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If Justin Herbert is AFC’s new Superman, Broncos coach Vic Fangio must be QB’s Kryptonite. “They do a great job disguising everything.”



If Justin Herbert is AFC’s new Superman, Broncos coach Vic Fangio must be QB’s Kryptonite. “They do a great job disguising everything.”

If Justin Herbert is the AFC’s new Superman, then Vic Fangio must be the kid’s personal Kryptonite.

“They do a great job disguising everything,” Herbert said of the Broncos after he fell to 0-2 lifetime as a pro at Empower Field at Mile High following Sunday’s 28-13 loss. “And they’re really well-coached.

“And when you put together a really good coach like that with some pretty exceptional players, you get a really good defense.”

That Fangio defense got the upper hand on the second-year quarterback and former Oregon star once again, picking Herbert off twice and sacking him three times.

Of Herbert’s 26 NFL starts, the quarterback has played in only five in which he’s thrown multiple interceptions. Among those five, two have come against Fangio and the Broncos.

Herbert slipped to 1-2 against Denver over the last two seasons and has seen his Chargers offense score only 19 and 13 points over its last two head-to-head meetings with the Broncos.

Sunday’s loss was only the third over Herbert’s last 15 starts in which Los Angeles scored 13 or fewer points.

“We can’t expect to win if you turn the ball over like that,” said Herbert, who finished with 303 yards through the air. “But (it gave us) a lot of good film to watch and you have to learn from it.”

Both of the Broncos’ picks came in the fourth quarter to help blow open a game that saw Denver leading 14-7 through the first three stanzas.

The first was off a Herbert misfire on third-and-14 at the Denver 23 when the quarterback appeared to short-arm a toss to tight end Jared Cook in the right corner of the end zone. Rookie Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II stepped in front of Cook and snatched the throw to squelch the Los Angeles threat.

The hosts responded by taking the ensuing possession 80 yards on 10 plays and capping it off with a 1-yard touchdown toss from Teddy Bridgewater to tight end Eric Saubert for a 20-7 Denver lead.

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10 books by Colorado authors you should read in 2022



10 books by Colorado authors you should read in 2022

Vauhini Vara began writing her debut novel, “The Immortal King Rao,” in 2009, sold it to a publisher just before the pandemic hit in March 2020, and will see it published in hardcover by W.W. Norton & Company on May 3.

“The Immortal King Rao” by Vauhini Vara. (W.W. Norton & Company)

“The timing is wild,” Vara said over the phone from her Fort Collins home this week. “I’ve been working on this going on 13 years, and since then I’ve had a bunch of friends put books out, and I’ve gone to their readings in Denver and San Francisco and New York. It’s celebratory and festive and feels like a community occasion … but that’s not currently the case (in publishing), and hasn’t been for the last couple years.”

The historical-dystopian fiction of Vara’s “Rao” ripples out of the Indian village from which her father emigrated to the U.S., and the genre-blending tale has already nabbed endorsements from Vulture, The Guardian and LitHub.

“Rao” is just one of dozens of titles from Colorado authors that will hit shelves and online booksellers this year. Like the rest, it’s got a steep promotional climb as authors crowd online forums and stream their readings to promote new works. The age of long-lined bookstore tours feels distant.

The good news is that publishers watched print book sales soar last year, rising 8.9% in 2021 over 2020 — an increase of about 67 million books, according to Publishers Weekly — with hardcover books leading the way. (In 2020, sales were up 8.2% over 2019, which saw about 694 million books sold.)

Colorado authors have seen mixed results. Reliable best-sellers and a handful of debut writers (fiction and nonfiction) have broken out commercially, but dozens of other essential, expertly reported works have collected little other than critical accolades. Author talks and classes from nonprofits such as Lighthouse Writers Workshop have gone mostly virtual, and there’s no end in sight.

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“Woman of Light” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Penguin Random House)

“There’s a sense that publishers are just as confused as authors are,” said Vara, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and New Yorker business editor, as well as a current Lighthouse mentor. (Full disclosure: Vara was an intern at The Denver Post in 2002.)

