Your Guide to Community, Politics, Arts and Culture in North Denver DenverNor thStar.com
Volume 2, Issue 3
December 15, 2020 -Januar y 14, 2021
Turning Restaurants Inside Out for 2020's Pandemic Finale
3 days, 10 bills, Some Masks: North Denver’s Role in the Special Session
T COMMUNITY Changing Face of Tennyson Street
PHOTOS BY BASHA COHEN
Restaurants throughout North Denver have turned inside out to stay afloat through the pandemic. Happy Camper, 3211 Pecos Street, provides a tongue in cheek view of the "good life" in 2020.
DINING A different type of bar
ARTS & CULTURE Local Gift Guide
(Wreath from Va Va Bloom)
STUDENT VOICES PAGES 10-11
OPINION Education Leaders Respond to Mayor, Critics of Board
HEALTH & WELLNESS Co-housing in Chaffee Park
By Basha Cohen hrough adversity comes innovation. There is no one who has been unaffected by the pandemic of 2020, but restaurants and bars have undoubtedly been hit the hardest. Expanded patios offered a summer respite for the struggling hospitality sector, but as the cold front of winter stretches ahead, it has required a deep stretch of imagination for businesses to remain open. And an even deeper stretch into financing. Due to the unthinkable second shutdown since March that bans indoor seating and requires 8 p.m. closures, restaurateurs have been forced to rethink their survival strategies. Capacity and cash limitations have demanded scrutiny over every detail from menu offerings, operating hours and staffing, weighing labor costs against the customer’s appetite for dining out. For a profession that thrives on creativity, it has given new meaning to being an “Iron Chef.” Aside from critical-to-survive take away, free delivery, cocktails-to-go, and pre-packaged meal kits, businesses are reinventing how to serve guests who have had enough of home. Restaurateurs throughout Denver have shown their scrappy, Northside Pride and Viking grit to innovate and create magical outdoor dining experiences. Gargantuan tents, geodesic solar domes, igloos, snow globes, greenhouses, shipping containers, canvas and plastic shower curtains have created the framework for foodies in streets, sidewalks, parking lots and alleys. These creative imaginings have been “Santafied,”laced in glittery lights, decorated with trendy furniture, stoked with fires and warmed with carpets and heaters appealing to hipsters and romantics alike. Quirky marketing messages beckon apres-street guests to BYOB (bring your own blanket) and #DoItLikeaNative. In other words, if
you can ski in a bikini in Keystone, you can surely dine outdoors and weather the weather. Innovation is at every turn. My Brother’s Bar, the oldest bar in Denver, open since 1873, has taken it up a wild notch with six enchanting and beautifully designed geodesic solar dome, dine-in living rooms. Co-owner Danny Newman calls them “snow globes.” These outdoor igloos are designed to track solar gain, but they also have individually controlled space heaters. Happy Camper provides a dramatic skylight tent and hilarious cross between Miami meets Santa meets camping cookouts. Signs throughout the whacky space shout, “WEAR YOUR F*&@!#$ MASK!” The Family Jones Spirit House brings their natural mossy, eclectic spirit to the streets with lovely greenhouse sitting rooms, as does Bar Dough’s elegant horticultural privacy suite. Who knew that we would be eating in greenhouses in 2020? Apparently, climate change is real. It all comes with a cost, though. Tents, structures, propane and electric heaters, exhaust fans and decor add up. Newman’s snowglobes alone cost $1,000 each. Director of Operations for the Family Jones, Terry Freeman said, “We use ten propane tanks a week just to heat the picnic tables. The whole winter project including the greenhouses cost $11,000. We’ve applied for the CRA outdoor grant, but haven’t heard yet.” The state of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association have created grants to help, but there are no guarantees of receiving them. Dave Query, owner of the Big Red F group including Lola Coastal Mexican said in his recent newsletter, “When we all fell into this COVID world last March, it was unconscionable that we'd be ‘in this’
See RESTAURANTS, Page 6
By David Sabados he state legislature typically meets from mid-January through mid May of each year. When the need arises, however, the governor can call them into a special session to address specific needs. With federal gridlock, COVID-19 numbers surging, small businesses closing, and unemployment still high, Governor Polis decided there were too many pressing issues to wait until January; the legislature met from November 30 through December 2. While Democrats control both chambers and the governor’s office, the majority of bills were bipartisan, with the more partisan moments having less to do with policy and more to do with face coverings. House District 4 Representative Serena G on z a le s- Gut ier re z suppor ted t he Governor’s move to call the legislature in early. “If we wait until January it won't happen fast enough,” said Gonzales-Gutierrez in an interview with The Denver North Star just before the session began. “We want to make sure people have the relief they need.” In a follow-up conversation after the session she said she believed it was a productive three days resulting in meaningful bills.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE COLORADO CHANNEL
Representative Serena GonzalesGutierrez (right) speaks alongside Rep. Dave Williams (left), one of a number of Republicans who refused to wear a mask during the special session.
One bill of particular interest to many small businesses was sponsored by North Denver House District 5 Representative Alex Valdez. Bill HB20B-1004 was a bipartisan Highland neighborhood and Highlands Ranch effort, co-sponsored by Douglas County Republican Kevin Van Winkle and allows bars, restaurants, food trucks, and similar businesses to keep up to $2000 in sales tax they collect each month, up to a total of $8,000. Valdez explained that members were working in pods by their expertise and he was “really intensively looking at the small business side of things.” Valdez hopes the additional funds help keep more small businesses open. One of the largest bills was sponsored by North Denver SD34 Senator Julie Gonzales and kept the Denver-Douglas county bipartisan cooperation going with cosponsorship from Republican Chris Holbert. The bill allotted $60 million to families impacted by COVID-19, with $54 million going toward rental and mortgage assistance, including allowing landlords to file with tenants on their behalf. $1 million for an eviction defense fund, and another $5
See SESSION, Page 15
C OM M UN I T Y SHAPING OUR FUTURE BY REMEMBERING OUR PAST Open for Personal Training
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YOUR VOICE. YOUR COMMUNITY.
NEWS S H ORTS
Denver Water Rates to Slightly Increase in 2021
By Denver North Star Staff he Denver Board of Water Commissioners adopted rate changes to help pay for the Lead Reduction program that began at the start of 2020. Denver Water estimates that most residents will see an increase of less than 70 cents per month based on current usage. While Denver Water doesn’t have lead pipes and the water delivered to homes is lead free, many homes, including in North Denver, still have lead lines that connect to the city lines. To read more about Denver Water’s lead reduction program, check out The Denver North Star’s write-up in the June 2020 edition available online.
“La Raza Park” Vote Headed to Council By Denver North Star Staff ouncilwoman Sandoval’s effort to rename Columbus Park to La Raza Park is scheduled for a vote before the Denver City Council on December 21. The park, first called the Northside Playground, was renamed Columbus Park in 1931 in honor of Christopher Columbus at the urging of North Denver’s then large Italian-American population. Latino residents began informally
See PARK, Page 15
Dominguez Family Las Posadas Enlivened North Denver
n the late 1960’s Juanita and Emilio Dominguez gave North Denver a great gift in their annual Las DENNIS GALLAGHER Posadas celebrations. Las Posadas means "The Inn," in Spanish. For 9 nights before Christmas Eve, Juanita and Emilio dressed in full costume, including their daughter Zarife as Mary. Her brothers J. A. and Robbie alternately dressed as St. Joseph. They imported a live four legged burro from a working farm in Adams County to carry Mary while she searched for a room in the Inn on their trip to Bethlehem to be counted in Caesar's census. In liturgical terms, Las Posadas is a novena, Latin for "nine" evenings in sequence. They would stop at 8 different homes in North Denver with refusals to the Holy Family until Christmas Eve. Juanita would sit in the back of a pickup truck, seated on a large bale of straw, and play the accordion's ancient melody to the Medieval Spanish song which the hundreds of people would sing as well as they knocked on the door of their home on Quitman Street near West 32nd Avenue. The residents never alerted the police department as they stayed mostly on city sidewalks. If the city would have known about this, they probably would have banned the celebrations. “In el nombre del cielo os Pido posada " "In the name of heaven, I ask of you lodging." After several more verses, the innkeeper (Emilio) would sadly offer the following refrain, "Aqui no es meson. Here there is no room..." At this point, Mary and Joseph and the big furry burro and the hundreds of pilgrims from all over Denver move to the backyard where the Dominguez family served a full dinner crowned by Mexican hot chocolate. That's hot chocolate with a cinnamon stick in the cup. I still have cinnamon with my hot chocolate because of the Mexican hot chocolate I enjoyed at my first Las Posadas. On Christmas Eve, the novena ended by Joseph knocking on the door of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Fr. Patrick Valdez, the pastor, would open the door of the church singing, "Humildes peregrinos Jesus, Maria y Jose, el allma doy por ellos mi corazon tambien. Humble pilgrims, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give my soul for them and my heart as well." The burro would enter the church, bringing Mary and
PHOTO FROM ALAMY
Joseph to the altar, all pilgrims applauding their getting some room at the inn. Mary and Joseph gently place a statue of Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in the crib of the crèche just beside the altar. The burro exits happily out the north door to the church yard where he stayed during the 9 day novena. As the Senator for their neighborhood and church I received a call of complaint about the burro staying in the church yard at Guadalupe. "Senator Gallagher, what do you think of the jackass staying in the church yard as Guadallupe? I just don't want to see any more churches pick up this custom." I tried to explain, the burro would only be in the neighborhood for nine days, during the novena. He had never heard of the word "novena." He was not happy and living on the west side of Federal at that time, he was not sensitive to the tradition of Las Posadas. I mischievously bent the truth about the burro. I told him that this was "a new program which the city had started to keep weeds down, in the neighborhood and the city has a small herd of goats which can be used to keep weeds down. Are you interested?" The part about the goats is true. I invited this citizen to join us that evening. " Introduce yourself to me and I will introduce you to Mary and Joseph." I told him. I don't believe he attended, or at least didn’t introduce himself. Oh, well, more Mexican hot chocolate for me. After Emilio passed away and Juanita moved to an adobe farmhouse in Chama, Colorado, not far from San Luis in the Valley, the Las Posadas celebrations in North Denver ceased and no one has volunteered to bring this wonderful gift back to the neighborhood and the people of North Denver. Juanita initiated a
celebration for San Luis while she was there. Gregorio Alcaro got a few people together for a procession near the Auraria Campus, but not in North Denver. I hope someone will take up the mantle and revive this remarkable Dominguez celebration. The Las Posadas celebrations gave the people and the neighborhood a soul. Denver needs a soul and our whole nation needs a soul as well. We need an event which brings people together in a historic medieval moment. The Las Posadas engendered in the people and the neighborhood a beautiful event to which all in the neighborhood were invited and could truly enjoy. When we had the Las Posadas, the neighborhood did not have all the "fugly" developments we see in our North Denver blocks. Perhaps the medieval prayers put a hex on all the ugly developers who prey on our once beautiful and graceful neighborhood. Whenever I get hot chocolate at the various coffee shops around North Denver, this holiday time, I always add cinnamon and toast the Dominguez family in gratitude for the wonderfully unselfish and unifying gift they gave us. They asked us to open ourselves up to the beauty of legends around us and to enjoy them. To echo my first sentence, in the name of heaven, I want to thank the Dominguez family for the great gift they gave us of Las Posadas, a gift you just can't find in Cherry Hills Village. The Honorable Dennis Gallagher is a former city auditor, city councilman, state senator and state representative. He’ll be sharing thoughts and stories from North Denver’s past and future in his reoccuring column in The North Star.
