Your Guide to Community, Politics, Arts and Culture in North Denver DenverNor thStar.com
Volume 1, Issue 6
Feb. 15 - March 14, 2020
Hancock Opens Bikeway
Beer Makes Better Pot Local Brewer to Capture Carbon Emissions that Will Help Cultivate Cannabis
DINING Thai Explosion PAGE 8
PHOTO BY DAVID SABADOS
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the opening of the West 35th Avenue bikeway near one of the concrete barriers designed to promote cycling and walking by calming vehicular traffic.
Traffic Circles Raise Tensions
COMMUNITY The Man Who Founded Berkeley PAGE 5
KIDS & EDUCATION Home Alone PAGE 13
POLITICS Pit Bull Ban PAGE 14
HEALTH & WELLNESS Heart Health PAGE 11
ARTS & CULTURE Inconspicuous Consumption PAGE 10
By Sabrina Allie orth Denver’s very own Denver Beer Co. has joined a state pilot program to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) produced during the beer brewing process and use that carbon to cultivate cannabis and stimulate plant growth. On Jan. 29, Denver Beer Co. co-founder Charlie Berger joined Governor Jared Polis at the capitol to announce a pilot program focused on energy usage and environmental responsibility in the cannabis and beer industries. The state said the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Carbon Dioxide Reuse Pilot Project is the first of its kind
By Sabrina Allie and David Sabados enver’s Vision Zero plan aims for zero traffic related deaths by 2030, but fatalities have increased every year since 2011 with the exception of 2017. A new dedicated bikeway in North Denver is one way the city is hoping to reverse that trend by creating a safer way for cyclists to cross from Sheridan to I-25. New traffic calming measures that make the route friendlier to cyclists make it less convenient for cars. While neighbors and bike advocates are celebrating the new route, some neighbors are raising concerns that traffic circles and other traffic calming measures don’t actually slow traffic and may be making the streets less safe instead of more. Mayor Michael Hancock spoke at the unveiling of the new route in January after several of the concrete medians that stop car traffic from traveling east-west on West 35th Avenue were installed. “Vision Zero can’t just be a slogan,” Hancock said. “Our mobility system is going to provide multiple ways for people to get around.” City officials pledged 125 miles of new bike lanes by 2023.
BIKEWAY TRAFFIC CALMING EFFORTS In August 2018, the City and County of Denver installed three temporary neighborhood traffic circles along West 35th Avenue at the intersections of Julian, Newton and Raleigh streets. They were the first-ever traffic circles installed by the City and County of Denver (different than roundabouts primarily in the size of the intersection), and they were intended to calm traffic heading east and west along the corridor. People traveling north and south on Raleigh, Newton and Julian must come to full stop at the traffic circle before crossing West 35th Avenue. The circles were part of the Denver Moves plans to convert West 35th Avenue into a neighborhood bikeway. The mostly-residential corridor is 2.6 miles long. It was already a designated bike route, and the upgraded bikeway status gives priority to non-motorized and bicycle traffic on the road. The West 35th Avenue and other neighborhood bikeway plans are available at denvergov.org/neighborhoodbikeways. According to the website, the roadway design,
signage and traffic calming measures of neighborhood bikeways are intended to emphasize multimodal travel, and discourage through traffic for motorized vehicles while preserving local access needs for residents. “To maneuver around the circle, you need to slow down,” said City Traffic Engineer Emily Gloeckner. “And the reason we put them on a neighborhood bikeway is to slow vehicles down to a comfortable speed similar to cyclists.” She said the city wanted to pilot how well the traffic circles would reduce vehicle speeds. The city conducted a before and after study about the effects of the traffic circles just one month after installation. The 2018 report said “the traffic circles do not appear to have a large impact on vehicle speeds.” “Based on the speed study and data we received to date, the circles haven’t slowed traffic down the way we need them to,” Gloeckner acknowledged. She said the city wants to conduct another speed study now that other traffic calming (like media ns a nd signage)
See TRAFFIC, Page 12
See BEER, Page 7
PHOTO COURTESY OF LAUREN MIMS, THE CLINIC
Kaitlin Urso (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment), Amy George (Earthly Labs), Brian Cusworth (The Clinic) and Charlie Berger (Denver Beer Co.) check the valves for Denver Beer Co.’s Co2 tank and Earthly Labs’ Co2 recovery equipment that will later be used in The Clinic’s cannabis plants.
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C O M M UN I T Y
Bucket List Showcases North Denver National Journalist Sets Her Sites on Local Community
(303) 588-6922 P.O. Box 11584, Denver CO 80211 DenverNorthStar.com
By David Sabados icky Collins spends her days working with some of the top national television programs in the country, but her other interests are much more local. With her dog Ca$h, she roams North Denver finding interesting people, businesses and events to share with the community. Vicky said she always wanted to open a brick and mortar coffee shop/ art gallery/community space and, while she still might, in the meantime, she’s doing it virt u a l l y. C ol l i n s said her goal is to “bring together the diverse neighborhoods of North Denver,” and her posts on her site Bucket List Community Cafe Northwest Denver
The Denver North Star is proudly co-published and edited by Sabrina Allie and David Sabados.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM
include everything from highlighting local businesses to amplifying news stories applicable to North Denver to taking and sharing beautiful photos of North Denver communities. You can find the Bucket List Community Cafe Northwest Denver on Facebook at @bucketlistcommunitycafe. On the lighter side of news, you can expect a fair amount about our four-legged friends. “I love dogs. My dog is part of my team,” she said over a cup of coffee at Tenn St Coffee & Books, one of her favorites. That means post about dogs, places to bring dogs and, yes, how humans need to be cleaning up after their dogs. PHOTO COURTESY OF VICKY COLLINS She also wants a place where peo- Vicky and her dog Ca$h are behind ple can talk about some of the more a new page highlighting some of the serious topics in the neighborhood, best of North Denver. including growth. That means she has an eye on many of the same top- halls, and other new development ics you’ll hear at Registered Neigh- happening in North Denver. borhood Organization meetings or If you’re looking for a great social in a community newspaper, such as media source to follow for local hapthe Olinger Moore Howard-Berkeley penings, check out @bucketlistcomPark Funeral Chapel redevelopment, munitycafe on Facebook. Vicky and the (new again) Yates theater, food Ca$h will see you there!
