2023 in photos: Colorado and beyond

· Dec. 20, 2023, 4:00 am
2023YIP07-KIDS-NATURALIZATION2023YIP07-KIDS-NATURALIZATIONHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Some 48 kids ranging in age from 3-14 years old became U.S. citizens Thursday, July 20, 2023, during a special citizenship ceremony at the Children’s Museum of Denver. The children acmes from countries including Afghanistan, Angola, Cameroon, China, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Qatar, Syria, Thailand and Ukraine.

From the plains to the mountains and the canyons to the deserts, CPR News photographers and journalists drove across Colorado in 2023, meeting many of our 5.8 million neighbors in this big, complex piece of real estate.

We also traveled outside of the state, following the troubled Colorado River from its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park to where it meets the Gulf of California, and hearing from people seeking solutions to an impending water crisis in the southwestern U.S.

We saw a lot, and every day was different.

We tried to capture the essence of a Hall of Fame rodeo cowboy on his ranch west of Yampa. We saw the faces of terrified Denver high school students as they fled a shooting at their school; we witnessed nearly 50 kids from around the world become U.S. citizens; and we saw a man, who was living on street, being treated to a haircut. We saw President Biden in Pueblo; dodged yaks in Ridgway; watched cliff divers at Casa Bonita; and tried to catch a peak moment at an international jump rope championship in Colorado Springs.

Then there were the moments between the stories, like a spectacular sunset over the High Plains that stopped us in our tracks on the way home.

Tears, smiles, laughter, boredom, anger, frustration — we documented them all, grateful for the people who allowed us into their lives.

Here's just some of those most memorable moments. We've linked up photo captions to the stories from which they come whenever possible.


January

20230110-Colwell-CPR-Maurice-Wade-MLK-cowboy-A8C6204Photo by Andy Colwell/Special to CPR News
Denver calf roping cowboy Maurice Wade, 74, and his horse, Beer Money, in Bennett, demonstrate riding and roping during an interview with CPR News.
2023YIP01-COVID-MILESTONE-BERSHOFHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Trudy Bershof’s grave at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver. Bershof died of COVID-19 in Dec. 2020. As the pandemic reached the three-year mark, some people called for a memorial to honor Colorado’s 15,000 COVID dead.
2023YIP01-PARCHED-TUCSON-MARGOT-GARCIAHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Margot Garcia sits in her Tucson, Arizona home’s dining room. In the 1970s, years before Colorado River water arrived in Tucson via the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, the city was quickly depleting its groundwater, so Garcia and other city council members passed a tiered pricing system for city water. That means Tucson charged more for water going to homes further from and higher than the central city. The strategy ran into fierce opposition from homeowners in the more expensive neighborhoods that were affected, and from real estate developers. Garcia was recalled, but a version of the system remains in place. Jan. 2023.
2023YIP01-PARCHED-IMPERIAL-VALLEY-IRRIGATIONHart Van Denburg/CPR News
John Hawk farms about 3,000 acres of vegetables and alfalfa, all of which are irrigated solely by Colorado River water delivered to his Imperial Valley, California operation via the All American Canal. Like many growers in the Imperial Valley, he’s switching from flood irrigation to sprinklers, cutting his water use by as much as 50 percent but also greatly increasing his costs.
2023YIP02-HOMELESS-SAFE-PARKING-COMMERCE-CITYHart Van Denburg/CPR News
At a Colorado Safe Parking Initiative site in Commerce City for people living in their cars, site manager Michael Meyer handles applications, ensures visitors abide by a set of rules, and keeps the site free of litter. He and his wife also live on the site while they wait for an opening in Section 8 housing.
2023YIP01-SPECIALTY-LICENSE-PLATESMay Ortega/CPR News
Chris Hochmuth, who manages license plate inventory for Colorado’s Department of Revenue, holds various license plates in front of the Colorado State Capitol.
2303YIP01-PARCHED-DESALINATION-CARLSBADHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Clear, pure drinking water gets pumped through these pipes at Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The plant went into service in 2015 and produces 50 million gallons per day, supplying drinking water for 400,000 people, or about 10 percent of San Diego County's population. It's one approach to solve an impending water crisis in much of the southwestern United States.
20230117-POLIS-DEMOCRATS-STATE-OF-THE-STATE-LEGISLATUREHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, center, his mother Susan Polis Schutz, left, and husband Marlon Reis, right, descend the Rotunda stairs after Polis delivered his 2023 State of the State address at the Capitol.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Stephanie, who asked her last name and identity be concealed, stands outside the Jefferson County courthouse where she pursued an extreme risk protection order against an ex-partner.

