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New federal fee structure is the latest barrier to immigration by Angela K. Evans

Naropa Eco-Resilience group addresses collective climate grief by Angela K. Evans


In her sixth book, Khadijah Queen digs deep into her family narrative to survive the violent indifference of American culture by Caitlin Rockett

virtual events:

Save Innisfree, Trevor Hall livestream, Motus at Netroots Nation 2020 and more to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do... by Boulder Weekly Staff

19 22





‘The Syndicate’ details one of the nation’s largest marijuana trafficking organizations that set up shop in Colorado — after legalization by Caitlin Rockett

Fairytale eggplants at Rocky Mountain Fresh by Matt Cortina

departments 5 6 8 14 26 27 29 31 33 37 38

The Anderson Files: Biden and a progressive future Guest Column: Boulder County residents demand a fracking ban Letters: Signed, sealed, delivered, your views News: BLM headquarters controversy, CU study on agriculture and sulfur, contract tracing scam, El Comité founders honored and more Words: el camino con angelitos, by Greg Alston Savage Love: Married people Film: Mock politics makes for real drama in ‘Boys State’ Food/Drink: What to try this week in Boulder County Beer: How to forage and homebrew with yeast from your own backyard Astrology: by Rob Brezsny Weed Between the Lines: New data sets reveal there’s still more work to do to ensure Coloradans can enjoy cannabis responsibly



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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 Special Editions Editor, Michael J. Casey Adventure Editor, Emma Athena Contributing Writers, Peter Alexander, Dave Anderson, Will Brendza, Rob Brezsny, Paul Danish, Sarah Haas, Jim Hightower, Dave Kirby, John Lehndorff, Rico Moore, Amanda Moutinho, 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 Graphic Designer, Daisy Bauer 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

August 13, 2020 Volume XXVII, Number 52 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 Boulder Weekly does not accept unsolicited editorial submissions. If you're interested in writing for the paper, please send queries to: editorial@ 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 Boulder Weekly is published every Thursday. No portion may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. © 2020 Boulder Weekly, Inc., all rights reserved.

Boulder Weekly welcomes your correspondence via email (letters@ or the comments section of our website at 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.


Biden and a progressive future by Dave Anderson

Hope just means another world is possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope. — Rebecca Solnit


or many decades now, disappointment and despair are persistent companions for progressives. Cynicism and nihilism are temptations. On Facebook, it seems that The Who’s song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is the anthem of many of my leftie friends. It is possible that this November will be what political scientists call a “re-aligning election” with a landslide victory for Joe Biden and the Democrats. It is possible that progressives will push the country leftward pressuring President Biden with grassroots “street heat” and battles within the Democratic Party. That possible future is implicit in a August 2 Washington Post column by E.J. Dionne, which argues I

that Trump and the Republicans are making a “New New Deal” necessary. He says that “a more vocal left” is winning victories by raising fundamental questions about wealth inequality, health care, housing costs and unaffordable college education. He agrees with intellectuals who say that “ideas have consequences.” However, he says it is also true that “events have consequences for ideas.” From a pragmatic point of view, people will be open to different perspectives when it becomes obvious that the conventional ways of doing things don’t work. Trump and the GOP demanded that the economy “open up” and we got the world’s worst COVID-19 catastrophe. His refusal to use the federal government to fight the pandemic has resulted in an economic and public health disaster. “Meanwhile,” Dionne writes, “Biden and his advisers are busy studying up on the New Deal not because they are, as Trump would have it, ‘puppets’ of the left, but because our circumstances echo Roosevelt’s time. Getting see THE ANDERSON FILES Page 6

AUGUST 13, 2020




out of the mess we’re in requires by unions and environmentalists) more government action than conser- says, “There’s a halo effect that pervative ideology admits.” tains to the clean energy industry Back in April, New York Times with respect to how those industries columnist Michelle Goldberg sugtreat workers.” gested that Biden might be quite a That is an illusion. Walsh says progressive president. She intersolar and wind are like other indusviewed Lawrence Mishel, a labor tries where “under our prevailing economist who is the former presilabor law regime, companies are dent of the Economic Policy actively discouraging and in some Institute, a progressive think tank. cases actively blocking the ability of He voted for Bernie Sanders in the their workers to organize, which 2016 primary and supported includes firing them.” Elizabeth Warren this year. Biden says workers building He has been a critic of centrist clean-energy infrastructure “must Democrats for decades. He told have the choice to join a union and Goldberg that, “My adult lifetime has collectively bargain.” As with other covered the Carter, Clinton and workers, he supports legislation to Obama years, and labor policy has make it easier for workers to collecnever been a priority.” tively bargain. His plan would hold When Mishel executives “perexamined Biden’s sonally liable” if labor policy, he they interfere. discovered there There are difbuilding clean infrastructure ferent wasn’t any views of “must have the choice to join Biden’s climate Democratic nominee in his lifetime Julian Brave a union and collectively bar- plan. who proposed “as Noisecat, energy gain.” His plan would hold expert at Data robust and fleshed out a policy suite Progress, a executives “personally liable” for on labor standards progressive if they interfere. and unions.” thinktank, says it Biden supis “a Green New ports a $15 federal Deal in our view, minimum wage, substantively.” establishing colThe Sunrise lective bargaining rights for publicMovement gave Biden’s primary-seasector employees everywhere and giv- son plan an F but now says he’s “talking federal labor protections to farm- ing the talk.” After he becomes presiworkers and domestic workers. He dent, they will make sure he’ll “walk would crack down on companies like the walk.” Uber, which misclassify full-time While the GOP has functionally employees as independent contractors become a personality cult around a to avoid paying mandatory benefits. far-right buffoonish wannabe dictaThe National Labor Relations Board tor, the Democratic Party has facwould be able to impose punitive tions with different perspectives and fines against employers who violate interests. There will be a fight at the labor laws. The agency today is only Democratic National Convention permitted to collect back pay. over the lack of support for Medicare In July, Amy Harder wrote on for All in the party platform. Biden Axios that Biden aims to bring won’t support Medicare for All but unions into clean energy. Jobs in his health care platform would be a wind and solar are between 4% and big improvement over the status quo 6% unionized. That is much lower if it was implemented. than the share of union jobs in other You may say that talk is cheap. energy sectors. But in 2012, political scientist Not surprisingly, solar and wind Jonathan Bernstein examined the jobs have lower average salaries com- research on campaign promises and pared to similar jobs in oil and gas concluded that presidents “usually try and nuclear plants, according to to enact the policies they advocate Labor Department statistics. during the campaign.” Jason Walsh, executive director of This opinion does not necessarily BlueGreen Alliance (a group backed reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

Biden says workers



AUGUST 13, 2020

Boulder County residents demand a fracking ban

by Micah Parkin and Ramesh Bhatt


oulder County, known for backs from fracking operations to its scenic vistas, abundant homes, schools, water sources and open space, as well as its other sensitive locations, making efforts to fight climate the vast majority of the county offchange, is limits to frackthreatened by ing. Likewise, in 140 oil and gas crisis a recent poll, wells on public 70% of Boulder and the pandemic necessi- County voters open space land and a proposed tate urgent action. Allowing said they support fracking site that a countywide fracking to proceed in would be the fracking ban. largest in the Organizations Boulder County would state. Most representing hamper our efforts to con- 130,000 Boulder Boulder County residents would County resifront these critical chalfind allowing the dents, as well as lenges. proposed frack1,700 individuing project to als, have signed proceed to be a petition calling fundamentally for a ban on inconsistent with fracking in the County’s many efforts to fight Boulder County. However, thus far, climate change, including the decthe Boulder County Board of laration of a climate emergency in County Commissioners has not 2019 and the ongoing lawsuit acted. against Exxon and Suncor for cliBoth the climate crisis and the mate change-related damages. coronavirus pandemic necessitate Seventy percent of Boulder urgent action. Allowing fracking to County residents voted in favor of proceed in Boulder County would Proposition 112 in 2018, which hamper our efforts to confront would have imposed 2,500-foot set- see GUEST COLUMN Page 7

Both the climate



GUEST COLUMN from Page 6

these critical challenges. According to Harvard research, higher pollution levels lead to worse COVID19 outcomes, including death. Boulder County already suffers F-grade air quality, according to the American Lung Association, with at least 40% of the pollution coming from fracking. Research from NASA and NIST reveals that oil and gas production leads to the emission of high levels of methane, which has 80 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Research from Cornell, NASA and Harvard has shown that the frightening spike in global methane over the last decade is from fracking in North America. Methane emissions worldwide reached a record high in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available internationally. Climate change is already contributing to natural disasters in Colorado, manifesting in more severe wildfire seasons and more disruptive floods and droughts, and these effects will only intensify in the future. The carbon and methane emissions that would be associated with the proposed wells, in addition to the impacts on the County’s air and water quality, would overwhelm the County’s noble efforts to reduce emissions. Research performed by Dr. Detlev Helmig, funded in part by Boulder County, has demonstrated that Boulder County’s air quality is already adversely affected by oil and gas operations in Weld County and that oil and gas operations are a significant contributor to dangerous levels of carcinogenic benzene exposure and ozone. These excessive ozone levels already affect the health of Front Range residents, leading to higher rates of asthma, shortness of breath and other respiratory conditions, heart attacks, strokes, dementia and early death. In the midst of the current respiratory health crisis, and the ongoing climate crisis, we must take every action we can to prevent further deterioration of our air quality and its consequences for public health. Enacting a ban on fracking is BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

now fully within the County’s expanded authority under SB 19-181, which eliminated state preemption in regulation of oil and gas activities. SB 19-181 grants counties and municipalities landuse and zoning authority over fracking operations and the authority to safeguard public health and safety. The Boulder County Commissioners can and

should enact a ban on fracking to protect the health of its residents and prevent the associated emissions of greenhouse gases and air toxics. Boulder County residents demand a ban on fracking. The current circumstances demand nothing less. Parkin and Bhatt serve on the steering committee for the Boulder County Fracking Ban Coalition,


AUGUST 13, 2020

which includes over 50 local organizations and businesses representing over 130,000 Boulder County residents. Parkin serves on the Leadership Council of 350 Boulder County and is a founder and executive director of 350 Colorado. Bhatt serves on the Executive Committee of the Indian Peaks Group of the Sierra Club. This opinion does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.



