This year’s epic snowpack has raised the flood threat in southwestern Colorado in more ways than one, thanks to massive amounts of debris wrenched loose by avalanches over the winter that now threaten to exacerbate runoff conditions.

In Lake City, the only town in remote Hinsdale County, residents have been filling sandbags, contemplating the removal of a historic dam and preparing for the worst-case scenario. But as the most severe flood risk now appears to have been avoided, residents are worried that all the disaster warnings have scared away the town’s main source of income: summer tourism.

We sent reporter Elise Schmelzer and photographer Joe Amon to the state’s southwestern mountains this week to check in with residents who, over the past two years, have had to deal with fire, drought, avalanches and, now, the threat of flooding. It’s been a rough period for those who rely on seasonal tourists dollars.

“What else can you do?” Roxa Hutchins, owner of Sportsman’s BBQ Station in Lake City, told Schmelzer. “Mother Nature, you can’t control her.”

— Matt Sebastian, Enterprise Editor of The Denver Post

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18,000 sandbags later, Lake City flood fears diminish even as rivers rise across southwestern Colorado

Lake City Community schoolteacher Jennifer Reinhardt, ...
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
Lake City Community schoolteacher Jennifer Reinhardt, 43, and K-12 councilor Martha Levine, 45, load sand bags into a resident’s truck in Lake City, Colorado on June 10, 2019. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

The residents of Lake City are hoping that flood warnings don’t scare off summer tourists, their primary source of income. After preparing for the worst from Mother Nature the remote town “feels empty,” resident Janet Potter said. Read more from Elise Schmelzer.

New lawsuit alleges at least one death and “hundreds of severe infections” going back to 2015 from contaminated surgical instruments at Porter hospital

Mackenzie, 7, rests with her mother ...
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
Mackenzie, 7, rests with her mother Rebecca Brown after a Rebecca made a trip to the emergency room in Castle Rock, Colorado on June 7, 2019. Rebecca is one of 67 patients filing lawsuits against Porter Adventist in Denver. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)


More than 60 patients who suffered post-surgical infections are suing Denver’s Porter Adventist Hospital over a breach in sterilization procedures, which a state investigation found was far more serious than the hospital divulged a year ago.

A new lawsuit filed yesterday alleges the hospital’s failure to adequately clean equipment caused “hundreds of severe infections” in patients as far back as 2015 — and at least one death. Read more from Jessica Seaman about the lawsuit and report here and more about the patients who are part of the lawsuit here.

Pat Bowlen dies: Hall of Fame Broncos owner was 75

Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen discusses ...
Denver Post file
Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen discusses the release of Head Coach Mike Shanahan Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008.

Late Thursday night Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen died after a lengthy battle with Alzheimers. The news was quickly followed by an outpouring of support from fans, former players and fellow owners. Read more from Ryan O’Halloran here.


Gun control groups nationwide declare victory over scrapped recall of Colorado Rep. Tom Sullivan

Representative Tom Sullivan receives the first ...
Joe Amon, The Denver Post
Representative Tom Sullivan receives the first signing pen from Governor Jared Polis after he signs the Extreme Risk Protection Orders legislation in the Governor’s Office at the Colorado State Capitol April 12, 2019, in Denver.

Colorado conservatives ended their effort to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan on Tuesday in a move that was hailed as a victory for gun control efforts nationwide. Read more from Anna Staver here.

Where has Denver’s soul food gone? In a historically black neighborhood, the last restaurant of its kind turns 20

(Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)
Fathima Dickerson, general manager of the Welton Street Cafe, poses during lunch service at the restaurant in the Five Points neighborhood in Denver, Colorado on June 7, 2019.

Welton Street Cafe opened in 1999. Fast forward to 2019 and it’s the only soul food spot still standing in Five Points. This year, second-generation owner Fathima Dickerson says she finally feels secure in her business as she celebrates 20 years of the cafe frying chicken and catfish. Read more from Josie Sexton.

RELATED: “A new renaissance”: African-American businesses, investors celebrating new era on Five Points’ Welton Street

Quick Hits

+ On 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the Denver LGBTQ community reflects on the moment that “blew open the doors”

+ Interstate 70 project contractor asks Denver for OK to exceed overnight noise limits for 3 more years

+ These Colorado nursing homes were poorly rated and eligible for federal oversight. Until this week, nobody knew.

+ As Castle Rock looks to evolve beyond a bedroom community, the old town dump will be key

+ Denver airport official resigns 3 months after being placed on investigatory leave

+ Colorado surpasses $1 billion in marijuana tax revenue

+ Supporters of the first TABOR timeout say new request is a bad idea

+ Ballot initiative sought to ban late-term abortions in Colorado

+ Colorado Cold Cases: 39 years ago today Beverly England vanished and authorities are still piecing together how she died

+ What will Denver do with its suburban frontier through 2040?

+ Weld County pounces on local control in wake of new state oil and gas law

+ Playing through the pain: a First Tee success story

Photo of the Week

A cyclist participating in Ride the Rockies 2019 on their way from Hotchkiss to Gunnison on June 14, 2019. About 2,000 cyclists traveled 79.1 miles with 6,861-feet of elevation gain during the sixth stage of the competition. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)