“In the past, book tours would have been planned five or six months in advance,” she said. :Now authors are saying they haven’t heard anything from their publishers. They want to do right by authors and sell books, so it’s not a matter of less investment on their part.”

Kali Fajardo-Anstine, arguably Colorado’s most celebrated literary voice of this young decade, published her short-story collection, “Sabrina & Corina,” in 2019. She’s grateful she became established in the literary world before the pandemic wiped out most in-person events.

The book, which tells stories of Latinas and Indigenous people living in the West, won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Awards. It received rapturous reviews from U.S. and international critics, and a paperback version was published by Penguin Random House imprint One World.

That last achievement was on April 7, 2020, about a month after the pandemic hit.

“It was the first time I had money coming in from speaking engagements for being a writer,” she said. “I’d never really made any money at this, and I was making the most I’ve ever made. When everybody lost everything, that started me on this trajectory as this virtual person and teacher on the internet.”

Now, Fajardo-Anstine has a debut novel — the epic, deeply researched “Woman of Light” — set for release on June 7. Influential literary voice Roxane Gay just picked it for her book club, and pre-release chatter (not just the promotional kind) is casting it as even better than “Corina & Sabrina” (if not exactly apples-to-apples).

“It follows the vast adventures of this family from the 1860s through 1930s, so in a way it’s very escapist and that might resonate with people right now,” Fajardo-Anstine said. “But how will I promote it? I wrote a piece for Harper’s Bazaar about what it was like promoting ‘Sabrina & Cornina’ on Instagram Live from the bedroom I grew up in at my parents house. … It’ll be (promoted) in a lot more online spaces than bookstores this time, but there’s also a strong community of Chicanos and Indigenous people through the Southwest that I’ve connected with during the pandemic.”

Here are a few more new books from to read from Colorado authors in 2022. (Thanks to Denver Post regional reviewer Sandra Dallas for contributing to some of these mentions.)

“Rise: My Story,” Lindsey Vonn

The tale of how this Colorado-based, World Cup-winning skiing icon did it, filled with her rigorous training schedule, her injuries, and her love of alpine skiing. Nothing about Tiger Woods? Still magnetic. (Out now) — Sandra Dallas and John Wenzel

“Hidden Mercy,” Michael J. O’Loughlin

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“Hidden Mercy” by Michael J. O’Loughin. (Broadleaf Books)

The Catholic Church’s existential crises — particularly its handling of abuse scandals — has overshadowed the work of progressives such as William Hart “Father Bill” McNichols, a Denver political scion who became a priest that administered to dying AIDS patients in the 1980s and ’90s — against the church’s wishes. Since then, the openly gay priest has become known for his art (paintings of social-justice figures as icons, instead of just religious ones).

Author O’Loughlin isn’t strictly a Colorado name, but “Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics and the Untold Story of Compassion in the Face of Fear” centers on McNichols’ still-radical empathy and action, among others. (Out now)

“Attaboy,” Sam Tallent
Denver stand-up and Fine Gentleman’s Club troupe co-founder Sam Tallent has had a surprisingly good pandemic, with solid sales and kudos from comics like Marc Maron for his independently published “Running the Light.” (Maron, Doug Stanhope and others narrated the audio version.)

Now, after the barely fictionalized story of “Running,” comes the Audible original “Attaboy.” The dark, egdy fiction turns away from Tallent’s favorite subject for a tale of bare-knuckle boxing and addiction. It’s narrated by Dan Bitner and Helen Laser. (Out now)

“Jane and the Year Without Summer,” Stephanie Barron

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“Jane and the Year Without Summer,” Stephanie Barron (Soho Press/Soho Crime)

There’s never too much Jane Austen-influenced literature out there — if it’s well-made. Barron, a.k.a. Francine Mathews, has proven that with her Being a Jane Austen Mystery series, and “The Year Without Summer” (its 14th book in it)  using the real-life Austen as a jumping-off point.

