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


Volume 2, Issue 6


March 15, 2021 -April 14, 2021

"Almost Feels Normal"

Live Music is Back in North Denver





With restrictions loosening, bars and music venues are beginning to open up more. The Hazel Miller Band (above) played at Monkey Barrel in Sunnyside on March 6. Dancing was still prohibited and attendees were required to keep a distance from the stage. Groups were seated at individual tables and masks were still required when not eating or drinking, but as numerous attendees said, the concert “almost feels normal” again. To read more about live music in North Denver, check out our new column on Page 8.

Changes Abound for North Denver’s Dangerous and Busy Street By Allen Cowgill

F ARTS & CULTURE Exhibit Space in LoHi PAGE 9


ederal Boulevard cuts right through the heart of North Denver. What started as a dirt road known as Highland Avenue and later Boulevard F, now moves 30,000-40,000 vehicles per day and the Route 31 RTD bus on the street has the fourth highest ridership in the system. 26% of Denver’s population lives in the neighborhoods surrounding the street.


As Denver and the surrounding cities continue to grow, there is tremendous pressure to move more and more people along the corridor. The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is looking to transport people more efficiently. Spokesperson Heather Burke said that “DOTI conducted a transit alternatives analysis for the corridor and looked at various options including: light rail, BRT, streetcar, and more.” Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, was chosen as the preferred option and will dedicate a lane of Federal to buses. BRT will increase the capacity to move up to 50,000 people per day on buses alone, according

to DOTI. The agency collected feedback from surrounding neighborhoods showing that people want improved transit times, better pedestrian and bike connections, and enhanced safety along the street. Burke indicated improvements could also “include adding transit signal priority as well as installing bus bulb-outs, which allow buses to stop and board passengers without leaving the travel lane.” Due to right of way constraints and ridership numbers, DOTI is only recommending that BRT go from South Denver to 20th Avenue and said they will look for opportunities for dedicated transit lanes and improvements north of 20th Ave with community input. Jill Locantore, Executive Director of the nonprofit Denver Streets Partnership, applauded the city for looking at BRT given it is a much more efficient way to move people. She points to Seattle as an example of a city that has invested in a high frequency bus transit network as an example of the success of this strategy. Locantore asserted that even though 100% of people won’t use buses, enough did in Seattle that

See FEDERAL, Page 12

Dog Hours in Parks PAGE 15


SMALL BUSINESS Nurture Small Business PAGE 7

Property Crime in NW Denver Rose Significantly in 2020

By Eric Heinz

Lumber Baron

Northside Writers


District 1 Police Seek to Bring Neighborhood Watches Back to Life






(Left): One of the earliest known photos of the street now known as Federal Blvd, believed to be taken between 1890 and 1910. (Right): Federal Blvd today.

hen Eileen Stewart noticed her car had been broken into, she was not expecting her garage to also be targeted. Her car and home were burglarized a few weeks after she had moved into her LoHi home. “They definitely had a truck or something with them,” Stewart said of the burglars. “The worst moment was looking up and seeing the garage opener gone.” Stewart said she did not take detailed inventory of what was left in the garage, but she said burglars took about $5,000 to $6,000 worth of property, leaving with fewer than 10 boxes that were marked “electronics.”

Leaving garage openers inside a vehicle is something DeStaffany said is at the top of her list of what she tells people not to do to prevent burglaries. Additionally, Stewart said she has had three boxes delivered to her porch in the last two years that were stolen. Since then, she installed a camera on her doorbell and a lighting system to the garage, but Stewart said even with the security devices it can be difficult to identify thieves. “You can’t really get a clear picture,” Stewart said. “With COVID, everyone has masks on, even the porch pirates.” According to the Denver Police Department, reports of vehicle break-ins with items taken from them increased from 759 in 2019 to 1,112 in 2020 — a 68% rise — in Northwest Denver’s District 1. Residential burglaries (for instances designated as “no force”) also rose from 259 in 2019 to 397 in 2020 in District 1. DPD stats also showed reported bicycle thefts in District 1 increased from 437 in 2019 to 663 in 2020. For January of this year, there were 32 reported bicycle thefts in the district. Data released by DPD on reported package thefts showed that in January 2020, 15 were reported stolen, but for the month of December 68 were reported stolen and another 33 were reported for January 2021. The statistics used in this article reflect crimes that have been report-

See CRIME, Page 14


Bike Lanes on Lowell Blvd. on Hold For Now By Denver North Star Staff



proposed bikeway on Lowell near Regis University is on hold while the city conducts more studies on the area. According to the city, “the span wire signals at 46th and 50th are not compatible with a two-way protected bike lane as was envisioned,” requiring them to create a different concept for the area. The city is working on new designs this spring and will likely have final designs later this year.



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Page 2 | March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021


Some Denver Public Libraries Reopening Now, Recreation Centers Soon to Follow By David Sabados After being closed to the public for nearly a year, some Denver public libraries are again open, including the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Library near Federal and Colfax. The first group of libraries reopened on March 9th as the first part of their phased reopening plan. “We are delighted to begin to reopen our locations to the public,” said Michelle Jeske, city librarian. “Our teams have been working hard behind the scenes to determine a safe way to provide the community with access to our spaces and resources.” Other locations, including the Woodbury and Smiley Branches in NW Denver, remain closed to browsing but are still offering curbside pickup. Smiley has also been undergoing renovations (more on that in our next issue) and the city hopes to reopen it as soon as work is completed. Denver public libraries are also continuing their expanded online programming for the time being. As locations reopen, they ask anyone who is not feeling well to stay home. Libraries will be enforcing social distancing and requiring all guests over the age of three to wear a mask when inside. For more information, visit denverlibrary.org. You can also call the Gonzales branch at (720) 865-2370. Meanwhile, Denver’s recreation centers are planning their own phased reopenings soon. Some rec centers are planning on opening in May, offering access to cardio and weight training areas by reservation only. Like libraries, reopening may look different at different locations; some rec centers are planning both indoor and outdoor activities at a reduced capacity, including Highland in May and potentially Rude in June. A welcomed update for many parents is that eight pools should be


The Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Library is one of the first in the city to reopen. opening this summer, including Berkeley (at Scheitler) and Globeville-Argo. Denver kept all pools shut during the summer of 2020. Scheitler is currently scheduled to fully open in August. Some fulltime rec center staff were redeployed to other departments last year, helping with COVID testing sites, staffing learning centers for DPS students who couldn’t study from home, and working on other projects as needed; most of them will now transition back. Since many employees are seasonal and did not work last year, the city will have to hire and (re)train enough employees to operate the facilities, so anyone interested in season work should keep an eye out for job postings.

Like the libraries, Denver rec centers are also continuing their expanded online programing for the time being and the public is encouraged to take advantage of online classes. Officials were quick to add that all reopening plans are contingent upon CDC guidance, CDPHE public health orders, and other regulations. In order for the city to continue to reopen, the public is reminded to continue to wear a mask when in public, continue social distancing, and otherwise take precautions to keep Denver’s COVID-19 infection rate from climbing. For more information on rec center reopenings as it becomes available, visit denvergov.org/Recreation.


“Where's the Beef, Governor?" Governor Polis not the First to Run Crossways with Colorado Beef Boosters


he famous media ecologist, Marshall McLuhan, aptly coined the phrase, "the medium is the message." McLuhan asks us to probe into DENNIS GALLAGHER not just the content of a particular message, but to look into the surrounding presentation of a message, almost becoming another important message in itself. This famous media rule certainly has a place in Governor Polis’ daring to step into the wet cow pie by declaring a "No beef days" in our beef-ridden state. Sometime Governor Jared Polis should take the grand staircase to the second floor of the Capitol. The second floor hosts the House and the Senate, the legislative floor in our tripartite government here in Colorado. During my 24 years in the Colorado House and Senate, I always tried to use the grand staircase up to my floor, the legislative floor. Midway up the stairs, in the middle of the largest, most beautiful red Pueblo marble, is mounted by a big brass plaque listing all the many governors who were Colorado cattlemen and members of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association. The medium of the message is clear: we are powerful and we were governors and we want to remind you of it in a dramatic way. I always stopped to admire the plaque, horrified as I was that those running the capitol building would allow for such spoilage of the grand staircase marble. I believe it was in the mid-1980's when

Governor Richard Lamm became the focus of fire and hot branding from the beef growers in our state. It was the annually designated Cattlemen's Day at the Capitol. Governor Lamm, an immigrant from Wisconsin, always invited the beef growers in attendance to lunch with him and the legislature at the mansion. It may have been a Friday in Lent and the old Catholic rule for meat abstention ruled the day for some. It may have been a French chef trying to bring a little delicate variety into the lunches at the governor's mansion. It may have been a gluten free gubernatorial staffer trying to watch fatty intake to slim down a waistline. I don't recall we ever found out what happened on the mansion staff side. But here is what did happen. When the beef growers and the legislators got to the lunch at the governor's mansion, the governor's invited guests were faced with steaming grilled salmon and spicy grilled trout. No beef. "Where's the beef, Governor?" sounded like a chorus reminiscent of an ancient Greek comedy. I felt like I was in a rerun of the Walter Mondale ad aimed at Gary Hart asking Gary, "Where's the beef?" Does anyone recall that ad? Ranching legislators and cattlemen turned their noses up at the grilled trout with buttered almonds and Scottish salmon about to be thrust on their elegant mansion plate ware. Growing up in a house where fish was served every Friday, I could not wait to dive into the steaming tender trout and crusty grilled salmon, even though it was Scottish.

Legislators and beef growers rudely handed kitchen staff back their plates and many walked out of the lunch implying they would never visit the old Boettcher mansion again. Not as long at that “mackerel-snapping governor called the shots at the mansion." The rage dragged on for days. I don't recall if there were calls for impeachment, but there were certainly threats of recall of the insensitive governor by thin-skinned beef growers. Rumors flew about the second floor of the capitol faster than geese at a Wyoming goose shoot, that the trout was not even Colorado trout. Editorials around the rural parts of our republic castigated him and skinned the gills off of Governor Lamm for being insensitive to beef's role in our state’s fragile economy. This year even the cow-punching wags over at the Great Western Stock Show shared that they thought Governor Polis declaring non-beef days in our state might endanger the future plans for expansion of the stock show. We might want to ask a good auditor to check those plans. I don't think we need a CPA for this. A performance review of the whole project might be helpful for the tax dollars allocated and spent given their slap at Polis whose support they should be seeking. Hope they check for cow pies. The Honorable Dennis Gallagher is a former city auditor, city councilman, state senator and state representative. He’ll be sharing thoughts and stories from North Denver’s past and future in his reoccuring column in The Denver North Star.

The Denver North Star


Iconic Lumber Baron Inn Back Open for Business By David Sabados


ooking for a romantic private dinner out? How about brunch? High Tea? Have out of town guests who want to stay somewhere nicer than your futon or want a staycation for yourself? Maybe you got engaged during lockdown and are looking for a beautiful Denver location to get married? The Lumber Baron Inn has something for you.