Let people have a say in occupancy limits We are a young family living together — a sister, her husband and a brother — who came to Boulder for school over 10 years ago, and have recently decided to buy a home and settle down. We rent out our extra bedrooms to make ends meet. Local politics seemed like very boring legalese until we heard of the “Bedrooms Are for People” ballot initiative just two months ago. A few weeks ago, we stayed up after midnight watching the City Council meeting to see whether, after hours spent standing outside a grocery store collecting physical signatures during a pandemic, all those signatures would count. That night, we realized the Council sometimes puts a lot of the boring stuff first, then put the controversial topics closer to midnight on Tuesdays, after working professionals and families with kids should already be fast asleep. Few people in Boulder have had the need nor the time to read all the way to Section 37 of the City Charter, then even further to Section 137. Even fewer have the skill to understand the potential implications of the fact that, in Section 37, “Charter amendments are included in the list in the first sentence, but Charter amendments are not included in the list in the second sentence.” Perhaps, if one is a lawyer, one can more credibly apply the “rules of statutory construction” to outmaneuver a ballot initiative that one does not agree with. We’re not really sure what a grassroots campaign is supposed to think when the city attorney says, “we will honor the August 5 deadline.” It seems that ordinary citizens don’t have much of a voice in local politics without being a former council member or lawyer. Furthermore, when everyone involved claims to care about affordability and the environment, it is difficult to read between the lines of bad-faith arguments with no basis in fact. The verbal and legal gymnastics in the recent op-ed, “Boulder’s occupancy limits are not discriminatory” (Re: Guest Column, Aug. 6, 2020) almost make the argument sound rea8


sonable. But, one of us studies the law, and so we feel a responsibility to call this op-ed out for conflating the common understanding of phrases like “discrimination” and “class of people” with narrow legal definitions. The letter hurls legalese at the readers to bolster its authority, to scare them into believing that “Bedrooms Are for People” is making trouble where they truly are not. The current occupancy limits do statistically have disparate impacts on classes of people that have historically been the target of discriminatory legislation — renters, poor people, black and brown people, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. In the common understanding of the word, these laws are discriminatory, because they regulate a group of people based on their identity instead of regulating specific individuals’ behavior. This is true even if the people mentioned are not currently designated as a “protected class” by local, state or federal law. One can sue to strike down a law as unconstitutional if it discriminates against citizens of a protected class, either on its face, or in its effect and application. In that case, the government bears the burden to show that the law is necessary to serve a compelling governmental interest. Very few laws ever survive such constitutional challenges, which is why the letter attempts to argue that the groups who are disparately harmed by Boulder’s existing occupancy limits are not designated as “protected” under any federal, state or local law. If these people were protected by existing law and we were challenging the occupancy law in court, the law would in all likelihood be struck down as unconstitutional. “Bedrooms Are for People” believes that Boulder’s current occupancy laws are flawed in several ways, one of them being their clear disparate effect on certain groups of people, especially those who are less economically advantaged. But it does not follow that “Bedrooms” is striving to designate a new legally “protected class.” That assertion is completely false. This grassroots campaign has always been about letting the Boulder electorate decide what is best for our AUGUST 13, 2020

evolving city. The current City Council has fought our right to let people vote on the measure; we are working to make sure everyone in Boulder can weigh in on this important housing issue. Sara Campbell/Boulder

Quiet skies over Boulder

Andrew Shoemaker’s claim (Re: “Boulder’s occupancy limits are not discriminatory,” Guest Column, Aug. 6, 2020) that there’s no discrimination in housing in Boulder fails the smell test. His definition requires a “protected class” on the receiving end of the discrimination. When women could not vote, were they a protected class? When Black people were enslaved, were they a protected class? Were either of these two classes discriminated against at those times? By Shoemaker’s definition, the answer is no. Housing discrimination in Boulder is not slavery, nor is it the denial of the right to vote. But, it’s a very real issue. It’s not surprising that an attorney would make a legalistic argument. When it attempts to limit the scope of discussion, though, housing advocates won’t be persuaded. Eric Johnson/Boulder

I wish to comment about the “quiet skies” over Boulder. Essentially, when Congressman Neguse pushed to remove the air traffic from the Denver Metroplex plan out of Boulder, this significant air noise pollution was simply moved into the James Peak Wilderness in Gilpin County. The invasion of near constant airplane noise into our wilderness is driving away the deer, elk, moose, bear, coyotes and wild cats. Even the hawks and songbirds are now gone. I live at 9,300 feet on a dirt road. We used to regularly see wildlife, almost daily. Now the only wildlife that has not been driven away by the noise includes the crows and the chipmunks. The mountain community of Gilpin County now sounds like downtown Boulder; your quiet skies have led to the destruction of our peace. There is a lot more to Gilpin County than casinos. Our community also includes conservationists, artists, scholars, professors and musicians. Our community used to also serve as a safe haven for an array of wildlife. The “quiet skies” over Boulder are merely a mirage for the exploitation and destruction of a less powerful mountain community. Nahanni Freeman/Black Hawk

Sorry Baltimore

Dark money

When I noticed the topic of your article (“Book excerpt: ‘I Got a Monster: The Rise and Fall of America’s Most Corrupt Police Squad,’” Aug. 6, 2020), I was certain you were talking about my native place, Chicago. I grew up in the ’30s, the era of gangsters and police partnerships. And then there was the graft, the racism, the torture chambers (could be any squad car), the famous “the police are here to create disorder” statement of Mayor Daley when he ordered the police to “crack some heads” during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. I don’t think Baltimore can match Chicago’s very long history of corruption, violence, crime, impunity and arrogance. Sorry, Baltimore. Seemanta/Boulder

The reason “the common man,” once a venerable icon of the American ideal, fares so poorly today is that money and politics have long been in a marriage of convenience that is now certified as a constitutionally sacrosanct bond. Political faces “grace” our currency. Campaigns are celebrated for the money they raise. With “dark money,” contributors are allowed to remain in the shadows. Radio waves and media outlets are purchased to spread political content. Paid advertising works wonders in wooing voters. It is no wonder that the power of wealth wields government to its own ends. The well being of “average” Americans is but a minor afterthought for the vultures circling the nation. Robert Porath/Boulder

Shoemaker wrong on housing



The cost of becoming American

New federal fee structure is the latest barrier to immigration

by Angela K. Evans




n July 31, United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced significant fee increases for most naturalization and benefits requests. While the agency justified the increase as an effort to address budget shortfalls, immigration lawyers and advocates decry the move, arguing it will not only discourage applications for citizenship and other legal immigration benefits, but also further the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. “The entire tone of the Trump administration is essentially to convey that lower income people are not welcome in this country,” says Violeta Chapin, who runs the Criminal and Immigration Defense Clinic at CU-Boulder. The new fee structure, set to take effect Oct. 2, will increase costs by a weighted average of 20%, meaning that while a few categories will actually see a cost decrease, others will increase by more than 500%. USCIS is almost entirely funded by administrative fees, which account for 97% of its budget, and handles all immigration applications and renewals including legal permanent residency, Deferred AUGUST 13, 2020


HUNDREDS OF Action of Childhood Arrivals THOUSANDS of (DACA), work authorization, people take the U.S. travel permission and asylum. citizenship oath each year. A new federal The agency was created in fee structure presents 2003 under the newly estaba new barrier to lished Department of immigration. Homeland Security (DHS), which also includes Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It was part of the post-9/11 dismantling of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which had been responsible for citizenship services and border patrol since 1933. The last time the agency raised its fees was in 2016, with a similar 21% weighted average increase. USCIS estimates that current rates would leave the agency underfunded by $1 billion annually. What’s more, USCIS anticipates a 61% drop in application and petition requests through the end of the year in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The agency delayed furloughing more than 13,000 employees at the beginning of August after asking Congress for $1.2 billion in emergency funding. These fee BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

changes were first proposed in November, and would most likely be taking effect regardless of the health crisis. “USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures and make adjustments based on that analysis,” USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow said in a statement. “These overdue adjustments in fees are necessary to efficiently and fairly administer our nation’s lawful immigration system, secure the homeland and protect Americans.” For Laurel Herndon, founder, executive director and managing attorney of The Immigrant Legal Center of Boulder County, the everincreasing fees are part of the overall destruction of the administrative state as “the Trump administration has created systemic incompetence within USCIS.” For Herndon, the question is: “How are they burdening their own systems that are then making it seem as though the fees need to go up since USCIS was established as a feesupported service?” As an example, she points out the enormous cost and effort by the Trump administration to justify wealth requirements for green card holders, which is now facing myriad legal challenges and has been blocked by a Manhattan federal court. “So it was in essence, a waste of time,” Herndon says. “And the cost of that waste of time is being put on the backs of our immigrant community members.” Additionally, when USCIS proposed the new fees in November, it suggested that some of the revenue would be used to fund ICE. But after Congress gave ICE $207.6 million for the 2020 fiscal year, “the fees established by this final rule are not calculated to provide funds to ICE,” while still leaving room to use the fees for “activities conducted by any component of the department (DHS) that constitute immigration adjudication and naturalization services.” Herndon says all this means is that the transfer of resources between USCIS and ICE will now take place more “clandestinely,” not that it will stop all together. “Underlying all of this seems to be the preference of the Trump administration to maximize deportaBOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

tions and to build their wall,” she says. “And we know there have been transfers. It may not have been dollars that are traceable, but it has been of personnel and time. And so I think a fee increase like this is going to exacerbate that process as well.” When it comes to the new fee structure, it’s difficult to make direct apples-to-apples comparisons of what processes now cost more, Herndon says. For example, several fees have been “unbundled,” creating overall cost increases whether or not some categories are decreasing in price. A cursory look at the new structure shows that the initial application for lawful permanent residency (a green card) is decreasing by $10. However, before this new rule the price included interim work authorization and travel benefits for the applicant while they wait for approval. Now individuals must apply for those benefits separately, raising the overall price from its current cost of $1,760 to $2,860 as of Oct. 2. Herndon says her office has about 30 pending applications for green card renewals, some of which have been unresolved for 15 months. At the same time, DACA renewals, also processed by USCIS but currently under court supervision, are being approved in two or three months, despite the fact that the process of renewal is more or less the same for both applications. “It seems to me that when there is oversight of what is going on, that they toe the line and everything else seems to be slipping away into some incompetence here,” she says. The ability to apply for total or partial fee waivers is also going away almost entirely with these new rules, causing lawyers and advocates to further their case that the Trump administration is attempting to institute wealth requirements for immigrants. According to USCIS, if these changes in fee waiver policy weren’t included in this final rule, all fees would have been increased by an additional weighted average of 10% in order to cover budget shortfalls. The Trump administration already attempted to change USCIS’ fee waiver policy last year by requiring significantly more proof of finansee USCIS Page 12