2020 Holiday Online Security Awareness
hile our health and that of our loved ones is paramount, many of us will be doing more of our holiday MARY RUEDA shopping online at this time of COVID-19. Shopping online is convenient and, let’s face it, it can save us from the craziness that is the holiday season. However, do not let your guard down during this jolly time; the holidays are here but so are the cyber crooks! The attacks you may encounter will be unique but most of the attempts to get you to divulge your personal or payment information use common techniques to try and fool you into being careless. Keep the following in mind as you find your way through your busy inboxes and social media feeds this holiday season. • Phishing Emails are Widespread. Be on the lookout for emails that look like they are from a legitimate source. My intention is not to single out Amazon, but it is a popular and convenient
Page 2 | December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021
site that many of us have come to rely on. Be on the lookout for emails with a sense of urgency, such as “your account has been locked out,” “update your payment details immediately,” or “your shipment is being delayed.” Pay close attention to who is sending those emails, avoid clicking on links, and refrain from providing any personal and financial information. It’s best to err on the side of caution and simply delete emails that are requesting information from you. • Beware of Fake Social Media Ads. Cyber crooks are geniuses when it comes to imitating websites that look just like the ones you frequent when shopping online. Places like Amazon, Macy’s, and the NFL store are a few that come to mind. Be extra careful when you encounter ads from retailers while perusing your social media feeds. Fake ads will quickly appeal to us because they offer screaming deals that are tough to ignore. Cyber crooks rely on our trust in social media outlets such as Facebook,
Twitter, and Instagram; however, these channels do not vet business pages before they go live on their platforms. Your safest bet is to navigate to the shopping site of your choice and perform your shopping from there. The key to staying safe online is to remain diligent while using your online tools. Exercise good judgment. Nothing is as urgent as keeping your personal and financial information secure. Deals that are too good to be true are and should not be prioritized over your personal data. Be the Grinch who stole Christmas from the cyber crooks and not the other way around! Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season! Mary Rueda is an information security professional. She obtained her Master’s degree from Regis University, holds the designation of CISSP (Certified Information Security Professional), and lives in Northwest Denver. You can find her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryrueda/
The Denver North Star
P O LI T I C S
2020 – A Perspective
s I look back on the last year, I see it marked by transformation. On Friday, March 13th, Denver Public Schools (DPS) closed for three COUNCILWOMAN AMANDA SANDOVAL weeks for the first time in history. Then, ten days later, Mayor Hancock issued a stay-at-home order and the world as we knew it changed forever. In the early days of the stay-at-home order, like many others I hoped we would soon go back to pre-COVID 19 life. Maybe, just maybe, our daughter would go back to her senior year at North High School and graduate as we had planned. Maybe our son would return to his freshman year at North High and be able to play his first year of high school-level lacrosse–a milestone which we had all looked forward to for the past four years. But as the rate of the virus increased, our hopes for normalcy began to shrink while my concern for our elders in our community, our small local businesses, our first responders, our teachers, and our essential workers only grew and grew. When I was elected in July of 2019, I could not have imagined that an entire year of our lives would be shaped by a global pandemic. This experience has touched every person and every aspect of life in some way. And while it has been incredibly hard at times, I have grown personally and professionally more than I ever thought possible. This past year has also created new friendships and alliances. Prior to COVID-19, I knew our State Representative, Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, our State
n security Master’s holds the formation lives in nd her at yrueda/
Park Neighborhood to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), continued our work on the Harkness Heights Bungalow Conservation Overlay (41st – 44th, Lowell Blvd – Federal Blvd) as well as the Active Center and Corridors Design Overlay to ensure active street use along Tennyson Street from 38th – 46th and other small commercial corridors in the Regis & Berkeley Neighborhoods. We engaged over 100 volunteers for a Northwest Denver Park clean-up, ran a donation campaign for Bienvenidos food bank that raised over ten thousand dollars, continued to hold office hours (now virtual) to ensure we heard from our neighbors, collaborated with community on the renaming of Columbus Park to La Raza Park, marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement, and delivered personal prot e c t i ve e qu ipment k it s to small businesses. As this year comes to end, I am reminded why I ran for office: as the famous poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” I have personally witnessed the power of our community coming together and countless selfless acts of giving to those in need. The bonds we have created in 2020 will be a foundation we use in the future when we can reconnect face-to-face and gather without fear. There is an end in sight. One day we will have a vaccine and be on the other side of this pandemic. Until then, please wear a mask, social distance, and keep each other safe. In Solidarity, Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval
720-248-7327 P.O. Box 11584, Denver CO 80211 DenverNorthStar.com PUBLISHER AND EDITOR: David Sabados ART DIRECTOR: Melissa Levad Feeney BUSINESS MANAGER: Nathalie Jautz-Bickel DISTRIBUTION: The paper is printed and distributed on the 15th of each month with doorto-door delivery to 32,500 homes and businesses in North Denver. NEWS INQUIRIES: For news inquiries, email News@DenverNorthStar.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: For advertising inquiries, email Ads@ DenverNorthStar.com. BECOME A MEMBER, RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES AND SUBMIT EVENTS You can become a supporting member, sign up to receive email updates and submit events for our community calendar at DenverNorthStar.com.
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Senator, Julie Gonzales, our DPS Board Director, Brad Laurvick, and our RTD Board member, Angie Malpiede, but never had we collaborated. United by our concern for our constituents, we organically formed the North & West Side Elected Leaders Collation which included our Westside delegates, DPS Board Director Angela Cobian, Westside Councilwoman Jamie Torres and At-Large Councilwoman Debbie Ortega. Throughout the Stay-athome order my mornings started with a check-in with our North & West Elected Leaders discussing how we could support each other and our constituents. One of our first actions was to reach out to those who were 65 years and older to offer assistance and connect them to resources. We also began hosting virtual town-halls to share pertinent COVID-19 information. These individuals were there for me through the daily rollercoaster of our new normal and together we lifted each other up through listening, discussion and support. I found a new sense of resilience and I will be forever thankful for this bond. I am heartened by knowing that many good, beautiful things will be as lasting as the difficult impacts of the pandemic. Many of the projects we were working on in my office suddenly had to be reevaluated. We had to be creative to figure out how to make progress. My staff adjusted to their new routine of working remotely. Although extremely lonely at times, they stepped up and together we found inspiration through service. I am so grateful that, in addition to its challenges, this year has been full of incredibly meaningful milestones. We rezoned all of Chaffee
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C O M M UN I T Y
Local Businesses Struggle on Tennyson Street as More Changes Sweep the Area
he Christmas tree lot opened on November 20 in the Old Elitch’s dome just south of 38th Avenue and Tennyson. Further VICKY COLLINS up the street on 44th Avenue, green garlands with festive red bows popped up around the patio at Parisi restaurant. Owner Christine Parisi vowed she would make the holidays festive. “I need soft reminders that everything is feeling okay. I’m a sucker for the holidays. The day after Thanksgiving we run Christmas music until Christmas.” Those with businesses on Tennyson in Berkeley have had to reckon with a year that, despite initial promise, has collapsed in on itself. While COVID-19 is the Grinch who stole all of 2020 (likely including Christmas), the transformation of Tennyson St. began long before the pandemic and will likely continue long after it ends. Alyssa Manny is the Vice President of Explore Tennyson Berkeley Neighborhood Association. “Tennyson Street is vibrant because of the collective diversity in small business. We have amazing entrepreneurs that have found a quality niche in our little teeny tiny ecosystem on Tennyson Street...No one was prepared for the reality of shutting down an entire economy,” Manny said. “You’re requiring a full pivot in superhero speed,” said Manny. This is not the first time change has come to Tennyson Street. In the early 20th century, streetcars ran along
38th and 44th Avenues, and riders hopped off at Tennyson for shopping and entertainment. Near the North end at 44th Avenue and Tennyson is The Oriental Theater which opened on Christmas Eve 1927 and was the neighborhood movie palace before it became a theater with live music and comedy shows. At the South end at 38th Avenue and Tennyson is what remains of the old Elitch Gardens which got its start on May Day 1890. Mary Elitch, the owner of Elitch Gardens, had a particular interest in developing the arts and cultural scene in Berkeley. In his book “North Side Story,” Phil Goodstein talks about Tennyson Street’s artistic origins. Elitch Gardens
PHOTOS BY VICKY COLLINS
As Tennyson St. has continued to develop, residential and commercial interests are sometimes at odds.