The Lumber Baron Inn is one of the oldest buildings in Denver. Old enough, in fact, that it was one of the prominent buildings in the City of Highlands before the area joined Denver (the Highland and West Highland neighborhoods owe their name to the former independent suburb

of Denver). Built in 1890 by lumber industry magnate John Mouat and his wife Amelia, it was originally a home for their family. The Mouats were part of a group of Scottish immigrants who were some of the first to settle in the area now known as the Potter Highlands in the 1860s, according to Phil Goodstein’s book “The Lumber Baron Inn: Denver’s Mystery Mansion.” Goodstein is a local historian who has written multiple books on the history of Denver. Fast forward close to a hundred years and few would expect the building would become a beautiful bed and breakfast. Cut into over 20 apartments, the building’s infrastructure was shot and the house was in foreclosure. It likely would have been torn down if it wasn’t for a 21-year-


Antique furniture and modern amenities blend together in The Lumber Baron's spacious rooms.

old North High School teacher who purchased it on April 1st, 1991. Walter Keller and his wife Maureen Coll purchased the dilapidated Mouat Mansion for $80,000 from the bank and began the process of renovating the building that would become the Lumber Baron Inn.


Today, the Lumber Baron Inn is owned and operated by Joel Bryant and his wife Elaine Britten-Bryant who purchased the property in 2016 (also on April 1st). Running the business with a small staff, they handle most of the day to day operations themselves, currently living on-site -- “in the dungeon”, Bryant joked about the basement. When COVID cases nationally made hosting guests from across the country too much of a risk, they made the same hard decision as many other small businesses: they shut their doors and waited. Closed for almost five months, they took the time to do more renovations and prepare for their reopening at the beginning of March. The Lumber Baron Inn is a bed and breakfast with five spacious rooms; they also host special events. Most weeks, that means Saturday and Sunday brunches. With current occupancy limits due to COVID-19, they seat three tables at a time. “There’s room for social distancing; we take that very seriously,” said Elaine Britten-Bryant. Reservations are usually required given the limited seating. Keeping with the Scottish history, you’ll find offerings like “Hadrian’s Wall” -- a savory bread pudding prepared with eggs, house lamb sausage, potatoes, green onions, and cheese. There’s also more


Like many other small businesses, The Lumber Baron closed their doors for several months during the pandemic, but are now inviting the community back in.

modern options like “Mom’s Avocado Sandwich,” which sounds suspiciously like the popular, and often mocked avocado toast, popular in new North Denver brunch spots. Dinners vary with new offerings each week. Joel Bryant now serves as head chef too. “I’ve been in restaurants my whole life,” he explained. Bryant said he grew up in the neighborhood when it was predom-

See BARON, Page 4


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March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021 | Page 3


No Motorized Boats on Sloan’s Lake This Year By Denver North Star Staff




3457 W. 32nd Ave. 303.571.1995

Highland COVID Survivor, Mom Starts Business To Deliver Books By David Sabados


he Denver Parks and Recreation department decided to continue a ban on motorized craft on Sloan’s Lake through 2021. Kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, and other “hand-launched” crafts will continue to be allowed. Denver Parks is conducting an environmental study of different recreational activities on the lake that they say will help them determine future uses.

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There Has Never Been a Better Time To Sell a House Than Right Now... Ever!

year ago, Kristi Pihl was one of the each month -- growth that’s nearly unfirst confirmed COVID-19 cases in heard of in the pandemic. Now she’s ready Colorado. A year later, she’s taking Twigge, for the national scene. Here’s how it works: her new book delivery company, national. • Sign up at Twigge.co (note web Think of Twigge like the early days address -- it’s .co, not .com) of Netflix on DVD: pick a book • Browse by experience and Twigge mails it to you. type, not just category: caRead it and send it back. sual reading in the park, The name Twigge comes emotional reads, etc. from the Middle English • Paperbacks are $6.99, spelling of the verb twig: Hardcover books are to understand the meaning of or comprehend. $8.99 • Mail the book back Last March, quarantined in her guest bedroom within 6 weeks away from her husband • Repeat. and son, Pihl was trying PHOTO COURTESY OF KRISTI PIHL • If you decide you love the book and want to keep it, to find activities to keep Kristi Pihl it’s $14. her occupied. After a week Pihl laughed when asked if she wants to of running a high fever she was mostly in the clear, but was still be the next Amazon.com, the biggest onsuffering the effects of the novel corona- line retailer in the world, that started out as virus. Looking for something to keep her- an online bookstore. “I'm not interested in self busy, she rekindled her love of books growing this business as big as it could be, and started reading. She said something get a lot of VC money, etc,” said Pihl. “This just clicked. is the company I want to own and operate.” “As I started to feel better, I took a look She hopes the business can help reach at ‘what was I really doing with my life’,” people who don’t have access to books at explained Pihl. “Am I really going back an affordable cost. While a Denver resident to what I was doing before?” In an era of much of her life, she grew up in rural Iowa screen addiction and concerns about time and saw the impact of closing libraries and spent online, Pihl says she believes the bookstores on smaller communities. The business to be a higher calling. “I’ve been last year has also highlighted the desire for a lover of the real book, libraries and book- more delivery services, which many exstores, my entire life.” perts say won’t go away when the pandemic She may be leaving her former corporate ends. For areas that do have brick and morlife but is putting those skills to use. Pihl tar bookstores and libraries, she thinks worked with both brick and mortar and they can meet a need to access popular online companies on how to enter the dig- books that are on wait lists, or simply add ital world, online sales platforms, product convenience. In addition to the few hunflow, and otherwise how to handle digital dred books currently aimed at adults, she’s sales. That background gave her the skill passionate about growing their children’s set she needed for her own startup and her picture book selection as well. “The value new mission. “How can I make books more of a real book in a child’s hands is immeasurable. Kids are spending enough time affordable, more accessible?” Twigge had a soft launch around Thanks- on screens.” To put it more succinctly, she giving -- mostly to her expanded network. hopes her business will “help people spend Three months later they’ve doubled their more time reading and less time tweeting.” You can read more at Twigge.co. inventory and doubled their customers


Continued from Page 3

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inantly Latino and Italian and you’ll find both of those influences in their offerings alongside the Scottish faire. Most years, they host quirky events like a Titanic themed dinner, where guests dress up and enjoy the same last meal as the passengers on the famous ship. In another month or so, they’ll likely be opening up their garden, a large space behind the house where they host other meals and special events, including weddings. There’s also a ballroom on the 3rd floor. The rooms themselves are beautifully and uniquely decorated -- it’s one of the few bed and breakfasts full of antiques. The “newest” bed is from 1941. Yes -they of course have modern mattresses, showers, and amenities, but the furniture itself is ornate in a way you won’t find many places. There’s too much about the building and business for a single article; it’s enough to write a book about (as Goldstein proved when he did), but if you’re looking for a little more to whet your appetite there’s a strong supernatural aspect as well. The building has been on nearly every list of haunted buildings in Denver. The new owners have both embraced that history but also not wanted to commercialize it too much, turning down TV shows focused on ghost hunting. Elaine Britten-Bryant herself is a spiritualist who does card reading, spellwork, and said she’s spent a lot of time working on the energy of the building.

“The house deserves peace and rest,” she explained. Numerous guests over the years have spoken of mysterious helpful staff who, it turns out, don’t exist and other apparitions. “It’s the sweetest haunting,” Britten-Bryant says of the building’s longtime spiritual residents. Whether or not you believe in spirits, the house seems to have a will of its own, defying the odds to even exist. The strange coincidence of April Fool’s Day sales, buyers willing to take on a challenging building when demolishing it would have been far easier, and the fact that the business operates under a unique agreement with the city. It’s a bed and breakfast, also offering meals and special events including weddings of up to 150 people...with no parking lot (the entire oversized property is the building and gardens). A new business with that model on that type of property would never make it through the gauntlet of city permitting and community input today. Bryant said city agency staff have always been helpful in helping them keep their unique business model going and they in turn use that ability to keep one of North Denver’s iconic buildings open to the public. Perhaps the spirits have some pull with the city. If you’re interested in making reservations for a room or meal, visit lumberbaron. com or call (303) 477-8205 If you’re interested in reading more about the building and it’s fascinating history, check out “The Lumber Baron Inn: Denver’s History Mansion” by Phil Goldstein, available at the recently reopened Denver Public Libraries or available at several local bookstores.

The Denver North Star


By Kathry


Northside Writers Reflect on Neighborhood: It’s Complicated By Kathryn White


he Denver North Star recently visearly united with a handful of writers who he’s ready call North Denver home. We set out to explore how the neighborhood influences them and their writing. If it’s true that (note web artists reflect our world back to us, then .com) we’ve struck the jackpot with an abunxperience dance of perspectives, characters, and egory: ca- themes to take in. From newer arrivals to the park, writers who have lived here for decades, we can see ourselves and our community s, etc. are $6.99, through their thoughtful eyes. ooks are

preciates neighborhood history (do you know about the Polish church in Globeville?), strong connections to the Chicano movement of the 1970’s, and groups like Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Akin to other artists, Acevedo is drawn to the details. He points to architecture and the quirky ways people make their place here, adapting homes built over a hundred years ago to today’s needs. At dusk, on a walk near his home, Acevedo notices the striking chandelier that hangs inside an older home.

Manuel Aragon was raised on the Northside and has lived less than two miles from his childhood home for the u love the last 16 years. He’s witnessed dramatic o keep it, change and admits to a complicated internal dialogue between the neighbore wants to hood he calls home today and the place ggest on- he misses from his earliest years. For ted out as Aragon, writing is an act of preservation. erested in It’s his way of rooting the Latinx comcould be, munity here where it has played—and Pihl. “This continues to play—a vibrant role in the operate.” arts, in politics, and beyond. elp reach Aragon embeds neighborhood history, books at stories, and myths into the settings and r resident storylines of his upcoming short story ural Iowa collection, Norteñas. During the panraries and demic—alongside family life and workities. The ing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop— desire for Aragon also launched into the first draft many ex- of a novel. One of his short stories, about pandemic a near future dystopia, kept growing. and mor- Aragon is working with an agent to sehe thinks cure a publisher for both projects. s popular Aragon notices when people emphamply add size the neighborhood’s Irish and Italian few hun- past, skipping over significant histoults, she’s ry connected to Mexican and Mexican children’s American communities. And he notices The value when the term “Northside” is dropped s immea- in favor of other names, specific neighugh time borhood names like Jefferson Park, nctly, she Sunnyside, or Sloan’s. Does this trend ple spend erase history? weeting.” MARIO ACEVEDO . Mario Acevedo moved to the Northside in 2012. Curious by nature, he seeks out the history of a place wherever he lives or visits. For Acevedo, a good writer is both sensitive to the people and places they are writing about and also a bit thickskinned. Despite decades putting out his own books and ghostwriting for others, Acevedo maintains there is always room to improve. Acevedo’s latest book, Luther, Wyoming, follows his Felix Gomez detective-vampire series and young adult humor thriller, University of Doom. Acevedo is proud to be part of North Denver’s community of writers. He ap-


ook back


Manuel Ramos’ 40 years on the Northside—added to a first career as an attorney—provides ample material for his Chicano noir crime fiction books. The North Denver of Ramos’ early years was populated by immigrants from Eastern Europe and Mexico alongside Italian and Irish communities. He “put his characters in the middle of it to see what would happen.” And? Eleven novels and a volume of short stories later, a mountain of keen observations have happened. Six of Ramos’ books spin tales of Chicano lawyer and former activist Luis Montez. Ramos’ eleventh novel, Angels in the Wind, available in April, takes Ramos’ newer protagonist, private investigator and ex-felon Gus Corral, from North Denver to Pueblo and out onto Colorado’s eastern plains. Ramos takes the long view and encourages others to do the same. He hopes newer residents will learn about neighborhood history, respect its roots, “You’re welcome here, you bring something. Find out about the history.”


