The Denver North Star November 15 - December 14 2021 Online Edition

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Your Guide to Community, Politics, Ar ts and Culture in Nor th Denver DenverNorthStar.com

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Volume 3, Issue 2

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November 15, 2021-December 14, 2021

Studies, Bees, Pumps, and Sediment Removal: City Looks at The Future of Sloan’s Lake

DINING PHOTO BY DAVID SABADOS

Sloan's Lake has had fish die off in record numbers, toxic algae blooms, and an array of other problems. Now the city is looking at what can be done proactively. By David Sabados

N COMMUNITY Street Seen: Halloween Photos! PAGE 10

TRANSPORTATION I-25, Transportation Updates PAGE 12-13

KIDS & EDUCATION Parenting Advice PAGE 16

ELECTED OFFICIAL UPDATE Amanda Sandoval PAGE 18

‘Competition’s at its highest’ for education workers in Denver Public Schools

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Street Performers PAGE 5

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Future of Outdoor Dining

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orth Denver’s largest lake has been through a them make decisions down the road. lot lately. Last year, thousands of fish washed Part of their decisions may depend on Denver’s ashore in the largest fish die-off on record. neighbors too, as water in Jefferson County drains This year, a deadly algae bloom closed the lake for into the lake. “Sloan’s Lake is the bottom of the baseveral weeks until conditions improved. Now the sin,” Eades explained. “Denver Parks is evaluating city is looking at a number of options to keep the lake partnerships to collectively manage Sloan’s Lake as a healthy (and open). Cinceré Eades, the Parks Resil- regional asset.” ience Principal Planner for Parks and Recreation, As part of the evaluation process, they’re mapping talked with The Denver North Star about what the the bottom of the lake and getting estimates on difcity is doing now and what they’re considering for ferent options. One of those that’s widely discussed the future. is dredging: a process of removing sediment. SomeOne of the biggest problems, according to Eades, is times lakes are drained first but not always. Dredging that sections of the lake have an estimated 10 feet of estimates vary and Parks hopes to have more details next year, but the sum of $50 sediment, leaving the average million has come up in several depth only three feet. Shallow The entire Parks section of conversations. Eades said that waters heat up more quickly, which is a contributing facthe Parks and Rec budget is decision is a “political convertor to unhealthy types of algae sation above my pay grade.” To only $42.7 million in 2021, growth. When shallow waters put that number in perspective, the 2D bond voters just aren’t circulating enough, the so dredging would almost approved was for $52.7 million problem becomes worse. While certainly have to come and is slated to fund eight difthey are analyzing long term solutions, the department has from some specific funding ferent parks projects (including renovating the Sloan’s Lake installed Solar Bees on the source (such as a city bond boathouse, which has an estilake, small solar powered devices that draw in and pump mated price tag of $7 million). or regional investment). water, distributing cooler temThe entire Parks section of the peratures. They can’t solve the Parks and Rec budget is only problem alone Eades says, but they can help with hot $42.7 million in 2021, so dredging would almost spots. It’s part of what she calls a “holistic approach to certainly have to come from some specific funding managing the lake.” source (such as a city bond or regional investment). The pump systems, like the bees, focus on the top Eades said Parks is also working with the new few feet of water only and don’t disturb the sediment. Sloan’s Lake Park Foundation and community groups. That’s important, she explained, because too much For more on the foundation, check out the August 2021 disruption of the sediment can also aggravate the is- issue of The Denver North Star, available online. sues. That answer likely comes as a disappointment Asked about the urban legend that there’s a large to power boaters, whose boats move the water, but boat that sank in the early 1900s at the bottom of the sit deeper, which churns up more sediment. Pow- lake, Eades said their mapping hasn’t shown anyered boats are still banned from the lake, though hu- thing of the sort, though of course draining and/or man-propelled small crafts like kayaks are allowed. dredging could reveal any number of things about the Parks has added two more monitoring sites to the lake’s past. It could be the largest lost and found in the lake to help spot problems earlier and recently dou- city’s history. bled the lake management staff. They are evaluating Sloan’s Lake is one of the most frequently asked how much more sediment is entering the lake and about topics in North Denver and we’ll bring you more how much has been there for decades, which will help updates as there are further developments.

ysa Stewart is on the hunt for employees. The supervisor of Colfax Elementary’s before and after care program said finding people to hire is taking a lot longer than usual. “I’ve seen waves,” Stewart said. “Obviously in 28 years of doing this, I've seen waves. But I haven't seen one like this. This is — this is new.” Denver Public Schools is experiencing a shortage of education workers that some in the industry feel could exacerbate burnout. For certain positions, such as bus drivers, custodians and substitute teachers, the shortage existed before the pandemic, DPS Director of Talent Acquisition Lacey Nelson said. “With the pandemic and people going back to work, competition’s at its highest,” Nelson told The Denver North Star. “So candidates have so many places to choose from that those positions that are already difficult to fill are even more difficult these days.”

In February, the Colorado Education Association announced that according to a survey of its members, 40% of Colorado’s educators were considering leaving the profession in the near future. DPS is not alone. At its job fair on October 23, Denver International Airport expected 5,000 candidates but only drew about 100. A week earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported 4.3 million workers were still missing from the workforce. Although the numbers change week to week, at the end of October Nelson estimated the district had openings for approximately 100 teachers, 180 paraprofessionals, 75 food service workers, 50 to 60 custodians — and the list went on. Stewart has two employment openings at her before and after care program. To maintain the required adult-student ratio of 1 to 15 children, she needs a total of five staff members to work with the students currently enrolled — more if they want to serve students on the program's waitlist. But it’s been difficult to find workers, said Stewart, who lost four staff members right before the school year started. Positions in the program are part-time, and two of her former employees found full-time time work elsewhere, she said. Two others cited the vaccine mandate as part of the reason why they weren’t returning. Starting the year short-handed meant Stewart has not been able to give her new employees the in-depth training and sup-

See EDUCATION, Page 19


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Keep it in the Ho-Ho-Ho-Hood! By Basha Cohen

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carecrows and pumpkins be gone. Christmas is under construction. While many beg to hold back on the jingle bell soundtracks before the turkey hits their plate, merchants can’t stop themselves. The Starbucks signage and Christmas-bedecked cappuccino cups appeared on November 6. Early Santa, elf, gnome, tree ornament and cozy, winter white sweater sightings are beginning to deck the halls in local stores like Ruby Jane and The Perfect Petal. The Christmas tree lot at Little Man opens on November 20 with the fresh scent of fir in the air. Let’s face it, Santa Claus is coming to town. After a day of gorging on turkey and football, you know what you have to do. The post-Thanksgiving shopping spree is about to begin! Black Friday followed by Small Business Saturday is the official kickoff to the holiday season. The first night of Chanukah starts on Sunday, November 28, and if you were raised in the Jewish faith you know that the holidays are either “early or late this year.” It’s really early this year. For couch potatoes, Cyber Monday is a preferred shopping method, but ominous warnings of supply chain shortages in toys and popular electronics have been peppering the news. Buy early to avoid broken-hearted kids is the message. Our suggestion, SHOP LOCAL.

ber 27 through December 4. As a special thank you for supporting small businesses this year participating merchants will be offering holiday discounts with the passport. Get 5 stamps or more and turn it in at Jolly Goods by December 4 to be entered in for a chance to win a gift basket full of goodies from all participating businesses. HIGHLANDS SHOP SMALL SATURDAY SIP & SHOP The Highlands merchants on 32nd Avenue are hosting a Shop Small Saturday Sip & Shop on November 27, as well. Come to the Highlands for a full day of festive holiday fun. Grab a coffee or a cocktail-to-go (one of COVID’s silver linings) and surf the street for hidden gems, great food, and unforgettable gifts. It is the perfect way to keep your dollars local. Keep the spirit going the following weekend, too, at the Perfect Petal. On December 3, 4, and 5 they will hold their annual shopping parties with music, cocktails, food, raffles, and perfect gifts. If you sign up for their email list in advance, special discounts await you. COBBLER’S CORNER CELEBRATES SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY At Cobbler’s Corner on 44th and Alcott, Intrigue Boutique is turning six on Novem-

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AD SALES MANAGER: Jill Carstens BUSINESS MANAGER: Nathalie Jautz-Bickel DISTRIBUTION: The paper is printed and distributed on the 15th of each month with doorto-door delivery to 33,000 homes and businesses in North Denver.

Early Santa, elf, gnome, and cozy, winter white sweater sightings are beginning to deck the halls in local stores like Ruby Jane on 32nd Avenue TENNYSON/BERKELEY SMALL BUSINESS HOLIDAY PASSPORT CRAWL Businesses throughout North Denver are planning events to make shopping fun. The 8th Annual Tennyson/Berkeley Small Business Holiday Passport Crawl begins Novem-

NEWS INQUIRIES: For news inquiries, email News@DenverNorthStar.com ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: For advertising inquiries, email Ads@DenverNorthStar.com.

ber 20. Get a jump start on shopping with a 20% discount and a local artist pop-up that the owner, Amanda Larimer, will host. She has more secrets in store for you on Small Business Saturday. Next door, Jenna Rice of Honeycomb & Co will provide incentives for her glorious flowers and gifts that provide a one-stop-shop for unique presents for the holidays. Feeling foodie? So Damn Gouda is just that! Order a holiday tray of delectable meats, cheeses, and veggies, or put together your own gift basket for a tasty treat.

GET INVOLVED! You can become a supporting member, sign up to receive email updates and submit events for our community calendar at DenverNorthStar.com. LET’S BE SOCIAL @ D e n v e r N o r t h St ar

Join Santa for photos at Nostalgic Homes on December 4 from 1-4PM and bring some gifts for the Tennyson Center Children and Families “Sweets for the Sweets” Toy Drop. Tennyson Center for Children. Bring a new, unwrapped present or donate $10 for the kids and get some snappy snaps of your kiddos with the big guy. Sign up for a slot at local46bar.com. On Saturday, December 4 from 1-4 PM the giving continues for Tennyson Center Children and Families at Nostalgic Home’s event, Sweets for the Sweets Toy Drop. Photos with a vaccinated Santa at Nostalgic Homes will make the day even sweeter! LITTLE MAN ICE CREAM SANTA FACTORY LAUNCHES The Little Man Ice Cream Factory at 4411 W. Colfax is pulling out all the Santa stops this season. Opening on November 26, Santa’s Factory will include events like Bingo with Mrs. Claus, Saturdays with Santa, Crafting with the Elves, Gingerbread House Parties, Santa Baby Drag Queen Bingo, and live holiday music. They are also collaborating with local food purveyors for amazing stocking stuffer goodies and gifts. When you buy $20 of gift cards or swag, Little Man will give you a free scoop and a Buy-One-Get-One in January, too.

