced to close during the coronavirus outbreak. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Jacques Gonsoulin rollerskating alone in Denver on Friday, May 15, 2020. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Back to normal, or close to it, means different things for different people as business and social restrictions ease during the coronavirus outbreak. Dr. Michelle Barron, a CU Anschutz infectious disease expert, couldn’t wait to get back in the chair at hair stylist David MacDonald’s salon in Denver on May 22, 2020, Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Denver’s East High School held a drive-thru graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 on The Esplanade in front of the school on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Like schools across across the state, East was forced to move all classes online for the balance of the academic year after being ordered to close by the state to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Denver protesters observe a moment of silence over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Protesters chant on the west lawn of the state Capitolrotesters over the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer entered a third day Saturday, May 30, 2020. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Denver protests over the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer entered a third day Saturday, May 30, 2020. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Officers in gas masks move up 15th Street in front of the Colorado Supreme Court in a cloud of tear gas on May 29. Daytime protests over the killing of George Floyd were loud and emotional during the day, but as night fell, there were confrontations with police and street violence. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite Aubrey Rose, an 18-year U.S. Army veteran, marches with an upside-down American flag over his shoulder.
As the protests moved into June in Denver, they felt less violent;
Denver's police chief even joined a march. Protesters also brought new names to the fore: Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, and Elijah McClain, who was killed by police in Aurora. By the end of the month, we witnessed the vote count on Primary Election Night. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen marches and speaks with demonstrators June 1 as they peacefully protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Protesters gather peacefully on Lincoln Street in front of the state Capitol on June 3. At about 10 p.m. — an hour past curfew — they held phones aloft as lights and stayed silent for nine minutes in honor of George Floyd. Police blocked off the roads around the Capitol to give the demonstrators room but otherwise held their distance. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Urged on by the music of Denver-based Brothers of Brass, one march felt more like a celebration on the way to Cheesman Park on June 5, 2020. Ryan Warner/CPR News Tommy Rhine has been repairing shoes in downtown Denver for more than 40 years at his shop, Rhine's Shoe & Boot Repair. He learned how to cobble in high school. Tommy Rhine Jr., Rhine’s oldest son, put a sign in the window that says ‘Black Owned Business,’ when the downtown protests began in May. The idea was to promote support for the business and to deter people from destroying his store. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A prayer vigil and march against racism and police brutality, organized by the Episcopal Church of Colorado, started at Denver’s St. John’s Cathedral, and stopped for moments of silence at the state Capitol and District 6 police station. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite Violinists play in front of the Aurora municipal building during a day of protests demanding justice for Elijah McClain. June 27. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Election Judge Dianne Veach sorting and securing mail-in ballot envelopes at Denver Elections Division headquarters on Primary night, June 30. In the marquee race, former Gov. John Hickenlooper won the Democratic nomination to face Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in the fall.
As the pandemic raged on, we looked for the human impact, and lighter moments:
high school sports practices, the opening of the Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, life in out-of-the-way Marble, the 4-H kids in Mesa County, clean air protests in Weld County and artist openings in Denver. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite East High School's football team ran pre-season drills on their field in July. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A visitor looks out on the main atrium, beneath a video wall, of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, ahead of the museum’s ribbon cutting and opening on Thursday. Stina Sieg/CPR News Paul Harris Jr. is better known as Lead King Paul, as he splits his time between Marble and Lead King Basin, where he looks after an old miner’s cabin. He loves it here, he says, and won’t ever leave. Stina Sieg/CPR News This is the second year 12-year-old Danielle Long has shown lambs, and she says she gets “really attached” to them. With school out due to the coronavirus, she and Rocco have spent a lot of time together. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Clean air activist Patricia Nelson stands beside state health department air quality monitoring equipment in the parking lot of Bella Romero Academy in Greeley, with an Extraction Oil and Gas facility behind her. She's among those trying to shut down the well pad because of a benzene spike. Beating the heat in Denver’s Confluence Park on Monday, July 6, 2020. Triple-digit temperatures are possible this week. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite Artist Jasmine Abena Colgan’s new show “Human Currency" was at Leon Gallery in Denver, which had just reopened for the first time since the pandemic began. "Each piece addresses a contemporary issue that signifies deep rooted historical practices of slavery, racism, fertility, womanhood, birth, and wealth," she says in her artist statement. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A precursor to a busy fall wildfire season: Helicopters pull water from Evergreen Lake and drop it on the Elephant Butte Fire in nearby Upper Bear Creek.