Two of the last houses on Tennyson that were given a stay of execution temporarily are expected to be scraped soon.
RECYCLING YOUR TREE AFTER THE HOLIDAYS IS EASY!
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was part botanical gardens, part zoo, part theater, part amusement park. Mary even rode around the grounds in a cart pulled by an ostrich. In 1917 she opened what would become the Trocadero Theater, which became Denver’s top summer dancing spot. The playhouse could house 1500 and had summer stock with Broadway actors. The advertising slogan was “Not to see Elitch’s is not to see Denver.” The last ten to twenty years could be seen as a renaissance period for the area, as new but reasonably priced bars and art galleries populated the street, First Friday art walks brought out people from across North Denver and across the region, and the street hosted numerous community
Download our Denver Trash and Recycling app for Treecycle collection reminders! If you do not receive Denver Solid Waste Management services, please visit DenverGov.org/Treecycle for our list of drop-off sites.
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events such as the ever popular Totally Tennyson, an 80s themed party that raises money for schools. In the last few years however, those art galleries shuttered one after another, replaced by more yoga studios, high end bars, apartments with no ground level retail, and an increasing number of businesses that aren’t focused on walk-in traffic. Today, Tennyson is still rapidly gentrifying or is possibly the first postgentrification district, depending on who you ask. In a nod to the transformation, high-end athletic wear purveyor Lululemon recently opened a seasonal popup on the street, Corepower Yoga has found a home, and a high end boutique hotel is coming in January. All have raised some eyebrows, as have apartment buildings without ground floor retail. Some residents feel the trendiness is not in character with the street’s mom and pop gestalt. Jill Carstens has lived in the neighborhood for 23 years. “The soul of the neighborhood has definitely changed.” Her family used to enjoy Elitch Lanes and her son had his hair cut at David’s Barbershop. She remembers when there was a hardware store in place of Allegro Roasters and little art galleries and shops in the old Victorians. Carstens misses the anchor businesses that used to be on Tennyson like Elitch Lanes, Flesher Hinton music company, and Green Door Furniture. Walking on the street, one can still see the signage of the latter two. Tennyson Street hosted Denver’s oldest art walk and Jill would like more artists featured on First Friday. “They call it the culture walk now but it’s really a bar crawl,” says Carsten. This past summer Jill organized First Friday art walks in Berkeley Regis and is hoping to bring neighborhood artists into some of the new developments
popping up on Tennyson. At the moment there are only a handful of galleries left. Art returned with a big splash to Tennyson Street this past summer when three vacant houses between 42nd and 43rd Streets got a new lease on life with temporary shops, galleries, and immersive events. But now fencing has gone up around the old homes and they are waiting to be demolished next spring. “When everything is homogenous it looks the same and everything is bright and shiny and new but it loses its character. You lose the uniqueness of the area,” says Carstens. She’s frustrated that a design overlay requiring more ground level stores instead of housing that began several years ago under a previous council member hasn’t been implemented yet (for more information on that proposal, stay tuned for the January issue of The Denver North Star). She refers to part of the street as Tennyson Canyon because of the three story apartments and worries the area will be suburbanized. “If we don’t do something, only millionaires are going to live here. I don’t want our friends to be kicked out or not want to live here because it’s changed so much.” Alyssa Manny worries too. “I think that what you’re going to see is a continuation of high lease rates as all the small businesses shutter. The only businesses that can survive this significant fixed cost is a brand that has a national feel to it. I would expect to see things like State Farm insurance company and Chipotle. They’re going to be the only ones that can endure financial risk in the future.” Alyssa stops short of calling this a shame, but worries about national brands’ interest in the neighborhood. “It’s our small businesses on our streets that are constantly giving back to our communities. We’re the ones sponsoring baseball teams and giving back to the homeless. We want to see this whole area continue to thrive.” Today, Alyssa Manny is pragmatic about her business, Ohana Yoga + Barre. “I don’t have any lofty illusions of profit in the next two years. We will be adversely affected by this two years from now, five years from now, ten years from now. It’s survival mode.” She has advice for people watching Tennyson Street change. She says communities need to consider what they want the landscape to look like coming out of the pandemic. “Right now the fear is driving a limited myopic view and people need to start considering the big picture. What do you want your quality of life to be like, and put your dollars there. Support that.”
The Denver North Star
CO M M U N I TY
Two Ways to Help Improve Community Journalism in North Denver Today
f you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re a fan of community journalism and appreciate the return of DAVID SABADOS a local paper in North Denver. Thank you for reading. This has been an unprecedented year in nearly every way, including for local media. Since the pandemic started, local newspapers across the country have been closing, especially weekly and monthly papers. As small businesses temporarily or permanently closed, advertising dollars that sustain most local publications vanished overnight. Only a few months into publishing when the pandemic hit, we were almost one of them, but thanks to the support of so many people across North Denver we have continued to print and have actually grown slightly, making The Denver North Star the largest monthly community newspaper based in Denver. As the year comes to an end, I’m asking for your help to improve the paper in two different ways. First, we're honored that the Colorado Media Project has selected The Denver North Star as one of 25 news outlets across the state for a matching grant of up to $5,000. Every dollar we raise between now and December 31 will be matched, including monthly contribution commitments. Please note that contributions to The Denver North Star are not tax deductible. We hope to use the first $5,000 to help make up some of the lost ad revenue and the matching $5,000 to grow, adding more writers covering the type of investigative and community news pieces our community wants and deserves, and to expand our geographic reach slightly. A diversity of voices is important to bring you as many perspectives as we can. We also hope to start improvements on our website, newsletter, and other technology, including bringing you more stories in between print editions. If you aren’t already a member, please
consider becoming one this month when your contribution will be doubled. • Basic membership is only $30/year. If you live outside our distribution area, or would like a 2nd copy each month, we're happy to mail you a copy each month at your request. • VIP membership is only $100/year. In addition to showing your strong support for community journalism, we're also happy to offer VIP members a high quality Denver North Star t-shirt made by local business Nano Apparel. We welcome and appreciate contributions of any amount and any amount up to $1,000 will be matched. If you want to make your contribution online, please visit www.DenverNorthStar. com. If you prefer to pay by check, use the form printed on this page. Please make your check payable to The Denver North Star and mail to: The Denver North Star PO Box 11584 Denver, CO 80211 ANNOUNCING OUR COMMUNITY SURVEY! We want your help shaping the The Denver North Star in 2021. Many of our stories come from community tips and suggestions, and now we're asking for your feedback to help us improve even more. By filling out our community survey, you can help us decide new columnists to add, what sort of news pieces to focus on, and more. You can find the community survey online at DenverNorthStar.com. Thank you for reading and caring about our community. Please stay safe and warm this holiday season. ~ David Sabados David Sabados is the publisher, editor, and sometimes paperboy for The Denver North Star. Formerly living in the Berkeley neighborhood, he jumped Federal looking for cheaper rent and now lives in Sunnyside with his fiance Emma and their rescue lab Isley.
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The Denver North Star is one of 25 local publications to receive a matching grant from the Colorado Media Project! All memberships and other contributions made between 12/1 and 12/31 will be matched, up to a total of $5,000. We're thankful for the support we're receiving from Colorado's journalism community. As a free community newspaper, we're funded through ads and memberships. As the newspaper grows, we plan to use additional funds to increase our team and be able to bring you even more Han Opens Bikeway Hacock ncock Opens Bikew ay great stories each month. Hancock Op Your YouGuide r Guidto Comm
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December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021 | Page 5
QUALITY FISH MARKET SINCE 1974
Continued from Page 1
The dental clinic where everybody is welcome.
Tuesday - Saturday 11-7 Sunday 11-5 Monday Closed 3457 W. 32nd Ave. 303.571.1995
Dr. Janda and Dr. Garrison 4433 W. 29th Ave., Suite 206 cityrootsdental.com 720-428-8916
3845 Tennyson Street Denver, CO 80212 P 303-459-4665 F 303-459-4976 email@example.com www.rocketpackandship.com
Happy Holidays Berkeley Highlands! Rocket is deemed an essential business during the Covid-19 outbreak. Please feel free to let us help you pack and ship any holiday presents this year. We also offer a wide variety of printing services including small format and large format printing. We can handle any print project, large or small. Thank You!
Buon Natale e Buon Anno Nuovo curbside & takeout | online ordering | outdoor dining tent Our tent is now “heated,” but BYOB (bring your own blanket), since it still has to be well-ventilated. Tent dining will be weather dependent. Follow us @ParisiDenver for the latest updates! This information is changing every day!
you North Denver and
GRAZIE for your support
during this challenging time.
