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Boulder housing authorities employ human-focused design to improve outcomes for affordable housing residents by Caitlin Rockett

Six weeks since the shooting, community trauma expected to persist by Angela K. Evans

boulderganic:

Pandemic drives Rocky Flats recreation, as local officials support greenway construction despite activist concerns by Corinne Neustadter

buzz:

Boulder’s Magic Beans return with third studio album by Katie Rhodes

feast:

Hard ginger beer enters Colorado as the spicy root makes its way into other beverages by Matt Cortina

weed between the lines:

Cannabis MouthPeace device makes social smoking sanitary, without killing ‘puff-puff pass’ ethos by Will Brendza

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Guest Column: Asylum seekers need compassion, not surveillance Writers on the Range: Fear and the depleted Colorado River Events: What to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do Words: ‘In Grief, Take As Long a Road As You Need,’ by Deborah McNamara Savage Love: Switched on Astrology: by Rob Brezsny Film: The 2021 TCM Classic Film Festival stays virtual Try this: Complete Crêpe @ Holy Crêpe!! Drink: Boulder breweries team up to help those impacted by the King Soopers shooting

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

We take your health seriously with Indoor HVAC Purification & stand alone bacteria killing air filters, distanced tables, and heated outdoor patio seating

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Publisher, Fran Zankowski Editor, Matt Cortina Circulation Manager, Cal Winn EDITORIAL Senior Editor, Angela K. Evans Arts and Culture Editor, Caitlin Rockett Contributing Writers, Peter Alexander, Dave Anderson, Emma Athena, Will Brendza, Rob Brezsny, Michael J. Casey, Sarah Haas, Jim Hightower, Dave Kirby, John Lehndorff, Rico Moore, Amanda Moutinho, Katie Rhodes, Leland Rucker, Dan Savage, Alan Sculley, Ryan Syrek, Christi Turner, Betsy Welch, Tom Winter, Gary Zeidner SALES AND MARKETING Market Development Manager, Kellie Robinson Account Executives, Matthew Fischer, Sami Wainscott Advertising Coordinator, Corey Basciano Mrs. Boulder Weekly, Mari Nevar PRODUCTION Art Director, Susan France Senior Graphic Designer, Mark Goodman CIRCULATION TEAM Dave Hastie, Dan Hill, George LaRoe, Jeffrey Lohrius, Elizabeth Ouslie, Rick Slama BUSINESS OFFICE Bookkeeper, Regina Campanella Founder/CEO, Stewart Sallo Editor-at-Large, Joel Dyer

May 6, 2021 Volume XXVIII, Number 38 As Boulder County's only independently owned newspaper, Boulder Weekly is dedicated to illuminating truth, advancing justice and protecting the First Amendment through ethical, no-holds-barred journalism and thought-provoking opinion writing. Free every Thursday since 1993, the Weekly also offers the county's most comprehensive arts and entertainment coverage. Read the print version, or visit boulderweekly. com. Boulder Weekly does not accept unsolicited editorial submissions. If you're interested in writing for the paper, please send queries to: editorial@boulderweekly.com. Any materials sent to Boulder Weekly become the property of the newspaper.

690 South Lashley Lane, Boulder, CO, 80305 p 303.494.5511 f 303.494.2585 editorial@boulderweekly.com www.boulderweekly.com Boulder Weekly is published every Thursday. No portion may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. © 2021 Boulder Weekly, Inc., all rights reserved.

Boulder Weekly welcomes your correspondence via email (letters@ boulderweekly.com) or the comments section of our website at www.boulderweekly.com. Preference will be given to short letters (under 300 words) that deal with recent stories or local issues, and letters may be edited for style, length and libel. Letters should include your name, address and telephone number for verification. We do not publish anonymous letters or those signed with pseudonyms. Letters become the property of Boulder Weekly and will be published on our website.

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‘Unhoused’ wins best podcast at annual Top of the Rockies contest

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oulder Weekly’s inaugural podcast, Unhoused, produced in collaboration with KGNU Community Radio, took home first place at the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists’ Top of the Rockies contest. BW competed in the Large Newsroom category (with 9-14 staff ) against news media from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Reporter Emma Athena, producer Angela K. Evans and editor Maeve Conrad share the prize. You can find the podcast at boulderweekly.com/podcast. Emma Athena also won in the Best Solutions Journalism category for her written Unhoused multipart series analyzing how COVID-19 changed the conversation around homelessness solutions in Boulder County and across the country. And she was awarded third place in Extended Coverage for her four-part series analyzing Boulder’s electronic petitioning system and the future of direct democracy in 2020. Reporting for both of these series was made possible, in part, thanks to the Solutions Journalism Network.

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BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


Asylum seekers need compassion, not surveillance by Brian Fauver

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hen President Biden released his budget on April 9, a little-known part of it hit very close to home for me. I recently accompanied two asylum seekers as they navigated our inhumane immigration system. I hosted them in my small, two-bedroom condo and learned about the torture they were fleeing. They would face certain death if deported. As I walked with them, they were placed into an “Alternatives to Detention” (ATD) program. That dehumanizing, punitive program is slated for an increase under President Biden’s proposed 2021 budget. I am all too familiar with what “Alternatives to Detention” really looks like. BI Incorporated, the forprofit corporation running the ATD program, is headquartered in my backyard here in Boulder County. BI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the GEO Group, one of the country’s largest and most notorious private prison companies, and specializes in electronic monitoring and GPS tracking systems. It has been profiting from people’s pain and our tax dollars since 2004, when it received the sole contract from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to run the ATD Intensive Supervision Appearance Program. It has since received four contracts for this program, which is run nationwide. The Boulder Daily Camera reported that as of 2018, BI had received half a billion tax dollars for this program. These ATD programs are unnecessary and immoral. Ethical, effective and cheaper not-for-profit community-based models already exist, keep us all safe and respect people’s human rights. These models could quickly scale up if the Biden administration redirected resources toward them. Community-based models support integration into community and attendance at complex legal proceedings. Biden could also redirect resources in the foreign policy realm

toward addressing the root causes of migration instead of investing in harmful ATD programs. I know community-based programs work because I decided to sponsor two trans women who were going through the immigration system. I did this because it was the moral thing to do, the same as my ancestors did for anyone fleeing war or terror. I watched as my community came forward to help two vulnerable immigrants find clothing, medical care, mental health care, legal assistance, English classes, food and ultimately work and a supportive community. With support, both women have made it through the intimidating, abusive and frightening system to the other side. Now they are both working and enjoying life with their community in Denver, awaiting their court dates. The data shows that 92% of people in community-based programs — without surveillance or threats — show up for their court dates, just like my two friends. ATD programs are a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. Not only are they an unnecessary waste of our tax dollars, but they cause real harm. Within the ATD program run by BI, immigrants are subject to constant surveillance and limited mobility, threatened with deportation, bullied by BI staff, interrogated on personal information without lawyers present and provided with incorrect information about the legal system and their rights. BI case managers made it clear that they are in complete control over our friends’ lives — when/if they get their work permits, when they get their ankle bracelets removed and whether or not they get deported. BI staff use their supposed authority to exert power and control over immigrants. When I first became aware of BI’s ATD and started looking into this, I asked myself why do we do this to people who are coming here, fleeing see GUEST COLUMN Page 6

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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Fear and the depleted Colorado River by George Sibley

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ome Colorado River tribulations today remind me of a folk story: A young man went to visit his fiancée and found the family trembling and weeping. They pointed to the ceiling where an axe was embedded in a rafter. “That could fall,” the father quavered. “It could kill someone!” Puzzled, the young man climbed onto a chair, and pulled the axe out of the rafter. Everyone fell all over themselves thanking him. But he quickly broke off the engagement, concerned that such inanity might be inheritable. This resembles ongoing ditherings over the 1922 Colorado River Compact, a 99-year-old agreement among the seven states through which the Colorado River meanders, on how the consumptive use of the river’s water should be divided to give each state a fair share. The agreement was necessary to get federal participation (money) to build dams to control the erratic river. The best they were able to do, given the sketchy information they had about each state’s future development and also about the flow of the river, was to divide the river into two “basins” around the natural divide of the Colorado River canyons: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico in the Upper Basin; and California, Arizona and Nevada in MAY 6, 2021

the Lower Basin. Each basin would get to consume 7.5 million acre-feet of the river’s water. This placed a responsibility on the Upper Basin states to “not cause the flow of the river at Lees Ferry (the measuring point in the canyons) to be depleted” below the Lower Basin’s share. A generous reading of that lawyerly clause in the Compact would say the upper states should just be careful that their water development doesn’t dip into the lower states’ allocation. A less generous reading would say that if for any reason the flow at Lees Ferry fell below the average of 7.5 million acre-feet — whether it were due to over-appropriation by the upper states or to a natural cause like a 20-year headwaters drought — the lower states would place a call on the upper states, which would have to cut back their own uses and send their water downriver, whether they “caused” the shortage or not. To maintain that flow in a drought, the upper states would bear the full pain of the drought for the whole river. Guess which interpretation the upper states chose for their own 1948 compact? Never mind that a Compact call from California (for its share of water) is nowhere mentioned see WRITERS ON THE RANGE Page 6

