Your Guide to Community, Politics, Arts and Culture in North Denver DenverNor thStar.com
Volume 2, Issue 4
Januar y 14, 2021 - Februar y 14, 2021
North Denver Small Businesses Receive Over $1 Million in City Grants, Thank City and Community for Support
COMMUNITY Aging Out of Foster Care PAGE 5
COMMUNITY Local Historians Build Community PAGES 7
POLITICS La Raza Park PAGE 11
OPINION RTD Update PAGE 14
EDITOR'S NOTE Survey Results PAGE 15
Proposed Design Overlay Aims to Create “Active Centers and Corridors”
By David Sabados proposal eight years in the making, Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval’s office is hoping to enact a measure they believe will preserve retail and other commercial corridors, promote mixed use (commercial and residential) development, and ensure a more pleasant experience for residents walking through small business areas like Tennyson St, Lowell North of I-70, and portions of 44th Ave. While the Berkeley neighborhood is the first area proposed, the expectation is that it will likely be replicated elsewhere. Dubbed the “Active Centers and Corridors Design Overlay,” it would limit residential uses on the ground floor near the street. Design Overlays don’t replace existing zoning but add additional requirements on new development. We talked with District 1 Planner Naomi Grunditz in Sandoval’s office to explain why they are introducing the overlay and how it would work. “Long-standing main streets like Tennyson have experienced a loss of commercial space to new development that is 100% residential,” said Grunditz. “This has happened for several reasons. Firstly, there is a huge market demand for housing. Secondly, building CLOCKWISE: FRANKS BAR-B-QUE, FROM WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/FRANKSBBQ; INDULGENCES DAY SPA, PHOTO FROM WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/INDULGENCESDAYSPA; BEAR GUTIERREZ PHOTOGRAPHY, 100% residential is less complicated and less PHOT0 BY BARRY GUTIERREZ; PINWHEEL COFFEE, PHOTO BY KATHRYN WHITE risky for developers than building mixed-use As revenue decreased, businesses looked for a lifeline to stay afloat. City grants and developments. Lastly, the Denver zoning code allows buildings in Mixed Use (MX) or Main a supportive community have kept many small businesses going in the pandemic. Street (MS) zones to be 100% residential.” By Kathryn White in business. Previously abundant catering s local hospitals found them- contracts are secondary for now. Plates and In everyday terms, it means selves consumed in responding sandwiches keep them going at this point. to COVID-19 last spring, elective Frank’s has been a family business serving that areas with the design surgeries were suspended, and administra- Texas style bar-b-que since 1969. Frank, Sr., overlay will likely have fewer tors scrambled to adapt budgets to their new moved the family and business from Texas day-to-day reality. The ripple-out effect was to Colorado in 1980 and eventually opened large apartment buildings that felt in North Denver at Bear Gutierrez Pho- additional restaurant locations. But large go all the way to the ground tography. Gutierrez’ health care clients—a event catering turned out to be the best fit large share of his business—cut marketing for Frank’s, so they eventually focused there. floor, and more retail and budgets, putting projects (and much of Guti- Until 2020. other commercial businesses errez’ income) on hold. Change isn’t new to Frank’s and the VolkSmall business relief funding from the city mers, but this latest round of unprecedented with residential spaces came at a crucial time for Gutierrez and over and unpredictable change has been scary. stacked on top. 200 North Denver businesses. It afforded “City funding and federal PPP support have them breathing room while they figured out helped a lot,” says Frank, Jr., “People, though, what to do next. they’ve been so supportive and wonderful. It’s that last point that the overlay really The city’s small business emergency sup- They keep my morale up.” focuses on, strongly encouraging the mixed port fund distributed $10.45 million to 1,796 Virginia Lansdale, owner of Indulgences part of “mixed use”. The overlay “excludes businesses with 25 and fewer employees be- Day Spa, credits neighbors and customers as dwelling units from the first 15 feet of depth tween May and December 2020, including well. “Holiday retail sales were up. We really along most of the ground floor” on lots 37.5 over $1 million to businesses in North Den- appreciate the support of our neighbors.” At feet or wider that are zoned for more than ver. And the city is poised to distribute more. this point they’re breaking even, which, these two stories. There’s also requirements for COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions on days, Lansdale says, is a win. windows, setbacks for wider sidewalks, limits large gatherings slashed the Frank’s BarLansdale, too, is grateful for the city grant. on lobbies and other private spaces on the B-Que catering business as events—from They couldn’t have re-opened May 18th ground floor, and more. weddings and graduation parties to business without it. Expenses accumulated as she preIn everyday terms, it means that areas with events—began to be cancelled, one by one, pared safety measures, but there had been no the design overlay will likely have fewer large throughout the spring. Frank Volkmer, Jr., revenue. A long list of small things added up, apartment buildings that go all the way to wasn’t obligated to return deposits, but he things most people don’t think about: new the ground floor, and more retail and other wanted customers to feel good about coming trash cans (lids now required) and a mop for commercial businesses with residential back to his business when they’re able, so he each of 7 treatment rooms, 3 bathrooms, and spaces stacked on top. The overlay would took the hit from losing both the deposits the reception area; HEPA filtration; scrubs not ban residential dwellings on the ground and the catering jobs. and personal protective equipment for staff. floor, however, and residential dwellings that Volkmer used city funding to update the Prices were running extremely high on items meet additional requirements would still front of Frank’s Bar-B-Que’s building on like face shields and masks. be allowed, including the traditional single West Colfax Avenue. He wanted the new After re-opening in May, Lansdale saw family home set back on a property with a look out front to send a message that they’re open for business, now take-out and dineSee LIFELINE, Page 6 See DESIGN, Page 8
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NEWS S H O RTS
Pit Bulls Get Licensing
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By Denver North Star Staff enver’s pit bulls can come out of hiding now that the city has begun granting permits to dogs of the previously banned breed. Last November, Denverites voted to lift the ban 66-34%. While City Council had attempted to lift the ban themselves, Mayor Hancock vetoed the effort, resulting in Council placing the measure on the ballot. Beginning this month, Denverites who own pit bulls can apply for a special permit; if the dogs have no problems they are eventually given a full license like other breeds. City staff introduced a pit bull mix named Penguin as the city’s first adoptable pit bull since the ban was enacted in 1989.
79 Reasons to Exercise Even if You Aren’t Feeling Resolved
e all have days when motivation fails us. Luckily, as humans we are able to talk ourselves into doing things we know are ERIKA TAYLOR good for us even when the “don't wannas”' strike. I hope you’ll borrow these reasons the next time you need one to get up and get moving. Did I miss one you use on yourself? Please share it so I can add it to my list. And repeat after me. “I exercise because... 1. Exercise boosts our immune system 2. It makes me feel confident 3. It helps me get stronger 4. Exercise helps combat depression 5. I’ll feel proud of myself 6. I have goals I want to reach 7. It improves my heart health 8. I want a great butt 9. It prevents diabetes 10. I want to be a good example to my kids (partner, neighbor, dog…) 11. I want to feel good in my clothes 12. It reduces my risk of cancer 13. My body was made to move 14. I want to look healthy 15. It lifts my mood 16. I want to stand taller 17. It reduces back pain 18. It feels good 19. It makes me feel accomplished 20. I spend most of my day on my butt 21. Dieting only works so much 22. It strengthens my bones 23. It's a great way to spend "me" time 24. It helps me de-stress 25. It can enhance the benefits of professional mental health care 26. I want to be strong 27. I want to take care of myself 28. I am grateful to my body 29. It strengthens my legs (arms, core, feet, hands, tongue…) 30. I want to push myself 31. I am capable of more than I ever imagined 32. Moving my body feels good 33. It keeps my mind sharp 34. It helps banish bloating
35. It helps me sleep
better at night
as I age
36. It gives me energy 37. I want to stay healthy 38. Exercise improves
balance 39. Sweat is sexy 40. I want to live longer 41. I want to get better at my job 42. Exercisers earn more money 43. I’m more likely to eat better when I exercise 44. I want to breathe easier 45. I want to see the scale drop 46. Exercise improves my sex life 47. I am worth it 48. Being fit makes everything in life better 49. I promised myself that I would 50. I deserve a better life 51. It'll help me drink more water 52. I want to do real push-ups 53. It reduces my healthcare costs 54. I'll miss fewer days of work 55. I want to create a new future for myself 56. It'll help me like what I see in the mirror 57. It makes clothing shopping more fun 58. Exercising can be fun 59. It'll make my skin glow 60. It's a good way to spend time with my friends 61. It'll help prevent age related metabolic slowdown 62. It reduces my blood pressure 63. I want to fit into an airplane seat 64. It strengthens my spirit 65. It's an inexpensive way to entertain myself 66. I need a reason to wear those new workout clothes 67. I'm tired of being tired 68. Not working out isn’t working
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69. It's a great way to spend time outside 70. I made a commitment to myself 71. I’m tired of starting over 72. There will always be another
wedding, vacation, or reunion
73. It improves cholesterol 74. It boosts metabolism 75. It prevents age-related muscle loss 76. A fit body is more likely a 77. Everyone has at least 10 minutes 78. I want to be stronger than 79. The only workout I ever regret is the
one I skip There are hundreds of great reasons to move your body. Some big, some small. Some sort of amusing and some deadly serious. If you are having trouble finding reasons that work for you, I hope you’ll let me or your own trusted health professional know. Helping you find your list is exactly what we are here for.
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email email@example.com.