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Feb. 15-March 14, 2020 | Page 3
C O M M UN ITY
THE GRAY ZONE: STORIES CONNECTED TO NORTH DENVER’S OLDER ADULTS
No Excuses: Free Indoor Recreation Option for 60+ Year Olds I
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stood in awe next to my longtime North Denver friend, Linda, at the rec center front desk. KATHRYN WHITE She giggled and bragged as she received her first-ever senior discount, compliments of Denver Parks and Recreation. At age 60 and as a Denver resident, Linda now qualifies for My Denver PRIME, a program that grants her free access to all Denver recreation centers and pools, including hundreds of drop-in fitness classes and clubs. Linda was delighted by the news and promptly took to lording it over me. “But I have more gray hair than she does,” I quipped to the kind gentleman on the other side of the counter. “Sorry ma’am, she has I.D. to prove it.” “Whatever,” I replied with a chuckle. As I handed him the $5.50 single visit fee, I got one last jab in: “Here you go: my youth tax.” North Denver’s five city recreation centers offer drop-in classes in a wide range of fitness approaches: cardio and weight training, yoga, tai chi, drum fitness, as well as the entire SilverSneakers® fitness program. There are also clubs and classes in every-
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Page 4 | Feb. 15-March 14, 2020
thing from bingo to table tennis to knitting, Mah Jongg, belly dancing, conversational Spanish and more. If you’re open to paying a little extra, join the Thrift Shop Treasure Hunting outing or go out for lunch at Hiro Japanese Buffet. Each recreation center prints a monthly calendar of fitness and wellness activities, special events and trips, clubs and games, and arts and culture activities. The best way to tap into this free resource is to visit your nearest center, enroll in My Denver PRIME and pick up a copy of the calendar for the month. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at Highland Recreation Center, where the staff of Denver Parks and Recreation’s Active Older Adults program have their offices. This center’s unique focus on older adults makes it well worth the stop in to check it out. ASHLAND RECREATION CENTER 2475 W. Dunkeld Pl. 720-865-0510 (north of Valdez Elementary School) AZTLAN RECREATION CENTER 4435 Navajo St. – 303-458-4899 (south of La Casa/Quigg-Newton Health Center)
HIGHLAND RECREATION CENTER 2880 Osceola St. – 720-865-0600 (between Little Sisters of the Poor Mullen Home and Francis Heights) RUDE RECREATION CENTER 2855 W. Holden Pl. – 720-865-0570 (southeast of Federal Boulevard and West Colfax Avenue) WILLIAM SCHEITLER RECREATION CENTER 5031 W. 46th Ave. – 720-865-0640 (southwest corner of Berkeley Lake Park) 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 teaches a SilverSneakers fitness class at Highland Senior Recreation Center and facilitates Simplified Pickleball and a Caregiver Support Group for the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter. Do you have story ideas for The Gray Zone? Email thegrayzone.denvernorthstar@ gmail.com. Send tips on neighborhood deals and discounts for older adults to The Gray Zone.
Wide Range of Bills Impacting Older Coloradans Populate General Assembly Calendar By Kathryn White he Colorado Senior Lobby took to the State Capitol as planned Jan. 27, getting the attention of everyone from Governor Jared Polis and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera to the reigning Ms. Colorado Senior America, Lori Adams. There are dozens of bills proposed this legislative session that affect seniors. Below you will find a few highlights. Of top concern to lawmakers are prescription drug and other health care costs, consumer protections and proposed updates to the senior property tax exemption. Visit leg. colorado.gov to read about bills and share your perspective with legislators. Click on “Watch & Listen” to witness your electeds in action. SB20-022 | Increase Medical Providers For Senior Citizens SB20-030 | Consumer Protections For Utility Customers SB20-033 | Allow Medicaid Buy-in Program After Age 65 SB20-043 | Out-of-network Provider Reimbursement Rate SB20-049 | Senior Property Tax Exemption Medical Necessity SB20-093 | Consumer And Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness SB20-113 | Colorado Department Of Public Health And
PHOTO BY KATHYRN WHITE
Environment Health Facility License Requirements SB20-119 | Expand Canadian Prescription Drug Import Program SB20-148 | Property Tax Exemption Value Adjustments HB20-1050 | Other Outlet Pharmacies Drug Distribution HB20-1160 | Drug Price Transparency Insurance Premium Reductions HB20-1078 | Pharmacy Benefit Management Firm Claims Payments HB20-1090 | Pharmacies To Provide Prescription Readers HB20-1101 | Assisted Living Residence Referrals The Denver North Star
C O M M UN I T Y
SHAPING OUR FUTURE BY REMEMBERING OUR PAST
The Man Who Founded Berkeley was the Visionary Behind Our Mountain Parks I
n 1870, John Brisben Walker, founder of the Berkeley neighborhood, bought 1,500 DENNIS GALLAGHER acres south of Berkeley Park to West 38th Avenue, Sheridan Boulevard to Rocky Mountain Park up to West 52nd Avenue and Federal Boulevard. Having been educated by the Jesuit Fathers back east, Walker donated 40 acres to the Jesuits who came to Denver from Naples, Italy. He wanted a college in his town of Berkeley. The Jesuits christened their college Sacred Heart, now named Regis University. In 1885, Walker built a beautiful mansion on West 34th Avenue and Newton Street out of Indiana limestone brought to Denver’s Union Station by train. In the late 1880s, Walker sold what was left of his Berkeley farm for $325,000 to a Kansas City syndicate that continued developing the farmland. The post office and Berkeley town hall were located on the southeast corner of West 45th Avenue and Yates street. The Berkeley municipal building was a small, stately, plump two-story building, which has recently been scraped-off. In the early 1970s, when I was door-belling to be state representative, I knocked on the door of Mrs. Jones on the first floor and noticed a second Mrs. Jones occupying the second story of the old city hall. “Are you related to the Mrs. Jones upstairs?” I asked the woman who answered. “Yes, that is my late husband’s second wife,” she answered, adding that they were on good speaking terms. I asked both for their support. Walker stayed around to develop many other imaginative and challenging projects in and around Denver, not like the slam-bam ‘see ya later’ developers treading across our city today. On July 4, 1887, he opened Riverfront Park and Castle of Commerce down in the Platte Valley. Roughly 2,000 people showed up to get in on the roasted ox that Walker offered to visitors at the opening. The castle hosted bicycle races, sports events, horse races, winter ice skating, toboggan races, musical events and even a Roman three-horse chariot race. Walker’s Riverfront Park and Castle of Commerce was the original Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The Union Pacific Railroad bought it from Walker for $1.2 million in 1891. The castle burned down in the mid1950s and the city used much of the old castle walls to bolster the banks of the Platte River. In 1893, Walker turned his attention to the magazine he purchased, Cosmopolitan Magazine. He ran the magazine for 12 years and his reputation as a political, cultural and literary leader surged. He wrote articles for The Denver North Star
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John Brisben Walker, pictured here with his wife, founded the Berkeley neighborhood and donated land to the Jesuits for the school now known as Regis University. the publication and his voice became the voice for popular culture during the early 1900s. He sold the magazine to William Randolph Hearst in 1905 for $1 million and headed back to Colorado. His history of the magazine sells for over $1,000 on ebay.
Walker convinced city leaders to acquire mountain lands west of the city for parks, including Red Rocks. According to his great-granddaughter, Erika Walker, in her wonderful book “Denver’s Mountain Parks: 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream”, between 1905 and 1910, the Walker family purchased more than 4,000 acres of real estate in and around the town of Morrison, Colo. Walker built a mansion that he hoped to offer to the president as a summer White House, but the building burned down in 1918. In the Denver Post in 1910, Walker said of Denver: “Denver is a pretty city, I grant you, but people who come here from the Atlantic seaboard and from the prairies of the middle west do not come to look at handsome buildings and well-kept streets. They come here to see the marvelous mountain scenery they have heard and read so much about. And when they get here they find so many difficulties in the way of reaching this scenery that they quickly become discouraged and rush off to Colorado Springs or somewhere else, where the people have improved the splendid gifts nature has placed within their reach.” Today, Walker would be appalled at the ugly developments popping up across our city, especially in his beloved Berkeley farm bedroom suburb. And he would complain bitterly about the many potholes lacing our city streets.
In his final years, Walker fought to convince city leaders to acquire mountain lands west of the city for parks for the people. The Denver Post lauded Walker for his imaginative future thinking. He worked to help the city acquire Red Rocks Park, which is the diamond in the crown of Denver’s Mountain Park system. The system today boasts 22 developed parks and 24 conservation areas. “The most extensive and magnificent system of parks by any city in the world, covering eight square [miles] and including 41,000 acres, running from Turkey Creek Cañon on the south to Mount Vernon Cañon on the north, with Bear Creek Cañon about in the center, all within about 10 miles of the city… That is the amazing plan conceived by John Brisben Walker,” wrote the Denver Post in 1910. We need more visionary leaders like Walker. The students at Regis University showed their gratitude for his generosity for donating the land on which Regis stands by naming the college’s pub after Walker. The Honorable Dennis Gallagher is a former city auditor, city councilman, state senator and state representative sharing thoughts and stories from North Denver’s past and future.