February

2023YIP02-SLED-HOCKEY-ADAPTIVE-SPORTSKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Colorado Sled Hockey is the latest Centennial State team to skate to a national championship. The Colorado Avalanche's Declan Farmer drives the puck in for a goal against the Northeast Passage Wildcats at Big Bear Ice Arena in Lowry.
20230223-PEA-GREEN-WWOODYWilliam Woody/For CPR News
Members of The Great Western Heritage Show perform during the first Pea Green Saturday Night series in nearly three years at the Pea Green Community House in Pea Green, Colorado.
2023YIP03-EAST-HIGH-SCHOOL-DEBATEHart Van Denburg/CPR News
STRIVE Prep-Rise debate team members, from left: Eliud Jimenez, Ariana Nungaray-Nunez, and Juan Hernandez-Gonzalez warm up to compete at East High School.
2303YIP03-DENVER-EAST-HIGH-SCHOOOL-SHOOTINGHart Van Denburg/CPR News
An unidentified person is taken via stretcher from East High School to a waiting ambulance. Two school administrators were injured in a shooting reported at the school Wednesday morning. Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said the suspected shooter, a student, was being searched as part of a school safety plan when they began shooting. The student's body was later found outside of Bailey.
2023YIP02-CRIPPLE-CREEK-ICE-FESTDan Boyce/CPR News
Eric Lally, a 23-year-old ice carver from Upstate New York, smooths the rough edges of a cutthroat trout before moving it to a display incorporating the state animals of Colorado at the Cripple Creek Ice Fest.
2023YIP02-PARCHED-INDIAN-TRIBES-IRRIGATION-DITCHHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Irrigation ditch maintenance at the Colorado River Indian Tribes Farms south of Parker, Arizona. The scale of farming here in the desert is possible only because of Colorado River water diverted into the main canal that threads its way from north to south. Part of Parched: How might we save the Colorado River?
2023YIP02-PARCHED-BAJA-SUNSETKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A branch of the Colorado River flows through the Sonoran Institute's Laguna Grande Restoration Area, south of Mexicali in Mexico's Baja California state. The surrounding farmland and desert was once lush wetlands before the United States constructed dams north of the border. Part of Parched: How might we save the Colorado River?
2303YIP03-SANDERS-JAMES-SELFIE-SENATEHart Van Denburg/CPR News
University of Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders, right, sits for a selfie in the state Senate with CU Regent Wanda James. Sanders had breakfast with the Black Caucus before being recognized in the Senate Chambers.

March

2023YIP03-STEAMBOAT-HOWELSON-SKI-FREE-SUNDAYHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Ski Free Sundays at Howelson Hill at Steamboat, where the emphasis is on fun, family and community.
20230331-COLORADO-RIVERR-SOLUTIONS-RMNP-SNOWPACKHart Van Denburg/CPR News
A blanket of snow covers the Kawuneeche Valley, the headwaters of the Colorado River, and trees burned in the East Troublesome fire, in Rocky Mountain National Park. Snowpack in the Headwaters was 130 percent above average last winter; what that means for the over-allocated river water and the seven states that depend on it remains to be seen.
PARCHED-COLORADO-RIVER-RECLAIMED-WATER-DENVER-ZOOHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Ben Thomas uses recycled water to clean out food tubs in the rhinoceros and tapir barn at the Denver Zoo. Recycled water is used at Denver Zoo for sprinkler systems and in certain animal enclosures, as part of a plan to reduce overall water use.
2023YIP03-SUNCOR-ENVIRONMENTAL-JUSTICE-RACISMKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Commerce City resident Elizabeth Vargas tears up as she tells a crowd about her son's eczema, which she attributes to nearby heavy industry, during a "Reimagining a Safe and Healthy Future" meeting.
2023YIP03-LEGISLATURE-HOUSE-DEMOCRATS-ORTIZHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Democratic state Rep. David Ortiz casts a vote at the state Capitol. He announced later in the year that would not seek a third term in the Colorado House.