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USCIS from Page 11

cial hardship. A federal judge in California blocked the changes from going into effect, ruling that they were substantial enough to fall under the Administrative Procedure Act, requiring public notice and comment, which the administration did not do. With the new rules, however, the agency did engage in “an extremely expensive, comprehensive review of all USCIS fees, including fee waivers,” including public comment, Herndon says. Which most likely removes the possibility of such an injunction in this case. Under the new rules, fee waiver considerations are limited to categories mandated by law or treaty such as temporary protected status or battered women and children. Even if they are still being considered, the requirements for approval have substantially increased, Ashley Harrington, children’s program managing attorney at Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), says. Take, for example, her clients with special immigrant juvenile status, who have been determined to have been abused, neglected or abandoned and who are applying for work authorization and permanent residency. Although these kids were never exempt from paying USCIS application fees, “it has always been that there was almost an automatic fee waiver,” she says. Now, the only ones who qualify for a fee waiver are those in the foster care system, which is actually a small number of the kids Harrington represents. Most are living with a single parent, who now have to figure out how to pay the full price of legal permanent residency applications with the additional $550 work authorization fee. “Congress set out this pathway for permanent residency for these kids and they’re going to be blocked from pursuing that pathway just because of money,” Harrington says. The new fee structure also affects applications for humanitarian relief only available to the most vulnerable immigrants — those seeking asylum — and comes amid other proposed changes to the asylum process by the Trump administration that would severely limit asylum by rewriting years of statutes and regulations developed through case law. Starting Oct. 2, applying for asylum will cost $50, whereas currently it’s free. USCIS also doesn’t charge for the first work authorization application while awaiting asylum approval, but under the new rules, it will cost $550 plus a $30 biometric test, neither of which are eligible for a fee waiver. “This is just another way to limit asylum and another way to try to limit immigration benefits for people that can’t pay,” Harrington says. “I understand that USCIS is needing more income, 12


but to do it on the backs of the poorest immigrants who are fleeing to us for protection is really cruel.” Harrington says the announcement on July 31 leaves immigrants and their lawyers a short window to finish applications and turn in paperwork, adding a sense of urgency to an already stressful process. Although one could expect a rush of applications in the next several months, with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, many people will find it hard to afford the current fees. Come Oct. 2, it will only become that much harder.

“People won’t apply,” says Anita Stuehler, who has run free citizenship classes through Boulder Public Library for the last 15 years. (She’s currently hosting small classes in a local park.) “It’s already expensive and people have to take out loans and borrow [from friends and family.] They already struggle to get the money, and this is going to block a lot of people from applying.” Perhaps that’s the point, Chapin from CU-Boulder suggests. “I think it’s important to note that naturalized citizens unlike lawful permanent residents can vote,” she says. “The Republicans are not blind to the fact that there have been studies done [that show] naturalized citizens tend to lean Democrat and tend to vote Democrat in elections.” Chapin is a daughter of an immigrant — her mother is from El Salvador, marrying her U.S. citizen father in 1974. It wasn’t until George H.W. Bush’s presidency, however, that she naturalized, Chapin says. “She applied to [become a citizen] so that she could vote. That was the reason, she wanted to vote for Bill Clinton.” According to the Pew Research Center, one in 10 eligible voters in 2020 are naturalized citizens, a 93% increase from the turn of the century. Of the 23 million immigrants, 61% live in just five states — California, New York and New Jersey, which solidly vote Democrat, and Florida and Texas, AUGUST 13, 2020


which mostly elect Republicans. While not all immigrants (obviously) are Democrats, studies show the majority skew left, even if they are registered independent, Chapin adds. “We are on a track to becoming a community that doesn’t look like we looked 50 years ago. There are people in power that don’t like that,” Herndon adds. “And one great way of delaying that from happening is preventing newcomers to our country from being able to vote.” USCIS maintains the fee adjustments are necessary to process more naturalization and benefit requests, and not an attempt to discourage citizenship. According to a USCIS spokesperson, “The final rule is in no way intended to impede or limit legal immigration. To the contrary, in fiscal year 2019, USCIS exceeded an 11-year high of new oaths of citizenship. This is a testament to the diligence, training and expertise of adjudicators and agency staff stationed at our offices around the country.” Despite her criticisms, Herndon says the local USCIS office in Centennial has been working extremely hard to continue providing services to the immigrant community, although previous direct lines of communication between staff and immigration lawyers like Herndon have all but ceased under the Trump administration. “They’ve been totally hampered by this president and I think our Immigration Bar really appreciates it,” she says. “They have hung in there and they’re ready to get back to business when a new administration takes office.” Likewise, Herndon says, her office recommends people delay applications for citizenship until there’s a change in the White House. Not only has the current administration nearly doubled naturalization fees with this new rule, it also has expended resources setting up a denaturalization task force in an effort to strip people of their citizenship. Although that never went anywhere, Herndon says it “really paints a picture of what this administration is doing, which is trying to prevent our immigrant community members from becoming U.S. citizens.” And that’s a shame, Steuhler says. Through her years teaching naturalizations classes in Boulder, she’s seen many people become citizens. They often come back to class after passing the citizenship test or taking the oath of citizenship with tears of excitement and joy. They talk about the profound sense of safety and home they now feel, some perhaps for the first time. “Most people, when they become a citizen, it means a lot to them,” she says. “And with [the fee] increase, that’s going to be taken away from a lot of people.” BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

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County health officials warn of contact tracing scam

BLM headquarters move to Colorado amid controversy


he Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on Aug. 10 it will complete the relocation of its headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction this month, despite criticism from environmental groups and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The U.S. Department of Interior, which oversees BLM, planned to move the headquarters out west to “better enable its managers and workforce in the field to make decisions by, in part, shifting the workforce closer to field locations at a number of its bureaus,” according to the GAO. But in analyzing the move, the GAO found that the Interior Department did not adequately establish performance metrics, nor did it produce an accurate cost-benefit analysis. The department “has not demonstrated how the proposed reorganization would affect the workforce, including staff retention,” the GAO found. The GAO recommended that “BLM should establish outcome-oriented performance measures; develop an implementation plan with milestones and deliverables; and complete a strategic workforce plan.

The Western Values Project (WVP), an environmental advocacy group, says the shortcomings are part and parcel of the Trump administration’s flawed environmental policy. “The relocation effort is nothing more than a boldfaced effort to gut the public lands bureau so it will better serve the Trump administration’s special interest allies. Ultimately, moving the BLM is a reckless, purposeless and cynical attempt to dismantle the bureau by excluding career expertise from the public lands decision-making process,” said Western Values Project (WVP) Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill in a statement. WVP claims the millions spent to reorganize the department and move BLM headquarters to Grand Junction will only make the relationship bewteen regulators and the industry cozier, as several oil and gas companies operate in the same building as BLM’s new space. WVP also noted the cost to relocate BLM employees could exceed $9 million, adding to a price tag for past and future costs that exceeds $40 million. JOHN LAMBETH/PEXELS

CU: Agriculture, not fossil fuels, is largest human source of sulfur


oal-fired power plants have historically been the largest emitters of sulfur into the environment, but University of Colorado researchers, in a new study published in Nature Geoscience, now say agriculture is the leading culprit. Elevated levels of sulfur in the environment can cause asthma in nearby communities, create acid rain, raise the level of mercury in wetlands and degrade soil. Regulations such as the Clean Air Act helped rein in atmospheric sulfur levels, but sulfur levels continued to grow on agricultural land. “This is a very different problem than the acid rain days,” said Eve-Lyn Hinckley, lead author of the study and assistant professor of environmental studies at CU’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), in a statement. “We’ve gone from widespread atmospheric deposition over remote forests to targeted additions of reactive sulfur to regional croplands. These amounts are 14


much higher than what we saw at the peak of acid rain.” Sulfur is a naturally occurring element and an important nutrient for plants, thus its use in agriculture. But sulfur is also highly reactive, according to the researchers, meaning it will transform in time and pose a risk to wildlife and people. Researchers estimate that sulfur use will increase worldwide in agricultural applications. The solution? Enhanced monitoring and research to spur collective action on the issue. Read more at s41561-020-0620-3.

AUGUST 13, 2020



oulder County Public Health announced on Aug. 11 that it has received reports of scams wherein people claim to be conducting contact tracing and ask for a credit card number to purchase a COVID-19 test. “We are disheartened to hear that this health crisis is being used to take advantage of people,” said Carol Helwig, Boulder County Public Health communicable disease program coordinator, in a statement. “The purpose of contact tracing calls is to understand how COVID-19 is impacting the community and to try to find out how people have been exposed so that we can prevent the spread to others.” You shouldn’t give your credit card number to anyone you don’t trust over the phone, but certainly not to anyone conducting (or claiming to conduct) contact tracing. Boulder County Public Health says real disease investigators will contact residents who have tested positive to learn about who they’ve come in contact with, what their symptoms have been, demographic details and to ask if they need support. Health officials will also reach out to people who have not tested positive but may have come in close contact with someone who has, and will provide information about quarantining and testing. To be clear, Boulder County Public Health will never ask for payment, proof of residency, Social Security numbers or require testing without discussing with people first. Residents are encouraged to contact the Boulder County District Attorney’s Community Protection Division at 303-4413700 if they come across this scam.