720-248-7327 P.O. Box 11584, Denver CO 80211 DenverNorthStar.com

ART DIRECTOR/ GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Melissa Levad-Feeney

PHOTOS BY BASHA COHEN

Perfect Gifts at the Perfect Petal, and an exuberant assortment of Christmas ornaments herald in the season in the Highlands

Page 2 November 15, 2021-December 14, 2021

SANTA SIGHTINGS & TOY DRIVES Aside from shopping, what would Christmas be without a visit with Santa and some old-fashioned caroling? On Sunday, November 27 from 3-6 PM Local 46 presents Photos with Santa, a Toy Drive, and Happy Hour benefitting the

CAROLING CRAWL WITH NORTH HIGH SCHOOL North High School and other local schools will be leading a Caroling Crawl down 32nd Avenue on Wednesday, December 1 beginning at 4:30 PM. Music Director, Ally Olson’s singing angels will land at the Little Man “Can,” 2620 16th Street, for the 10th Annual Pajama Christmas Carol and Hora Around the Menorah celebrating with Santa and a Menorah lighting at 6 PM. BIENVENIDOS FOOD DRIVE SERVES NORTH DENVER FAMILIES Tis the season for giving. But, it’s not only gifts for your friends and family. It is giving to our greater community family. With the simple mission that no family goes hungry, Bienvenidos Food Bank has been serving Northwest Denver since 1976. They will support over 250 families this Thanksgiving. Generator Real Estate is collecting donations to purchase grocery gift cards that will be included in the Bienvenidos Thanksgiving distribution to help families shop for the things that will make their holiday special. Generator will match every donation dollar for dollar. As a thank you, all Little Man locations will be offering one pint for $1.00 with proof of donation. Donate at ColoradoGives.org/ Generator2021. Happy and Merry coming your way. Be safe. Be healthy. And keep it in the Ho-Ho-Hood!

The Denver North Star


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Council Committee Debates Flavored Tobacco Ban By Kathryn White

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enver City Council’s Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness committee met October 27th to decide whether to move a proposed citywide ban on flavored tobacco product sales to a vote of the full Council. Introduced Oct 6th, the bill will be back on the committee’s calendar for even further deliberation—and straw polling on amendments on November 17th. Chair Paul Kashmann encourages interested members of the public to contact committee members or their district’s City Council member. The room filled to near capacity October 27th despite public comment having taken place three weeks earlier. Under discussion at the front of the room: amendments and alternatives that, according to co-sponsor Amanda Sawyer, District 5, were circulating by email late into the evening before. Proposed amendments sought to exempt 1) hookah lounges, put forth by District 7’s Jolon Clark, 2) cigars and premium tobacco products, by District 6’s Paul Kashmann, and 3) menthol products, by District 2’s Kevin Flynn. Councilmember Kendra Black, District 4, proposed two alternatives to the bill as a whole: one requiring enhanced ID verification at existing stores and another that would restrict flavored tobacco sales to age-restricted stores (as is the case with marijuana). Heated debate in Denver over the proposed end to flavored tobacco sales mirrors wrangling taking place across the country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also actively intervened in recent years, issuing rules, regulations and guidance on an increasingly broad array of tobacco products. Proponents of flavor bans cite public health concerns connected to the over 2 million U.S. middle and high school students using e-cigarettes. They point to evidence that teens first

become hooked on nicotine through flavored products like JUUL and Puff Bar. They also point to the tobacco industry’s long history of demographically targeted marketing, including the use of candy-flavored products to “hook” teens as well as menthol product marketing pointed at African Americans. Opponents to flavor bans are concerned these measures reach too far into the realm of adult choice. They argue that products like cigars, nicotine pouches, bulkier vape tanks, and hookah pipes—which are used less frequently by teens than e-cigarettes—would be restricted unnecessarily. Some are concerned that products used to quit smoking will be pushed off the market. And they point to the beginnings of research asking if teens will turn to traditional cigarettes when flavored products are no longer available. Referencing an April 29, 2021, FDA announcement that the agency is working toward issuing proposed product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors (including menthol) in cigars, Northwest Denver City Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval says, “If anything, the FDA’s decision creates an even greater obligation for states and cities to take action, because it shows there is overwhelming scientific evidence to support eliminating menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.” Sandoval continues, “As Colorado’s most populous city, Denver has a responsibility to show leadership by prioritizing the health of our community over tobacco industry profits. As a mother of two teenagers this issue is near and dear to my heart and I look to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city and county of Denver. This is a necessary step toward improving the lives of Brown

PHOTO FROM FREEPIK.COM

and Black residents and preventing youth tobacco addiction.” As presented by Councilmember Sawyer, Bill 21-1182 seeks to end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Denver as a means to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The most recent Healthy Kids Colorado Survey reported that nearly 26% of the state’s high schoolers had smoked an e-cigarette in the prior 30 days. According to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 81% of youth who have used tobacco started with a flavored product, whether e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, cigars or hookah. Committee deliberation touched on the limitations of prohibition (Black), the impact that reducing availability and appeal can have on reducing teen usage (Kniech) and a range of perspectives on banning menthol coming from the African American community (Flynn).

Councilmembers were interested in data showing how teens are gaining access to tobacco products in the first place when the minimum age to purchase them is 21. The 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey revealed that 20% of youth who obtained tobacco products were given them by someone over 21. 23% enlisted someone over 21 to purchase products on their behalf. As it currently stands, the bill contains a single exemption for FDA approved harm reduction tools. Sawyer indicated she had not been persuaded by proposed amendments for additional exemptions or the two bill alternatives suggested by Black. On August 3, 2021 Edgewater City Council voted to end the sale of flavored tobacco products within its jurisdiction, joining Aspen, Boulder, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, and Snowmass Village with similar measures.

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s rent and home prices continue to increase across Denver, new state legislation gives the city more ability to dictate what developers are building. Now, the City and County of Denver has crafted their first proposal using the new state law and are looking for feedback from the community. The proposal is the work of the Community Planning and Development Department (CPD) as well as the Department of Housing Stability (HOST) and includes three main elements: • Requires all new residential developments with 8 or more units (rental or for-sale) allocate 8-18% of units for residents earning below the area median income. The exact percentage varies depending on a number of factors. • Creation of zoning and financial incentive for developers to offset costs, such as permit fee reductions or increased building height. • Increased linkage fees for commercial development and residential development of 7 or fewer units. Linkage fees are fees based on a building’s use and square footage; the funds are used to help build affordable housing projects. The area median income (AMI) for Denver in 2021 is $73,360 for a 1 person household and $83,840 for a 2 person household. The median home (single family or attached) sale price in Denver in September was $525,000 and the average was $657,082, according to the market trends report produced by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Depending on a down payment and other factors, homes of that range require a salary of around $100,000 - higher than the average income for Denverites and much higher than many traditionally middle class jobs pay, such as a teacher or nurse, putting home ownership out of reach and pushing lower wage earners out of the city.

enough just to have more new homes, we must also have new, affordable homes.” Developers would have a few ways they could meet the requirements. For example, they could build 8% of their rental units for households earning 60% AMI. Alternatively they could build only 6% at 60% but an additional 6% at 80% for a total of 12%. For-sale builds have similar options. The proposal also allows for other alternatives that could be negotiated with city officials. “In order to meet the scale of the need that we see in Denver, our market-rate partners must be part of the affordability solution,” said Britta Fisher, executive director of HOST. “Cities across the nation have used similar policies, and we are encouraged by discussions to date on what is workable to provide greater affordability in Denver.” A 24 person advisory committee composed of council members, community members, developers and other stakeholders, has been providing input to the city as the proposal was being created. Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval, who represents North Denver, is one of those 24 members. “The Expanding Affordable Housing proposal is unlike any other housing policy in the history of Denver. This policy will require all new development over 8 units to significantly contribute towards building new affordable workforce housing. The policy will be consistent, transparent, and increase predictability within the development community. I expect my colleagues and I will hear from the development community that this proposal will stop and/or negatively impact development but I disagree--this policy was informed by industry

Project Guiding Principles

Key Goals of Proposed Policy Approach

An equitable program that addresses housing needs for residents and families with low moderate incomes in every Denver neighborhood.

• An increase to the linkage fee would provide greater support for the city’s affordable housing fund, which prioritizes housing for residents with the highest need. • Requiring affordable housing units on site for developments of 8 units or more encourages the construction of more units and more mixed-use developments, supporting moderate-income housing needs.

A predictable program that provides clarity and transparency of process, requirements and outcomes.

• Proposal sets clear and predictable requirements and provides clarity of outcomes to the development industry and the community.

A market-based program that responds to varied market conditions and partnership opportunities.

• Proposal was informed by financial feasibility analysis. • Alternatives and incentives provide flexibility while still addressing key housing needs. • How the tools are applied will reflect different market conditions in Denver.

The proposal hopes to close that gap by creating housing for residents earning less, using 60% of AMI as a benchmark. 60% of AMI is approximately $44,000 annually, a salary that today isn’t likely to enable someone to own a home anywhere in the city (or in the increasingly expensive suburbs). The proposal also seeks to make renting more affordable, as rent increases continue to outpace wage increases in the city. Just as forsale projects must have a set amount of more affordable units, so will rental projects. In order for the same person making $44,000 annually not to be considered rent-burdened (paying more than ⅓ of their salary in rent), they would need to pay less than $1200/month in rent. Few unsubsidized new units are in that range and older units are becoming more scarce. “If we are to create an inclusive city where our workforce, our first-time homebuyers, and our long-time residents can afford to live, our neighborhoods must provide a range of housing options at varying price points,” said Laura E. Aldrete, executive director of CPD. “It’s not

experts and a financial feasibility analysis to ensure it won’t hinder development. I believe it is the responsibility of City Council to be bold now that we have the ability to create such a law, thanks to our State Representatives passing HB21-1117 this year. We have heard loud and clear that the people of Denver want to make sure new housing continues to serve people of all income levels. At the same time, we will hear push-back from developers who won’t want this policy to be as bold as it is. I encourage everyone to weigh in on the draft proposal and continue to participate as this process moves forward. It is essential I hear feedback from my constituents so we get it right.” Now the city wants to hear from you. Do you want to weigh in on the proposal? The full 28 page study, as well as a 2 page summary, can be found searching the city’s website -- we’ll also link to it in the online version of this story. The community is encouraged to give feedback by the end of the year as they hope to move a proposal forward in the spring after they review input from the community.