April

2023YIP04-ROBIN-FARRIS-RELEASED-FROM-PRISONHart Van Denburg/CPR News
An emotional Janelle Elrod wipes tears from her eyes as she and her mother Robin Farris, left, walk out of the Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Convicted of murdering her former lover Beatrice King in Feb. 1990, Farris was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for at least 40 years. Just before Christmas 2022, Gov. Jared Polis gave her a shot at parole about eight years early.
2023YIP04-STEAMBOAT-AVALANCHE-DOGStina Seig/CPR News
Steamboat Ski Patroller Nate Birdseye carries Mudd, an avalanche pup and Belgian Malinois/Shepard mix. Steamboat Resort added more than 600 acres of new terrain, including slopes more prone to avalanches. In anticipation of the change, it’s adding an avalanche dog program.
2023YIP04-DU-HILLEL-ANTISEMITISMHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Ellie Feinberg deep in the process of cooking a Seder for 200 at DU’s Hillel student center. A wave of hate speech on social media platforms is chipping away at a sense of safety for Jews on college campuses, and in society at large.
2023YIP04-PELOSI-GLOBAL-THERMOSTATHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laughs as she tries to adjust her hard hat during a tour of Global Thermostat in Brighton, Colorado. The company is developing direct air capture technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
20230412-WOODLAND-PARK-SCHOOL-BOARD-HEMINGSONHart Van Denburg/CPR News
A sobbing Amber Hemingson embraces Woodland Park High School math teach teacher Nate Owen, after she pleaded with the school board to not opt out of a proposed state law that would allow students over age 12 to seek talk therapy in schools without parental consent.
2023YIP04-DENVER-MAYOR-ELECTION-JOHNSTONHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Mike Johnston reaches out to embrace a supporter on election night at the Maven Hotel in downtown Denver. Johnston headed for a runoff election against Kelly Brough in the mayor’s race, which he eventually won.

May

2023YIP05-ADAMS-COUNTRY-VETERANS-MEMORIAL-USS-COLORADOKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Ken and Dorothy Jones get a private tour of Adams County's new veterans memorial. Ken served on the USS Colorado, which is recreated in part of the memorial, jutting into Mann-Nyholt Lake. Now 96 years old, Ken, Dorothy and their family traveled from their home in Arlington, Texas to see the memorial.
2023YIP05-CASA-BONITAKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Cliff divers do their thing during a press preview for Casa Bonita, the landmark Denver restaurant on West Colfax. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of “South Park,” purchased the restaurant after it shut down at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and its former owners filed for bankruptcy.
2023YIP05-DENVER-NUGGETS-DANCERS-MAYOR-HANCOCKKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Mayor Michael Hancock poses for a photo with the Denver Nuggets Dancers during an event to commemorate the team's participation in the NBA Finals. The Nuggets went on to win the NBA Championship.
2023YIP05-DU-WOMEN-LACROSSEKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
University of Denver's Trinity McPherson (21), chased by SUNY Albany’s Sarah Falk (33), during a game at DU’s Peter Barton Stadium in Denver. The No. 5-ranked Pioneers later lost its only game of the season to Northwestern during the NCAA National Semifinals.
2023YIP05-DUNGEONS-AND-DRAGONSKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
The role-playing action-adventure game Dungeons & Dragons has exploded in popularity in recent years. And Colorado is home to a player who makes her living through the world of fantasy gaming. We joined Ginny Di and her friends on a Sunday in Denver. Here she poses for a photo with Pawblo Picatso, a floral wreath and a sword.
2023YIP05-LEGISLATURE-NAOMI-PENA-CINCO-DE-MAYOKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
American Indian Academy of Denver student Emily Lam, right, at the Capitol Colorado's House of Representatives for the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
2023YIP05-OLDER-LIFEGUARDS-NORTHGLENMatt Bloom/CPR News
Craig Robinson, 69, at his lifeguard station inside the Northglenn Recreation Center. Robinson and several other retirees applied to work as guards to help fill a lifeguard shortage in the community.
2023YIP05-GATHERING-PLACE-SHELTERKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Laura Lindquist tears up as she talks about the planned closure of the old Rodeway Inn where she's been living, which has been run as a shelter by The Gathering Place since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