A North Denverite for 8 years, Tameca Coleman’s experience as a writer intersects with neighborhood on sensory levels. Before moving closer to Sloan’s Lake from a place near Federal Boulevard, the constant drone of construction sounds led to efforts at finding music with the right combination of sounds to drown it out—and relieve the accompanying anxious feelings. Coleman feels lucky to have good landlords and rent they can make work. Yet they crave being around more young people and people of color. Coleman notices the neighborhood becoming less and less diverse and can point to times of feeling downright invisible. There are parts of the neighborhood where people seem to walk right through them. Coleman has adapted their writing practices to the rhythms of the past year and turned the corner into 2021 receiv-

ing exciting news: their debut book, an identity polyptych, will be available from The Elephants on the Salish Sea in September 2021. It’s a “multi-part, multigenre experimental work that explores familial estrangement, identity as a mixed-race Black person, and movement towards reconciliation.”

Manuel Ramos’ 11th book, Angels in the Wind, comes out in April.


Rudy Garcia has adopted fellow writer Paolo Bacigalupi’s credo “Give up on the adults!” After several adult stories and one novel, now under the byline R. Ch. Garcia, he turned his attention to young adults and children. Death Song of the Dragón Chicxulub, a coming-of-age fantasy story, comes out in May. The story follows Miguel Reilly, “a middle-class American with tenuous ties to his Irish-American roots who finds kinship in the worlds of the Chicano, Mexican, and Native American peoples.” How does 50 years of North Denver life express itself in Garcia’s writing? Early on, he developed his craft under the late Ed Bryant, the legendary SciFi and Horror writer who lived in North Denver. Garcia’s work also draws on his experiences as a former teacher at Remington and Valdez elementary schools, and his pastimes of woodworking, gardening, and befriending wild birds who frequent his yard. Garcia’s short story “Mr. Sumac” riffs imaginatively on the neighbor we all know—the one who takes things just a step too far. Back in real life, Garcia knows each of his neighbors—including the dogs—by first name. His advice for our readers? Invite people over. Set up a front patio. Enjoy a beer and talk. It’s advice that takes us back to where we left off with Manuel Aragon. To Aragon, love of neighborhood is transferred through story. If we get to know our neighbors—especially the ones who’ve lived here a while—we’ll hear some amazing stories and perhaps fall even further in love with the rich and complicated place we call ___________.

Illustration of the Battle in Mexico City's sewers, pivotal chapter in Death Song of the Dragón Chicxulub, coming out in May

Mario Acevedo’s Western novel, Luther, Wyoming, co-authored with Tomas Alamilla, comes out in April.

North Denver is home to dozens of writers. Ask a local bookseller or librarian to guide you to their books. Mario Acevedo http://www.marioacevedo.com Manuel Aragon https://www.manuelaragon.com Tameca Coleman https://linktr.ee/sireneatspoetry Rudy Ch Garcia https://www.rchgarcia.com Manual Ramos http://www.manuelramos.com

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4624 Clay Street 3125 W 45th Avenue 4223 Osceola Street 2615 W 40th Avenue 3615 Bryant Street 4511 Federal Boulevard 4161 Julian Street 4520 Julian Street 3122 Perry Street 3126 Perry Street 2539 W Caithness Place 4543 Meade Street 3641 Stuart Street 3121 W 45th Avenue 3716 Quivas Street 2241 W 34th Avenue 3894 Meade Street


3424 Wyandot Street 3337 Shoshone Street 3820 Newton Street 3231 Julian Street 2435 Decatur Street 2632 Utica Street 2425 Decatur Street 2750 W 40th Avenue 2111 Eliot Street 3347 Meade Street 3317 Newton Street Address 1628 W 38th Avenue 3319 Newton Street 4715 Beach Court 3958 Mariposa Street 3378 W Clyde Place

Elizabeth Clayton 303.506.3448 EClayton@NostalgicHomes.com The Denver North Star


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3921 Raleigh Street 2945 Yates Street 3705 Raleigh Street 3351 Newton 4201 Quivas Street 3705 Lowell Boulevard 3546 Stuart Street 3706 Newton Street 3360 Quivas Street 3156 W 20th Avenue 3738 Raleigh Street 5185 Raleigh Street 3736 Raleigh Street 3231 Julian Street 3315 Newton Street 3087 W Highland Park Pl 2611 Yates Street

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JeanSunn@NostalgicHomes.com March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021 | Page 5


North and West Denver Councilmembers Split on $694,764 DPD New Car Contract By Denver North Star Staff


orth and West Denver’s councilmembers were split on a contract to approve the purchase of 18 new Chevy Tahoes for the Denver Police Department, with At-Large members Ortega and Kniech and District 1 Councilwoman Sandoval voting in favor. District 3 and 9 councilwomen Torres and CdeBaca voted against during the March 8 meeting. DPD and supporters said the department needed new “pursuit vehicles.” Answering a question about why the department is purchasing large, inefficient vehicles for urban use, department representatives said there are no electric vehicles currently on the market that meet their need and that smaller sedans have also been discontinued by manufacturers. The contract was approved.

Sloan’s Lake Area Church Property Sold, Single Family Homes Planned By Denver North Star Staff


church at 27th and Utica has been sold to Blvdway Communities, a Denver-based homebuilder. The former church has been mostly unused since 2019 and is around 70 years old. The majority of the neighborhood around the site is also single family homes. The property is over 1.5 acres and ten single family homes are expected to be built on the site.


Organization Encourages Homeowners to Open Up Extra Rooms to Create Income, Help Housing Crisis By Abigail Seaberg


oward Cole is in search of a housemate. A 70-year-old retiree, Cole has his reasons, but they’re not rooted in finances. Above all else, he’s looking for company. Cole had successfully found housemates in the past, but this time didn’t go as planned. He tried an online renting site, but his efforts resulted in the brief stay of an untrustworthy housemate. “I live alone, and I never really want to live alone,” Cole said. “I started thinking I really need somebody in the middle to screen.” And that’s when he stumbled upon Open Up, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the affordable housing crisis in Colorado with the homeshare model. “In Denver, as of 2018, there was a need for 90,000 affordable units,” Open Up’s Executive Director Andy Lyde said. “Interestingly, an independent study done by John Burns Real Estate Consulting found that there are at least 442,000 unused and available empty bedrooms in people’s homes in Denver alone.” Open Up capitalizes on this information by matching employed people in need of housing within career development programs with homeowners willing to share their extra space. Beyond vetting all participants, Open Up also offers conflict resolution services and supports the renters in their housing and economic stability goals. The nonprofit does not accept anyone with violent or sex offenses on their record, but they strive to give people struggling within the housing market a fighting chance. “Maybe somebody has an eviction on their record, maybe somebody has a mis-

demeanor on their record from a previous time in life, and that’s preventing them from getting housing in a tight market,” Lyde said. “And so the organization case manager will reach out to us, give us a referral, and if they meet our basic requirements there, then we send them the full application and kind of take over.” The nonprofit currently operates within the Metro Denver area, so all of the referral partners serve this area as well. These organizations include Mile High Youth Corps, Activate Workforce Solutions, Cross Pur-




OF HOUSEMATES LEAVE AT THE SIX-MONTH MARK pose and Hope House Colorado, among others. These programs give participants the best chance for success with Open Up, according to Lyde, because the affordable housing crisis is “twofold.” “It’s not just the cost of living, but it's the income that you can earn,” Lyde said. “So people who are addressing both sides of that at the same time are more likely to be successful in our program.” Both home providers and home seekers

must fill out applications. The questions detail housing history and preferences including price, location, smoking, pets, alcohol, children, etc. They also try to match people with similar conflict resolution styles. Once a good potential match is found, Open Up initiates a meeting. If both parties choose to match from there, Open Up will support the drafting of a lease. Rent usually falls around $600 a month. “Somebody who earns between 30 and 50 percent area-median income can afford between $560 and $930, give or take, in their rent and their household costs,” Lyde said. “So we try to keep that range between $600 and $800.” Homeowners can opt for a month-tomonth or longer term lease, but Open Up considers a six-month stay a successful exit from the program. Lyde estimates that 77 percent of housemates leave at the six-month mark. “One of our first matches is going on three plus years now, so it’s a great situation for everybody involved,” Lyde said. “Other matches… they need an affordable and stable space for an amount of time to help them get to that next level in their self-sufficiency.” Cole is only just beginning the process, but already has a potential match to meet with. “Most people that age probably aren’t looking for anybody, but I’m more personable and so I like having people around,” Cole said. “It saves you some time and doesn't cost you any money, and then, in the end, you're also helping somebody else.” For more information about Open Up, go to https://letsopenup.org/.

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The Denver North Star


Nurture is Taking the Wholistic Wellness Ecosystem of North Denver Up a Notch stions de-


es includs, alcohol, ch people yles. Once Open Up

hile the Denver office vacancy rate reached its highest levels in over a decade, there’s one place in North Denver having no atch from NINA BERNARDIN issue filling space. e drafting Even if you haven't visited Nurture, und $600nestled next to Saint Dominic's Catholic Church on Federal, you may have noticed 30 and 50the artwork on the outside of the recently afford be-renovated building. I first approached the e, in theirbuilding prepared to try out a new health Lyde said.conscious cafe, but at Nurture you will find ween $600much more than a healthy lunch. Let’s start at the beginning. In 2018, month-to-founders Peter Strauss, Dr. Nikki Dority, Open Upand Kelly Campbell had a vision: what if successfulthere were a space where people could meet estimatesall their self-care needs under one roof? ave at theThree years and a global pandemic later, Nurture has gone above and beyond that g on threemission expanding into what they call a ion for ev-"community-based wellcare marketplace". her match-Today, it houses over 70 independent beauty, able spacewellness, healthcare, and lifestyle businesses em get toin addition to their café, event space, ncy.” movement space, infrared sauna, Himalayan the pro-salt room, and even childcare services. match to While the first floor houses the childcare center, Nest café, a rentable movement room, bly aren’trentable event space, and a few retail lifestyle re person-stores, the upstairs is a maze of small offices around,”rented by independent providers. Taking time anda stroll through the office space feels a bit hen, in thelike Disneyland for the health-conscious y else.” Denverite. There are black doors on your left pen Up, goand right with the names of different local businesses or professional practitioners on it: acupuncturists, psycho-therapists, intuitive healers, physician’s assistants, pediatricians, and even an entire toxin-free hair salon. Need micro-needling? A haircut? Botox? Lunch? You’ve come to the right place.

Even as the vacancy rates at Denver office spaces are at record highs, Nurture has filled every single one of its offices and has a waitlist of providers hoping to get in. “I think of our space at Nurture as a place to do outreach and connect with like-minded people” said Martin Hinsen, one of the 70 providers at Nurture and an instructor at Herbalism Roots. “Our students get to learn and engage here… It’s one thing to study herbalism from books, but it’s a new level of learning and integration when you apply it to real people’s issues.” He went on to say that oftentimes practitioners on the floor will walk their clients to the apothecary. The space’s mission attracts like-minded, healthfocused professionals and works as a natural referral system, supporting the ecosystem of health and wellness practitioners in Denver. It goes without saying that the space, though bustling, is carefully distanced and COVID-safe. After a year of remote work and countless hours in my home, it is refreshing to witness moments of synchronicity as providers and lunch-goers worked, planned and connected with each other. If you’re interested in dipping a toe in, recommitting to your 2021 health goals, or exploring a list of the providers in the space, you can browse a full list of providers at www.visitnurture.com/all-providers or take a look at their calendar of in-person and virtual events. As our community reemerges from a year of pandemic-life, Nurture is poised to become an even deeper place of mental, physical, and emotional healing for the North Denver community.