Platinum Divaz showed us how black girls can be mentors and leaders, we saw the Grizzly Creek Fire and its aftermath in Glenwood Canyon, and met some of the firefighters. Colorado Republicans gathered to see President Donald Trump nominated to run for a second term. And we spent some time in Palisade and Steamboat Springs while running between assignments. Kevin Mohatt/For CPR News Members of the Platinum Divaz dance group, Desire Gee, 14 (left), Taliyah Griffin, 14, and Sanyi Williams, 12 practice their routine at their studio in Aurora. Laurel Smith/For CPR News A fire fighting plane visible from Glenwood Springs drops flame retardant on the Grizzly Creek Fire Aug. 12. Laurel Janeen Smith for CPR News With the absence of a common dining area, a Grizzly Creek firefighter eats breakfast back at his tent at a strike camp in Carbondale. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A mountainside burnout intentionally set and managed above Bair Ranch on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. The burnout, helicopter water drops, a firebreak cut running down from the ridge above, and prevailing winds, combine to deprive the Grizzly Creek fire’s potential run down this valley to Bair Ranch. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A helicopter delivers supplies and equipment to utility crews working on power lines damaged by the Grizzly Creek fire in Glenwood Canyon on Aug. 21. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Garfield County Commissioner John Martin leads fellow county Republicans in the Pledge of Allegiance Aug. 20 at Order Up in Rifle, during the party’s monthly meeting. GOP businesswoman Lauren Boebert spoke to the group as she campaigned for Congress. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Republican National Committee delegates from Colorado, who were not able to travel to President Donald Trump’s convention acceptance speech, gathered Thursday evening Aug. 27, 2020, for a watch party in Windsor. Stephen Barlock, a Trump campaign Denver co-chair, cheers as the president speaks. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A wagon ride under smokey skies at Clark Family Orchards in Palisade. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News The morning hatch is on as Tim Hirt nets his catch on Aug. 19 on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs.
The public health mandates to curtail the spread of the coronavirus drew
angry Republicans to a rally at Bandimere Speedway, officers of color spoke about the challenge of policing during the racial reckoning, armored pro-Trump demonstrators appeared on Denver streets, opponents of a proposed abortion ban spoke out, we met some COVID long-haul survivors and the mountains turn gold. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News At Bandimere Speedway in Morrison a “COVID Chaos” protest against emergency public health rules issued by Gov. Jared Polis to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, doubled as a kind of rally for President Donald Trump’s re-election. At the rally’s end, everyone was invited onto the race track for an official group photo. Allison Sherry/CPR News Denver Police Sgt. Carla Havard has been with the Denver Police Department since the 1990s. She's trying to change the culture of policing from the inside. "Law enforcement in general, historically, has not treated brown and Black communities fairly," she said. "We know that." Pro-Trump counter-protesters in Denver. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Christina and Roy Taylor play with their three children in West Meadows Park in Littleton. She was 20-weeks pregnant with her third child in May 2017 when an ultrasound revealed her fetus baby had no kidneys and no bladder. She and her husband decided to get an abortion at 21 weeks and one day - a procedure that would have been banned had a ballot measure passed in November. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Malea Anderson at her home in Erie. She's a COVID "long hauler," some who suffers all kinds of symptoms for months after initially being infected: fatigue, brain fog, exhaustion, headaches, vertigo, shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle aches. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Autumn air turns the aspens gold in West Chicago Creek outside of Idaho Springs on Sept. 28
JBS meatpacking came under fire for how it handled workers who got sick during the pandemic. The East Troublesome and Cameron Peak wildfires blew up and evacuations were ordered.
We profiled one of the first classrooms to go back to in-person learning during the pandemic. And, we published a year-long photo project on oh, what an extraordinary time to become an American citizen. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Beatriz Rangel in Greeley on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Her father Saul Sanchez, who worked at the JBS meatpacking plant for three decades, died from COVID-19 in April this year. She holds a photo memento of him at her office. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News The East Troublesome fire burns just a few miles from Granby in the early hours of Thursday morning, Oct. 22, 2020. The blaze grew to about 30,000 acres on Wednesday, burning all the way to Grand Lake, which has been evacuated. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Volunteers unload donated food at the Grand County Emergency Operations information center set up inside the Inn at Silvercreek in Granby Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite Mandatory evacuations are underway in Estes Park as the Cameron Peak fire and the East Troublesome fire threaten the area. Oct. 22, 2020 Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite At 2:15 p.m. in the afternoon, it's dark as night — and traffic is at a standstill — as people evacuate Estes Park. Much of the town is under mandatory evacuation orders from the nearby Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires. Oct. 22, 2020. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Chris and Adrienne Stine own Bighorn Bagels in Grand Lake and said they had about 15 minutes to evacuate last Wednesday night ahead of the East Troublesome fire. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, they were busy throwing away almost all their food inventory after their store was without power for almost a week. Jenny Brundin/CPR News This is from a continuing series on one of the first classrooms to go back to in-person learning – Renea Sutton’s Level 3 classroom, Room 132, at Josephine Hodgkins Leadership Academy in Westminster Public Schools. Here, the kids from Room 132 eats lunch on the grass separate from other classrooms. Corndogs and chicken wings are a big favorite. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News James Kiboi took the Oath of Allegiance at History Colorado. For more than a year, we photographed new Americans as they take the Oath of Allegiance, and they shared their stories of what it is like to become citizens now. James was one of the first people we we met, a year ago in October. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Hitching the horses outside a beer-and-pizza joint in Crested Butte on Oct. 24.