Boulder Reservoir will be drained Sept. 1

T City of Boulder forges ahead with Xcel agreement


etails of an agreement between the City of Boulder and Xcel Energy were made public on Aug. 6, outlining how the City might continue to contract with the energy giant in lieu of pursuing municipalization. Reaching an agreement would settle back-and-forth litigation spurred out of the City’s pursuit of assuming Xcel’s energy infrastructure in Boulder in order to run its own power system, which City voters have supported since 2011. In publishing the details of the agreement, the City noted Council will pursue three courses of action at an Aug. 20 meeting: refer the agreement to voters, push discussion to a later Council meeting, or reject the agreement. If ultimately approved, the agreement would halt the City’s pursuit of municipalization and instead it will sign a 20-year agreement with Xcel (with off-ramps in 2022, 2024 and 2028 if Xcel fails to meet carbon emissionreduction benchmarks). The agreement requires Xcel to reduce emissions by 80% based on 2005 standards. That’s not quite the 100% renewable energy goal the City of Boulder has set for 2030. But the City claims the agreement allows it to pursue paths that were previously off the table and would amount to 100% renewables (if you subscribe to its math). Those paths include updating Boulder’s electric grid, changing regulations that “limit innovation and local renewable development,” developing a new tariff to rapidly convert bus fleets to electric busses and facilitating microgrids in specific areas. You can review the agreement at and submit comments ahead of the Aug. 20 Council meeting to You can also sign up to speak at the virtual meeting at

El Comité De Longmont founders to be honored statewide on Aug. 14



he City of Boulder and Northern Water will drain Boulder Reservoir starting Sept. 1 to conduct maintenance work that will run until March 2021. The work includes removing sediment from the area around the reservoir outlet, which accumulates over time; repairing dam outlet structures; and performing maintenance on land between the north and south dams, also known as Fisherman’s Point. The City said in a statement this maintenance is routine and takes place every 5-10 years. The idea is that fall and winter are low-visitation months for the area already. The work is also being done in consultation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to “mitigate environmental impacts,” and the reservoir will be filled before migration and nesting seasons. Access to the reservoir will be limited as work gets underway. All water-based activities will be prohibited beginning Sept. 1, while walking, running and cycling will still be allowed. Access to the shoreline will be limited. A map of the project is available at


our decades ago, Longmont police officers shot and killed two unarmed, young Latino men, sparking outrage and community protest over community-police relations. The events led to the creation of El Comité De Longmont, a grassroots organization that demanded, and achieved, sweeping reforms and systemic change within the Longmont Police. The effort was led by Victor L. Vela and Marta “La Burris” Moreno, community members whose commitment to non-violent resistance and calls for justice led to reforms that included expanded trainI

ing for incoming police officers, the adoption of a new use-of-force policy, and the implementation of a Latino Advisory Council within the department. In recognition of their work, Gov. Jared Polis declared Aug. 14 Victor L. Vela and Marta “La Burris” Moreno Day. Vela is still a staunch Latino advocate, and Moreno retired just this year as El Comité’s executive director. According to a press release, Moreno responded to the declaration by saying, “Si quieres paz, lucha por la justicia. If you want peace, work for justice.”

AUGUST 13, 2020



When grandma dies

ON THE BILL: Eco-Resilience group through Naropa Community Counseling Center. 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays starting Sept. 8 through Nov. 10. Virtual. $10 a session.

Naropa Eco-Resilience group addresses collective climate grief

by Angela K. Evans


t was almost one year ago when researchers, politicians and activists from around the world hiked up a mountain in western Iceland to commemorate Okjokull — the country’s first documented glacier lost to climate change. The memorial was a somber event, according to media reports, as about 100 people gathered, hoping to bring awareness not only to the impacts of climate change, but also the profound sense of loss that comes with it. A plaque installed at the site of the former glacier reads: “In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it,” solidifying the sense of doom felt by many across the globe. “The climate collapse that we’re experiencing is bringing up anxiety and trauma and sadness for many people,” says Joy Redstone, director of Naropa University’s Community Counseling Center. “People are struggling with the idea of how much we’re losing and how much is changing and what the lives of our children and grandchildren might be.” It’s a condition commonly known as eco-anxiety or climate grief and a growing field of study as medical professionals, environmental activists and experts seek to understand our collective response 16


to a warming planet. According to an American Psychological Association (APA) 2017 report, the mental health implications of climate change include stress, depression, anxiety, and a strain on social and community relationships, as well as an increase in aggression, violence and crime. Climate change can cause certain psychological responses as well, such as conflict avoidance, fatalism, fear, helplessness and resignation, all of which are growing, according to the APA. Researchers Ashlee Cunsolo and Neville R. Ellis describe ecological grief as “a form of ‘disenfranchised grief ’ or a grief that isn’t publicly or openly acknowledged,” in a 2018 paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change. “Indeed, ecological grief, and the associated work of mourning, experienced in response to ecological losses are often left unconsidered, or entirely absent, in climate change narratives, policy and research.” It’s this sense of isolation that led AUGUST 13, 2020

a local climate scientist and environmental activist to join Naropa Community Counseling’s first climate grief group earlier this year. “I wanted to connect with other people that were thinking deeply about this issue and feeling deeply about it,” says the climate scientist who wishes to remain anonymous due to privacy concerns. He defines grief “as having love for something that’s no longer there.” Climate grief can come in the aftermath of natural disasters or the extinction of a certain animal species or when a place of particular significance becomes unrecognizable. But it can be a very different experience than personal loss. “When my grandmother leaves, one of the sources of my grief is that that person who loves me is no longer on this earth,” he says. “There’s the non-reciprocity of climate grief as opposed to personal grief.” Ecological grief is an ongoing process where healing is an evermoving target, compounded by increasing levels of loss and destrucI

tion. It’s an attempt to create individual meaning out of a complex and existential situation, a way to find our place in the world of solutions. “It’s an active grief process — as we connect with the feelings [about] our connection to the environment, we have the benefit of being able to potentially see real change emerge from that,” says Naropa intern Joanna Lester, who will be leading another EcoResilience group with fellow intern Elizabeth Bruce beginning in September. “This is a really beautiful invitation for folks to explore the depth of what kind of meaning we want to carry forward into forming a more sustainable future planet and what our relationship to that really looks likes like.” The group will follow the “10Steps to Personal Resilience and Empowerment in a Chaotic Climate” laid out by the Good Grief Network. Formed in 2016 by co-founders Laura Schmidt and Aimee Lewis Reau, the program covers topics like accepting the severity of the situation, acknowledging that we as individuals are both part of the problem and solutions, sitting with uncertainty, honoring mortality of all living things, and reinvesting in meaningful efforts. Lester says she also plans to include other resources that “bring more focus toward marginalized voices on this topic.” Five hundred people have gone BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

BEFORE SOMEONE CAN express their shock

and their sadness, they can’t really get angry. And until they can feel and express some anger then it’s very hard for people to engage in action.” — Joy Redstone, Naropa Community Counseling director

through the program directly with the Good Grief Network, and countless others in community groups like what’s being held through Naropa, according to Schmidt. Groups have sprung up all around the country, expanding beyond our borders in places like the U.K. and Australia. Schmidt developed the program through her graduate work at the University of Utah where she studied under conservationist writer Terry Tempest Williams. It’s modeled after other peer-to-peer support groups like AA, with a personal rather than social focus. “We do frame it as collective grief. We do frame it as we’re here to talk about these big collective systemic issues,” Lewis Reau says. “But we realized that everything is viewed through the lens of personal experience: We always come with our own grief and our own perceptions.” Hospitalized at the age of 21 for depression stemming from her social justice work, Lewis-Reau was a selfdescribed “burned-out activist,” until she met Schmidt and the two started developing the Good Grief Network. “I started realizing quickly the power that happened from sitting in community,” she says. “And once I started really experiencing the 10 steps, I came to life.” It wasn’t only the group discussions that impacted the climate scientist in the previous group at Naropa. There were the meditations and silent reflections, even some art therapy mixed in (before the group ceased meeting in person due to the pandemic). “That opened up a new experiBOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

ence for me to connect with my feelings in a nonverbal way,” he says. “I didn’t realize that I was lonely until we were asked to draw a picture of our experience with dealing with climate change. And it just felt as if it was me versus the world. That was a major takeaway of insight into my experience that I wasn’t even aware of.” Although he doesn’t keep in touch with other group members, just the process has helped to dissipate that loneliness, he says. It’s a sentiment shared almost universally by other participants in the Good Grief Network, Schmidt says: “People don’t feel so alone anymore. People feel connected.” Oftentimes grief can immobilize us, leaving us stuck in feelings of despair and hopelessness, all of which only exacerbates the problems. “These responses are keeping us, and our nation, from properly addressing the core causes of and solutions for our changing climate, and from building and supporting psychological resiliency,” according to the APA study. This sense of resiliency and collective action is our only way of avoiding climate catastrophe. By helping people express their grief and move through a healing process to become more resilient, the Naropa facilitators hope to spur participants to create meaningful change. “You can be sort of immobilized by the enormity of it all,” Redstone says. “But if you can move through some of the grief, then you can move into whatever level of personal or communal action that feels healthy to you.” I


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Searching is the salve

In her sixth book, Khadijah Queen digs deep into her family narrative to survive the violent indifference of American culture

by Caitlin Rockett


here’s a sense of foreboding that hovers over the pages of Khadijah Queen’s new collection of poetry — a heavy nimbostratus cloud of dread. “In the event of an apocalypse, be ready to die,” she warns right out of the gate. “But do also remember galleries, gardens, herbaria. Repositories of beauty now / ruin to find exquisite.” The collection is called Anodyne, and one might wonder whether Queen intends to soothe, because it’s clear being innocuous isn’t her goal. “I was just fascinated by the multiple meanings of the word,” Queen, a professor of creative writing at the University of Colorado Boulder, says of the title. “[I read a quote that said] we should strive to be anodized in art interactions — inoffensive. I started to think about objectivity and how it is used to harm people; you say you’re objective so you don’t have to do anything. I find it absurd that objectivity has this deeply embedded practice in academia in particular, and in debate of ideas, as if passion had no place.” She was also taken by the word’s medical definition: to alleviate pain. “But maybe it’s not alleviating the condition,” Queen says. “It seemed to me that ... surviving difficulties is the treatment, that process might be the soothing thing.” That’s what Anodyne is: a process, a treatment that is soothing because of its refusal to anesthetize you. Like a good doctor, Queen treats pain by searching for its source. Like a good therapist, she understands that searching is the salve. Queen’s sixth book is intoxicating in its intimacy and vibrance, playing back and forth between lyrical prose and more challenging experimentations in form and style. For every demanding piece, Queen provides a more straightforward offering that acts like a cipher