The Denver North Star


/ / / A R T S & E N T E R TA I N M E N T / / /

Busking: Building Confidence through Music By Celeste Benzschawel

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he first time I ever saw a street performer, besides at an amusement park or a place like Disney, was in Madison, Wisconsin, on a night out in college. A young guy was playing guitar and singing popular songs I knew – and he was good. But of course, our motive was to get to the next bar so we didn’t stick around to truly appreciate his music. As a musician myself, I never forgot him. I was impressed that he had the guts to set up outside of one of the most “college” bars in Madison – State Street Brats – and play music to a bunch of tipsy students who likely had no problem being brutally honest. Even though I’d already been performing professionally for years at that point, I never tried street performing, or “busking,” as it’s commonly called. I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough memorized material or that I’d need a permit or license. I never did the research either. At the end of the day, I was too shy to try something new. Until now – years later and in a new state. When COVID restrictions began lifting in Denver and the city started to come alive again, I started to notice buskers performing at places like 16th Street Mall and on South Broadway. In North Denver, buskers are known to frequent Tennyson Street for First Fridays, one of Denver’s oldest art walks. I had heard a lot about 16th Street Mall and even Pearl Street in Boulder, but there seemed to be an untapped market for busking in some of the hotspots in North Denver like Sloan’s Lake, 32nd Avenue, Highlands Square and LoHi. But overall, Denver seemed really open to busking which is something I’d never experienced before. I began to reconsider the idea. I had also met a fellow musician at a Mercury Cafe open mic named Sara Conwell who further reinspired an interest in busking. Seeing another female musician my age street performing made it seem like an attainable goal.

Conwell, who goes by Sara Flows, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and was exposed to busking at an early age while she was in the city. It wasn’t until early this summer that she too saw busking as something she could try. She gave it her first shot at the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, which is known as one of the best spots to busk and street perform in Colorado. She brought her partner along for a boost of confidence and played for about an hour. The experience made Conwell want to keep doing it, but her partner was moving to Oregon for work. Luckily Conwell came across an event called Busk It Baby, which was an organized, public busking event that would allow her to keep doing it with people. “It was ridiculously inspiring,” Conwell said. “I feel like I learned a lot, I felt super comfortable.” Busking can be a major confidence booster and give musicians tons of experience and practice. If you’re playing organized gigs, busking allows you to practice your songs back to back with the similar, added pressure of people watching. “It builds a lot of confidence just to sing in a microphone on the street – not everyone does that,” Conwell said.

Conwell felt like a lot of the time people didn’t care to pay attention or watch. But that made the moments when people did stop to listen that much more special. Busking is not always what you want it to be, though. Conwell felt like a lot of the time people didn’t care to pay attention or watch. But that made the moments when people did stop to listen that much more special. Before she went out initially, Conwell did some quick research as to whether or not buskers needed a permit to perform. According to Eric Escudero, Director of Communications at the City and County of Denver department of Excise and Licenses, buskers do not need a permit or license to perform. “Buskers are not something we are asked about often. In fact, this is only the second time in the almost four years I have been working for the city that I have been asked about this subject,” Escudero said. “We know a lot of people enjoy street musicians and it can add ambiance to some people’s shopping or dining experience. Even though there is no license required for busking in Denver, there are regulations in place that limit noise levels and where buskers can perform on Denver streets and sidewalks.”

PHOTOS BY JORDAN ALTEKRUSE

Busking, or street performing, is legal throughout the city with a few restrictions. In North Denver, Tennyson Street's First Friday culture walks are a popular venue for performers Buskers performing on 16th Street Mall must follow several rules (found in the Public Works Rules and Regulations: Vending on the 16th Street Pedestrian and Transit Mall): they may not play in one spot for more than one hour, block an entrance to a building or reduce pedestrian right-of-way. They also may not allow their crowd to reduce pedestrian right-of-way, use amplification (or exceed sounds levels of 60 megahertz), interfere with special events, or leave any items in the middle of the sidewalk. They also must pick a side of the sidewalk to perform on and they or their audience may not block a merchant’s display window. Buskers may accept tips for their performances but not beg for them, they must distance themselves from other performers, and they must pick up after themselves and their audience. The mall is overseen by the Denver Downtown Partnership, which enforces rules around busking, Escudero said. Outside of 16th Street, there are no regulations in the City of Denver that address busking specifically, Escudero said. The two main things to be wary of are right-of-way rules (blocking sidewalks) and the noise ordinance. Sound may not exceed 75 decibels from 7am-10pm and no more than 70 decibels from 10pm-7am. Now that I had all of the information in place, it was time to try busking for myself, alone. On Friday night, Oct. 29, I went to Tennyson Street with my wagon full of mics, a mic stand, an amp and my guitar (and my boyfriend tagged along so I wouldn’t have to be completely alone). Friends of mine have played with amplification before and didn’t experience any trouble. After surveying the area first and finding there were no visible outlets, I decided to play acoustically. I picked a spot that was getting a bit of foot traffic – in between Compass Glass Co.,

which was closed, and High Point Creamery. There was a band playing down the street at Tres Chiles Mexican Grill so I wanted to be courteous and give them their space. And then I played. Conwell was right – busking is an extremely humbling experience. I felt like most passersby were uninterested in the music I was playing, which was a mix of covers and originals. But I’ve tried to keep in mind that their disinterest could have nothing to do with my talent, like the fact that it was only about 6pm and they could be leaving work or getting to a dinner reservation, that they didn’t want to feel pressured to give me money, that they are shy about interacting with performers, etc. Similarly, we figured out that playing acoustically meant that folks could only hear me well when they were standing in the bubble right in front of me, and the area I chose didn’t have a lot of space to stop and listen. Busking also includes a lot of distractions that you need to be able to tune out. In the reflection of the window I was facing I could see two people dressed as cows crossing the street. Cars passing by were really loud. There was a group of people who had come out of the creamery and were talking and laughing fairly loudly for 10 minutes next to where I was performing, which I found slightly rude. Overall I felt pretty discouraged about my first solo busking experience. I played for about 45 minutes and only earned $2. But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t do it again. It’s important to try a few different spots and remain resilient – there are a lot of people who can make good money street performing and I’m confident I can be one of them someday. In the end, though, it’s not about the money – it’s about the music. If you’d like to check out their music, Sara Conwell can be found on Instagram at @sara_ flows and Celeste Benzschawel can be found at @noidontlikeedsheeran.

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/ / / K I D S & E D U C AT I O N / / /

Northside Black Masque Theatre’s Devilish Comeback By Basha Cohen

T

he Northside Black Masque Theatre is back! After COVID took center stage for the last year and a half, Director Megen Gilman and her theatre students brought a little black magic back to the auditorium at North High School in early November. The dark, unsettling, and brilliantly acted production of “Very Still and Hard to See” by Steve Yockey is a collection of vignettes centered around a hotel filled to the brim with

ghosts, monsters, murder, mental illness, and a lot of twisted nightmares. Some parents thought it was a little too edgy, but the kids dove headfirst into their alter-egos who flirted with the darker side of life. Cebastian Gomez, in their first production, stole the show as a devilish-Diva dripping in sequins and scathing eye contact. After going stage-dark since March 2020, seniors Jade DeSandoval, Ruby Even, Sophie Scholl and Assistant Director

PHOTOS BY BASHA COHEN

Cebastian Gomez stole the show as Obake, a devilish-Diva swirling up all kinds of black magic in the Black Masque Theatre production, "Very Still and Hard to See."

If getting stuck on an elevator is your greatest fear, “A Personal Account of the Renovation” was a heart-stopping plunge into bizarre.

“Hearts & Flowers” featuring Jade DeSandoval (far right) as a romantic, but blood-thirsty, blind date addict, is led by her spirit guides to make the date go well.

Teresa McManus were finally given a chance to sparkle again with enigmatic and creepy performances. The rest of the cast and crew were equally ghoulish. The playbill explained, “This show deals with some really heavy topics, and we don’t want to ignore or gloss over that. We also want to ensure that we’re not just making a spectacle of people’s trauma. Because of this, we’ve started a fundraiser for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) to show support for survivors of sexual abuse.” If you would like to donate toward this cause go to tinyurl.com/NorthDramaRAINN. A portion of ticket sales was also donated to the cause. As a true testament to a North core value, “True Grit,” Gilman never let the creative juices stop flowing when the stage went dark. She diverted the student’s theatrical skills into artistic endeavors that explored the strange new world of isolation the thespians resided in. For a closing act last May, Gilman’s cast produced a movie version of the stage production, “Working.” It was an homage to the working class. Unfortunately, it had a limited audience due to gathering restrictions. Gilman is working on a fundraiser for next Spring’s musical blockbuster, “Mamma Mia” and hopes to showcase the film, “Working,” at the event. Stay tuned for more details. As a North Alumni and parent who recently graduated to the status of “college-empty-nester,” I cannot help but personalize my affection for the incredible platform drama serves our students. It is a medium for confidence building, poise, public speaking, and tenacity. It ready’s them for their next stage in life. Bravo and welcome back, Black Masque Theatre!

The cast

Page 6 November 15, 2021-December 14, 2021

The Denver North Star


/ / / K I D S & E D U C AT I O N / / /

Linden Early Learning Center ck Expands at Faith Lutheran Church

We’ll make math a bright spot in your child’s school year.

