Early Bird Special: Unions picket Ritter, Colorado to get tourism bump

Here’s our daily roundup of some of our favorite news from around Colorado.

• Dozens of union members — including some who flew in from Colorado — picketed Gov. Bill Ritter on Wednesday outside two fundraisers the first-term Democrat attended in Washington, D.C., 9News’ Adam Schrager reports. Firefighters and grocery workers are angry with Ritter for vetoing two bills this year. “It’s a matter of integrity and I believe he’s failed in that category,” said an Aurora firefighter. The governor supprts firefighters, but “sometimes leadership means having to say no to your friends,” Ritter’s campaign manager wrote in an e-mail to Schrager.

• Auto mavens at AAA predict the mountain states, including Colorado will see slightly more tourism this July 4th weekend over last year, the Denver Business Journal reports. Relatively lower unemployment rates in the Mountain West — from Montana to New Mexico — should lead to 2.6 million tourists hitting the road for the holiday weekend, up 1.2 percent from last year. That’s compared with a 1.9 percent decline in tourism everywhere else.

• Rural electrical co-ops could serve as a model for health care co-ops pushed by some centrist senators leery of a government-run public option, Denver Post reporter Michael Riley writes in a lengthy examination of the possibility. Riley reports Colorado’s two senators, both Democrats, weigh the option differently. Sen. Mark Udall calls co-ops “intriguing” but supports a public option. Sen. Michael Bennet says he could support either approach if it brings down costs and covers more Americans.

Boulder Valley schools are considering discouraging birthday cupcakes and candy sales as part of a “wellness policy,” CBS4 reports. “We’re eliminating trans fats and high fructose corn syrup,” said the district’s nutrition czar, who is replacing chicken nuggets with roasted chicken on lunch menus. Sugary treats won’t be banned, just frowned upon.

• CU ex professor-slash-bête noire Ward Churchill gets the HBO treatment in “Shouting Fire: Stories From the Edge of Free Speech,” a documentary debuting Monday, Westword’s Michael Roberts writes. The program, directed by Liz Garbus, “examines the balancing act between protecting civil liberties and national security in a post-9/11 world, asking whether all speech is equally free,” according to HBO. Watch the trailer here.

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