ON THE BILL: ‘Anodyne,’ by Khadijah Queen. Available from Tin House on Aug. 18,


see ANODYNE Page 20


AUGUST 13, 2020




“WHAT ARE WE DESTROYING with our lack of awareness?” —Khadijah Queen

ANODYNE from Page 19

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disk. You can find yourself flipping backward through the work, stunned by realization, then forward again, fortified by connection. Anodyne is so intimate you feel like a child pressing an ear to the door during a private conversation between adults. But Queen opens the door and invites you in to watch as she cares for her son, awash in a deep depression; as she cares for her aging mother, succumbing to dementia; as she cares for herself, rendered sleepless by fibromyalgia. “Whose mind loses when / the loved decline,” she writes in “Dementia is one way to say fatal brain failure.” “Human by whose degrees / Capability / and

refusal twined up in / loose fog, timeshocked. / A body is what without its engine. / How do I let go of my mother before she is gone? Predator grief doesn’t watch, / yellow-eyed, from hidden grasses / like a real apex. We slowfeed that wraith. Viscera.” “I think in terms of health and disease and disability, there’s this really negative language around it,” Queen says. “When in fact we’re all gonna deal with health issues, so why are we hiding it, trying to suppress talking about it, saying, ‘It’ll be OK,’ or just medicating it? And why is the language around it so ugly? Why do we not have more natural and compassionate ways of talking about the aging process?



Why are we not creating more places for care that don’t feel like you’re just dropping your parent off somewhere to die? … I think we’re missing real care. We have surface-level care and underneath that is the violence of pushing people off and hiding them away, whatever their diseases. That’s been our cultural practice in America for hundreds of years.” When Queen set about curating this new collection, she hadn’t envisioned it being so familial. The lead poem (“In the event of an apocalypse, be ready to die”) — that ominous rain cloud — originally appeared in a Boston Review collection from 2017 called Poems for Political Disaster. “I was thinking about the world and what was happening, what I was seeing happen after the [2016] election, and feeling this sense of doom and dread,” Queen says. “I felt like we were all gonna die. So to have family be an undertone [of the collection] I think

relates to the impulse to want to survive — what we want to survive for, even if our relationships are complicated and difficult. We really actually do want to live and enjoy each other and enjoy the world that we live in. What are we destroying with our lack of awareness?” If Anodyne opens with a rain cloud of doom, rest assured the storm is needed to water the seeds of hope Queen plants. By the collection’s end, the seedlings emerge, still vulnerable to another deluge. “If you do it quickly, / Grandma said, you can heal burns without leaving a scar,” Queen writes in “Double Life.” “Smooth your injured skin then peel / & cut a potato in two / & hold each half to the heated flay / until the potato turns black. Repeat / until it looks like nothing ever happened.” It’s a process, repeated until all you’re left with is the memory of the burn, and the lessons you learned between pain and reparation.

Looking for something to read? Khadijah Queen has some suggestions. “A NAIL THE EVENING HANGS ON,” BY MONICA SOK




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Sok is a Cambodian American poet and the daughter of former refugees. Her debut novel, “A Nail the Evening Hangs On,” is a reflection on how the trauma of the Khmer Rouge era plays out in Cambodian society and within her own family by knitting together stories from her family with meditations on history, place and identity.

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This collection by Colorado College professor Nate Marshall was just published on Aug. 11. In it, Marshall celebrates the black vernacular: its influence on pop culture, its power in storytelling, and its ability to expand possibilities. Save on local dining, entertainment, retail and wellness. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


AUGUST 13, 2020



What to do when there’s ‘nothing’ to do...


If your organization is planning an event of any kind, please email Caitlin at ‘THE NINA VARIATIONS.’

Aug. 17-30 via Zoom, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company is gearing up to present ‘The Nina Variations,’ a reimagining of Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ and its star-crossed lovers, Nina and Treplev. Playwright Steven Dietz reinvigorates the play’s final scene in 43 alternative versions as the characters puzzle out what love is, whether they’re in it and how to escape from it. Featuring five Colorado couples as variations on Nina and Treplev, this first-of-its-kind theatrical production was recorded in June/July 2020 at BETC East Studios. The Nina Variations will be streamed via Vimeo. You will receive a URL link and a passcode to view the production at your convenience, anytime within the two-week window. $25 tickets for indviduals, $45 for a household.



3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15 via Facebook or YouTube Live, COURTESY MOTUS THEATER Motus Theater will open the Saturday evening keynote session at Netroots Nation 2020. Motus UndocuMonologist Alejandro Fuentes-Mena will present his autobiographical monologue entitled “Deport Me,” sharing the stage with some of the biggest social justice names of our time including Alicia Garza, cofounder of Black Lives Matter; Rep. Ilhan Omar; Rashad Robinson of Color of Change; and Nick Tilsen of the NDN Collective. The keynote panel will discuss how to dismantle white supremacy and systems that perpetuate injustice to build a society that is equitable and just for all. Stream the session on Netroots Nation’s Facebook or YouTube Live. Other speakers at Netroots Nation 2020 include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Stacey Abrams of Fair Fight Action, Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Congressman Joe Neguse. Netroots Nation 2020’s keynotes are free and open to the public. To find more information and register for other events go to



Support local music venues during this difficult time by tuning into a night of stories and songs by roots/folk troubadour Trevor Hall on Saturday, Aug. 15, livestreamed from the Fox Theatre. It’s free to RSVP to the show, which will feature a Q&A with Hall after the performance. Get an exclusive event poster for $29.95 (including shipping) that allows Z2 Entertainment to deliver this special event with no admission fee. A portion of proceeds will benefit Color of Change (, a racial justice organization.


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— presented by Boulder Burlesque. Aug. 15-23,

It’s tough times for small businesses, including Boulder’s own Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Café. Luckily, comics from the Best of San Francisco Stand-Up Comedy are swooping in from the West Coast to help Innisfree make it out of this pandemic. The event is free, with opportunities to make a donation to Innisfree. Register at

With live music by David Williams’ Trickster Carousel, Boulder Burlesque presents In/Side Show, an immersive, multi-medium burlesque experience that explores the tension between spectacle and stigma. Acts will engage with the aesthetics of vaudeville, the carnivalesque, the grotesque and sideshow featuring cabaret-style performance, neo burlesque, drag, clowning and comedy. Part of this year’s Boulder International Fringe Festival, the show will be captured live each night from the stage at The Spark Theater and livestreamed via Zoom. As a part of Boulder Burlesque’s commitment to supporting and amplifying BIPOC producers and performers in the burlesque community, a portion of ticket sales will be donated to Jeezy’s Juke Joint: A Black Burly-Q Revue.



AUGUST 13, 2020




PODCASTS ‘THE SYNDICATE’ New podcast details one of the nation’s largest marijuana trafficking organizations that set up shop in Colorado — after legalization

by Caitlin Rockett


s a journalist — a good one, anyway — when the main source in your story is a professional skydiver who used his plane in one of the longest running, most lucrative marijuana trafficking operations in Colorado history, you know what you’ve got to do to tell this story. So Chris Walker suited up and jumped. The former reporter for Denver’s alt-weekly Westword did a tandem skydive with “Jumpin’” Joe Johnson, the head of a Denver-based marijuana trafficking organization that duped Colorado cannabis regulators for nearly five years by operating seemingly legitimate growhouses while trafficking harvests out of state using cars and skydiving planes. Johnson’s very first run was out of Boulder’s municipal airfield. Walker dubbed them The Syndicate. “It was a little nerve-wracking,” Walker says of his 14,000-foot plummet with Johnson. “It was my first time skydiving, but also I just didn’t really know [Johnson] as a person very well, but it seemed like an opportunity to get into his mindset because skydiving is his first love. He had jumped more than 15,000 times [by the time I jumped with him]. A key part of understanding him is just getting into this adrenaline rush that he constantly puts himself through.” After years of reporting — including interviews with around 10 of the nearly 40 members of The Syndicate, and scads more with law enforcement and marijuana industry experts, plus more than 100 hours of state evidentiary interviews — Walker recounts this incredible story over eight episodes in his firstever podcast, The Syndicate. When the story first broke in 2014 that the Drug Enforcement Agency had kicked down the doors of 32 people around Denver for participation in a marijuana smuggling operation, there were flashy press conferences and 30,000-foot-view stories in papers across the country. But Walker knew there was a more nuanced and compelling story to be told. In fact, he knew there were 32 nuanced and compelling stories to be told. “When the group was busted, everyone’s names were plastered in different articles online, and what was missing was any sort of nuance or context about why each and every person got sucked into this crazy



situation,” Walker says. ON THE BILL: “The “The big question that I had is: Why Syndicate.” Available would you deliberately take on so much risk on all major platforms, starting a black market trafficking group including the front page when the cannabis industry in Colorado of iTunes, Spotify and seemed to be thriving?” Stitcher, Because the industry’s not actually so the-syndicate. easy to break into. And Colorado, for all of its success with legalizing and regulating marijuana, has some policies in place that set the stage for black market distribution. It would be years before Walker had the material he needed to create a podcast: The state of Colorado remained tight-lipped with information as the nearly three-dozen trials took place, a process that was drawn out as federal agents searched for a member of The Syndicate who set out on the lamb. “Finally, in 2019, the individual who was missing was located in North Carolina and extradited back to Colorado, where he was quickly convicted,” Walker says. “And once that happened, the Attorney General’s office was good on its word and the Pandora’s box of state investigative and evidentiary files opened up. And it was a treasure trove about what had happened in the rise and fall of this group.” In more than 100 hours of taped interrogation recordings, Walker listened as members of The Syndicate told stories about bags of buried cash, armed robberies, runins with federal agents, hard drugs, partying, and a hash extraction that almost blew up a residential home. But “The Syndicate” is more than adrenaline-pumping tales of danger and debauchery. “It’s, first and foremost, an argument for federal legalization,” Walker says. “If you remove the state-by-state patchwork of laws, then you eliminate this discrepancy between having legal markets in some states and black markets in other states. Beyond that, it highlights what needs to be done on a state-by-state level. States [with legal markets] need to get on board with how they regulate the industry and how available licenses are for cannabis cultivation and for dispensaries.” see EVENTS Page 24

AUGUST 13, 2020




EVENTS from Page 23

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For her most recent release, LEGACY! LEGACY!, Chicago R&B artist Jamila Woods highlights artists of color who have inspired her: Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Frida Kahlo. “SULA (Paperback)” is her tribute to the late Toni Morrison, based on the author’s 1974 novel about two black women who navigate society’s rules about gender roles and respectability. Sula was the first Morisson novel Woods read, and it inspired her first chapbook of poems. “Returning to the story several years later,” Woods wrote in a press release about the song, “it gave me permission to reject confining ideas about my identity designed to shrink my spirit. ... This song is a mantra to allow myself space to experience my gender, love, intimacy and sexuality on my own terms.”

