The Denver North Star February 15 2023 Online Edition

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A New Approach: Get to Know Regis University's First Permanent Lay President

State Bill Would Allow Cities to Create Rent Control Policies

Making its way through the Colorado General Assembly this year is a bill that would repeal the state’s prohibition on municipalities enacting rentcontrol ordinances.

According to the University of Colorado Law Review, the prohibition on rent-control ordinances dates back to 1980 when the city of Boulder tried to enact its own rules, which caused the General Assembly at the time to put an immediate ban on such policies.

The primary sponsors of the bill, HB1115, are Rep. Javier Mabrey, D-Denver and Jefferson counties; Rep. Elizabeth Valsco, D-Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties; and Sen. Robert Rodriguez, who represents Denver, parts of Jefferson and Arapahoe counties.

California, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota are the six states that have cities where rent-control is in effect.

Salvador D. Aceves, Ed.D. officially stepped into his role as Regis University president on Jan. 1.

To welcome him and help the community get to know him better, we sat down with Aceves for a Q&A.

Before being involved with Regis, Aceves was already familiar with it as an innovative institution. He spent most of his career at the University of San Francisco, which is where he met Regis’ prior president, Rev. John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J., and started developing a friendship.

When it came time for Fitzgibbons to build his cabinet at Regis, he reached out to Aceves to offer him the role of chief financial officer.

“It’s been a great journey,” Aceves said. “One of the things you discover being part of the Jesuit higher education is that so much of our relationships are grounded in friendships and trust, and all the things that really are so critical in building a team.”

Aceves added his goal is to ground Regis’ education in its mission, and to “ensure that we craft what I’m calling a human-centered strategic plan that really draws on the distinctiveness of the university.”

The Denver North Star asked Aceves what being the first Latino president at Regis means to him.

“It’s both inspiring and humbling,” he said. “I think it’s a validation of what I will ground as the American Dream in many ways. My parents came here as immigrants, first-generation college students. When I reflect on all of the people who’ve really played such critical roles in my own career, I see that as what a marvelous way to hopefully signal to others that hard work, dedication and commitment really does provide the kind of opportunity that so many of our citizens and immigrants come to this country for.”

Aceves described a similar feeling when Regis hosted 100 students from Arrupe Jesuit High School, many of whom are Latino.

“I could sense that there was a real sense of support and pride in the fact that we have a shared culture here,” he said. “I think that will be both inspiring and supportive to know that this is a university that welcomes our Hispanic students, our students of color, to build a diverse and inclusive community.”

Regis has a Hispanic-Serving Institution plan to assist students to become part of the university community.

“It’s not just the numbers; it’s creating the environment for students to feel welcome … how we engage their family, because they’re such a big part of the support and what these students turn to,” Aceves said. “So, (we must) figure out how we are best serving and how … those practices extend to welcome students of all cultures is our internal work, and I think that’s how we’re going to not only welcome but also be able to support and sustain our diverse student body.”

Aceves added his goal is to ground Regis’ education in its mission, and to “ensure that we craft what I’m calling a human-centered strategic plan that really draws on the distinctiveness of the university.”

As Regis University’s first permanent lay president, meaning he is not a priest, Aceves said he plans to engage the Catholic Church community in listening sessions, which are going to feed into the strategic plan. The pillars of the plan come out of the Mission Priority Examen, which includes faculty, staff and students.

The governance component includes “focus groups to address the faculty, staff and student experience, to focus on our operational experience and to also focus on community relations… In the end, it’s not about senior leaders trying to figure out solutions, it’s actually the whole campus engaging with the campus as well,” he said.

Further, Aceves has reached out to the Regis

John Paul Marosy, the head of outreach and education coordinator for the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center, said his organization supports forms of rent control in cities where it is needed. Marosy said people of color and Indigenous people have been hit the hardest in recent years by massive rent increases.

“What's really shocking to me is how many middle-class people are one rental payment away from becoming unhoused,” Marosy said. “Just last week I talked to a professional group, and there was a person in the audience who was really wondering whether she'd have an apartment after February the first because the landlord was raising her monthly rent by $800.”

According to several rent listing websites, the average monthly rent in Denver is just less than $2,000, but that changes from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Cesiah Guadarrama Trejo, the state director of 9to5 Colorado, which co-chairs the Colorado Homes for All coalition, said giving municipalities the tools to create their own rent-control ordinances would make it easier for each to create rules that work individually.

“I strongly believe that the housing crisis is not just a Denver metro area issue,” Guadarrama Trejo said. “We know that rural communities are also facing a housing crisis. We have a lot of workers who have to commute an hour or two hours away if they live in a rural community because they can't actually afford to live where they're working, especially in ski towns or tourist towns.”

Although the bill would repeal the prohibition on rent control, it does not specifically outline a proposal of what rent control could look like. Some cities that have enacted rent-control throughout the nation include certain cost-of-living adjustments from year over year to indicate how much

See RENT, Page 12

Your Guide to Community, Politics, Arts and Culture in North Denver | Volume 4, Issue 5 | February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 | ALWAYS FREE!
COMMUNITY Colorado Dragon Boat Film Festival Honors AAPI Experience PAGE 6 TRANSPORTATION Why Denver Doesn't Plow Residential Side Streets PAGE 11 Postal Customer PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Denver, CO Permit No. 2565 EDDM HISTORY Northside History: The Italians, Part II PAGE 14 POLITICS City Seeks to Ease Process of Building Accessory Dwelling Units PAGE 5
Salvador D. Aceves, Ed.D., speaks with The Denver North Star during a recent interview. Aceves took over as president of Regis University on Jan. 1. PHOTO BY ERIC HEINZ
See ACEVES, Page 12

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City Considers Two Sunnyside Conservation Overlays

About nine months ago, Yvonne Gates submitted building permit applications to the city of Denver to build her daughter a home on her empty lot in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

Gates, the former owner of a construction company, is the builder on the project and has already purchased roughly 85% of the materials she will need to construct the residence. She is only waiting for the go-ahead from the city to get started.

Alongside rising interest rates, Gates has a new concern about her pending project: she has received conflicting information on the proposed Sunnyside overlays, designated as CO-7 and CO-8.

If passed, she said her plans will be affected. Initially, Gates was informed that those in the permitting queue before October would not be affected. More recently, she learned of a potential new stipulation that if a permit was submitted before October 2022 and had not yet been issued by March 12, 2024, the project would have to comply with the new requirements.

“I am hopeful that we should have the permits before the deadline, but I can only control my part,” Gates explained.

The proposed districts, the Sunnyside Conservation Overlay zone district CO-7 and the Sunnyside Conservation and Brick Overlay zone district CO-8, would apply only to the primary structure of new development on single-family and two-family lots, exactly what Gates has planned.

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The overlays would sit atop the zoning codes already in place, adding a layer of regulations new home builders must follow. In this case, the proposed requirements include reducing building height to 30 feet for pitched roofs and 22 feet for low-slope roofs, reducing the vertical height from 17 feet to 14 feet, and imposing an above grade 3,000-square-foot maximum for buildings on lots of 7,500 square feet or less.

The overlays would require front porches and, in a designated section of the neighborhood, brick cladding for a specified percentage of exterior walls.

A map of the overlays is available in this article at The two overlays encompass nearly all residential areas in the neighborhood, except for a portion to the east.

City Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval, who represents the district where the overlays are proposed, said the project began before her time in office, and she highlighted the

sense of duty she feels to the project given it is community led.

She said she believes the overlays will preserve what is known as “naturally occurring affordable housing,” houses in the neighborhood with smaller square footage that are more attainable than the “McMansions” developers are currently scraping properties to build.

“The intent of these overlays is to incentivize adaptively reusing homes. Incentivize popping the top on homes,” Sandoval said. “Incentivize people to be able to age in place and keep the equity in their home.”

Rod Kazenske, an architect and Sunnyside resident, discussed how the proposals were originally more extensive, but for a number of reasons the workgroup behind the proposals consolidated them to key elements, “the critical ones that we felt would really make a meaningful impact on the neighborhood.”

In becoming involved in this conservation effort, Kazenske said the goal is “to preserve some of the character in terms of the scale and proportions of the structures and how it feels to walk along the streets in Sunnyside.”

Kazenske spent evenings walking around the neighborhood after workgroup meetings studying the houses he passed, “pressure testing” the ideas that had been discussed and determining if they were consistent with the historical context.

Riding with RTD Into 2023

Wow, has anyone else had a busy start to 2023? Hello, My name is Michael Guzman. I am your new RTD Director for District C (North West Denver). I was sworn in on Jan. 10, 2023.

My goal is to help improve RTD in any way that I can and (like all good Coloradans know about the parks, the lakes, and the mountains) to leave it better than I found it. Perhaps it sounds simple, but my sleeves are rolled up and I am ready to go.

I come to this policy making board as a Native Coloradan, I used to run around barefoot on the sandstone sidewalks during the summers in the west side. I learned to ride RTD with my grandma and my mom. Pay the fare, get the transfer, always make sure you get the right connection.

So, I also bring a lifetime of being an RTD Customer to the board table. I use the 44, the 52, and the G train most, but I like to get around and not have to worry about locking my keys in the car or having to remember where I parked or getting stuck in rush-hour traffic.

I have been learning everything I can to be a good public servant for you. As a new Director there is a lot to learn. Sometimes, I feel like I

am drinking from a firehose. I was assigned to both the Finance and Planning Committee and the Performance Committee; I will participate with DRCOG (Denver Regional Council of Governments) and the Community Advisory Council. I look forward to hearing from and meeting with you at different events throughout District C.

También estoy orgulloso de que yo si sé hablar Español, e eu falo Português também.

As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are so many new opportunities for RTD. I am looking forward to engaging with everyone about the RTD Fare Study and Equity Analysis, especially as we move into the Public Comment phase.

This study is bringing much needed change to the fare schedule making it easier to understand. The Northwest Rail Peak Service Study continues to be an exciting opportunity to improve the RTD services that have a strong value added.

Adding these rail line commutes will connect District C with Lafayette, Boulder and Longmont. It is one way for RTD to be accountable for the Fastracks rail lines. This is a robust agency that has amazing potential to

Though the proposals are pared down from the originals, many Sunnyside residents have lingering concerns. Cara Thornton, a longtime Sunnyside homeowner, has had neighbors move away from Sunnyside to other areas where they were able to build larger homes for their families.