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he Linden Early Learning Center off El- switching every six months to a year. iot Street and 48th Avenue is expanding! Per the center’s website, parents are encourThe center, though located on Faith Lutheran aged to peek into the “busy, happy, noisy, creChurch property that once housed a school ative classrooms.” Often, parents observing classrooms will notice for hundreds of Christian children at play. This is children, is not affiliated The center has because the teachers and with the church. The Linden Early staff of the center recogmixed-age classrooms Learning Center is a relanize play as an integral that foster a sense of tionship-based preschool part of child growth and for students ranging from community and allow for development. six weeks to kindergarten Director Susan Rider continuity, as students n a chanceage. Their leased space is a Colorado State alum get to remain with the nd creepyboasts colorful classrooms who has spent the past and crewof varying sizes, a bathfifty years working in same teacher for a room with tiny amenities the childhood education few years rather than how dealsfor children learning to field, forty of which were switching every six d we don’tuse toilets, and three outspent in North Denver. . We alsodoor playgrounds. As it She currently teaches months to a year. making astands now, the center has early childhood education courses at Red Rocks se of this,roughly forty children enNN (Rape,rolled, and pending an approved license, the Community College in addition to overseeing k) to shownewly renovated space will allow the daycare the learning center. “We’re here for the neighborhood. That’s se.” If youto double their capacity. ause go to With one teacher for every five kids, children our goal,” states Rider. Monthly tuition ranges from $1,550 to A portionwill enjoy individualized instruction from the he cause. Teaching Strategies Gold curriculum to best $1,750 depending on the child’s age. Prospecore value,suit their needs. The center has mixed-age class- tive parents can schedule a tour of the learneative juic-rooms that foster a sense of community and ing center, or enroll their students, online at dark. Sheallow for continuity, as students get to remain www.lindenpreschool.com/ or over the phone ls into ar-with the same teacher for a few years rather than at 303-477-0313. range new ded in. For /// NEWS SHORTS /// produced a n, “Workking class. nce due to orking on cal blockshowcaseBy The Denver North Star Staff Stay tuned anda James is probably best known as James and her husband Scott Durrah own the first African American licensed to Simply Pure Dispensary in the Highland ho recentlege-emp-run a cannabis dispensary. No stranger to pol- neighborhood. James is a 1986 graduate of the nalize myitics from working with candidates and can- University of Colorado; afterward she served m dramanabis legislation, she’s now entering as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy. m for con-the ring herself, seeking a seat on the speaking,CU Board of Regents, the govJames announced her campaign on November 8th with their nexterning board for the University a list of initial endorsements ack, Blackof Colorado system. 1st Congressional District Regent Jack including Congressman Joe Kroll is not seeking another Neguse, the first African term on the board, creating an American to represent Coloraopen seat. do in congress; Former Mayor “It’s time to restore balance Wellington Webb; several state to the CU Regents, not only legislators; Councilwoman in terms of diversity, equity PHOTO COURTESY OF WANDA JAMES Candi CdeBaca; and several former regents. and inclusion but also in the Wanda James James is the 4th Democrat to enter the race, board’s priorities,” said James. “I am running to take back the power for students, staff and fac- joining Scott Mangino, Johnnie Nguyen, and ulty, who for too long have taken a backseat to Benjamin Pope, who all announced earlier this political deliberations and decisions. I intend to year. No Republican or other candidates have be a force for CU and deliver on the promises of filed yet. The Denver North Star will be profiling higher education.” all candidates in detail next year.

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/// DINING ///

Denver Considers Permanent Outdoor Dining Options By David Sabados

W

hen restaurants started putting tables in their parking lots, verges, and, in some areas, streets last year, it was seen as a stop-gap measure to provide safer dining options before COVID vaccines were available. It turns out Denverites liked dining alfresco though, and now the city is designing rules for restaurants that want to continue long term. “I strongly support the patio seating program,” said Mayor Michael Hancock, speaking at Daughter Thai Kitchen & Bar on Platte St in LoHi. In order to process hundreds of restaurants at once last year, the city adopted looser guidelines than what will likely be formalized in the future. Angela Fillian, the manager of Daughter Thai, explained the new restaurant was wait-

ing on a patio permit when the pandemic hit, and they closed their dining room. The interim program cut through red tape, allowing them to open a patio on their property almost immediately under the short term rules. A spokesperson for the Colorado Restaurant Association said an estimated 54% of summer revenue for restaurants this year came from outdoor dining. 373 restaurants utilized the program. Support for the program is strong from restaurant owners. Elliot Strathmann, co-owner of Spuntino on 32nd Ave, told The Denver North Star that the program “was really essential to us getting through the past year and a half the way we have.” Spuntino expanded into their parking lot last year. Over on Tennyson St, the popularity of the program is evident as well. Hops and Pie, which doubled their internal space since they first opened, also converted their parking lot for dining space, doubling their size again. Bars like Berkeley Untapped were given permission to expand into the street. Not every restaurant is planning on turning parking spaces into dining spaces long term though. Further up TenPHOTO BY DAVID SABADOS nyson, Parisi turned half Mayor Michael Hancock (right) speaks about the future of their parking lot into of outdoor dining next to Ounjit Hardacre, owner of the dining under a heated Daughter Thai.

PHOTO BY DAVID SABADOS

Daughter Thai Kitchen and Bar was waiting on a patio permit when the pandemic closed dining rooms, but the temporary program helped them survive. tent, but removed their tent earlier than some other restaurants. Christine Parisi explained the outdoor options were vital but a short term plan for them as cars had a hard time navigating the truncated parking lot, causing problems. She’s supportive of the city exploring outdoor options though, noting other cities that closed small outdoor areas to cars to allow more pods and other outdoor dining, coordinated at a block level instead of each restaurant being on their own. In Denver, Larimer Square adopted that mentality, closing an entire block to cars. Areas like Larimer Square could potentially remain car-free

permanently if businesses desire and the city approves. While closing Tennyson St to cars has been discussed from time to time, the concept has never been pursued. The current rules run through October of 2022, with restaurants renewing their outdoor permits every three months. Early next year, city agencies will be developing their long term plans and accepting applications for restaurants that want to create permanent outdoor spaces. City staff stressed that every restaurant’s situation is different, so while there will be some set rules, applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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/ / / A R T S & E N T E R TA I N M E N T / / /

CHECKING OUT

Checking Out: Great books for Holiday Gifts

B

ooks make wonderful gifts when chosen wisely – they give a little glimpse into what the giver found worth sharing, as well as what they think (or hope) will catch the eye of HANNAH EVANS the receiver. With potential to be as personal, relevant, timely, informational, or simply just as interesting as you want it to be, where do you start with choosing a unique title? A few of Northwest Denver’s library staff members suggested some great ideas below for a book that will resonate – consider them as potential gifts, or just check them out for yourself! “BAKING CLASS” BY DEANNA F. COOK Kid-friendly recipes with clear instructions and lots of easy-to-follow process photos will help eight- to twelve-year-olds bake up something delicious to share, whether it’s dessert or a savory side dish. The back section is stuffed with stickers, cutouts, stencils and more to help young bakers decorate their treats, making this cookbook a special gift. - Jamie, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Branch Library “SAY NOTHING: A TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND MEMORY IN NORTHERN IRELAND” BY PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE If your idea of a good holiday present is a deep dive on the Troubles, then this is your book! No really, this is a supremely engaging history of Belfast that delves into the history of the IRA, the Belfast Tapes, forced disappearances, the legacy of the Price sisters… and more! Give this to a history buff, a lover of mysteries or just someone who enjoys an excellent book. - Jessie, Smiley Branch Library

“FUZZ: WHEN NATURE BREAKS THE LAW” BY MARY ROACH This is a great gift for fans of pop science nonfiction. If you’ve read Roach’s books, you know you will be enthralled by the interesting science topics she chooses to write about. Fuzz invites you to think about how humans and wildlife can coexist. Roach also helps you question what happens when humans invade the habitats of wildlife and the consequences when neither human nor wildlife is safe from the other. While the topic is serious, Fuzz is written with humor and compassion. - Joan, Woodbury Branch Library “THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE” BY MARIANA ENRIQUEZ Argentine author Mariana Enriquez has shaped fable-like tales in this collection that are deceptively domestic, but always filled with dark twists. The majority of the main characters in these stories are "mujeres ardientes" (strong women) who are fed up with lives shrouded in extreme violence, which has become a constant occurrence. In these stories the readers have to forget about themselves and follow stories of bodies that disappear or reappear when they least expect it. This collection highlights the author's native Argentina, giving the reader a window into the worlds of contemporary Argentinians and the political and social upheaval marking their everyday lives. - Nicanor, Northwest Neighborhood Services Manager

/// NEWS SHORTS ///

BookBar Buys The Bookies Bookstore By The Denver North Star Staff

I

f you’re down in Glendale and looking for a bookstore, you may see a familiar friendly face from North Denver. Nicole Sullivan, owner of BookBar on Tennyson St, announced they’ve purchased The Bookies after the passing of the store’s founder and owner, Sue Lubeck. “We weren’t seeking to purchase another bookstore or even contemplating a second BookBar location, but I couldn’t bear the possibility of Denver losing such an iconic bookstore,” said Sullivan. “This will not be a second BookBar and, sorry, but we will not be adding a bar. The Bookies will remain The Bookies. Our intention is to continue, the best we can, to carry

on with Sue’s vision and honor her legacy.” The Bookies is known for its extensive children’s book selection and programing, and Sullivan said the stores have a lot to learn from each other. While the BookBar team isn’t making many changes to The Bookies, both stores are reincorporating as Public Benefit Corporations and The Bookies will be joining BookBar in supporting BookGive, the North Denver based nonprofit organization that has collected and redistributed more than 70,000 books since March of 2020. The Bookies is located at 4315 E Mississippi Ave in Glendale.

It's not just news. It's your neighborhood. Stay informed with The Denver North Star.

Hannah Evans is the senior librarian at the Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library.

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/// COMMUNITY ///

Street Seen: Ghoulishly Good Times in the Hood By Basha Cohen

Y

ou needed a supersonic broom to get to all of the howlingly fun Halloween events throughout North Denver this October. Skeletons hob-nobbed with witches & warlocks, superheroes flirted with princesses, and a menagerie of sea creatures, lions and tigers and bears, oh my, made the ‘Lil one’s even cuter. Aside from fake fur humans, real-deal dogs were celebrated (and some might say humiliated) at pet parades and costume competitions from Three Dog Bakery’s Growl-o-Ween to the Tennyson Street Pet Parade and Sunnyside’s Halloween Extravaganza that truly had pooches & their parents “putting on the dog.” Trick or (Trunk)-or Treating from Navajo Street to Scheitler Park to Denver Bookbinding Co included crafts, pumpkin painting, storytelling, and, of course, candy. Construction company Hansel Phelps brought out a costume brigade to clean up Sloan’s Lake. Amy Berglund hosted a Haunted House contest judged by local kids. The Little Man family hosted 13 events including a Spooky

Selfie Competition, Pumpkin Carving, Hallow-Queenie Bingo with Muni Tox, plus a Monster Mash Family Boogie with DJ Buddy Bravo at the Factory. For the 21+ set, THE grown-up Halloween Costume Party event featuring the 6 Million Dollar band was held at the Elks Lodge. The “I won’t grow up” roster of Elks-partyers (most of whom met on elementary school playgrounds years ago) dressed to impress and dance the night away. Local 46, too, celebrated their lease renewal with a “Stayin’ Alive” 70s theme Halloween party, including a live band and a DJ bringing the kooky community together in Denver’s favorite local haunt. Naturally, Colorado played her weather tricks (as the kids treated) with Tennyson Streets’ Fall Fest & Pet Parade enjoying over 1,100 attendees on a 75-degree endless-summer day to the next day’s frigid 30-degree HUNIWeen Parade & Street Party at Recess Beer Garden. That didn’t scare anyone off, though...it only made Halloween more chilling.