“It feels weird to be nostalgic for anything that happened post-2016,” Sarah Tudzin joked to Stereogum in early July, but the woman behind pop-punk outfit Illuminati Hotties has good reason to feel maudlin. After two years of steady critical acclaim for IH, 2020 found Tudzin buying her way out of her own record contract with Tiny Engines after the indie label was found in breach of contract with numerous artists. Despite years worth of inconsistent accounting, withheld royalties, and a lack of communication from Tiny Engines, contracts still legally bound artists like Tudzin to the bankrupt label. Tudzin wouldn’t let the bastards grind her down: The new IH mixtape, Free I.H., (“leaked” online several weeks ago as Occult Classic) is a snarling, cathartic response to her situation. “What do you do when you wake up goopy from a melatoney engine?” Tudzin asks in “Melatonezone,” bubbly guitar riffs belying her anger. “Barely keeping you chugging with all the wrong intentions.” Samba-style whistles and playful language hide our greatest collective fear: Will 2020’s reign of terror never end?


Kelly Lee Owens told Rolling Stone she wanted to connect with her roots for her upcoming album, Inner Song (due out Aug. 28), “and therefore having the Welsh language on the record felt very important to me.” So she teamed up with fellow Wales-native John Cale for this “gentle drift” of a song, as Cale called it, and he added English and Welsh vocals to Owens’ minimal arrangement. “The rain, the rain, the rain, thank god, the rain,” Cale chants, vocalizing the metaphorical cleansing deluge so many of us have hoped for all year.



AUGUST 13, 2020





Author talks and open mic poetry events DAVID SHEFF — ‘THE BUDDHIST ON DEATH ROW.’ 5 p.m. Thursday, August 13 via Zoom. Tickets for this event are $5 (plus a small convenience fee) on Eventbrite, Jarvis Masters’ early life was filled with drugs and abuse. Trauma led to crime, and Masters ended up on death row in San Quentin, where he’s been since 1990. At the time of his murder trial, he was held in solitary confinement, felled by headaches, seizures and panic attacks. Masters eventually turned to meditation to help him cope. He immersed himself in the principles of Buddhism, going on to write two books and gaining the admiration of Buddhists worldwide. Nearly 30 years since his sentencing, Masters is still on death row in San Quentin. David Sheff’s book, The Buddhist on Death Row, explores how Masters continues to teach others how to ease everyday suffering, relish simple pleasures and persevere in the face of tragedy.

EXPLORING RACE MATTERS IN 2020 WORKSHOP — WITH DR. BRENDA J. ALLEN. 5 p.m. Aug. 17, 19 and 21 via Zoom. Access to all three sessions is $5 (plus a small convenience fee) on Eventbrite, Dr. Brenda J. Allen, former chief diversity officer for the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus, will lead a three-day workshop exploring race in 2020. The workshop will involve discussions about what race is and why it matters, why race is relevant to everyone, and practices for addressing racism. Visit for a list of topics.

Shop in-store or online with free delivery or curbside pickup

BIPOC OPEN MIC: RESILIENCE, RESISTANCE AND JOY. Visit for updated hours and Coronavirus Safety protocols

5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, University Hill Event Space, BIPOC Open Mic and Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe are hosting another socially distanced BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) open mic on the Hill centered on resilience, resistance and joy. A livestream will be available for non-BIPOC people who want to attend the event remotely.



AUGUST 13, 2020



“The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance ran ads recently in the Boulder Weekly to promote our annual Membership Party and Colorado Gives Day. The campaign was a huge success and BMA raised $34,320 - all going towards improving Boulder County’s trail system! The Boulder Weekly ads led to additional awareness of BMA and played an important part in this extraordinary fundraising campaign. Thanks Boulder Weekly!” Wendy Sweet President, Board of Directors Boulder Mountainbike Alliance

en el camino con angelitos by Greg Alston

L.A. i said isn’t that where dreams go to die where you never say hello so you don’t have to say goodbye

where the wicked are blessed and the hapless are cursed in a doomed civilization that’s dying of thirst

where crooks find love and lepers fornicate and prophets charge by the hour and they’re always running late

where cowboys show up like sailors coming to shore and atlantis once was a city but not anymore

where the weak find solace and the meek find compassion and the leeches come out to suck on the opulence of fashion

where priests and prostitutes get together looking for some absolution and it’s a thought, not a gun that starts a revolution

where beauty can be bought and discarded like stretched out brassieres and it’s sad like a circus but no one sheds any tears

where princesses parade on the pier and it’s all particleboard, you know covered with a veneer

where it’s just innuendos and chisme overheard in bars and conversations going nowhere in fast moving cars

where freedom is a phantom whispering in the dark to drunks no one know dying in the park

where the henchmen of faith and the vigilantes of fear sell tickets to heaven but the price is unclear

where all the migrant children grow up to be kings and they scratch their names in limousine windows with their big diamond rings

where doctors and death hide themselves in the hills and it all drinks the same until you pop a few pills

where all the hipsters and these poets of dubious repute keep cocking their guns but got no bullets to shoot

where everyone’s dying or just actors you see and reality is whatever it is you think it to be

where philosophers ejaculate with great words of delight saying it doesn’t make any sense but somehow it’s alright

where the culture looks the same like one hundred dollar bills like the shiny chrome emblem on your radiator grilles where lawyers make love like monkeys and they learn how to climb on the backs of politicians to have a good time where the gangsters of hollywood and the drunk profiteers sell our children fantasies they can suckle like watered down beers


AUGUST 13, 2020

where all the emigrant gods come out to dance in the night and they take off their clothes and they fuck and they fight and the sun always rises and we all do it again walking toward grace to stumble like men

where fairy tales are forgotten and no one can read and chicanos venden pistolas and mexican weed 26

where love comes on like a fever and sticks around like a rash and the real angels of mercy only take cash

Greg Alston is a gardener, cook, father and some other things, too. I


designed to keep his wife in the dark — then you’ll have to accept his terms. You can only see Dr. Married during office hours, you can’t call or text him, and you’re on Dear Dan: I’m a 38-year-old bi your own if you have an emergency outwoman who has been sleeping with a side office hours. But agreeing to his married male coworker for the last eight terms at the outset doesn’t obligate you months. We’re a walking cliché: I’m a to stick to his terms forever. Terms can be nurse, he’s a doctor, and one night he renegotiated. But unless you’re willing to ended up spilling a lot of personal inforissue an ultimatum, OTHER, Dr. Married mation about his marriage to me (sexhas no incentive to renegotiate the terms less, non-romantic, she might be a lesbiof your relationship. an) before asking if he could kiss me. I Zooming out for a second: I get letdeclined. Three months and many text ters all the time from women who ask me messages later, I met him for drinks. The how to issue an ultimatum without seemnext thing I know we are falling in love ing like they’re issuing an ultimatum. I and spending as much time together as don’t get many letters from men like that we can manage. Even though he is marfor good and not-so-good reasons: men ried and has kids, this has been one of are socialized to feel entitled to what they the best relationships of my adult life. He want, men are praised when they ask for loves me in ways I never thought possiwhat they want, and consequently men ble. (He even savors my COVID-19 are likelier to get what they curves.) The obvious probwant. lem here is that he is mar- ROMAN ROBINSON To get what you want, ried and his wife allegedly OTHER, you’re gonna have doesn’t know about his to man up: feel entitled, act unhappiness in their marentitled, make demands. riage. We have to arrange And you gotta be willing to our dates around his work walk. You have to go in fully schedule and his lies to his prepared to use the leverwife. I find myself becomage you actually have here ing increasingly jealous of — your presence in Dr. the time he spends with Married’s life — or nothing his wife and his inability to will change. His circumspend more time with me. I stances have required you want him to confront the to live in the shadows if you issues in his marriage and wanted to see him and maybe that I want him to at least attempt being honworked for you once. But it doesn’t work est with her so we can figure out if it’s for you anymore and Dr. Married needs even possible for us to move forward. to understand that if his circumstances My question is this: How do I have don’t change — if he doesn’t change this conversation with him without it them — then he’s going to lose you. seeming like an ultimatum? I adore him, There’s a middle ground between and I don’t think he’s lying to me about divorce, your preferred circumstance, and his marriage. But I long to have more things staying exactly as they are. Dr. freedom in our relationship. I love that I Married’s wife is surely aware that her finally found someone who treats me so marriage is sexless and non-romantic — well when we are together but my heart is breaking because our love exists in the assuming he’s told you the truth — and if shadows. It’s a win/win for him — he gets his wife’s actually a lesbian, well, perhaps she’d like the freedom to date other his marriage, his kids, his “real life” and women too. (Or date them openly, I me too. But I can’t even text or even call should say; for all we know she’s been him freely and I certainly couldn’t rely on getting some pussy on the side herself.) him in an emergency. I want this to work. If they want to stay together for the kids, I don’t necessarily want him to get if they have a constructive, functional, divorced, Dan, as I fear it would cause him to resent me, but that would honestly low-conflict loving partnership, and it would be possible to daylight you without be my preference. What should I do? anyone having to get divorced, maybe —Outside The Home Exists you could settle for those terms. Romance


Dear OTHER: What are you willing to settle for, OTHER? If you can’t live without Dr. Married and you can only have him on his terms — terms he set at the start, terms BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

STAY CONNECTED Check us out on Facebook and Twitter for events, local news, and ticket giveaways.