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C OM M UN I TY
Lucero Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Denver Realtors The Denver North Star staff Sunnyside native, John Lucero was selected as the 2019 recipient of the Oliver Frascona Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS® (DMAR). Lucero is the founder and principal of Lucero Development Services. He has served in countless leadership roles as an advocate for homeownership and fair housing throughout his 26-year real estate career. Originally appointed by then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Lucero also served across three mayoral administrations as the deputy director for Denver’s Office of Economic Development, where he oversaw the housing development and small business loan portfolios. Lucero currently serves on the Denver Board of Water Commissioners and on several policy related real estate committees at multiple levels of government. Soon after earning his real estate license, Lucero helped move a family out of public housing using a disability homeownership program offered by a local bank. That family not only sustained homeownership, they moved up over the years. The family’s children and grandchildren all attended college and all sought
Lucero out when they purchased their homes. Lucero credits that initial closing with helping him discover the power of positive change that real estate agents embody and how homeownership improves lives, neighborhoods and schools. Lucero said he has maintained that set of beliefs throughout his career and encourages every member of his team to be actively engaged in their community. Founded in 2009 in Five Points, Lucero Development Services works with developers and government agencies to create and preserve affordable and market rate housing and for projects that provide economic growth, workforce development and education, Lucero said. The DMAR credits Lucero with the creation and preservation of more than 4,000 affordable housing units throughout his career. “John has been a true asset to the Realtor community at the local, state and national levels for many years,” said DMAR CEO Ann Turner. “He is a true expert in the government affairs arena, and we are incredibly grateful for the time and energy John has devoted throughout his career to protecting homeownership and private property rights.” “It is an absolute honor to be recognized with the Oliver Frascona
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Award,” said Lucero. “Oliver was not only a good friend and colleague over the decades, he taught and shared with me his insatiable appetite for helping others achieve their homeownership and real estate dreams. While I’ve been fortunate to be recognized by my peers and the industry for my work over the years, this is an incredibly meaningful honor that I will hold very dear to my heart.” The award is named in honor of Frascona, a well-known legal advocate with a passion for real estate, who dedicated his life’s work to real estate law, representing and advising developers, builders, lenders, buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants.
Chaffee Park Needs Snow Angels
B o o k F r i e n d l y Me n u
The Denver North Star staff
uch has been said about the importance of keeping those sidewalks clear of snow. For North Denver residents seeking maximum neighborliness: sign up to be matched with someone who could use a little help shoveling this winter. As reported by the city’s Snow Angels program, “these can be older active adults, neighbors living with a disability, residents who are temporarily ill, and those physically unable to shovel.” Snow Angels are particularly needed in Chaffee Park this winter.
C o n t a c t SnowAngels@ denvergov.org to enroll or for more information.
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DI N I N G
Denver Beer Co. Pilots CO2 Capture Program
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Photos courtesy of Lauren Mims, The Clinic
CAT E RI N G
PHOTO COURTESY OF LAUREN MIMS, THE CLINIC
Kaitlin Urso (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment), Chris Baca (The Clinic), Amy George (Earthly Labs), Brian Cusworth (The Clinic) and Charlie Berger (Denver Beer Co.) in front of the tanks where Co2 will bestored before being vaporized into a gas and filtered into The Clinic’s cannabis plants. Continued from Page 1 to establish the commercial exchange of recovered carbon dioxide. Denver Beer Co., The Clinic, and Earthly Labs are partnering together and with the state to pioneer this new technology. While rising CO2 concentrations in the air are the main culprit behind climate change (because the gas traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere), numerous studies have shown that concentrated CO2 increases photosynthesis, which spurs plant growth. Using Earthly Labs’ carbon capture hardware (CiCi), Denver Beer Co. can capture more than 100,000 pounds of carbon each year -reducing CO2 emissions and costs while also enhancing beer quality. Earthly Labs’ technology allows for energy-efficient CO2 capture, purification and reuse of carbon dioxide from sma l lscale
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sources, allowing companies like Denver Beer Co. to exchange its carbon byproduct with plant growers who need it, like The Clinic. “This pilot program provides a roadmap for the beer and cannabis industries for how to reduce their carbon footprint and increase the efficiency of their operations,” said a press release issued by the governor’s office. “We are committed to taking the necessary steps to improve our air quality and reduce harmful emissions,” said Polis. He noted that the program combines a few of the things that Colorado is known for: environmental responsibility, craft beer and cannabis. “I applaud our state agencies and private partners for working together on these innovative programs to help protect the Colorado way of life.” “Denver Beer Co. is proud to work with The Clinic and Earthly Labs in pioneering this new exchange market. This innovative technology will greatly reduce our carbon emissions and carbon footprint,” said Berger. “At Denver Beer Co., we believe in the importance of environmental stewardship. We have one planet and we believe it is our corporate and social responsibility to help conserve and protect our resources.” Denver Beer Co. is independently owned and operated, with its taproom and beer garden located at 1695 Platte St. in the Lower Highlands and its canning facility located at 4455 Jason St. in Sunnyside. The company uses locally-sourced grain and 100% clean solar power to produce its award-winning beers. For more information, visit denverbeerco.com and earthlylabs.com. Feb. 15-March 14, 2020 | Page 7
Thai n o i s o l p Ex Three New Thai Restaurants Coming By Sabrina Allie hen Thai Basil closed at West 38th Avenue and Irving Street over a year ago, it left North Denverites with nearby Swing Thai on Tennyson or U.S. Thai Cafe on West 25th Avenue in neighboring Edgewater for local Thai food options. For several months now, three new Thai restaurants have been in the
works and expect to open soon: Beau Thai on West 32nd Avenue in Highlands Square, Ros Siam on West 26th Avenue in Jefferson Park (in the former Sassafras location) and a to-be-named Thai restaurant on Federal Boulevard in the former Jack and Grill location next to Federal Bar and Grill. (Yes, the old Jack and Grill sign was finally painted over.)
To-be-named Thai restaurant
PHOTO BY SABRINA ALLIE
Beau Thai Page 8 | Feb. 15-March 14, 2020
PHOTO BY SABRINA ALLIE
PHOTO BY NATHALIE JAUTZ-BICKEL
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C O M M UN I T Y CALE N DAR Do you have an event you want to share with the community?
Send it to us! Our community calendar is completely free and regularly updated online. Please send your event with as much notice as possible, especially to appear in the print edition. Visit us online at DenverNorthStar.com for more information. Tuesday, Feb. 18 5:30 to 7 p.m. 41ST AND FOX FINAL COMMUNITY MEETING We invite you to join us for the final community meeting for the 41st & Fox Next Steps Study! This community meeting will focus on draft recommendations addressing vehicle access and connectivity, pedestrian and bike improvements, transportation demand management opportunities and financing strategies. Your input is important to finalizing the study recommendations, and we look forward to seeing you there! Friday, Feb. 21 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. COMMUNITY OFFICE HOURS WITH COUNCILWOMAN SANDOVAL Councilwoman Sandoval is holding monthly community “office hours.” These are times she will be out in the district and available to chat with you one-on-one about your concerns and ideas. Aztlan Recreation Center, 4435 Navajo St. Saturday, Feb. 22 1 p.m. CRAWFISH AND CRAFT BEER Get a Taste of Louisiana with our 4th Annual Crawfish & Craft Beer Bash featuring craft beers from more than 20 Colorado breweries, crawfish and live music with Erica Brown & The Lionel Young Band. Monkey Barrel, 4401 Tejon St. Tuesday, Feb. 25 5:30 p.m. HUNI HOUR Join the Highlands United Neighbors the last Tuesday of each month to meet new people, discover new flavors and perhaps win a prize! Locations change each month. Cart-Driver, 2239 W. 30th Ave.