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GUEST COLUMN from Page 5

violence in their own countries and just seeking safety? Now I understand that the cruelty is the point. In 1994 the U.S. knowingly constructed a border wall meant to funnel people into the deadly desert as a deterrent. As a result, thousands have perished. Each year administrations from both parties invest more and more money in policies that are now widely viewed and accepted as a failure to deter migration. Yet we still pursue these dehumanizing and deadly policies, demonstrating our nation’s disregard and racist view that the value of your life is dependent on where you are born and the color of your skin. ATD has evolved into one of the final steps of our racist asylum and migration system, subjecting our longterm neighbors and recently arrived siblings to one more humiliation. My friends’ success came in spite of the ATD constraints placed on them by BI staff members. The BI ATD program grew out of the worst aspects of our criminal legal system and is a

clear example of a capitalist profit model run amuck. We have an opportunity under the Biden administration to break the cycle of racist and inhumane treatment of immigrants. We have an opportunity to show the world that our values are to treat each person with dignity and care and respect. We have an opportunity to demonstrate kindness and compassion. Let’s get this right and reinvest our tax dollars into community-based, not-for-profit supports and addressing the root causes of migration. Brian Fauver is a lifelong Colorado resident who works for the Colorado Department of Transportation specializing in environmental laws and regulations. He is part of the Colorado network of asylum hosts, and volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee to help trans folks in detention in Aurora. This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

WRITERS ON THE RANGE from Page 5

in the 1922 Compact. The axe was planted in the rafter. They might better have asked how the 1922 Compact creators themselves envisioned the unknown future. The transcripts of the 27 Compact meetings show that the seven state commissioners and their federal chairman Herbert Hoover were concerned, as late as their 21st meeting, that they did not really know enough then about the river’s flows to make a permanent equitable division of the waters. Hoover summarized their concern, and their intent: “We make now, for lack of a better word, a temporary equitable division,” leaving the further apportionment of the river’s use “to the hands of those men who may come after us, possessed of a far greater fund of information.” They even included in the Compact (Article VI) instructions for reconvening to consider “claims or controversy... over the meaning or performance of any of the terms of this compact.” By the drought years of the 1930s, it was already obvious that the 7.5 million acre-feet Compact allocations were unrealistic. That would have been a logical time for the upper states to 6

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pull the axe out of the rafter, before the river was so fully developed. But they didn’t, and as the Compact began to take on the aura of something carved in stone on a holy mountain, the fear of the “Compact call” gradually descended into expensive paranoia. The vastly expensive 24 million acre-feet of storage in Powell Reservoir just upstream from Lees Ferry was created to fulfill the upper Basin’s self-assumed “delivery obligation,” come hell or low water. But now, hellish low water has come to Powell, and upper states are developing expensive “demand management” programs whereby someone yet unspecified would pay ranchers to fallow fields so their water can be “banked” in Powell against the dreaded “Compact call.” The seven states are now — finally — initiating negotiations on a more reality-based governance of the Colorado River. Let’s hope they have the good sense to pull that axe out of the rafters before negotiating fair water use under it. This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


Beautiful on its own

Boulder housing authorities employ human-focused design to improve outcomes for affordable housing residents

by Caitlin Rockett, photos by John R. Ford 30PEARL (PICTURED ABOVE) is one of Boulder’s newest mixedincome neighborhoods, offering studio to three-bedroom units to people between 30 and 60% of the AMI. Laura Sheinbaum (above right) of Boulder Housing Partners gives a tour of 30Pearl.

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fter leading the way up three flights of stairs, Laura Sheinbaum opens the door of an empty two-bedroom corner apartment at 30Pearl, one of Boulder’s newest mixed-use neighborhoods. “I think walking in here, you probably wouldn’t know it’s affordable at all,” Sheinbaum says as we move through the open plan kitchen and living room. Mid-day sun floods south- and west-facing windows, bouncing off ash-oak laminate flooring and eggshell walls. Sheinbaum is the director of real estate development at Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), the City’s housing authority that owns and manages about 33% of the affordable housing stock in Boulder. “I think the only real difference that you might see in a brand new market rate rental is a solid surface countertop and maybe a tiled backsplash,” she adds. At 870 square feet, the unit’s bedrooms are narrow, but forgivable when paired with a roomy bathroom, EnergyStar kitchen appliances, inunit washer and dryer, ample closet space (“Kayak closets,” Sheinbaum says, plus an extra 5-by-8 storage room) and an amount of natural lighting rarely seen outside of the most meticulously crafted Instagram posts. Community rooms, rooftop MAY 6, 2021

decks and play areas also add space and opportunities for community. In short, it’s a beautiful apartment. But more than that, 30Pearl is in an ideal place for affordable housing, right in the middle of Boulder Junction, a pedestrian-oriented district with regional transit connections and public spaces. The three buildings that make up 30Pearl host a mix of affordable rental (120, with more to come later) and ownership units, plus the city’s first rent-capped retail space and first integrated housing for adults with developmental disabilities. There are units available for permanently supportive housing for formerly unhoused residents, and market rate units in nearby parcels still under development. After a scramble to pull the project together when the original developer pulled out in 2018, 30Pearl now stands as a testament to progressive affordable housing design — design that not only provides residents with an attractive, safe place to live, but also with a leg up, whether that’s the ability to save money to purchase a home, live in a high-performing school district or simply have stable housing. The mix of incomes in the neighborhood avoids the traditional practice of lumping affordable housing together, which often equates to isolating lower-income communities. The prime location offers easy access I

to transportation, with EcoPasses for all residents, grocery stores within walking distance and on-site job training for residents with developmental disabilities. Yet nothing on the outside or inside suggests these units are deeply affordable. “The intent is for there not to be a distinction, necessarily, between affordable housing design and just good multi-family design,” Sheinbaum says. But what constitutes great affordable housing design has changed over the decades. Where hulking concrete structures — Cabrini-Green in Chicago, Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis — were once seen as economic answers to the affordability crisis, time has proven such designs do little in the way of elevating the lives of residents. There is mounting evidence that the buildings we live in play a significant role in our physical health, mental well-being, economic prosperity and community cohesion. And despite political and financial constraints, not to mention good oldfashioned NIMBYism, affordable housing developers in Boulder County (and in other areas of the country) have attempted to increase the positive impact of their housing projects through human-focused design: by mixing incomes within developments, incorporating pro-

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


gramming on-site, implementing innovative building materials and systems, and cultivating a sense of community.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

“Boulder is ostensibly an island,” Sheinbaum says as we stand on the north side of 30Pearl, the sounds of construction occasionally dominating our conversation. “We have a green space outerbelt, which is fantastic. We have a height restriction. We have such a beautiful location and all the open space is great, but it’s created an island — we’re landlocked. We don’t have the ability to expand up or out, so the price of land, the price of real estate in Boulder, has nowhere to go but up.” Viewed in a certain light, the problem forces a positive outcome: mixing incomes within a single project, as is the case with 30Pearl. The development provides units for individuals and families between 30 and 60% of the area median income (AMI), as well as for formerly unhoused individuals and those with developmental disabilities. BHP has sold parcels of the adjacent property to private developers for market rate rentals, meaning 30Pearl is in an income-diverse neighborhood. “The important thing, I think, is to provide every resident with opportunities and access to opportunities,” said Kathy Korgan, an architect who specializes in multi-family housing, during a panel on community-based design at the 2015 American Institute of Architects conference. “And there’s a lot of ways to achieve that. ... Having said that, I think it’s really important not to have large areas of segregated incomes and segregated opportunities.” From the developer’s standpoint, mixed-income projects offer some perks. They work best in areas with a healthy demand for market-rate units, and provide more options for land-crunched places like Boulder to incorporate much-needed affordable housing across a spectrum of incomes in one place. Mixed developments can also help housing agencies with the perennial issue of closing the gap on financing by allowing them to sell parcels of land or a percentage of units for market-rate development. However, the benefit of mixed-income developments for residents is less obvious. In theory, mixedincome communities offer low-income residents a chance to move up the socioeconomic ladder and lead healthier lives. But research over the years suggests that benefits for residents may be somewhat softer and less quantifiable. In a 2010 literature review for the Urban Institute, researchers found that benefits for lowincome families living in “mixed-income developments and income-diverse areas include those related to place, such as improved housing quality, increased safety, and improved property management, and improved mental health from a reduction in stress.” But, “whether or not low-income families have benefited economically or educationally is contestBOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

ed,” the report continues. “Research has provided evidence that both bolsters and challenges claims that living in mixed-income developments and income-diverse neighborhoods will lead to increased family self-sufficiency and better educational outcomes for children.” For BHP, Sheinbaum says there are “things that we incorporate into our design that do help with the potential for economic mobility, but I think that we would consider it just good design, not design intended for economic mobility.” “Everyone has their own path,” she says. “We try not to impose on people that there is someplace they need to get to.”