She said she worries the square footage cap in the overlays may exacerbate this. Thornton also said she is frustrated regarding the front porch requirement and in the CO-8 brick requirement.

“We intentionally chose to live in a neighborhood where there aren’t HOAs and tight restrictions on the colors people could paint their houses,” she said. “If I wanted a homogenous neighborhood, I would’ve moved to Central Park or Lowry or somewhere.”

Proponents and opponents alike have one thing in common: they love Sunnyside.

“Part of the reason we love Sunnyside is the diversity in homes,” Thornton said. “It is a great place to live.”

For Kazenske, Sunnyside is a distinct neighborhood with an individuality worth protecting. He said it is important for a neighborhood to have a sense of place.

“The few rules that we did come up with for the overlay … go a long way to help preserve and maintain that sense of place,” he said.

The proposals will appear before the Denver City Council for a final vote on Feb. 27.

serve our region well. RTD is the Red Carpet from DIA to the 5280. I am excited to see who will get the naming rights for the A-Line, by the way, stay tuned.

I am super excited to work with the other 14 members of the board. I am very grateful for the confident and wise, yet graceful leadership of Debra A. Johnson CEO and General Manager of RTD, who has built an incredible team. Michael Guzman was elected to the RTD Board of Directors District C in November. His term ends at the end of 2026.

Page 2 February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 The Denver North Star
A brick home sits within the proposed Sunnyside Conservation Brick Overlay. Two conservation overlays would aim to preserve the context of the existing homes in the area.
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City Takes Feedback on Proposed West Colfax Jewish Historic Cultural District

Community members gathered recently for the second public meeting on a proposed West Colfax historic district.

With attendance at around 50 — nearly double the number that attended the Nov. 9 meeting — a broad range of resident questions surfaced.

Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval provided a brief history of the Jewish community in the area and a flowchart showing where the historic district idea currently sits within a potentially years-long deliberation and application process.

Kara Hahn, Denver Landmark and Preservation’s planning and regulatory supervisor, said a historic district designation primarily affects modifications a homeowner intends to make to the exterior of their property.

Senior City Planner Becca Dierschow said home improvements would be subject to review by the “Design Guidelines for Denver Landmark Structures and Districts.”

“Things like gutter repair, storm doors, storm windows, paint, those things don’t need review by Landmark staff or the commission,” Dierschow said. “Anything that requires a Denver building permit, things like re-roofing, replacing windows, installing a new HVAC unit for example, does require Landmark review. The vast majority of these, about 80%, can be reviewed at the staff level and don’t need to go to the commission for review.”

Most reviews take one to two days or up to two weeks. Larger projects — pop-top additions, large rear additions, infill construction — make up the remaining 20% and go before the Landmark Preservation Commission.

Reviews in this category take a minimum of four weeks from the date a completed applica-

tion is filed, but longer if complications arise such as the need for architectural designs to be updated in order to conform to guidelines.

Sandoval, Hahn and Council President Jamie Torres, who will represent the area beginning this summer, fielded a host of questions.

How long does this type of process take? They said it can take as long as needed to get community input.

What about current construction and vacant lots? Projects already permitted will not be affected, and no project will be affected until (and only if) a historic district designation is approved by the Landmark Preservation Commission and City Council, a process that can take years.

Attendees had other questions, such as are there other ways to honor the cultural significance of the neighborhood? Why not preserve specific properties of significance, instead of a 220-property area? Will adding a layer of bureaucracy make redevelopment geared toward meeting the demand for housing more costly?

Shyam Goswami moved to the West Colfax neighborhood in 2018.

“I drew a 5-mile radius around downtown and said to myself, ‘I want to be here so I can bike to work,’” Goswami said. “That was the main draw. There is a lot of diversity in the neighborhood, and I love that. Especially because Denver doesn’t have a lot of diversity. I do want that protected.”

Goswami’s home is within the proposed district, and he attended the meeting with a lot of questions. He considers himself in learning mode. And yet he questions whether a historic district is right for the area.

“Protecting some of these buildings is important, no matter what happens,” Goswami said. “There are cool individual homes and structures and little pockets that could be protected. But there are a lot of buildings in the proposed district that just aren’t that. I have concerns that things would just get left in a state of disrepair because of the red tape around getting them fixed up.”

“There was a bit of an emphasis on property values in the meeting,” Goswami continued. “My reason is frankly not property values. I think it’s important to understand the lack of control that you will have in changing anything on the exterior of your home. That to me is the main thing.”

Ben Stetler moved to West Colfax in 2009.

“I knew that west Denver had a rich, diverse history, of which the Jewish culture was a part, and I’ve learned a lot more about the Jewish history after having lived here for 14 years,” Stetler said.

Stetler, who is a professional mediator and former president of the West Colfax Association of Neighbors (WeCAN), said he believes his brick bungalow on Utica Street would be considered a contributing property within the framework of the proposed historic district. Dierschow explained, “Based on the period of significance and why the district is listed as being significant, buildings are considered contributing to the historic significance of the district or non-contributing. Buildings that

See COLFAX, Page 12

The Denver North Star February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 | Page 3
PHOTO BY ERIC HEINZ Residents gave more feedback on the proposed Jewish Historic Cultural District, which will now be called the West Colfax Historic Cultural District. Pictured, Congregation Zera Abraham in the West Colfax neighborhood.

Development Roundup: Former JD’s Bar, Sidewok Cafe

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This month, The Denver North Star takes a look at two properties that have recently interested us. Sometimes we look at properties that have distinctive characteristics, other times we look at major projects coming down the pike.

If you have questions or recommendations about properties in the northwest Denver area, email


The lot at the former JD’s Bar is following a trend of Denver replacing small commercial buildings with more housing.

Plans submitted to the city by owner Real Architecture Ltd. show they intend to build a 10-townhome complex, with two-bedroom/ two-bathroom units of about 1,200 to 1,300 square feet each.

David Berton, the president of Real Architecture Ltd., told The Denver North Star that there will be one-car garages with the units with “modern exteriors.” He said because of the time it’s taken permitting to move forward, construction may start in fall of this year.

“They are entry-level units with a courtyard in the middle, and all units are either facing Tejon or 48th Avenue,” Berton said. “All the front doors are on the outside and backdoors face the courtyard.”

Real Architecture bought the roughly quarter-acre lot in 2021 for $529,500, according to Denver city records.


The bright yellow sign shaped into a bowl of noodles has been eye-catching along West Colfax for the last two decades, but recently the propertywas listed for sale.

According to a real estate listing obtained by The Denver North Star, the Sidewok Cafe at 4930 W. Colfax Ave. is listed for sale for $2.5 million.

The listing is from Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway by its Fort Collins office. A real estate agent with the first said the seller is not willing to discuss the details at this time, but more information could be coming soon.

The firm is recruiting potential buyers by noting the property is zoned for “urban mixed-use” with a maximum height of five stories.

“Which is a big plus with all the newer building activities on this West Colfax main street,” the listing reads.

According to the website, Sidewok has been family owned and operated since 2000, specializing in Chinese, Hong Kong, Thai and vegetarian cuisine options, with recipes that were constructed out of family traditions.

When The Denver North Star recently visited the restaurant, it was providing take-out orders only and chairs had been stacked on top of tables. The restaurant also had displayed various community awards it had been given during its tenure.

City Reminds Public to Report — Not Touch — Dead Birds

With highly pathogenic avian Influenza (avian flu) affecting birds across Denver and much of the region, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) and Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) recently sent out a reminder for people to not touch dead birds.

Residents should never handle wildlife and should keep pets away from sick or dead birds, the agencies stated. DDPHE and DPR reported they have received an increase in calls from the community about dead waterfowl, mostly geese, in some city parks.

If you find a dead bird at a park, call 311 to report it. If you find a dead bird on your private property, you can dispose of the bird yourself, but avoid direct contact with the remains, the departments stated. Wear disposable gloves, bag the bird carefully, and put it in an appropriate outdoor, (preferably covered) trash receptacle, then call 311 to report it.

If you’re not comfortable with disposing of the bird yourself, you can call 311 for removal.

If you come across a bird that appears sick stay away from it and keep pets away as well.

Signs of sickness include tremors or lack of coordination, swelling around the head, neck and eyes, lack of energy or movement, coughing, gasping for air, sneezing, or diarrhea. DPR also warns residents to leave dead geese on icy ponds or lakes alone.

The departments also said people should

not try to walk on ice to retrieve dead or sick geese. This is another reason to keep your pets on leashes — to avoid the dangers of falling through the ice, as well as possible infection to your pet.

Transmission between infected birds and humans is rare but it can occur. Infected birds shed the virus in their saliva, mucus and feces. Human infections can happen when the virus gets into their eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled. This can happen when the virus is in the air (in droplets or possibly dust) and a person breathes it in, or if a person touches something that has the virus on it, then touches their mouth, eyes or nose, the departments stated.

But most often these infections happen after close, prolonged, and unprotected contact with infected birds. You can get more prevention information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The risk of infection to pets is also low, though avian flu can infect mammals that eat infected birds or poultry. If pets are exposed to sick or dead birds, watch for signs of disease and report illness to a veterinarian.

The departments stated they work with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to determine whether a specific specimen should be tested. The Colorado Department of Agriculture is tracking and responding to cases of avian flu in the state.

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City Seeks to Ease Process of Building Accessory Dwelling Units

Although several neighborhoods in northwest Denver have been rezoned to allow the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), homeowners still face several regulatory barriers to building them.

Properties zoned to allow for the construction of ADUs must consider adequate setbacks, building height limits, minimum lot size requirements, maximum square footage, reuse of existing accessory structures (when applicable), and owner occupancy, among other factors.

After nearly a year of researching how Denver could make it easier for property owners to add the additional dwelling structures to their land, the city recently drafted a recommended strategy to amend the zoning code.

People can submit comments to the recommendations until Feb. 24 on the city’s website under the Community Planning and Development’s ADU page.

The effort is a follow-up to Blueprint Denver, a citywide land use plan from 2019 that addressed barriers to building ADUs. This project will not change where they are allowed or rezone any properties but is intended to make it easier to build them.

The goal of having more ADUs is to provide housing for family members and contribute to affordable housing.

Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval led the charge on rezoning District 1 neighborhoods to allow ADUs. Chaffee Park was the first neighborhood to be rezoned in 2020, with Sloan’s Lake following suit in 2021 and Regis in July 2022. In November 2022, the City Council passed the West Highland ADU rezoning.

Despite the progress in District 1 and other areas of Denver, there hasn’t been a drastic uptick in the number of ADUs being built.

Palmeri said the barriers primarily hamper construction and increase the cost to build, which in total can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Additionally, these requirements currently follow a one-size-fits-all framework for building ADUs. The zoning code amendment recommendations aim to fit ADUs into a variety of neighborhoods.

The new recommendations propose that the lot size requirement be removed citywide.

Laura Swartz, communications director for the Denver Community Planning and Development department (CPD), provided data on how many ADUs have been built in the last few years. Since 2020, 178 permits have been issued in the city of Denver and 88 units have been built.

dead or sick your pets of falling infection birds and Infected birds and feces. when the virus is inhaled. the air (in person breathes something that has mouth, eyes happen afunprotected contact more prevenfor Disease

The risk of avian flu infected birds sick or dead report illwork with the Health & EnParks and whether a speColorado tracking and the state.

2020 – 53 permits issued, 37 built 2021 – 62 permits issued, 43 built 2022 – 60 permits issued (one was withdrawn, one was canceled), 8 built 2023 – 3 permits issued, 0 built (as of January 2023)

At an open house at the Swansea Recreation Center, senior city planner Josh

Abe Barge, a Denver code and regulation supervisor, identified lot size and building coverage requirements as the most restrictive barriers.

According to the strategy report, the lot an owner wants to build on must meet or exceed a minimum zone lot size based on their district. If their property is smaller than the requirement, that means they can’t build. The new recommendations propose that the lot size requirement be removed citywide.

“(Even) when I rezoned Sloan’s Lake, a third of that neighborhood can’t build accessory dwelling units because their zone lot is too small,” Sandoval said.

Maximum building coverage is the maximum amount of a lot that can be covered by any structures. Smaller lots allow a max of 50% coverage, while most other lots are maxed out at 37.5%.

If the lot has an ADU, the coverage can exceed that 37.5% only if at least 80% of the gross floor area on the ground level of the ADU is used for vehicle storage. Essentially that limits owners to building the livable part of an ADU on top of a large garage.

The recommendation is to extend the building coverage exemption from garages to detached ADUs citywide, which will then allow single-story ADUs to be built.

“There are other factors such as interest rates that play a huge factor on this,” Sandoval said. “With interest rates as high as they are, it’s super challenging for people to be able to assume that type of debt. I’m hoping this will have a pretty good impact on some of the issues that our constituents in northwest Denver have encountered when attempting to build an accessory dwelling unit. Does it get to everything? No. Is it a good place to start? Yes.”

Other recommendations include making the permitting process easier and reducing related fees for applying to connect water and sewer lines. Sandoval said these are contributing factors that make building ADUs cost-prohibitive.

Draft recommendations will likely be presented to the Denver Planning Board in early April, said Genevieve Morton, marketing and communications specialist at CPD. After that, staff members hope it will move to the City Council in early June.

The Denver North Star February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 | Page 5 C a l l o r t e x t i f y o u ' r e t h i n k i n g a b o u t m a k i n g a m o v e ! Your Neighborhood Real Estate Specialists Since 1994! S O M E O F O U R P A S T S A L E S T E L L T H E S T O R Y : Elizabeth Clayton 303.506.3448 Jean Sunn 970.313.3916 EClayton@NostalgicHomes com JeanSunn@NostalgicHomes com 4321 Tennyson St Unit# 4 4555 Osceola Street 2247 W 34th Avenue 3140 Umatilla Street 3922 Alcott Street 3631 Julian Street 2201 Newton Street 4154 Xavier Street 3473 W 37th Avenue 4180 Irving Street 3132 W 41st Avenue 3144 W 26th Avenue 2904 W 40th Avenue 4329 Quitman Street 4211 Alcott Street 3223 Meade Street 3520 Newton Street 4200 Julian Street 3003 Stuart Street 4569 Wolff Street 4590 Grove Street 4265 Raleigh Street 4267 Raleigh Street 2351 Hooker Street 3521 W 40th Avenue 3657 Shoshone Street 4438 Bryant Street 3333 Meade Street 4624 Clay Street 3125 W 45th Avenue 4223 Osceola Street 2615 W 40th Avenue 3615 Bryant Street 4511 Federal Boulevard 4161 Julian Street 4520 Julian Street 3122 Perry Street 3126 Perry Street 2539 W Caithness Place 4543 Meade Street 3641 Stuart Street 3121 W 45th Avenue 3716 Quivas Street 2241 W 34th Avenue 3894 Meade Street 3424 Wyandot Street 3337 Shoshone Street 3820 Newton Street 3231 Julian Street 2435 Decatur Street 2632 Utica Street 2425 Decatur Street 2750 W 40th Avenue 2111 Eliot Street 3347 Meade Street 3317 Newton Street Address 1628 W 38th Avenue 3319 Newton Street 4715 Beach Court 3958 Mariposa Street 3378 W Clyde Place 3921 Raleigh Street 2945 Yates Street 3705 Raleigh Street 3351 Newton 4201 Quivas Street 3705 Lowell Boulevard 3546 Stuart Street 3706 Newton Street 3360 Quivas Street 3156 W 20th Avenue 3738 Raleigh Street 5185 Raleigh Street 3736 Raleigh Street 3231 Julian Street 3315 Newton Street 3087 W Highland Park Pl 2611 Yates Street
/// POLITICS ///
PHOTO BY CELESTE BENZSCAWEL Senior city planner Josh Palmeri, right, describes barriers to building accessory dwelling units at a recent open house at the Swansea Recreation Center.
QUALITY FISH MARKET SINCE 1974 Tuesday - Saturday 11-6 Sunday Closed Monday Closed 3457 W. 32nd Ave. 303.571.1995 It's not just news. It's your neighborhood. Stay informed with The Denver North Star

Colorado Dragon Boat Film Festival Honors AAPI Experience

Colorado's only all-Asian and Asian-American film festival returns March 9-12 to the Denver Sie Film Center and Denver Botanic Gardens.

The Colorado Dragon Boat Film Festival features movies that reflect the 2023 theme “Celebrating Our Stories” and foster a connection between the different parts of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

“Especially after the past few years, it’s so important to find ways to engage and show support for your local humans here in Colorado to get a better understanding of different cultures and traditions,” said Sara Moore, the Colorado Dragon Boat executive director. “I think people will be surprised to find out that you'll share a lot of stories with people from other cultures.”

The annual film festival is one of Colorado Dragon Boat’s three facets, along with the annual Dragon Boat Festival at Sloan’s Lake and the Emerging Leader Program.

In order to improve communication between AAPI communities and the general public, Colorado Dragon Boat launched operations in 2001 with a focus on cultural education, leadership development and athletic competition.

In 2006, the board of directors decided to start the film festival to support their mission, and they began a valuable partnership with Denver Film in 2020 that helped take the festival to the next level. Though the pandemic forced the festival to go online in 2021, they were able to return in 2022 and are excited to once again host this year’s event at the Denver Sie Film Center.

community conversations, an Asian marketplace and more. The festival schedule is curated by Moore in collaboration with Matthew Campbell, the artistic director of Denver Film, and other Denver Film staff members.

“We're looking for stories that resonate with our theme and try to get a good sampling from all over Asia,” Moore said.

“Unless they're from the U.S., the films are played in their specific language and subtitled. I love that we do this because it allows audiences to be fully immersed in the films the way the artists intended them to be experienced.”

Along with celebrating art, Moore said she has felt the rise in anti-Asian sentiment over the past few years, which makes the festival even more crucial now.

Overall, it's just a wonderful way to come share a story with Colorado’s APPI community.”

“It was tragic to hear about the recent mass shooting in Monterey Park (California) at a Lunar New Year celebration,” Moore said. “It’s been a challenge for not just the festival but the entire community. We are resilient; however, it still feels like we are constantly being poked and tested. I think the festival’s theme this year, ‘Celebrating Our Stories,’ is what we need right now. Everybody has a story that somebody can relate to, and it’s important to showcase them to bring us together.”

– Sara Moore, Colorado Dragon Boat executive director

“You just can’t beat being in person,” Moore said. “At any event, but especially our film festival, AAPI communities enjoy getting together over a film and food. Attendees can expect corresponding culinary experiences along with each film we are showing.”

This year’s festival features films from across Asia, a local short-film showcase, a closing ceremony at the Botanic Gardens, two

For more information on the festival’s schedule and to acquire tickets, check out

“I think everyone should come because it's not only an amazing time but a great way to support your local community,” Moore said. “You’ll cry and laugh and experience a whole range of emotions during all of our films. Overall, it's just a wonderful way to come share a story with Colorado’s AAPI community.”

Learn more about the Colorado Dragon Boat Film Festival at

Page 6 February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 The Denver North Star 3 0 3 6 4 1 8 6 4 2 # k a t h y m c b a n e T H I N K I N G A B O U T S E L L I N G ? N O R T H D E N V E R A G E N T C O M K A T H Y M c B A N E p r o u d n e i g h b o r a n d r e a l e s t a t e b r o k e r w i t h 2 0 + y e a r s e x p e r i e n c e 5 0 0 + f a m i l i e s s u c c e s s f u l l y b o u g h t / s o l d i n t h e m e t r o a r e a w i t h K a t h y s h e l p Together, we can create a great city for everyONE! Address homelessness through improved services and strengthened accountability. Diversify Denver’s housing inventory to promote affordable housing and stabilize costs. Implement smart, actionable strategies to assure greater neighborhood safety. Cut red tape and improve city services and programs. Learn more about my 2023 VISION for Denver at . Paid for by Travis Leiker for Denver Together, we can create a great city for everyONE! Paid for by Travis Leiker for Denver Learn more about my 2023 VISION for Denver at Address homelessness through improved services and strengthened accountability. Diversify Denver’s housing inventory to promote affordable housing and stabilize costs. Implement smart, actionable strategies to assure greater neighborhood safety. Cut red tape and improve city services and programs. Together, we can create a great city for everyONE! Paid for by Travis Leiker for Denver Learn more about my 2023 VISION for Denver at Address homelessness through improved services and strengthened accountability. Diversify Denver’s housing inventory to promote affordable housing and stabilize costs. Implement smart, actionable strategies to assure greater neighborhood safety. Cut red tape and improve city services and programs. Together, we can create a great city for everyONE! Paid for by Travis Leiker for Denver Learn more about my 2023 VISION for Denver at Address homelessness through improved services and strengthened accountability. Diversify Denver’s housing inventory to promote affordable housing and stabilize costs. Implement smart, actionable strategies to assure greater neighborhood safety. Cut red tape and improve city services and programs. Together, we can create a great city for everyONE! Paid for by Travis Leiker for Denver Learn more about my 2023 VISION for Denver at Address homelessness through improved services and strengthened accountability. Diversify Denver’s housing inventory to promote affordable housing and stabilize costs. Implement smart, actionable strategies to assure greater neighborhood safety. Cut red tape and improve city services and programs.
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Community conversations are also part of the Colorado Dragon Boat Film Festival, taking place March 9-12 at the Sie Film Center.
“You’ll cry and laugh and experience a whole range of emotions during all of our films.