PHOTOS BY BASHA COHEN UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED

Three Dog Bakery Growl-o-Ween Pet Costume Competition & LoHi Pet Trick or Treating

PHOTO BY HARRY WARTERS

Little Man Ice Cream Pumpkin Patch/ Spooky Selfie Station with writer Basha Cohen

Little Man Ice Cream Factory Monster Mash Family Costume Boogie led by DJ Buddy Bravo

PHOTO BY LOREN MARTINEZ

Little Man Ice Cream Pumpkin Carving & Costume Competition

PHOTO BY TIFFANY RAMOS

Tennyson Pet Parade... What a dog will do for a kiss

Sloan's Lake Costume Clean Up organized by construction company Hansel Phelps

PHOTO BY TIFFANY RAMOS

Tennyson Pet Parade's Magic School Bus

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Amy Berglund Haunted House Contest 1st Place Winner

Page 10 November 15, 2021-December 14, 2021

Muni Tox hosted Hallow-Queenie Drag Queen Bingo at Sweet Cooie's, a shop named after Paul Tamburello's mother

The Denver North Star


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November 15, 2021-December 14, 2021 | Page 11


/ / / T R A N S P O R TAT I O N / / /

Interstate 25 Changes on the Horizon for North Denver By Allen Cowgill

T

he Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has its sights set on a revamp of Interstate 25 in Central Denver from the Valverde neighborhood on the south to the Highland neighborhood in the north. CDOT is looking at the next phase of changes for the stretch road that often carries 200,000+ vehicles per day. Three years in the making, CDOT completed the Central Planning and Environmental Linkages Study (PEL) in late 2020. “This is a study that identified causes of congestion and considered options to improve safety, travel and reliability along a 4.5 mile segment of I-25 between Santa Fe Drive and 20th Street” explained CDOT Communications Manager Tamara Rollison. A master plan of sorts for the interstate, the PEL looks at reducing congestion among other goals. In particular, northbound travel between Broadway and Park Avenue sees an average of 18 minute delays during the evening rush hour, and southbound travel sees delays of around 8 minutes on the same stretch during the evenings. The PEL lists 4 future alternatives ranging from doing nothing to I-25 and focusing on improvements to nearby arterial streets on one end of the spectrum to expanding the highway and adding a new lane in each direction. These new lanes would be toll and/or HOV lanes, called managed lanes. The analysis also mentions the potential expansion of multimodal options like increased transit options as well as improved pedestrian and bike infrastructure going North/South and also East/West across the corridor. Choosing the final alternative, timeline, and total cost for the Central I-25 project is still in progress.

The study also looks at bringing some of the older exit/entrance ramps like 23rd Avenue and the Speer Boulevard interchange up to more modern standards as well as replacing those bridges, two of the oldest in the area. The 23rd Avenue and Speer bridges have the lowest height clearance of any bridges along I-25, creating a barrier to over-height vehicles that are forced to divert to longer alternate routes. There are also occasional bridge collisions with trucks themselves or oversized cargo.

“It’s always about travel times, but it doesn’t talk about climate and it doesn’t talk about air pollution in a meaningful way that makes sense for my community. I’ve not seen any studies that show a reduction in pollution factors once the highway is filled up again... no highway widenings are in alignment with our climate goals.” Even though the final alternative design for the Central I-25 project has not been chosen yet, work on replacing those two bridges and interchanges at Speer and 23rd Avenue will likely begin in the next decade, as it is on CDOT’s 10 year strategic project pipeline. The estimated cost for this portion of the project is $85,000,000 and CDOT has

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A new study on I-25 looks at exit/entrance ramps, bridges, potential widening, and more. identified funding for a portion of that in the next 5-10 years. Some advocacy groups are concerned about the potential expansion of the interstate being on the table as one of the options. Ean Thomas Tafoya, Colorado State Director for Green Latinos, who was invited to participate in the PEL process, has concerns about expanding the interstate. “We know that highway widening and induced demand are a real thing. They continue to think that widening is going to solve these problems.” Induced demand is the concept that increasing capacity of a road will encourage more people to drive, perpetuating congestion. The last major I-25 expansion project, TREX, widened I-25 in the southern part of Denver. Only a few years after the project was finished, congestion levels were just as bad as they were before construction started. Tafoya noted that air pollution for communities living near the highway is harmful. “There is no doubt there is a direct link from small particulate matter both from industrial and car pollution leading to adverse respiratory outcomes and heart disease for people in these communities.” Tafoya’s major complaint about the current process for potentially expanding interstates is that CDOT looks at making the interstate safer and more efficient for drivers, but doesn’t take into account how expanding the interstate will have adverse public health impacts for air pollution in surrounding communities from tailpipe emissions including ozone, particulate matter, as well as climate change. “It’s always about travel times, but it doesn’t talk about climate and it doesn’t talk about air pollution in a meaningful way that makes sense for my community. I’ve not seen any studies that show a reduction in pollution factors once the highway is filled up again... no high-

way widenings are in alignment with our climate goals.” When asked about air pollution, CDOT spokesperson Rollison replied “Regarding air quality impacts, they are certainly considered in the evaluation of alternatives and in the environmental process. Final evaluation of alternatives will include consideration of GHG emissions.” Originally known as the “Valley Highway,” construction on I-25 began in 1948, and required bulldozing homes and displacing residents in working class North Denver neighborhoods to make way for the new interstate. It was fully opened in 1958 and featured two lanes in each direction. Since then, there have been a lot of updates to the road and at least one incident provided some momentum for change. On August 1 of 1984, a truck carrying half a dozen US Navy Torpedoes overturned at the intersection of I-25 and I-70, with torpedoes leaking an unknown liquid that caused chaos and left Denver traffic at a standstill for 8 hours. The incident helped motivate an update to the I-25 and I-70 intersection known locally as the “mousetrap” over the course of the next decade because of its then sharp curves and non-conforming design that often caused traffic issues. The highway has had numerous major construction projects over the years and has since been expanded to four lanes in either direction through North Denver. Notably, the Park Avenue Flyover bridge that connected downtown to Northbound I-25 was completed in 1998, the Highland Pedestrian Bridge was completed in 2006 along 16th St. over I-25, and the “Bronco Arch” Bridge next to the football stadium was reconstructed in 2013 along with the 15th St. Bridge.

nov

to dec2204

Thank you No needy family should go hungry.

For more than 40 years, Bienvenidos Food Bank has provided Northwest Denver individuals and families with emergency food in a safe, welcoming place.

Each year, Bienvenidos:

to our generous Denver supporters Serves Saves 180,000 pounds of 10,000 Denver who have helped Bienvenidos Food wholesome food from grocery residents a year. stores – that would havebeen been Bank during COVID-19. We have thrown away. one of 62 out of 106 food agencies in Gives away more than Denver that has been able to stay open 375,000 pounds Provides enough food of food valued nearly during theatpandemic. We see new to make more than $600,000 300,000 meals. families weekly, who have suffered economically and physically this year.

For every $1 you give, we are able to provide $9 of food. bienvenidosfoodbank.org

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The Denver North Star


/ / / T R A N S P O R TAT I O N / / /

“Island” Connectors Proposed For Globeville, Sunnyside, Chaffee Park By David Sabados

F

ramed by I-25, I-70, and railroad tracks, the small pocket of western Globeville off Fox Street is sometimes called Fox Island because of its isolation. With only one road to the south by 38th Ave and one to the east at 44th Ave, car transportation options are limited, as are options for biking and walking. Anticipating the transit-oriented growth on both sides of the railroad tracks, RTD opened a pedestrian bridge by the 41st and Fox St light rail station in 2016, connecting Globeville and Sunnyside. With more growth on the horizon, the city is now looking at additional ways for people to get on and off the island. The 41st and Fox Next Steps Study, created by the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI), builds on previous studies in the area and looks at the recent growth, anticipated growth, and changing views of multimodal transportation. The study is exactly as the name suggests: an analysis including multiple options, some of which might be implemented, though none are certain. Within Globeville, the study looks at improvements to 44th Ave to “address safety and comfort for all users and include separated and protected bike and pedestrian facilities on the south side of the bridge.” As 44th is currently the only east-west connection across I-25 south of I-70, those improvements are fully multimodal with the goal of improving car, mass transit, biking, and pedestrian travel. The bigger proposals relate to how the Fox Street area connects outside of Globeville. The study lists several possibilities, noting it’s unlikely they would all be built. A separate 2009 study by the city discussed a potential car bridge at 44th or 46th Ave connecting Globeville and Sunnyside, but the updated study dismisses that idea, looking at other options instead due to “constructability challenges and neighborhood impacts”

of a bridge at either 44th or 46th. Instead, DOTI is looking at the feasibility of a crossing at 47th Ave, just south of I-70. That connection is potentially a multimodal bridge with car, bike, and pedestrian options, or bike/ car only. On the west side, that bridge would connect around 47th and Jason, just north of the Mile High Comics warehouse. On the east side, it would connect near the old Denver Post facility, which is anticipated to be a large new development project called Fox Park (We’ll have more information on Fox Park in the December edition of The Denver North Star). A potential benefit of this option is increased connection between Sunnyside and Globeville and more access to I-70 from the south, though the study notes that some residents are concerned about increased traffic on neighborhood streets if the bridge allows car travel. Alternatively, the city could create a tunnel under I-70 from the same 47th and Fox area in Globeville that would instead connect north to 48th Ave, which connects Globeville to the Chaffee Park neighborhood. The tunnel could also be fully multimodal with car, bike, and pedestrian options. This option allows increased access to I-25 as well as I-70, but links to existing east-west connectivity at 48th Ave instead of creating an additional east-west option. The study notes that both ideas will require extensive interaction between city, state, and national governments given the combination of roads and rail in the area. Both would also require more land acquisition. Separately, the study also offers a potential tunnel under I-25 at the south end of the area, just west of Park Ave. Also, potentially a car/bike/walking tunnel, the study says, could help alleviate traffic congestion around the 38th Ave/I-25/Park Ave area and add increased connectivity through the RiNo district and into the 5 Points neighborhood.