June

Club Q Shooting Court Appearance Plea 2023062Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A dried bouquet of flowers blows in the wind in the parking lot of Club Q in Colorado Springs. A shooter entered the club in November 2022 and opened fire, killing five people and injuring numerous others. The shooter pleaded guilty to murder and other charges related to the mass shooting.
Bikes Together bike shop in DenverHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Bikes Together is a destination for people who are new to biking to get some advice and affordable service, as well as buy used parts and bikes that have been repaired. It’s a nonprofit, and offers community programs that particularly welcome women and LGBTQ people into biking. David Stieber and daughter Joy shop for handlebars at Bikes Together.
DPS-LATINA-GRADUATIONJenny Brundin/CPR News
Rocio Flores Arechar was one of 28 women, all mothers, took part in a special graduation ceremony in June. They were the first graduating class from Denver Public Schools' community hubs.
2023YIP06-JOR’DELL-RICHARDS-PROTESTTony Gorman/CPR News
A memorial was held for Jor’Dell Da’Shawn Richardson outside the Aurora Municipal Building. Gatherers eulogized the 14 year old who was killed by police after an Aurora officer detained him and shot him in the stomach June 1. They then marched with his casket.
2023YIP06-NUGGETS-WIN-CHAMPIONSHIPHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Thousands upon thousands of Denver Nuggets fans created joyous bedlam when the team clinched the NBA championship for the first time in team history, beating the Miami Heat. Fans poured into Denver's LoDo neighborhood from dozens of nearby crowded bars, while others streamed into the city from surrounding highways to join a street party of singing, dancing, and blaring car horns.
2023YIP06-MARSHALL-FIRE-CAUSEHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Boulder County Sheriff Curtis Johnson speaks at a press conference in which authorities announced the cause of the Marshall fire that took place in Dec. 2021. Colorado’s most destructive wildfire had two separate ignition sources, one of them that began six days before it grew out of control, and the other from arcing power lines.
2023YIP06-RTD-BUS-STOP-TRASHNathaniel Minor/CPR News
A man loads his bike onto an RTD bus at a filthy stop at 1st Avenue and Lincoln Street in Denver. Erica Pike typically stood here a few times a week as part of her commute downtown. And typically, it was a mess. On a morning in May, trash overflowed from a small waste can; leftover sushi sat on the sidewalk; an umbrella sporting daisies lay broken nearby; a waylaid grocery shopping cart held its own load of refuse. So she complained. The private firm that maintains the shelter removed it and its accompanying bench and trash can — so, no more trash, but no more shelter, either.
2023YIP06-SLAY-RUNWAY-LGBTQ-FASHIONHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Scenes from Slay the Runway 2023 Boulder Public Library’s Canyon Theater. It's annual the culmination of fashion design and sewing classes for LGBTQ teenagers from Boulder and Longmont, organized by Steven Frost and MC’d by "Twirling Tech Goddess" LeeLee James.