Asian marschedule is with Matof Denver members. that resonate try to get from all Moore said. they're from films are their spelanguage and love that because audiences immersed way the them to celebrating art, rise in anpast few even more the recent Park (Calicelebration,” challenge for not commuresilient; still feels constantly and testfestival’s year, ‘CelStories,’ need right Everybody has a somebody and it’s showto bring information schedule tickets, everynot only to supMoore said. experience a all of our wonderful way Colorado’s Dragon coloradodragonboat-

Xcel’s $32 Million Natural Gas Line Coming to West Colfax, Sloan’s Lake

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently approved a controversial proposal by Xcel Energy to revitalize natural gas pipelines in the west Denver metro area.

The new project will cost an estimated $32 million with Xcel customers footing the bill, despite concerns of the project being at odds with goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Construction of the new pipelines began in January and is expected to continue through fall 2023. The new installation will include 1.6 miles of 12-inch-diameter natural gas lines along 14th Avenue, between Wadsworth and Sheridan boulevards, and 1.8 miles of 8- and 6-inch-diameter natural gas lines along Benton, Yates and Wolff streets, as well as 10th, Colfax and 16th avenues. The new system will also service homes in the surrounding areas.

The project is currently expected to primarily affect Denver residents located in District 1, as well as some residents located in District 3. However, after Denver City Council redistricting takes effect in July, much of the affected area will become District 3.

Contacted for her thoughts regarding the new construction, Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval of District 1 was unwilling to say whether or not she supported the development.

“I have never received a briefing from Xcel on this project so (I do) not feel I have adequate information or any information to reflect and respond to your questions,” Sandoval replied.

Denver City Council President Jaime Torres of District 3, who will represent the bulk of the project region after redistricting

takes effect, also stated she had not yet been briefed on the project.

Torres added that it is not standard for council members to be automatically notified by the PUC of proposals, even if those projects would take place within their districts.

A spokesperson for Xcel reiterated the company’s long-standing community engagement, noting that the project had been discussed at the PUC since at least 2021.

“Before investing in any major project, we meet regularly with community leaders, community associations and customers to outline project (needs) and details,” Xcel responded. “We listen to feedback, respond to questions, and work to proceed with the best possible project. In this case, we did all of these things.”

Xcel representatives further stated that they had reached out to Denver council members regarding the natural gas expan sion in the Sloan’s Lake area, but were un able to offer details about who they had spo ken to or any proof of contact, including for Sandoval and Torres.

The natural gas expansion has exacerbat ed tensions between groups working to up hold climate change goals set by the city and state and Xcel’s arguments of the pipeline expansion being critical to meet growing demand in the area under extreme weather conditions. Xcel has cited that up to 6,000 customers in the area could lose service without the expansion.

But some experts took issue with the method of analysis used by Xcel, counter ing that the company failed to adequately involve local stakeholders or consider non-pipeline alternatives. They also took issue with the exorbitant cost, Xcel’s ability

to accurately predict regional growth, and the state’s projected natural gas and hydrogen use that reflected later concerns about costly stranded assets.

Justin Brant, co-director of the Utility Program at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, was one expert who testified at the PUC in opposition to the project.

“Major gas capacity expansion projects, such as this project proposed by (Xcel), should receive significant scrutiny from the commission to ensure that the utility explored all viable alternatives. This is necessary to ensure that we are not encouraging continued reliance on natural gas when the state must move aggressively to electrify

end uses that use gas over the next 28 years,” Brant testified.

A review of publicly available PUC hearing videos revealed commissioners heavily debated the ultimate approval of the project.

In the end, Xcel’s argument that the expansion was necessary to prevent energy delivery shortage proved successful, with commissioners noting they felt their hands were tied. But despite the outcome, Brant is optimistic about future energy collaborations.

“I’m hopeful,” Brandt said. “We spent a lot of work to make the rules more rigorous to see a better analysis of non-pipeline options, and I’m hopeful that we’ll see better results moving forward.”

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The Denver North Star February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 | Page 9

Hidden in Plain Sight: Businesses with a Hint of Magic

The Northside,” as it is still affectionately called by those of us who have lived here for decades, has seen its influx of new businesses and experiences.

But for those who lean toward the spiritual and the magical realms, there are hidden gems located in neighborhoods you may pass through on an ordinary day.

Three places which hold treasures of the spiritual and magical are the Lumber Baron Inn, Botanica Yemaya, and the Metaphysical aisle of West Side Books.

The Lumber Baron Inn & Gardens sits inconspicuously in a quiet neighborhood nestled on the corner of 37th Avenue and Bryant Street. The Inn has been through many incarnations, beginning as a private residence, then an apartment complex, and now in its latest form as a bed and breakfast, which includes a restaurant that serves brunch on weekends, as well as an English tea service.

Its reputation as a "haunted venue," has long been established, evidenced by a sign that

One Leprino Niece, But Not the Other, Appeals Jury’s Verdict in Favor of Billionaire Uncle

clearly states they are not available for paranormal investigations.

However, for an added cost you can get a reading to your tea service, with the mystical and enchanting Elaine Britten-Bryant. What better place could there be for a reading, than among the winding staircases, high painted ceilings and rooms adorned with portraits and exquisite antique furniture from the 1800s?

The Lumber Baron Inn & Gardens is a mustsee for dining and what your future may hold.

Next, we have Botanica Yemaya located at the crossroads of 38th Avenue and Federal Boulevard. The Botanica is a cavern of candles and devotional statuary. When you step inside you are greeted with floor-to-ceiling shelves packed with candles, incense, books, charms and statues of deities.

These precious items are geared toward those whose spiritual practices and beliefs fall within the realms of the Espiritu, people whose lineages hail from Afro, Cuban, Latin and Mexican ancestry.

However, it's not necessary for you to belong


Aniece of billionaire cheese magnate James Leprino, who unsuccessfully sued him for hundreds of millions of dollars last month, is taking her case to a higher court.

After a two-week trial last month, a Denver District Court jury ruled that Nancy and Mary Leprino had not been wronged by their uncle or the Denver company he runs, Leprino Foods.

On Thursday, Nancy Leprino — but not her sister, Mary — asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to consider whether jurors got it wrong. The court now will decide whether to hear the case.

It’s a case that pits a millionaire against a reclusive billionaire and has opened up bitter family drama. At stake in last month’s trial was up to $900 million the nieces said they were owed.

James Leprino and his daughters own 75 percent of Leprino Foods. His brother, Mike Leprino, owned the other 25 percent before his death in 2017. At that point, the 25-percent stake was passed down to Mike Leprino’s three daughters: Nancy, Mary and Laura.

At the time of Mike Leprino’s death, he was feuding with James Leprino, who believed Mike had cheated him in business. As a result, James pushed his nieces out of the company — even briefly barring them from its Denver headquarters — in favor of his descendants.

At the trial, which lasted from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, James Leprino, 84, testified via video that he and his daughters changed the bylaws of Leprino Foods’ board to ensure that shareholders would not receive dividends from the company, beyond a one-time payout.

In place of dividends, Leprino and his daughters loaned their $400 million from the one-time payout back to Leprino Foods in the form of 20- and 30-year loans, which will generate $165 million in eventual interest for Leprino, his children and his grandchildren. But his three nieces — Mike Leprino’s daughters — were not allowed to loan their payout to the company.

Because they cannot generate cash flow

from Leprino Foods through dividends or loan interest, his nieces’ 25-percent share is virtually worthless, James Leprino testified.

Nonetheless, a jury of three men and three women deliberated for less than three hours on Dec. 9 before determining that the defendants — James Leprino, his two daughters and Leprino Foods — did not breach their fiduciary duty to Nancy and Mary Leprino.

In appealing that verdict, Nancy says jurors didn’t have the information they needed.

“Legal rulings allowed jurors to consider only the tip of the iceberg,” her appeal states.

She accuses Judge Stephanie Scoville of barring jurors from seeing evidence that Leprino Foods funneled payments to James Leprino and his daughters through a shell company.

“Having hidden so much from jurors, who were told that nothing below the surface was wrong, the court entered judgment on a verdict rejecting plaintiffs’ challenges,” Nancy Leprino wrote.

She is now represented by Sean Connelly of Connelly Law in Denver, who did not represent her during the trial but is handling her appeal. Connelly declined to comment.

James Leprino, his daughters and Leprino Foods are represented by Michael Hofmann and Kaitlin M. DeWulf with the Denver office of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, along with Cliff Stricklin, Jared Lax and Desi Hamilton with the Denver office of King & Spalding. They did not respond to requests for comment about the appeal.

An attorney for Mary Leprino, Anthony Leffert with the Denver firm Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio, did not respond to questions about why she isn’t appealing the jury’s verdict.

Leprino Foods, which grew out of a grocery store that James and Mike Leprino’s parents operated in north Denver, is the largest maker of mozzarella in the world and provides cheese for the country’s largest pizza chains.

Its headquarters at 1830 W. 38th Ave. in the Highland neighborhood sits on the same corner as the former family store.