Tuesday, Feb. 25 6:30 p.m. DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARIES HEALTHY COOKING WITH THE PLANT BASED KITCHENISTA Join Chef Kelley Williamson for a whole foods and veggie friendly cooking class designed with your health in mind. This class is for you if you’re interested in foods and recipes to tame appetite demons. We’ll learn how to make delicious plantbased tacos and Spanish rice that support your healthy lifestyle. Woodbury Branch Library, 3265 Federal Blvd. Tuesday, Feb. 25 6 p.m. HUMC GARAGE TED TALK SERIES Join Highlands United Methodist Church on the fourth Tuesday of each month as we watch a TED Talk and then discuss it. Topics will cover fun to serious! The Garage, 3830 W. 32nd Ave. Thursday, Feb. 27 6:30 to 8 p.m. HARKNESS HEIGHTS CONSERVATION OVERLAY MEETING #1 The Harkness Heights Neighborhood Association has been working on an overlay to preserve the unique character of the neighborhood. We are excited to present the work done since the two March 2019 community meetings and hear your feedback before submitting a final draft to the City. Join us to see the latest version and have questions answered by Denver Community Planning and Development, Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval and her team, and HHNA leadership. Skinner Middle School auditorium, 3435 W. 40th Ave. Tuesday, March 3 6 p.m. BINGO WITH SUNI Please join Sunnyside United Neighbors Inc for our annual bingo event at Diebolt Brewing Co on Tuesday,
March 3. Enter for $5/card and win some amazing prizes from our local sponsors. We’ll have a food truck to keep you nourished, a DJ to keep you entertained and of course some tasty brews to keep your whistle wet! Bring your friends and neighbors for a fun evening out! Diebolt Brewing Company, 3855 Mariposa St. Tuesday, March 3 6 to 8 p.m. WEST HIGHLAND NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION MEETING Monthly meeting of the West Highland Neighborhood Association. Meetings are the first Tuesday of each month. Highlands Event Center, 2945 Julian St. Tuesday, March 3 6:30 to 8 p.m. HARKNESS HEIGHTS CONSERVATION OVERLAY MEETING #2 The Harkness Heights Neighborhood Association has been working on an overlay to preserve the unique character of the neighborhood. We are excited to present the work done since the two March 2019 community meetings and hear your feedback before submitting a final draft to the City. Join us to see the latest version and have questions answered by Denver Community Planning and Development, Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval and her team, and HHNA leadership. Skinner Middle School Auditorium, 3435 W. 40th Ave. Wednesday, March 4 6 to 8 p.m. GROUP LIVING PROJECT OPEN HOUSE After two years of work with community members, city planners are nearing completion of a broad overhaul of the Denver Zoning Code’s residential use regulations that will increase housing opportunities and flexibility for all residents. Commu-
Thankfully & proudly serving North Denver neighborhoods' real estate needs since 1994! Contact us with your questions/needs. Elizabeth Clayton EClayton@NostalgicHomes.com
Jean Sunn JeanSunn@NostalgicHomes.com The Denver North Star
nity members can learn about the proposal and share their thoughts at four public open houses in February. Scheitler Recreation Center, 5031 W. 46th Ave. Thursday, March 5 6:30 p.m. NORTHWEST INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC FESTIVAL Join us for the Northwest Instrumental Music Festival. Featuring performances from: – North High School’s Band, Orchestra, Modern Rock Band and Drumline – Skinner Middle School’s Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra North High School, 2960 N. Speer Blvd. Friday, March 6 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. COMMUNITY OFFICE HOURS WITH COUNCILWOMAN SANDOVAL Councilwoman Sandoval is holding monthly community “office hours.” These are times she will be out in the district and available to chat with you one-on-one about your concerns and ideas. Common Grounds Coffee, 2139 W. 44th Ave. Thursday, March 12 6:30 p.m. SUNI PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT The second Thursday of the month, the Sunnyside United Neighbors’ Planning & Community Development committee meets to review proposed development activity in the Sunnyside neighborhood. All residents are welcome. Come and have a voice in how your community grows. Denver Police Department, District 1, 1311 W. 46th Ave.
“Over 30 years of combined real estate experience and market stats tell us SPRING MAY NOT BE BEST TIME TO SELL A HOME. Please contact us for more info!” Elizabeth 303.506.3448 Jean 970.313.3916 Feb. 15-March 14, 2020 | Page 9
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A LOOK AT LOCAL DINING
Fall In Love at Cart-Driver
appy February to my neighbors in North Denver. This is the month for us to show how CHEF SCOTT DURRAH much we love that special person with Valentine’s Day around the corner. So, I wanted to find a place that captures that romantic vibe with a North Denver flair and environment that welcomes both first dates and longtime relationships. That place is a new spot that took over the old Z Cuisine location at 2239 W. 30th Ave. called Cart-Driver LoHi. What a job they did in combining the street level into one restaurant! The concept is wood-fired gourmet pizza with a fantastic appetizer selection inspired by the culture of Southern Italy, when cart-drivers used to bring fresh foods and produce to the villages from the farms. The result is mouthwatering pizzas with a variety of selections for toppings. The menu also includes fresh flown-in-daily oysters, processor on tap, seasonal market plates and Italian style spritzers. They have a large outdoor seating area and street parking. Having been raised by an Italian grandmother in the North Ends of
QUALITY FISH MARKET SINCE 1974
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CART-DRIVER
Boston, the true test of a great pie was the crust, and they nailed it at Cart-Driver. The crust was perfect in texture, flavor and complimentary with the toppings we selected. The décor is very open and nicely designed to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere perfect for a date. I also was wowed by the open kitchen and wood-fire oven that greets you as soon as you walk through the doors with a hint of garlic in the air! The bar is nestled in the corner of the place and with a great selection
3457 W. 32nd Ave. 303.571.1995
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vibe that welcomes sharing of foods, stories and local chat about what’s going on in the neighborhood. Cart-Driver is open for lunch and dinner, community hours and late nights seven days a week. They are located at 2239 W. 30th Ave. and visit them online at cart-driver.com. Scott Durrah is a proud resident, chef, restaurateur and cannabis business owner in North Denver for 15 years. He previously owned Jezebel’s Southern Bistro and 8 Rivers, and currently owns Simply Pure.