Coloradans joined the rest of the nation in
voting early, by mail, by drop off, and in-person, during the pandemic. It culminated on an Election Day like none other. Here, the certified results showed Joe Biden beating President Trump, John Hickenlooper beating incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, and newcomer Republican Lauren Boebert winning the 3rd Congressional District. Later in the month, we visited a COVID-19 hospital ward and also learned how the virus disproportionately affects people of color, Hispanics and Native American communities. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Sorting mail-in and drop-off ballots at Denver Elections Division headquarters on Monday. Nov. 2, the day before Election Day. Workers wear buttons denoting their party affiliation. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Joan Lopez, Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder, sports a patriotic hat on Tuesday morning, Election Day, Nov. 23, 2020, at the CentrePoint Plaza polling station in Aurora. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Matt Gnojek arrives to thank polling station workers at the Arapahoe County Administration building in Littleton on Election Day. On Monday, police ordered two men, one of whom was armed with a gun and carrying a video camera, away from the building. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Bryan Johnson on his motorcycle and sidecar carrying his dogs Lucy and Beau (obscured) with supporters of President Donald Trump who rallied in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, the same day former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential race, denying Trump a second term. The rally had been planned earlier in the week. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News On Nov. 7, after leading news organizations began to declare Democrat Joe Biden the winner of the presidential race, Biden supporters drove past Trump supporters in downtown Colorado Springs. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite Gov. Jared Polis watches as Denver Mayor Michael Hancock provides an update on coronavirus in Colorado on Nov. 17. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Anna Hoppe is an RN at Denver's Rose Medical Center COVID-19 intensive care unit. She’s peering through a glass wall on Nov. 13 to check on a patient’s blood pressure, a move that allows her to avoid having to put on personal protective gear and enter the the room. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite Loreen Wilson holds her daughter, Lilly, as nurse practitioner Karen Hoffman swabs her nose for a COVID-19 rapid test outside Denver Indian Health and Family Services in Sun Valley on Nov. 24. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Andrea Hull, left, and her son Ashton reflected in the doorway of their Northglenn home on Nov. 25, 2020. Andrea lost her restaurant job months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic, and she and her son, who must avoid infection because of chronic pre-existing health issues, rarely leave the safe confines of their home.
The governor called
a special legislative session to pass COVID-19 relief measures, Colorado supplied the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, we looked for signs of the holiday spirit during a pandemic, and at last — the first COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Colorado. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Republican state House members confer during the second day of a special legislative session to address a COVID-19 relief package. Lawmakers were called back to a special session by Gov. Polis to work on a package of COIVID-19 relief bills. Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Caitlyn Kim/CPR News The Capitol Christmas Tree being moved into place on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News A cyclist passes by holiday lights off Platte Street in Denver on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Volunteer "Queer Santa" Linda Warren, who is 77 years old, has been the leader for 22 years of The Center on Colfax’s Holigay celebration to provide LGBTQ youth in metro Denver with a festive way to mark the holidays. One highlight: a pandemic-friendly drive-thru gift pickup on Dec. 5, 2020. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Nurse April Lozano at the Fairacres Manor nursing home in Greeley wonders how soon the COVID-a9 vaccine will be distributed, on Dec. 21. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite Rep. Yadira Caraveo speaks to Antonio Jaramillo about Marshall, his almost-2-year-old, in an exam room at Peak Pediatrics in Thornton on Dec. 17. The Polis administration is under pressure to ensure the state's COVID response takes place equitably. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Pharmacy clinical manager Dr. Suzanne May holds a syringe of COVID-19 vaccine at North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton, Dec. 17. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Cardio echo technician Patty Jennings closes her eyes as nurse Kristina Williams administers her COVID-019 shot at North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton, Dec. 17. Jennings said she’s not a fan of getting injections of any kind. Hart Van Denburg/CPR News With the end of 2020 in sight, and despite the pandemic, Denver's City and County Building is lit for the holidays on Christmas Eve.