On the Lovecast, it’s Millennial vs. Boomer with Jill Filipovic. Send questions to mail@savagelove. net, follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage and visit I

AUGUST 13, 2020









AUGUST 13, 2020




In order to form a more perfect union

Mock politics makes for real drama in ‘Boys State’

by Michael J. Casey



plane has two wings,” a high school junior representing the Federalist Party says to a room full of teens. “A right one and a left one...” And you need both to make the plane fly. Maybe not the best metaphor out there, but it’s something. He’s not a politician yet, but he’ll get there. He’s got the hair and he’s got the nose. The speaking part, that’ll come later. “That’s politics... I think,” he says. “That’s politics.” His name is Robert MacDougall and he’s one of the 1,100 young men who have been selected by the American Legion to participate in Boys State, a leadership program where high schoolers learn about democracy and civil discourse through a weeklong experiment in self-governance. The program dates back to 1935, and past alumni include Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney and Samuel Alito. Apple CEO Tim Cook participated. So did NBA greats Phil Jackson and Jerry West. It’s no reach to say that these boys are the future leaders of tomorrow: A fact filmmakers Amanda McBain and Jesse Moss present with equal parts hope and concern. Boys State is riveting stuff. McBain and Moss filmed during the 2018 assembly and editor Jeff Gilbert cuts down hours upon hours of material into one of the tightest, most entertaining two hours you’ll spend in front of a screen this summer. And the candidates are a large part of that entertainment. Robert is one of the many here you’ll want to pigeonhole before McBain, Moss and Gilbert provide a reversal. Robert’s pro-choice, but he knows that won’t get him anywhere with his party. Politics is a game, and he’s playing to win. If that means burying


his true self behind a ON THE BILL: ‘Boys State’ is 1,000-watt smile and available to stream phony promises, then on Apple+ starting so be it. Aug. 14. Sides mean nothing and winning means everything. Upon arrival at Boys State, the teens are divided into two parties: Federalist and Nationalist. But the tenets of those parties are pushed aside for modern-day conservative values. As René Otero, a Black teen from Chicago, points out, Boys State is “conservative indoctrination.” He’s right, but McBain and Moss let the cameras roll, revealing that Robert isn’t the only one here harboring liberal beliefs. On first blush, Boys State appears to be either a celebration or castigation of conservative white masculinity. But that’s just a ruse, a way for McBain and Moss to distract you while slowly pulling the rug out from underneath. Once that’s gone, preconceptions follow suit. All that remains is Boys State’s artfully crafted drama. René is one of three who steal the show. Another is Steven Garza, whose story is so beautiful it’s best discovered in real time. The third is Ben Feinstein, a bilateral amputee who lost both legs and the use of his left arm to meningitis when he was 3. If the long arc of history bends toward justice, then we should see two of these boys grow into leaders unlike any other. Of course, there are a couple of kids here who will no doubt spend the rest of their lives in politics, and not for the betterment of humanity. So it goes. As our friend Robert likes to say: A plane has two wings...

AUGUST 13, 2020






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AUGUST 13, 2020





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Famous Italian Sub @ Your Butcher, Frank WE’VE SAID it before, we’ll say it again: Nothing beats a sub from Your Butcher, Frank in Longmont. The Italian deli, butcher shop and grocery simply knows how to put together a sub. The folks there pile meat and cheese on a hoagie roll until it’s about to break, add on some fresh veggies (and spicy peppers if you choose), and pour the dressing on liberally. We opted for the Famous Italian sub on a recent visit and suggest you do the same — hot ham, cotto salami, pepperoni and provolone with lettuce, tomato, olives, dressing and mayo. It’s also only $8 for the large, which is so damn admirable it makes you want to cry.

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1 Drink this: Oskar Blues Brewery’s Oskar the Lion Sour Ale On April 23, 2020, the Denver Zoo welcomed two new African lion cubs to the pride. Nature waits not for a pandemic, nor does a charitable naming contest. The winners: Araali (Swahili for “strength of thunder”) for the little lady, and Oskar for the boy. Why? Because Oskar Blues Brewery was born in Lyons. One turn deserves another, and Oskar Blues responded with Oskar the Lion, a sour ale brewed with guava and tangerine. The brew pours a pale hazy yellow, kicks up aromas of ripe pear, and delivers a mouth of bright tartness and zesty acid. It’ll slice through a sweltering summer afternoon like a hot knife through cold butter. Even better, $1 of each four-pack sold will benefit animal health and wildlife conservation at the Denver Zoo. That’s something even a little house lion can get behind. Pick ’em up at Oskar Blues’ Longmont and Boulder taprooms. BOULDER WEEKLY


Savor these peaches It’s mid-August and that means peach season in Colorado. Specifically the Palisade peach. But this year (of course) was challenging for the state’s peach growers, not only because of the pandemic but because of a hard freeze in mid-April. Thomas Cameron of Rancho Duranzo in Palisade says the freeze decimated most of the region’s peach supply, and even though his farm’s location allowed him to fare better than others, he’s only bringing about 50% of his anticipated harvest to market. That said, there are peaches to be had. Head to a Boulder County Farmers Market location this weekend or to Boulder’s Pizzeria Locale for a Mercato Salad, with Palisade peaches, burrata, mustard greens and pancetta. Peach season is over by the end of September, so grab yours soon.

AUGUST 13, 2020



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AUGUST 13, 2020



Wrangling wild yeast

How to forage and homebrew with yeast from your own backyard

Story and photos by Amy Martin


erroir. One of my favorite, more romantic words when discussing the intricacies of a beer’s flavor profile. To be able to taste the unique character that can only be credited to the hyper-local ingredients of a certain region is magnificent. As a homebrewer, I have had the pleasure of brewing with hops from just down the road and grain from an incredible local farmhouse maltster. I truly believe consistent use of regional ingredients adds a subtle yet distinguished character to my beer, and it is not something I am shy about showing off. This zealous element of my homebrewing drove me one step further — in addition to hops and malt, I’ve decided to use local yeast. And not just any local yeast, but yeast I foraged and grew myself. An important note: When foraging and growing your own yeast, it is inherently going to be wild yeast. What this means for us homebrewers is that it will be unpredictable — but that is half the fun of the homebrewing journey, isn’t it? Additionally, note that wild yeast imparts flavors on the funky, sour end of the spectrum. If that’s not for you, I do not recommend it. The first step of brewing with your own wild yeast is foraging. I first engaged in this venture in late spring, backpack loaded with a plant identifica-

tion guide, plastic bags, scissors and a beer for the trek. It brought me great joy wandering the forest, looking for anything that might provide an interesting flavor. I collected an array of natural

matter to give myself plenty of options come brew day. Among my spoils were white pine needles, apple buds, pinecones, dandelions and red maple bark. The next step is growing your wild yeast starter. You’ll need one clean glass jar per type of plant, and a “wort”like solution. For mine, I used a solution of dried malt extract and water, but

you can also use sugar or honey. Bring water to a boil, and mix in your sugary substance. Let the mixture cool completely, pour it into the glass jars, and add your foraged yeast sources. Leave the jar lids loose, and you’ll avoid unwanted bacteria from invading while allowing the gases to escape. Then, about three times a day, tighten the lid and give the jars a shake. You will know your yeast starter is active and ready to use when it starts to bubble. The last step is adding your yeast on brew day. Follow the brewing recipe as you normally would, but pitch the liquid from your yeast starter instead of your regular store-bought yeast. Ferment as long as your recipe suggests, or longer. I determined which yeast starters I wanted to use based on their scent. I opted for the red maple bark, which smelled like peaches, and the apple buds which curiously enough smelled like cinnamon. The first beer I brewed with my foraged yeast, Blueberry Maple Wild Ale, was a huge hit. That said, I have brewed wild ales since with less than desirable results. But that’s just part of what makes the wild yeast journey so wild. When she’s not homebrewing, Amy Martin works as the marketing assistant for Stormcloud Brewing Company in northern Michigan, serves on the American Homebrewers Association Governing Committee, and spends as much time outdoors as possible. You can visit her beer education blog at


acking a field guide on your foraging trek is a great idea, but it adds additional weight to your backpack. It can also be timeconsuming, flipping through the pages to identify your specimen. My solution? One of the many plant identification cell phone apps. There are quite a few out there, and they are all easy to use. All you have to do is open the app, take a picture of what you want to identify, and using image recognition software it will search its database to identify your plant. My favorite is Seek by iNaturalist, which, according to its website, is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. In addition to identifying plant life, Seek can also identify insects, fungi and animals. You can also earn badges by identifying different things, which can make it fun for kids to use as well. Download Seek and many other plant identification apps via Google Play or the Apple app store. Warning: Never use an unknown plant for brewing — it could be toxic.






AUGUST 13, 2020




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AUGUST 13, 2020



In season

Fairytale eggplants at Rocky Mountain Fresh by Matt Cortina


e know that carrots, corn, tomatoes and a host of other crops taste better when they’re grown locally by caring farmers. Add eggplant to the list. Try one from a local farm (especially now as we enter peak aubergine season) and you’ll bemoan the lack of eggplant diversity available year-round in the supermarket. Eggplants come in a variety of colors (dark purple, light purple, green, white, speckled), sizes (fat, long, squat, mini) and, to a lesser degree, flavors. The best way to choose an eggplant is to determine what you’re going to use it for. Planning to make eggplant parm or baba ghanoush? Reach for a fat Italian or American eggplant (the kind you see at the store). Want to make quick work of your nightshade fruit (yep, it’s a fruit)? You’ll want a thin or short variety, like a Japanese, Indian or fairytale.

has no nutritional value, or the fruit may have what you consider a mild flavor. But if you pick the right varieties and ones that are grown right — both are the case with Rocky Mountain Fresh’s harvest — you can maximize whatever health properties it has (nutrient-rich and high in antioxidants) and fully realize the potential of its flavor.