Please visit www.ParisiDenver.com
for details about about our protocols and a link to order online.
4401 Tennyson, Berkeley | (303) 561-0234
The Family Jones Spirit House by December, but here we are. What a long, strange trip it's been. We are launching all kinds of fun back-door kitchens and pop-ups and food clubs and deliverables. Please help support our efforts, and the efforts of every small business nearby. Every local needs the support of locals right now — it ain't coming from anywhere else. Please support every restaurant and locally owned business throughout this holiday season.” Query says it all. He, alongside many neighborhood restaurant operators, have given back all year in spite of the challenges and hurdles so many have faced. To name just a handful, Justin Cucci’s Edible Beats, Juan Padro from Highland Tap & Burger, Troy Guard from FNG, Andrea West from Fire on
the Mountain and Niya Lenay from COVID victim, Local 46, and still thriving el Camino, have continued to give back to our community through food drives, industry meals and helping feed local school families. Greg Pratt, Director of Bienvenidos Food Bank remarked, “I can’t get over the food industry’s support this year in spite of everything they have gone through.” During this season of giving, let’s give back to them. Support all of our local restaurants whether in person, through take away, or by buying a stocking stuffer gift card. Our gift this year is our health and our community. Give generously. Stay safe. Love Local. For more photos and an expanded list of North Denver's coolest outdoor eateries, visit us online at DenverNorthStar.com.
My Brothers Bar
BERKELEY: Billy's Inn-4403 Lowell Blvd Berkeley Untapped-4267 Tennyson St. Parisi-4401 Tennyson St. CONFLUENCE PARK: Daughter Thai Kitchen-1700 Platte St. My Brother's Bar-2376 15th St.
HIGHLAND: Bar Dough-2227 W.32nd Ave Cart-Driver Highland-2239 W. 30th Ave El Camino Community Tavern 3628 W. 32nd Ave Fire on the Mountain-3801 W. 32nd Ave Highland Tap & Burger 2219 W. 32nd Ave Spuntino-2639 W. 32nd Ave SUNNYSIDE: El Jefe-2450 W. 44th Ave. The Wolf’s Tailor-4058 Tejon St.
LOHI: Acova-3651 Navajo St Ale House-2501 16th Street Ash'Kara- 2005 W. 33rd Ave Avanti Rooftop Deck-3200 Pecos Street The Bindery-1817 Central Street Dimestore Delibar-1575 Boulder Street The Family Jones Spirit House 3245 Osage Street The Fifth String-3316 Tejon Street Happy Camper-3211 Pecos Street LoHi SteakBar-3200 Tejon Street Lola Coastal Mexican 1575 Boulder Street Maine Shack-1535 Central Street Mizu Izakaya -1560 Boulder Street My Neighbor Felix-1801 Central Street Northside Market and Eatery 1691 Central Street Postino-2715 17th Street Prost Brewing Company & Biergarten-2540 19th Street Señor Bear-3301 Tejon Street SLOAN’S LAKE: The Patio at Sloans-4032 W. 17th Ave
Page 6 | December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021
The Denver North Star
DI N I N G
New Bar Sees Awakening of Sober Movement in North Denver By Abigail Seaberg here’ll be a new bar in town come spring, and owners Billy and Christy Wynne want you to know that it is, in fact, a bar. “It's not a juice bar, it's not a cava bar, it's not a kombucha bar,” Billy Wynne said. “It's a bar.” Why the clarification? Awake Denver is a zero-proof bar currently serving coffee, breakfast, and alcohol-free beer, wine, and spirits from their in-house “liquor” store. Although COVID-19 restrictions are forcing the Jefferson Park establishment to rely solely on window-service at the moment, Awake Denver will be Denver’s first alcohol-free bar when the mocktails start flowing in the spring. “We want it to feel like a bar,” Billy said. “It’s an interesting thing to try to create a sense of community and comfort without alcohol… so we’re gonna do all we can to make the drinks interesting, make the music interesting, make the atmosphere welcoming.” Billy and Christy’s drive to create such a place grew from their own experiences with alcohol. The two have both been sober for almost two years, and Christy has been working as a sober coach for about a year and a half. They believe the sober-curious movement is gaining traction, and want to play a part in its growth. Christy said that even though drinking was at an all-time high during the pandemic, she had still seen people seeking “a higher-conscious sort of life.”
“It’s about providing a safe space in the community for people to go and to understand that alcohol-free can be just as amazing and beautiful and fun as what they perceived drinking to be.” “They’re ready to wake up which is exactly what Awake is about,” Christy said. “It’s about providing a safe space in the community for people to go and to understand that alcohol-free can be just as amazing and beautiful and fun as what they perceived drinking to be.” Being the first zero-proof bar in Colorado, Awake Denver is a unique undertaking for a state with a complex health identity. Denver Public Health reported in 2019 that more than one in four
The Denver North Star
Heated patios, delicious food and friendly service! OPEN FOR DINNER Tuesday-Sunday 5PM 5560 West 29th Ave. (at Depew St.), Wheat Ridge
west29th.com | (303) 233-3377
PHOTOS COURTESY OF AWAKE DENVER
Does a bar need to serve alcohol to be a bar? A new Jefferson Park business says no. Denver adults binge drinks. “There’s sort of this weird paradox in Colorado,” Christy said. “We’re all so active and fit, but we also have some of the highest binge drinking rates in the U.S..” But Awake was not made to judge anyone who likes to drink. This bar is meant for the sober, sober-curious, and drinkers alike. “We want everybody,” Billy said. “Whether they are in recovery or they just wanna have a night out without alcohol, we wanna be a place for them.” In order to make their alcohol-free drinks stand out, Awake will be working with a mixologist to create specialty concoctions designed to do exactly what alcohol can’t. Stress-reducing herbs called adaptogens and other ingredients with healing properties will be combined in thoughtful creations that touch on different parts of the palate. “I know Billy is really into the craft beers and those kinds of things, but I am so into the drinks that we’re gonna create,” Christy said. “It’s not just gonna be like a typical mocktail that you would think of.” Take Ghia, for example. This aperitif is a selection of “social tonics” currently for sale in Awake’s zero-proof store, though it will make an appearance behind the bar come spring. With forward-facing notes of herbal and botanical extracts, this Mediterranean-inspired drink is flavorful to say the least, and perfect for someone looking to craft a beverage that stands out from other alcohol-mimicking offerings. But the Wynnes are not solely focused on their unique drink options. They also want to support the surrounding community with 20 percent discounts for veterans, active service members, and people on Medicaid and food stamps. They will also donate 2 percent of sales and 20 percent of profits to local charities that focus on providing help with mental and behavioral issues, addiction and recovery through a monthly rotating program. Their charity partner for December is Housed Working & Healthy, a community business collaborative established to help people become self-sufficient by simultaneously addressing people’s housing, mental health, and employment status. Awake Denver is located at 2240 N. Clay St., Unit 100, and open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. You can also find them online at awakedenver.com.
Just because you can't have a large gathering this year doesn't mean you can't have great food. Sage and Savory Catering can deliver specialized holiday meals for family dinners or other intimate gatherings.
www.sageandsavory.com Phone: 303-503-6765 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org N E W S S H ORTS
Group Living Proposal Headed to Vote with Changes By Denver North Star Staff nder current Denver law, no more than two unrelated people can live together. The regulations impact both traditional roommate arrangements and supervised group living homes such as halfway houses. Proponents for less restrictive regulations point to skyrocketing home prices, Denver’s housing crisis, and the acknowledgement that many younger and low income residents are already living with more than two unrelated people in a single home. The original proposal has been scaled back and revisions will likely allow around five unrelated people in one home. While rental prices have actually decreased very slightly in the pandemic, the changes may create more flexibility in North Denver’s hot market, allowing for more people to utilize existing “single family” homes as rentals or allowing a homeowner to rent unused bedrooms to help them stay in their home as costs increase. The Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure (LUTI) Committee will discuss and vote on proposal changes on Dec 22 and the full council is likely to take up the issue early next year. Councilwoman Sandoval is Vice Chair of LUTI and Councilwomen CdeBaca and Torres are both members of the committee as well.
buy $20 in gifts
or gift cards, get a free scoop in december and a buy one get one
in january at
Little Man Factory
4411 w colfax ave. or
Little Man Ice Cream 2620 16th st.
