Denver in 5 minutes: What you need to know today, Feb. 16

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Hello, Denver. I have once more ventured into the void and brought back this news. We’ve got pieces on the Front Range rail plans, the painful way we give medical treatment to undocumented immigrants, downtown commuters’ car habits and more.

Denver in snow from the International Space Station in 2002. (ISS/NASA)

Denver in snow from the International Space Station in 2002. (ISS/NASA)

Front Range rail:

Colorado doesn’t have any money to build 260 miles of passenger rail from Trinidad up to Fort Collins, but a proposal to start planning for it is gaining momentum, as Joey Bunch reports. (Colorado Politics)

Immigrants’ painful cycle:

Colorado hospitals won’t let undocumented immigrants die of kidney failure, but they also won’t give them the thrice-weekly dialysis treatment everyone else gets. As a result, they stay in pain and their treatment is nearly four times more expensive than those who receive regular treatment, as Jennifer Brown reports. (DP)

The major impediments that keep people driving downtown:

Declining gas prices, changing ticket prices and slow-moving buses all are suggested as reasons that Denver isn’t improving its downtown transit-use numbers for commuters, as Megan reports from a very interesting forum.

Death penalty won’t be repealed this year:

Republicans rejected a plan to repeal Colorado’s death penalty in a party-line vote. No one has been executed here since 1997, Peter Marcus reports. (Colorado Politics)

Council nowhere near parking compromise?

Should development on small properties be allowed to build without including parking? Urbanists say it would reduce building costs and fit more units in smaller places. Some neighborhood groups complain that it will eat up their on-street parking. The proposed compromise would only exempt two-story projects and three-story projects near transit. Expect a debate on this next week, as Jon Murray reports in this helpful explainer.

Tablets in prison:

“By the end of 2017, the Colorado Department of Corrections plans to distribute electronic tablets to every one of its 19,000 inmates. The handheld devices, which are being provided at no cost to the inmates, can be used for phone calls and messaging, and will eventually offer streaming music and video games, too,” Alan Prendergrast reports. There will be usage fees. (Westword)

Echo Mountain review:

Sounds like it takes about an hour to ski all the acreage of the resort that recently reopened. That said, it’s the closest skiing to Denver, it’s cheap and Mike Tish apparently enjoyed himself. No mention of tree skiing. (5280)

Andy note:

BTW, I had a really awesome day at Winter Park on Sunday with just a couple inches of snow. I found a great line that yielded fresh tracks on Parsenn Bowl. All you need to do is take Larkspur down from the lift, bearing hard left while you’re above tree line. That will bring you over some tough crusty stuff at the top and then throw you onto a beautiful, rarely skied diagonal line. Build up your speed and take a wide turn around the left side of the trees as you reach the bottom of the bowl. That should put you into the tree lanes with enough speed to blow through the powder that you’ll find untouched there for the first hour or two of the day.

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