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Sexual Assault Prevention Organization Names New ED, Looks to Future By Abigail Seaberg career cannot simply be a daily chore for Megan Carvajal. “I really value people who can go to work and just do a job and go home,” Carvajal said. “But, for me, I live my work.” This sentiment is not the norm for the average working adult, but organizations like The Blue Bench rely on employees with this type of dedication to carry out its ever-important mission. The Blue Bench is Metro Denver’s only comprehensive sexual-assault prevention and survivor support center. The nonprofit recently named Carvajal as its new Executive Director. And this will not be Carvajal’s first position within sexual assault and domestic violence organizations. In fact, both she and her wife have been working within these fields for most of their careers. “The Blue Bench is working towards ending sexual violence, and that resonates with me on so many levels,” Carvajal said. “It was just a good fit that I couldn't pass up... I really felt called to say yes.” The nonprofit works to end sexual violence through a wide variety of services including prevention programming, advocacy, and low or no-cost therapy services. The Blue Bench also offers case-management services to help survivors deal with the aftermath of an assault. If a survivor misses work while dealing with the trauma of an assault, for example, the nonprofit will help them get rental assistance if needed. These services also include post-conviction victim advocacy which gives a voice to survivors whose perpetrators are on probation. In

The Denver North Star

these cases, The Blue Bench will serve as a liaison between law enforcement and the survivor, ensure the perpetrator is following the required course of action and report back to the survivor regarding progress being made throughout probation. In response to the pandemic, The Blue Bench has had to limit its prevention offerings, but the high school program, Uniting in Action: Creating a Culture to Prevent Sexual Violence, has continued virtually. It also normally offers a Safe Bars program. This program trains staff of alcohol-serving establishments on how to be active bystanders and step in when they notice a risky situation. Sloan’s Lake Tap & Burger was among the local restaurants to go through training before the pandemic. Carvajal is hopeful that once Denver begins to open up again, she can lead the nonprofit in an innovative direction regarding the delivery of its services. “We have an opportunity to think about if we should be doing things the same way we’ve always done them,” Carvajal said. “Are we truly an all in-person organization, and does that limit us in how we can really serve the community?” On top of exploring the possibilities of expanded access, Carvajal also hopes to actively pursue anti-racism and anti-oppressive practices. Director of Communications David Proper said Carvajal would help them reach traditionally underserved members of the community.

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See PREVENTION, Page 14 March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021 | Page 7


Stage Being Set for North Denver Music Scene’s Comeback


n March 13, 2020, ticket holders to “Lucha Libre and Laughs” at the 800-person capacity Oriental Theater were sent a message that many other Denver entertainJON AMAR ment-goers had received that week: the event had been cancelled. The COVID-19 pandemic was just days away from being recognized as a public health crisis, and news reports about quarantines, closures, infections, and deaths were swirling around the nation. Oriental Theater co-owner Scott Happel said he was on his way back from Santa Fe, NM when he and his team realized that COVID-19 was here to stay. “We made the call Friday morning (the 13th) to shut down, so we didn’t have any shows that weekend,” he said. “And then Monday is when everything was shut down by the State.” Come July, music venue restrictions were eased, and by August the Oriental was holding smaller weekly shows as part of their “Safe Sound Series.” While these 50-person, socially-distanced seated shows were a far cry from the multiple full capacity shows they were hosting on a near-daily basis in years past, it was just enough to keep their doors relatively open. “What I’ve taken to saying a lot over the past year is, ‘It’s not about making money, it’s about losing less money,’” said Happel. After music venues were shut down again in October, Happel launched a “Friend of the O” fundraiser, which raised $50,000 through the sale of branded t-shirts, buttons, stickers, and general donations. This helped them get through November, December, and most of January. Despite it all, the Oriental is not going away anytime soon. In January, the City once again eased restrictions on the beloved music venue, which is now legally allowed to have 100-per-

son socially-distanced seated shows based on the City’s Social Distancing Calculator. The Oriental is filling up their event calendar with local musicians who are thrilled to be back on the stage. Happel also expects the City’s social distancing rule to be removed this summer, for the venue to increase to 50 percent capacity, and for national touring acts to take the stage as soon as this Fall. The Oriental may have gotten lucky due to its sheer size, name recognition, and diehard community support. But other venues, such Tennyson’s Local 46, have taken a different approach to navigating the pandemic. Instead of looking outward, Local 46 co-owner Niya Gingerich decided to look inward. Equipped with one of the largest beer gardens in the city, the venue shut its doors in March and stayed closed for nearly an entire year. During this time, their landlord was under contract with a real estate developer who wanted to buy Local 46’s property, as well as some adjacent lots. However, Local 46’s lease was about to expire and Gingerich felt that the development deal, coupled with the pandemic, created an ideal moment to rethink the business. “Our original ten-year lease would have been expiring this year anyway,” she said. “The timing all lined up” to live out what she called Local 46’s “final season” before moving the entire operation from 4586 Tennyson Street to 3890 W 38th Avenue under a new name, Local 38. While Local 46 has remained closed, her current landlord has allowed them to keep all of their equipment onsite and even approved them for a short-term lease, from April to October, to do a “popup reopening” for the summer. Local 46 recently applied with the City for an outdoor cabaret license so they can do as many live performances as possible before

moving into their new location in November. “That gives us a little more time to build out Local 38, which we are in the beginning process of permitting and planning and all of that,” said Gingerich. “We really want to recreate everything we had going at Local 46.” There will be some changes though. Unlike Local 46, Local 38 will not have any outdoor shows due to the conditions of the Board of Adjustment’s approval for the new build-out. Gingerich cited the City’s concern for the new venue’s residential neighbors. They will still have a beer garden, but no outdoor live music. If everything goes according to plan, Gingerich plans on hosting five nights of live music at Local 38 starting this November. The indoor shows will be capped at 70 with current social distancing guidelines. In the meantime, Local 46 fans can enjoy the venue’s final outdoor shows all summer. “I think that music will be back on a larger scale in the Fall [...] but I think that even in the Summer you’ll see some shows come back under local guidelines,” said Brandy Sachen, the city director of Sofar Sounds, a popup concert community in Denver with a global presence. Known for throwing unconventional concerts in living rooms, cafes, and rooftops, Sofar Sounds has halted all live shows in Denver for nearly a year. But Sachen thinks outdoor spaces, even in the colder months, will be key for keeping the music alive. “One thing that I’ve really enjoyed is watching venues and watching business get creative. Like really having to adapt to keeping business running in winter in outdoor spaces,” she said, continuing that heated tents and chic igloos are likely here to stay since “they aren’t scaring people off.” Prior to the pandemic, Sofar Sounds was hosting more than 25 shows per month around Denver. They have not yet announced

when live, in-person shows would return, but they have dedicated many resources to live-streamed concerts, as well as cash grants to Denver musicians whose livelihoods have been jeopardized by the concert restrictions. The pandemic, however, has created new opportunities for emerging Denver artists. Platt Park resident Micki Balder used her time during the pandemic to lean into her musical aspirations and record and release her first single, “Land to Build a Home On.” “Debuting as an artist during COVID has been fun and weird and hard,” said Balder. “I feel like all this free time has allowed me to really dive into recording, and given me the brain space to start thinking a little more seriously about my music and where I want to go with it.” Balder would like to have an album release show once she finishes her full EP, but there is no certainty around the timing as she, and music lovers, wait to see what happens later this year. “I’ve been so impressed by how our scene has banded together to support each other, to support our venues, to keep music going in whatever way we can, and my hope is that we all come out of this even more appreciative of what great local music we have here in Denver.” Editor’s Note: Thanks for reading our new column focused on music and entertainment in North Denver. As venues begin to open again, we’ll expand our coverage to keep you in the know! Jon Amar, a North Denver resident, covers music for The Denver North Star. His career has taken him from the halls of the U.S. House of Representatives as a speechwriter to the local startup scene as a technology entrepreneur. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated cum laude from California State University, Long Beach with a B.S. in Political Science.

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The Denver North Star




The Five Wounds North Denver Artist Opens Exhibit Space in LoHi


n Las Penas, a small town in New Mexico, thirty-three year old Amadeo Padilla has been chosen to play Jesus in a Holy Week reenactment of the crucifixion HANNAH EVANS put on by the Los Hermanos Penitentes. Unemployed, struggling with a drinking addiction, and living with his mother, what Amadeo lacks in ambition he somewhat makes up for with his eagerness to gain attention and impress those around him, though his effort garners various results. While Amadeo is busy building his cross for the upcoming role and practicing his acting faces alone in the shower, Angel, his pregnant teenage daughter, shows up on his doorstep, weeks away from delivery. In Kirstin Valdez Quade’s shining debut novel, “The Five Wounds,” each character is beautifully developed into someone who is worth cheering for one minute and rolling your eyes at the next. Amadeo is initially annoyed at the distraction his daughter creates from his upcoming redemption, but Angel’s determination and her hilariously direct manner with her formerly notso-present father forces Amadeo to turn his attention from himself to his growing family. His loving and selfless but ultimately enabling mother, Yolanda, shifts from rushing to Amadeo’s constant aid to silently struggling with her own challenges, while Angel’s recently strained relationship with her own mother has thrust her into her father’s care. Supporting characters are also brought to life masterfully, such as Angel’s young teacher who inspires her student’s overwhelming but somewhat misplaced devotion and Amadeo’s “lonely, loveable curmudgeon” of a great uncle who picks him for the role of Jesus. Valdez Quade’s writing is oftentimes funny in the face of stressful and depressing situations, successfully drawing on the all-too-familiar feeling of “if I weren’t laughing, I would be crying.” Alongside her sometimes biting humor, her writing is also frequently thoughtful, poetic, sharp-witted, and sweet. While “The Five Wounds” is a lengthier read, the opportunity to get to know and appreciate Amadeo, his family, and all their endearing qualities as well as their anger, frustration, and embarrassment is worth savoring. “The Five Wounds” will be available later this month, but you can put a hold on it now through denverlibrary.org.

The Denver North Star

By Jill Carstens


rtists Michael Dowling and Brett Matarazzo attended the same Denver high school back in the day, but they weren’t friends until 3 years ago when mutual friends suggested they meet “because they were both artists.” A partnership was born and like any successful collaboration, Dowling and Matarazzo bring different skills to the table. Their most recent project being BRDG, an acronym of their names and, also, conveniently, a possible abbreviation of “bridge” which indicates the location of their new pop-up gallery just under the Highlands’ Pedestrian Bridge. Through Matarazzo’s resourcefulness they have procured this space as a 6-month donation from Unico Properties. The historic property at 1553 Platte Street boasts a spacious 4000 square feet where the collaborative can accommodate up to 3 exhibits at a time. Dowling and Matarazzo will not have trouble filling these spaces during their tenure, as their art roots run deep in the city. This month’s offering features unique takes on photography. Brett Fox’s series of faces is interpreted through experimental photographic processes in the front gallery. A group show including Justin Beard, Ethan Jantzer, and Devvon Simpson, showcases equally unique photography techniques and perspectives presented through unexpected means such as the microscope, the photogram method, and slides that change as the light in the room evolves through the day. “Process” is also a theme this month as Dowling and Matarazzo will open up the back gallery as an active studio while they begin on, collaborate with, and finish several works of art. Visitors are invited to watch as the artists work. “We want art to be accessible and bringing folks in this way cultivates community and active discussions,” says Matarazzo. Dowling offers that revealing their processes also helps to dispel the myth that there is some sort of “secret magic” in creating art, “It’s hard work, actually.” The two clearly make a great partnership, yet their artistic styles couldn’t be further apart. Dowling’s contemporary paintings are heavily influenced by classical methods influenced by his time in Italy. Matarazzo has an advertising/graphics background and makes use of reclaimed surfaces with photo transfers to convey unique messages. Juxtaposed side by side in this studio/exhibit space, it will be interesting to see how they influence one another. Their finished works will be presented at a reception Friday, March 26, 5-10pm. Additionally, the BRDG Project will soon add a Museum Store, a nod to their major museum counterparts, which


Properly distanced viewers enjoy the delightful collection of found object sculpture and photograms by Ethan Jantzer, Brett Fox's Time, Space & Face exhibit and Devvon Simpson's microscopic images. will feature small works, studies, and prints at moderate price points, providing further accessibility to contemporary art. The project space is open during the weekdays Mon-Wed by appointment or chance, Thursday, 1-7 pm, Friday 1-9 pm, Saturday 11am-8 pm and Sunday 12-4pm. All city and state social distancing requirements are adhered to. Appointments can be made by instant messaging Facebook or Instagram @BRDGproject.