Much of the heated debate around mixedincome developments centers on the destruction of poorly maintained, socioeconomically isolated highrise structures like Cabrini-Green in Chicago. While many residents of Cabrini-Green were relocated into new mixed-use developments in the area, many more were permanently displaced, a story captured in the documentary 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green. The demolition of Cabrini-Green and construction of mixed-income housing raised questions around gentrification and just how much people from vastly different income brackets will interact, even when put in close proximity to one another. Which is not to say that mixed-income developments provide no benefits to residents. In a place like Boulder, where land is limited and opposition to development of any kind, let alone affordable housing, can be strong among neighboring residents and homeowners, mixed-income developments can soften the blow, so to speak, by including sleekly designed structures like 30Pearl adjacent to marketrate parcels that will attract higher-income residents. This setup can ensure stable affordable housing in a safe environment that naturally encourages good maintenance of the property. “The importance of the income mix may be less about social interaction with higher-income households and more about relieving the ongoing safety and security concerns that impede lower-income residents’ economic progress,” writes Archana Pyati for Housing Matters (an initiative by the Urban Institute). Norrie Boyd, interim director for Boulder County Housing Authority (BCHA), emphasizes I

the importance of a continuum of housing within mixed developments, such as with Aspinwall at Josephine Commons in Lafayette. Aspinwall features affordable town homes and duplexes ranging in size from one bedroom to four bedrooms for individuals and families, while Josephine Commons, on the same parcel, offers affordable senior housing. The developments are connected by shared green spaces and a community center. “Having family units next to senior units allows for generational programming and activities, and it also allows some folks to have sort of a continuum of housing,” Boyd says. “[Residents] might start out living in a duplex with stairs and having a couple of levels and then want to move into something with an elevator that’s 100% ADA-accessible and have more common areas that are easy to access for seniors, indoors as well as outdoors.” Local Housing Solutions, a non-partisan website developed through the National Community of Practice on Local Housing Policy, lays out a number of ways that developers — whether they’re in Boulder or Chicago or elsewhere — can ensure successful mixedincome developments, including tenant composition and ratio of extremely low-income households to relatively higher income households; ensuring the creation of larger units for families with children who may have longer-term affordability needs; and, perhaps most importantly, offering support services to those who need them: “...[H]aving higher-income neighbors does not necessarily lead to the formation of relationships across income groups that promote economic mobility for lower-income households,” the organization writes in a brief on developing mixedincome housing. “Rather than relying on newlyforged social connections to help advance the careers of assisted-housing residents, the community may wish to offer career guidance and training and other supports to help low-income residents get ahead.”

PROVIDING PROGRAMMING

According to Carrie Makarewicz, an associate professor in the Department of Planning and Design in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver, there are three categories to focus on when discussing design of affordable housing: quality of location; how well it is designed for long-term accommodation of families of varying sizes; and whether it offers the kind of services residents need. Makarewicz has done studies on affordable housing in Oakland, Denver and Boulder. In 2017, She and her team conducted a “before-after affordable housing” study for two housing authorities (BHP and BCHA) on six sites, including Aspinwall at Josephine Commons and other sites such as Broadway East, a Section 8 Community in Boulder,

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see DESIGN Page 10

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DESIGN from Page 9

which uses the Housing Plus model to provide services to residents. “[BHP] tries to use this Housing Plus model in some but not all of their developments, depending on the income range and what kind of funding they have,” Makarewicz says. “But with Housing Plus they try to include day care on site, computer labs that may be multi-purpose, adult education centers, resume help. Sometimes they’ll get tax providers located [on-site] during the tax season.” Components like holiday programming can act as a way to bring residents together and foster a sense of community, as well. “In my research in East Oakland ... I talked to some women who said, ‘We had Native American celebrations and celebrations of Latin culture, and I loved learning about my neighbors’ culture,’” Makarewicz says. Sheinbaum says partnerships between housing authorities like BHP and other social service organizations allow each to focus on their strengths. “We’re not social service providers, we’re housers,” she says of BHP, “but we’ll partner with other organizations. .. So they’ll use the community center that we have invested in and built, but [the social service organization] gets prioritization services out of that facility. And that works great because it keeps us from having to staff it and they can do what they do best.” At the Broadway East Community Center there’s after school programming in coordination with I Have A Dream Foundation, as well as computer labs and space for children to relax and have a snack after school, or get help with schoolwork. And while the Housing Plus model certainly isn’t exclusive to housing authorities like BHP, Sheinbaum says private developers of affordable housing can rarely make these kinds of necessary community organization connections. “There are other developers who do affordable housing in Boulder, and they do beautiful work, but this sort of provision of space for services, the connection to services, is a value add that BHP provides as opposed to what a private developer would do. Typically they’re not going to have that same investment in the resident piece.” While not every affordable housing development in Boulder needs to include supportive services such as child care, tax preparation or job training, several of the newest additions to the county’s housing stock do just that. 30Pearl’s integrated housing for adults with developmental disabilities (known as the Independent Living Community) includes job training at a still-in-development retail space that will be managed by Ramble On Pearl, a nonprofit social enterprise supporting adults with developmental disabilities. 10

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In Longmont, The Spoke on Coffman will likewise provide a range of services. When construction is complete around March 2022, the mixed-use neighborhood of affordable rental homes will consist of 73 one- to three-bedroom apartments. Located across the street from the St. Vrain Community Hub, residents of The Spoke will have easy, integrated access to a wide range of services and benefits, including health coverage, food, child care assistance, financial coaching, immunizations, employment supports, mental health services, family and children services, and a cafe space that will act as a workforce training center for those looking to build job skills.

MATERIALS MATTER

No discussion around the design of affordable housing would be complete without an examination of building materials and innovative systems for heating, cooling and sustainability. While these may seem removed from the human component of the developments, strategic use of innovative building techniques, like off-site construction and alternative materials, can lead to cost savings that developers can pass on to residents. “There’s been a lot of buzz about off-site construction, a term that refers to both modular housing units and flatpacked elements such as structural insulated panels,” write Hannah Hoyt and Jenny Schuetz in a 2020 series on affordable housing design for the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. “Off-site construction promises big benefits (higher-quality construction, reduced time lines and lower costs), yet it is not widely used for multifamily housing in the U.S., outside some of the costliest coastal markets.” There are challenges, the authors write, to applying these techniques: the time it takes to adapt to a new building process can be daunting; the expense of moving off-site construction components can be more than it’s worth; knowing when modular construction is right — for small units rather than large apartments; and recognizing the staging and space needed to piece together modular construction can be nearly impossible in dense urban settings. BCHA has used prefabricated materials on several of its most recent projects, including at Josephine Commons in Lafayette, Kestrel Housing in Louisville, and Tungsten Village, a 26-unit development for low- and moderateincome residents, in Nederland. BCHA Senior Planner Justin Lightfield says that 30% of the building at Tungsten Village was prefabricated. “That includes a lot of the walls that were built off site, as well as a lot of the wood floors,” MAY 6, 2021

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he says. “That helped us, especially in that climate where we do lose quite a few months of construction time due to the weather up there.” Tungsten Village is the Town of Nederland’s first low-income housing tax credit project. Using geothermal systems that use the constant temperature of the Earth to heat and cool units (instead of forced air), solar panels, high-efficiency windows and no natural gas, Boyd says BCHA has found “the formula for hitting really low utility costs and energy use.” Not all of these options work at every development, but experience has helped BCHA know what could work best where. But because County policy often differs from City policy where things like energy requirements are concerned, Sheinbaum says BHP hasn’t had quite as much luck with using geothermal systems or as high a percentage of modular components. “We priced out geothermal systems and haven’t been able to make it work financially,” she says. “In terms of prefab, there’s different levels of it. At [30Pearl] we did a lot of panelization — we found that to be really cost effective. But so far the delta is still higher for a fully modular build as opposed to doing sort of a hybrid.”

THE TAKEAWAY

There’s no panacea for creating human-focused, cost effective affordable housing design, particularly as federal, state and local policies create layers of complex funding and requirements to navigate. But in Hoyt and Schuetz’s interviews with developers, contractors and architects for Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, they found a smattering of factors that can help teams deliver better projects: reduced parking requirements; zoning that doesn’t prohibit efficiently sized projects (rules such as maximum building height or open space zoning in Boulder); and shorter, simpler, more transparent review processes. But much of this is out of the hands of developers like BCHA and BHP, and fully in the hands of local government officials... and area residents who influence them. “Single-family zoning is exclusive, and so in this town exclusivity leads to a lack of diversity,” Sheinbaum says. She sees her work as a benefit to the whole community, not just to those who need affordable housing. “When I retire, I want somebody to say something nice about me, something like, ‘She made Boulder a little more beautiful.” she says. “Not because it’s affordable, but just because the work that I’m doing is making things more beautiful in the city. I think the ultimate compliment is when affordable housing is beautiful on its own.” This is the second part of a series on affordable housing funded by a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network. If you currently live or have experience with Boulder County’s affordable housing programs, we want to hear from you. Please email editorial@boulderweekly.com, with “affordable housing” as the subject line. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


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MAY 6, 2021

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CO LO R A D O

HAZEL is My Liqu or Store tu S dent an Energy Honor


Six weeks since the shooting, community trauma expected to persist by Angela K. Evans

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or some, it may be a pervasive sense of hyper-vigilance, anxiety, being on edge and on high alert, especially when going into public spaces. Others may be irritable and overwhelmed by day-to-day life. For others, sadness, a sense of loss and anger are all a part of it. As is avoidance — checking out, using more substances, binge-watching TV — and disconnecting — withdrawing from others and turning inwards. For me, it was the constant cacophony of sirens in my head several nights in a row, lulling me to sleep one minute, startling me awake the next. The image, on repeat in my mind’s eye, of red and blue lights circling on the office wall through the windows. Then, once sleep became accessible, there was the lack of motivation, a sense of helplessness and even guilt for feeling so impacted despite the fact I wasn’t at King Soopers that day. “All of that is part of this picture of a community trauma response,” says Janine D’Anniballe, director of trauma services at Mental Health Partners (MHP). “I think it is important to keep reminding the community that we don’t need to be over this. ... I think we need to remember that the trauma impact lingers long after it’s out of the headline.” It’s been six weeks since the shooting in the grocery store on Table Mesa; while the event has (mostly) left the national conversation and it may seem like most people have moved on, the traumatic impacts of that day are still rippling throughout the Boulder community. And it’s expected to continue in the months, even years to come, as the community processes and continues to heal. “Truly after a crisis event, it’s usually three weeks to six weeks later that it actually starts to occur to people what even happened,” says Amie Leigh, director of public health initiatives at Somatic Experiencing Institute (SEI). Formerly the SE Trauma