July

2023YIP07-SILVERTON-JULY-FOURTH-PARADEHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Silverton Fire Department members hose down spectators at the town’s annual Fourth of July parade.
boulder-tube-to-worrk-day-summer-hot-weatherHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Dress shirt? Check. Commuter cup? Check. Stylin’ socks? You bet. Get to know Boulder’s annual Tube to Work Day. What started as friendly competition between friends 15 years ago has now grown into one of Boulder locals’ favorite city pastimes known as “the world's greatest traffic jam.”
2023YIP07-KIDS-NATURALIZATIONHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Some 48 kids ranging in age from 3 to 14 years old became U.S. citizens during a special citizenship ceremony at the Children’s Museum of Denver. The children came from Afghanistan, Angola, Cameroon, China, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Qatar, Syria, Thailand and Ukraine.
2023YIP07-COWO-LEFT-HANDED-VIOLINJohn Daley/CPR News
Basil Vendryes, principal viola with the Colorado Symphony, is seen here attempting to play the way he normally would not: bowing with his left hand. “I was born left-handed,” he said. “I grew up in a Catholic household where the nuns made you change over to being right-handed.” So that’s how he plays. He told us his story after Mark Berzins and his wife, Margaret, asked us via Colorado Wonders whether all Colorado Symphony stringed instrument musicians are right-handed, or if they play that way to avoid bumping into their neighbor.
2023YIP07-FAIRMNOUNT-ROSESHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Christiana Ceniceros tends to plants in the greenhouses at High Country Roses in Broomfield, July 21. The company propagates and sells roses to support the preservation of the Fairmount Cemetery, which is home to some rose varieties that can't be found anywhere else.
laughing-buddha-ranch-yaks-hacket-higdon-ridgway-20230727Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Sita, a Tibetan yak, gets a brush and a trim from Laughing Buddha Ranch co-owner Peter Hacket, right, and his son Nam, left. Peter Hacket and Ruth Higdon founded the ranch a decade ago in Ridgway, breeding the yaks for their wool, hides, meat, and for service as pack animals.
2023YIP07-FLATIRONS-JAZZ-SWIUNG-BUFFALO-ROSEHart Van Denburg/CPR News
A couple dances in the balcony of the Buffalo Rose in Golden, as the 18-piece Flatirons Jazz Orchestra plays one of its monthly swing dancing gigs.
2023YIP07-LADY-MOON-RANCHHart Van Denburg/CPR News
In the hay loft of the barn at Lady Moon Ranch near Red Feather Lakes, west of Fort Collins, in Larimer County. “Who on earth would this lady be? The name Lady Moon is kind of intriguing. It's like, is it the lady part or the moon part? Is she a futurist, a gypsy type? You know, moon, that kind of conjures that idea,” asked Terri Marcotte, an Aurora resident who wrote into Colorado Wonders. We went to find out.
2023YIP07-JUMP-ROPE-CHAMPIONSHIPSHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Emi Ihara of Japan competes in the Team Freestyle event at the 2023 World Jump Rope Championships.

August

2023YIP08-JIM-TOAD-CHEYENNE-MOUNTAIN-ZOOMike Procell/KRCC News
Meet Jim the toad, so named after one of the characters on the American version of "The Office" series. He was named as part of a social media campaign at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
2023YIP08-USS-ARIZONAKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Military service members fold a flag draped over a box carrying a piece of the USS Arizona, artifact from the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, which will now live at Aurora's Colorado Freedom Memorial. Aug. 29.
2023YIP08-COLORADO-STATE-FAIRShana Lewis/KRCC News
Though the Colorado State Fair began with rain, the skies cleared over opening weekend in Pueblo. About half a million people were expected to attend the 11-day event, which has been taking place for more than 150 years.
2023YIP08-OLATHE-SWEET-CORN-WORMHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Tuxedo Corn Company owner John Harold and foreman Samuel Jimenez look out over this year's Olathe sweet corn crop, which has been decimated by an infestation of small worms. In some fields, more than 40 percent of the ears had worm damage. But standing there in his jean overalls and big sun hat, Harold still had his humor: “I think the worms this year are on Viagra,” he said, laughing. “They’re breeding pretty quick!”
2023YIP08-CANNABIS-MASTERCARDHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Budtender Vivian Walker handles a cash transaction at LivWell Dispensary on Bellevue Avenue in the Denver Tech Center. The state’s dispensaries have always operated in a kind of legal limbo when it comes to banking. MasterCard is banning the use of its debit cards to purchase cannabis-related products.
2023YIP08-ELDORADO-CANYON-TIMED-RESERVATIONSHart Van Denburg/CPR News
A climber in Eldorado Canyon State Park on Aug. 2, 2023. Visitor numbers in the park have risen 90 percent since 2016, overwhelming trails, picnic grounds, climbing spots and river access. Now, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are considering extending a program that requires visitors to pay for a timed reservation for weekend and state holiday access.
2023YIP08-HOMELESS-SWEEPHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Residents of a homeless encampment at 22nd and Stout streets in Denver cart their belongings away during a forced relocation ordered by the city because of a rat infestation on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2023.
2023YIP07-HAILSTONE-RECORDMatt Bloom/CPR News
Lucas Faulkner, a meteorologist with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, measures a massive hailstone with a caliper inside the National Weather Service’s Goodland, Kansas office. The hailstone was produced by a severe thunderstorm in Yuma County.
2023YIP07-DAY-OF-CULTURE-POEM-BY-ALL-OF-USKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Fata El Presidente plays the African Leadership Group's Day of African Culture at the Arvada Center. The day was also notable for the first performance of the collective poem “I Am The Bridge: A Poem By All Of Us,” which was written at a spiritual center in Aurora by about 50 people who’d been asked to participate by Papa Dia, 52, a Senegalese immigrant who founded and leads the African Leadership Group.