March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021 | Page 9


Reflecting on the Covid Class of 2021 Parents, Educators, CW Sandoval

Voice Support for City Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

By Shaina Walsh


n the 365 days it’s taken us to travel around the sun, we, as a community, have seen our world completely turned upside down. The days of large parties or simple hugs are so far behind us that even our rearview mirrors miss the sights they once held. Each person has been forced into this reality and watched its determinants affect us. We all have our own stories from this yeartriumphs and teardownsbut overall, we have created and faced a brave new world. As a member of one of the youngest generations in the Northside family, I’ve experienced it through the lens of a student. Over the past year, I have spent countless hours trapped behind a screen. We reflected on our collective COVID journey in a deep body of work called “Covid-19 Through the Distorted Looking Glass,” which features our year through poetry, film, music, and art. While it reflected the whole senior class, it was an oddly solo experience. Learning through lectures without the aid of my mentors and peers, I have had lots of time for self-reflection on being a senior. This was supposed to be our year. We have worked hard through our primary education journey while teachers helped cultivate us as future leaders and built a memory bank for our futures. The one universal goal that every student craves are the eccentric stories from their senior year. It's a time to enjoy the remnants of your childhood before you embark on the greatest adventure of your lifeadulthood. During your senior year you do all the things high school represents as your greatest memories, such as homecoming parades, class royalty, senior sunrise, runs, pranks, ditch days, prom, and ultimately graduation. COVID has stripped the class of 2021 from these final moments; forcing us into a reality no 17-year-old was ready to face. In many ways, our high school days ended with the sunset on March 13, 2020. Many of us became despondent or detached. The most heart-wrenching fact has been that, as a community, we have become so numb to our reality that we no longer look around to see the pain that our children and peers are facing. Just like the sea sweeps up unsuspecting sand from the shore we have let our emotions go in the same manner. Sometimes heartbreak is too much to handle. It is easier to feel nothing than to feel at all, but at the same time when we become void, we forget what it means to be human. I implore you to let your-

By Kathryn White


self feel. Feel the loss of the life you once knew, feel sorry for those you lost, feel tired of the circumstances, really just feel anything at all. Yet when you're done feeling those pains I hope you can remember all the wonderful things that have occurred this year, as well. You could never see the stars without the night sky. In other words, there is always light in the dark. So shine a light on all those moments that have made you laugh until your breath has run out, the extra time of being with family, the generosity of community, the socially distanced walks around the lake, a Snapchat with friends that made you smile until your jaw ached, the happiness you felt when your grandmother or teacher was vaccinated, and those moments that have made you sit back and thank whatever you believe in, that you are still alive. We are far from ending this journey but we mustn’t forget that we are never alone. The Northside community will always be there to pick up its fallen members. If there's one thing we can all do to aid in this daunting process it is to try to better understand those around us and help one another see the better part of every day. With a little extra love and a lot of extra care, I have no doubt that we will make it through this passing storm. The future may be a mystery, but one thing is certain. Northsiders are fighters and rest assured we will fight to see a greater day. To see “Covid-19 Through the Distorted Looking Glass,” check out this story online at www.DenverNorthStar.com. Shaina Walsh is a Senior at North High School. Publishers Note: We acknowledge how difficult this year has been for students, and particularly the Senior Class of 2021. Plans are underway to bring some joy to the students through their final semester. If you have unique ideas or are willing to donate food, money, experiences, safe large spaces, or time to celebrate our North High School Seniors please reach out to bashacohen@gmail.com. It takes a village. Thank you.


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enver City Council’s public comment time detecting when students vape. session opened March 1 with a mother Reyes worries about the long-term efsharing about her high schooler’s addiction fects of getting hooked on nicotine, and he to e-cigarettes. The teen vaped for the first hopes the education and support to reduce time with friends at school in September teen vaping carries over into the entire range 2017. By December, she was stealing money of substances he knows kids have access to from her brother and parents to buy pods these days. “We want to provide more eduand nicotine juice from friends. By April, cation around any substance that can cause the 15-year-old was using 2-3 pods a day— them harm.” Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval wholethe equivalent of 40-60 cigarettes—in flavors like mango, crème brûlée, peach, and heartedly supports the proposed ordinance, blue raspberry. She “I plan to champion this issue and encouldn’t go an hour LOOKING TO QUIT? courage the Mayor without a puff. And and my colleagues the teen had no trouMY LIFE, MY QUIT™ ble hiding the habit on the council to Operated by National Jewish Health from her parents join me in doing Text “Start My Quit” to 36072 until late April 2018, the same. I want my Call 1.855.891.9989 when a teacher from constituents to know MyLifeMyQuit.com school called home that the health and The online program is open to to talk about his sussafety of our kids anyone age 12-17, no permission picions. is my top priority. Two more parents, from a parent/guardian is required, They say leadership and it’s completely confidential. volunteers with Paris not about doing ents Against Vaping what’s popular, but SMOKEFREETXT FOR TEENS e-cigarettes (PAVe), doing what is right. spoke that night in Operated by National Cancer Institute Well in this case we Text “QUIT” to 47848 favor of banning the can do both. We can Teen.smokefree.gov implement an oversale of all flavored whelmingly suptobacco products in THIS IS QUITTING ported policy and do the City and County Operated by truth initiative® right by our youth. of Denver. Text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 I’d like to see this isAccording to Flavors Hook Kids, 81% sue introduced to the of kids who use toSafety Committee bacco started with a before the end of the flavored product. And there are over 15,000 month. It is time to act. We cannot afford to e-cigarette flavors available. The most re- wait any longer.” cent Healthy Kids Colorado survey—drawn Over 300 localities across the country, inon data gathered during the 2019 school cluding five cities in Colorado (Aspen, Boulyear—revealed that 26% of teens surveyed der, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, and had vaped within the previous 30 days, and Snowmass Village), currently prohibit the sale 46% had tried it at some point. Those results of flavored tobacco products. Loveland will were similar to data from 2015 (when the be voting in March on an ordinance that has survey began asking about vaping) and 2017, been under consideration there since the fall. though in 2019 more teens who reported using e-cigarettes also reported trying to quit, OTHER RECENT MEASURES AIMED and a higher number of teens now say they’re AT DECREASING TEEN TOBACCO USE aware of the risks. In Colorado, the minimum age for purThe Office of the U.S Surgeon General details a particular risk to teens: because ado- chasing any tobacco or nicotine product has lescent brains are developing synapses more increased from 18 to 21 years. In July 2020, rapidly than adults, they can also become Governor Polis signed a “Tobacco 21” bill addicted more easily. And the nicotine itself into law, enhancing enforcement provisions changes the way synapses are formed, harm- and holding retailers accountable for unlawing parts of the brain that control attention ful sales. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is required to and learning. A December 2020 poll of Denver voters conduct two compliance checks per retailer conducted by Campaign for Tobacco-Free each year. And in Denver, starting January Kids, American Heart Association, and Kai- 1, 2021, retailers are required to hold a Retail ser Permanente found that 65% of respon- Tobacco Store License. They cannot sell todents, across all districts and demographics, bacco products within 1,000 feet of a school, supported an ordinance to prohibit the sale city-owned recreation centers or city-owned outdoor pools. of flavored tobacco products across Denver. And then, in November 2020, 67% of And now the effort has the backing of 24 principals in Denver middle schools and Colorado voters approved Proposition EE, a high schools—including leaders at North ballot issue referred by the Colorado GenerHigh School and Skinner and Lake middle al Assembly. It increases taxes on cigarettes schools. Dino Reyes Jr., Dean of Culture at and begins taxing nicotine vape products. Lake Middle School, has seen more vaping in Starting January 1, 2021, nicotine vape prodthe last 4-5 years of his 11 years with Denver ucts are taxed at 30%, increasing to 62% in Public Schools. Student vaping is considered 2027. In 2024, a portion of State revenue a Type 1 infraction, treated with a call home. from this tax will fund programs to decrease Like parents, school staff have a really hard youth tobacco use.


with her husband, Kevin, and their sweet, little dog, Lucy.

Dennis Gallagher Launches Podcast

Helped over 500 families sell/buy

By Denver North Star Staff

homes in the metro area for over 20 years.

Dennis Gallagher, who may hold a record for number of titles in Colorado, is adding another one: podcast creator. The former Auditor, City Councilman, State Senator, and State Representative has started a podcast talking about everything ranging from his insights into history to the "blood

Compass is a real esate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. This is not intended to solicit property already listed.

Page 10 | March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021

sport" of politics. If you're looking for more information from North Denver's most famous loquacious statesman than his word count restricted column in The Denver North Star permits him, you can find his podcast on YouTube at "Gallagher's World."

The Denver North Star


oval A Regis University Student’s Guide to Denver Dining By Carly Compesi

Open for Personal Training


McCoy’s Diner - McCoy’s Diner quickly became a staple of my collegiate experience upon my arrival to Regis University. This diner is on Federal just a block away from the school, which made it easy to walk there with my friends at night. It has a classic diner menu, and their cinnamon rolls are uniquely gigantic. Though McCoy’s is no longer open 24 hours, they are offering limited indoor dining for those who want to give it a try. Brooklyn’s Finest Pizza - Brooklyn’s Finest Pizza is just across the street from Regis University and makes for an easy lunch, dinner, or late-night snack. Regis University students can also receive a discount with their student ID. In my opinion, it beats out a few of the pizza chains, but I guess you’ll have to taste it to find out for yourself. Dine in, pickup, and delivery options are available. Las Tortugas - According to my friends, you cannot go wrong at Las Tortugas. They serve a wide variety of sandwiches and each one sounds amazing. They also have horchata and aguas frescas available. It’s a bit longer of a drive for Regis students compared to the other restaurants listed but they have delivery options as well as pick-up.


Sushi Hai - One of my friends’ favorite dinner spots is Sushi Hai, which is located on 32nd and Lowell. This restaurant offers both variety and affordability, making it perfect for a college student. My friends recommend the rocket roll, which has tuna, spicy mayo, cucumber, avocado, tempura flakes, eel sauce, and sriracha. Sushi Hai currently offers pick-up via online ordering. The Noshery - The Noshery’s convenient location at the corner of Lowell and Regis Boulevard makes it an easy spot for Regis

students to grab a morning latte or a fresh slice of banana bread. I especially like their lemon poppyseed bread and chai tea latte. The magic of this little cafe continues on their back wall, which displays products from local artists and businesses. The “Nosh” is currently open for indoor and outdoor dining, pick-up, and to-go options. Atomic Cowboy (Denver Biscuit Company and Fat Sully’s) - Atomic Cowboy has already gained the attention of national television networks, and of course, the local college population. For an inexpensive, extra-large, and extra delicious slice of Fat Sully’s pizza, stop at the window near the storefront. For savory and sweet dishes on biscuits, enter Denver Biscuit Company. My personal favorite is the Dahlia sandwich. Dine in, delivery, and pick-up options are available.