while at the can: DO N AT E T O O U R
Food Drive Dec 1-31
December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021 | Page 7
Shop Local and Fill Your Holiday Staycation with the Gift of Family and Home By Basha Cohen litter be gone. Normally shops are shimmering in shine during the holiday season. Like everything else in 2020, this year is not normal. In place of sequins and liquid gold, the power of pandemic plush has captured the spirit of the stayat-home season. Winter white and heather grey are the calming colors soothing frazzled nerves. Super soft, fuzzy, furry and fleecey fabrics are the antidotes for weary souls. Rather than bemoan the lack of
boisterous parties, the gift of family and home is the way to rejoice. Turn your gift list into a party instead, and support our local businesses who are our community family and need the love and support during these trying times. Here are some ideas that will turn your staycation into a family vacation. Gift wrap yourself and your loved ones under a faux fur blanket and fuzzy slippers for a Christmas movie marathon. Pull out a puzzle. Grab a funny coaster and order a cocktail
PHOTOS BY BASHA COHEN
to-go or pick up a Quarantine Ice Cream Freezer pack for the watch party. Cozy up with a good book. Cook up a storm. Set your table in style. Wash your hands (again and again,) but dry them with a humorous dish towel. Pamper your pooch. Decorate your room. Freshen it with flowers. Scent it with a sacred sage brush bundle. Make a fresh wreath. Brew a pot of tea. Bake some fresh bread. Take a bubble bath. Or get your loved one to indulge you in a sixmonth Soul Care package from Sol Shine
filled with mystical, transformative selfcare ingredients to help lead the way to a lighter 2021. Want to liven up your holiday meals at home? Stop by Seafood Landing on 32nd Ave for their always changing fresh options. Don't want to cook? Try North Denver based Cibo Meals at cibomeals.com -- they deliver weekly! Be safe. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Merry wishes from our house to yours. For more g if t idea s go to w w w.denve r nor th star.com
The freshest fish in North Denver-Create a new fish specialty for your staycation-Market Prices Seafood Landing: Fresh Fish3457 W. 32nd Avenue
“Holiday Quarantine Freezer Packs”4 or 8 packs of Pints and Ice Cream Sammies for a Netflix binge watching party $25-$50 Little Man Ice Cream Factory: Sweet Treats4411 W. Colfax Avenue
Drinking at home requires humorous coasters-$5 Jolly Goods: Gifts & Curios-4020 Tennyson Street
Pendleton pampered pup bed-$199; Plush bedtime buddies-$29 Mouthfuls Pet Supply: Dog Heaven4224 Tennyson Street
Puzzle Mania-$30 eXtraOrdinary (XO) Gift Co.: Gifts Galore4309 Tennyson St
The art of home cooking-$30-$35 Book Bar: Books & Cafe-4280 Tennyson Street
Fuzzy, “Happy Feet” for girls-$14-$16 Luna & Jasper: Women's Apparel & Accessories-3460 W. 32nd Avenue
"Soul Ca Humorous dish towels to keep those hands clean-$11; and oven mitts for the whimsical chef-$13 a wide v Luna & Jasper: Women's Apparel, Accessories & priced in Sol Shine Gifts-3460 W. 32nd Avenue 3631 32n
Automatic Jones Ready-to-Pour cocktails. Simply chill or serve over ice and garnish. Cheers!-$60 Family Jones House of Spirits; Order at www.thefamilyjones.co
Page 8 | December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021
The Denver North Star
Exquisite salad servers $60; Hand painted serving bowl $129 Perfect Petal: Flowers & Gifts3600 W 32nd Avenue
Sage Smudge sticks and bundles to calm frayed nerves $14-$25 Vert Beauty: Organic Skin Care3442 W 32nd Avenue
Faux Fur blanket-$98; Ceramic tea pot-$25; Marble & Mango Wood Bread Board-$32 Honeycomb & Co.: Flowers & Gifts2440 W 44th Ave
Freshly cut, made-to-order wreaths-$45-$75 Va Va Bloom: Flowers & Gifts-3209 Zuni Street
Hand Loomed Decorative Throw Pillows-$120 Form: Design Studio & Curated Home Decor4234 Tennyson Street
Vintage Hand Woven Baskets-$75-$125 Fern and Bloom-Flowers & Home Decor4014 Tennyson Street
Super soft oversize scarves-$28 Inspyre Boutique: Women's Apparel & Accessories-4170 Tennyson Street
Cozy Fake Fur Blanket-$68; Plush Robe-$50; Scented Candle-$30 Stitch Boutique: Women's Apparel & Accessories-4500 W. 38th Avenue
Ski Bunny baby hats-$28 Real Baby: Baby & Toddler Gear4315 Tennyson Street
"Soul Care Package" A 6-month subscription for a wide variety of ritual items and sets, $299; priced individually from $34.99 Sol Shine: A spiritual escape3631 32nd Avenue
Cozy, textural Apres-Sofa sweaters-$75-$100 Rustic Thread: Hipster Women's Boutique-3716 W 32nd Ave
The perfect, softest reversible fleece sweatshirt. Staycation this year; Vacation next-$64.90; Pair up with thermal lounge pants-$72.90 Ruby Jane: Contemporary Women's & Baby Boutique-3616 W. 32nd Avenue
The Denver North Star
December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021 | Page 9
S T U DENT VO I CES
Thank you No needy family should go hungry.
For more than 40 years, Bienvenidos Food Bank has provided Northwest Denver individuals and families with emergency food in a safe, welcoming place.
Each year, Bienvenidos:
to our generous Denver supporters Serves Saves 180,000 pounds of 10,000 Denver who have helped Bienvenidos Food wholesome food from grocery residents a year. stores – that would havebeen been Bank during COVID-19. We have thrown away. one of 62 out of 106 food agencies in Gives away more than Denver that has been able to stay open 375,000 pounds Provides enough food of food valued nearly during theatpandemic. We see new to make more than $600,000 300,000 meals. families weekly, who have suffered economically and physically this year.
For every $1 you give, we are able to provide $9 of food. bienvenidosfoodbank.org
Please consider a donation to support this important work in 2021. For every $1 you give, we are able to provide $9 of food.
Make us your home for the holidays. Call today for current specials. For more information, call our trusted advisors, Pam or Melissa today at 303.529.6577.
The Gardens at St. Elizabeth Independent Living Assisted Living 2835 West 32nd Avenue | Denver, Colorado HomeIsHere.org Page 10 | December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021
Take Yourself Out on a Date
ver thought about taking yourself out on a date? In a society where it is so common to put others before yourself, or to wait on MORGAN JACOBUS other people to invite you to do things, Regis student Risa Davis encourages others to take some time for themselves. Risa started her self-date by putting on a cute outfit and taking a walk around campus to look at the fall colors. Then she took herself to an art gallery, then bought a handmade bracelet for herself because “if I was out with a friend we would probably buy bracelets, or with a guy… they usually get you something, so why can’t I do that for myself?” said Risa Davis. Afterwards, she went to a coffee shop, treated herself by getting her favorite drinks and snacks, and then came back to campus and hung out. Risa continued to point out how she has a boyfriend as well as friends, but she realized that she finds herself often waiting on them to ask her to do things, and it dawned on her that she shouldn’t have to wait for someone to have fun with. “I think it is a lot easier to support others and want to hang out with them. I think it is harder to find that in yourself… it has been hard for me to find that in myself. It is really easy to make someone else the center of your world… I am so guilty of that, but I don’t want to do that anymore, I want people to be a part of my world, but not be what I am dependent on,” said Risa. After realizing that she wants to prioritize herself more, Risa expressed reasons why she thinks it is important to be alone with yourself sometimes. “At the end of the day we are our own people… I think it is great to share your life with other people, but I think we need to focus on our self-relationships more. Especially if you are religious, like you focus on your relationship with God, you focus on your relationship with friends… with family… with your significant other, literally everything and everyone but yourself,” said Risa. When it comes to how often she is going to take herself on a date, she said that she is going to try to match the pace at which she hangs out with others. So
since she and her boyfriend do weekly dates, she is going to try to have weekly self-dates. “I think it is worthwhile because it is a challenge. Our instinct is to not to go have fun by yourself or treat yourself that way you would treat a friend. We hardly ever share that same level of compassion with ourselves, so I think it is something to try because it is a challenge and it shows that we can grow. I want to mature and I am going into my twenties. Who do I want to be? How do I want to be? And I think, at the end of the day, I want to be someone who is comfortable with myself and I want to be who I am. And I don’t think I can find that by constantly hanging out with others or a boyfriend or something. I need to spend time alone, as challenging as that is. That is what I would tell others, that it is good growth and it is a good challenge, it’s hard, which means it is worthwhile I think,” said Risa. Self-dates can be a great way to “selfbond” and take some time to be comfortable with who you are when you aren’t around other people. It can also be very individual, and anyone can do it in their own way. Risa went to an art museum because she is an art major, and loves art, but anyone can tailor their own date to what they like. “If you are a history major, go to a history museum; or if you are a movie person stay, in bed and watch shows and have your own popcorn and treats. I think it is such an individual thing that we could all be going on our fun dates and we could share the ideas with each other too, like ‘oh wow, you painted your own nails and did this or that, I’ll do that too.’ I think it would be cool if a lot of people did it, to then think about how we can all have fun,” said Risa.