S T UD E N T VO I C E S
Learning to Incorporate Mental Health In School By Jade DeSandoval ver the past 150 years, our world and our country have grown into a reality past generations only dreamed of, but our country’s approach to the school system has not seen the same change. Interestingly, it took COVID-19, and the quarantine that followed, for schools to adjust their approach. In reaction to the pandemic, people everywhere have had to change their approach to life, but schools have had to uncover new ways to teach and students have had to adjust to new circumstances to learn. Needless to say, this has come with its struggles and successes, but as schools attempt new approaches, administrators should frequently check in with students in order to grasp the effects of such methods and continue what works, modify what doesn’t. Carla Carino, my social studies teacher at North High School, did precisely this when she required her students to gather feedback from students, parents, and teachers at North and combine it with online research to uncover concerns about online learning, create solutions,
and present our findings. We concluded that online learning makes it challenging to stay engaged and motivated, difficult for students to communicate with their peers and teachers, and stressed to complete assignments. More than anything, it was the mental health of students that grappled with the combination of quarantine and online school. We created a survey to get feedback about online school and received responses from 124 of our peers at North. 83.7% believe that school isn’t as engaging and they aren’t learning as much. 74.5% miss seeing their friends and 49.2% reported needing more help from teachers. Despite the great lengths our school has gone to provide students with access to the internet and to create flexibility, some barriers of quarantine can’t be easily broken. It is clear that isolation has caused many teenagers to feel depressed and creating excitement for school through a computer screen isn’t as simple as you may think. According to a national survey of about 3,300 students, “More than 1 in 4 young people reported an increase in losing sleep be-
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cause of worry, feeling unhappy or depressed, feeling constantly under strain, or experiencing a loss of confidence in themselves.” This revealed that there is a connection between someone’s capacity to learn and their mental health. One cannot learn the material if they do not attend class, but they’ll have trouble going to class if they struggle with finding the motivation to. School is intended to help young minds grow which must include the wellbeing of the mind. So we suggested that North should prioritize mental health rather than a workload, which could cause students to feel more relaxed, therefore improving grades because students would be able to think more clearly and take time to understand what they are studying. We suggested asynchronous Fridays (a day dedicated to completing the work we were already assigned), and creation of clubs in order for students to reconnect with each other and strengthen our community. We also suggested flexible assignment dates and shortening workloads to allow students to get extra support
when they need it and decrease stress amongst students. Finally, to strengthen communication by providing text communication between students and teachers, frequently checking in with students -especially those who may be strugglingto create an open environment in which students feel more comfortable to ask the questions they need to, and request any help they may need for their wellbeing. Online school is a challenge all students, teachers, and administrators have had to face, but also one we can overcome. By finding solutions to ease some of the struggles we are facing during such an uncertain time, we are growing as a community and as people. We are learning that there are alternatives to how schools typically teach and to prioritize mental health when it comes to schooling. As a community, we have been presented with an opportunity for growth, and with the lessons we learn, we will only turn out stronger, smarter, and more fulfilled. Jade DeSandoval is a Junior at North High School.
The Denver North Star
HE A LTH & W E LL N E S S THE GRAY ZONE: STORIES CONNECTED TO NORTH DENVER’S OLDER ADULTS
Highlands’ Frances Hart encourages: “Take Care of Each Other”
series that started with traditional senior housing at Gardens at St. Elizabeth, then home sharing, KATHRYN WHITE and went on to explore cohousing and ADU’s, concludes here with a look at two more living arrangements North Denver’s older adults have enjoyed in recent years. Frances Hart bought a duplex near Highlands Square in 1980, with her daughters Heather and Bonnie in mind. The family lived on one side while renting out the other, anticipating that a day might come when one of the daughters would appreciate an affordable place to live on her own. The day did come, and the duplex pingponged back and forth between daughters e outside for a few years. But now, as time goes by, yself Bonnie and her partner have settled into other reasons to stay. She enjoys gardening r with her mom, and really likes being closeon by, especially as COVID-19 has pinned us all to our homes. The two sit on their front porches and chat or share extra servings cle loss from batches of soup. Hart misses her pre-pandemic routine down at the Highland Recreation Center, nutes and especially misses the longtime friends she doesn’t see often now. And she’s scared that when Silver Sneakers classes at the Rec Center start back up again, people she ret is the cares about will be missing. It’s unsettling to think about. t reasons Alongside the losses and uncertainty of big, some2020, it turned out to be a really good year and someto live this close to family. ng trouble ou, I hope ed health find your or.
While Hart was raising her family here in Colorado, Mary Ann and Vince Terrazas were raising theirs in Indiana. Following years of vacationing here, the Terrazas’ set their sights on eventually retiring to Colorado. They didn’t know when that would be, and Mary Ann didn’t imagine making the move without her husband. But she remembers the day in 2014, 7 years after Vince passed away, when her daughter Katie Terrazas Hoover called from Denver with an offer—a plea really. Would her mom make the move to Denver to help take care of Katie and Mike’s daughter, Veda, and a new baby on the way? Katie and Mike were staring at the reality of daycare expenses and had started to think creatively about how the home they had just purchased could be expanded to make room for Nana (Mary Ann). “It’s time, let’s do it,” Terrazas replied. There was no hesitation. She got her house ready to sell, and Katie and Mike prepared for construction. A little over a year later, Terrazas had her own private wing in the Terrazas Hoover home near Inspiration Point Park. She plunged into activities with Veda and Jude, and art classes for herself. Terrazas loves the climate here and Colorado’s open and accepting people. And it turns out that a woman who went to the high school she attended now lives just 3 blocks away. They take walks and spend time outdoors together. Like Hart, Terrazas misses longtime friends. But COVID-19 stay-at-home measures have given her some built-in com-
720-248-7327 P.O. Box 11584, Denver CO 80211 DenverNorthStar.com PUBLISHER AND EDITOR: David Sabados ART DIRECTOR: Melissa Levad Feeney BUSINESS MANAGER: Nathalie Jautz-Bickel
PHOTO BY KATIE TERRAZAS-HOOVER
Nana Terrazas and the TerrazasHoover Family: Katie, Mike, Jude, Veda and pup Luna.
panionship (plus a few new duties, like hall monitor). And not unlike duplex living, Terrazas’ arrangement comes with a private space of her own when a little peace and quiet is in order. The spirit these two have found in their living arrangements can be heard in Hart’s advice—to all of us—for getting through the rest of this pandemic: “Take care of each other.” 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 facilitates a Caregiver Support Group for the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter. Do you have story ideas for The Gray Zone? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021 | Page 3
K I D S & E D UCAT I O N
Cheltenham Elementary Gift Drive Gives Joy to Kids This Year By Allen Cowgill he North Denver community pitched in this holiday season for the gift drive at Cheltenham Elementary School organized by school nurse Mary Van Nest and school psychologist Cari Ledger. Community members, Hogan Lovells Law Firm, Dwell Church, school staff members, and Christian Riders in Faith Motorcycle Ministry all contributed to make the holidays special for 114 children. Mary noted that the program was originally only able to support about 40 students until last winter when one community member asked if she could post the need on Facebook, and they were able to triple the amount of
LETTERS FROM MISS JILL
Let’s Teach our Kids About Social Media
PHOTOS BY ALLEN COWGILL
An annual gift drive more than doubled in size this year due to the generosity of the community. kids they were able to support. With 90%+ of students utilizing the free and reduced lunch program, combined with the recent economic hardships, there was a tremendous need this year for even basics like pillows and blankets. Cari noted they identify students in need as “families that we know are homeless or have come to us in the past with financial struggles. The teachers know the kids and families best. We try our best to get families whatever they need. In the past when we’ve done this, we’ve gotten tears and screaming and super joyful responses. This year, more than ever, families are just happy to have something for their kids under the tree, and they don’t have to struggle with where that's coming from.” There is still a need for more support, so anyone wanting to participate next winter can call the school at 720.424.8810 and ask to connect with Cari or Mary for the gift drive.