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Leprino Foods CEO James Leprino exits the Denver City and County Building on Wednesday, three days into a trial that pits the billionaire against two of his nieces.
PHOTO BY JUSTIN WINGERTER / BUSINESSDEN In 1950, Mike Leprino opens a small Italian grocery store in Denver, Colorado. The first cheese is sold under the Gina Marie brand. PHOTO COURTESY LEPRINO FOODS
North Black Theatre ‘Legally ///
The Lumber Baron Inn ARTS

Why Denver Doesn't Plow Residential Side Streets

est Highland resident and longtime transportation planner Jim Charlier said there’s a reason Denver doesn’t plow residential neighborhood streets.

“The brown cloud was really ugly,” he said.

Charlier told The Denver North Star that in the 1980s and 1990s, Denver had a serious problem — a massive, thick layer of polluted air covered the skyline.

“If you came over the lip of I-70 coming down into Denver from the mountains, in the ’80s and ’90s when you came over in the winter time, you didn’t see the city at all, you just saw a big brown rug,” he said. “(Pollutant particles) and ozone do pretty significant public health damage,” he said. “People die sooner, children get asthma.”

Charlier said a study was done in the 1980s that uncovered a brown cloud mostly made of particulate matter 10 pollutants (PM10).

Since December, Denver residents have seen a lot of snow hitting the streets and sidewalks with various levels of plowing and shoveling.

A second study was done in the 1990s to try to uncover the source of the brown cloud, which found 90% of it was from dust drivers kicked up while driving their cars down the road, and it was often worse after a snowstorm when a temperature inversion would trap all the polluted air around down.

“That was an aha moment,” Charlier said. Based on those findings, many cities in the Denver metro area moved to a new snow management plan that would “save money, use less fuel, and would reduce the brown cloud emissions.

By the mid 1990s in some cities, you started seeing residential streets weren’t being plowed in the winter.


North High Black Masque Theatre Presents ‘Legally Blonde’

By Basha Cohen

North High School's theater director, Meg Gilman, and her talented cast and crew are up to some Y2K fun this spring with their production of “Legally Blonde.”

A sorority-themed fundraiser, "Delta Nu Sorority Social," think pink and white 2000s dance party, will kick off the event at 7 p.m. on March 4 the Elks Lodge, 2475 W. 26th Avenue.

The goal is to raise $10,000 to help fund the raucous show. A $25 entrance fee includes the first drink and dessert. Food trucks will be available on-site. DJ Nes will keep the dance floor jumping throughout the night.

Save the date for “Legally Blonde” performances 7 p.m. March 16-18. Tickets are available in advance at www.showtix4u. com/event-details/71573 or at the door at North High School. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $5 for children, students and seniors.

With famous lines like, “I don't need back-ups.

WLeaving the snow on the street meant that there was no dust for drivers to kick up during temperature inversions after snowstorms that would trap the brown cloud around Denver.

Charlier said some of that history has been lost.

“People don't remember how we got where we are. They don’t remember how much good the current policy has done.”

Although Charlier said there is room for improvement for Denver’s snow removal policies, especially when it comes to clearing sidewalks, he hopes that people will be able to tolerate parts of the current snow removal policy and occasion big storm like this once per year that results in less than ideal conditions for streets, so that the brown cloud doesn’t return.

Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is responsible for plowing city streets with a fleet of 170 employees with commercial drivers licenses, driving 70 large plows that clear any of Denver’s collector and arterial streets.

During larger storms, DOTI also uses a smaller fleet of 36 pickup trucks to plow the residential side streets. These smaller vehicles are only able to scrape off the top layer of snow, but they help residents get to the more well-plowed streets and prevent ruts from forming after large storms. The city has two teams of eight people taking care of pedestrian bridges and protected bike lanes.

The Dec. 28 storm that hit resulted in around 8 inches of snow falling in North Denver and left streets covered in snow and ice for quite some time afterward. The volume of snow was a bit of a surprise for the city.

“Headed into Wednesday night, we were looking at a forecast of 1-5 inches of snow, coming in as rain first,” DOTI Communications Director Nancy Kuhn said. “That is not a forecast we’d typically respond to with the

residential plows. We ended up getting quite a bit more snow than was forecasted.

“It was also an unusually wet, spring-like storm,” she continued. “We sent some residential plows out on Thursday and Friday but the snow on the residential streets got packed down quickly, so the residential plows were not all that helpful at that point.”

The Jan. 17 storm had a forecast of 6-11 inches, so DOTI deployed the residential plow fleet throughout the city. They brought in extra city staff and had the residential plows running for four 12-hour shifts, Kuhn said.

Denverites and businesses are responsible for shoveling their own sidewalks as well as the curb ramps adjacent to their property per city law. Businesses have four hours to remove the snow while residents have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks after the snowfall stops.

Residents can report non compliant shoveling complaints to 311 or

Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department (CPD) is responsible for enforcement of the sidewalk snow removal policy.

Between the two recent snow storms, CPD Communications Director Laura Swartz said the department received 2,479 complaints. City inspectors showed up at each of those properties, and at 710 properties the snow had melted or the property owner had already shoveled their sidewalk.

At 1,733 properties, the resident received a notice from city inspectors that the snow needed to be cleared from the sidewalk by the next day, and business owners received a notice that snow needed to be cleared within four hours when inspectors would come back to verify it.

The notices proved to be very effective, Swartz said, adding 35 properties did not clear their sidewalks after receiving the notice and thus received a $150 fine at the follow-up inspection. One property received a second fine of $500.

Residents with disabilities or are elders who are unable to shovel or can’t afford a service to shovel for them can sign up to get a Snow Angel, or volunteer to shovel their sidewalk, by calling 720-913-7669.

The Denver North Star February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 | Page 11 QUALIFIED • Certified Public Accountant • Designation of Chartered Financial Analyst • Designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant EXPERIENCED • Over 40 years of auditing and accounting • Produced over 1,100 audits where my name is a the top of the letterhead and my signature at the end of the report • Denver Auditor for 7+ years; Colorado State Auditor for 11+ years INDEPENDENT
Free from any conflicts of interest
Has intellectual honesty
Always maintains an attitude of impartiality No candidate brings this competence to the Auditor’s race APRIL 4 LEPRINO FOODS
PHOTO BY ALLEN COWGILL Snow removal in Denver is sometimes curtailed around residential neighborhoods as a way to reduce emissions from plows.
I'm going to Harvard,” it has the blend of past and future all rolled into one happy theater-going experience. Don't miss it! ///

District 1 City Council Race Down to Two, As Candidates Address Transportation

This is the second installment of a threepart series of candidate interviews for the Denver City Council District 1 race.

The Denver Elections Division recently ruled that it could not prove the length of residency for one of the candidates, Micaela Iron Shell-Dominguez, and she has since been listed as ineligible. She is also not eligible to be a write-in candidate as they must meet the same residency requirements.

The remaining candidates are incumbent Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval and Ava Truckey.

This month, the candidates were asked questions about transportation within District 1 and how it can be improved.

The municipal election is April 4.


Sandoval said one of the biggest issues for her when it comes to transportation is safety.

“Right now, what's been on my mind over the past month is the three deaths that we’ve had in council District 1,” Sandoval said. “We had one on Colfax. We had one on 35th and Federal, and we had one on 38th and Sheridan, all within 10 days.”

Sandoval said she has not heard of any leads on the suspects responsible for a recent fatalities, and she said because Sheridan is managed by the Colorado Department of Transportation, not the city of Denver, it’s hard to determine what can be done.

“We technically only have jurisdiction over the corner,” she said.

“When I'm thinking about different types of transportation options in northwest Denver, I think we need to look at our bikeways, do a re-evaluation,” Sandoval said. “Is the 35th (Avenue) bikeway actually working like it was intended to work? Do we need to put more divers? Do we need to put in other things that would actually make that bikeway more comfortable for bikers and less comfortable for cars?”

Sandoval said while the city implements the 41st Avenue bikeway, which will run from


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to those practices to shop in their store. The store owners are friendly and extremely helpful, willing to answer any questions or assist in finding just the right product, for your needs.

Their tremendous selection of candles come in all sizes and colors, from tiny tea lights and tapers to gigantic glass encased candles. In addition, they carry ready-made spiritual washes, which people use for cleansing.

Botanica Yemaya is not only a store, it is an educational venue, ready to assist you in obtaining highly magical, spiritual items, which for many are simply a part of their daily lives. Be sure to bring cash, as checks and credit cards are not accepted.

As you enter you may be greeted by the lovely store dog and the enchanting scent of incense. Botanica Yemaya is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. West Side Books owner Lois Harvey and her staff have created a home where all loved, and well-read books, desire to end up, gracing one of her countless bookshelves.

Although West Side Books sells new books, it is truly the overflowing shelves of used books, which makes them shine. When you enter the store, you will find yourself twisting and winding your way through the aisles, gazing at stacks of books taller than the average human being.

Continuing through you will find the meta-

Sheridan Boulevard to Inca Street, she said Denver needs to take lessons from what was done on the 35th Avenue bikeway and use that information to make new infrastructure.

“They put traffic circles on 41st (Avenue), and I had a different agency go out and test them,” Sandoval said. “They are not to code. They don’t meet the school bus code. They don’t meet anything, so they’re having to totally be redesigned.”

Sandoval said she was able to get several “rapid fire” (lighted) crosswalks installed in District 1 during her time on council, particularly in the Tennyson business corridor, and there are others to be installed. She also said the city should look at reducing speed limits in major thoroughfares, like on 38th Avenue.


Truckey said she wants to couple the City Council’s public transportation efforts with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in order to create a better network that can serve more people.

“I think that it would be helpful to work with RTD with route planning and the budget to create better usability for poor and working-class people,” Truckey said.

Truckey said she’s also noticed the issues with speeding and traffic that spills over into residential neighborhoods when there’s congestion.

“I just know that in general because, especially with the traffic situation here now, what we're seeing is a lot of people are using neighborhoods to navigate,” she said. “Also we're seeing increases in speeding and just generally unsafe sort of conditions.”

Truckey said she would entertain the idea of trying to incentivize more environmentally friendly transportation initiatives, but they’re not the first thing on her agenda.

“I think that I would like to have a plan for that, and right now I think that is something that I will be able to speak to better at some point,” Truckey said. “There are other things that I think need to be addressed first.”

physical section, which is crammed full of every type of book one could desire to advance their Spiritual studies. Here you will find books on every topic one may need to pique their imaginations and further their studies of Metaphysics.