September

Dan Boyce/CPR News
Marc Jones found a new passion for '80s rock about a decade ago, well into his retirement from a career as a garbage collector. He transformed his garage into a temple of sorts, honoring the musicians he sees as the gods of '80s rock and roll. 
2023YIP09-COLFAX-CANVAS-MURAL-FESTIVALHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Donut, anyone? The Colfax Canvas Mural Festival returned to Aurora, with new art on new walls and a block party in Fletcher Plaza. This mural is by Hiero Veiga in 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Monika Celly sprinkles spices into a pan as she makes samosas during an Indian cooking class in her Colorado Springs home.
2023YIP09-UNITED-CAMPUS-WORKERS-WALKOUTHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Jade Kelly, president of CU Boulder’s United Campus Workers Local 7799 union leads a chant with supporters during a walkout in front of the Student Memorial Union.
MT-EVANS-NAME-CHANGE-FOURTEENER-230911Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A curious mother bighorn sheep approaches the open window of the photographer’s car on Mt. Evans Road near Summit Lake, surrounded by clouds. A plan to rename Mt. Evans to Mt. Blue Sky has stalled over a disagreement among tribal government leaders as to what the mountain’s new name should be. It was originally named for John Evans, territorial governor from 1862-1865, who was forced to resign in disgrace because of his role in the Sand Creek Massacre.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Tess Kent-Julian, vice president of Irish Network Colorado, tours a newly unveiled memorial to Leadville's historic Irish mining community. In the late 1800s, miners — many of them Irish — settled in Leadville, Colorado to make their fortune. Instead, thousands met their demise; They died penniless and were buried in unmarked graves. With financial support from the Irish government, researchers were able to identify them and the community has erected a new memorial in Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery.
2023IO09-HOOKED-TOBACCO-FLOR-HERNANDEZHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Tobacco use is the No. 1 preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. Each year, nearly 500,000 people die from tobacco-related diseases nationally. That includes more than 5,000 Coloradans. Flor Velasco-Hernandez, a junior at Manual High School in Denver, says students have no problem getting tobacco and vaping products, and data shows there’s a geographical element to where a lot of products get sold in Denver.