Page 4 | January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021
PHOTO FROM WWW.ISTOCKIMAGES.COM
n light of the events that happened at our nation’s capital January 6, I think it is more important than ever to monitor how we manage JILL CARSTENS our time on phones and social media. With so many challenging situations happening right now, unsubstantiated sources show up easily with advice about COVID-19, the election results, and recent protests. Our kids need guidance. I wrote this article in mid-December but have added some points in light of the events of January 6th. The smartphone and all of its cousins became a regular part of our lives when my son was a teenager and before it was common for parents to give these pocket computers to children under the age of 10. I experienced life before these devices and have been one of those teachers who warned that phones should not be a part of early childhood. When I was a kid, the fear was of the negative effects of television, but children’s programming ran only at certain times of the day. Imagine if your TV was on all day, but it only played an unending stream of commercials. This is not too far-fetched from the unending content on Facebook and Google. The recently released Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, details how idle internet scrolling can lead to addictive phone use and the potential for being led astray by unsubstantiated sources. I urge you to watch the documentary. In the meantime I will summarize some of the points. The groundbreaking artificial intelligence that was created and is used by Facebook, Google, and others documents the clicks we make on our phones, creating custom content which encourages us to continue to scroll and, in turn, increases their abilities to sell more advertising. Idle scrolling, unchecked, especially for vulnerable, uninformed youth, can evolve from minutes into hours and can lead the user off in unintended directions. Short-term rewards (likes), disguised as actual forms of popularity, create tricky situations for young people to navigate. My son had his first experience with Facebook when a school club required him to join at age 14. For a while he became obsessed with how many “likes” his posts received. During several conversations, I urged him to get perspective about it. Luckily, the attention it took to participate in this endeavor began cutting into time he would rather spend on other things, so he eventually dropped it. Not all kids are able to detach so easily. During this time period, especially when the iPad was a hot item, his friends who came over would barely talk or interact, faces buried in
their devices. The never-ending content of portable games and videos is manufacturing a generation (or two) that would rather look at a screen than interact with someone face-to-face. Newport Academy (newportacademy. com), a treatment center for teens, cautions that this obsessive behavior can impede the development of social and coping skills, labeling the phones a “digital pacifier.” “[These kids] have lost the ability to soothe themselves with real-world reflection, activities, and relationships. Instead, they turn to social media for distraction and entertainment.” During the conclusion of the documentary there is a call for the regulation of companies using AI and to hold accountable those who initiate misinformation using social media platforms. Former Google software developers interviewed spoke about the issue of digital privacy and that we need protection against what was originally designed as a tool that is now “starting to erode the social fabric of how our society works,” as one professional put it. January 6th’s events are an unfortunate example of this. Dependency on digital media begins when we give devices to toddlers instead of teaching them positive coping skills. Things we can do instead: • Avoid giving your child a phone as long as possible, I recommend age 10 at the earliest. You can also get your child a limited functionality phone that will work for calls and only apps or games you enable. • Model good phone behavior – resist the urge to pick it up when bored and choose instead a book or magazine or conversation. Do not allow phones at the dinner table. • You can now program routers to allow certain devices in your home a limited time period of Internet connection. • Have a straightforward conversation with your adolescent or teen about the fact that not everything on the Internet is true. Teach them about trusted news sources and enlighten them about the dangers of idle scrolling and the potential for misinformation. If they cannot find corroboration for a source, it is most likely false information. The more your kids they understand what is going on the more likely they will agree to limitations. • Find alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo that do not track their users. Jill Carstens is a proud Denver native, a passionate mom and a teacher her entire adult life! She has run Milestones Preschool here since 2011. If you have ideas for an article or further questions for Miss Jill, you can email her at email@example.com
The Denver North Star
C O M M UN I T Y
Help for Young Adults Aging Out of Foster Care Coming to Denver By Abigail Seaberg igher education – and student loans – can be a daunting prospect for any young adult. But for 18-year-olds who have just aged out of the foster care system, attending a college or university might simply feel impossible. Fortunately for Hayley Houk, she had what many young adults aging out of the foster care system did not: resources. Houk had just graduated high school in 2014 when she received a phone call that would change her life. “It was the funniest phone call I think I’ve ever had in my life,” Houk said. “He was like, ‘My name’s Eric. I’m the executive director for Realities for Children. Would you like to go to school for free?’” Houk was the first student to get a fullride scholarship to CU Boulder through the Boulder County branch of the organization, and she credits the nonprofit for changing “the trajectory of [her] future.” “It’s been incredible,” Houk said. “It’s definitely helped me build my confidence and given me access to resources that I wouldn’t have otherwise.” The nonprofit works to offer young adults – ages 16 to 26 who are about to age out of the foster-care system or recently have – the resources to help them become independent members of society. Although the organization has been operating under the Realities for Children Boulder County name, they are currently transitioning to the name True North Young Adult Services come February. The nonprofit’s goals with the rebranding efforts are to release the Boulder County limitation, expand into the Denver area, and focus on the young-adult age group directly impacted by the sudden lack of support after aging out of foster care. True North Young Adult Services will still offer much of the same programs and
opportunities as they have in the past. These offerings include programs and events meant to provide the young adults with fundamental life skills relating to finances, nutrition, self-care, time-management, and professional development. They will also continue awarding scholarships for higher education, which vary year-to-year depending on funding. They awarded nine scholarships in 2020 and currently support 10 students in higher education – six at CU Boulder, two at Front Range Community College, one at CSU Pueblo, and one at MSU. But True North goes beyond financial support and life-skills education. They also have a transitional housing program in Boulder called the Polaris House that offers reduced rent rates to five or six people at a time. The program also requires that first-year residents only pay half of their rent – the rest of which goes into a savings account for them to access once they’re ready to move out. The move to rebrand as True North and expand into the Denver area comes as a response to better understanding the population they are serving most effectively. “I think there’s a pretty core population there who could benefit from our services,” President of True North Merix Gustin said. “Most of our students who don't live at Polaris actually don’t live in Boulder – partially because they can’t afford to live in Boulder, partially because they have family connections in other places.” “A lot of our state-agency partners that we’ve been collaborating with are in different counties so, for me, part of my oneto-five-year vision for this group is that we’re actively serving people outside of Boulder County.” Houk understands the population they are trying to serve better than most as
The Polaris house offers young adults aging out of foster care an affordable place to live. The organization who owns it is expanding into Denver.
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PHOTOS COURTESY OF HAYLEY HOUK
Realities for Children, soon to be "True North," helps young adults aging out of the foster care system. both a recipient and now as an employee. While finishing up her psychology and sociology studies at CU Boulder, Houk has also taken on the role of business development director for the nonprofit. “I think, generally speaking, our services are really unique to Colorado,” Houk said. “Speaking from somebody who’s lived this experience, there’s not really a lot of resources out there that support this age range. “When you turn 18 when you’re in foster care, you pretty much lose every sort of resource that you have, and so that’s kind of where we come in, to make sure that there’s that continuous support into their adulthood.” Along with providing their services to people in Denver, True North will also be looking to connect with local businesses in the area. The organization operates as a cause-marketing nonprofit, and has a three-tier membership program for local businesses and entrepreneurs to join. True North provides various marketing and advertising services in return for the financial support from the membership. True North logo inclusion is one of their most common offerings. “The point of marketing them in the community, like having ad space for them, is to show the community that they’re doing something good so that they should be supported in return.” The Denver North Star is one of those local businesses joining the True North community as a media partner; you’ll see periodic ads for the organization highlighting business partners. If you’d like to learn more about the nonprofit, make a donation, or join their private partnership as a business or entrepreneur, please visit their website at rfcbc.org. (Expect name change to be fully implemented in February.)
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NEWS SHO RTS
Denver City Council Grants Denver DA Pay Raise, Declines to Have Public Input By Denver North Star Staff eth McCann, Denver’s District Attorney, will receive a 1% raise in 2022 and 3% raises in 2023 and 2024, though those raises are contingent on staff pay freezes being lifted. The Denver DA’s current salary is $228,000 per year, the 2nd highest in the state. While the proposed increase was discussed in the Finance and Governance committee, Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca asked for a public hearing before the full council, citing the need for public input. While committee meetings are open to the public, CdeBaca noted the timing and low profile in the middle of the day reduces public input, and zero members of the community signed up to speak in that meeting. In contrast, evening full city council meetings usually have robust community input. CdeBaca requested a public hearing before the full council, but the request was denied by Council President Stacie Gilmore. Council President Gilmore’s office did not respond to an inquiry asking why she denied the request. A spokesperson for Councilwoman CdeBaca said she is exploring a rules change to require more public hearings. At the first council meeting of 2021, CdeBaca was the lone vote against the raise, which passed without commentary.
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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 2611 Yates Street 3378 W Clyde Place 3894 Meade Street 3333 Meade Street
O U R
P A S T
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
S A L E S
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
T E L L
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
Elizabeth Clayton 303.506.3448 EClayton@NostalgicHomes.com The Denver North Star
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Why Vitruvian Fitness May Be My New Gym in 2021 By Danielle Glover anuary is often the month we set goals, and let’s be honest, after 2020 many of us are looking for a fresh start. Unsurprisingly, a December 2020 YouGov poll found that exercising more or improving fitness was the most common 2021 New Year’s resolution. Much like everything, gyms shuttered in early 2020 due to COVID-19, throwing a wrench into many people’s goals. Whether you’ve recently set a goal to get in shape, are a weekend warrior (hello ski season), or are a seasoned athlete, you might be wondering what it’s like to work out at our local fitness studios right now. I recently took the opportunity for a trial membership at Vitruvian Fitness, a personal training and group fitness studio owned by North Denver resident Tom Wigginton, which started in LoHi before moving just over the city line into Wheat Ridge several years ago. Vitruvian Fitness is different from many other gyms. Its focus, even prior to COVID-19, is on semi-private training. Unlike national gyms, you won’t find rows of treadmills and ellipticals, and unlike smaller group fitness gyms, you won’t find twenty people doing the same workout together. Similar to other gyms is the variety of equipment utilized: dumbbells, kettlebells, balls, TRX, and bands. While you may be working out with up to 4 other people, everyone is focused on their personalized program. Upon first walking into Vitruvian Fitness, I was enthusiastically greeted by Enzo, the studio’s key motivator, and Tom’s rescued border collie. After a few pets and tail wags, I felt at ease and Tom explained the COVID protocols they have in place to ensure everyone’s safety. First, anyone that enters the studio must properly wear a mask, take their temperature, and sign a declaration that you are symptom-free, you’ve not knowingly been exposed to the virus in the past 14 days, and you’ve been following local regulations. There are 5 self-contained workout stations separated by clear vinyl partitions. Additionally, all contact surfaces (equipment, floors, high-frequency touch surfaces) are sanitized using an EPA registered antibacterial, virucide,
PHOTO COURTESY OF VITRUVIAN FITNESS
Gyms like Vitruvian have adapted in the pandemic, sometimes going above and beyond required safety regulations. mildew-stat, deodorant, and detergent solution that kill SARS-CoV-2, MRSA, Staph, HIV, and more. Moreover, there are intake fans in each station that feed into an air purifier, which includes a HEPA filter and UVC. Finally, each station is set up with all of the equipment you need, so sharing is limited. I was drawn to the personalized programming Vitruvian Fitness provides, even during your trial. Tom took the time to learn about my goals, past injuries, current fitness regime, and my other activities such as snowboarding and hiking. Then, I started the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), which everyone completes at their first appointment. It is a series of 7 simple movements that measure your movement abilities, not your strength. This assessment, combined with your goals, such as improving your overall fitness or becoming a stronger skier, provides the foundation for developing your strength program. At my next appointment, another member and I walked in together, grabbed our workout plans from the counter, and went to our own stations. She was starting a new program, it was my first time, and there were two other people working out, so I was worried that I may not receive enough attention from the trainer. However, the trainer, Mark, was able to bounce between everyone checking form and explaining exercises with minimal wait time. Notes from
my initial screening highlighted some imbalances, so as Mark explained why I was doing certain exercises to warm up and then noted what to be aware of as I moved through the 45-minute workout. Every subsequent appointment I felt I had the attention of the trainer while not feeling smothered. I saw a variety of people working out - older, younger, newbies, and experienced athletes. It was motivating to see a variety of people working on their own goals. The atmosphere is serious, yet fun. Because your time is limited to about 45 minutes, everyone is focused on their workout, but there is still time to talk. I spent one session discussing Marvel movies and shows between sets. I’m also drawn to businesses who support our community. Last March, Vitruvian members bought and built 100 bikes for Wish for Wheels, an organization that gives a new bike and helmet to every 2nd grader in Denver Public Schools that are categorized as Title 1. Other years Vitruvian Fitness collected personal products to make kits for the Bienvenidos Food Bank. Life is stressful. The opportunity to safely focus on health and fitness goals is much needed self-care. My only critique? As the world opens back up, I hope they add more evening appointments so there’s more availability to de-stress after work.