As is so often the case in cooking, the techniques such as salting eggplants often come down to personal preference, tradition and anecdotal evidence. This may sound like blasphemy to some, but there’s no real reason to salt eggplant anymore; it’s a tradition that started centuries ago when eggplants were very bitter. All that astringency has been bred out of modern eggplants, but, dang, it really feels like you’re doing something when all those water beads pop up on eggplant slices, doesn’t it? You definitely don’t need to salt thinner eggplant varieties, which will become tender and slightly sweet almost instantly on heat and which you can shape to your taste preferences with other ingredients and adornments. That said, don’t give up on salting produce, just reimagine it. Let a bowl of sliced radishes sit in some salt for a few hours and you’ll have tender, flavor-concentrated slivers that still retain their characteristic snap.


The eggplants of which you can make quick work should be the preferred eggplant stocked by grocers — but that’s just my opinion. They’re versatile, easy, well-textured and flavor-rich, and they’re often heirloom varieties grown organically. I found an abundance of fairytale eggplants at the Rocky Mountain Fresh (of Lyons) stand this past weekend at the Longmont Farmers Market. You can get them in large or petite sizes — again, I like the smaller ones for their versatility. You’ve probably heard the myth that eggplant



The best thing to do with fresh produce is to do as little as possible. That’s the case with mini fairytale eggplants, which go great with a high-heat sear and some olive oil and garlic. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise while you heat up a grill or, in my case, a one-sided, stovetop panini press. Lather the eggplants with olive oil and sprinkle over some salt and then grill on each side for about two or three minutes — until you see defined char marks on the side touching the heat. Flip and repeat. Sauté some garlic and fresh herb (rosemary is what I used) in a few tablespoons of olive oil until just aromatic (about four minutes). Combine the oil mixture with the eggplants, mix and serve. I cut the stems off my eggplants before cooking, but you can leave them on for a finger-food style presentation. Just don’t eat the stems.

AUGUST 13, 2020



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our grasp. It’s forever leading us into unknown realms that teem with new challenges and delights. I invite you to honor and celebrate these truths in the coming weeks, Virgo. It’s time to exult in the shiny dark riddles of your soul.


MARCH 21-APRIL 19: Motivational speaker Les Brown

says his mission in life is to help people become uncomfortable with their mediocrity. That same mission is suitable for many of you Rams, as well. And I suspect you’ll be able to generate interesting fun and good mischief if you perform it in the coming weeks. Here’s a tip on how to make sure you do it well: Don’t use shame or derision as you motivate people to be uncomfortable with their mediocrity. A better approach is to be a shining example that inspires them to be as bright as you are.


APRIL 20-MAY 20: Taurus musician and visual art-

ist Brian Eno has a practical, down-to-earth attitude about making beautiful things, which he has done in abundance. He says that his goal is not to generate wonderful creations nonstop — that’s not possible — but rather to always be primed to do his best when inspiration strikes. In other words, it’s crucial to tirelessly hone his craft, to make sure his skills are constantly at peak capacity. I hope you’ve been approaching your own labors of love with that in mind, Taurus. If you have, you’re due for creative breakthroughs in the coming weeks. The diligent efforts you’ve invested in cultivating your talents are about to pay off. If, on the other hand, you’ve been a bit lazy about detail-oriented discipline, correct that problem now. There’s still time to get yourself in top shape.


MAY 21-JUNE 20: In his 2010 album My Beautiful

Dark Twisted Fantasy, Gemini musician Kanye West confesses the decadent and hedonist visions that fascinate and obsess him. Personally, I’m not entertained by the particular excesses he claims to indulge in; they’re generic and unoriginal and boring. But I bet that the beautiful dark twisted fantasies simmering in your imagination, Gemini, are more unique and intriguing. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to spend quality time in the coming weeks diving in and exploring those visions in glorious detail. Get to know them better. Embellish them. Meditate on the feelings they invoke and the possibility that they have deeper spiritual meanings. (P.S. But don’t act them out, at least not now.)


JUNE 21-JULY 22: “Make all your decisions based

on how hilarious it would be if you did it,” advises Cancerian actor Aubrey Plaza. I wish it were that simple. How much more fun we might all have if the quest for amusement and laughter were among our main motivating principles. But no, I don’t recommend that you always determine your course of action by what moves will generate the most entertainment and mirth. Having said that, though, I do suspect the next few weeks may in fact be a good time to experiment with using Plaza’s formula.


JULY 23-AUG. 22: In the dictionary, the first definition

of “magic” is “the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand and deceptive devices.” A far more interesting definition, which is my slight adjustment of an idea by occultist Aleister Crowley, doesn’t appear in most dictionaries. Here it is: “Magic is the science and art of causing practical changes to occur in accordance with your will — under the rigorous guidance of love.” According to my analysis of the astrological omens, the latter definition could and should be your specialty during the next four weeks.


AUG. 23-SEPT. 22: “The soul, like the moon, is new,

and always new again,” wrote 14th-century mystic poet Lalleshwari. I will amend her poetic formulation, however. The fact is that the soul, unlike the moon, is always new in different ways; it doesn’t have a predictable pattern of changing as the moon does. That’s what makes the soul so mysterious and uncanny. No matter how devotedly we revere the soul, no matter how tenderly we study the soul, it’s always beyond



SEPT. 23-OCT. 22: “I have one talent, and that is the

capacity to be tremendously surprised,” writes Libran author Diane Ackerman. I advise you to foster that talent, too, in the weeks ahead. If you’re feeling brave, go even further. Make yourself as curious as possible. Deepen your aptitude for amazements and epiphanies. Cultivate an appreciation for revelations and blessings that arrive from outside your expectations. To the degree that you do these things, the wonderments that come your way will tend to be enlivening and catalytic; unpredictability will be fun and educational.

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OCT. 23-NOV. 21: Author and theologian Frederick

Buechner writes, “If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, we must see not just their faces but also the life behind and within their faces.” The coming weeks will be prime time for you to heed Buechner’s advice, Scorpio. You’re in a phase when you’ll have extra power to understand and empathize with others. Taking full advantage of that potential will serve your selfish aims in profound ways, some of which you can’t imagine yet.


NOV. 22-DEC. 21: “Refine your rapture,” advised

occultist Aleister Crowley. Now is an excellent time to take that advice. How might you go about doing it? Well, you could have a long conversation with your deep psyche — and see if you can plumb hidden secrets about what gives it sublime pleasure. You could seek out new ways to experience euphoria and enchantment — with an emphasis on ways that also make you smarter and healthier. You might also take inventory of your current repertoire of bliss-inducing strategies — and cultivate an enhanced capacity to get the most out of them.


DEC. 22-JAN. 19: Are you ready to make the transi-

tion from slow, deep, subtle and dark to fast, high, splashy and bright? Are you interested in shifting your focus from behind-the-scenes to right up front and totally out in the open? Would it be fun and meaningful for you to leave behind the stealthy, smoldering mysteries and turn your attention to the sweet, blazing truths? All these changes can be yours — and more. To get the action started, jump up toward the sky three times, clicking your heels together during each mid-leap.


JAN. 20-FEB. 18: Greenland is a mostly autono-

mous territory within the nation of Denmark. In 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that his government was interested in buying the massive island, describing it as “a large real estate deal” that would add considerable strategic value to his country. A satirical story in The New Yorker subsequently claimed that Denmark responded with a counter-offer, saying it wasn’t interested in the deal, but “would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government.” I offer this as an example for you to be inspired by. The coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to flip the script, turn the tables, reverse the roles, transpose the narrative and switch the rules of the game.

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FEB. 19-MARCH 20: Author Doris Lessing told us,

“It is our stories that will recreate us.” Whenever we’re hurt or confused or demoralized, she suggested, we need to call on the imagination to conjure up a new tale for ourselves. “It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix,” she believed. The fresh narratives we choose to reinvent ourselves may emerge from our own dreams, meditations or fantasies. Or they might flow our way from a beloved movie or song or book. I suspect you’re ready for this quest, Pisces. Create a new saga for yourself.


AUGUST 13, 2020



Using data for progress on pot

New data sets reveal there’s still more work to do — and some opportunities — to ensure Coloradans enjoy cannabis responsibly

by Seymour


recent survey of Colorado youth illuminated how many of our state’s middle and high schoolers are consuming cannabis, and how they’re using it. The data, released in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, also illuminates a stark decrease in underage alcohol consumption among kids in the state. In Boulder County, almost one out of four high schoolers reported consuming marijuana in the last 30 days. Statewide, about 20% of kids in the same demographic reported using marijuana in that time frame. That’s about on par with the national average, although data from 2019 is not yet available. A little more than one out of three Colorado high schoolers reported ever using marijuana, again on par with the national average. About 53,000 Colorado high schoolers and middle schoolers responded in the survey. Previous data collection efforts allow state authorities to compare current trends to those going back to 2005. One highlight of the data is that alcohol consumption among high schoolers has dropped precipiptously over the last decade and a half. In 2007, for instance, almost half of high schoolers who

responded to the survey reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days; in 2019, that number was 29.6%. Lest you think young’uns are trading in one vice for another, data shows pot use has remained steady since 2005. The majority (55.9%) of underage cannabis consumers are smoking it. About 20% are dabbing it — taking a concentrated form of THC (the chemical in cannabis that gets you high), heating and inhaling it. Vaping and eating pot comes in third and fourth, respectively. This was the first year that female high schoolers reported consuming more weed than male high schoolers, though the numbers have been similar in both groups for the last 15 years. The data helps health and local officials understand teen substance use and guide regulations that mitigate risk and ultimately keep kids healthy, as the

survey name suggests. It was done with the help of state and local health officials, and the survey team will use the data to help school districts across the state address any issues that have emerged from the data. Meanwhile, a study published on July 28 in The Lancet Psychiatry, found that cannabidiol (CBD) could be used to help substance abuse disorders, including pot, tobacco and opioids. The study confirmed others that suggest CBD has minimal side effects (though it may interact with certain drugs) and that doses at 400-800 milligrams exceeded placebo results for reducing cannabis use. As with all things in the cannabis world, more study is needed. But these sets of data provide the framework for a path forward that allows for responsible adult users to continue use while preventing negative outcomes.

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Boulder Weekly 8.13.2020  

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