PHOTO BY DAVID SABADOS

The pedestrian bridge at the 41st and Fox light rail station opened in 2016, providing pedestrian East-West connections between Globeville and Sunnyside. Now the city is considering additional connectivity options as the area continues to grow. The study also includes multiple ideas within Fox Island and the greater Globeville community. Ultimately, city agencies will be making determinations on the importance of car vs alternative transit options, whether more north-south or east-west connections should take prior-

ity, and a number of other factors. Community members wanting to give input can reach DOTI staff via the city’s website. Search “41st and Fox Next Steps Study” at denvergov.org or look for a link in the online version of this story to see the full 59 page study and additional information.

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/// COMMUNITY ///

SHAPING OUR FUTURE BY REMEMBERING OUR PAST

Hooker Street, Boulevard F, and The History of Street Names

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n a detailed addendum to her book “Rediscovering Northwest Denver,” North Denver historic author, Ruth Eloise Wiberg, cludes a supplement of all inDENNIS GALLAGHER the street names in our neighborhoods and the previous names of the same streets. Some of you newcomers to North Denver might be wondering who or what your street name might be memorializing. We can thank a serious bureaucrat from the 1890's, Harold Maloney, for giving the city council the suggestion for alphabetic names to clear up billing practices at the old Denver Union Water Company, whose agents had trouble delivering water bills because street names and numbers were in such disarray. Maloney convinced the council that Denver's street naming system was actually preventing the water department from collecting the fees for that precious commodity called water. So, remembering his days as an Indian Agent, Maloney christened all the streets west of Broadway, North and South, after Native American tribes: Acoma. Bannock, Elati, Galapago, Huron, Quivas, Raritan, Shoshone, Tejon, Umatilla, Wyandot and Zuni. He left out the Utes, but they did not get over this way much from the western slope where they lived. Of course there were protests from some Denver Residents about naming streets for native Americans, but Council courageously went ahead anyway. Maloney needed an "F" street name, so he came up with Boulevard F and finally settled on Federal. Streets west of Federal running North and South, Maloney named for military heroes of the Civil War and literary

figures. Hooker was named for Civil War General Hooker who allowed brides of the multitude to follow along behind his camp. Big shots in the Union Army praised Hooker for fighting so well. It is unclear if Lincoln ever knew about the amiable camp followers, called "hookers." But honest Abe knew the story of General Grant drinking too much before battles which prompted Lincoln to muse, "Let me know what Grant is drinking and I will have the other generals drink it so we can get them to fight as bravely." The crack may have been aimed at General McClelland, who always had some excuse for not wanting to fight when the opportunity presented itself. When I was councilman, a Regis College Professor lived on Hooker Street and thought it was prejudicial for a street to be so named. He asked what the chances were to change it but never pursued the case and it's still Hooker today clear up into the dusty wind swept rural parts of Adams County. The great English poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, gives us Tennyson Street, "Come, my friends, 'tis not too late to seek a newer world." Tennyson still snakes south into Arapahoe County and north clear up into Adams County inspiring people to be more poetic. East and west street names have been the same for a long time. These street names moved along with the Avenues into Jefferson County to the West. Colfax has always been Colfax, named for the 17th Vice President of the United States, who accused of bribery along other high crimes and misdemeanors. Colfax is rumored to be the longest business street in the USA. Now West 26th was called Highland

Avenue. West 32nd was named Fairview and one can still see from there, on several clear days, the magnificent Pike's Peak in El Paso County, a wonderful Colorado “fair view.” For a short time W. 32nd Avenue had the name Blaine for James G. Blaine, who came here to make sure our Colorado Constitution offered no provisions to Catholic Schools from tax coffers. West 38th Avenue used to be Prospect, remembering the old Prospect Trail which took green- horned gold seekers out into Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties to join in on the American Dream. A metal marker on W. 38th and Tennyson commemorates the old Prospect Trail which now nervously ambles to the gambling dens of Gilpin County. Street names in Berkeley, Argyle Park (Anyone know where that is?) and Grandview, with the stone monuments surrounding that proud neighborhood, were not named until after 1914 and have always boasted their present names. Cities have always had trouble naming streets. George Cranmer, former director of Parks, wanted to name Hale Parkway, a diagonal in East Denver over near Colorado Boulevard, for Col. John M Chivington. Chivington had led the troops in a massacre of Native Americans, including women, old men and children camped at Sand Creek, down near Eads. Reason prevailed and that suggestion hit the dead letter box at city hall. The Honorable Dennis Gallagher is a former city auditor, city councilman, state senator and state representative. He shares thoughts and stories from North Denver’s past and future in his monthly column in The Denver North Star.

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/// EDITORS NOTE ///

Help Support Community Media This December

F

or the third year, C olor ado Me d ia rview and Project has selected The Denver North Star as one veral clear of 26 news outlets across n El Paso the state for a matching view.” For grant of up to $5,000. the nameDAVID SABADOS me here toThe #newsCOneeds matching grant chalon offeredlenge supports locally owned and nonprofit from taxnews outlets who are recognized for jourProspect,nalistic excellence that are meeting the news ail whichneeds of local communities. We’re honored ut into Jef-to have been included every year since the join in onpaper launched. ker on W. Every dollar we raise between December es the old1 and December 31 will be matched up to a ambles tototal of $5,000, including monthly contribution commitments. Please note that con. gyle Parktributions to The Denver North Star are not d Grand-tax deductible. rrounding In this last year, we’ve been growing our ot namednews team and you may have noticed the paasted theirper has grown in size from a small 12 page publication, at the height of the pandemic e naminglast year, to a regular 20 page edition up to 24 director offor our special election issue last month, alay, a diag-lowing us to bring you more local news. We rado Bou-hope to use the funds to continue to expand . Chiving-our team, ensuring a diversity of voices in e of Nativeeach issue. As printing costs have also risen men andsharply lately, we’ll be using some funds to own nearalleviate our rising costs. uggestion The Denver North Star is funded approximately 85% through local advertising with the other 15% coming from grants of this her is atype and readers like you. That 15% is the man, statedifference between a smaller paper and an He sharesexpanded one, tackling issues we can’t in a Denver’ssmaller edition. olumn in If you’re reading this in mid-November, don’t break out your credit card

or checkbook quite yet though - the grant matches year end giving between December 1 and 31st. If you want to donate online, visit www.DenverNorthStar.com and click “Become a Member” in the top right hand corner. We offer two membership levels online and are also hoping to use some funds to improve our website further. If you’d like to make a contribution of a different amount, we also welcome checks, which have the added benefit of no processing fees, meaning your entire contribution comes to us. Simply cut and fill out the form on this page, and make your check payable to “The Denver North Star” and mail to: The Denver North Star PO Box 11584 Denver, CO 80211 Our team enjoys helping inform our community, and we take reader input very seriously. In addition to your financial contribution, please reach out to us at News@ DenverNorthStar.com with questions or story ideas of what you’d like to see in future editions of the paper. Finally, we’re also proud that our new sister publication, The G.E.S. Gazette, launched last month. If you’re looking for more news about North Denver or a bilingual news source in Denver, check it out at www.GESGazette.com or look for copies on news racks in the G.E.S neighborhoods and RiNo Art District.

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/ / / K I D S & E D U C AT I O N / / /

LETTERS FROM MISS JILL

Learning Disabilities: Over/Under Diagnosed? Have a voice in your neighborhood JOIN BRUN TODAY! Berkeley Regis United Neighbors (BRUN) is Denver’s largest registered neighborhood organization, covering the area from 38th Ave. to 52nd Ave. between Sheridan and Federal. We are a group of residents and property owners working to advocate for the area’s best interests and strengthen community ties.

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THANK YOU I wish to thank all North Denver voters who showed solidarity with Park Hill neighbors by voting Yes on 301 and No on 302. When the mayor and council try to sell off a North Denver park perhaps Park Hill will help us, should such a thing ever make the ballot. Much appreciated. Thanks for being attentive and concerned citizens. Dennis Gallagher

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resh out of college, my first teaching experience was with the Colorado Preschool Program, established to provide affordable preschool for underJILL CARSTENS served populations, encouraging school success and, in part, identifying red flags that indicate possible learning challenges before children enter kindergarten. My two years working in this program provided me with training to gauge when children need extra support. As my tenure progressed, I became fairly astute at catching signs of learning challenges. Back then, school districts were becoming more aware of the positive impact of early learning. Later, we experienced swinging pendulums in which some believe that we over-diagnose or that disorders such as ADHD are not genuine. We have to be careful about diagnosing, and not all disorders have obvious methods of detection, but it is important that children who do need support indeed get it and the earlier the better. Developmental psychologist Jane M. Healy Ph.D cautions in her book “Different Learners” that the use of electronic screens provided at progressively earlier ages “poses a big part of the problem,” impeding young brains from developing properly through concrete activities and socializing rather than the passivity of button-pushing. She also notes that “there is often no obvious reason for some learning difficulties…they are an incredibly complex interweaving of genes, environment and brain development, with each of us possessing a oneof-a-kind combination.” There were times when I was 98% sure that a child needed help but often my superiors did not approve of my recommendations, hinting that bringing up such issues was too upsetting to parents or indicative that the school was not

equipped to do the job. Some years, 4 children out of a classroom of sixteen 3-5 year olds exhibited traits of spectrum disorders. I tried many methods to support these children on my own, but, without professional support, the situation could present as stressful and exhaustive. During a parent-teacher conference I took a chance and expressed that I thought a student might benefit from outside help. The parents did not respond much at the time, but several months later the mom walked in and announced, “We are getting therapy for our child now and we can already see improvements.” I literally fell to my knees in front of this mom and said, “Yay!!!” It had taken almost 2 school years of effort, but it was such a relief to hear that this child would get the support he needed before entering kindergarten. In a less obvious scenario, a soft-spoken and academically advanced preschooler would occasionally, at pick-up time, exhibit a radical change in behavior. She became short and extremely irritable and rude with her mother, falling into a rage-filled tantrum. Her mother would calmly steer her towards the car to leave. I witnessed this behavior rarely in a three year period. I later learned that although she was consistently well-behaved and focused at preschool, the rare tantrums I witnessed had been the norm in the home and continued after the child left preschool. I am guessing she is a high energy child who is able to focus intently when she is doing activities she likes, but is prone to breakdowns during off-times. In learning about the mother’s struggle I felt deep regret at not having discussed the random tantrums further in order to offer her resources and save some difficult times for her and the child. Overall, I would always rather “over-diagnose” and at least steer families towards help. When you observe more than one red flag

consistently, it is time to at least consult your pediatrician. I wonder if this mom decided that maybe parenting was just hard. The expectations for parent-perfection have become so high that indicating a child needs therapy becomes an assumption of bad parenting. Sometimes we need help. I dwell more in the adult world now and notice when a person shows signs of a spectrum disorder. Because we did not have the tools to identify these learning challenges in the past, potentially LOTS of adults are walking around with dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, etc. These adults develop their own coping mechanisms, but in discussions with frustrated spouses living with these disorders, it would be helpful for these adults to seek support too! This example begs us to think about our children as they grow up – if we have an instinct time and again that something is off, we are investing in their adult-future by getting them the support they need. You can find advice on how to identify learning challenges and ways to support your child at home with nutrition, exercise, positive socialization methods, and sleep via books or on the internet. I am listing some starter resources below. • Book: Jane Healy, Different Learners • Local resources: Child Find - https://www.cde. state.co.us/early/childfinddirectoryinfo https://www.amaryllistherapy.net/ Jill Carstens is a proud Denver native, a passionate mom and a teacher her entire adult life! Jill Carstens taught for 30 years and now enjoys writing this column, connecting with merchants for ad sales for The Denver North Star, and organizing neighborhood events supporting the local arts, community. Email her with comments or story ideas at jill@denvernorthstar.com

HOMEGROWN HOLIDAY CHEER The greatest gifts are close to home. When you shop Arvada small businesses this holiday season, you’re investing in our community and keeping us resilient. Check out some Arvada gift ideas at ArvadaGifts.org, and shop in person or online at your favorite neighborhood spots to share the cheer.