Institute, SEI is a Boulder-based nonprofit that trains people in trauma resolution methods in 39 countries, with Leigh specifically focusing on disasters, crises and catastrophes. Directly after an incident like the shooting at King Soopers, she says, the community tends to freeze in shock for a while, before entering a period of survival energy of either fight or flight. But as the national conversation and the flurry of news covering the event dies down, “What’s left in the wake,” she says, “is all the survivors in the community start to go into a bewilderment of how important is this event? Does the world care? Do we care? What does our care look like now?” Leigh says. “[This] period is when the most strength can come in and the community makes meaning, gets together in a sense of growth, not just in a sense of anger, and they move through that grief a little bit together.” Community memorials and gathering places are one way to heal, Leigh says, places like the fence covered in flowers outside the store that allow people to connect with each other. Likewise, the Boulder Strong Resource Center on the second floor of the Chase Bank at the Table Mesa Shopping Center has also been established. Partnering with Kroger, which owns King Soopers, MHP developed the Center to provide immediate crisis counseling and other services to store associates, their families and shoppers who were at the store that day, as well as for employees and families of the approximately 50 other stores in the shopping center. But in the weeks since, the Center has expanded to serve the entire community. In the first three weeks of April, 273 people came through the Center for support of some kind, says Kevin Braney, the lead of MHP’s incident command team. “With the other shootings that have occurred in Colorado, it’s the mental health centers that end up car-

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ON THE BILL: Coping in the Aftermath of Trauma: A Community Conversation in Response to the Mass Shooting in Boulder hosted by Mental Health Partners. 6 p.m. Thursday, May 6, Zoom. Registration required:. eventbrite.com/e/coping-in-the-aftermath-of-trauma-tickets-152904961857/

rying this long-term,” he says. “What we’re hearing from [those] that have been through this is: This is not a marathon, it’s an ultra-marathon.” In Aurora, for example, the Aurora Mental Health Center (AuMHC) opened the Aurora Strong Resilience Center in 2013, a year after the Aurora Theater shooting (the delay due primarily to funding) and didn’t close it until 2019. “The mental health part of the response goes on for years as people walk their different paths towards their healing,” says Kirsten Anderson, vice president of clinical operations and disaster coordinator at AuMHC. “One thing we’ve been stressing a lot is how long the mental health needs go on and how that doesn’t go away in a year or two. But people will continue to surface many years down the road and really need to get some therapeutic support for what they’re going through.” While it was open, the Resilience Center created a space for community gathering, for people who probably didn’t know each other before the shooting, but now had a common experience they were seeking to understand and process. It was also open to the entire community, as the ripple effects of the trauma go well beyond people who were at the theater that night, or were somehow peripherally connected to victims, survivors or the shooter. The same goes for the Boulder community, whether or not people were at the King Soopers on March 22. “This trauma is going to extend well beyond the people that were in the store that day,” Braney says. “We think of it in terms of those concentric circles that just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger… And I would say in the last week or so, about 60% of the people that have been coming through the center have been [other South Boulder] community members.” Braney, D’Anniballe and Leigh all expect the need for such resources MAY 6, 2021

within the community to continue. In the immediate aftermath, SEI partnered with Boulder-based Therapy Aid, a nonprofit birthed out of the pandemic to offer free and low-cost counseling to essential workers, to provide free crises counseling for the community. SEI also held a virtual crisis counseling training session with 47 local therapists, and Therapy Aid continues to facilitate four free sessions of counseling for anyone in the community who needs it. And the Boulder Strong Resource Center plans to remain open, offering free resources and mental health support, as long as the community deems it necessary, “We can expect the healing to be non-linear,” D’Anniballe says. “So some days we feel OK and resourced and grounded as a community. And then we, particularly around trigger events of the trauma, start to feel like, Oh my goodness, the trauma is happening all over again.” And there’s always the possibility for trigger events: another mass shooting, updates on the criminal case involving the shooter, the start of a trial, anniversaries of the event or in the victims’ lives. In the days, weeks and months ahead, D’Anniballe encourages us as a community to listen to each other and validate what others are going through, being careful not to minimize another person’s experience or provide quick fixes that may actually do more harm than good. “There’s also a large number of people out there who are suffering in ways that they may not even be aware of just yet. Folks who might be aggravated or frustrated and not clear why,” Braney adds. “What we keep saying over and over here is: Everyone’s going to be on their own journey to heal from this, and we’re going to be with them and support them through it. And when people are ready to talk, they will. And if they’re not, we’ll be there for them when they are.” I

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BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


Pandemic drives Rocky Flats recreation, as local officials support greenway construction despite activist concerns by Corinne Neustadter

CORINNE NEUSTADTER

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uring the Cold War, the Rocky Flats Plant south of Boulder produced plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons. But the pristine beauty of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, which surrounds the land on which the plant was located and is a Superfund site, bears no scars of its atomic past, and continues to draw visitors to the recreational site. An estimated 40,000-50,000 people visited the Refuge this year, up from 20,00030,000 visitors before the pandemic. “With local travel restrictions last spring, we saw a jump in visitors as people weren’t able to hike in the mountains or go out of state for vacations, (which) really allowed us to bloom in terms of meeting recreational usage demands,” says Sarah Metzer, the Refuge’s visitor services manager. But for longtime Arvada resident Tiffany Hansen, Rocky Flats’ scenery isn’t worth the risks. “I don’t believe that Rocky Flats should be open for recreational use,” she says. As the COVID-19 pandemic has driven record numbers of people into Colorado’s outdoors, local residents are concerned about increased visitation at the Refuge, continuing debates about its complex past and future. Meanwhile, Boulder County Commissioners have greenlighted work on the Rocky Mountain Greenway Trail, which plans to connect the Refuge with other nearby refuges and eventually Rocky Mountain National Park. The Refuge has faced significant opposition since it opened, with the nearby Town of Superior filing a federal lawsuit to delay its opening over safety concerns. Additionally, seven Denver-area school districts have banned field trips to the Refuge, citing the lack of expert consensus on its health impacts. During production, thousands of pounds of plutonium went missing at Rocky Flats, with its ultimate decadelong cleanup falling short of the Department of Energy’s original 65-year recommendation, concerning local residents over the safety at the now-wildlife Refuge.

Many residents emphasize that the 24,100-year half-life of plutonium — or the time it takes for half of the element’s isotopes to lose radioactivity — signifies the area will be dangerous for thousands of years. Plutonium emits alpha radiation particles that can cause lung damage if inhaled, which could be a hazard for Refuge visitors. “As individual citizens, we have to be more responsible for our health and safety,” says Hansen, who grew up three miles from the site. She founded the advocacy group Rocky Flats Downwinders after personally experiencing health problems often associated with nuclear fallout. Through Rocky Flats Downwinders, she actively informs people about the health risks of living near Rocky Flats so they can make their own decisions about whether they want to live, recreate or raise children in the area. “We should stop greenwashing Rocky Flats — we know we don’t know enough about its health impacts,” she says. “While I understand that neighborhoods around it want to normalize their experience and not be reminded of the Superfund site next to them, everyone needs to know about what it originally was.” The Refuge currently offers four multi-use trails but hopes to develop its recreational infrastructure in the next few years, including expanding the Greenway Trail. Metzer hopes that by stressing the safety of recreating at the Refuge, a new chapter can be written for Rocky Flats. “The hiking and biking trails, the biodiversity of the Refuge are stunning,” Metzer says. “If we educate people about the testing that’s been done, we can show people that it’s safe to work and play here, which lessens the area’s negative connotations.” While officials maintain it will be safe for visitors to use, surrounding com-

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The pandemic brought more people to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, and plan expansion of the area’s recreational offerings, some activists and community members are concerned about the potential health impacts of previous plutonium use at the Rocky Flats Plant.

munities face concerns that the Greenway Trail could expose users to radiation across the Front Range. On April 6, the Boulder County Board of Commissioners held a hearing to fund underpasses expanding the greenway into the county’s trail system and received 180 pages of public comments via email. Lilli Warren, a nuclear guardianship intern at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, encouraged residents to send in public commentary before the meeting. “In an ideal world, I think the Rocky Mountain Greenway is a good idea, just not yet,” Warren says. “In 2003, the Department of Energy estimated it would take 65 years to clean up the area, but two years later simply said it was cleaned up. The government messed up, and they need to take accountability to make it safer.” Despite extensive public commentary, the commissioners, voting 2-1 without Matt Jones’ support, decided to approve funding for the underpasses. “I was really disappointed and frustrated ... the Commissioners made the decision based on the information as best as they could, but the whole process felt anti-democratic in how they presented information,” Warren says, noting the board only featured presentations in favor of the greenway. (There was no verbal public comment at the meeting.) MAY 6, 2021