Hey y’all, I’m Morgan Jacobus, a proud student of Regis University, and an aspiring communication major. This year I am the Editor in Chief of the Regis University has grow Highlander publication, and I want to do a lost po my best to help this publication grow and seem to b become the best that it can be! I hope to choices, t encourage and inspire my staff to grow these cho as writers and photographers, as well as of social m unite my community along the way by These k sharing the stories of my peers. school, bu after grad believe th ARTS & CU LTU R E enough e CHECKING OUT it out. I h surrender continuin they get h find more One of can supp he winter season their futu can be a difficult supportin time each year – the before gr shorter days and ex“failure to tended darkness, the idea to be cold weather driving your kids HANNAH EVANS us indoors, and the them to c packed season of holidays that can creor curios ate stress and pressure. On top of these materials regular winter challenges, this year Additiona we’ve been ushered into these frigid connect t months along the backdrop of a panin a field demic. Visiting with loved ones is more convey a difficult if not impossible, favorite My so places are no longer accessible in ways productio they were before, and many holiday eventuall comforts have to be either postponed bought h or cancelled. Fatigue and disconneche began tion feel more commonplace than ever As time w before as we begin the coldest and summer t high scho See WINTERING, Page 13 Film Scho
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
The Denver North Star
S TU DE N T VO I C E S
A Holiday filled with Love, Gratitude, and Reflection By Shaina Walsh hat am I most grateful for? When I was first asked this question before Thanksgiving break I couldn’t help but chuckle. The past year my life, like many others, was f lipped upside down. I watched as all my hopes and dreams for my final years of high school f luttered into the f leeting wind. I experienced firsthand the true meaning of isolation. I lost freedom, safety & security, and my childhood era. With that said, these experiences are nothing in comparison to lives that have been lost during the pandemic and the agony so many have faced. At first, these circumstances made me believe that there was nothing to be grateful for. As the long march of virtual time went on I realized this sentiment was shared by my peers. Online chats in my classes demonstrated the disgruntled opinions of our youth. Things like “What do we have to celebrate this year anyway?” or “If I could get one gift, it would be the end of this pandemic,” littered our conversations. It was in those chats that I felt secure in my pessimism but saddened by the condition of our lives. That all changed, though, when each of our virtual classroom screens filled with little Zoom boxes---some with faces, others blank---were asked by our teachers to truly reflect on the question. In that moment answers arose that
could have lit up even the darkest room with hope. Students spoke about how they valued seeing their families more and learning about themselves; the importance of life and dignity throughout the chaos of social injustice, hunger, and bizarre politics. We reflected on our elders, whom we love so dearly, and the promise that we may see them again tomorrow. Most of all, we came to appreciate true friendships, not the “Snapchat” kind, but the socially-distanced moments of sitting across a street on two separate curbs or walking around the lake talking in real-time. Just like students, North Denver’s neighborhood values have come out in so many ways. Family and community members have stepped up to navigate this unpredictable new world. Those who are holding down jobs or hanging onto fluctuating businesses have fought tirelessly to provide a sense of normalcy, determination, and resilience for their loved ones. For those who have needed help, the community has risen to lend a loving hand. Northside Pride, love, and kindness embody this holiday season. There are multiple places around our community that are holding food drives, homeless warm-gear collections, and toy collections this year. For those of you willing to donate to amazing organizations like the Bienvenidos Food Bank who have
kept our community fed, bring your non-perishable items to Little Man Ice Cream throughout the month of December to help a family w it h a holiday meal. Other ways to love local? If you are able to buy gifts, choose one from our neighborhood businesses. Many of them are trying to stay afloat. While Amazon may be faster, there is nothing as precious as something from the heart of our community. If you can’t afford a present, the biggest thing we can give for free is our happiness. Continue to spread cheer with a masked smiling face and be the light we all wish to see in this world. I hope you will reflect on what you are most grateful for this year and take those values into the holiday season. Know that there is still much to cheer for. Know that if you ever fall down there are hundreds of people who will help you back up. Being a part of this community has taught me so much. It's created a family like no other, and, for that, I will always have gratitude. If nothing I have said has convinced you to be grateful, the one thing I know we may all rejoice in is the fact that 2021 is just around the corner. With that comes the promise of vaccines, lifting mandates, and a world where you may hug all those you love again. Now that is something to celebrate. Cheers!
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Par k s , Tr ai ls , O p e n Sp ace , Ur b an D e s i gn, Wate r Re s our ce s , Schools , Faci li ti e s , Inf r as tr uctur e , P lanni ng, He althy C ommuni ti e s , Hi s tor i c Re s tor ati on, & Ur b an Agr i cultur e
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K I DS & ED UCAT I ON
LETTERS FROM MISS JILL
The best gift we can give our young adults… F
iguring out what to do after high school was already a challenging proposition for many young adults before Covid-19. JILL CARSTENS Over the years, as my son has grown up, I have witnessed a bit of a lost population of young people who seem to be daunted by the myriad of life choices, the financial gateways to some of these choices, and the added distraction of social media and video games. These kids might have done fine in high school, but failed to find a direction for after graduation. Some career coaches believe that young people don’t often have enough experience yet to really figure it out. I have seen these very bright kids surrender to working at a fast food job, continuing the cycle of couch potato when they get home, tired and unmotivated to find more interesting work. One of the best ways we as parents can support our kids in figuring out their futures is to provide the gift of supporting their interests and passions before graduation. To help prevent a “failure to launch” situation, it is a good idea to begin having conversations with your kids at least around 8th grade. Help them to cultivate or recognize a passion or curiosity and support it by offering materials, classes, or experiences. Additionally, it can also be great to connect these young people with mentors in a field they are interested in to help to convey a real-life perspective. My son took an interest in video production and editing at age 9. He eventually taught himself how to edit. I bought him an inexpensive camera and he began to create humorous short films. As time went on, we found classes in the summer to support this interest and after high school he enrolled in the Colorado Film School.
The Denver North Star
Since then he has worked in film but has recently chosen another passion as his vocation for now. I believe that his having had the film interest at a young age provided him with a focus to gain progressive real-world experiences. He gained marketable skills and a wonderful confidence in himself. While searching the Internet for support and advice about this subject, I came upon a neat website called “ZenHabits,” which gives this advice to a stressed out teen: “So if you can’t figure out the future, what do you do? Focus on what you can do right now that will be good no matter what the future brings. Make stuff. Build stuff. Learn skills. Go on adventures. Make friends. These things will help in any future.” The pandemic has indeed caused a global limbo that affects everyone differently. Sometimes such a situation presents the perfect opportunity to do something off the beaten path. If you live with a high school graduate or soon-to-be high school graduate who sees the immediate future as too difficult to commit to a traditional 4-year school just yet, perhaps encourage them to do some safe exploration. The pandemic has created some interesting opportunities in higher education and has also brought some established alternatives into the spotlight during these less certain times. Here are some of them: • Google has initiated college equivalent “Career Certificates” that can be completed in as little as 6 months and cost a fraction of a university degree. They also have residencies and internships available. • Since the early 20th century, The Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver has offered GED classes and a growing, progressive and affordable
course offering with subjects ranging from Cybersecurity to Professional Baker. A high percentage of graduates find work in their field. • There are articles and books about ways we can support our kids this way, "The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life," William Damon, director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence has a neat approach. • The Western Undergraduate Exchange provides close to in-state tuition for outof-state colleges to member universities ht t ps://w w w.w ic he .e du /t u it ionsavings/wue/ • Some colleges are offering reduced tuition, as much as a 30% savings, and simpler admissions requirements. • The incoming Biden administration is entertaining forgiveness on student loans up to $10,000 and versions of free community college for up to two years. Biden also adopted a proposal to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000. One way or the other, the mantra for our young adults should be the same as for the rest of us. Take things one day at a time and try not to stress about big decisions that are difficult to make right now. Adopting an approach to “baby steps” assures more of a thoughtful decision process. Offering teens a variety of options while encouraging them to embrace their interests might well help them to make more informed choices for the future.
Jill Carstens is a proud Denver native, a passionate mom and a teacher her entire adult life! She has run Milestones Preschool here since 2011. If you have ideas for an article or further questions for Miss Jill, you can email her at email@example.com
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOOKGIVE
Wendell Scott in Sun Valley assembled a Little Free Library for his neighborhood.
ave you noticed more little libraries popping up? North Denver nonprofit organization BookGive is installing Little Free Libraries in four Denver neighborhoods: Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, and West Colfax. All of these neighborhoods lie in areas of the city considered “book deserts” where a majority of households don’t own and can't easily access a variety of books.
Elizabeth Martinez, BookGive Board Member sponsored a new free little library in the West Colfax neighborhood.
December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021 | Page 11
All the flavors to entice kids. All theAllnicotine to keep themkids. hooked. the flavors to entice the flavors to entice E-cigarette makers All and vape shops are enticing kids withkids. flavors like cotton candy, All the nicotine to keep them hooked. gummy bear and bubble gum. And nationally, over 3.5 million kids are using these flavored e-cigarettes. All the nicotine to keep them hooked. Vape shops and tobacco companies say their products aren’t ending up in kids’ Allnotthe flavors tostillentice kids.and many of them hands, but that’s just true. Many retailers sell to minors, in Denver even illegally sold products during the COVID-19 shutdown violating Allorders. the nicotine to keep them hooked. emergency Let’s stop pretending vape shops and the industry care about public health or the All the flavors to entice kids. health of our children. It’s time to stop the sale of flavored tobacco products to protect our kids. All the nicotine to keep them hooked.
Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Amanda Sandoval to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Amanda Sandoval to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Amanda Sandoval to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Paid for by Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Paid for byof Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fundincluding e-cigarettes. Amanda Sandoval to end the sale all flavored tobacco products, Paid for by Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Page 12 | December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021 The Denver North Star Amanda Sandoval to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Paid for by Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund
HE A LTH & W E L L N E S S COMMUNITY WELLNESS INSTIGATOR
Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær.