And don’t miss holiday events in Olde Town! Take in the festive sights, sounds and scents as you sip and stroll through Olde Town Arvada this season. Featuring a Holiday Makers Market, Saturdays with Santa, and a Cider and Eggnog Competition, there’s something fun for everyone. Visit oldetownarvada.org for details.

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The Denver North Star


/ / / H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S / / /

COMMUNITY WELLNESS INSTIGATOR

No Lost Causes on The Road to Good Health O

ne of the joys of a community newspaper is being able to talk with so many readers. After last month’s issue, I received ERIKA TAYLOR this email: I love your column. The pumpkin workout was so cute to see. I hope you do not think that I am complaining but I do wonder if you have any good advice for someone who knows she needs to exercise but just, to be very honest with you, doesn’t want to. I don’t want to be a lost cause but I think I might be. Help??? A lack of enthusiasm to get out and exercise is far from uncommon, especially as days grow shorter and colder, but I don’t believe in lost causes! November is National Awareness Month for both Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes, so I wanted to share thoughts on how to stay motivated to keep your body, heart, and mind healthy! I just want to ask you one question: What’s stopping you from getting exercise? If your answer is, ”Nothing! I get plenty of moderate physical activity and I feel great...” then stop reading this, and I’ll see you back here next month. But if you aren’t even sure what qualifies as “moderate,” how much is enough or where you left your tennis shoes the last time you used them, in 1995 read on! For many of us, past attempts may be our biggest barrier to enjoying physical activity. If you ever tried a new exercise routine, gadget or program and the results were not what you hoped, your brain will do everything it can to keep you from making that painful mistake again. Your exercise avoidance may be a basic human protective instinct! Or maybe fitting one more thing into your busy day seems impossible, or fitting your body into your workout clothes is too painful a prospect. Maybe the weight of the last 18 months is too heavy already. Regardless of what is holding you back, starting a physical activity program and sticking with it IS possible. LIGHTEN UP Exercise overwhelm is real! Start slow. Recommendations for both Diabetes and Alzheimer's prevention include 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. That’s less than 22 minutes a day. It doesn’t need to be a sweaty, leotard wearing, CrossFit class! Crank the music and clean your kitchen. Walk briskly up and down your stairs for 10 minutes. Move some boxes. It all counts. GIVE UP GUILT Spoiler alert! You're going to skip days you planned to exercise. No one's fitness journey is a straight line. Accept that there will be side steps, back tracks and do-overs and you’ll be

better able to deal with them. These challenges are normal and actually part of the benefit we can derive from exercise. When we navigate bobbles in our wellness, we learn to navigate them for the rest of our lives.

EXORCISE YOUR (EXERCISE) DEMONS So you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school. Your goal now is not to make the cheerleading squad. Picture yourself living the life you know physical activity supports. Find yourself in a place you want to visit, seeing something you want to see someday, feeling great. Get that picture in your head, and anytime you wonder if it’s worth it to take a 5 minute movement break, close your eyes and see that picture. If you have tried an exercise plan before that didn’t go the way you wanted it to, you are NOT doomed to repeat that result. But, your brain will try to tell you just the opposite in an effort to protect you from the pain it caused you last time. This is not a question of motivation or discipline or will power. You won’t outsmart yourself on this one, but you can slowly build new associations with exercise. A two minute counter wiping dance party that leaves both you and your kitchen glowing will go a long way toward building a positive feeling about getting your heart rate up. Start racking up those feel-good moments and before you know it you’ll go hunting for them. Remember, just knowing you need to get more physical activity is no magic bullet to getting it. Slowly giving yourself positive experiences with movement over time, finding people who will support you, giving yourself grace when you miss your mark, and knowing that you are building habits to last are the surest ways to find the things in your life that will truly get you moving for a lifetime. 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 erika@tayloredfitness.com.

Northwest Denver Bellwether for Citywide Election Results By David Sabados hile support for some issues like the National Western bond (2E) and the at-large school board campaigns varied across the city, almost every precinct North of Colfax and West of I-25 aligned with the majority viewpoint on every ballot item this year. Scott Esserman, who won a plurality of votes to become the next at-large school board member, swept North Denver. Vernon Jones, who overall finished 2nd from a strong showing in the Far Northeast, held 2nd in some Northwest Denver areas but Jane Shirley and Marla Benavides, who finished

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GET A CHEERING SQUAD Find your people -- Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors -- who will encourage you to stay on track. Ask them to do exactly that. You don’t need nagging. Or if you do, there’s an app for that. From people, you need love and support. Please recognize that if you truly can’t think of anyone to support you or anything that sounds mildly enjoyable that might get you moving, and even if you can, a mental health professional may belong on your squad. Remember, exercise can support your health in many ways, but it is not a substitute for a mental health professional.

/// POLITICS ///

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3rd and 4th respectively, each had a stronger showing in Northwest Denver than other areas. The most notable result of the school board elections is that every member of the new board won with the backing of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (Denver’s teachers’ union), which is a complete change from less than a decade ago when unionbacked candidates were continually losing to opponents backed by education reform groups and education reform-minded school board members dominated the board.

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November 15, 2021-December 14, 2021 | Page 17


/ / / C OM M U NI TY CAL ENDA R /// To submit an event, visit us online at www.DenverNorthStar.com or call 720-248-7327. Please provide as much notice as possible, especially to appear in the print edition. More details for many events are available on our website.

DPS FOUNDATION FILMS FOR THE FUTURE WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 17: 6 PM Join DPS Foundation for Films for the Future, with a virtual screening of Breaking the Silence: Honoring the Voices of LGBTQ Youth and Allies in Supporting Our Teachers. Directly following the film showing will be a virtual interactive discussion starting with thoughts and reflections from our panel of students. Then there will be an interactive discussion with students and DPS staff, followed by an audience Q&A. This discussion will help us learn how to best support our students and create safe, inclusive environments for all. This is an educational experience you won’t want to miss! Buy your tickets now at https://dpsfoundation. org/films-for-the-future/. Cost to Attend: $25 individual ticket, $40 household ticket, sponsorships also available HIGHLAND HOLIDAY MARKET SATURDAY, NOV 20 / SUNDAY, NOV 21: 10 AM - 5 PM Looking to buy local this holiday season? Local artists and crafters are selling their wares at the Elk’s Lodge! Free admission! Elks Lodge #17 2475 W. 26th Street BOOKGIVE HOLIDAY BOOK GIVE-AWAY SAT, DEC 11: NOON - 2 PM FREE books for everyone on your list – grandparents, grandkids, teachers, baristas, hair dressers, workout buddies, pastors, everyone! All the books are free, there is no limit, so be generous! Free wrapping while supplies last. Some of the North Pole elves will bring cheer and joy. We’ll have the holiday music jamming too. SO much fun made possible by BookGive’s generous donors. The entire event is OUTDOORS so dress for the temps. For more info: bookgivedenver.org

/ / / E L E C T E D O F F I C I A L U P DAT E / / /

2021 in 2021 in District One: Year in Review

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hile the pandemic continues to impact our community with far-reaching effects on us all, I have watched the people of Northwest Denver COUNCILWOMAN come together to supAMANDA P. SANDOVAL port our businesses and each other in a way that truly exemplifies northside pride. As we recover, we are prioritizing long-term solutions for key issues facing our neighborhoods. By collaborating closely with residents and subject matter experts, we are developing community-driven policy and delivering meaningful results. PRESERVING COMMUNITY CHARACTER Northwest Denver is a remarkable place. We are preserving its character and adding new tools to the zoning code at the community’s request. For example, in Harkness Heights, my office sponsored a conservation overlay to 354 residential properties. This ensures new developments keep an even building height, preserves open space, keeps front porches on new homes, incentivizes pitch roof homes over flat roofs, and encourages welcoming pedestrian walkways. In addition, we added a design overlay along Tennyson Street for 445 properties requiring 75% of new development to have active street use on the ground floor, such as retail, restaurants and coffee shops. In Sloan's Lake, we added the ability for 1,742 properties to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs). This consistent application of the ADU zoning throughout the entire neighborhood provides flexibility for living arrangements, increases density and expands capacity. HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HEALTH Our focus this spring was on providing

vaccines with a holistic approach to families and communities. We provided access for people who are at-risk, essential workers, and underserved communities. We sponsored clinics at trusted community-serving locations including Servicios, St. Cajetan’s, Regis University, Lincoln High School and Auraria Campus – together vaccinating thousands of community members. EXPANDED OUTDOOR ZONING FLEXIBILITY During the pandemic, the city’s public health order allowed for the creation of safe outdoor sites and temporary expansion of right-of-way uses, such as the expansion of restaurant patios on our streets. My office supported the location of Regis University safe outdoor space as an alternative shelter solution for people experiencing homelessness, then worked to expand the site permitting with a zoning bridge amendment. The zoning bridge amendment allows areas of the city that were left out of the 2010 zoning code, to take advantage of the new code. Northwest Denver locations such as the Elitch’s redevelopment and the beloved Tony P’s on 32nd can now take advantage of outdoor seating opportunities. FOCUS ON COMMUNITY Throughout a year of closures and tentative reopening’s, we have made community our top priority. Last year we transitioned open office hours to virtual sessions and continued that unique tradition. We hosted 10 virtual office hour sessions, allowing residents to engage in open and honest dialogue. We also made tactical urbanism a priority, programming simple, positive uses and activities that make a big difference in combatting negative activities in our spaces. We hosted a movie night at Zuni Park, and we will continue to host positive community

events. Placemaking has been a major priority, making investments in welcoming spaces that encourage gathering and unity. At La Raza Park, we commissioned a new mestizo sculpture to complement the murals. ONE GREAT FUTURE AHEAD As we look toward 2022, we do so with a sense of optimism and perseverance, knowing we will need both to succeed in our ambitious plan for the year ahead. With the passage of the 2021 GO BOND on Nov. 2, Denver has approved the investment of $17.5 million in District One!