“Our focus on Denver’s economy has shifted from one of emergency aid to one of hope and recovery,” said Eric Hiraga, Executive Director of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, “DEDO will continue to act on the behalf of business and workers to provide funding, resources and policy that will carry us into a future where there is opportunity for all.” The city will add $1.5 million to Denver’s share of state small business relief funds approved in last month’s special session of the legislature and align the city’s process more closely with the state’s. Applications are now open. As of the time of publication, the most recent round is expected to close on January 26th, but business owners are encouraged to reachout to DEDO and check the city’s website for updates on timing and eligibility. Per state guidelines, grants will range from $3500 to $7000 depending on the businesses’ annual gross revenue from the previous year. Editor’s Note: Independent of this reporter’s outreach, The Denver North Star requested data from the city regarding how much funding individual
businesses received, but the city denied multiple open records requests. To be clear, there was no hint of impropriety with the small businesses interviewed for this story, who are struggling North Denver businesses and all of which seem well deserving. However, in light of questionable PPP loans by the federal government to political allies and businesses with ties to government official family members, and because the city is granting over $10 million dollars to nearly 2000 businesses, we strongly encourage the City and County of Denver to release all data regarding how much money is being given to individual businesses. In the spirit of full disclosure, The Denver North Star is one of the currently 1,796 businesses that has received a grant. The newspaper received $5,296. We appreciate the city’s grant to our small business; like others, we took a serious blow to income during the pandemic and our request for more disclosure is in the interest of the public good, not tied to the business side of the paper. The decision to cover this topic was made prior to the paper receiving a grant and did not influence our reporting.
Danielle Glover is a Highland resident, workout enthusiast, and dog lover.
Continued from Page 1 comfort increase as customers experienced new safety measures. And both customers and staff have taken the initiative to reschedule treatments if COVID-19 exposure or symptoms arise. Lansdale is proud of the personal services industry, pointing to extremely low COVID-19 transmission rates in settings like theirs across Colorado. “We’re here and we’re committed to what we do. And to everyone’s safety.” Pinwheel Coffee at West 37th Avenue and Navajo Street focused on how to re-open safely as well, after being shut down for 6 weeks. Alongside its focus on bringing customers back and implementing new requirements, Pinwheel was equally concerned with the 30 Embark micro-school students it shares for embedded real-world learning with next-door neighbor Framework Cycles. The city small business emergency support grant gave Pinwheel’s Operations Manager Joe Fulkerson time and resources to go virtual with the student coffeeshop curriculum, to add online ordering, and to launch a curbside counter for summer business. He needed to establish a few new vendor rela-
tionships and take care of tech challenges like getting orders from the curbside counter back to the barista and kitchen staff. But it sounds like it all paid off: Pinwheel’s summer months ended up being the busiest of their three years in operation. Now Pinwheel has moved business back inside for the winter and is preparing for Embark students to return to the shop, in groups of 10, starting January 19th. Meanwhile, not far away, Gutierrez is keeping his skills sharp and exploring new industries for prospective clients. He typically works with mid- to largesize companies, but recent projects with small businesses have nudged him to think a little differently and apply his skills in new ways. He knows that his own business will rebound as the industries he works with recover. Though this could be a while. When they’re ready, he’s here to help them tell their comeback story in a visually compelling way. As 2021 begins, COVID-19 continues to impact small businesses. And the city is gearing up to distribute additional funds.
Page 6 | January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021
The Denver North Star
CO M M U N I TY SHAPING OUR FUTURE BY REMEMBERING OUR PAST
More Than Names and Dates: Local Historians Build Community
enver has not risen to the level of recognition of its writers to which Dublin has. As you DENNIS GALLAGHER walk along the streets of old Dublin town, a city full of literary talent, you will see that the city administration and council has placed brass plaques in the pedestrian sidewalks indicating literary happenings. "Leopold Bloom entered this pub to feast on his famous gorgonzola cheese sandwich on June 16, 1904, Bloomsday, ted somein Joyce's ‘Ulysses’." This famous lunch ned why Iis announced on a sidewalk brass plate warm upnext to Davy Byrne’s Pub, off Grafton are of as IStreet in Dublin. Perhaps someday we workout. can commemorate Neal Cassidy and nt I felt IJack Kerouac enjoying a baseball game while notat Sonny Lawson Park in Five Points or ty of peo-stopping for beers at My Brothers Bar , newbies,down on 15th Street in “On the Road”. s motivat-Or someday we may remember Mary orking onCoyle Chase for living in a working re is seri-class cottage on Delaware Street in is limitedwest Denver, all the while writing the s focusedaward winning play, “Harvey”. For that ill time toto happen, a town needs a mayor and sing Mar-council members who have actually read some of our great city writers and sets. who sup-care about others commemorating and ch, Vitru-remembering those writers. Not likely 100 bikesanytime soon. anization Ruth Eloise Wiberg grew up in North t to everyDenver, attending historic Highland hools thatMethodist Church on West 32nd her yearsand Osceola Street. She relished and personalmarveled at the ethnic diversity found Bienveni-here in North Denver: the Italian, German, and Irish roots which had tunity toblossomed along with her own roots from ss goals isNorthern Europe. She became a student y critique?of the many architectural treasures hope theywhich sprouted up along the tree-lined so there’sstreets of old Highlands. For years er work. Ruth presented a slide show to service, church, and community organizations, d resident,helping people appreciate and identify er. those historic buildings. Ruth would not only delineate an architectural style for a notable home, she would tell you about the colorful characters who called a particular house "home." Eventually, in 1973, and after the enthusiastic urging of her many friends, Ruth's fantastic slideshow and lectures became a book, “Rediscovering Northwest Denver: Its History, Its People, Its Landmarks”. Published originally in hardback, the paperback edition published by University of Colorado Press in 1995. Dr. Tom Noel, “Dr. Colorado”, helped with that and I was honored to write the preface. Ruth's history covers the political battles to keep Denver from annexing Highlands. It took 3 votes before the people of Highlands decided to come into Denver. They did not want the bars, bordellos, and political shenanigans of Denver darkening their area. Ruth examines the colorful history of neighborhood churches. After the mines closed in the Silver Panic of 1893, the parishioners at Chapel of Our Merciful Savior Episcopal increased in large numbers. She also covers the parish histories of old St. Patrick's, Mt. Carmel, and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Ruth gives John Brisben Walker his just due for donating the land for Regis University to Italian Jesuits from Naples. Ruth loved parks and reports of which
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Ruth Eloise Wiberg, 1976 Original Photo by Howard Brock, Rocky Mountain News developers donated land for parks in North Denver, like McDonough Park across from St. Catherine's Church on West 42nd and Federal in Harkness Heights. We will never see the likes of them again in North Denver. Ruth includes several walking tours for different areas of North Denver. I have borrowed from her early expertise on the many tours I give for those interested in the historic stories of our neighborhoods. We hope the Coronavirus subsides soon so we can have historic tours again. Ruth's book serves as a community builder. She traces early street names in the vicinity. Did you know West 32nd Avenue was once called "Fairview"? That's because from that street you could see all the way south on Boulevard F, now Federal, to Pikes Peak in El Paso County. West 29th Avenue was christened "Ashland" where Ashland School used to be. That's where Golda Mier attended North High School before she moved to Israel to become the first prime minister to attend North. West 38th Avenue replaced old "Prospect" where all the prospectors trod with their donkeys to find gold in the mountains. Ruth did more than just write and talk about historic sites in North Denver. In 1972 Ruth and I hosted a lunch in the old Plain View Inn for members of the Denver Landmark Commission. After lunch we took the commissioners around North Denver. One said he had not been on the "side streets up here." "I drove mostly along West 38th to attend plays at the old Elitch Theatre." The next week, landmark commission staff were directed to start preparation for 15 sites for historic designation. Realtors told me that if their houses were mentioned in Ruth's book, owners could ask thousands of dollars more for their homesteads. One realtor told me that he gave a bottle of wine and an autographed copy of Ruth's book to every buyer of a home in North Denver. Lois Harvey has copies of Ruth's book for sale at West Side Books on West 32nd. Smiley Library also has a reference copy available again when the building opens up. Happy Reading. The Honorable Dennis Gallagher is a former city auditor, city councilman, state senator and state representative. He’ll be sharing thoughts and stories from North Denver’s past and future in his reoccuring column in The Denver North Star.
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4401 Tennyson, Berkeley | (303) 561-0234 January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021 | Page 7
Continued from Page 1 porch or other street-facing usable space. In order to look to the future, the overlay draws inspiration from the past: “This overlay was particularly designed for historic shopping corridors that developed from Denver’s early streetcar network,” explained Grunditz. She said they based a lot of their work on research done by Ryan Keeney published on DenverUrbanism.com. Keeney, then a graduate student mapping streetcar routes, is now a graphic information systems analyst and board member of YIMBY Denver, an organization that describes themselves as “advocates for affordable and abundant housing and people focused transit.” Need some examples? We looked at several different properties that are three or more stories on Tennyson St. to see if they meet the criteria. At the same intersection at 44th and Tennyson, there's both a prime example of what would be encouraged and what would be banned. None of the buildings we looked at violated current requirements and are completely allowed today; an overlay cannot change existing structures. That’s also not to say these exact buildings couldn’t potentially be built with an overlay, but that if they were built after the overlay goes into effect they would need a different configuration than they have now.