On April 13, Boulder City Council directed staff to also proceed with plans for the greenway without public comment. As recreational usage of the Refuge increases, it is likely that other surrounding communities will make decisions about their participation in the greenway. For her part, Metzer hopes to educate new visitors at the Refuge by developing more interpretive opportunities that honor the site’s heritage. “We can acknowledge what happened but also recognize the tremendous opportunity to protect one of the largest remaining tracts left of the Xeric tallgrass prairie, an endangered ecosystem,” she says. “When we think about history and look towards the future, we’re really focused on being good stewards and benefitting the community.” To better educate area residents, Hansen is beginning to meet with local representatives to voice support for a formal memorial to commemorate those impacted by Rocky Flats that doesn’t require visiting the Refuge. “We need to recognize the sacrifices that local communities made in the name of national security,” Hansen says. “To not have any signage at all indicating its history is really something else.” Despite Rocky Flats’ rare, picturesque landscapes, its radioactive legacy will extend beyond increased outdoor usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, proving its soaring vistas and wide-open spaces will continue to be debated as it continues to attract visitors. I

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TARA GRACER

An unintentional self-portrait Boulder’s Magic Beans return with third studio album

by Katie Rhodes ON THE BILL: Slice of

Life, Magic Beans’ third studio album, was released on April 30 and is available for purchase at magicbeansmusic.com

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oulder’s self-proclaimed non-genre-conforming band Magic Beans has been around the block once or twice — after 10 years together, their sound has continued to evolve and change as they have, maturing from its early stages into a well-aged outlet for artistic expression. Now, after more than a year off the road and ample time spent cutting music in a home studio, Magic Beans is back with a new record that the band dubbed their “unintentional self-portrait.” When asked about the new music during a phone interview last week, Magic Beans’ lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Hachey cut through the line with a triumphant and enthusiastic, “Slice of Life, baby!” This is, of course, the name of the new 14-track album, and true to its name, the record incorporates cross-sections of many different styles to cultivate a colorful and eclectic mix of musical showmanship. “With this new album, we tried not to overthink it,” Hachey says. “We’ve never wanted to restrict ourselves to one singular genre, and this record really holds that intention. With each release we hone in more on our sound, and the early influences we relied on fall away. Now the music is just coming from us. As young men growing up, as we’ve become more mature, we understand more what we want out of our art and what we want to say.” The album’s sound ranges from crackly vinyl funk to pedal steel guitar, bluegrass to electronic MAY 6, 2021

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drums and synths. They borrowed many different sounds to create something new for themselves; It’s like a cork board, tour manager Austin Koontz says, or collage art — perhaps a nod to Slice of Life’s album cover. Magic Beans’ roots run deep in Boulder, the town of their inception, where Hachey, Casey TARA GRACER

Russell (keyboard and vocals), Chris Duffy (bass and vocals) and Cody Wales (drums) first started jamming together in their 20s. “We’ve been lucky enough to weave ourselves into the fabric of our fans’ lives and the music scene here,” Hachey says. “They’ve grown up with us all these years, and been a part of the experience.” BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


In the early days, the band lived together in a house up Four Mile Canyon, which quickly became a hub for showcasing their musical stylings. Before the group even had a name, the boys would create Facebook events for their “shows,” picking folks up in rented school busses at the (now defunct) Goose Bar and shuttling them up to the house for a good old fashioned living room jam session — perhaps cracking a cold one or two along the way. Eventually Hachey, who was at the time a marketing intern at the Fox Theatre, got the band a slot to play, and they’ve been rolling with it ever since. “We just love music,” Hachey says. “We have had so many influences. We love old soul and R&B, P-Funk and Prince! He’s huge for us. A few members including myself are from Minnesota, so he’s sort of one of our unofficial heroes.” The band has also evolved in ways apart from just their sound. Around nine years ago they launched BeanStalk, a music festival that started small and has now become a big part of Boulder’s burgeoning summer arts scene. The festival, which started as a place to showcase and launch new talent, has become a large-scale music event that mingles big names, like The String Cheese Incident, with lesser known bands in an effort to help usher them into the scene. Bringing in smaller bands to play with or right up against the big names, Hachey says, gives them an opportunity to prove they’re just as talented. Slice of Life is of particular importance to the band and all those who worked on it because, as Hachey says, the entire album was a home-grown, grassroots effort. The songs were recorded in his home studio with no third-party producers or studio rentals. The aformentioned Koontz, fan turned tour manager and videographer, collaged the album cover art. The only outside addition to the record was David Glasser, a mastering engineer whose accolades include work with The Grateful Dead. “We were able to spend all of last summer listening and editing and mixing the music to just where we wanted it,” Hachey says of the experience. “When you’re working with producers and recording studios, there’s usually a fire lit under your ass to get it done in a certain time frame, but because it was only us in our own studio we were able to just take our time and give our music the treatment it deserved.” It’s also a notably special record because the songs have never been heard before — this may seem the norm

when a band releases new music, but jam bands, Hachey reminds typically do things in reverse: songs are performed live many times in many iterations, and then end up on the records that follow, so fans are already familiar with them. However, this year, because of the pandemic and complete suspension of onthe-road tours, Magic Beans had the opportunity to try things a different way. “After 10 years, we’re ready to stick our flag down in Colorado and try to

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become even more a part of the music scene here,” Hachey says. “We’re a Boulder band through-and-through. Our first show was at the Fox Theatre, and the music styles of the town are steeped in our blood now. We’re proud of that heritage, and proud to represent Boulder.” For now, the band is jazzed about the new album, but is also looking to the future, patiently waiting to get back on the road and re-connect with fans. Until then, Hachey says, they’ll keep recording,

MAY 6, 2021

“This album really is just an amalgamation of our experiences,” Koontz says. “Everything came from us, and everything, from the album art to the music to the mixing, is an indecipherable part of our art for the first time. As hard as this year has been, we were given the time to slow down and make this [album] the way we wanted. The pandemic could have illuminated our weaknesses, but instead it emphasized our strengths and allowed us to grow more together.”

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PLAN

events

If your organization is planning an event of any kind, please email Caitlin at crockett@boulderweekly.com. COAL CREEK CLASSIC VIRTUAL DISC GOLF TOURNAMENT.

6 a.m.-8 p.m. May 6-9, Coal Creek Disc Golf Course, Erie Parkway. Tickets are $25-$45 (with adult and junior pricing). The Erie Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the Coal Creek Classic “Virtual” Disc Golf Tournament. All proceeds will benefit Erie Chamber’s Dave Stone College Scholarship. Purchase your entry and you will have until May 9 to play your tournament round in-person at Coal Creek Disc Golf Course. Record your score and then log it on our website so we can keep track of the scores. Receive a player pack, including a disc and other fun items. Prizes will be awarded. Divisions have been simplified for this fundraising event. Advanced Men/Women, Recreational Men/Women and several categories for Juniors by age.

BOULDER STARTUP WEEK 2021.

May 10-14, boulderstartupweek.com This past year has challenged startups, so it’s fitting that the theme for Boulder Startup Week (BSW) 2021 is resilience. BSW will run from May 10-14 as a fully digital conference. Participants can choose from over 20 tracks from product management to diversity and inclusion. Register to attend on Emamo to get the full schedule and all the latest updates.

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LENSES ON LOUISVILLE.

10 a.m. Saturday, May 8 (and (and Saturday, May 22), Louisville Historical Museum, 1001 Main St., Louisville, louisvilleco.gov Calling all citizen historians, photography enthusiasts and architecture lovers: The Louisville Historical Museum will be coordinating two events inviting photographers of all levels to help document contemporary Louisville for future generations. All ages welcome. May 8: Photograph commercial structures and artistic elements downtown. May 22: Photograph residences in the Miners Field neighborhood. If taking photos is not for you, you can still go on a historic preservation scavenger hunt and fill out a Historic Building Bingo card that will have you exploring Louisville neighborhoods. Pick up a Bingo card at the Louisville Public Library or at either of the photography events. Historic Preservation Planner Kim Bauer from the Louisville Planning Department, plus a member of the Louisville Historic Preservation Commission, will be on hand to share information and answer your questions about Louisville’s historic preservation program.

LONGMONT PUBLIC LIBRARY PRESENTS BLACK SMOKE AND BARBECUE WITH ADRIAN MILLER.

7 p.m. Thursday, May 6 via Webex. This event is free. Register: bit.ly/3gSP4Dv James Beard award-winning author Adrian Miller returns to the Longmont Library to talk about his new book, Black Smoke: African American and the United States of Barbecue. Miller is a food writer, recovering attorney and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver. In Black Smoke, Miller chronicles how Black barbecuers, pitmasters and restaurateurs helped develop this cornerstone of American foodways and how they are coming into their own today.

BEGINNING BIRD WATCHING AT SANDSTONE RANCH.

10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 8 (and Saturday, May 22), Sandstone Ranch, 3001 Sandstone Drive, Longmont, 303-774-4700. Learn the basics about bird watching: from how to use binoculars more efficiently, tips on identifying birds, to the most common ones you might find at Sandstone. This workshop will start indoors, depending on current COVID guidelines, and end with a walk around part of a loop trail. Dress for the weather and bring binoculars if you have them. Ages 10 and up: Free registration: $2/child, $4/adult suggested donation, collected at event.

MAY 6, 2021

BVSD PLANT SALE.

Noon-6 p.m. Friday, May 7; 8 a.m.-4p.m. Saturday, May 8; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 15, Arapahoe Ridge Greenhouse, 6600 Arapahoe Road, Boulder. Boulder Valley School District Food Services will host its annual plant and seed sale fundraiser, with more than 8,000 organically grown veggie plants, flowers and hanging baskets available for sale. All proceeds go toward nutrition and farm-toschool education programs for BVSD students. Masks and social distancing will be required. You can also place an online order for curbside pickup on May 11 or 13 by emailing Mary. Rochelle@bvsd.org.