It’s also highly possible that if you take your time, you may find signed copies of first editions from authors who have truly advanced the studies of magic, the occult and the spiritual.

Once you find your hidden gem and make your way to the front counter, it’s possible to find yourself in a stimulating, intellectual conversation with the staff, which is also a glorious treat, especially now as conversations have been delegated to texting on your phone.

West Side Books is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. They are located at 3434 W. 32nd Ave., in the beautiful Highlands area bordering the Allen M. Ghost historic district, in North Denver.

Najah Lightfoot is a multi-award-winning author and a regular contributor to the Llewellyn annuals and a contributor to Taschen, The Library of Esoterica -Volume III - Witchcraft. Her magickal staff is on display and part of the permanent collection of the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft, located in Cleveland, Ohio.

She can be found online at www.instagram. com/NajahLightfoot,


Continued from Page 1

University Student Government Association (RUSGA) and met with Student Body President Madelaine Johnson. He discussed the importance of involving RUSGA, particularly Johnson.

“We’re in this together. I want to make sure that not only are we spending time with you and your team, but I also want to invite you to these groups, because there will be times where there are student concerns,” he said. “I need to know what those are, but I also need you to help us figure out how to solve these so there is this continual dynamic for us to be in conversation. … I’m very concerned about ensuring that our students are supported, that they’re getting the services that they need and that the services are available.”

When asked about what he hopes students will gain from their time at Regis, he said, “We talk about a student-centered, formative education, by that I mean one that’s grounded in Jesuit Catholic values. One that is grounded in providing students the skills and the passion to go into the world, and, as we say in our mission statement, make this world a more just and humane place.”

Aceves recently had a couple experiences that allowed Regis to draw the community into a lived-mission experience, one of


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rent can go up, while others have structured it by income and size of units.

“Let’s not discount the smarts and wisdom of municipal leaders,” Marosy said. “I think that there are times when, yes, the federal and state governments should guarantee rights, and we don’t have a right to affordable housing in the United States of America yet. Until we have a right for everyone to have an affordable, safe, decent home, we have to certainly empower our local municipalities to do what they need to do.”

Not everyone is on board. Drew Hamrick, the senior vice president of government affairs for the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, said rent control is “a horrible idea.”

“It just doesn’t work with the unintended consequences of investment in additional housing and discourages using housing of existing stock,” Hamrick said. “It also doesn’t get talked about much, but it cuts down on resident mobility. It makes (properties) considerably less valuable, since mobility is one


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are considered non-contributing have a little more flexibility in terms of what can be done to them.”

Properties are explicitly listed as contributing or non-contributing in a proposed historic designation application.

“I think we are a great neighborhood because of the cultural diversity and the Jewish cultural diversity that this neighborhood experiences,” Stetler said, “and I for one am extraordinarily grateful. I worked very closely with a lot of folks in the Jewish community on the redevelopment of St. Anthony’s. I think the intent in honoring the culture is important. The proposed historic district is, in my view, not the correct way to achieve the outcome.”

Stetler said he believes there is a way to honor the intent without restricting homeowners from making improvements, “I love my house. I’ve put a lot of money into making it more structurally sound. But it’s 800 square feet of living space.”

Pamela Smith, a member of the Jewish community seeking to explore the historic district idea said about Jan. 11, “After the meeting there was a discussion of the name ‘Jewish Historic Cultural District’ and that using ‘Jewish’ could invite antisemitism.

which was welcoming the SOS (safe outdoor space) community.

More recently, Regis welcomed families from Venezuela. On his first day on the job, Aceves received a call from the mayor’s office, which was responding to a humanitarian crisis. The families were on the pathway to another city but had arrived in Denver where they received temporary shelter from Regis during their transition.

Regarding Regis’ plans to develop 27 acres of its campus, which will include multifamily housing, Aceves said the university is still looking at what kind of subsidized and student housing it may make available.

“We are still at the conceptual phase as we work within our community and city on the entitlement process,” he said. “While we do not have specific percentages, we are committed to a project that is affordable and accessible to our community.”

Aceves is also interested in providing rental properties to seniors, as well as bringing an identity of north Denver.

“I’m excited and grateful. As we look beyond what post-COVID looks like, I really feel that we have such a great opportunity to continue to build and expand what it means to provide a Jesuit Catholic education,” Aceves said. “The goal here is to ensure that we are drawing a diverse, inclusive community that I feel is going to make north Denver and Denver as a whole in our state the kind of place we all want to be a part of.”

of the things that our customers want from a lease is the ability to move.”

Hamrick said his organization found that rental vacancies in the Denver metro area went up 5.6 percent compared to the last quarter, and rents dropped on average $34 per month, possibly indicating a change in the market.

He said another drawback to rent-control ordinances is that developers often partner with agencies outside the state, and they may not want to invest in Colorado if they can’t be sure what their return on investment will be. Also, Hamrick said if, for example, Denver enacted a rent-control ordinance, it could affect how rents are determined in neighboring cities, which could cause a “bidding war.”

Ever since Denver adopted its “Expanding Affordable Housing” ordinance, Hamrick said applications for multi-family residences have also gone down. The ordinance requires developers of multi-family properties to set aside a percentage of units as income-restricted or they are required to pay a hefty fine.

The Colorado Landlord Legislative Coalition has already put out materials opposing HB-1115 on its website.

Various different titles were offered.” Community meetings, originally intended to be monthly, have been put on hold.

Sandoval’s web page providing updates on the process now opens with, “After hearing from the community, we have updated the name to the West Colfax Historic Cultural District.”

Smith hopes to confirm the direction of the process and the next community meeting by mid-February.

“A community that builds unity can do remarkable things,” Smith said, “A Landmark Historic District nomination is a tool in your toolbox that can help define your community.”

“I hope that the conversation continues to be thoughtful,” Stetler said, “and that folks can engage this conversation in a way that, while there might be different opinions, folks feel respected and heard on all sides. There are a lot of perspectives.”

Look for updates about future meetings and find a link to the Discover Denver’s West Colfax Survey Report (2021) containing background on the area’s historic significance on Sandoval’s page at mailchimp/wcjd.

The Denver North Star’s coverage of the proposed historic district began in December and is ongoing. Readers are encouraged to read previous stories and send questions or comments to Kathryn White at kathryn@

KATHRYN WHITE which have Colorado Alzheimer’s

I stopped Senate Committee Technology away at ageism

The Job 058, prohibits disclosure of birth, or graduation an initial employment Sen. Sonya Broomfield shed light

“There trate what said. “Nearly seen or experienced workplace. the age of nated against jumps to 70% Jaquez who quit work field during would bring Time passed to go back hear back applications ing school.

Page 12 February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 The Denver North Star
/// POLITICS ///

Lawmakers See Opportunities to Eliminate Workforce Barrier, Build Healthcare Capacity

he state Legislature kicked off its current session Jan. 9, and lawmakers are considering more than 300 bills, memorials and resolutions, several of which have made it onto the radars of AARP, Colorado Center for Aging (CCA) and the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado.

Tgraduation dates extended job offers.


I stopped by the Capitol Feb. 2 to watch the Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Technology consider a bill that would chip away at ageism in workplace hiring practices.

The Job Application Fairness Act, SB23058, prohibits employers from requiring the disclosure of “an individual's specific age, date of birth, or dates of attendance at or date of graduation from an educational institution on an initial employment application.”

Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-17, Boulder, Broomfield and Weld counties, a bill sponsor, shed light on the need.

“There are recent AARP surveys to illustrate what I’m talking about,” Jaquez Lewis said. “Nearly 80% of older workers have either seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Almost two-thirds of women over the age of 50 listed being regularly discriminated against because of age. And that number jumps to 70% for African-American women.”

Jaquez Lewis shared the story of a friend who quit work as a nurse in the home health field during the pandemic, out of concern she would bring COVID-19 to her elderly parents. Time passed and at age 62 the friend was ready to go back to work. In her job search, she didn’t hear back from prospective employers whose applications asked when she completed nursing school. Companies that did not ask for

Book Review: ‘Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm’

Lounging by the pool of a Miami hotel, jazz trumpeter Circus Palmer gets a shock that sends him reeling into the arms of any and every woman who will have him.

“The Job Application Fairness Act is a great workforce bill,” Jaquez Lewis said. “Disallowing employers from using age-related questions on initial job applications gives older adults the opportunity to be evaluated on their merits and not their age. Our Colorado workforce desperately needs the skills, insight and experience these individuals have to offer. Age discrimination is depriving our constituents of a fair chance of employment.”

Sen. Jessie Danielson, D-Jefferson County, a bill sponsor; Andrea Kuwik, senior policy advisor with The Bell Policy Center; Jeannette Hensley, CCA; and several community members and workforce development agency leaders provided additional data and personal stories both in-person and online.

Opponents, including Sens. Mark Baisley, R-Chaffee, Custer, Douglas, Fremont, Jefferson, Lake, Park and Teller counties; Larry Liston, R-El Paso County; and Perry Will, R-Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose and Pitkin counties, weren't convinced that the state's role goes beyond policies for hiring state employees and expressed concern that small businesses could be financially penalized if they inadvertently failed to comply.

A vote of 6-3 moved the Job Application Fairness Act to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Implementing the measure will require appropriating $56,468 to the Department of Labor and Employment in Colorado’s 2023-24 budget.

There are dozens more bills — on issues including affordable housing, health care, tax credits and exemptions, and food access — under evaluation by organizations advocating for older adults. Here are a few:

The bill titled “Improve Health-care Ac

cess For Older Coloradans,” SB23-031, which if passed would create a geriatrics training program. In 2022, Colorado had only 96 geriatricians, far fewer than needed to support our older adult population.

The new program would provide specialized training in the field of geriatrics to graduate students studying to become advanced practice providers, dentists, nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers and speech-language therapists.

Coral Cosway, senior director of public policy and advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado, said, “People who are trained in geriatrics tend to spend more time with patients. They understand the idea of multiple chronic conditions. They’re on the lookout for diseases that affect older adults, like dementia. They’re more likely to know what they’re seeing, which makes for earlier diagnosis. And in the case of dementia, early diagnosis is important for a lot of reasons.”