Little Man Ice Cream - Little Man Ice Cream has become an iconic Denver landmark, making the parking difficult but the ice cream is worth the wait. I’m grateful for their dairy-free options, but I may be even more grateful for their milkshakes. Little Man Ice Cream is surrounded by other great restaurants and overlooks LoDo, which makes this place even more fun. Sweet Cow - Once you’ve had dinner at Sushi Hai, walk across the street to pick up some ice cream from Sweet Cow. They have flavors that you won’t see elsewhere, and those flavors change regularly, so you might just have to go more than once. Sweet Cow also has a wide range of dairy-free options, making it even better. I’d recommend a flavor, but you can’t go wrong. Pick-up and delivery options are available. The Bardo Coffee House - This coffee house is a perfect late-night study spot for

anyone who needs to break out of their dorm or apartment. I tend to ask for the baristas to “surprise me” and I haven’t been disappointed yet, although I have yet to figure out what “secret ingredients” they claim to include. The Bardo Coffee House is currently open for indoor and outdoor dining, pick-up, to-go, and delivery options.


Goldspot Brewing Company - Goldspot Brewing Company is located inside a little brick building near 50th and Lowell. I know this brewery to be a student and professor favorite, and while I’ve never tried it for myself, I’ve passed it enough to catch a glimpse of their fun, Colorado-proud atmosphere. Goldspot is now open at limited capacity for those who want to taste what is on tap. Rocky Top Tavern - This is another student favorite given that it is close to the Regis University campus. Rocky Top Tavern is highly regarded by Regis Rangers because of their drinks and their deals, but don’t forget about their food—especially their tater tots. Rocky Top currently offers indoor and outdoor dining options. Book Bar - As an English major and a book lover, the Book Bar holds a special place in my heart. I used to study there after ordering a mug of hot chocolate and one of their book-themed snacks. While the independent bookstore and wine bar combo is now restricted to curbside pick-up, I still recommend stopping by next time you find yourself on Tennyson Street. Carly grew up in Colorado and feels lost without the presence of the mountains. She is now pursuing an English major and minors in secondary education and music performance. She has been published in the Regis University Highlander and in Out Front Magazine.


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Clorinda Trujillo: 101 Years of Family, Friendships, Laughing, Dancing


lorinda Trujillo visited the beauty shop to have her hair set on days of the dances at VFW Post 501. Later, she’d don one of her speKATHRYN WHITE cial dresses, slip into a pair of dancing shoes, dab on perfume, and offer her arm to her husband Salomon. The two looked good, felt good, smelled good. They’d arrive early at the VFW to secure a table for the friends and family they’d invited to join them. Whether a live band or DJ, there was always music to dance to. Often, they found themselves enjoying a favorite: La Varsoviana, a dance originating in mid 1800’s Europe and eventually becoming popular worldwide, including in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The Trujillo’s must’ve danced La Varsoviana hundreds of times in their 78 years together. North Denver is home to a handful of centenarians, and this one—Clorinda Trujillo—turned 101 in November. Trujillo has lived for 59 years in the orange brick home where she and her husband raised their children Ernie and Karen. She has seen the family through their early days in Denver, first living where the Auraria campus now sits, then off to Tacoma, Washington, for Salomon’s bootcamp prior to his service in WWII. After the war, the Trujillo’s came back to Denver and lived for 15 years in Five Points before settling on Quitman Street in 1961. Raised in Cañoncito, NM, Trujillo’s parents and 4 of her 7 siblings landed in North Denver. Mrs. Trujillo and her daughter Karen Gonzales appeared on my computer screen to chat by Zoom recently. With each question, daughter turned to mom and smiled. Are there words to describe such a long and full life? Trujillo is the kind of woman who loved


Continued from Page 1

it made a difference. “Their population has grown as fast as Denver's during the last 15-20 years. But the number of cars on the streets has gone down during that time period. People there have a practical alternative to driving, and when it’s available, people use it.”


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For all of Federal’s ability to move large numbers of people, it is also one of the deadliest streets in Denver. A recent study showed Federal has a fatality rate that is 20 times higher than the average urban street in Colorado. In North Denver, there have been 6 fatal crashes in the last 6 years on Federal; all pedestrians killed, all at night. Locantore, says that the number of serious injuries and fatalities on the corridor are tragic but not surprising given the road was “designed as a highway to move as many cars as fast as possible”. Residents nearby include “a lot of low income people that depend on transit. A lot of the businesses and services they are trying to access are on Federal Boulevard. So it’s an inherently deadly combination of this highway style street with land uses that are woefully incompatible.” Locantore said that the number of pedestrian fatalities is exacerbated by the limited number of crosswalks. It means people often have to walk a half mile out of the way to get to a crosswalk, which is “antithetical to human nature when their destination is right across the street”. Locantore recommended that the speed limit be lowered, additional mid-block crossings with pedestrian refuges be installed, and low cost traffic calming measures be implemented to lower the number of injuries on the road. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), who controls speed limits on the road, does not have lowering speed limits in play for the near term. CDOT Spokesper-

to laugh and sing and meet people. She nurtured her children from the 1940’s through the 70’s, and reprised the role to babysit a grandson in the 1980’s and 90’s. She became known for her spectacular gardens, cooking (her empanadas, enchiladas, and frijoles got special mention) and countless friendships that she has long since outlived. She sang in the Spanish Choir at St. Cajetan’s Church, and was even joined by her daughter one year when Karen was 10. She liked going downtown on the bus (she didn’t drive) and kept busy with family life, connections with neighbors, and her sewing, quilting, and ceramics. A view from the Trujillo home, tucked between West Colfax Avenue and Dry Gulch—not far from Paco Sanchez Park, will be included in Museo de las Americas upcoming photography exhibition La Nueva Cara / The New Face. The photo depicts houses across the street before they were fenced off and torn down, to be replaced by new construction. It was a different time and place back then. Paco Sanchez was on Spanish language radio at KFSC-AM. He and other community activists had created Good Americans Organization (GAO) and were hard at work addressing community housing issues. Salomon Trujillo was deep into a long career at Rocky Mountain Arsenal and King Soopers Warehouse. Clorinda Trujillo had put in 11 years with Montgomery Wards in 3 different states: New Mexico, Washington, and Colorado (at Denver’s South Broadway store). The Trujillo children played jacks with friends or cousins. And they slipped away to the nearby gully (now Dry Gulch) for adventures later featured in Gonzales’ memoir “Finding The Lady Llorona,” published in 2018 by The Amagre Review. Fast forward to 2020, a year that took a toll on Clorinda Trujillo. It first took her soulmate Salomon, at age 103, and then her son Tamara Rollison said “CDOT is participating in the "Denver Speed Limit Reduction Feasibility Study" and while the initial phase does not include state highways like Federal, “CDOT hopes to take lessons learned from this effort for possible application on metro area state highways.” CDOT has awarded two “Safer Main Streets” grants to make safety improvements on the corridor and is “piloting motion activated solar lights at three locations along Federal Boulevard to make pedestrians more easily visible to drivers.” One of those CDOT grants awarded to DOTI will fund pedestrian improvements, and is in the early planning stages for Federal between 23rd Ave and 27th Ave. Burke says they include ”rebuilding the traffic signals at 25th and 26th Avenues with pedestrian WALK signals, adding bulb-outs to shorten the crossing distance for people on foot, better street lighting to enhance the pedestrian experience and other placemaking elements.” According to Burke, DOTI also has numerous projects to enhance safety on the corridor for people who drive, walk, bike, roll, and take transit. This summer they will be “adding ‘quick build’ safety treatments at the intersections of 20th, 50th, 51st and 52nd Avenues to include a mix of bollards, curb extensions, and new safety signage to draw drivers’ attention to pedestrians crossing.”


The traffic signals at Federal and 38th Ave will also be rebuilt in spring of 2022 with improved LED lights and pedestrian signals. By this summer DOTI will also be “adding bike detection cameras at the intersections of 50th, 35th, and 29th Avenues. The technology is designed to detect the presence of a bike, without people on bikes having to dismount to push the pedestrian button.” Time will tell whether these improvements by DOTI will be enough to achieve “Vision Zero”, or Denver’s goal of zero traffic deaths


Karen Gonzales and mother Clorinda Trujillo son Ernie and sister Felonis. When Trujillo herself took a debilitating fall, her daughter moved back into the family home to look after her. At 101 years old, Trujillo’s days are quiet now, much quieter than those nights years ago on the dance floor at the VFW. But Trujillo still has family by her side, and memories of years laughing and dancing, and the support of a couple of neighbor friends still around from the old days. Kathryn has lived in North Denver since around the time the Mount Carmel High School building was razed and its lot at 3600 Zuni became Anna Marie Sandoval Elementary. She’s raised two children in the neighborhood, worked at several nonprofits, and facilitates a Caregiver Support Group for the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter. Do you have story ideas for The Gray Zone? Email: thegrayzone.denvernorthstar@gmail.com. by the year 2030. DOTI also received a grant a few years ago to develop and test smart transportation technology on Federal. New onboard transmitters on vehicles like snow plows and RTD buses will communicate with roadside units on traffic signals and give these vehicles pri“ ority at traffic lights. They hope to test the new technology in the not too distant future. In addition, DOTI and other city agencies, in conjunction with the West Colfax Business Improvement District, are studying a potential redevelopment and redesign of the 29 acre Federal Blvd. and W. Colfax cloverleaf interchange. Potential redesign options include an opportunity for new housing and retail, new green spaces, and better connectivity for people walking, biking, and taking transit. Updates and opportunities to engage in feedback on all these projects can be found at https://denvergov.org/doti.


Starting in January, Denver Water began work on replacing 10,000 ft of water main lines on Federal Blvd, most of which date back to 1912. Crews will work on two different segments working their way south to north between W. 16th Avenue and W. 29th Ave, and simultaneously between W. 46th Ave and W. 52nd Ave. Construction will continue through this spring and summer from 7am-7pm and they will work to keep access open for residents and local businesses. Denver Water spokesperson Jose Salas also said that “as we have done for many years, Denver Water will replace any customer-owned lead services lines we encounter along the way, at no direct cost to the customer. We estimate we will replace 180 customer-owned lead service lines during this project.” Residents can sign up for updates on this project at: https://www.denverwater.org/project-updates/pipe-replacement/federal-boulevard-pipe-replacement.

The Denver North Star



Regis Invites North Denver Community to Online Events By Jennifer Forker


orking women, self-care, sustainability, and leadership in a crisis are among the topics offered in special virtual programs from Regis University’s Anderson College of Business and Computing. Many of these lectures, conferences, and meetups are free or request a small fee. The public is welcome to attend, but a reservation is required to access the respective Zoom meeting links.


The Sustainable Economic Enterprise Development (SEED) Institute is offering virtual co-working sessions to support those who are working for a flourishing human society and a healthy planet. Sessions for those in the sustainability field to work alongside others virtually will be at 2 p.m. on March 17, and 2 p.m. on April 14. They are a remedy to the current disconnection many feel while working from their homes, according to SEED. More about the co-working space may be found at regis.edu/seed.