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MOTHER’S DAY POPUP MINIMARKET WITH MOKSHA CHOCOLATE, PETALS FLOWERS AND COLORADO AROMATICS. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 8, Moksha, 2746 47th St., Boulder. For the very freshest flowers, chocolate and local skincare in a mini open-air market, check out the next Moksha tasting event at the factory in Boulder. Meet Petals, a female-owned local floral boutique, will have its flower cart set up as a bouquet bar. Colorado Aromatics, founded by farmer and biochemist Dr. Cindy Jones, will also have local farmto-skin products designed especially for the Rocky Mountain climate. Moms and those who love them, stop by the day before Mother’s Day for something new and exciting to celebrate spring in Boulder and female-owned local businesses.

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


THEATER

THEATER

CENTERSTAGE THEATER COMPANY PRESENTS ‘THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY.’

Cast performances: Light Cast, 7 p.m. May 7 and 2 p.m. May 8; Energy Cast, 7 p.m. May 8 and 2 p.m. May 9. CenterStage Theater Company presents multiple livestreams of The Theory of Relativity. Through a seemingly unrelated collection of songs, scenes and monologues, The Theory of Relativity introduces a compelling array of characters experiencing the joys and heartbreaks, the liaisons and losses, the inevitability and the wonder of human connection.

LIVE THEATER IS BACK, WITH PRODUCTIONS AROUND BOULDER COUNTY

BOULDER OPERA: ‘L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILEGES’ (‘THE CHILD AND THE SPELLS’).

BDT STAGE PRESENTS ‘FOREVER PLAID.’

VISUAL

May 7–June 27. Tickets are $64-$74.25, bdtstage.com. Once upon a time, there were four guys (Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie) who discovered they shared a love for music. Rehearsing in the basement of Smudge’s family’s plumbing supply company, they became “Forever Plaid.” On the way to their first big gig, the Plaids are broadsided by a school bus and killed instantly. In this moment, the story of Forever Plaid begins. Singing in close harmony, squabbling boyishly over the smallest intonations and executing their charmingly outlandish choreography with overzealous precision, the “Plaids” are a guaranteed smash, with a program of beloved songs and delightful patter to keep you rolling in the aisles when not humming along to some of the great nostalgic pop hits of the 1950s.

ARTS

5 p.m. May 7 and 8; 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday, May 9, The Spark, 4847 Pearl St., Suite B4, Boulder. Price: $25-$30. A lazy child has been grounded. Ordered to stay in his bedroom until dinner time, he takes out his anger on the animals and objects around him. He knocks over a tea service, torments a squirrel and a cat, tears up the tapestry and then his books. Suddenly, as if by magic, these innocent victims come to life and decide to get their revenge. With stage direction by Dana Kinney, and music direction by Steven Aguiló-Arbues, the opera is one hour long, sung in French with subtitles. Recommended for ages 6 and up. These performances will be semi-outdoor, with heating lamps, but please dress warmly. Face covering and social distancing are required at all times.

TRANSITIONAL EVIDENCE: DONA LAURITA.

6-9 p.m. Friday, May 7, Thistle Community Gallery in The Bus Stop Apartments, 600 Spine Road, Boulder. In Transitional Evidence, Colorado-based photographic artist Dona Laurita presents a series of ethereal images in a multimedia presentation that explores “the thin veil” between life and death and the emotions that often follow a shattering event. Using unique substrates, Dona’s images weave together text, lighting and moving visuals to create an unforgettable experience. Viewers are invited to experience the depths of grief with several components along with hints and glimpses of the promises that spring brings to us — death to rebirth.

HANDWEAVERS GUILD OF BOULDER PRESENTS JUDY NEWLAND — ABOUT CLOTH AND ME.

10 a.m. Monday, May 10 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, HGB Zoom Room, hgbsale.org/event/2021-program-may Culture and the environment are the two main topics Judy Newland addresses in her textile art. She has been working in textiles for more than 40 years as a maker and later as a textile historian. Her background in textile history and museum anthropology allows her to bring a deep cultural engagement to everything she produces. Newland believes the stories of our lives can be told through textiles and that culture and history can be explored through the study of textiles. May 10: Exploring the Meaning of Textiles Through Time and Place. May 11: Navajo Weaving – An Enduring Tradition.

BRICOLAGE GALLERY PRESENTS ‘MY LITTLE COMPANIONS.’

Through June 11, Art Parts Creative Reuse Center, 2870 Bluff St., Boulder. Stop by the Bricolage Gallery at Art Parts to see Eva Maier’s new sculpture exhibit. Her assemblages combine contrasting materials — ceramic and fiber, smooth and rough, hard and soft.

see EVENTS Page 20

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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WORDS

EVENTS from page 19

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poetry

In Grief, Take As Long a Road As You Need A poem in the wake of tragedy

by Deborah McNamara In grief: Take as long a road as you need, mingling with heartbreaking holy darkness giving space to each chasm calling for tending.

DEBORAH MCNAMARA

When emerging, coming up for breath hold firm in keeping light alive and well, find ways to live brightness and love in wake of unimaginable heartlessness. Do not succumb to pressure to let go too soon, but rather integrate: a broken heart held fast in present moment, shored up on inner resources to weather these storms.

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Enter these hearts of darkness, move through. Travel with homage through this portal, still recognizing abundant beauty being offered up in countless ways. This seeing: a lifeboat on which to cross the world. Deborah McNamara is a climate campaigns director with 350 Colorado, a mother of three young boys in Boulder, and author of The Invitation of Motherhood: Uncovering the Spiritual Lessons of Parenting.

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BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


BY DAN SAVAGE Dear Dan: You’ve said that everyone is entitled to a “zone of erotic autonomy.” I was wondering if you thought that “zone” extends to sending thousands of dollars to a “FinDom.” I’m a 33-year-old straight woman and I love my husband and we have a great (or so I thought) sex life. He’s very dominant and controlling in bed and I’m very submissive and I thought we were well-matched sexually. So it was a shock for more than one reason when I stumbled over evidence that he’s been sending money to a female sex worker who calls herself a FinDom. This has been going on for nearly three years! It seems clear from their messages (I have read them all) that they’ve never met in person (she clearly states that she never meets in person with her subs) but she sends him degrading personalized videos after he sends her money roughly once every other month. The amounts are small but they add up. We are more than comfortable so the issue isn’t the money. And while my husband has never complained about what I spend on a personal trainer or my hair or body treatments (admittedly a lot), this is obviously different because he’s masturbating over these videos. I don’t really want to degrade him and I obviously couldn’t dominate him financially as our finances are shared. My husband says he doesn’t want to be degraded by me but he was nevertheless willing to pay a complete stranger to heap insults on him?!? I don’t understand. I thought we had a great sexual connection. I also thought I knew who he was erotically. I’m confused and don’t know what to do. —Feeling Insecure Necessarily, Doubts About Marriage Now Dear FINDAMN: Backing up for a second: You say you’re “more than comfortable,” FINDAMN, which is filthy rich person code for “we have tons of money.” So while I’m opposed to one person in a marriage spending significant amounts of money without their spouse’s knowledge, I’m going to climb out on a limb and guess that this isn’t money you missed. No mortgage payments went unpaid, no vacations were cancelled, no kids were yanked out of private schools. Even if your husband sent this woman $9,999 dollars over the last three years — the highest figure that keeps us in the “thousands” range — that works out to $278

dollars a month. I’m guessing the actual amount spent was far less than that, FINDAMN, and in no way impacted your comforts. (But here’s hoping Joe Biden’s tax hikes on the wealthy do!) As for the seeming contradiction — your husband dominates you and submits to this woman — it’s not that hard to explain what’s going on. ... Very few people into power exchange are 100% dominant or 100% submissive. ... Similarly, you seem to bring out your husband’s dominant side — much to your delight — while this other woman brings out his submissive side. So it would seem your husband is a bit of a switch; in his case, FINDAMN, he’s mostly dominant but also enjoys being submissive too. And being submissive to an online FinDom once in a while doesn’t mean there’s anything inauthentic about your husband when he’s dominating you. If you don’t want to degrade your husband — if you or if he or if you both prefer your roles to be fixed (which is common among kinky switches) — and your husband is willing to keep this connection 1) online only, 2) below an agreed-to amount, and 3) to himself (if you don’t want to hear about it) or shared (if you do), I think you should allow your husband to have outlet. Again, you can spare the money and your husband hasn’t done anything stupid — he hasn’t given this woman access to your savings accounts or written her into his will. He’s paying this woman for a little dominant time and attention every now and then. And while what your husband did (basically purchased some interactive porn) does feel cheating-adjacent… I gotta ask… have you ever hired a personal trainer just because he was hot? Have you ever chosen a hairdresser because you liked to look at him? Have you ever gone out of your way to get body treatments from a VGL male masseuse? And then thought about one of those guys — or all three of them — while you were masturbating or having sex with your husband? If you can identify any small zones of erotic autonomy that you’ve carved out for yourself, FINDAMN, allowing your husband to continue enjoying the small zone of erotic autonomy he’s carved out for himself might come a little easier. Send questions to mail@savagelove.net, follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage, and visit savagelovecast.com.

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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for you to honor the parts of your life that can’t be managed through rational thought alone. I suggest you have sacred fun as you exult in the mysterious, welcome the numinous, explore the wildness within you, unrepress big feelings you’ve buried, and marvel adoringly about your deepest yearnings.