PHOTOS BY DAVID SABADOS
The building on the Southeast corner of 44th and Tennyson would fail to meet several criteria if built post overlay: the ground floor is predominantly a parking garage along with a leasing office. The concept of the overlay was first discussed as far back as 2012 during former Councilwoman Susan Shepherd’s tenure on council according to Heather Noyes, a landscape architect whose firm Studio CPG is on Tennyson St. Noyes helped propose the initial concept and has been an advocate for an overlay; she's also a former board member of Berkeley Regis United Neighbors (BRUN), who encouraged Sandoval to implement the plan. Noyes noted that when the surrounding streets were adding density through duplexes and townhomes, the argument in favor was that the increased population base would support business on commercial corridors like Tennyson. Now she hopes the retail and other businesses aren’t pushed out. Through a series of workgroups and community meetings starting in 2014, BRUN identified a number of priorities, including “[encouraging] eyes on the street, neighborly interaction, and a positive pedestrian experience.” Many of the specifics, such as requiring a porch or other usable space on ground floor residential dwellings, came from BRUN’s planning and work on the issue over the years. During that time several proposals were discussed, including separate commercial and residential
overlays, a unified overlay, and others. The current proposal affects both residential and commercial properties in commercial corridors but not the surrounding neighborhood. “Construction has touched every block of our neighborhood in recent years, said Michelle Frankel, an architect and former committee chair with BRUN. “There’s a lot to love about the growth, we have a thriving commercial corridor in Tennyson Street getting national recognition, but we’re seeing developers building without foresight or concern for the neighborhood context. I want to see new development contribute to and not detract from the value of Berkeley/ Regis and the many reasons people and businesses have been attracted to come and stay here. I love this neighborhood and hope to be here for many years.” In April of last year, BRUN officially sent a letter of support for the overlay to Sandoval’s office. Sandoval, in a presentation to the Denver Planning Board, credits BRUN and the community with the idea. Noting the time it’s taken to reach this point, she explained that she worked on it as a council aide for former Councilman Rafael Espinoza but said that “it never made any progress in the four years he was in office and here we are a year and a couple months after I’ve been elected presenting this to you.” During her presentation, Sandoval also said, “This is a project that’s near and dear to my heart,” explaining that her father purchased the lot on the southeast corner of 44th and Tennyson in 1975 and ran a small business there. Paul Sandoval eventually sold the property to a developer in 2012 shortly before his death. The new owner built a five-story apartment building; Councilwoman Sandoval has frequently expressed her dislike for the structure. During her time as an aide to Councilman Rafael Espinoza, both Espinoza and Sandoval actively worked to stop its construction. Many of the design elements in that building are explicitly banned in the overlay and if that building was proposed post-overly it would not be allowed (see examples). The Denver North Star reached out to several organizations who represent commercial property and business owners; most responded that they were studying the issue or hadn’t taken a position but encouraged more public discussion with both residents and business owners as the process continues. The next step for the proposal is a formal review by the planning board on January 20, where it may encounter critique based on the informal presentation back in October. Don Elliot, a member of the board, expressed concern that increasing the supply of commercial space doesn’t necessarily mean there’s demand to meet it. “You can’t make people buy Starbucks by having more Starbucks stores,” said Elliot, adding “The curve of the economy is moving, speaking bluntly, against more active ground floor uses.” Fellow planning board member, professional architect, and North Denver resident Gosia Kung echoed some of his concerns. “It's getting increasingly harder and harder to develop these mixed use properties, especially on small lots.” Kung said she wants to look at regulatory barriers and ways to incentivize more businesses. Grunditz acknowledges the concerns, responding “when commercial is forced into a place it doesn’t belong, it will fail,” but believes the areas they have targeted are the right places for an overlay of this kind and that increasing supply is
Page 8 | January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021
IMAGE COURTESY OF COUNCILWOMAN SANDOVAL'S OFFICE.
Map of design overlay proposal. Commerical corridors are in pink; proposed areas are outlined in blue important to keep small businesses in Denver. “Corridors like Tennyson are doing well and have characteristics that help them thrive...Many businesses that are forced to or choose to move, and leave storefronts vacant, are doing so because rent has increased or the building was sold, not because their businesses are failing. We have heard this over and over again from our business owners in these areas.” She sums up her argument noting that land is a limited resource. “In the end, it won’t matter how much economic or policy support happens if there isn’t physical space for businesses to be located. Once a property redevelops with a residential floor plan on the ground floor, that’s the building you’re stuck with for the next 20-40 years.” One widely discussed development is the former Local 46 bar and adjacent properties, sparking discussion in the community about whether an overlay would change the future of the block. That sale, however, is not going through, but not because of the proposed overlay, according to the company that was
office did not factor into this decision and our intent was always to comply with the retail requirements of the design overlay. Holland respects the passion and focus for quality development along Tennyson Street and wish the land seller, neighborhood, and community the very best.” While most of the conversation is focused on Tennyson St, it’s important to note that the proposed overlay includes five other areas including three of the four corners at 44th and Lowell, which was “the topic of much debate” according to Grundtiz, noting that two story development is not as attractive for redevelopment, but explaining “we wanted to respect that the community is very concerned about preserving this commercial corner.” The corner with Safeway was not included. If ever redeveloped, it’s a large enough property that she feels it needs special attention. For more information, including a map of all areas currently proposed as part of the overlay, visit https://mailchi. mp/mailchimp/activecentersoverlay. Public notice signs are currently posted
The building on the Southwest corner of 44th and Tennyson is a near perfect example of the type of development that the proposed overlay would encourage: ground floor commercial properties with three floors of residential units above. considering the purchase. Scott Menefee, Senior Development Director for Holland Partner Group, explained their decision in a statement to The Denver North Star: "After a lot of internal analysis, Holland Partner Group decided to not move forward with the Tennyson project and withdraw our plans from the City. The proposed street level active use overlay from Councilwoman Sandoval's
in the neighborhood. Grunditz wanted to mention that while the number 8 appears on them, the proposal is not to increase zoning to allow eight story buildings, but because it’s the eighth overlay if approved; their office has received several questions on the matter. The proposal will go through several committees before potentially reaching a full council hearing, possibly in February or March.
The Denver North Star
H O US I N G & D E VE LO P M E N T
Co-Ownership Company Eyes North Denver By David Sabados ason Lewiston believes he’s building for the future while meeting a critical need in the present. “The fundamental issue is middle class people can no longer afford to buy homes in urban areas,” Lewiston explained. His solution? A newer idea known as co-ownership. The homes his business (Co-Own Company) are building have separate bedrooms, bathrooms, and a small kitchenette/coffee bar that’s designated for each person or couple, but then a larger shared kitchen and other rooms. Unlike most housemate arrangements, they aren’t rentals. Several people not only live together, but collectively own the home together as well. According to data released by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors in November, the average sale price of a home in Denver was $691,081, a 17.7% increase from the year before, putting home ownership out of reach for many. To qualify for a mortgage of that size, a household likely has to make around $160,000 per year. In contrast, Lewiston is selling a share of a 2,700 square foot townhouse in East Denver for $150,000. Next he’s looking at a home in Northwest Denver, possibly in the Sloan’s Lake area. Lewiston believes co-owned housing creates more economic opportunity for younger and lower-wage earners to stay in the city, build equity, and build credit. He expects some people to stay in co-owned housing for years, but others may want to move on if they want more space of their own, not unlike the traditional “starter home” model. When they do, they can sell their share and are likely better prepared to buy a full home solo than someone who spent those years renting.
Lewiston is also excited that his homes are “net-zero architecture,” meaning that environmental sustainability is built into each design. While there will be a garage and other parking space for personal vehicles residents already may own, he plans on having an electric vehicle shared for the house as well as solar and other green amenities. They are also targeting areas near light rail, bus lines, and other mass transit, believing that personal car ownership is diminishing and that trend is likely to continue. “Most people own a car and it sits 23 hours each day.” If the concept seems too good to be true, it’s because there are a few hurdles to the idea. Not everyone wants a cohousing option of course, but setting that aside there are questions about how the houses fit into Denver’s restrictive housemate regulations, and not all neighborhoods have been welcoming to the idea of the slight density increase. While some registered neighborhood organizations (RNOs) in East Denver have tried to block similar projects, Lewiston remains hopeful as they expand to Northwest Denver. “We can’t pave more farms. Can’t put more cars on highways,” Lewiston said. “We need to reuse land wisely.” Lewiston is outspoken about the support he sees for his project, even if that support isn’t always reflected in neighborhood groups and the city is still working on group living regulations that may impact uses for single family homes. “We’re not in the business of telling people who are going to be a family,” said Lewiston, who noted that many of Denver’s restrictive zoning laws are tied back to days of racial segregation and LGBTQ
IMAGE COURTESY OF CO-OWN COMPANY
Shared homes like the concept above may become more common as housing prices continue to increase. exclusion, which only benefited “Leave it to Beaver” communities. He sees support among every age demographic, but especially among those under 40 who are struggling to buy their first home in an increasingly expensive city. Lewiston also noted that housing is the only area he knows of where people who have already purchased a product are able to control supply for others, and that the city would look ridiculous if restrictions were implemented elsewhere. “Can you imagine a sign in city council chambers saying people in this row have to be related to each other?” A spokesperson for the city’s Community Planning and Development department said their staff is currently focused on helping Denverites through the pandemic in a variety of ways and enforcement of the current group living regulations are not a priority, especially where there are no visible impacts on the street or neighborhood. CPD has been working to update group living regulations, which have been a hotly debated topic across
the city. “Part of the reason that we are looking at these policies is precisely because enforcement of the household rule doesn’t necessarily address the intent of the code, which is to ensure that residential uses don’t have an undue impact on neighborhoods,” adding that there are other code regulations for too many vehicles on a property, too many animals, or other problems. CPD staff have been doing robust outreach as they look at updating regulations, including community forums and online input options and the new proposals are expected to be reviewed by city council in early February. Denverites interested in commenting on group living concepts can send feedback to planningservices@ denvergov.org by Feb. 8 or visit www.denvergov.org/citycouncil for details on how to participate in public hearings. While the group living conversations continue, Lewiston is moving forward with his plans. To see examples of the homes he’s building (single family homes he wants to make clear), visit https://co-ownco.com.
N E W S S HO RTS
Uncommon Nonresidential Plot in Chaffee Park Sold
PHOTO FROM HTTPS://KC-ARCH.COM
While there has been community interest in more small businesses in the Chaffee park neighborhood, few have been able to make the economics work yet.