ARTS & C ULT U R E
Inconspicuous Consumption W
Tuesday - Saturday 11-7 Sunday 11-5 Monday Closed
of wines and specialty craft cocktails. What also caught my attention and makes this place great for Valentine’s Day and romantic dates is there are no televisions! I love that! Even if you are single sitting at the bar, it invites you to engage in conversation with strangers. The bartender and servers were extremely friendly and knew the menu well. They did a great job helping us make the right pairing of appetizers and entrées. The place is perfect for large groups and families with an open village
hen the topic of environmental impact and climate change comes up, we freHANNAH EVANS quently hear about broad concerns such as weather changes, rising sea levels and air quality issues that can sometimes be difficult to wrap our heads around on an individual level. Many of our daily actions, however, do have an impact on the world around us, and those impacts can be pretty surprising. For example, binge watching a show on Netflix can affect drinking water on the other side of the country, while washing a load of laundry can release thousands of plastic microfibers into the water system, many of which make their way inside of the bodies of freshwater fish. The maybe-not-so fresh roses for sale at the grocery store likely made a long, fuel-consuming airplane trip all the way from Columbia, while a sale item cashmere sweater at the mall has contributed in part to expanding the Mongolian desert. Discovering the impacts that many of our daily behaviors and purchases have can be depressing and overwhelming, but Tatiana Schlossberg’s “Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have” (2019, Grand Central Publishing) manages to explain
these connections in an accessible, informative and, maybe most worth noting, humorous way. With short sections boasting titles like “Athleisure Forever!” and “Silicon Valley: A Toxic Waste Dump? You Decide,” Schlossberg sheds light on the complexities surrounding how the things we purchase, the foods we eat and the services we interact with make their way to us from all corners of the globe. “Inconspicuous Consumption” covers a broad range of topics for every interest; Schlossberg aptly notes that “the story of climate change – and all of our stuff – is actually a story about everything: science, health, injustice, inequality, national and international politics, the natural world, business, normal life.” In an early chapter, Schlossberg shares the details of finding a fiber cable route, or, more simply stated, the internet, “in the wild” while visiting Colorado in 2017. As she describes, “I happened to be cross-country skiing by myself at the time (an activity that my skill level suggests I should not do alone) and I fell.” 2017 being a year with little snow, Schlossberg notes, “the track where I happened to be skiing was a white streak through the desert, not the snowy winter wonderland I had imagined when I was tricked into going skiing.” Due to the lack of snow coverage,
Schlossberg noticed while lying on the ground a US West Communications fiber cable route sign beneath telephone lines. The chapter’s narrative then takes a step back and walks through a brief background of how and where fiber cable routes are laid. As Schlossberg explains, “this may seem like a long digression that doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with the environment, but believe me when I say I have a point: as much as the internet represents the exchange of ideas and information, it’s also a physical thing, a network that connects us, materially, in cables and routers and blinking lights all over the world.” This physical system requires tangible resources in both See CONSUMPTION, Page 12 The Denver North Star
H E ALT H & W E LL N E S S
COMMUNITY WELLNESS INSTIGATOR
Your Heart is the Best Valentine’s Day Gift V
alentine’s Day. Most years, I am sort of a “it’s made up to boost the card, flower and chocolate indusERIKA TAYLOR tries”-girl. While I love any excuse to love on my husband and kids, it’s never more than a card, small momento or box of chocolate, if I happen to trip over it in the grocery store. This year however, I am buying into it, whole hog. I’m not buying flowers or candy, though. This year, I’m all hearts. Not the paper or chocolate kind. This year, I am all about the hearts that pump life sustaining oxygen and nutrients around our bodies. Really, what I am buying into is National Heart Health Month – starting with buying myself a doctor visit. Hitting my (very) late forties has changed the way I think about health. I believe it is my duty to myself and my village to care for myself – which means caring for my heart. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S.? That’s right: 647,000 Americans die from heart disease yearly. The most shocking thing about this: While genetics play a role in our heart health, study after study confirms that lifestyle far outweighs heredity when it comes to heart disease. One study tracked 2,336 people for 20 years. Participants who followed five key healthy lifestyle behaviors were 53% more likely to score a low risk for heart disease based on the two most associated risk indicators (blood pressure and blood glucose) than those who practiced one or none – regardless of environment, genetic profile, family history, gender or ethnicity. Which is pretty darn good news. It means that the power to give our hearts what they need is largely in our hands. So what are these magic behaviors? • Eating a healthy diet - a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, non-processed meats, fish, nuts and non trans-fat oils. • Engaging in physical activity about 150 minutes of moderate/vigorous movement that includes resistance training each week. • No or low alcohol consumption less than one drink a day for women, 2 for men on average. • Not smoking • Maintaining a healthy weight while Body Mass Index is the traditional measure, my favorite definition is by Dietitian Rachel Fine: “A healthy body weight is one that can be maintained without constant dieting or without restricted food intake. A healthy body weight is a weight that can be accepted by YOU.” (A topic for a column all by itself!) How many of those things are within our control? Yep. You got it. Every single one. Which brings us The Denver North Star
back to Valentine’s Day and Healthy Heart Month. What is the very best Valentine’s Day Heart Health Month gift I can get for the people I love? A healthy me. So, my appointment with my doctor is set and my pact with myself to stick to one or fewer glasses of wine a day is made – made and said (written) out loud here so you all can hold me accountable. Thank you! Now, it’s YOUR turn. What will you give the people you love for Heart Health Month? If picking something from our list of five heart healthy behaviors is too much to start with, pick something small: • Prep and send fruit and veggies for your kiddos Valentine’s celebrations or your wife’s lunch. • Have a morning dance party on Valentine’s Day morning and then make it a habit. • Plan a quick workout with someone you love. Even 10 minutes is plenty of time to get your hearts into it! • Carve out time to take a friend on a walk, hike, bike, ski, hang glide. Getting out into nature is great for our hearts. • Feed them well! Make a heart healthy meal plan for a week. Keep it simple. Choose whole proteins, veggies and whole grains. Roast and season them individually in large batches and then combine them with more raw veggies and spices in different ways all week. • Write notes telling people you love you are glad they are on this planet. • Make yourself a doctor’s appointment and get to know your numbers. C-reactive protein, cholesterol/lipid panel and treadmill stress tests can all give you good indicators of your risk. Your doctor can help you choose tests that are right for you. Remember, your gifts don’t have to cost a thing. The most meaningful thing you can give people you love is a healthy you. So take another look at the list of five behaviors that support heart health and use them to start building a wellness practice that supports your heart health all year long. And if you need help, please don’t hesitate to let me or your own health professional know. That is what we are here for. Wishing you a very happy Heart Health Month!
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 facebook. com/erika.taylor.303 or email erika@ tayloredfitness.com.
EART! RT TO H A E H LET’S HAVE A
MONTH SOURCE: HEALTHINE.COM
OUR HEARTS WORK REALLY HARD TO KEEP US GOING.
YOUR HEART PUMPS ABOUT
2,000 GALLON S
OF BLOOD EVERY DAY IT WILL BEAT ABOUT
TIMES A DAY
IF YOU WERE TO STRETCH OUT YOUR BLOOD VESSEL SYSTEM, IT WOULD EXTEND OVER
DID YOU KNOW?
UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE HABITS PUT US AT RISK FOR HEART DISEASE. WHICH UNFORTUNATELY, IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR MEN AND WOMEN IN THE U.S.