on’t worry, it's not your eyes, it’s Norwegian. "There is no bad weather, only bad clothes." Getting outside is more imERIKA TAYLOR portant than ever. Vitamin D strengthens our immune systems and sunlight increases serotonin which boosts mood. Even if it’s 5 minutes a day, let’s get out there! Step 1- Mask Up A physically distanced walk, wearing masks is a great way to connect. Find local mask makers at the Colorado Mask Project or, shop locally and online at Hope Tank for masks. They are ”... comfortable enough to wear while exercising, AND keep your face warm,” says Erin Kliewer Persaud, a North Denver mom and Director of Operations at I Support the Girls. Step 2 - Stay Hydrated You may feel less thirsty in the winter but your body needs more water. The extra energy it takes us to stay warm combined with Colorado's dry climate is the culprit; bumping up your hydration is the fix. Step 3 - Layer it Up Remember, you can peel layers off, but you can’t add layers you didn’t bring along. Remember to start with water wicking socks. Kate Garwood, a North Denver ski instructor raising a daughter who would “live her whole life outside if she could”, says. Loveland Ski area is an awesome place to take kids. She finds preloved clothing to keep her family warm at local second hand/consignment shops. And scours other local stores for last year's gear on sale. Step 4 - Go Outside! Start with your own block and then get ready to explore. LOOKING FOR NEW PLACES TO EXPLORE? • Inspiration Point Park between 48th and 52nd, west of Sheridan is a 1 mile loop trail to an overlook with panoramic views of the Front Range and Denver. • Sloans Lake Park has a 2.6-mile loop around the lake which is a bird watcher’s paradise including being home to a pair of bald eagles. We’d love to have you join our walking crew, meeting at the North Playground every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:15. Rain, snow, or shine. • Gold Strike Park near Sheridan and Ralston Road is the site of Colorado's first gold discovery. • Find Lowell Ponds State Wildlife Area off Lowell Blvd just south of I-76. There are trails between the various lakes, ponds totalling about 2 miles. • Heron Pond Loop at 54th and Washington is 1.3 miles long. It attracts rare birds and is connected by trails to the adjacent Northside Park and South Platte River Trail. • Jack B. Tomlinson Park Loop near Garrison and 51st and Empower Field at Mile High have outdoor fitness stations, a true bonus for folks who are missing their gyms. • Crown Hill Lake is an easy loop with mountain views. There is a 1.2 mile paved trail and a 0.7 mile nature preserve loop trail in the northwestern section of the park. • Riverside Cemetery just a half mile north of I-70/Brighton Boulevard is Denver’s oldest operating cemetery and a national historic district. Visit the Friends of Riverside website (friend-
The Denver North Star
PHOTO BY ERIKA TAYLOR
Good weather? Bad weather? Check out new places to explore in North Denver!
sofriversidecemetery.org) for a walking map to learn about all the notable and notorious characters buried there. • Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the United States. A few miles from downtown Denver, the Refuge has more than 10 miles of easy hiking trails and is free to enter. Other places to roam worth the short drive: • Castlewood State Park has 13 miles of trails including an abandoned dam, which some people say is haunted. Local outdoor aficionado (and mom) Abby Coven told me they “just went to Castlewood Canyon State Park and it was a great place for the kids to explore - hiking, rocks to climb on, creeks to throw rocks in.” • Mt. Falcon is one of the more unique parks near the city. A great escape for nature lovers and history buffs alike. • Red Rocks Amphitheater Park isn’t just for music fans; it’s an incredible workout setting too. • Daniel's Park is known for sunsets. Plus, you are likely to encounter their herd of bison! Ginger Bruce Bihm, North Denver architect and avid walker shared a secret spot to access the park where you are likely to have the place to yourselves. “Search Grigs Road Pavilion (East-West Regional Trail). From Daniels Park Road, park and head west. The trail is gravel so it doesn't get too muddy and it gets a lot of sun so snow melts off quickly. Great views of the entire front range and also downtown.” • Maybe wheels are more your style. Grab your bike and try out Denver’s 196 miles of bike paths. Or try out another set of wheels. “[The local skate shop] has done a great job outfitting my daughter with new roller skates, knee pads, helmet, etc.,” shares Mary McManus, mom of 4 kids, who is doing a bang up job of getting them outside this winter. For more ideas of places to take your feet this winter check out local author Mindy Sinks books, Walking Denver and 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver and Boulder. Both are filled with lots of ideas on where to go as well as some fun history and local lore. Wherever you are heading -- remember your mask, your water bottle, and your layers. Channel those Norwegians and let’s get outside this winter! Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continued from Page 10
darkest months of the year. While collectively hunkering down for what is likely to be a physically as well as a psychologically challenging winter, Katherine May’s new book “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” provides a strong feeling of connection and comfort through its deeply relatable reflectiveness. Part memoir, part cultural study, part scientific observation, part travelogue, May explores the season through numerous angles and disciplines while also sharing her own definition of wintering, describing it as “a season in the cold. It is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.” While this definition sounds difficult and undesirable, May brings great appreciation to these difficult but, at times, unavoidable periods, just as she does to the season itself. “Wintering” opens with the discovery that May’s husband is very ill. While he recovers early on, stress and physical pain leads May to a wintering period of her own. Her personal reflections on this difficult period are poetic as well as perceptive – she notes the difficulty of this out-of-sorts feeling paired with our tendency to deny its existence to others: “We treat each wintering as an embarrassing anomaly that should be hidden or ignored... Yet we do this at a great cost. Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom
resides in those who have wintered.” Throughout this deeply personal narrative, May delves into the winter season from a variety of lenses. She shares the details of hibernation for the humble dormouse, as well as the cold weather preparations of a beehive. She recounts her time travelling to the Arctic Circle while pregnant to see the Northern Lights and experiencing the frigid cold of Iceland. She interviews a Finnish friend about the necessity of a sauna, and witnesses a celebration of the winter solstice at Stonehenge. While exploring the winter around her, however, May takes the time to tend to her own wintering, advising that “doing those deeply unfashionable things – slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting – is a radical act now, but it is essential. This is a crossroads we all know, a moment when you need to shed a skin. If you do, you’ll expose all those painful nerve endings and feel so raw that you’ll need to take care of yourself for a while. If you don’t, then that skin will harden around you.” During the challenges of this year’s winter, here is the hope that we can all take at least a bit of time to tend to ourselves when needed. Check out “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” at your closest Denver Public Library location. Hannah Evans is the senior librarian at the Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library.
WAYS TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS AT BOOKBAR: 1. Buy a gift card (physical or electronic) 2. purchase a book/bar bundle: cookbook, novel, & bottle of wine 3. check out our personalized shopping option (email us) 4, shop online!
Christmas Eve: 10am-4pm Christmas: Closed 4280 TENNYSON ST DENVER 80212 BOOKBARDENVER.COM
Mon-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 10am-6pm December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021 | Page 13
O P I N I ON
Mayor’s Grasp for Power Over the School Board Harms the Search for a New Superintendent
he sudden resignation of DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova has sparked a small but politically powerful group, led by ARTURO JIMENEZ Mayor Michael Hancock, to decry Cordova’s resignation as a far-fetched racist and sexist conspiracy -- a charge so outrageous XOCHITL GAYTAN that it can not go unchallenged. Therefore, the CLF Board is compelled to set the record straight with several facts omitted by the Mayor in his campaign to smear duly elected Board of Education members, who, unlike Mayor Hancock and his wealthy allies, are unpaid public servants. First, Superintendent Susanna Cordova resigned last week of her own accord. According to her public announcement, she is taking a high-level position at a school district in the Dallas, Texas, area. Ms. Cordova will benefit from a hefty pension from the DPS budget that will allow her to comfortably transition into a presumably well-paying new salary. However, unlike Ms. Cordova, many under-paid teachers and their students will continue to languish during a pandemic without adequate resources, such as basic internet access for remote learning. Further, their parents will continue to financially struggle to secure adequate childcare, and to make ends meet. It is disappointing that the Mayor does not express the same level
of outrage for these teachers, students and cock-Cordova alliance forced overworked their families. teachers to take a backseat to multimilSecond, when selecting former su- lion-dollar construction projects, while perintendent Tom Boasberg’s replace- a corporate-backed board siphoned an ment, Board members with close ties to increasing share of the $1.4 billion dollar the Hancock administration ensured school district budget to expand charter that Cordova, as Boasberg’s protege, schools while destabilizing our public edwas the sole finalist after an expensive ucation system. and superficial national search process. Fourth, Hancock -- like most career However, these same political insiders politicians -- is facing the end of his poare now demanding an “independent” litical reign due to term limits. The influcommunity engagement process -- an ence he once had to control DPS through opportunity that they denied to public mayoral appointees who held dual poeducation advocates during a succession sitions on the school board and within of politically-connected superintendents city government is coming to an end. It dating back to over fifteen years. It is explains his outrageous Trumpian letter worth noting that that mirrors some neither Boasberg of the dysfunction Denver deserves nor Bennet had in Washington education backpolitics. We wish top-notch candidates who grounds, but were to state unequivocan steer the billion-dollar cally that Denver selected anyway over strong comDPS behemoth on a course taxpayers would munity objections. be better served if Third, to blame of independent governance Mayor Hancock teachers for hasfocused on manthat takes our students to tening Cordova’s aging the unprectheir highest educational departure is iredented crises responsible and facing the City of and social potential. mean-spirited. Denver including Last November, the pandemic, rathe remaining Hancock-aligned board cial unrest, economic recession and deepmembers opposed the teacher’s strike. ening housing crisis rather than interferThese politically connected insiders also ing with the business of the DPS board. opposed raises and better working conFifth, CLF dispels the myth that there ditions for teachers while funneling in- is a monolithic Latino group that speaks creased resources to charter schools. For for the interests of all Latinos in Denver, more than a decade, the Boasberg-Han- including the signatories of recent letters to the media from the same small circle of usual suspects. Given that, we strongly object to the Mayor weaponizing race and gender to smear volunteer school It pays to shop for board members composed, in part, of dedicated people of color. Screaming “racism” and “sexism” by politically connected wealthy insiders hurts the movement for racial, social and education justice. If the Mayor wishes to go there, Plans and prices change every year. Get the best plan at CLF reminds him that the staff of outgothe best price for your health and financial needs. ing superintendent Cordova threatened striking teachers, who were disproportionately Latinas, with deportation. Further, we remind the Mayor that an inequitable system of economic disparities and institutional racism continues despite having a Latina superintendent according to statistics from the DPS and the Colorado Department of Education websites: • Only 38% of DPS students attend a ‘Blue’ or ‘Green’ school (SPF labels), compared to the goal of 80% by 2020. • Only 68% of Black and Latino and 49% of Native students graduated high school in 4 years last year compared to the 81% of white students that graduated high school in 4 years. This is only 1800 out of 6200 seniors actually graduating from a DPS high school on time. • Latino students continue to be under-enrolled in AP courses. Latinos make up more than 54% of the student Call or visit your neighborhood certified Enrollment Center today. population but they receive only 39% 303-423-0162 Ext. 100 • www.e-gia.com of AP credits. This percentage has de9195 W 44th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 creased in the last 4 years. Meanwhile, White students receive 43% of AP credits, but only make up 25% of the student population. • Approximately 1 in 5 teachers and principals left DPS. It is almost double the turnover rates of Adams-12 and Jefferson County districts. • Reports of unfair, inequitable HR practices leading to disproportionate pushout of Black and Latino teachers have increased. • There has been a 0% increase of Lati-
