Denver news in 5 minutes: What you need to know today, April 18

Read on for updates on controversial bills, interesting development projects, stoned driving, the outdoors and more.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Hello. Lots of little news today — nothing too huge, but all worth keeping track of, which I’m totally here to help you do. Read on for updates on controversial bills, interesting development projects, stoned driving, the outdoors and more.

A construction crew lays the 14th Street Viaduct across the South Platte River in 1898. The viaduct began at 14th and Wazee and ended at 14th and Platte Street. (Western History and Genealogy Department/Denver Public Library)

A construction crew lays the 14th Street Viaduct across the South Platte River in 1898. The viaduct began at 14th and Wazee and ended at 14th and Platte Street. (Western History and Genealogy Department/Denver Public Library)

In the statehouse:

A state bill would have reduced expulsions and out-of-school suspensions for Colorado’s youngest students. Republicans in a Senate committee voted it down, as Nic Garcia reports. “Our teachers need the tools,” said state Sen. Vicki Marble. “I would say give them a bar of soap and let them use it when they need it.” (Chalkbeat)

Meanwhile, a new bill would require presidential candidates provide tax returns before they’re allowed on the Colorado ballot. State officials expect it would face legal challenges, as Erica reports. (Denverite)

El Diablo:

A $32 million makeover will put 100 affordable units into the 111-year-old building that last hosted El Diablo restaurant on South Broadway, as Amy DiPierro reports.

Meanwhile, a development company plans demolition and projects at two locations: Seventh and Grant as well as Evans and Colorado, as Adrian reports. (Denverite)

Fewer stoned-driving tickets:

The Colorado State Patrol is giving about 33 percent fewer marijuana impairment tickets to drivers so far this year, as Jim Hooley reports. (KDVR)

Meanwhile, a proposal for longer pot-store hours in Denver didn’t see much protest. (Denverite)

Rafting season:

Good snowpack means big water on the Arkansas and Dolores rivers. One company is predicting this season will be “as good as it gets.” (NYT)

Also, the National Parks are free this weekend. John Wenzel walks you through the options. (DP) And I have suggestions for six car-camping weekends to book for this summer, before space runs out. (Denverite)

Your garden:

Gardener Larry Stebbins tells CPR that now’s as decent a time as ever to get started with lettuce, kale, rhubarb, asparagus and other leaves and roots. (CPR)

There’s a 90 percent chance the last frost already has arrived in Denver, according to the National Weather Service. (NWS)

“This is a place where you can really grow things.”

Jonina Diele has an interview and profile with Ru Johnson, who is central to Denver’s hip-hop scene. (303)

Tech events this week:

Techstars demo day is Wednesday in Boulder, among other events. (Built In)