ALTHY HEART! E H A LET’S ALL HAVE
• FRESH FRUITS & VEGETABLES • FIBER-RICH WHOLE GRAINS • A VARIETY OF PROTEINS
• BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE • MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT • REDUCE STRESS • BE SMOKE-FREE & LIMIT ALCOHOL
• PROCESSED FOODS AND SUGAR AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Feb. 15-March 14, 2020 | Page 11
C OM M UN I T Y
Circles Don't Slow Traffic Continued from Page 1 has been installed before making determinations about how to best modify the traffic circles before they are made permanent. Department of Transportation & Infrastructure spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said the low cost rubber curbs the circles were initially built with are temporary and will eventually be replaced with more permanent materials. The city will restripe the street in February, and will let traffic normalize after that before conducting a new speed study, likely in the spring. From there, they will gather additional community input before determining final design and treatments. CONTROVERSY AROUND CIRCLES, CALMING AND COST While most neighbors say they support the bikeway concept, they
are divided about the various traffic calming measures, whether they actually have a traffic calming effect and how much they’ve cost taxpayers. Grace Chrisholm moved to the neighborhood two years ago from Portland, and believes even the signage noting it’s a bikeway will help with car-cyclist-pedestrian problems. “Drivers are more careful if they know they’re on a bike route.” She said her husband commutes daily by bike and the improvements will make his ride safer. Bill Conklin, who lives on Raleigh Street at West 32nd Avenue disagrees: “The traffic circles on 35th Avenue are very dangerous,” he said. “The intersection is not big enough and the cars don’t slow down. Some people don’t understand the situation and make left turns before the
PHOTO BY SABRINA ALLIE
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“A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity – Walter Lippmann in a great society.” Page 12 | Feb. 15-March 14, 2020
PHOTO BY SABRINA ALLIE
circle. Cars use the circle to make U-Turns and have come close to hitting pedestrians.” In the five minutes The Denver North Star was taking photographs at the Raleigh traffic circle, one car turned left in front of the circle (the wrong way into oncoming traffic), a truck made a U-turn and couldn’t make the radius so pulled over the curb, and two vehicles missed the stop signs completely. Four vehicles, or half of the vehicular traffic, used the circle correctly during that time. “I strongly feel these are contrary to everyone’s safety, efficiency and economic interests. We asked for none of this,” said Roger Oram, who lives at West 32nd Avenue and Newton Street. “The amount of money that is being spent for these unsolicited so-called improvements would astound most folks.” In an email responding to Oram’s concerns in 2018, Senior City Planner Dan Raine said, “The current costs of improvements are estimated at about $800,000 for the entire corridor.” Kuhn said that number includes design, but the construction of the traffic circles was only about $13,000 for all three, and the bikeway cost is $300,000 not including the traffic circles. Oram argues he’d rather see the city spending that kind of money fixing alleyways or
any number of other priorities. Yet, advocates said there is no greater investment than in safety, and that these traffic calming measures are helping connect the community. Anne Spires DeLong has lived at West 35th Avenue and Irving Street for 19 years. She said she’s seen dozens of car accidents and the current traffic flow means parents can’t let their children walk across the street. “People are speeding down Speer [onto Irving] and use 35th to cross,” Spires DeLong said. She said her family has seen the street as a “Berlin Wall” in the neighborhood, cutting off neighbors from each other, and she believes the new concrete barriers that allow pedestrians and cyclists but not cars to cross will be a big improvement in the neighborhood’s connectivity. “Not only are we slowing traffic for a bikeway, but that benefits pedestrians in the neighborhood, too,” said Kuhn. She noted that reducing speeds is a critical factor in reducing the severity of crashes. “When you can slow people down even five miles per hour, the odds of getting in a crash or the severity of the crash are reduced. The slowing of vehicles is making things safer for people who are walking.” Read more of this story online at DenverNorthStar.com.
ARTS & CU LTU R E
Consumption Continued from Page 10
energy and land, the needs of which continue to grow as our usage of the Internet increases in duration and in amount. Schlossberg works to untangle a dense web of the environmental impact created by products and services that are so familiar to us that we rarely give them much consideration – specifically within the categories of technology, food, fashion and fuel. If the thought of discovering the actual impact of our daily interactions within these areas sounds disheartening, fear not – Schlossberg states, encouragingly, “As I went through the five stages of environmental grief – denial, anger, trying to use less plastic, depression, determination – while writing this
book, I came to realize in a new and powerful way that, in the end, we’re not powerless.” Though there are numerous times throughout this book that the question of how to lessen the impact of any given thing can be summed up with “it’s complicated,” Schlossberg makes a compelling point: we should make informed individual choices day-to-day based on our own values, but we are likely most effective collectively by engaging policy makers and companies, and by voting for what matters to us. Most simply put, “Inconspicuous Consumption” ends on the suggestion to “Ask questions. Demand change.” Hannah Evans is the senior librarianat the Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library. The Denver North Star
K I D S & E D UCAT I O N
LETTERS FROM MISS JILL
Home Alone? How to Prepare Children for Independence
will never forget the day my little boy asked me to let him stay home alone. He was barely 5 years old, emboldened by JILL CARSTENS his “secret” Spider Man outfit that he wore under his regular clothes and the fact that Gramma might’ve shown him the movie “Home Alone” without my authorization. Cultivating the ability for children to be home alone begins in steps from the time we feel comfortable leaving young children in other rooms, to when they first walk or bike to a friend’s house unattended. Being a preschool teacher for so long, I hail from an overall perspective of safety. Preschool children are predictably unpredictable, exhibiting impulsive behaviors that require informed supervision. I often hear of a great desire from parents to provide their often very young children with some of the freedoms that a lot of us might have grown up with. BUT AT WHAT AGE TO BEGIN ALLOWING CHILDREN TO BE LEFT ALONE? HOW TO PREPARE THEM? This subject was highlighted in a child welfare case in August 2017. A Stapleton-area mom felt comfortable allowing her 4 year old to walk across the street alone, as the mom watched from the porch, to a park to join a group of children and parents. A nanny on the playground reported what seemed like neglect and the family was later charged.
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) offers a suggestion of age 12 as an initial age to begin allowing children to endeavor being left alone. In 2018, the department received more calls than ever on its abuse hotline. We certainly do not want to bring up pasty, anti-social couch potato children, but I believe we need to give this issue some informed thought. The home alone subject has become a hot topic recently as Utah passed a
Preschool children are predictably unpredictable, exhibiting impulsive behaviors that require informed supervision. law allowing “free range parenting,” a style of child rearing in which parents allow their children to move about without constant adult supervision, aimed at instilling independence and self-reliance. The National Association of the Education of Young Children considers age 8 and younger as “early childhood,” where children’s brains grow more than ever in their lifetime, and where the range of development (cognitive, physical and emotional) varies the most and is less predictable. States with actual laws about leaving children home alone use age 8 as a developmental starting point. These laws have more specific wording like this: “Ages 7 and under:
Cannot be left alone at home during any period of the time. This includes leaving them unattended in cars, backyards and playgrounds. This is a vulnerable age and there would be a high risk to their safety.” Because of my knowledge of child development and years teaching, I agree with that wording and believe age 8 is a good time to begin these independent endeavors. Parents I interviewed had successful outcomes when leaving their child home alone at this age, beginning with short intervals of time, after assessing their child’s maturity and providing them with the necessary information and tools. As their kids aged and matured, they increased the amount of time being left alone. With the laws in Colorado being vague, the Stapleton case providing a mirror into how CDHS might look at neglect and mixed messages about free range parenting, I encourage parents to think carefully about this issue and clearly assess where their individual child falls at various ages on the development/maturity continuum. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Human Services and several mom blogs and podcasts help bring to light many of the variables that can be involved and have wonderful and intentional checklists for preparing your child to be alone at various ages. My advice regarding the Stapleton mom’s experience would be to develop a clear mutual understanding with the other parents to watch each other’s kids while experimenting with
children learning to walk alone. It’s a great idea to create relationships with neighboring parents and adults so you can share information and work together to support each other and the children’s endeavors toward growing freedoms. When unsure, give CDHS a call and also know that if you need support with childcare, they have assistance programs. I will conclude with a reminder that there are many other ways to offer kids experience with freedom and independence. How about allowing them to make more decisions (see my column last month)? Teach them to use the kitchen and make simple meals. Give them chores. Set limits and hold them accountable so they can demonstrate responsibility. Practice intentional problem solving and role-play how they would handle an emergency situation. Like any parenting challenge, developing these assets requires the steps and time to establish healthy norms that will build as they grow. CDHS has its hands full with cases that are so much more endangering to children. Perhaps we can lighten their load by creating thoughtful plans. Jill Carstens is a proud Denver native, a passionate mom and a teacher. She picked North Denver as her home base in 1997, and has run Milestones Preschool since 2011. If you have ideas for an article or further questions for Miss Jill, you can email her at email@example.com.