BY ROB BREZSNY ARIES

MARCH 21-APRIL 19: Created by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, the Mona Lisa is one of the world’s most famous paintings. It’s hanging in the Louvre museum in Paris. In that same museum is a less-renowned version of the Mona Lisa. It depicts the same woman, but she’s unclothed. Made by da Vinci’s student, it was probably inspired by a now-lost nude Mona Lisa painted by the master himself. Renaissance artists commonly created “heavenly” and “vulgar” versions of the same subject. I suggest that in the coming weeks you opt for the “vulgar” Mona Lisa, not the “heavenly” one, as your metaphor of power. Favor what’s earthy, raw and unadorned over what’s spectacular, idealized and polished.

TAURUS

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“Why is the word yes so brief? It should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it.” I suppose it makes sense for her to express such an attitude, given the fact that she never had a happy experience until she was 20 years old, and that furthermore, this happiness was “unbearable.” (She confessed these sad truths in an interview.) But I hope you won’t adopt her hard-edged skepticism toward YES anytime soon, Taurus. In my view, it’s time for you to become a connoisseur of YES, a brave explorer of the bright mysteries of YES, an exuberant perpetrator of YES.

GEMINI

MAY 21-JUNE 20: In indigenous cultures from West

Africa to Finland to China, folklore describes foxes as crafty tricksters with magical powers. Sometimes they’re thought of as perpetrators of pranks, but more often they are considered helpful messengers or intelligent allies. I propose that you regard the fox as your spirit creature for the foreseeable future. I think you will benefit from the influence of your inner fox — the wild part of you that is ingenious, cunning and resourceful.

JUNE 21-JULY 22: “The universe conspires in your favor,”

HOSHI MOTORS

writes author Neale Donald Welsch. “It consistently places before you the right and perfect people, circumstances, and situations with which to answer life’s only question: ‘Who are you?’” In my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, I say much the same thing, although I mention two further questions that life regularly asks, which are: 1) What can you do next to liberate yourself from some of your suffering? 20 What can you do next to reduce the suffering of others, even by a little? As you enter a phase when you’ll get ample cosmic help in diminishing suffering and defining who you are, I hope you meditate on these questions every day.

JULY 23-AUG. 22: The poet Anne Sexton wrote a letter to

Zoe ma ma

a Benedictine monk whose real identity she kept secret from the rest of us. She told him, “There are a few great souls in my life. They are not many. They are few. You are one.” In this spirit, Leo, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to take an inventory of the great souls in your life: the people you admire and respect and learn from and feel grateful for; people with high integrity and noble intentions; people who are generous with their precious gifts. When you’ve compiled your list, I encourage you to do as Sexton did: Express your appreciation; perhaps even send no-strings-attached gifts. Doing these things will have a profoundly healing effect on you.

VIRGO

AUG. 23-SEPT. 22: “It’s a temptation for any intelligent

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MAY 6, 2021

provides counsel that I think you should consider adopting in the coming days. The psychospiritual healing you require probably won’t be available through the normal means, so some version of her proposal may be useful: “We may need to be cured by flowers. We may need to strip naked and let the petals fall on our shoulders, down our bellies, against our thighs. We may need to lie naked in fields of wildflowers. We may need to walk naked through beauty. We may need to walk naked through color. We may need to walk naked through scent.”

SCORPIO

reminds us, “Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it.” According to my reading of the astrological omens, being like water will be an excellent strategy for you to embrace during the coming weeks. “Water is patient,” Atwood continues. “Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

SAGITTARIUS

NOV. 22-DEC. 21: In a letter to a friend in 1856,

Sagittarian poet Emily Dickinson confessed she was feeling discombobulated because of a recent move to a new home. She hoped she would soon regain her bearings. “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself,” she quipped, adding that she couldn’t help laughing at her disorientation. She signed the letter “From your mad Emilie,” intentionally misspelling her own name. I’d love it if you approached your current doubt and uncertainty with a similar light-heartedness and poise. (P.S.: Soon after writing this letter, Dickinson began her career as a poet in earnest, reading extensively and finishing an average of one poem every day for many years.)

CAPRICORN

DEC. 22-JAN. 19: Now is a favorable time to celebrate

both life’s changeableness and your own. The way we are all constantly called on to adjust to unceasing transformations can sometimes be a wearying chore, but I suspect it could be at least interesting and possibly even exhilarating for you in the coming weeks. For inspiration, study this message from the Welcome to Night Vale podcast: “You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are. Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is. Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you aren’t that person anymore.”

AQUARIUS

JAN. 20-FEB. 18: Aquarian author Toni Morrison

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OCT. 23-NOV. 21: As Scorpio author Margaret Atwood

APRIL 20-MAY 20: Taurus poet Vera Pavlova writes,

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LIBRA

person to try to murder the primitive, emotive, appetitive self,” writes author Donna Tartt. “But that is a mistake. Because it is dangerous to ignore the existence of the irrational.” I’m sending this message out to you, Virgo, because in the coming weeks it will be crucial

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described two varieties of loneliness. The first “is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up; holding, holding on, this motion smooths and contains the rocker.” The second “is a loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive, on its own.” Neither kind is better or worse, of course, and both are sometimes necessary as a strategy for self-renewal — as a means for deepening and finetuning one’s relationship with oneself. I recommend either or both for you in the coming weeks.

PISCES

FEB. 19-MARCH 20: England’s Prince Charles requires

his valet to iron his shoelaces and put toothpaste on his toothbrush and wash all of his clothes by hand. I could conceivably interpret the current astrological omens to mean that you should pursue similar behavior in the coming weeks. I could, but I won’t. Instead, I will suggest that you solicit help about truly important matters, not meaningless trivia like shoelace ironing. For example, I urge you to ask for the support you need as you build bridges, seek harmony, and make interesting connections.

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


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or more than a decade, cinema’s faithful have

promised land every spring for the TCM Classic Film Festival: Hollywood Boulevard in the movie palaces of images of the familiar and forgotten. It’s a festiBut, for the second year in a row, it’ll be virtual. Last year’s in-person festival was scrapped in the 11th hour by a pandemic that still has most of Hollywood by the

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TCM Classic Film Festival, May 6-9 on TCM and HBO Max,

featuring popular titles from festivals past and on-air talent Zooming-in with interviews and remembrances galore. It was all very 2020: comforting in the time of uncertainty, but a shadow of its true self. That changes for the better with the 2021 edition, as the TCMFF will be adding a second “venue,” the streaming service HBO Max. curated by TCM, which will expand for the festival to incorporate programming themes gems deserving of better recognition (Victim

West Side Story,

which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. West Side Story

the channel will premier a new restoration of 1932’s Doctor X, a two-strip Technicolor Plan 9 From Outer Space My Favorite Wife and The Producers comedy is timeless.

MAY 13–16

Bullitt Bullitt played the 2019 TCMFF, co-star Jacqueline Bisset was scheduled to participate in a post-screening discussion but had to cancel at the last minute. Not this year: Bisset’s interview is already

SPRING SEASON Including works by Christopher Wheeldon, Amy Hall Garner, and more.

Bisset will also close the festival with La chambre, a rarely seen short from Chantal I Know Where I’m Going! from British Sitting on your couch isn’t the same as watching nitrate prints unspool at the Egyptian Theatre or seeing intoxicating vistas unfold on the TCL Chinese Theatre’s 90foot screen, but this year’s lineup has plenty of discovery and excitement to fuel your cinematic hunger. As TCM would say: Let’s movie.

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BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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MAY 6, 2021

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BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


BOULDER WEEKLY STAFF

Try this week:

HOLY CRÊPE food truck. Mobile, Boulder County. holycrepeco.com

Complete Crêpe @ Holy Crêpe!! YOU COULD FUSS with making crêpes at home, or wait until the next time you go up to one of the mountain towns, or Paris, to stop in at a crêpe shop. Or, you could track down the Holy Crêpe!! food truck the next time you’re craving the sweet — or savory— treat and have one locally. We did that recently, ordering both sweet and savory varieties. Though the sweet Classic crêpe was undeniably delicious (cinnamon, brown sugar and butter), it was the Complete crêpe that stole the show. With just ham, Swiss cheese and egg, this oversized crêpe proves, yet again, that simple is best. Creamy, savory, salty, the Complete is a textbook crêpe done right.

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MOTHER’S DAY WITH BIG RED F

MY NEIGHBOR FELIX OPENS IN BOULDER

THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT and cocktail bar My Neighbor Felix recently opened at 901 Pearl St. in Boulder. It’s the third Colorado location of the restaurant, which features a large menu that borrows culinary traditions from throughout Mexico. There are tacos, empanadas, plates, brunch and tequila — plenty of tequila, and mezcal to boot. Plus there are craft cocktails, local and Mexican beer, happy hour specials, Taco Tuesday deals and much more. Find out more at myneighborfelix.com.