With the passage of the 2021 GO BOND on Nov. 2, Denver has approved the investment of $17.5 million in District One! I am honored to be chair of Denver’s council redistricting workgroup. We are starting the process early, engaging different voices in our community to ensure everyone has an opportunity to be heard in this important activity that will reshape not only our district but the make-up of the entire city for the next decade. You can provide input at denvergov.org/redistricting. As a lifelong resident of Northwest Denver, I am as committed as ever to building a community united. Through thoughtful policy, urban planning expertise and a collaborative approach, my team is helping to create community prosperity. We are embracing the diverse voices of this changing community because we believe in the power of unity. As we look back at the past year, and on to the next, there is one constant, one truth of Northwest Denver - we are one.

/// COMMUNITY ///

With Nature as Teacher, Former State Senator Lucía Guzmán Has Learned Well By Kathryn White

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he stood watering the garden in front of her casita, a small house next door to the home in North Denver’s Witter-Cofield historic district that she has shared with her wife Martha Eubanks for 25 years. Former State Senator Lucía Guzmán, now 76, is transforming the casita into a writing and painting studio just in time for winter. By spring she envisions gatherings of small groups in conversation about things that matter: aging, the influence of women, how we’re getting along with one another (and not) these days. Guzmán approaches life now in the same ways that brought meaning—and results—to other chapters. Sitting in the casita, she distills it, “We have to get into each stage.” She looks back to when she turned 70. She began picturing what she would need and who she would be over the coming 30 years. “We’re not going to just be the same.” Guzmán’s name will be unfamiliar only to the newest of newcomers in North Denver. Prior to wrapping up 8 years as District 34 State Senator in 2019, Guzmán served on the Denver School Board from 1999-2007 and ran the city’s Agency for Human Rights as a Hickenlooper appointee beginning in 2003. As an ordained minister, Guzmán led the Colorado Council of Churches from 1994-1999. She and her spouse Martha owned and ran a popular neighborhood coffeeshop from 1999-2005, Lucia’s Casa de Café at West 33rd Avenue and Tejon Street. Made-to-order waffles, alongside hot cocoa and fair-trade coffee, helped neighborhood families start the day. From time to time, on walks around the neighborhood, Guzmán reflects on how her work led to milestones like bringing Interna-

tional Baccalaureate to Brown Elementary or the creation of Academia Ana Marie Sandoval Dual-Language Montessori school. But after rolling up her sleeves and committing to each of those previous roles, she’s now passed the baton and watches with an encouraging eye as the ones who’ve taken hold of it find progress of their own. That is, when she’s not on the golf course, or painting, or writing and horseback riding in the San Luis Valley. Or visiting wild mustangs near Deer Trail, Colorado. “Yes, painting,” she chuckles mischievously, “That’s what former politicians do. Winston Churchill. George Bush.” To painting, Guzmán applies a value that has always guided her—one she points to, etched on the silver bracelet she wears: Always saddle your own horse. “I always had to just do it, keep going. Go on, and try again.” At each stage of life, she invested what she needed, where she needed, often teaching herself a new skill or cobbling together resources to get a job done. When it comes to painting, she has settled on a style that suits her and, now, she is simply doing it. She lifts a small canvas from her desk, “Painting calms me. During my saddest times it’s brought a lightening. It’s serene. With this one, I got to stand back and say, ‘Look at what you can produce out of sadness.” Guzmán finds expression, too, in writing. At a seminar on Zapata Ranch in the San Luis Valley last month, she studied with acclaimed writer Pam Houston. Guzmán put pencil to paper, expressing through words a full range of personal to political: a fictional letter to an immigrant woman from Guatemala, an exploration into the idea of brokenness connected

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PHOTO COURTESY OF ZAPATA RANCH

Former State Senator Lucía Guzmán riding “Speedy” on the Medano Zapata Ranch, near Mosca, Colorado, San Luis Valley. to a woman she knew with a serious drinking problem, and meditations revealing the profound sadness that came when she lost her sister Grace to cancer last year. She goes further into the political, drawing on lessons she learned from that landscape over decades. She wonders at times if our democracy is fading away. The natural world is Guzmán’s greatest teacher. She asks and it answers. As a young woman she taught herself to sail. Why not? John Kennedy was doing it. She recounts what the wind taught her and how the lessons of harnessing it came back to help her years later as Democratic leader of the Colorado Senate. As Senator, Guzmán traveled to all parts of the state, deepening her love of it and her understanding of it. She forged relationships and gained knowledge about everything from land and water issues to the funding challenges of small-town schools. She returns to many of those places now,

this time for friendship and for the adventures of her 70’s: backpacking, hiking, fly fishing, horseback riding. She expects to learn more about what the rivers have to teach during next year’s kayaking trips. She’s asking the wild mustangs to help her understand what freedom feels like. “These things teach you.” She had to wait a long time to do some of these things. But nature—from the casita garden to the plains and valleys across Colorado—has taught her patience as well. The cycles of renewal are everywhere. And so, alongside adventures and beginnings, shored up by her deep gratitude for making it this far in good health, she describes also a lifelong soulful mourning, a quiet remembrance for “that which cannot be again.” As winter comes, Guzmán will carry all these lessons from nature and her own life into the rhythms of writing and painting at the casita, where she will continue to find expression during an era of her life she fully embraces.

The Denver North Star


/// NEWS SHORTS ///

Denver Animal Shelter Full of Furry Friends By The Denver North Star Staff

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he Denver Animal Shelter (DAS) has an unusually high number of small animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, and turtles in addition to dogs and cats. Currently, they have almost three times as many small animals as they had at this time in 2019.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DENVER ANIMAL SHELTER

Cocoa

This is where the community comes in,” says Denver Animal Protection (DAP) Director Alice Nightengale. DAP oversees the shelter. “Before you buy a small animal from a pet store, please check with an animal shelter first because there is a lot of need there,” she says. “Prices are often more affordable too, and you’ll help a pet in need.” The cost of small animals starts at $15.

Dennis

adventures fly fishing, earn more uring next the wild what freeou.” o some of casita garss ColoraThe cycles alongside up by her ar in good ng soulful for “that

Shelter staff said that they aren’t alone in being overcrowded and many area shelters have the same situation. To see a gallery of adorable animals looking for a home, visit www.denvergov.org/animalshelter. You can also get more information by calling 311.

Buttercup

from an educator experiencing burnout while struggling under increased classroom sizes and increased workloads, he said. While some are Continued from Page 1 leaving the industry altogether, Gould’s heard port she’d like to. She said she worries it will lead that some are being recruited to other districts. to a cycle of overwhelming resignations and unThe average teacher salary at DPS was derstaffing. I just feel like it's a slippery slope,” $61,890 last year, according to the Colorado Stewart said. “I'm going to lose more people be- Department of Education. It’s not the lowest cause they're going to get burned out ... You have in the area — Sheridan School District’s average was $57,107. But it’s not the highest eito start all over again. It's very concerning.” In February, the Colorado Education Asso- ther with Littleton Public Schools and Cherry ciation announced that according to a survey Creek School District averaging $68,686 and $76,050 respectively. of its members, 40% of Colorado’s educators were considIn the short term, Gould In the short term, ering leaving the profession said we can take the pressure in the near future. Gould said we can off of educators by making Yet, Nelson said they’re not sure students' needs for food, take the pressure seeing that at DPS. The district shelter and mental health are reported classroom teacher met. Then students can come off of educators turnover steady at 13% for the to school ready to learn and by making sure 2019-20 and 2020-21 school do well in the classroom. But years. For classroom paraprostudents' needs for in the long term? Colorado fessionals, the turnover rate and the nation need to invest food, shelter and in education, he said. was 29% last year and 28% the Anna DeWitt, a teachyear before that. mental health er-turned-bartender, echoed We have your standard reare met. tirements every year. We are Gould’s statements. Of her 11having more people resign year career in education, she who didn't want to be vaccinated,” Nelson spent nine years teaching French at North High said. “So we, of course, we're going to have School but then left the profession this summer. She found the district's regular assessment turnover. “We're still seeing some of the best of her and other teachers demoralizing and numbers that we've seen.” A public health order from the city required too focused on educators’ deficits. In addition, all school employees to be vaccinated by Sept. it felt debilitating to be expected to fix soci30. The district’s progressive discipline process ety’s problems in the classroom, she said. In her new field, she works less and makes for non-compliant employees began Oct. 4 and could result in termination effective Jan. 2. more money, she said. “I'm infuriated (that) my value as a woman is Although it’s early in the process, Nelson said the district’s vaccination numbers are “pretty equal to giving people beer as to giving people high” so she doesn’t expect the vaccine man- education in a second language,” said DeWitt, date to play a large role in turnover. who believes teachers should be paid “a truly However, during the first six weeks of this competitive salary.” She worries about a world school year, 55 educators left the district and where education is so poorly valued. Nelson said it can be a challenge for the dis145 were on some form of leave, according to Rob Gould, president of Denver Classroom trict to compete against the private sector even Teachers Association. “That’s pretty sobering,” though it pays at market or even above market Gould said. Not a day goes by that the teach- rates for some of its positions. er's union or its partner organization, Colorado “Schools aren't heavily funded,” Nelson said. Education Association, doesn’t get a message “And so we can only go so high.”

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Before fully adopting a small animal, DAS recommends spending some time with them, both to make sure it’s a good fit and because people often cite allergies they discover as a reason to return a small animal. If you did purchase a small animal at a store, check with that store about their return policy before surrendering it to the shelter as well. The shelter also has more cats and dogs than usual too - about 20% and 50% more than 2019, respectively. If you’re not ready to commit to an animal in your life, you can foster an animal at your home until it’s adopted. Maybe you’ll want to keep it, or would enjoy having an animal stay for a few weeks without the long term obligations. The shelter is actively looking for foster homes and for volunteers to help onsite.

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November 15, 2021-December 14, 2021 | Page 19