P O LI T I C S
Special Interests Fill Council Campaign Coffers Before Limits Drop
By David Sabados hile most Denver City Council members didn’t raise much money after their elections in the spring, a few took advantage of the last chance to raise from corporate donors and at higher limits than they can today. Half of North Denver District 1 City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval's $13,600 campaign contributions she raised after the June election wouldn't be allowed under Denver's new campaign finance law that took effect Jan. 1, according to records made available at the start of February. Voters approved the new ban on corporate contributions and lowering individual contributions from $1,000 to $400, or $200 if the candidate opts into a new public matching fund. Of the three district council members who represent parts of North Denver, the other two didn’t show any significant fundraising in the January financial disclosure reports. District 3 Councilwoman Jamie Torres raised a total of $1,000 from two donors, and District 9 Councilwoman CdeBaca said she believed her report should show zero. She added that she didn’t feel the need to fundraise immediate-
The Denver North Star
ly after taking office. Her report was not available online, possibly due to a technical error the City Clerk’s office said they were checking into. Both at-large council members are term limited and showed only minimal fundraising. Sandoval said her additional fundraising after the election was to cover unlisted but unpaid campaign debts. “I had to payout people. I had people who worked for me who I didn’t pay out,” the first term councilwoman explained. Campaign finance records show Sandoval paid $16,000 to government affairs consultant Tish Maes for campaign management three months after the campaign ended. Sandoval raised just under $115,000 in the general and runoff elections combined. The $13,600 she raised since then is considered part of the 2019 election cycle even though it was after the election. “I had one fundraiser afterwards that I hadn’t really even worked on or put together. My cousin put it together with Tish,” she said, adding that she didn’t solicit most of the corporate or high dollar donors and she didn’t know who many of them were. “A lot of them were friends of my
dad’s who stayed out of the campaign until they saw who won." Amanda Sandoval is the daughter of Paul Sandoval, who Colorado Politics called the “legendary North Denver power broker” in a biography of the District 1 councilwoman. Sandoval also said she didn’t really look to see who made large contributions. When shown her own campaign finance filing, she said, “I don’t know who that is” in reference to a $1,000 corporate check from MDC Holdings, a company chaired by Denver Icon Larry Mizel. “I was surprised to see a lot of them,” she said, noting that some lobbyists were new and hadn’t given during the campaign. District 10 Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds, who represents Capitol Hill and Cherry Creek, led the pack in post election fundraising with $28,400 after election day compared to just under $100,000 before. All but two of his 43 contributions were over $200 and wouldn’t be allowed today. “I told all of those folks that the campaign finance laws are what they are, and are changing on Jan. 1, and ... if they wanted to contribute to retire campaign debt, then this was their opportunity,” Hinds said.
City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval
Hinds said he didn’t take any lobbyist or corporate contributions during his election and that he raised funds after the election to pay off his personal loan to the campaign and other obligations. Records show several personal loans totalling over $20,000. Hinds also said he didn’t believe his contributions influenced his votes, noting he voted against a city appointment of someone with ties to a lobbying firm that supported him financially. Denver councilmembers are elected to four year terms and the next election will be in spring 2023. Full financial disclosures can be found on the Denver Election Division’s website, denvervotes.org. Feb. 15-March 14, 2020 | Page 13
P O LI T I C S
Overturning the Denver Pit Bull Ban Decades-long Ban May be Replaced with Licensure System
By Sabrina Allie ortheast Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon has proposed a law that would effectively overturn Denver’s existing pit bull ban, instead creating a licensing system for the breed. Denver’s Ordinance Section 8-67 was enacted in August 1989 after dogs thought to be pit bulls mauled a minister and killed a young boy in separate attacks. It bans pit bull breeds in Denver, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers -- and any dog displaying the majority of the physical traits or distinguishing physical characteristics of these breeds as established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club. The Colorado General Assembly passed a law in 2004 prohibiting breed-specific bands, but Denver sued and a judge overturned the legislation in April 2005, calling it an unconstitutional violation of local control. HOW THE CURRENT BAN WORKS Dogs that are reported to the city as illegal pit bulls are impounded at the Denver Animal Shelter for Denver Animal Protection to conduct an official breed evaluation. If the dog is determined not to be a pit bull, it is released to the owner at no charge. If it is determined to be a pit bull, owners are required to pay for their stay at the shelter and immediately relocate them outside of Denver city and county limits with a city that doesn’t have a similar breed restriction. (Aurora, Commerce City and Lone Tree also have pit bull bans.) Dog owners can also dispute classification of their dog as a pitbull within seven days. If a pit bull owner is caught with the dog within city and county limits a second time, the dog becomes the property of Denver Animal Protection, which then completes a behavioral and health evaluation to determine whether it can be placed in a partner shelter in another city. Pit bulls that cannot be placed are euthanized. THOUSANDS IMPOUNDED, EUTHANIZED Back in 2009, 20 years into the ban, Westword reported that Denver had
impounded 5,286 dogs under the ordinance and estimated 3,497 pit bulls had been euthanized. That was an average of 265 dogs impounded and 175 euthanized per year. Those numbers have declined substantially over time, likely in part because pit bull owners have relocated themselves or their dogs. In 2019, Denver’s Department of Public Health & Environment (which Denver Animal Control and the Denver Animal Shelter fall under) reports a total of 219 pit bull intakes. Of them, 80 (37%) were returned to the owner, 55 (25%) were transferred to an outside agency (shelter outside of Denver), two remain in Denver’s shelter, nine were dead on arrival, five died in Denver’s custody and 68 (31%) were euthanized. The ban has been broadly criticized for the sheer number of dogs euthanized as a result, for forcing owners of pit bulls into hiding their dogs or moving out of the city, and for burdening neighboring jurisdictions with trying to adopt out Denver’s rejected pit bulls. Critics say the blanket ban on an entire breed is based on fear and should instead focus on irresponsible owners and dangerous dogs. WHAT THE NEW PROPOSAL DOES INSTEAD Herndon’s proposal shifts the focus to actions instead of pedigree. It would require pit bull owners to obtain a breed-restricted license, requiring applicants to provide their address, two emergency contacts, a description of the dog, annual fee and proof the dog has been microchipped and has its rabies vaccination. It would allow two pit bulls per household, and require owners to notify the city if they move and if the dog escapes, dies or bites. Under the proposal, if a registered pit bull has no violations within 36 months, the breed-restricted license could be replaced with a regular dog license that all other dogs in the city are required to have. Denver Animal Protection would remain the only agency able to provide valid pit bull breed evaluations. Additionally, the proposal would allow Denver Animal Protection to hold, transport and adopt out pit bulls with
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PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER MARCUS
Peter Marcus moved out of Denver after Denver Animal Control came looking for his pit bull, Ivory. Today, he lives in Arvada with his pit bull, Slye, pictured here. breed-restricted licenses -- greatly reducing, if not eliminating, the shelter’s need to euthanize the dogs. IMPACT ON RESIDENTS Arvada resident and pitbull owner Peter Marcus said he moved out of Denver in 2007 because of the ban. He said there had been no incident with his pit bull, Ivory, but a neighbor reported her to the city and Denver Animal Control came looking for her. “I didn’t think the ban was a real thing, honestly,” he said. “I didn’t think the city could actually take and kill my dog even if she hadn’t done anything.” He said he had to talk to his landlord about breaking his lease early, which fortunately, they let him do, and he relocated just a block away, south of the Denver border into Englewood. When he was looking to buy a house a few years later, “Denver was just off the market for me because of the ban, so I ended up in Arvada, where I now have another pit bull,” he said. “I have always thought the ban was brutal,” Marcus said, recalling photos Westword published in 2009 of dead pitbulls piled up behind the shelter awaiting removal. “I thought, ‘Jesus, they’re going to kill my dog.’” Marcus said he’s excited about Herndon’s proposal for licensure, and
that while it comes too late for him, it will open up opportunities for other people to live in Denver who didn’t have the option to before. COMMUNITY SURVEY AND COUNCIL ACTION Northwest Denver District 1 City Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval sent out a survey to the community, stating “I am interested in understanding how the community feels about the proposed breed-specific legislation updates which would legally allow pitbulls in the City and County of Denver.” Results of the survey at the end of January showed that more than 61% of 229 respondents were strongly supportive or somewhat supportive of Herndon’s proposal, with fewer than 12% opposed or strongly opposed. During the Feb. 3 City Council meeting, At-Large City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega said she did not do a formal survey, but calls and emails into her office were in support of keeping the ban by a 2-1 margin. The proposal moved out of committee in January and was scheduled for a one hour public hearing Feb. 10 after press time. See DenverNorthStar.com for updates on the City Council vote.