Hosted by the SEED Institute, SEED Sowing Chats dig deep into sustainability with the goal of honoring humanity and the Earth. This month, Judy Samuelson, a vice president at the Aspen Institute, will discuss her new book Six New Rules of Business: Creating Real Value in a Changing World (2021) at the 2 p.m. on March 25, Zoom webinar. Samuelson is the founder and executive director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, founded in 1998, which works with business executives and scholars to align business decisions and investments with the long-term health of society—and

the planet. The SEED Institute aims to support enterprises that steward natural and human resources while readying the next generation of business leaders to take on future sustainability challenges. Through events, seminars, and its unique undergraduate fellowship program, SEED hopes to play a role in co-authoring a new story in which business is a partner in addressing the changes needed for humanity to move toward a thriving planet and flourishing human society. More about SEED Sowing Chats is available at regis.edu/seed. The next SEED Sowing Chat is 2 p.m., April 22.


Oscar Munoz, chairman of the board for United Airlines, will discuss leading through crisis at the next Anderson College Executive Speaker Night Series. The free event will be at 6 p.m. on March 30, on Zoom. Register for this event at regis.edu/esns. Munoz has served in various financial and strategic capacities at some of the world’s most recognized companies, including United Airlines, AT&T, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and PepsiCo. Meet Munoz and hear firsthand what leadership skills are necessary to persevere during a crisis while maintaining the brand loyalty of consumers. Please contact the Anderson College at andersoncollege@regis.edu if you have any questions about a March event that’s listed here. More about the Anderson College is available online.


Past events include the Women and Leadership Conference on March 13th, where

CU Denver Offering Sliding Scale Counseling Services for Community Members, DPS Families By David Sabados


ounseling is for everyone at any point in their life. There’s no judgement or shame for seeking services,” said Dr. Lisa Forbes. An assistant clinical professor at the University of Colorado Denver, Forbes wants the public to know that CU Denver is offering counseling services to the Denver community at discounted rates to help make sessions accessible to everyone. While counseling services have previously been in the Tivoli on campus, sessions are currently remote. It’s been a tough year for a lot of people: the pandemic has of course been hard on everyone and normal activities people enjoy are limited: movies, concerts, etc. Add in a heated political session and other factors and many people have exhausted their coping mechanisms. Forbes wants the community to know that they don’t need to have experienced trauma or other triggering factors to benefit from counselling sessions. Sometimes talking with a professional can be about setting goals or improving your life. “The stigma of counseling is what prohibits a lot of people from accessing services,” she explained. CU Denver’s team is offering DPS students and families sessions for only $10. The isolation of remote learning and added stress at home have been especially challenging for many students and their families. Other community members can pay on a sliding scale from $10 - $50 per session depending on income. Most sessions are 50 minutes in length. New patients first go through a screening to help place them with the most appropriate counselor. While Forbes says most patients find long term therapy beneficial, some people decide a few weeks or months is

Margaret “Maggie” Blezek


Oscar Munoz, chairman of the board for United Airlines, will discuss leading through crisis at the next Anderson College Executive Speaker Night Series. Professor Maria Alejandra Quijada brought women together to share research, challenges, and self-care strategies for hardworking women in any field or career stage at this fifth-annual (and first virtual) conference focused on self-care issues. Regis University is planning on more events of this sort in the future and we hope you decide to check out our virtual offerings now and in person events later this summer or fall. Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning, and service. Regis University, one of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, has three campus locations in the Denver metro area and extensive online program offerings with more than 8,000 enrolled students. For more information, visit www.regis.edu. Jennifer Forker is the Director Communications for Regis University.


of Denver, wife of Elmer J. Blezek (deceased 1985), was born Margaret Mary Yarnal on May 15, 1924 in Denver. She was the daughter of Rollins and Agnes Yarnal and sister to Kenneth Long, Genevieve Long, and Eldon Yarnal. Maggie spent her entire life residing in Denver. She attended Wyatt Elementary, Cole Middle School and graduated from Manual High School in 1942. She worked at Davis Bros Co. at 44th & Fox St., where she met her future husband, Elmer J. Blezek. They were married at Annunciation Catholic Church in 1948. She moved to North Denver and lived with Elmer in the family-owned apartment building built in the early 1900’s by Elmer’s parents, Prudence and Charles Blezek. This building, on 32nd and Tejon St., once housed the C.H. Blezek Drug Co. and is now currently occupied by Williams and Graham. In 1956, Elmer and Maggie purchased their first home near the St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Parish and became members of the church and school where their three daughters Cynthia, Cecilia, and Charlotte attended through 8th grade. Maggie felt Elmer was her Prince Charming and she lived a happy and fulfilled life. She was a blessing to all those that knew her and will be truly missed. Margaret is preceded in death by her husband, parents, and siblings. She is survived by her daughters Cynthia Smith (George), Cecilia Newton (Dave), and Charlotte Donaldson (Glenn-deceased); grandchildren Valerie, Monica, Lauren, Meghan, Meredith, Erin, Ryan, and Jacob; and nine great-grandchildren. She was interred on Feb 9, 2021 next to husband Elmer J. Blezek and her mother Agnes M. Yarnal at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, CO.


The Denver North Star

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While counseling sessions are normally held in the Tivoli, CU Denver is currently offering services online. enough to see real benefits in their lives. “Just give it a try. See if it works for you. Give it three sessions.” The school also offers testing services for learning disabilities, gifted and talented students, psychiatric disorders, and more for around $400, again significantly less expensive than elsewhere. CU Denver’s website also has a self-assessment you can fill out to decide if counseling is appropriate for you. Interested in scheduling a time with a counselor, taking a self-assessment, or learning more about pricing and options? Phone: 303315-7270 Website: https://www.ucdenver.edu/ counseling-center/community-members

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“Megan really brings a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to The Blue Bench,” Proper said. “So we can sort of double down on that commitment of serving all communities within Metro Denver, including those who may not have known of us or had access to us in the past.” Carvajal has recruited a local consulting firm to help accomplish these goals. She hopes bringing in outside experts will first help with internal change, so then the nonprofit can understand how to layer that work onto external practices. “We’re being really bold in our commu-


Continued from Page 1 ed and do not necessarily mean a crime occurred, but DPD District 1 Commander Layla DeStaffany told The Denver North Star property crimes have been on the rise. Leaving garage openers inside a vehicle is something DeStaffany said is at the top of her list of what she tells people not to do to prevent burglaries. “We encourage people to not leave their garage openers or identifying information because folks will come back,” DeStaffany said. “Number one is to lock your car doors. We have a lot of people who don’t do that, and those property crimes are crimes of opportunity. If you don’t give them an opportunity, they won’t look there.” DeStaffany said people should not leave anything visible in the car, even if it has little value. Even covering items with a blanket or leaving change in the cupholder can entice criminals. That was exemplified when Blake Piper said he was convinced his vehicle had been broken into when he noticed a tin can of smoked fish that was pilfered from his glovebox and left half-eaten. Piper

Page 14 | March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021

nications, and I’m super excited about that,” Carvajal said. “But there’s still a lot to be done with how we do our programming, how we deliver services, and anyone who’s been through this work will tell you creating an organization rooted in equity takes a really long time.” Although Carvajal does not yet know Denver well, she is confident in the work that can be done with the help of the community. “I believe in humankind, and I believe in the power of us doing work together,” Carvajal said. “I am here for [the community], and I need them to be here for us… My goal is to build upon the commitment we already have to the community and engage even more community members from our neighborhoods.” moved to the LoHi neighborhood at the start of the year. “I don’t use my car too often. I had a can of smoked sardines in the glovebox, and I noticed it was opened in my car on the passenger-side seat,” Piper said. “I must have left my car unlocked. In the back, I had ski boots and expensive outdoor gear, but they didn’t take any of that.” Piper said a small box with items that were not valuable was taken, but he said he was able to recover it when he noticed it the next day in a man’s shopping cart near his block. DeStaffany said DPD does investigate car break-ins, but only if they have evidence to work with. “Any car break-in where we have evidence, we will investigate,” DeStaffany said. “So whether that’s video evidence or if somebody is a smoker and they leave a cigarette butt on the seat, that would be evidence that we would collect and that would be investigated. But if we have no leads (such as) blood, saliva, it won’t be investigated. There’s always different things and different situations.” DeStaffany said if police notice several cars in the same area being broken into, then DPD may investigate the situation. “But if we have no leads, there’s not a lot that we can do,” the district command-

Non-Degree Apprenticeships Open Doors for High School Graduates


few months ago I wrote about college-alternatives for high school graduates. There is a growing number of young people JILL CARSTENS opting to either substantially delay going to college or not going at all. Let’s look at the many opportunities available for this population. During pandemic times when home has been translated to include the base for work, school, entertainment, substitute restaurant as well as our place to rest, the demand for trades like electricians and HVAC has had a huge increase. In November 2020, a report provided by HomeAdvisor, a website that provides such services, stated that these trades not only pay well, but offer a high job satisfaction. The report goes on to say, “The typical company recruiting in this sector isn’t looking for someone who went to some fancy school with pre-existing relationships. Overwhelmingly, what companies are looking for is as simple as someone with a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and a desire to learn.” Colorado Succeeds (Coloradosucceeds. org), a non-profit aiming to ensure that all Colorado students are educated to their highest potential, is providing many schools with the networking necessary to connect students with work-learn opportunities that lead to employment after high school graduation. There are many opportunities out there, but it takes a bit of sifting. The Colorado Dept. of Labor and Employment provides a large list of high-quality, registered apprenticeships, listed with application guidelines and links at: https://sites. google.com/state.co.us/coapprenticeship directory/home The Colorado Sheet Metal Workers Apprentice Program, https://smarthvac. training/ headquartered in North Denver, confirms their organization provides immediate job placement with good paying apprenticeships involved with metal fabrication associated with architectural projects, HVAC, residential projects, and computer-aided drafting. Salaries increase as your training progresses and can get as high as six figures. If the young adult in your life would er said. “If there’s any kind of evidence, and if we run the evidence as far as we can take it and we’re not making any progress, it will be ‘inactive’ is what we call it.”


