Post Premium: Our best stories for the week of May 4 – 10

We’ve lived through the toilet paper shortage. I haven’t seen a Clorox wipe in weeks. So what’s next? There’s worry it could be meat.

The big plants in Colorado and elsewhere process thousands of cattle a day, but that kind of volume means a lot of people working in close quarters. At least 20 have died nationwide, and thousands are sick. Although the president has declared these businesses critical, that hasn’t changed the need for them to implement measures to keep their workers safe.

As a result, less meat is being processed, and that is backing up the entire supply chain, ending with the ranchers who can’t sell their product.

This weekend, business writer Judith Kohler and food writer Josie Sexton teamed up to look at this issue and how it is playing out in Colorado. There are a lot of unknowns and some contradictions in what they found. Colorado has plenty of beef, already processed and frozen. But will there be hoarding? Will the price increases be the 1% to 2% the government is predicting, or will producers push bigger increases? We talked to a local butcher who was quoted a price double what he expected for beef, but he had options for other sources.

And what about our fellow Coloradans, the ranchers, people such as Janie VanWinkle?

“The first thing that has to happen is we have to get the workers healthy and make sure that they’re safe,” VanWinkle said. “But I am telling you, I have big concerns about the future of ranching in Colorado and other places as well.”

— Lee Ann Colacioppo, editor

Coronavirus-linked problems in meat supply chain could mean shortages, trouble for ranchers | Part 1

Smaller producers, retailers say they are positioned to weather coronavirus meat shortage | Part 2

How Kendrick Castillo’s family is coping with his loss, advocating for change one year after the STEM School shooting

On May 7, 2019, two students barged into the STEM School Highlands Ranch with pistols and a rifle. On that day, Kendrick Castillo did not listen when his armed classmates told everyone not to move. Instead he charged them, likely sparing the lives of other students but sacrificing his own.

Thursday was the first anniversary of the shooting, and for the second year in a row, the school’s community is finishing the school year apart during uncertain times. Here’s how Kendrick’s family is mourning his death. Read more from Sam Tabachnik.

RELATED: Amid a pandemic, STEM School Highlands Ranch community remembers the shooting

RELATED: He was shot trying to stop an armed classmate during the STEM School shooting. Now, Josh Jones is focused on helping others.

As coronavirus upends funerals in Colorado and elsewhere, there’s hope the pandemic will spur openness about grief

Grief, which can be an isolating experience, has become an even more lonely act as people are forced to mourn without family and friends physically beside them. Yet the pandemic is pushing death into the forefront of society as nearly a thousand Coloradans have been lost to the new coronavirus. Funerals are being altered or postponed because of the social-distancing measures implemented to stem COVID-19’s spread.

Mental health experts, religious leaders and others hope the pandemic will change how Americans approach grief, paving the way for people to talk more openly about the difficult emotions that come with losing loved ones. Read more from Jessica Seaman…

Denver Zoo faces “unthinkable” reality of no visitors, dwindling cash and 3,000 animals to feed — The Know

Like an art museum, the Denver Zoo has had little choice but to maintain its valuable collection of public attractions after the city and state stay-at-home orders took effect in March, John Wenzel writes. But paintings and historical artifacts don’t require thousands of pounds of food daily, medical care and cleaning to survive.

The zoo costs about $1 million per month to maintain, said Bert Vescolani, the CEO of the Denver Zoological Foundation. And with an estimated loss of nearly $12 million by May — mostly because of the lack of visitors — he has been forced to lay off or furlough a quarter of his staff and cut pay for managers. Read more here.

Denver businesses caught between economic realities and health concerns as they weigh reopening

This weekend retail stores in Denver were able to reopen after weeks of being closed. But businesses won’t be able to just resume normal activity. Shops can have only a limited number of customers browsing at any time, and shoppers must wear masks and stay 6 feet away from others. Read more from Sam Tabachnik and Joe Rubino.

RELATED: Local public mask mandates draw ire in political circles

Rockies offer a salute of appreciation on Mother’s Day

On a typical Mother’s Day, Major League Baseball is pretty in pink. Pink bats, gloves and shoes are all a salute to moms and bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer, Sean Keeler writes.

Not this Sunday. Not in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. But that doesn’t mean baseball moms are forgotten. Here’s how four Rockies remember the impact their mothers had on their lives and their careers.

+ Coronavirus Q&A: Gov. Jared Polis sits down with The Denver Post

+ Colorado’s coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths peaked in April, but health officials warn “we could go backward”

+ Colorado hasn’t needed its overflow hospitals but plans to keep them in case of a fall coronavirus surge

+ The Rev. Terrence “Big T” Hughes recovering after long COVID-19 battle

+ Greg Zanis has died; he made crosses for the victims of Columbine, Aurora and other mass violence

+ Wheat Ridge’s favorite history teacher is retiring after 40 years — and she’s still learning from her students

+ Home-building academy’s goal: Provide a foundation for people seeking stable careers, new starts

+ Why McTelvin Agim’s journey from jail to the Broncos brought tears of joy

+ Here are the six Colorado finalists for this year’s James Beard Awards and what to order from them right now — The Know

+ Denver restaurants that have closed permanently because of the pandemic — The Know

See more great photos like this on The Denver Post’s Instagram account.

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