By Denver North Star Staff uch to the disappointment of neighbors who hoped for a community-focused business, and to Fred Glick, the developer who was a ear partner in the project, a lot at 49th and erlay floors of Zuni in Chaffee Park is being sold. Glick shared his disappointment online with the Chaffee Park community:
ZUNI 49 UPDATE Hi all, this isn’t a note I wanted to write, but after working on this project for over four years, we’re throwing in the towel. Shifts in the restaurant industry created challenges to our original plans to create a neighborhood retail center. We regrouped and pursued a few other paths, but COVID has stacked the odds just too far against us. No one likes to lose
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money (which we have, given what we have put into the project), but more than that I’m disappointed we couldn’t achieve what we, and you in the neighborhood, had hoped. This weekend the artists to whom we’ve been providing studio space will be moving out and next week we expect to close the sale of the property. We will be providing the new owners with contacts for the RNO and once they have a chance to firm up their plans, I think you can expect to hear from them. I can’t tell you how much working with the Chaffee Park neighborhood has meant to me. You are a remarkable community, as evidenced by the ADU rezoning you recently achieved, and I know, Denver being the small town it is, that we’ll continue to cross paths.
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January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021 | Page 9
P OL I T I C S
Near Northwest Area Plan Kicks Off, Needs Your Input By David Sabados hile Denver has large, citywide plans including Blueprint Denver and the Comprehensive Plan 2040, the Community Planning and Development Department also spearheads smaller local plans with support from district city council offices and community groups. Neighborhood Planning Initiatives (NPI) allow the city to work with the community in several neighborhoods at once. The city also has small area plans that focus on large single efforts (such as the stadium district), so you might see that term used sometimes as well, but they are different. While the West Area Plan is finishing soon, the Near Northwest Area Plan (you could call it NNAP but it’s more exciting than that sounds) is just about to start. It includes the Chaffee Park, Sunnyside, Highland, and Jefferson Park neighborhoods; residents in those
W It's not just news. It's your neighborhood.
their vision for the next 20 years." James Berezniak, Co-Chair of Planning and Community Development for Sunnyside United Neighbors, said his group is working to ensure representation from people across the neighborhood, wanting to make sure areas like Quigg Newton public housing are represented alongside the wealthier areas. “We want the process to be a collaboration with residents and businesses,” said Berezniak. He’s asking for residents interested in being involved to reach out. With the recent growth on the eastern side of the neighborhood near the new 41st and Fox St station, including high density growth, he wants to make sure transportation is a priority topic along with commercial zoning, noting the lack of a full grocery store nearby. Jason Hornyak, head of the Chaffee Park RNO said he’s excited to be able to implement larger plans on a
PHOTO FROM WWW.CHAFFEEPARK.ORG
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neighborhoods are invited to help shape the future of the communities. These community-focused efforts are a chance to incorporate zoning, transportation, residential, and business efforts together to create tangible plans for small sections of the community. Now is also one of the best times for residents to engage because your input will have long lasting effects on your community. We asked Councilwoman Sandoval and neighborhood organizations what they wanted to see out of the process and what some of their priorities were. "The neighborhood planning initiative is an incredible opportunity to have a direct role in shaping the future of your community,” said Councilwoman Sandoval. “We hope that this experience leaves everyone feeling empowered and connected to their City and neighbors more than ever before. We are so excited to support the community as they create
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Page 10 | January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021
smaller scale. A supporter of plans like Blueprint, he noted that they need to be brought to a smaller scale -- it’s not enough to say the city needs a large scale rapid transit plan -- these small plans can be used to create rapid transit on a specific street. He’s concerned, however, that without enough focus, the city could backtrack on existing plans: "It feels like only yesterday that we spent several years working on the Denveright plan, and now we are on the verge of spending several more years relitigating it,” said Hornyak. “Since this is the process that has been decided, my hope is that everybody keeps in mind that what we do locally affects the city as a whole. What we allow, or more importantly DO NOT allow in our neighborhoods has an impact outside of our boundaries. Each of our neighborhoods is a patch in a greater quilt, and we need to make sure that these patches comple-
WANT TO GET INVOLVED? For direct links, visit us online at www.DenverNorthStar.com
Near Northwest Area Plan Page (with email signup): DenverGov.org/nearnorthwestplan Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval: denvergov.org/district1 Chaffee Park: https://www.chaffeepark.org Sunnyside: https://sunnysidedenver.org or Sunipcd@gmail.com Highland: https://www.denverhighland.org Jefferson Park: https://jpun.org ment each other cohesively. This plan isn't only about our 4 neighborhoods, but how the NNW fits into the city as a whole." Tom Strobel, board member with Highland United Neighbors, echoed his counterparts' desire for more community input. “If the process begins unbeknownst to people who really care about the community and the process results in decisions getting made without all interested parties being involved, then the process gets compromised from the beginning and the legitimacy of the effort starts to erode.” Strobel said they are also focused on diversifying representation by also including renters who are often not part of these conversations, people of all economic backgrounds, and those who are at risk of being pushed out from further gentrification. While more details on the Near Northwest Area Plan’s steering committee and other partners are coming soon, community members are encouraged to sign up for updates on the city website and reach out to their council office, RNO, or other community organization now to get involved. If the message hasn’t been clear enough, if you’re a resident of these communities this is your chance to weigh in on the future of these four neighborhoods before others make the decisions for you. The Denver North Star will also be providing updates on the West Area Plan (including the West Colfax corridor) in our next issue and will be following the city’s planning efforts in other North Denver communities as they begin as well.
NEWS SHO RTS
Council Approves New 325 Unit Apartment Building With 49 Income-Restricted Units By Denver North Star Staff t a heated meeting, the Denver City council approved a rezoning to allow a proposed 16 story, 325 unit building on the west side of 5 points between the River North Art District and Coors Field, located at 3225 Denargo St. The proposed building is expected to have ground floor retail and 49 units (15% of the total units) for rent below market value as income restricted-properties. The developer was obligated to include at least 5 incomerestricted units. North and West Denver Councilpersons CdeBaca (who represents the area), Sandoval (whose district begins close to the site), and Torres voted against the rezoning, but were outvoted by the majority of council. Activists from the
GES (Globeville Elyria Swansea) Coalition spoke out against the zoning change due to concerns of gentrification and increased density, while other housing advocates from organizations such as YIMBY (Yes in My BackYard) supported the effort, citing the need for more housing in the area and the developer’s commitment to affordable housing. This is the first project in the area to include below market rate units. It was also supported by the Elyria-Swansea-Globeville Business Association. Council members in support of the rezoning noted that the majority of the opposition speakers appeared to come from outside the immediate area. The area currently has several other apartment buildings totaling nearly 1000 units.
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P OL I T I C S
Columbus Park Officially Renamed La Raza Park
By David Sabados ith a unanimous vote from the Denver City Council, a decades long fight has ended: the park on 38th Ave between Osage and Navajo streets will officially be known as La Raza Park. Councilwoman Sandoval’s effort to rename the park marked at least the third official, and the least controversial, attempt. While past efforts were met with strong opposition from the Italian community, vocal public opinion has changed in recent years. Following the death of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, monuments associated with slave owners, the Southern Confederacy, Christopher Columbus, and similar figures have been renamed, taken down by government officials, or torn down by protestors across the country. Locally, this renewed the debate about the park, which has been known informally as La Raza park for decades. Other North Denver discussions, including potentially removing the “Vikings” as North High School’s mascot were met with more opposition and those conversations have since subsided, though last October South High School changed their mascot from the Rebels to the Ravens. A city commission created by Mayor Hancock received suggestions including changing the name of the Oriental Theater in Northwest Denver as that term is considered offensive to many in the Asian-American community, but city officials noted that changing the names of private venues was outside the city’s authority. Governor Polis also created a commission to look at renaming state parks and monuments. Few of those changes and potential changes had the long history of the fight to create La Raza Park though. For over forty years, the Latino community and former councilmembers in North Denver pushed to change the name. Part of the previous pushback had been a prevalent story that the Italian community raised money to name the park in the early 1900s. While researching the history of the park for an article in the July 2020 issue of The Denver North Star, no evi-
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Once North Side Playground Park, then Columbus Park, "Plaza de la Raza" was added in the late 80s. Now the entire park will be known as La Raza. dence could be found of such a donation. Councilwoman Sandoval, in her remarks during the hearing, indicated that she also now believes the contribution didn’t occur, removing a hurdle for renaming. As a note of the changing times, Denver Parks and Recreation Director Happy Haynes said the department received 45 emails in support of the change and 16 opposed. At a public hearing in late December, speakers were (virtually) lined up in support, including North Denver legislators Sen. Julie Gonzales and Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, University of Colorado Denver history professor Cameron Blevins, and others. Blevins addressed the concept that renamings erase history, encouraging council and the community to be looking forward instead of back. “What kind of community do we want to be today?” Blevins asked rhetorically. “What kind of values do we want to celebrate today?” Only one person spoke in opposition and focused less on Columbus specifically and more on the role the Italian community had in North Denver historically. Richard SaBell said he lived down the road “most of my life” and called the name change “an extreme affront to the Italian community” saying the Latino community has over 2 dozen landmarks
in the area, including the pavilion in the park, and the park name was one of only two left honoring the Italian community. SaBell said Sandoval’s effort to rename the park would “Diminish and erase” Italians’ history, asking. “Please help us protect our heritage.” After the speeches, there was little discussion from council except praise for Sandoval’s effort and a discussion of the meaning of “La Raza,” with councilmembers making clear they acknowledge the translation meaning “The people” and not the more controversial meaning of “The Race.” Councilman Paul Kashmann, who represents the Wash Park area in East Denver, supported the name change and said he would like to see the city find a different way to honor the Italian community. A spokesperson for the Denver Parks Department said that a new sign has been ordered for the park and Councilwoman Sandoval said she hopes to hold a public dedication and blessing for the park in the spring or summer. “This renaming honors the legacy of so many who have fought for public space that welcomes them and reflects their needs,” said Sandoval in a statement after the vote. “I am honored to have carried this petition forward on their behalf.”