It’s absolutely charming, and one of the best among her prolific list of Jane Austen mysteries. (Feb. 8) — Sandra Dallas and John Wenzel

“Being Mary Bennet,” J.C. Peterson
Harper Teen bought and will publish Jenny “J.C.” Peterson’s first YA novel, a fresh reimagining of a “Pride and Prejudice” character (a feat in itself these days) and a debut that establishes Peterson as a witty, deeply empathetic voice in the national YA scene. (March 15)

“The Vortex,” Scott Carney and Jason Miklian
Investigative journalist, New York Times best-selling author and Colorado anthropologist Carney has traveled the world exploring extreme endurance and the mind-body connection.

A strength of Carney’s craft, but still a gear shift from previous nonfiction books, “The Vortex: A True Story of History’s Deadliest Storm, an Unspeakble War, and Liberation,” sets its sights on November 1970 storm that killed 500,000 and led to revolution and genocide in Southeast Asia. With Ph.D. and conflict-and-crisis expert Jason Miklian, from the University of Oslo. (March 29)

“Little Souls,” Sandra Dallas

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“Little Souls” by Sandra Dallas (Macmillan)

Yes, this New York Times best-selling author’s name appears as a contributor to this article (she’s a longtime Denver Post books reviewer) but she’s also a Colorado literary pillar, having appraised nearly every Colorado book worth reading in recent years — and writing more than a few of them herself.

“Little Souls” follows Dallas’ by turns wrenching and uplifting “Westering Women” with a historically based look at our last pandemic (more than 100 years ago), offering plenty of insight into the similarly rancorous present-day. (April 26)

“A Walter Hill Film,” Walter Chaw
Denver film critic and occasional New York Times and NPR contributor Walter Chaw recently debuted on Netflix as part of the tightly curated “Voir” series from director David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “The Social Network”), in a segment that deconstructed director Walter Hill’s influential buddy comedy “48 Hours.”

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Catalytic converter theft crackdown: Colorado lawmakers aim to slow surge, provide relief to victims



Catalytic converter theft crackdown: Colorado lawmakers aim to slow surge, provide relief to victims

A few years ago, you might not have known where the catalytic converter on your car was located, let alone what it did. But now, with increasing thefts of these emission-control devices across the country, people have become more aware of them — and their value.

In 2019, Aurora police recorded eight cases of catalytic converter thefts. In 2020, the agency had 68 thefts. And in 2021, that number skyrocketed to 646, according to Aurora Police Department data.

Denver has seen a similar rise with 14 thefts reported in 2019 to 268 in 2020. In 2021, that number rose again to 2,671, according to Denver Police Department data.

It’s an issue that has prompted auto body shops to offer products that are intended to protect catalytic converters. AAA Colorado announced last summer that it would offer a program to etch serial numbers onto the devices that would be logged into a law enforcement database, and the cars would have warning stickers on them about it. And now, Colorado lawmakers are trying to do something about the problem through the newly-introduced SB22-009.

The bill would make it illegal after Oct. 31 to install, sell, offer to sell or advertise any used, recycled or salvaged catalytic converters unless the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment certifies them for installation and sale. It would also add catalytic converters and metals from those converters to existing Colorado criminal law and require auto parts recyclers to make sure any catalytic converters they acquire have not been stolen. The increased regulation could make it easier to prosecute “chop shops” for selling them.

Sen. Dennis Hisey, a Fountain Republican and one of the bill’s sponsors, said the high rate of theft is happening not only in larger cities but smaller rural communities like those in his district, with larger SUVs and trucks often being the targets because they’re elevated and make the devices easier to remove.

“Everybody knows somebody that’s had this happen even if they’re not aware of it just yet,” he said.

Hisey hopes the bill, if passed, will not only make it easier for consumers to replace catalytic converters when stolen — with the new certification process for aftermarket catalytic converters — but also make it more difficult to recycle stolen catalytic converters and metals.

The reason there needs to be a new certification process is because Colorado adopted California-style emission vehicle standards in 2018 to help reduce greenhouse gas output and that included regulations for catalytic converters. State law requires that vehicles have catalytic converters from the manufacturer or a new aftermarket device that meets those emissions standards. Hisey said the bill wouldn’t require the emission standards to change but to find a way to make it easier to get the aftermarket catalytic converters so consumers aren’t faced with bills for thousands of dollars.