SB23-031 passed the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. It now heads to the appropriations committee, where a similar bill stalled out under budget pressures last year. This year’s version will require appropriating $784,269 to the Department of Higher Education, for the University of Colorado, in Colorado’s FY 2023-24 budget.

SB23-040, “Staffing Agency CAPS Checks,” expands the types of employers who must screen prospective workers for substantiated cases of mistreatment against an at-risk adult to include staffing agencies that provide employees who will have contact with at-risk adults. The bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and was headed to a vote on the Senate floor as this story went

to press.

SB23-064, “Continue Office Of Public Guardianship,” continues a recently piloted program to provide guardianship services to “indigent and incapacitated adults 21 years of age and older who lack family or friends available or willing to serve as guardian.”

The office, after piloting the program for over five years, estimates about 2,700 to 3,700 people statewide will need these services.

“Our organization doesn’t interact with a lot of people living with dementia who don’t have family or friend caregivers and can’t afford to guardianship services,” Cosway said, “but when we do it is really hard to get them connected to services. It’s not a widespread problem. It’s a big problem for very few people, but it’s a problem of basic safety and welfare.”

The bill was headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee as this story went to press.

Follow these and other bills at You can also find contact information for your local representative at the website.

Are there topics you’d like to hear more (or less) about in The Gray Zone? I’m currently following legislation impacting older adults in the Colorado General Assembly and, at the suggestion of a reader, looking into local endof-life topics and resources. Send your ideas to

Kathryn has lived in North Denver since around the time the Mount Carmel High School building was razed and its lot at 3600 Zuni became Anna Marie Sandoval Elementary. She’s raised two children in the neighborhood, worked at several nonprofits, and volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter.

Minutes after learning he’s going to be a father for the second time, he’s playing his trumpet for the sexy young woman who’s been turning cartwheels on the beach, distracting him from his latest love interest and her surprising news. Here begins “Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm,” the debut novel by Laura Warrell.

Circus, a whiskey-drinking, cigarette-smoking, hard-living musician, won’t let anything stand in the way of his dream of fame—not even a child with his true love, upand-coming drummer Maggie. It’s his 40th birthday and Circus knows time is running out for his big break. Younger, hipper musicians are edging him out, some of them his own music students. So he runs.

The novel is told as a series of vignettes, with Circus and the many women in his life alternately telling their stories. There is a rhythm to the stories that is not unlike jazz, weaving together seemingly disparate notes into one melodic whole.

Each character has a unique and rich inner life, and adds vibrancy and new insight into themselves and Circus through the moments they have with him. Most of which, unsurprisingly, end in heartbreak.

Circus’ first attempt at fatherhood was rocky, and his relationship with his 14-yearold daughter is tenuous and sporadic. Sassy

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Fostering the Traits of Strong Friendships

It is not a startling fact that friendship can be good for us, but how we go about friendship in a digital age matters.

Northside History: The Italians, Part II

With less real-life facetime happening in our world, being intentional in the way we “friend” can make the difference in whether a friendship is temporary and a little superficial or a rewarding endeavor that has the potential to last a lifetime and affect our lives in myriad positive ways.

In my preschool classroom making friends was of the highest priority. Whether a child was boisterous or of the quiet sort, I would coach my charges in how to endeavor having a friend. It takes a bit of selflessness. But that selflessness can be very rewarding. A new book called “Platonic” by Marisa G. Franco, Ph.D, emphasizes that deep ties with others can provide a witness to ourselves, helping us to gain more self-knowledge and more self-love.

Franco asserts that a solid friendship requires a willingness to be vulnerable so we can open ourselves up to others, a critical part of an authentic friendship. Sometimes we need to take the initiative. Young children are often great models of this! I remember my young son going up to children he did not yet know at the child care at my gym. “Hi, I’m Jack,” he would say, “want to play?” And most often I observed him going off to play with that child before I moved on to my workout.

Not everyone holds friendship in high places, and our society often prioritizes romantic relationships over platonic types. During my teaching tenure I would occasionally meet parents who considered school a place only for cognitive, academic achievement. They were pleasantly surprised to find that their children indeed made friends and these connections broadened the scope of their learning. As peers sit side by side they converse and observe one another’s activity, engaging in a back and forth with ideas and information that raises the level of their development.

The educational theorist Lev Vygotsky, a contemporary of Piaget, illuminated the benefits of peer learning. He observed that when children work together they can reach their zone of proximal development; jumping to higher cognitive goals they might not have been able to reach by direct teacher instruction only. His research, noted in a 2021 verywell. com article by educational psychologist Kendra Cherry emphasized that the greatest cognitive growth happens in early childhood through social interaction and that adults should maximize opportunities for children to cooperate effectively together.

These interactions also offer young children their first steps towards responsibility when their actions might positively or negatively affect a group. Franco talks about “productive anger,” when we can learn even from conflicts with friends if we approach those conflicts with an openness to what they can teach us. She says that these connections validate the idea that humans need each other in an empowering way. Our attachments to other people help us to grow.

Franco asserts that a solid friendship should be mutually beneficial and cultivate our abilities to be authentic and generous. She notes research that shows how friendships can help prevent depression and loneliness, offering the potential to extend our lives by 45%. Community makes us feel whole, and the effects of strong friendships can additionally have positive effects on society.

Children imitate us. I make it a habit to share my gratefulness for my lifelong friendships as well as my new ones with my son, and we have frequent conversations about the traits of a good friendship. I encourage parents to be aware of how our children are friending and support the positive aspects as they can have infinite positive reverberations.

Jill Carstens taught for 30 years and now enjoys writing for this publication! Email her with comments or story ideas at

Britta Fisher to Lead Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

Mayor Michael Hancock recently announced Britta Fisher will step down from her role as Denver’s chief housing officer following her selection as the next president and chief executive officer for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

Fisher was selected in 2018 as the first executive director of the newly formed Department of Housing Stability (HOST).

“When we needed a new approach, and an elevated understanding that housing and supportive services were core services we as a city need to provide for, Britta led the charge with determination and innovation,” Hancock said. “Our housing and homelessness efforts, as a city and as a community, would not be where they are today had she not stepped forward to serve.”

As chief housing officer, Fisher oversaw the creation of HOST and the development of its staff and programs. HOST invests resources, creates policy and partners with other agencies to provide housing stability, resolve episodes of homelessness and create housing opportunities.

During Fisher’s tenure, the Hancock administration’s Affordable Housing Fund, created in partnership with the City Council, doubled to more than $30 million annually; voters approved the Homelessness Resolution

Fund, which generates $40 million annually; and $38 million in 2021 General Obligation Bonds for shelters, including new youth and family shelters, was approved by voters. Over the course of the Hancock administration, more than 13,000 Denver residents experiencing homelessness have been connected to housing.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Denver and a joy to build a team with such dedication and passion and a department envisioned by Mayor Hancock to deliver housing stability to thousands of residents,” Fisher said. “To support our community and advance the mayor’s commitment to creating a more accessible and affordable Denver will forever be a highlight of my career. In my new role, I look forward to continuing the partnership between the city and the coalition to serve our unhoused residents.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fisher led the city’s shelter system into a majority residential shelter with 24/7 service. Since March 2020, HOST and its partners have served more than 16,000 people in shelters, more than 4,500 with street outreach and more than 36,000 households in housing programs. In addition, the city has innovated with new shelter alternatives like Safe Outdoor Spaces and support for direct assistance, like the Denver Basic Income Project.

Denver’s Italian community centered on the area between 32nd and 38th avenues along Navajo Street. In the 1930s, many people still spoke Italian and some older women still wore their traditional white headdresses and gold hoop earrings.

Food production, purchasing and consumption brought people together. Many backyards had individual wood-fired ovens, and most blocks also had a communal oven so the women could gather and bake the 6-foot-long loaves of bread that were a part of daily meals.

Along Navajo Street, the Alimentari stood on corners, with windows full of hanging sausages and hams, crates with fresh and dried fruits, jars of olives and olive oil, and it all was redolent with garlic and fresh bread. Restaurants, bars, pool halls and bakeries stood alongside houses, mixing public and private spaces.

Throughout the first 30 years of the 1900s, vegetable peddlers sold their produce, some grown in the neighborhood, to shops on Navajo, at farmer’s markets, to wholesalers and along neighborhood streets. In 1932, Rocco Malpede had a regular route that included far away Capitol Hill.

Rocco at 36th Avenue and Osage Street.

After Bishop Nicholas Matz refused to send them a priest or even consecrate the chapel, the rebels considered affiliating with the Greek Orthodox Church or even with a Protestant denomination. Most of the breakaway group went back to Mount Carmel. The building stood empty until the Mount Carmel group bought it to be the first parish school. Eventually they built a new school and then tore the former chapel down in 1955.

Father Lepore laid the cornerstone for the new Mount Carmel in 1899. In November of 1903, members of the church called Denver police to report a murder. Father Mariano Lepore lay dead next to the body of a young man recently arrived from Potenza.

By 1900, many Italians and Italian-Americans operated businesses that served the broader Denver society, businesses that were often located outside of the community core. One example was Teodoro Zadro, who was born in Trento, Italy, in 1876 and came to the U.S. in 1899. He spent several years in Rock Springs, Wyoming, as a coal miner before he moved to Denver. His American-born wife, Lina Anselmi, was part of a large Italian family in Rock Springs.

In 1930, Teodoro ran both the Ogden Theatre on Capitol Hill in Denver and the Liberty Bell Theatre in Leadville.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, which now stands at 36th Avenue and Navajo Street, was at the heart of the north Denver community. In 1891, Father Mariano Lepore, Giacomo di Giacomo, Michael Notary and John Domenico formed the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society. They turned to the community to raise money to build their Italian Catholic church.

Because Our Lady was the patron saint of southern Italy, she was a logical focus for the church. The small frame building, dedicated in 1894, stood at 34th Avenue and Navajo Street. It served the parish until it burned under suspicious circumstances in 1898.

Almost immediately, the congregation began to rebuild. At that point, the tensions that were simmering between those who liked Father Lepore and those who did not erupted in arguments about the new structure. In the end the dissenters, led by the wealthy Damascio and Notary families, built their own church, named The Chapel of St.