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S T UD E N T VO I C E S
OVID has made so many dramatic changes to so many different aspects of our lives, but something that affected me MORGAN JACOBUS more than I thought it would was the effect COVID had on the holidays. For me and my family, we normally have a simple holiday, just the three of us. We never threw any parties, or hosted any get-togethers, we just spent time together; me, my mama, and my dad. Since we usually have a rather isolated holiday already, I didn’t think I would feel that affected come time for the holidays. However, there were subtle things that I missed that made a big difference. Something I loved being a part of last year was Regis’ annual tree lighting ceremony. The air was filled with joy and merriment, a true community event. Not only were Regis students and faculty invited to see the ceremony, but families from surrounding neighborhoods were able to be a part of it as well. There was a cute train that took kids on rides around the quad (I was jealous I couldn’t fit, because it looked
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Holidays in the Time of COVID like a blast). Inside the student center children were decorating gingerbread men and writing letters to Santa, and outside around the tree was hot cocoa, and even a Santa Claus. Honestly, it was one of my favorite memories from my freshman year. However, this year that was impossible, not only because of restrictions on gatherings, but also because of our longer than normal winter break. The main hall building had red and green floodlights like last year, but there wasn’t the glow of the lights on the trees on the quad. There wasn’t the ceremony, there wasn’t any kind of celebration on campus that put me in the holiday spirit. After all, we went home before Thanksgiving, so it would’ve been a waste if Regis had done anything festive, but that was something I truly missed. Even before I was in college, when I was in high school, there was a feeling of Christmas approaching, usually a fun day in class, perhaps meeting with friends to do a gift exchange… something. However, this year that was not present. My friends and I agreed to do our cookie exchange in lieu of bought gifts once again, but because of the long break we will do it toward the end of January when we come
back. I’m sure it will still be fun, but it won’t be the same. While some people opted to decorate early to bring joy, our house was a little late to the party. Holiday decorating is an undertaking, and not something you can, or should, rush through, so it took a while for my mama and I to find a good time to decorate. Even though the virus didn’t directly affect Christmas Day with my family, I could tell there was a definite shift from the year before. We wanted to go to the Christmas Eve service at church, but because of capacity and distancing, the tickets sold out quickly, so we watched from home. Even the overall mood was different because of all the stress and frustrations from how COVID has affected our lives. There wasn’t the same mood or feeling, even on such a usually joyful day. Though my holiday wasn’t what I expected it to be, I did find joy. For instance, something that really uplifted me was driving around with my mama, wearing my Christmas jammies (a festive onesie), and drinking hot chocolate while we looked at lights. It was a cool and dark night, the night of Christmas Eve, we had
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made some hot chocolate, we listened to our favorite Christmas music, laughed, and enjoyed the time together. That is something I will cherish for years to come. I hope that even with everything else feeling different, the presence of family still brought nostalgic reminders of times before COVID for you and your families. Though there are more challenges, more things to bring us frustration, and changes that try to dampen our spirits, it is more important now than ever to find the joy. I hope and pray you all find joy, even though the holiday season is ending. Morgan Jacobus is the Editor-in-Chief of the Regis Highlander
January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021 | Page 11
All the flavors to entice kids. All theAllnicotine to keep themkids. hooked. the flavors to entice the flavors to entice E-cigarette makers All and vape shops are enticing kids withkids. flavors like cotton candy, All the nicotine to keep them hooked. gummy bear and bubble gum. And nationally, over 3.5 million kids are using these flavored e-cigarettes. All the nicotine to keep them hooked. Vape shops and tobacco companies say their products aren’t ending up in kids’ Allnotthe flavors tostillentice kids.and many of them hands, but that’s just true. Many retailers sell to minors, in Denver even illegally sold products during the COVID-19 shutdown violating Allorders. the nicotine to keep them hooked. emergency Let’s stop pretending vape shops and the industry care about public health or the All the flavors to entice kids. health of our children. It’s time to stop the sale of flavored tobacco products to protect our kids. All the nicotine to keep them hooked.
Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Amanda Sandoval to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Amanda Sandoval to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Amanda Sandoval to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Paid for by Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Paid for byof Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fundincluding e-cigarettes. Amanda Sandoval to end the sale all flavored tobacco products, Paid for by Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund Take action now by visiting FlavorsHookKidsDenver.org to tell City Council Member Page 12 | January 15, 2021-Febrary 2021 the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The Denver North Star Amanda Sandoval to14,end Paid for by Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund
A RTS & CU LTU R E CHECKING OUT
BookBar Releases Debut Title Under New Independent Publishing Arm BookBar Press
ookBar is known for doing a wide variety of things and doing them well. As an independent bookstore with a small but well cuHANNAH EVANS rated selection, a wine bar and coffee shop with tasty options, and as the organizer behind BookGive, a nonprofit that distributes free books to underserved locations, this unique local business has a huge presence in the Northwest Denver community and throughout the city. BookBar’s newest venture, independent publishing company BookBar Press, continues their community-driven and locally focused mission in what is perhaps their most creative way yet – by releasing titles written by Denver-based writers as an alternative to traditional publishers. “Our goal is to publish books that are community-centric and will lift up voices that might be overlooked by traditional publishers,” explains Heather Garbo, BookBar Press’s Publishing Director. The imprint’s debut release, “Bite Size: An Anthology of Micro Theater,” features ten plays under fifteen minutes long by local writers – five of which were performed in collaboration with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts for a three week run of experiential theater at BookBar in 2018. Picked from over 200 submissions, the featured plays offer a wide array of settings, themes, and topics – from the post-apocalyptic prison of “Pocket Full of Dandelions,” the veterinary office waiting room of “Toxoplasmosis,” to the Denver Public Library’s Central location in “The Missing Piece,” to name a few. While the last year seems like a difficult time to start an independent publishing company, BookBar Press rose to the occasion. “Like everything else that happened this past year, launching a new publishing company right now was a little bit of a challenge,” Heather describes. “But in some ways, I think the last year actually helped solidify our mission.” With the
Hannah Evans is the senior librarian at the Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold
By Hannah Evans tories about time travel frequently pose the question: if you could go back in time and change something, would you? Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s novel, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” (Hanover Square Press, 2020), looks at time travel differently, however: If you could go back in time and weren’t able to change anything at all, would your answer be different? Adapted in 2015 from Kawaguchi’s play and recently translated into English, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” tells of a small café in Tokyo where patrons can visit the past, however – many rules apply. One must sit and remain in a certain seat in the café when time travelling. The duration of time travel is limited only to the amount of time it takes for a freshly poured cup of coffee to cool. No matter what is said or done, nothing will alter the outcome of the future. Yet, four visitors at Funiculi Funicula, the one-room café that has changed little in over 100 years, choose to visit another time even with these
disconnection experienced by all due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the nationwide protests and unrest that gained attention throughout the summer, the release of “Bite Size” felt as important now as ever. Heather continues, “Recent events have also reinforced how important it is to listen to the marginalized voices in our community if we want to build a better future. As an indie publisher, I think we feel a responsibility to help make visible those who have often been marginalized in our society. “Bite Size” not only touches on important topics like social justice, prisoner rights, treatment of immigrants, and transgender experiences, but it also very much emerged from Colorado voices shaped by Colorado stories, so it really felt like the right debut title for us.” Currently available for purchase through BookBar, “Bite Size” is just the beginning of BookBar Press’ publishing journey. Their next title, “Find Praise for January” by local poet Shirley Van Cleef Sullivan, is scheduled to come out by the end of the month, and the imprint plans to release a few books each year. BookBar Press also plans to roll out author services to writers looking for more control over their publishing path. Due to current restrictions, “Bite Size” celebrated its release with a virtual event in December, but fear not if you missed out. Pre-pandemic, BookBar was alive with regular author events, and though an upside to the virtual event was that it allowed participants to attend from all over the country, Heather reassures, “that doesn’t mean we won’t plan to have a celebration at BookBar when it’s safe to do so again!” Find out more about BookBar Press and its debut release, “Bite Size: An Anthology of Micro Theater,” at bookbardenver.com.
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restrictions in mind. Packed with four stories that take place almost entirely in one small space, it is easy to see how Kawaguchi’s novel originated as a play. The descriptions are generally to the point, brief, and somewhat sparse, yet the world of the café and the people within it feel rich and imaginative. Even with little backstory and intimate knowledge about the people within Funiculi Funicula, the brief glimpses given into their time at the café are more than enough to get to know and love them. Kawaguchi’s novel is both intriguing and touching – while driven by action and dialogue, the scenery and characters manage to shine. Check out “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” at your closest Denver Public Library location or as an ebook or eaudiobook through denverlibrary.com. Hannah Evans is the senior librarian at the Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library.