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P OL I T I C S
City Taking Presidential Primary Includes Unaffiliateds, Caucus Still Important to Both Major Parties Input on Group Living Proposal
By David Sabados his year, Colorado will have a presidential primary, partisan caucuses and then another primary for all state level and local partisan races. Confused? You’re not alone. In North Denver, both Democratic and Republican officials are working to turn out party members for caucus and educate both party members and unaffiliated voters about how they can engage in the primary. First up will be the presidential primary. Democrats will receive a Democratic ballot, Republicans a Republican ballot, and unaffiliated voters will receive both but can only return one. While unaffiliated voters could vote in the last local primary election, this is the first time unaffiliated voters can vote in the presidential primary in Colorado. Ballots are expected to arrive in mailboxes mid-February and are due by March 3. In previous election cycles, Coloradans weighed in on the presidential candidates through neighborhood partisan caucuses. Now, the primary determines how many delegates a candidate receives at their party’s national convention. With the change to a presidential primary, one might wonder why caucuses still exist. “You go to caucus because you want civic engagement,” said Kristina Cook, chairwoman of the Denver County Republican Party. She explained caucus (and subsequent assemblies) are the opportunity to become a precinct committee person, run for delegate to attend the national convention, and otherwise become more involved. On the Democratic side, the sentiment is much the same. “People get to come and meet like-minded neighbors who care about similar issues. You can learn about candidates, ballot measures, and policy issues,” said Danielle Glover, Highland resident and Democratic House District 5A captain.
For Democrats, the caucus and assembly process is also how several U.S. Senate candidates are planning on getting onto the primary ballot. Candidates can either garner the support of 30% of delegates at the state assembly or collect signatures from across the state. “I’m excited to see how many Democratic candidates are stepping up to challenge Cory Gardner,” said Adam Platt, Democratic House District 4A captain. “I look forward to a robust debate as to who is best suited to replace Cory and better represent the people of Colorado.” The Denver North Star recently joined with Regis University to host a Senate candidate forum. You can find the video at DenverNorthStar. com and on social media at @DenverNorthStar. For Republicans, it’s also a chance to nominate challengers against Democratic state representatives in both North Denver districts. Republican Jonathan Woodley, who unsuccessfully ran for City Council District 9 last year, has already announced his candidacy for House District 5. They will also rally support in defense of Senator Cory Gardner who is running for a second term. Both Cook and Glover agree that the new system may be confusing and said their parties are working to educate voters about how they can participate: calling, texting, emailing and otherwise reaching out to make sure they understand the changes. While the primary is open to unaffiliated voters, caucuses are still only open to members of that party. For the first time, caucuses will also be held on a Saturday instead of a weekday evening, something both parties hope drives more attendance. Alton Dillard, a spokesperson for the Denver Elections Division, said his office is doing everything it can to educate voters ahead of the arrival of ballots as well and wants to re-
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Both Major Parties Caucus on Saturday, March 7 Unlike elections where voters can use any voting center, caucus attendees must attend the correct location for their precinct. Democrats and Republicans have different locations. In order to find your precinct, please contact the parties. Only registered party members are able to caucus. DEMOCRATS: Visit denverdemocrats.org or call (303) 830-8242 REPUBLICANS: Visit denvergop.org or call (720) 787-7691 mind voters about the new laws: “If [unaffiliated voters] fill out both a Democrat and Republican ballot, their vote won’t count,” Dillard said. “Unaffiliateds will get both, but can only return one.” Green Party members, libertarians, and other minor party members won’t receive a presidential primary ballot since they cannot vote in the major party elections and don’t have primaries this year. Dillard said he has been reaching out to press, increasing the clerk’s office social media presence, and otherwise working to inform the public. Another new law allows 17 year olds who will be 18 by the general election day to vote in the primary. Dillard said nearly 1,800 17 year olds who are pre-registered to vote will receive a ballot in the mail. All 16 and 17 year olds are able to pre-register to vote and 17 year olds who will be 18 by election day who sign up now are also eligible to vote in the primary.
Last Lots Standing
Old Mammoth and Spruce Buildings to be Replaced by Apartments By Sabrina Allie wo of the few remaining single family home lots on Tennyson Street in the commercial district will be scraped and turned into apartments. The buildings at 4345 and 4347 Tennyson that formerly housed Mammoth Tattoo and Spruce men’s clothier (which moved across the street) were sold to First Stone Development for $1.73 million in January.
PHOTO BY SABRINA ALLIE
The Denver North Star
The developer, Lenny Taub, also bought the building next door at 4353 Tennyson, where children’s bookstore Second Star to the Right had been, for $900,000 in September of 2018. According to BusinessDen, Taub said he plans to build a three-story apartment building across the three lots. The combined 0.33 acres would include 42 apartment units and ground floor retail. He anticipates breaking ground in a year. Taub did not respond to requests for comment. Mammoth owner William Thidemann, who sold the building to First Stone Development, said he really enjoyed being part of the Berkeley neighborhood and will miss the community. “I wish the best for our old neighborhood. With that being said, I think it’s important to consider that development has its costs to local small businesses and neighborhood culture. Tennyson is certainly different now then it was three years ago. I guess we will see if that’s a good change or not.”
Updates Would Allow Unrelated People to Live Together, Expand Where Group Homes Are Allowed
By Sabrina Allie ith the cost of living continuing to grow and affordable housing at a premium in Denver, it makes sense that residents would consider living arrangements in which multiple roommates could share expenses. But Denver’s definition of a “household” limits the number of unrelated people who can live together, despite it being allowed in most other major cities (although Boulder has similar restrictions to Denver). The restrictions have also proven difficult for multiple-generations to care for aging family members and for artist community cooperatives and co-housing. In addition, residential care and group homes (like shelters and halfway houses) are only allowed under current zoning regulations in certain areas, which the Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) on its website says “perpetuate[s] inequity, effectively keeping some populations from living in residential neighborhoods near jobs, transit and other services they need.” City planners are now nearing completion of a two-year community effort to overhaul the Denver Zoning Code’s residential use regulations that they said “will increase housing opportunities and flexibility for all residents.” CPD reviewed and evaluated land uses and definitions for households, community corrections facilities, shelters for the homeless, residential care homes, new uses like tiny home villages and more. Planners have recommended the following changes to the zoning code: • “Allow more unrelated people to live together, as is already possible in most other cities, and provides flexibility and affordability. • Allow residential care and group homes in more places and reduce inequity by no longer categorizing them by types of people or needs they serve. • Improve predictability for providers and neighbors by standardizing permitting processes and regulations, such as spacing between facilities. • Require community information meetings for larger residential care uses to notify and educate neighbors and foster positive relationships.” Community members are encouraged to learn more about the proposals at a series of open houses throughout the city. The North Denver meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 at Scheitler Recreation Center, 5031 W. 46th Ave. Additional information and meeting dates are available at denvergov.org/ groupliving, email Senior City Planner Andrew Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 720-865-2915.
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Denver North Star Feb. 15-March 14, 2020 issue