The police ruled that the newcomer shot the priest and then turned the gun on himself. Father Lepore’s death ended four years of arguments, centered on the church, about who would wield power in Denver’s Italian colony. Finally, in 1904, Bishop Matz dedicated the new brick Mount Carmel Church and brought in the Servite Brothers to serve Denver’s Italian-Americans.

Through the years, the feasts of San Rocco Day and the Annunciation were two of the most important holy days in the community. They featured processions with the priests in full robes, lay leaders processing, with those who gave the largest donations to the church leading the way.

Beginning in the 1910s, younger Italian-Americans began to move out to new bungalows on the vacant lots of the Highlands.

New homes also began to appear in Sunnyside, on the open land north of 38th Avenue, as well as new houses built in West Highland and Berkeley west of Federal Boulevard, from 32nd to 48th avenues.

After World War II, many of the third-generation Italians moved out to the new towns of Arvada, Wheatridge, Broomfield, Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster. Some of them established small businesses along 38th and 44th avenues between Navajo and Sheridan.

But these migrants and their offspring returned to the northside for baptisms, marriages, burials and other celebrations of the community. So, the connection continued and life went on.

Dr. Rebecca A. Hunt has been a Denver resident since 1985. She worked in museums and then taught Colorado, Denver and immigration history at the University of Colorado Denver until she retired in 2020.

Page 14 February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 The Denver North Star
/// HISTORY ///
The 1936 St. Rocco parade featured 94-year-old Angeline Garramone’s candle float dedicated to St. Rocco.
Britta Fisher PHOTO BY REBECCA A. HUNT Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church stands at 36th Avenue and Navajo Street

Self-Gratitude Helps Brighten Our Days

ow we see ourselves and how we feel about what we see are key factors in our ability to manage our own health, thrive in our closest relationships, and ultimately show up for our community in ways that hold space for growth and healing.

Civil rights activist Audre Lorde famously wrote decades ago, as she battled not only cancer but a healthcare system that had no esteem for her body or anything she stood for, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is an act of self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Whitewashed, commercialized, self-care packaged in scented candles and throw pillows would have us believe that self-love might be purchased. But the kind of self-care born of truly knowing what we need to feed our power must be earned. Love is, at its root, a verb. Just like any other action, self-love is a skill we can practice. So let’s do it!

Step one, Grab something to write with and to write on. I’ll wait … Got them? Okay. When I say, “go,” write down as many things you love about yourself as you can in one minute. Don’t overthink this; no editing! If you have trouble, start with your thumbs. Surely those are worth your esteem. Ready? GO!

Insert the verse of the “Jeopardy” theme song here twice over. And if you are on a roll after that, keep going! How many things are on your list? Depending on the kind of day you're having, you may have one or you may have 50. If you are like me, many of the things on your list may seem like traits rather than things for which you deserve credit.

HFor example, “dogs” ended up on my list this time. It made me giggle, but I find it endearing when other people love animals so why wouldn't I include that in the list of things I appreciate about myself? If you didn’t get to at least 10 things, try again.

Before you start, close your eyes and picture a person (real or fictional, other than yourself) who you love, respect, cherish or admire doing something that figures into the way you feel about them. Often, we are drawn to love people who embody traits we value. Giving ourselves credit for recognizing those has merit. Love knowing what you aspire to! I wrote “my thighs” on my list this time. Not because they would win a figure competition, but because someday they will take me snowboarding again and I need them to know I appreciate that.

I call that aspirational self-love, and it belongs on our lists. If after a few attempts and widening your definition of what belongs on it doesn’t yield at least 10 things, call a friend and ask them what they would say. If you can’t think of anyone to call, call me! I guarantee we can build a list together.

Step two, choose a few things from your list that have helped you build your life, and circle those. Then, draw a heart around words that stand out, repeat or make you smile in spite of yourself. Add more to your list here if you feel inspired to do so. These are the themes you will carry into the next step.

Step three, Picture yourself doing or being something that makes the world a better place, that makes you feel good. Refer to your list if you need to. Now write. Preferably in the third person. Include the words that stood out to you on your list and back them up with the ways in which those things have benefitted you.

“Dearest Erika, When you make me a healthy lunch I feel both the nutrients in the food and your love coursing through my veins. This fills me with power to make it through my day.”

You may be tempted to skip this part. Fight that urge. Regardless of how much you end up writing, make it a real love letter. On beautiful paper, with your favorite pen. Sign in a way that reminds you, you meant it. Even if it ends up just being ode to your thumbs.

Practicing this noticing of things we love is a concrete way to catch ourselves doing and being things we want to encourage. If we can catch it in ourselves, we will see more of it in the world around us. And in my opinion, looking for good beats the alternative every time.

“I found god in myself / and I loved her / I loved her fiercely,” by Ntozake Shange.

“To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients, care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication,” by Bell Hooks.

“Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within,” by James Baldwin.

“Kindness eases change. Love quiets fear,” by Octavia Butler.

Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit or email erika@

Continued from Page 13 and fearless, Koko isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants, except when it comes to her father, who sees her as yet another woman making demands on him and dragging him down. She wants life experience, and her choices lead her down a potentially dangerous path, flirting with the seduction of her handsome English teacher and discovering some very dark secrets while doing so. Koko’s coming-of-age story is poignant, and the emotional life of a young teen is depicted with honesty and compassion.

Other stories come from Pia, Circus’ exwife who is still searching for something to fill the void that he left when he moved out five years before, and bartender Peach, who is coyly toying with him, hoping he will be more than a one-night stand.

Weaving through all of these lives is a yearning, and Warrell captures it so viscerally that readers can’t help but connect deeply with the characters. This yearning is strongest in Circus, who has trouble seeing beyond the next gig/woman/drink and is motivated solely by his own gratification. The women around him focus their longing on him, which only serves to propel him further out of their reach.

Still, the story is filled with hope, and the characters continue to evolve as they move through the book.

Though not a conventional Valentine’s Day romance, lonely hearts and happily coupled folks will find a lot to love in this beautifully written and captivating tale. Additionally, Circus’ African, Shawnee, English and Native Hawaiian heritage, along with a racially diverse cast of secondary characters, makes this a great pick for February’s Black History Month. Want to check it out? “Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm” is available at denverlibrary. org in book, e-book and audio e-book formats.

Wendy Thomas is a librarian at the Smiley Branch Library. When not reading or recommending books, you can find her hiking with her dogs.

The Denver North Star February 15, 2023-March 14, 2023 | Page 15 4.1312 in Coming Soon Weekly recycling is here for all Denver solid waste customers! Weekly composting will roll out this summer. Denver is expanding services to make it easier for you to reduce what goes to the landfill and protect the environment. The city is charging existing customers based on the size of their trash cart, so go small and save more. Go online now to create and manage your account and learn how we can be Better Together. Questions? Scan the QR code for more information, including details about income-based rebates, and managing your account. | Call 311 (720) 913-1311 COMMUNITY WELLNESS INSTIGATOR /// HEALTH AND WELLNESS ///
REBECCA A. HUNT Church Navajo
Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 Betty Luce 303.478.8618 2120 Downing St #309 1 Bed 1 Bath 464 SF $363,333 Bart Rhein 720.837.5959 4040 Cody Street 5 Bed 3 Bath 2,986 SF $845,000 2806 West 99th Circle 3 Bed 2 Bath 1,320 SF $458,000 Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 4300 Wolff Street 3 Bed 2 Bath 1,726 SF $1,350,000 1635 Xavier Street 3 Bed 2 Bath 2,869 SF $995,000 ACTIVE Corey Wadley 303.913.3743 6034 Benton Street 3 Bed 4 Bath 1,740 SF $592,500 Alesia Kieffer 970.376.8401 940 Steele Street 3 Bed 1 Bath 2,078 SF $910,000 47 W Alameda Avenue 3 Bed 2 Bath 1,394 SF $650,000 Elizabeth Clayton 303.506.3448 Leigh Gauger 720.934.9711 3374 West 32nd Avenue As-Is Triplex / Zoned U-SU-A $1,000,000 Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage. 2049 Florence Street 4 Bed 2 Bath 2,200 SF $560,000 303.455.5535 | 8545 Oak Way 3 Bed 3 Bath 2,881 SF $695,000 Liz Luna 303.475.1170 7469 S Depew Street 4 Bed 3 Bath 3,508 SF $765,000 DENVER’S PREMIER URBAN AND VINTAGE REAL ESTATE EXPERTS SINCE 1985 7700 Depew Street #1528 2 Bed 1 Bath 1,015 SF $325,000 6020 Benton Street 3 Bed 4 Bath 1,740 SF $665,000 Jasen Koebler 608.438.7776 13476 Bryant Way 4 Bed 2 Bath 1,588 SF $420,000 Jill Samuels 303.912.0606 Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 3224 Alcott Street 2 Bed 1 Bath 1,683 SF $648,500 @nostalgichomesdenver Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 8115 West 63rd Avenue 5 Bed 3 Bath 2,600 SF $715,000 6025 Benton Street 3 Bed 4 Bath 1,740 SF $599,750 Jill Samuels 303.912.0606 Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 Arturo Bugarin 720.364.8214 Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 5323 S Haleyville Street 5 Bed 3 Bath 4,527 SF $765,000 Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 Star-Studded, Two-Story Bungalow Blends Vintage 1906 Charm With Modern Luxury In The Sought-After Berkeley Neighborhood 8183 Routt Street 4 Bed 3 Bath 2,140 SF $1,025,000 2703 Hazel Court 4 Bed 2 Bath 1,850 SF $895,000 Luis Serrano 303.455.2466 Jenny Apel 303.570.9690 2720 S Bannock Street 4 Bed 2 Bath 2,020 SF $625,000 Kelsey Walters 720.560.0265 Buyers have more choices and more time to compare and consider—presenting your home in its best condition is key to a successful sale. Our expert brokers are ready to share recommendations to help maximize your return when you sell! Call Us Today 303.455.5535 Maximized Value With Maximize the value of your home. Does your home need repairs and updates? We can help! We offer an interest-free concierge program that can allow you to make repairs, improvements and upgrades prior to going to market. Ask Us About PENDING ACTIVE PENDING COMING SOON SOLD SOLD PENDING PENDING SOLD SOLD PENDING ACTIVE SOLD SOLD ACTIVE PENDING PENDING PENDING PENDING SOLD ACTIVE SOLD

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