October

2023YIP09-BREAST-FEEDING-SUPPORTStina Sieg/CPR News
Tiago, a.k.a. “Baby Chi,” watches his mom as he’s weighed at Community Hospital’s breastfeeding support group in Lincoln Park, Grand Junction. Trying to nurse your baby can be humbling, and painful. Being able to connect with other nursing moms can make a world of difference.
2023YIP12-DENVER-FIRE-HELL NIGHTHart Van Denburg/CPR News
As a vehicle burns behind him, Denver Fire Department Lt. Fernando Martinez turns to guide recruits in their response during “Hell Night” at the Denver Fire Training Center. The latest class of Denver Fire Department recruits put all their training to the test ahead of graduation.
2023YIP10-NADLER-MILLER-OPENING-DAY-ARAPAHOE-BASINStina Sieg/CPR News
Winning the ski season’s first chair isn’t easy, but Colorado’s "Kings of First Chair" have done it for 31 years. Nate "Dogggg" Nadler, left, and "Trailer" Tom Miller, second from left, ride the first chairlift of Colorado's ski season this year at Arapahoe Basin on Oct. 29, 2023. Alongside them are Chad Otterstrom and Anthony "Ant" Uglade. They're bursting through a banner at Arapahoe Basin’s Black Mountain Chairlift.
2023YIP10-AURORA-CONSENT-DECREE-ACEVEDO-PROGRESSHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Aurora is the first Colorado city under state oversight to reform policing. Almost two years since the decree was established, everyone involved agrees that progress has been slow, and decisions have been mostly made behind closed doors. It is testing the patience and trust of a community in which some people say they can’t wait. Aurora Interim Police Chief Art Acevedo gestured during a consent decree progress report session at the Aurora Municipal Center.
2023YIP10-CLUB-Q-ANNIVERSARY-JOHN-ARCEDIANOHart Van Denburg/CPR News
On Nov. 19, 2022, a shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, took the lives of five people — Raymond Green Vance, 22, Daniel Aston, 28, Ashley Paugh, 35, Derrick Rump, 38, and Kelly Loving, 40. Dozens more were injured. Among those were Thomas James, Ashtin Gamblin, Svetlana Heim and John Arcediano, pictured here. As the one-year mark of the shooting approached, KRCC's Abigail Beckman sat down with each of them to talk about the physical, mental, and financial costs of surviving a mass shooting.

2023YIP10-OFF-THE-WALLS-BABE-WALLSKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Denver artists Grow Love and Alexandrea Pangburn had noticed a pattern: Most of the opportunities for muralists were going to men. When they connected with other artists who felt the same way, the idea for Babe Walls — a mural festival celebrating all female and non-binary artists — was born. Here’s Robyn "Grow Love" Frances and a long sought-after wall in Wheat Ridge. The story is part of a CPR/Denverite podcast, “ Off The Walls.”

2023YIP09-NREL-WINDOWSSam Brasch/CPR News
Rob Tenent, a researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, shows off an experimental window insert that can darken on command. The U.S. Department of Energy last year found high-performance windows alone could cut carbon emissions two percent by 2050. Dimmable windows offer one way to that high performance. And NREL is taking the idea a step further, working on dimmable windows that also generate solar power.
2023YIP09-TOBACCO-TAX-UNIVERSAL-PRE-KJohn Daley/CPR News
John Opp and daughter Giuliana at the Isabella Bird Community School in Denver. Opp’s family relies on Colorado’s new universal pre-k program to help cover her tuition at Isabella Bird, where she gets great support from teachers and therapists. The money for that support comes, in part, from taxes on cigarettes, vapes and other tobacco and nicotine products.

2023YIP10-TRUJILLO-RODEO-COWBOY-HALL-OF-FAMEHart Van Denburg/CPR News
A Colorado rodeo legend has clinched one more title: his name in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. We visited 75-year-old CJ Trujillo on his ranch below Dunckley Pass west of Yampa to talk with him about the 1981 PRCA World Champion in Bareback Riding, and helping to found the Cowboy Downhill held every January in Steamboat. Here, he casually whisks away a bug on his well-worn straw hat.