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Page 14 | December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021
PHOTO FROM WWW.DPSK12.ORG
Superintendent Cordova's sudden departure from DPS has caused other education leaders to start taking sides. no/Chicano teacher representation in the past 5 years -- and only a 1% increase in Black teacher representation. Latino teachers only make up 17% of teaching staff in 2019-2020, and this percentage holds from five years ago. Black teachers make up 5% of the teaching population, only 1% higher than five years ago. • The percentage of Latino principals has decreased by 1% in the past 5 years (from 19% to 18%); Black principals have not increased at all from 12%. These disparities occurred during Ms. Cordova’s tenure as Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent. The reinforcement of oppression of teachers, students and parents of color is inexcusable. It is a disservice to DPS teachers, students and families to mischaracterize her lucrative departure as the result of racist and sexist victimization. Instead of the Mayor tearing down members of a duly elected seven-member Board of Education, he should be encouraging the community to come together and engage in a search for a nationally-acclaimed superintendent of the highest caliber. We do not need another back-door, handpicked crony by opportunistic and meddling politicians who should stay in their lanes. Denver deserves top-notch candidates who can steer the billion-dollar DPS behemoth on a course of independent governance that takes our students to their highest educational and social potential. Let’s stop calling racism when millionaires don’t get their way. Instead, let’s get on with the business of supporting the Denver School Board’s search for an equity-driven, pro-public education candidate for this critical position. Xochitl Gaytan is co-chair and Arturo Jimenez is a board member for the Colorado Latino Forum. Northsider Arturo R. Jimenez is a bilingual immigration attorney and a former elected official on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education from the years 2007 to 2015. Also, Arturo is an Affiliate Professor at the Metropolitan State University, a past member of the National Education Task Force of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) and current active member of the Colorado Latino Forum. Raised on the Northside and now a homeowner in SW Denver, Xochitl Gaytan is a bilingual Real Estate Agent with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. As a DPS graduate herself, a parent of 1 son who graduated from a DPS public high school and her youngest currently a DPS public school student, Xochitl ran for Denver School Board in SW Denver's District 2. She continues the fight for educational justice as Co-Chair of CLF.
The Denver North Star
H E ALT H & W E LL N E S S THE GRAY ZONE: STORIES CONNECTED TO NORTH DENVER’S OLDER ADULTS
Chaffee Park Residents Choose Their Own Adventure
was embarrassed to admit the term “sociocracy” was new to me. But Ann Long happily described it: a KATHRYN WHITE form of collective decision-making that’s not quite consensus, yet ensures all voices are heard. Each viewpoint is sought and considered alongside an equally deep listening for what is best for the group. Dynamic governance. Ann has lived at Aria Cohousing since its opening in 2017 and she likes this intentional way of governing that focuses DPSK12.ORG on listening to others and seeking to unudden derstand their perspectives. She’s learned sed things about her neighbors she might not tart have otherwise.
Nola Miguel and her mom Lynne Miguel I suspect the building’s former residents—the Sisters of St. Francis—would love this. When they sold 17 acres of their Marycrest campus in order to create affordable and sustainable living (and to do some downsizing of their own), their former convent became the 28-unit condominium project that is now Aria Cohousing.
Last month in The Gray Zone we met Ashley and Sandy, and Sunshine Home Share Colorado, the nonprofit that connected them. I was curious to explore more living arrangements older adults in North Denver are gravitating toward. What about people who aren’t committed to staying in their homes, yet aren’t attracted to retirement communities? I reached out to a few people and before long was talking to Chaffee Park residents Ann Long and Nola Miguel. There are plenty of reasons to stay in a home you’ve been in for years. And there are just as many reasons to move on: you’re ready to let go of maintenance responsibilities or unused space, or you want to live closer to family. You’re looking to home sale proceeds to fund retirement or to weather a financial downturn. Or, you’re simply ready for a new adventure. What have we’ve learned in recent years about brain health? Trying something new forges brain cell connections that will serve us well in later years. When Nola Miguel’s mom, Lynne Miguel, retired a few years ago in Madison, WI, she set her sights on moving closer to her daughter, son-in-law Andy Doll, and grandchildren Soleen and Leo. Prior to COVID-19, Lynne visited every couple months. As she explored options in North Denver, it became clear how expensive the move could become. With Chaffee Park recently rezoned to allow for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s), Nola’s family can now seriously
The Denver North Star
consider leveraging the property their home sits on to create an ADU tailored to Lynne’s design and layout ideas. It’s an overwhelming idea at times for Nola, pulling project components together in her mind (permitting, builders, designs, financing). But the prospect of having her mom nearby as Soleen and Leo grow up helps keep the idea on the table. Nola’s work at the Globeville Elyria-Swansea Coalition and her connections with the West Denver Renaissance Collaborative—which has developed 5 ADU model designs that could perhaps be used elsewhere in Denver— have put her in a good position to think concretely about this option. For Ann, the pull of relationships also fueled her move. She’s connected with the Chaffee Park Neighborhood Association
and has become involved with the Federal Boulevard Multimodal Transportation Study. Aria sits about a mile from a shiny new RTD G Line station, but the route between the two is not yet pedestrian- or bike-friendly. And the relationships within Aria itself: Ann’s face lit up as she described the multigenerational community meals and shared spaces. “You know your neighbors here. There are so many familiar faces. It’s like a little city. And you help create it.” Kathryn has lived in North Denver a long time and raised two children in the neighborhood. She has worked at several nonprofits, and facilitates a Caregiver Support Group for the Alzheimer’s Association ColoradoChapter.Doyouhavestoryideasfor The Gray Zone? Email email@example.com.
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million will go to a “Workers Left Behind Fund” for Coloradans who are not eligible for federal stimulus or other support. That last category includes undocumented Coloradans, which makes the bipartisan support more noteworthy. Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez had a hand in that bill as well, and praised her senate colleagues for its inclusiveness. “Whether you’re documented or not, you're a person. You're suffering what everyone else is suffering in the pandemic.” Other bills include: • $57 million to small businesses impacted by the pandemic, including $37 million in direct payments of up to $7000 per business. • $5 million to utility companies for the express purpose of keeping power going to low income families who are behind on payments. • $45 million to help licensed childcare providers stay operational. • $20 million for a grant program to help the estimated 65,000+ Coloradans who don’t have high speed or any internet at home (including some with children attempting remote learning). • $5 million for food bank and pantry assistance. • Allowing local governments to regulate fees charged by food delivery services such as GrubHub or UberEats. While Denver, as a home rule city, has already limited fees in an attempt to help restaurants and other small businesses, other cities and counties were not yet able to do so. Governor Polis, who tested positive for COVID-19 a few days before the session began and has been isolated at home, released a statement about what he also sees as a productive three days and reiterated his call for the federal government to do more. “The bipartisan
PHOTOS BY KATHRYN WHITE
The former convent was completely renovated and converted into condos for cohousing at Aria
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efforts achieved this week will help folks get through the challenging months ahead. I’m thrilled we are acting now as a state to improve internet access for students and educators, give a much needed boost to child care providers, provide a lifeline for small businesses and restaurants through tax relief and assistance, and bridge the gap on rent, utilities and food pantry programs for Coloradans who have been hit the hardest,” said Gov. Polis. “But we know there is more work to be done and we continue to urge Washington to take action and give Coloradans the support we need to get through these tougher times and build back stronger.” While the policies may have had bipartisan spirit, the culture of the special session didn’t always. Despite both legal mask mandates and legislative guidelines, a number of Republican legislators refused to wear masks during the session, including one who wore his mask on top of his head, appearing to mock Democratic colleagues. A Republican staff member who had recently tested positive for COVID-19 came to work anyway despite guidelines, and one future member, who will be sworn in in January, had to be evicted from the chamber for refusing to wear a mask (the special session brought back legislators from the previous session, not those who only recently won election and will start in January. Some incoming legislators attended to watch but did not participate). While legislative rules have requirements on attire, the mask requirement was interestingly separate from the requirement to wear professional clothing such as a coat and tie, which are generally enforced. The legislature is expected to convene for a regular session in January.
calling the park La Raza Park as far back as at least the 1960s and several other council members tried unsuccessfully to officially rename the park since then. With the recent civil rights protests in Denver and across the country, there has been an increased interest in removing controversial historical figures such as Columbus from public locations. The phrase “La Raza” translates to either “The Race” or “The People.” Residents interested in commenting on the change can sign up to speak remotely at the Dec. 21 meeting. For more information about the park’s history and potential renaming, check out The Denver North Star’s write up in the July 2020 edition available online.
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December 15, 2020-January 14, 2021 | Page 15
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The Denver North Star December 15 2020 Edition