2021 Year in Photos, Part 3 – The Denver Post

This year, we divided our Year in Photos into three parts. Click here to see Part 1 and Part 2.

Health care

Lilly’s struggle

Ever since Lilly was first hospitalized with the coronavirus in November 2020, she has lived with persisting symptoms — quick heart rate, fatigue, mouth ulcers, brain fog and more — from the infection. She, along with her parents and doctors, have struggled to find answers as to why her symptoms have lingered and how to treat them as she navigates the return to activities, such as soccer and school, with a condition that no one knows how long will last.

“Is it going to be months? Is it going to be forever?” said Dr. Nathan Rabinovitch, a pediatric immunologist at National Jewish Health in Denver and one of Lilly’s physicians. “We don’t know yet because we are so early in the pandemic.”

Click here to read more about Lilly and how she and her family are adapting to life with long COVID.



Fort Lewis College

The scars of history were laid bare in September beneath the clock tower at Fort Lewis College as three panels were removed from it. The timeline depicted on the panels showed Fort Lewis’ transition from a military fort to a federal Indian boarding school in the late 1800s to the college that stands today. But inscriptions claimed Native students — forcibly taken from their homes and cultures by the U.S. government — were “well clothed and happy” and received “extremely good literary instruction” while participating in enriching activities.

The real history was “nothing short of attempted and, sadly, sometimes successful cultural genocide,” Fort Lewis College President Tom Stritikus said.

Denver Indian Center

Mount Evans


College Football

Prep academies

Some of Colorado’s most promising young basketball players have transferred from a traditional high school experience to embrace the newest wave of athlete education to hit Colorado — private schools offering specialized basketball training against elite competition.

The prep school experience is designed to mimic college, with players often living on campus. Class time is scheduled around early morning practice, afternoon workouts and games played on national circuits to maximize exposure.

Prep sports

Athletes took part in Colorado High School Activities Association’s 3d annual media day on Aug. 16.

Denver Nuggets

Denver Broncos

Pro Bowl receiver and Super Bowl champion Demaryius Thomas, who played nine seasons for the Broncos, died Dec. 9. Thomas, who played for the Broncos from 2010-18, and whose on-field performance was matched only by his popularity among teammates, coaches and fans, was 33 years old.

Fall colors

Halloween on Broadway

Shootings near schools


Home on the range

Mental health treatment centers in Colorado

Mind Springs Health is the private nonprofit responsible for providing behavioral health safety-net services in Summit and nine other Western Slope counties: Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, and Routt. It is one of 17 regional “community mental health centers” statewide that long have been responsible for inpatient hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, outpatient psychiatric care, counseling, and other forms of treatment for Coloradans on Medicaid or who are indigent, underinsured, or in crisis.

A recent Colorado News Collaborative investigation found that many of those mental health treatment centers fail to serve the most vulnerable Coloradans, aided by a system that creates a financial incentive to take on fewer ill people and charge higher costs, while also protecting them from competition.

Communities served by Mind Springs are among the most frustrated. Nowhere is that disappointment expressed so bitterly and publicly than in Summit County.

Adoption day

Christmas lights

Denver-Lakewood shooting spree

When a gunman opened fire inside a Broadway tattoo parlor on the evening of Dec. 27, the shooting spree that would zigzag through Denver and Lakewood was just getting started.

Less than an hour later, the rampage ended with his death on the streets of Lakewood’s upscale Belmar shopping district, as the final gunfight with Lakewood Police Agent Ashley Ferris — herself injured — shattered a pizza restaurant’s two large windows, sending shocked diners diving for cover behind overturned tables.

When it was all over, five of the victims in Monday’s shooting spree had died and another two had sustained serious injuries, including the officer, in one of the most unusual, confounding multiple-victim shootings the metro area has seen.

Boulder County Wildfires

On the last day of 2021 — a year that dealt Boulder County a tragic mass shooting in the midst of ongoing pandemic woes — thousands of residents who’d evacuated Superior and Louisville waited ahead of a looming snowstorm to learn whether a wildfire had engulfed their homes.

Pushed due east by 100-mph winds, the Marshall fire sparked late Thursday morning, Dec. 30, south of Boulder, burning across 6,000 acres that afternoon and evening, destroying as many as 1,000 homes and businesses in Superior and Louisville.

The winter wildfire, which exploded amid bone-dry conditions fueled by climate warming, quickly became the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.

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