Sponsor Sen. Joann Ginal, a Fort Collins Democrat, said in a statement that the increase in these thefts across the nation and in Colorado leads to cars becoming inoperable and Coloradans having to deal with high costs and lack of availability for replacement.

“This bill seeks to alleviate this problem while reducing crime rates in our communities,” she said.

Last May, Carrie Packard, development director for the nonprofit Stout Street Foundation, saw just how easy it was for someone to steal a catalytic converter. Six devices, and a partial seventh, were stolen from trucks in her work’s parking lot during daylight in just three minutes. The two people responsible parked a van in front of the building’s security camera and managed to remove the catalytic converters quickly before driving off.

Packard called it a “crime of opportunity,” adding that “the irony wasn’t lost on us that they were probably doing it to feed an addiction, so they stole from a recovery community.” Since then, the nonprofit has upped its security measures, but Packard estimates that the loss from the catalytic converters totaled about $20,000.

They relied on those trucks to transport residents and collect donations. When staff members went to replace them, they found catalytic converters were on back order, but some Colorado businesses stepped in and donated services.

Packard wonders how it would be possible to reduce these types of thefts that she’s also hearing happening at other nonprofits because “there’s always going to be a black market for that precious heavy metal somewhere.” But she said, “Hopefully it does make it a little more difficult and reduces the number of steps off the street, but I don’t know how you make it better,” Packard said of the bill.

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Popular open space in Boulder County impacted by Marshall fire may not open until late February



Popular open space in Boulder County impacted by Marshall fire may not open until late February

Open Space managers in Boulder County were forced to close a massive swath of popular recreational land adjacent to the path of the Marshall fire last month, and they are still evaluating a timeline for reopening the area.

The affected area is approximately 10 square miles of open space bounded by Marshall Road on the north, Colorado Highway 128 on the south, Colorado 93 on the west and McCaslin Boulevard on the east. With rolling hills, inviting trails and wide open vistas, the area is very popular for runners, mountain bikers and hikers. The eastern half is administered by Boulder County Open Space, while the western half is managed by City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP).

Investigators believe the origin of the costly fire on Dec. 30 was in a community near the intersection of Colorado 93 and Marshall Road. That’s very near the Marshall Mesa trailhead, which provides access to seven trails administered by Boulder OSMP. From there the fire moved east, driven by intense winds.

John Meyer, The Denver Post

The Marshall Mesa Trailhead, which is part of City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, remains closed due to the Marshall fire.

“Somewhere between 2,100 and 2,200 acres of property that OSMP has interests in were burned,” said John Potter, OSMP resource and stewardship manager, speaking at a recent public meeting. “We know that about seven miles of trails were in the burn area and are currently closed while staff does damage assessments and figures out a plan regarding the trailhead. We are still building an overall damage estimate, but it appears to be on the order of $1.5 million.”

There was less damage to land to the east managed by Boulder County Open Space, although trails and trailheads there also remain closed. Those trailheads on McCaslin Boulevard are very near areas of Superior that were devastated by the fire.

“We feel pretty confident that we’ll be able to open it by the end of February,” said Vivienne Jannatpour, public information manager for Boulder County Open Space. “We actually don’t have that much damage. We do have to do some trail clean-up from the wind, and there is a couple of trail crossings over drainages that they want to make sure are in good shape, because it protects the riparian area and gives people a path to walk through some wetter areas.

“The one area of significant damage that we did suffer is that we lost 15 miles of fencing. Basically, it’s an agricultural area that we put a trail through, so there’s grazing.”

The two open space entities have been sharing information and collaborating because their trails connect. It’s unclear whether they will reopen simultaneously. Jannatpour said Boulder OSMP isn’t ready to commit to reopening at the end of February.

“We all agreed that’s OK if we don’t have the same opening date, because they are looking at a lot more damage and a lot more recovery than we are,” Jannatpour said. “We agreed that the county would open even if the city is not ready, and the city will try to follow closely behind. They have some challenges that we don’t.”

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