November

2023YIP11-AIRPORT-SUNRISE-WESTIN-HOTELHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Denver International Airport was designed to serve 50 million passengers. This year it’s serving 78 million, a number that’s expected to keep growing in the years ahead. The result is that this, the second-largest airport in the world by land size, can feel cavernous, confusing and perpetually under construction. We spent a day there, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday travel period, to talk with its CEO Phil Washington about DIA’s strategy for growth, and to employees and travelers about their hacks for getting around more easily. Here, sunrise outside the Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport.
2023YIP11-HIV-FEDERAL-FUNDINGKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Anthony Cherry, who lives with HIV, on the patio atop his Denver apartment building, Nov. 16. Federal funding for programs that provide housing, food, medicine and case management care for people living with HIV — as well as prevention services, like the medication PrEP — is up in the air as congressional debates over public health often turn political. Like many others, Cherry depends on those programs.
2023YIP09-POLIS-TURKEY-PARDON-THANKSGIVINGHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis officially pardons four turkeys, including Gus in the foreground, at the Governor’s Mansion on Monday, Nov . 20, 2023, thus sparing them from someone’s Thanksgiving table later in the week.
2023YIP11-HOOP-IT-UPKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Marquis Cunningham of the Suicide Squad leaps up for a basket against Team Omaha in Hoop It Up's three-on-three basketball national championship at Aurora's FieldhouseUSA. Nov. 4, 2023. The Hoop It Up tournament is part of the FIBA World Tour. The prize money for winning the world tour is over $1.5 million for the winning team.
2023YIP11-PRESIDENT-BIDEN-CSWIND-PUEBLO-231129Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
President Joe Biden delivers a speech promoting his administration’s economic agenda at CS Wind in Pueblo. The manufacturing plant produces towers for wind turbines used in wind power generation, and is the largest of its kind in the world. The company says it has invested more than $200 million to expand its facility, and will add as many as 850 jobs in the next few years because of the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden’s signature climate, tax, and health care law.
2023YIP11-STRESS-LIKE-A-GENIUS
Kevin Rankin, 17, and Zarely Sotelo, 16, walk a labyrinth outside their school. It's one of the techniques they've learned to manage stress as part of their class, "How to Stress Like a Genius" at William Smith High School in Aurora.
2023YIP11-GAYLORD-ROCKIES-ICEEden Lane/CPR News
A team of 40 world-class ice artists created the nearly 17,000-square-foot frozen installation “ICE!” at Gaylord Rockies Resort. This year’s theme is a frozen retelling of “A Christmas Story,” featuring local musicians and singers, Mrs. Claus sharing Christmas tales, and hand-carved ice sculptures.
2023YIP11-MCCLAIN-TRIALS-WOODYARD-SHENEENHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Sheneen McClain, mother of Elijah McClain, right, is embraced by supporter MiDian Holmes outside the Adams County Justice Center. Sheneen McClain had just heard a jury deliver a not-guilty verdict on suspended Aurora Police Officer Nathan Woodyard for his role in Elijah McClain’s death.

December

2023YIP12-CHARROSKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
As the next generation of Mexican cowboys, Colorado youth are embracing the legacy of Charrería, a traditional practice of livestock herding communities in Mexico. Charros have a deep history in America’s cowboy culture, credited with teaching those who settled in the U.S. West about ranching alongside other Indigenous horsemen in the region. Here, Mariano Valle drags a steer by its tail during a coleadero event in Strasburg, on Colorado's eastern plains.
231213-BLACK-NUTCRACKER-BALLERINAHart Van Denburg/CPR News
In taking the lead role of Clara, ballerina Sheridan Guerin will become the Colorado Ballet’s first Black woman to be cast in the role for its annual performance of “The Nutcracker.” Photographed during a rehearsal at the company’s Armstrong Center for Dance in Denver.
2023YIP12-AURORA-CONSTRUCTION-FIREKevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Firefighters from the Aurora, Denver and South Metro fire departments put out a five-alarm blaze at a construction site on Colfax Avenue, at Peoria Street, in Aurora on Dec. 16. An Aurora Police Department spokesperson said the next day that they expected the intersection of Colfax and Peoria to be closed for "days" as crews worked to fully extinguish the fire. Investigators will then look into the cause and origin of the fire.
2023YIP12-JEWISH-MENORAH-DENVER-CENTRAL-PARKHart Van Denburg/CPR News
A photographer stretches in for a picture of the menorah in the Town Center of Denver’s Central Park neighborhood, Dec. 14, 2023.
231213-DIVERSE-SANTA-STANLEY-AURORAHart Van Denburg/CPR News
You can find Santa pretty much anywhere during the holiday season, whether it's at a mall, shopping center, or your office Christmas party. But finding a Santa that looks like your family can be difficult. Here, an ethnically diverse crew of Santas gathered for a photo at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. We compiled a list of places where you can find a more here.

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