Lists

The Ten Biggest News Stories of 2017

Senator Cory Gardner's constituents gave him — well, a cardboard cut-out of him — an earful during a town hall in February.
Senator Cory Gardner's constituents gave him — well, a cardboard cut-out of him — an earful during a town hall in February. Brandon Marshall

Page 2 of 2

Who will welcome passengers on the terminal train? - FLYDENVER.COM
Who will welcome passengers on the terminal train?
flydenver.com
6. Denver International Airport takes off...again.
Despite the cynics who said it was too big and too far away, Denver International has been a hit since it opened (belatedly) in 1995, and today it’s the country’s sixth-busiest airport. If DIA officials have their way, it will soon be even busier. In August, Denver City Council approved a $1.8 billion renovation of the Great Hall (in a thirty-year contract with Ferrovial, a multinational company based in Spain), and in November approved a $1.5 billion gate expansion for the existing concourses; the train system is also up for $162 million in improvements. And then there’s that $14.5 million new sign, which should be glitzy enough to make us forget some of the true pieces of public art that will disappear under all this construction, including the inlaid terminal floor by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Ken Iwamasa, and the stunning Michael Singer-designed “Interior Garden” on the C Concourse. Still to be determined: who will be the new voices of “Train Call,” welcoming travelers to Denver.

I-300 opponents argue it goes too far too fast. - SUNFLOWEREY/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
I-300 opponents argue it goes too far too fast.
Sunflowerey/Shutterstock.com
7. Denver goes green (roofs).
Approved as part of November's ballot, the Green Roof Initiative will require all new buildings in Denver larger than 25,000 square feet to install green roofs that incorporate vegetation or solar panels, in order to mitigate climate change and pollution. Just over 53 percent of voters approved Initiative 300, even though its backers were outspent twelve to one and its opponents included major developers and the mayor. The controversy around I-300 overshadowed another series of successful ballot measures that approved the massive $937 million general obligation bond, the largest in Denver history, which will allot money to improvement projects around town over ten years.

The sign seen ’round the world. - MIRANDA C.
The sign seen ’round the world.
Miranda C.
8. The Ink! splatters.
Hours after Ink! Coffee posted an incredibly tone-deaf sign outside of its RiNo location on November 22, announcing that it had been "happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014," the sign disappeared. But its impact was just starting to unfold. After a photo of the sign blew up on social media, protesters gathered outside the store on Larimer Street, calling for a boycott. But they weren't just there to denounce Ink. The coffee shop became, at least for a few days, ground zero for residents tired of gentrification and city figureheads deemed too developer-friendly, including Mayor Hancock. Media outlets around the world picked up the story, which has a potentially happy ending: The Denver Community Action Network will host a summit on January 13 that will explore ways to combat gentrification.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. - COLORADO CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop.
Colorado Christian University
9. The U.S. Supreme Court eats cake.
On December 5, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case will decide whether Colorado's anti-discrimination laws should have been applied to a 2012 situation in which Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips, citing his religious beliefs, refused to bake a wedding cake for same-sex couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins. Experts expect the conservative-leaning court to side with Phillips.

The A Line continues to be a headache for RTD and commuters. - JEFFREY BEALL AT FLICKR
The A Line continues to be a headache for RTD and commuters.
Jeffrey Beall at Flickr
10. A Line woes continue.
Local travelers continue to second-guess taking the A Line, over a year after the commuter rail line connecting Union Station to Denver International Airport opened. The A Line's continuing mechanical issues and problems at crossings has even delayed the start of another train, the G Line, which will (maybe, one day) connect Denver and some western suburbs. A hearing early next year will decide whether the crossings on both lines are safe, and could prolong or solve commuters' issues. Here's to this subject not landing on next year's list of the biggest news stories.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ana Campbell has been Westword's managing editor since 2016. She has worked at magazines and newspapers around the country, picking up a few awards along the way for her writing and editing. She grew up in south Texas.
Contact: Ana Campbell