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January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021 | Page 13
O P I N I ON
An Update From Your RTD Director
f you want to know what a new reality looks like, behold an empty bus. As the COVID-19 pandemANGIE RIVERA-MALPIEDE ic unfolded over the past nine months, I observed a new landscape from my seat on Route 32: fewer people on the streets outside, my bus driver separated from his passengers by a polycarbonate shield, and typically no other passengers besides me. Those empty seats reinforced the fear our community has been living with in this age, with stay-at-home orders and new ways of working for some leading to new and different travel patterns taking shape across our region. This was the daunting reality I inherited in early 2020, not long after I began my term as Chair of the RTD Board of Directors. The information that I, my Board peers and the agency’s senior leadership team received from government agencies and health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed by the week, sometimes by the day. Our conversations focused on how we, as a transit agency, could ensure the security, safety and comfort of our passengers in light of the constant chaos that surrounded us. From my perspective, it felt like everything got thrown in one big pot and was boiling over constantly – and I was supposed to make soup. The last year was one of growth and reality checks. It was surreal and painful, filled with gratitude and concern, happiness and sadness, fear and hope. And yet it also marks a new slate, with
RTD hiring a new general manager and CEO – the first woman in this role in the agency’s history, and a woman of color – and considering new ways to conduct business and interact with the public we serve. The new year presents an opportunity to move to a new RTD. We are living in a new world. We all need to give ourselves permission to collaborate, innovate and consider nontraditional ways to work together that benefit our whole community. I believe COVID-19 has changed the way that people view transit. Pre-pandemic, public transportation was taken for granted – you might complain about the service, but you expected it to be there and knew you could take it wherever you wanted to go. This period has made us consciously reevaluate and reconfigure the service we provide, in response to where it is most needed. I think people now realize how important transit is in the community, and that it serves as an economic backbone for people throughout RTD’s massive service district. As my Board colleagues and I move forward into the new year, I want the public to know that RTD has been taking a close look at what has worked and not worked in the community. We continue to reflect on the services we provide and what we need to provide. We are thinking about the best ways to communicate with our diverse base of customers. We want you to know that we are listening to you, and we want you to tell us what’s working and not working, since you are on our buses and trains. To those of you who have ridden RTD
PHOTO FROM WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/RIDERTD
services over the last year, we see and appreciate you. Those who have not yet returned, we look forward to welcoming you back on board when you are ready. Every decision we make is guided with your safety and well-being in mind, with stepped-up cleaning protocols and social distancing limits in place on our vehicles. RTD has been forthcoming about our approaches to the current reality, and I will continue to work diligently with my fellow elected officials from northwest Denver, as I have all year, to keep everyone apprised. Not all about the last year was dark. Beyond the resourceful ways RTD responded to the pandemic, we also opened a long-awaited commuter rail corridor, the N Line. I am excited about the connectivity this new line provides among Denver, Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton and encourage you to try it. The last year instilled me with a
sense of purpose to lead RTD and the broader community. One of my most fundamental realizations from 2020 was the need to care for my soul. I heard someone aptly observe that with no mud, there is no lotus plant. Adversity can bring growth and wisdom beyond the hurt, and we receive warmth, space and light by pushing through the suffering. A beautiful flower will eventually emerge from darkness, and we will be there to see it. Everyone is moving forward now in ways we could not have seen mere months ago. Openness, inclusivity and innovation are inherent in the transition that is taking place right now. As an RTD director and as the group’s chair, it is my honor to represent you and work alongside you to meet your needs. Our transit is for you. Angie Rivera-Malpiede is the District C Director, and Chair of the Board of Directors, for RTD.
Why the DCTA Supports Group Living It pays to shop for
By Tiffany Choi and Anna DeWitt arlier this year the Denver Classroom Teachers Association voted to support the group living proposal currently before city council. 90 members, representing nearly 4,000 teachers, voted unanimously to support the update to the existing policy. As teachers we feel it is our duty to provide the optimal learning environment for ourselves, our students, and their families. The housing crisis has negatively impacted many students, particularly those in underserved communities such as the LGBTQ community, minority communities, and those in low to middle income families. Students in parts of the city are facing an alarming rate of housing insecurity with many students and their families becoming homeless, living in automobiles, or shared living spaces. The existing group living laws unfairly discriminate against those with larger or non traditional family structures. The new proposal seeks to end these outdated practices by allowing more people to live together regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or familial status. Group living will solve many of the issues facing our students due to the housing crisis by allowing families to share expenses, share
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parenting responsibilities, and give more security to our students. Many teachers are facing these same issues. Rising rent prices and lack of housing options is forcing many teachers to find roommates or seek alternate living arrangements. How can we be expected to care for and guide Denver's youth when we ourselves are insecure about the place we live? All Denverites deserve an affordable place to live. We teachers have made our choice. We choose to end the old, outdated, and racist policies of the past in order to build a more fair and equitable Denver for ourselves and our students. It is up to us to show future generations that Denver is a safe and inclusive place where citizens can live, work, and learn. The DCTA is committed to providing the best possible learning environment for our students. By supporting the group living proposal we hope to end housing insecurity for students and teachers and provide a better learning environment for all. We urge citizens to support Denver's teachers by supporting group living. Written by Tiffany Choi, President of DCTA, and Anna DeWitt, chair of DCTA’s Fair Housing Committee and teacher at North High School.
Letter to the Editor
RE: Tennyson St Tennyson Street between 38th and 46th once reminded us of Main Street in a small town in the big city. As so often happens, the unholy alliance between the developers and city government has destroyed the area's character. "Gentrification" appears in the article, which always means that working class people can no longer afford to live there.
They call it progress but it has a way of biting back. Next, we'll see the rest of the single family homes go, along with Local 46. Soon we'll see nothing but soulless lumber piles resembling apartment buildings and closed restaurants as a result of the lockdowns. I have no solutions, it's too late for this area. Respectfully, Pat Desrosiers (just west of Regis)
Letters to the Editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Denver North Star or its staff.
Page 14 | January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021
The Denver North Star
C O M M UN I T Y
Thank You For Your Feedback -- Looking Forward to 2021
appy New Year. Last month we sent out a community f e e d b a c k s u r v e y. Thank you to everyone who took the time to DAVID SABADOS fill it out; the responses have been incredibly helpful. We’re going to leave it up online, so if you haven't sent feedback please take a few minutes to do so. We want to write on the topics that the community wants to read and the survey is one way that helps us know which topics to cover. Based on the responses and other feedback we’ve received in the past year, I wanted to share a few thoughts about improvements we’re planning: • Coverage on elected officials. You’ll start seeing more updates directly from your elected officials, such as Councilwoman Sandoval last month and RTD Director Angie Malpiede in this issue. We’ll also start including more specific information about how your local elected officials are voting on more pieces of legislation. • More small business profiles. While we have been trying to highlight one or two small businesses (or nonprofits) each issue, numerous people wrote in asking for more. We hope to include more, smaller write ups or write ups that cover a commercial corridor in order to include information on more small businesses (both new and old) in North Denver. • More on zoning changes, development, etc. at the proposal level before they happen. This month we have the Near Northwest Neighborhood Plan that’s just beginning and coverage on
a proposed design overlay. We’ll keep doing more. This month both were fairly North, next month we’re looking towards Sloan’s Lake and Colfax. • Crime coverage. While we’ve done prevention tips and such, this is an area we haven’t done as much in the past; we received several suggestions on more crime coverage and we are planning on including more in the future. • Expanding education coverage. While the holidays and winter break made additional coverage about North Denver schools hard for this issue, we hope to bring you more information about more schools in future issues. • On the lighter side, we had requests to expand our “people making a difference” series highlighting North Denver residents giving back to the community and for more community profiles in general. We also had requests for more historical pieces. Certainly that wasn’t everything, but those were some of the most common suggestions. For everyone who sent specific story ideas or suggestions you don’t see above, please know I am reading every comment that comes in (positive and negative). We hope to incorporate as many of your suggestions as we can. While we want to do more of everything too, we’re mostly limited by the pages of each issue which is dependent on advertising, so as we gain new advertisers we hope to expand to 20 and then maybe 24 pages each month. Our team really appreciates the kind words and the constructive criticism that helps us improve. As we grow our team, we are working to ensure diversity that reflects North Denver: age, gender, ethnicity, and background.
2020 COMMUNITY FEEDBACK SURVEY
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A FEW OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: • We’ve had a few questions about expanding geographically. Our current door to door delivery is West of I-25, North of Colfax to the Denver borders with some newspaper racks in surrounding areas. While we’re flattered being asked to deliver to more communities, we’re already the biggest monthly community paper based in Denver; if we grow too large we lose our hyperlocal focus and costs become too high. We are, however, supporting similar efforts in neighboring communities looking at their own publications. • While we had no plans to change to an all digital format, we did receive love for print and numerous asks not to get rid of the print paper. 77% of respondents said they read the print edition almost exclusively with another 14% splitting between print and digital. Rest assured we’re staying a print publication and, while we hope to improve our website, our main focus is, and will be, print. • Community events. Prior to last spring, we printed a community calen-
dar in each issue. When the pandemic started and events were canceled or had to change on the fly, we kept our online calendar which let us add and make changes more quickly. You said you want the print version back and so do we. As the pandemic subsides and there are more events with more lead time, we plan on printing a more robust community calendar again. In the meantime, we hope you check out the online calendar. • 91% of respondents rated The Denver North Star’s quality as above average. 93% said they find our news coverage to be impartial and fair. Thank you for your trust in us. While those scores are A’s, we want to be an A+ and will continue to strive to do better. Thank you also to everyone who signed up to become a member or otherwise donated during our December fundraising drive. With your support, we met our goal and are receiving a $5000 grant that will help make up lost ad revenue from last year. Here’s to a better 2021 than 2020 for all of us. Thank you for reading. ~ David
A RTS & CU LTU R E
Denver Public Library’s Winter of Reading is Here!
By Hannah Evans t’s the wonderful time of year again for Denver Public Library’s annual Winter of Reading challenge! Each year, DPL encourages adults (ages 17+) in our community to explore new reading experiences and find inspiration to discover more about the library while connecting with other readers around Denver. Oh, and did we mention there are prizes? Earn your limited edition Winter of Reading notebook, mug, or neck gaiter when you complete at least five required activities now through February 28! Sign up for this year’s Winter of Reading challenge at denverlibrary.org/ winterofreading.
PHOTO BY HANNAH EVANS
Limited edition Winter of Reading mug, notebook, and neck gaiter
N E W S S HO RTS
League of Women Voters Hosting Event on Housing
By The League of Women Voters of Denver enver’s housing challenges have s a way of increased appreciably in recent rest of theyears—escalating costs of homes and with Localrents, limited affordable housing, and t soullessjob insecurity leading to homelessness. partment On Tuesday, January 19 at 5:30 p.m., rants asthe League of Women Voters of Denver have nowill host a virtual briefing on the city’s ea. current response to these challenges. Jennifer Biess will present on the Denver s) Department of Housing Stability (HOST) 2021 Action Plan, how the Homelessness
The Denver North Star
Resolution Fund, newly established by ballot measure 2B, will advance the city’s 2021 goals to create a healthy, housed, and connected Denver, and what citizens can do to help. HOST’s goal is to create a Denver where residents: have a choice to move or remain in their homes and neighborhoods; experience homelessness only rarely and temporarily; and have equitable access to housing options that meet their needs. Guests are welcome to join. The link to the event can be obtained at www.lwvdenver.org.
January 15, 2021-Febrary 14, 2021 | Page 15
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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.