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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THE LOCAL BIG RED F restaurant outposts are offering take-away and inperson options this Mother’s Day (it’s Sunday, May 9). You can pick up a three-course meal from West End Tavern, which includes a baby spinach salad, smoked whole chicken with asparagus and a roasted apricot and cherry trifle. It goes for $65 for two people, $120 for four and you have the option to add on a flower arrangement from local florists Bluebird Floral ($40 extra). Order before 4 p.m. on May 6. Or, if you want to get out of the house, Centro is hosting a Mother’s Day brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Plenty of dayof specials are available, including apple cinnamon empanadas, blackened salmon, Anaheim chile relleno and more. Moms’ll get a complimentary mimosa and flower. Reservations are recommended. Go to bigredf.com for more info. MAY 6, 2021

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BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


Boulder breweries team up to help those impacted by the King Soopers shooting

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By Matt Cortina

ast year ushered in an unprecedented amount of collaboration between local food and beverage businesses. It was a necessity — few could go it alone and survive months of limited or no in-store patronage, and so we saw collaborative pop-up markets, the creation of a restaurant-owned local delivery service, mutually beneficial feed-the-frontlines programs, and other projects that maximized resources to make ends meet. Given that experience last year, there’s now an infrastructure to foster collaboration between food and drink businesses and to continue to help those in need, beyond the pandemic. One such example is the Colorado Care Can, a collaboration between six local breweries and the brand marketing accelerator Fortnight Collective. People can buy an assorted six-pack with beers from the participating breweries (Upslope, Oskar Blues, Left Hand, Sanitas, Bootstrap and Mountain Sun) packed in a can created by Fortnight. Every cent of the proceeds will go to the Colorado Healing Fund, which supports those

directly impacted by the March 22 shooting. “We feel a deep responsibility to help our neighbors in any way we can,” said Upslope founder Matt Cutter in the announcement for the project. “By joining together with local breweries with a common purpose, our hope is to engage the community in the best way we know how and help Boulder heal.” The can features a half-mast Colorado flag waving, distorting the C in the center into a heart. On the back is the pledge to donate all proceeds to the fund, with 10 stars around it, commemorating the victims of the shooting. There’s also a QR code that’ll take people directly to the fund’s site to make an additional donation. “Through this design, we wanted to communicate our respect for the victims and give back to them, while

American Craft Beer Week returns May 10-16

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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also empowering our tight-knit community, which comes together in the face of tragedy,” said Andy Nathan, CEO of Fortnight Collective, in the announcement. Beers included in the six-pack are Upslope’s Craft Lager, Bootstrap’s Lush Puppy Juicy IPA, Left Hand’s Sawtooth Amber Ale, Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale, Sanitas’ Cherry Saison and Mountain Sun’s Colorado Kind Ale. The Colorado Care Can will be available at the participating breweries along with tote bags with the same design, similarly with all proceeds going to the fund. The cans are scheduled for release May 26.

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he Brewers Association (BA), the Boulder-based trade group for the country’s craft breweries, is hosting its 15th annual American Craft Beer Week May 10-16. The idea is to get out and support local breweries, particularly important after a tough year for the beverage industry. Production and revenue was down across the board last year,

MAY 6, 2021

although craft breweries continued to open in the U.S., and now there’s an all-time high of 8,764 in operation. So, if you feel inclined, support one of the many in Boulder County. Breweries will offer specials, giveaways, unique releases and more throughout the week. To find a local brewery (though, we’re sure you don’t need the help), head to craftbeer.com/ breweries/find-a-us-brewery.

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BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


Sherpa Chai grows its reach

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hose of us in Boulder have a wealth a Nepali, Tibetan and Himalayan food options. Surely, one of your go-to places to bring visiting friends and family is Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant and Bar, started by Pemba Sherpa, who came from the town of Sewangma, high in the Himalayas. At the restaurant, Sherpa serves an excellent chai, and several years ago, decided to package the concentrate and sell it in retail stores in Colorado. It was successful, and so Sherpa decided to take it outside the state last year.

Ginger boom

throughout the West, Sherpa Chai

Hard ginger beer enters Colorado as the spicy root makes its way into other beverages

By Matt Cortina

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once had an alcoholic ginger beer brewed at Mountain Sun and as soon as the crisp and spicy brew hit my lips, I thought, “This needs to be more common.” Ginger ale — you know it from being sick and riding in airplanes — is different from ginger beer, a darker, cloudier, alcoholic version that gained popularity in Victorian England. The beer made it stateside, but Prohibition put an end to that, and the style was all but forgotten about. Now, modern varieties of both ginger beer and ale are generally non-alcoholic, but a few brewers (like Mountain Sun) have bucked the trend. Vermont’s Halyard Brewing, which is now entering Colorado with a line of hard ginger beer, uses an historic recipe to recreate the brew. Halyard founder and brewer Kenneth Richards is using recipes that date back to the 1750s, and using organic and fair-trade ingredients to brew these ginger beers through a natural fermentation process. Available in Whole Foods and other distributors across the state, the varieties include Nicole’s Extra (6% ABV), a Caribbean-style ginger beer with “Island aromatics”; The Breeze (4.5% ABV), a tart ginger beer brewed with hibiscus ABV), a ginger beer shandy brewed with organic lemons; and Mountain-Aid, a black currant ginger northeast for Halyard’s ginger beer is in Colorado

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

— Richards completed his graduate program and met his wife out here. Too, his great-grandmother was born in a Western Slope mining camp, and his grandfather helped build the old lodge at Eldora. It’ll be interesting to see if hard ginger beer catches on. It’s certainly different than the flash-in-the-pan trend toward hard root beers and other sodas, which were a bit saccharine. And in some ways, the flavor profile and texture of the drink is similar to hard kombucha, which entered the market a few years ago and is still working its way up. Several hard kombucha makers have ginger options — like California’s Boochcraft, which makes a pleasant ginger lime version at 7% ABV. It’s got fresh-pressed

brand in the country. Direct-toconsumer sales increased 80%, sales in retail stores also boomed, and as more coffee shops came back in operation, sales to those businesses grew as well. It’s no surprise that a packaged food brand from Boulder is doing well beyond the Centennial State; the list of brands that started here and have grown to national prominence is now too long to list. But if you’ve had Sherpa Chai, you know its growth is based in its quality. Pick up traditional, spicy, unsweetened traditional, honey vaturmeric ginger, the next time you

cha base, which makes for a slightly sour, but well-spiced sip. Craft, canned cocktails have also taken the dive into ginger. Loveland-based Kure’s Craft alcoholic ginger beer, but it cans cocktails using that as a base. The canned Colorado Mule, for beverage. And Boulder’s Cocktail Squad makes a 5% ABV, zero-sugar, 90-calorie whiskey ginger. Cape Cod’s Willie’s Superbrew makes a ginger lemon seltzer, which sounds eminently refreshing, and we’re sure ginger’s going to sneak into more cans of craft seltzer as that sector continues to grow, too.

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Pass grass, not pathogens

Cannabis MouthPeace device makes social smoking sanitary, without killing ‘puff-puff pass’ ethos

by Will Brendza

T

he social aspect of smoking cannabis has always been one of its most basic virtues. It brings people together — at backyard barbecues, at concerts, out camping or hiking, at home or after work — cannabis is best shared with company. But a lot has changed in the past year. Where once people passed glass without hesitation, now, after a global pandemic and a year of hyper-health awareness, the mouth-tomouth element of sharing smoke is less appealing than it’s ever been for many cannabis users. A study done by Moose Labs, creator of the “MouthPeace,” found that the average water pipe (aka bong) has 49% more bacteria

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than a public toilet seat. The same study found glass pipes to have 1,304% more bacteria than the average dog bowl; 92% more than the average ATM keypad; and 62% more than the average shopping cart handle. “You wouldn’t be comfortable drinking out of a glass that clearly hasn’t been washed after the last customer used it, let alone using the same glass as every other person who ate before you,” says Jay Rush, co-founder of Moose Labs and co-creator of the MouthPeace. “Why are we OK with doing this when it comes to cannabis?” Moose Labs conducted its bacteria study in 2018, using 200 participants and an ATP monitoring system to measure observed bacteria levels. It published the results in 2019, much to the horror of the tested to see just how dirty pipes or bongs could get when they were shared between different users. That’s where Moose Labs’ MouthPeace and MouthPeace Mini come

bacteria prevention devices offer a solution for people looking to share cannabis with friends, without sharing germs. They come in two different sizes to accommodate glass pipes, bongs and dab rigs or joints, blunts and vape pens. “We were at the 2014 Denver Cannabis Cup and we heard another booth announce their bong had given out 10,000 hits over the Jay and his brother Dan thought that was pretty cool; but their teammate and co-owner Maria Testa had a different take. “She said, ‘That’s disgusting! We need to “Thousands of mouths had touched that one

MAY 6, 2021

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single pipe over the course of three days. There is no way that’s sanitary.” So, they set to work creating a solution and they came up with the Moose Labs MouthPeace. Made with high-quality platinumcured silicone, it creates a sanitary barrier between users’ mouths and their pipe, joint or vape. Which, Rush says, avoids cross-contamination without killing the “puff-puff pass” ethos. “Since creating the first MouthPeace, our try’s germ-ridden oversharing problem that’s been ignored for decades,” he says. “For something that’s considered medicine in several states, you would think people would have more of a health-conscious mindset around it.” Beyond being a barrier to stop germs between smokers, the MouthPeace also functaminants and tar from the smoke. “There is actually about a third of a football backer stopping resin and tar particles while allowing smaller molecules like THC and CBD to pass through.” Overall, Rush says the Moose Labs study decreases bacteria on smoking appliances by 5,924%. That study got the conversation going, and brought more attention to the issue. However, it wasn’t until COVID-19 hit that the problem was brought into real focus, he says. The pandemic turned their product from a quirky cannabis-health-device, into a necessary tool for making social smoking less of a health risk. “We encourage everyone to start re-thinking how they share joints,” Rush says. “This is a common courtesy for your own personal health and for everyone around you.”

BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


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