Michele Cooper, a DPD community resource officer in District 1, said she is trying to bring back neighborhood watch organizations to the area, and to some places that never had them. To form an officially recognized neighborhood watch, Cooper said 60% of residents in the proposed area must agree to participate. The watches can be for one block or several. Cooper said residents in some northwest Denver neighborhoods reached out to her recently to start their own watches, particularly near Inspiration Point. She said neighborhood watches have been on the decline in recent years and not a lot of people were taking advantage of them. “I think people just didn’t realize it was still out there, and it can be used as a tool to keep an eye on the neighborhoods,” Cooper said. Once a neighborhood gets 60% of its constituents to agree to form a watch, a meeting is set up with DPD officers and annual check-in meetings take place. Residents can then share information

rather not engage in a trade, there are a growing number of organizations that provide training and apprenticeships in software development. I mentioned Google’s program last December in my column, but we have a local recruiter, Techtonic, based in Boulder, offering paid internships with no experience or degree required to start. Their CEO, Nicole Craine added that they are proud to serve a diverse population of apprentices and that 31% are female, well over the 7.5% national average for the field. Their website encourages those with no tech backgrounds to apply, as they find that these students approach the subject with a “fresh start and no bad habits yet!” says Craine. “This also creates a very level playing field for class, with each participant being valued for their different perspectives.” Also, similar to the trades apprenticeships, the primary qualities they look for are aptitude and willingness to learn. For young adults with a more creative career in mind, The Center for Visual Art, part of the Metropolitan State University of Denver, offers a paid internship for high school students offering a look at careers in the arts. They provide interaction with creative professionals and opportunities to develop the skills needed to go into these fields. Artistic ability is not a part of their acceptance process. They look for applicants who are engaged, curious, collaborative, and interested in exploring what they want to do with their future. See their website for more information: https://www. msudenver.edu/cva/ Additionally, I discovered that CVS provides training for pharmaceutical assistants and the Secret Service even puts on a retreat in the summer as a gateway to law enforcement and investigative fields. One way or the other, it is becoming clear that a full four-year college education is not the only way to a good paying and fulfilling career. There are many paths. Jill Carstens is a proud Denver native, a passionate mom and a teacher her entire adult life! She has run Milestones Preschool here since 2011. If you have ideas for an article or further questions for Miss Jill, you can email her at jillcarstens2605@gmail.com with one another and address any crime issues they may have. “I think in District 1, (neighborhood watches) never peaked; some of the other districts, they are very proactive, but I think District 1 is changing and people are starting to learn what they can do,” Cooper said. “That’s the reason I want to reach out to people.” Cooper said she’s been going door-todoor to provide informational fliers about starting neighborhood watch groups and may begin a social media campaign in the near future. To begin the process of forming a neighborhood watch, residents can contact District 1 community resource officers at 720-913-0400 or by email at 1. Dist@denvergov.org. Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a series of planned crime articles on Northwest Denver. Thank you to the residents who have reached out with your stories. If you would like to discuss crime in our community, please email News@DenverNorthStar.com or call 720-248-7327. Eric Heinz is a freelance reporter who most recently covered Los Angeles City Hall for City News Service before returning to Denver, Colorado.

The Denver North Star


An Update From Councilwoman pen At-Large Robin Kniech es


hough marrying my here are a wife took me to the East s that proSide, I am still deeply tied to ps in softthe North/NW neighborGoogle’s hoods where I lived for so lumn, but long, and I am glad for a renic, based COUNCILWOMAN vived local newspaper! Navihips with ROBIN KNIECH gating the challenges of 2020 d to start. as your At-Large Councilwoman, my focus that they has first been to ensure that Denver mainopulation tains ongoing services and policy efforts e female, that began before the pandemic and which erage for remain important. Second, I’ve advocated ges those for a science-based and equitable emergency ly, as they pandemic response. Third is working to reh the sub- build our economy better than before. Jugbad habits gling all three strategies simultaneously has ates a very been a challenge, but I’m honored to share a each par- few highlights and preview upcoming work. different he trades HELPING THOSE HIT HARDEST qualities BY THE PANDEMIC illingness I’m proud that Denver stepped up to provide emergency aid to more than 3,960 e creative immigrants and their families who lost isual Art, jobs during the pandemic but were left out University of state and federal relief programs. Street p for high homelessness also grew in size and visibility at careers as other public activity in our communities tion with diminished. That is why I worked alongside unities to service providers and city agencies to help nto these open auxiliary shelters to increase shelter rt of their capacity during the pandemic in order to for appli- safely accommodate people experiencing collabora- homelessness. I also worked with the comwhat they munity and service providers to develop the heir web- model for the temporary safe outdoor spacps://www. es that are helping individuals who were falling through the cracks of the shelter CVS pro- system survive in warm, dignified spaces cal assis- complete with sanitation and health and puts on a housing navigation services. way to law Thank you to all Denver voters for stepping up for one piece of the long-term soluelds. becoming tion to homelessness: passage of 2B. In 2021 education the tax is expected to generate around $37 aying and million to reduce homelessness. This first paths. year will focus on continuing any emergency responses not covered by FEMA, and Denver on rehousing people into existing housing. and a Future years will fund more, new supporte has run ive housing throughout the city, and new e 2011. If catalytic projects that combine shelter and or further housing with services. If you’d like to learn mail her at more about supportive housing, I encourage you to check out a guide on the topic my office developed at bit.ly/SHNEGuide.


Looking ahead, I’m proud to be working in partnership with your state Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez and her co-sponsors on a bill to finally allow local governments like Denver to require afford-

able rental housing in new development, HB21-1117. Known as inclusionary housing, this tool creates a modest but steady supply of housing for workers earning moderate salaries, like school guidance counselors, administrative assistants, carpenters or others. Denver already has a work group examining the full range of tools for promoting more affordable housing through market rate development, including re-examining the linkage fees paid on all square feet of new development and options for linking affordability to increases in density, known as incentive zoning. Successful passage of HB-1117 would also allow Denver to also consider inclusionary zoning.


STAR is a mental health and EMT response team that launched a limited central Denver pilot in summer 2020 as an alternative to police for those in mental health or substance abuse crises. Several colleagues and I led the effort to increase funding for the STAR program in 2021 and succeeded in moving the program under the oversight of the mental health experts in the Department of Public Health. But the City estimates that STAR is serving less than one half of one percent of all the 9-1-1 calls that could benefit from this response, so expanding it could free up police time to better address more serious crime or reduce the need for policing altogether. I will fight for additional supplemental funding to further expand the program based on forthcoming analysis and input from stakeholders. This includes being able to deploy the team to those in crisis throughout our city, including in North and West Denver. I also worked with Denver’s police oversight body, the Citizen Oversight Board, to secure a full-time staffer to support their police accountability work and continue to engage with them on ways to strengthen police oversight.


Another budget victory for 2021 was ensuring the permanent restrooms in our heavily utilized parks will be opened for their usual summer season. Thank you to the people of Denver for the tenacity and courage you have demonstrated over the last year. I will do my humble best to continue to serve you throughout, whatever may come. Please reach out with your ideas, engagement, and feedback – they are more critical than ever. Robin Kniech is a Denver city councilwoman elected at-large.

Letter to the Editor DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION YOU WANT TO SHARE? We welcome your letter. Please send your letter of 250 words or fewer, along with your name and the neighborhood you live in, to David@DenverNorthStar.com. Letters must be received by the 3rd of the month to run in that month’s issue. Letters to the Editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Denver North Star or its staff. Regarding off-leash dogs in parks A proposal is circulating for the City of Denver to allow off-leash dogs in Denver parks between 9pm and 9am, starting in Council District 1, with a goal of expanding the program to all of our parks. The proposal fails to require additional education or training in exchange for off-leash privileges, as Boulder did when instituting their Voice and Sight Tag program. This is, frankly, not very reassuring to those of us concerned that this change would increase the number of untrained off-leash dogs in the neighborhood, which is already a problem due to poor enforcement of existing leash laws.

The Denver North Star

I love both of my dogs -- and I know that untrained, off-leash dogs running up to us or other park users can create a dangerous situation for everyone involved. If they choose to move forward with this proposal, I urge Councilwoman Sandoval and her colleagues on the City Council to consider putting additional resources towards better leash law enforcement, requiring additional education and training prior to granting off-leash privileges, and keeping some parks within each district free of off-leash dogs at all times, to ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy them. Emily Kelly-Fischer, Highlands


Residents Propose “Dog Hours” at City Parks; Parks Dept. Resistant By David Sabados


Mary Francis (left) and Sydney Gilpin (right) want to allow dogs like Misiu (left) and Hailey (right) to play in Denver parks off-leash during specific hours.


ars have happy hours. Highways have rush hours. Now some North Denver residents are hoping our city parks can have designated off-leash dog hours. A change. org petition directed at Councilwoman Sandoval and Denver Parks and Recreation, started by two North Denver residents, has garnered over 1,300 signatures when The Denver North Star went to press on March 12. The proposal would allow dogs off-leash in Denver parks early in the morning or late at night when there’s few other park users. The proposal came about, in part, after an incident where several puppies were playing off-leash in a city park and a woman pepper-sprayed the dogs in their faces. Armed with talking points and an adorable puppy named Hailey, Valdez Elementary 5th grader Sydney Gilpin is making her case to allow dogs to play off-leash in neighborhood parks. “There’s 158,000 dogs in Denver and only 12 dog parks,” said Gilpin. “They’re overcrowded.” Gilpin went on to explain that she takes her dog to their neighborhood park many mornings before school. She wants the puppy they adopted last May to have the chance to socialize with other dogs. While she can walk the short distance to a neighborhood park, her family driving to the closest dog park takes too long. “I’d be late for school,” arguing that the policy change would benefit her education. Gilpin is getting help from an adult family friend and neighbor, Mary Francis. Francis and the Gilpins were looking at different ideas when Francis learned about New York City’s policy that creates off-leash dog hours in their parks and based their proposal on NYC’s. Francis also cites the lack of dog parks in many communities and their overcrowdedness. “We all live in our community and pay for the park. It’s a nice space.” Francis noted that having to drive to dog parks puts more cars on the road and doesn’t build community, unlike neighbors (and their dogs) meeting in their closest park. “There’s something about your community park,” she added. Francis also commented that neighborhood parks are often nicer than dog parks, which are usually gravel with few to no plants. Councilwoman Sandoval said she’s talking with the proponents, the parks department, and animal control about the idea and what it would take to have a pilot program. In the last few weeks since community members started hearing about the proposal, she’s heard from constituents who are strong advocates and others who oppose the change. Scott Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director for Parks and Recreation, is among those with concerns -- both in the proposal itself and the method proponents are using. “Making policy changes like this is not sim-

ple,” said Gilmore, adding that “a petition on change.org isn’t how you make changes.” Gilmore cited the city’s process for public input and the dog park master plans the city has designed for dog park expansion as the best way to give input on new parks. That process appears to be set up to select new dog park locations though, not change park policies. A dog owner himself, Gilmore said he’s not unsympathetic and his department is “working really hard on getting dog parks spread out across the city.” “You just don’t go put a dog park in,” adding that change needs “a ton of community engagement.” Dog parks can be divisive, with people staunchly on one side or the other. Gilmore raised what he sees as a number of problems with this specific proposal: parks aren’t fenced and many are near major roads, increasing the possibility of dogs getting hit by cars or running away. Additionally, off-leash dogs may jump on people or even attack; he said the current policy is set up to “err on the side of safety for all park users.” Many of Denver’s parks aren’t lit at night, adding safety concerns and reducing the likelihood of dog owners cleaning up after their pets. “People aren’t even picking up their poop in the day.” The city has identified areas in need of more parks, and they welcome community input on locations. Regarding the quality of dog parks and the materials used, he explained that’s an aspect of space and use. The density of dogs urinating and defecating in smaller parks means that the gravel mixture is the best to absorb the waste. Dog parks are specially designed so they can be “flushed” if they become too gross. Creating dog parks cost tens of thousands of dollars on the low end and up to a half million dollars for larger urban parks. While many suburban dog parks have native grasses or manicured lawns, Gilmore noted that those communities have enough space for multi-acre dog parks, which can reduce the density of waste, and that urban living has trade-offs. “If someone wants to move to the suburbs so they can have a better dog park that’s fine.” Whether the city embraces dog hours in parks, adds more dog parks, or finds another solution, Denver’s growing dog population will continue to be a topic of discussion, especially as the weather warms up and more people are seeking outdoor options for their four legged friends. The online petition can be found on change.org’s website: https://www.change. org/p/denver-district-one-council-womanamanda-sandoval-addressing-denver-offleash-dogs If you have thoughts or suggestions about dog parks and want to contact the city, email parksandrecreation@denvergov.org

March 15, 2021-April 14, 2021 | Page 15

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Profile for DenverNorthStar

The Denver North Star March 15 2021 Edition  

Your guide to politics, community, arts and culture in North Denver

The Denver North Star March 15 2021 Edition  

Your guide to politics, community, arts and culture in North Denver