April 2022 News Shorts

Lake Middle School Student Mural Defaced

Photo courtesy of Denver Public Schools

A rainbow mural at Lake Middle School was defaced in late March. The mural, which proclaimed “Trans Lives Matter,” was a collaboration between the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, the Latinos in Action class and Lake’s Black Student Council, according to a district spokesperson. Students worked on the project after normal school hours. Principal McDonald shared that families, neighbors, and some local organizations have already contacted her about repainting the mural.

The mural was defaced by someone spray painting “KEEP THIS CRAP OUT OF SCHOOL” and multiple “WTF” messages.

Denver Public Schools sent The Denver North Star the following statement:

Denver Public Schools is proud to be a safe and welcoming school district, and we firmly denounce this type of hateful behavior. We embrace our diverse students, families and communities, and are dedicated to ensuring that our schools are places where every child feels safe, feels welcomed and feels that they can be successful. Equity is everybody’s responsibility. We encourage people who have questions about our efforts to connect with us, ask questions and engage in dialogue with us as we continue to create conditions where all people know that they belong, are included, and are valued.

The Denver Police Department is investigating.

Note: The Denver North Star chose to print a photo of the non defaced mural, courtesy of DPS, and the positive work of students rather than images including the spray painted messages.

At North High School, The Show(s) Must Go On

Photos by Basha Cohen

It felt oddly “normal” on a cold winter night at Nurture, as hundreds of parents and students packed the building for the return of the Jazz Cabaret after a two-year hiatus. The musical program brought together current parents and old-timers who wanted to support the students and faculty. Ally Olson, John Jonas, and Grant Stringham whipped up a beautiful affair with cocktails, food, jazz, and a hilarious teacher auction. All in all, the fundraiser earned the program close to $9,000. 

North’s Black Masque Theatre followed up the “fun-raising” with a Decades Dance and Dress Up Party on April 9 at the Elks Lodge. The event was drama teacher Megen Gilman’s red carpet pre-show for the much-anticipated return to the live stage with Mamma Mia on April 28, 29, and 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at www.showtix4u.com/event-details/63427 and are sure to sell out, so don’t miss the encore of a live musical performance again!

As if all this jazz isn’t enough, the Senior Showcase will be held at the Little Man Ice Cream Factory on May 9 at 7 p.m. It’s a finale of sorts, featuring the music of graduating seniors who are set to embark on the next phase of their adult life. It’s a perfect opportunity for all of the friends and families in their lives to soak in the last days of their senior glory. 

We have much to applaud as our teachers and students continue to excel in the arts and prove that the show must go on. Bravo!

Sunnyside Winery Has Four Wines Recognized

Bonacquisti Wine has been a local favorite since 2006, but they may be getting more attention after their recent recognition by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Four of their wines were rated 86 points or more, including the 2019 Rosso di Colorado at 90. While one of the four is sold out, the other three are available for tastings or purchase—at least until more people discover them and buy up the rest of the stock.

Bonacquisti Wine is located at 4640 Pecos St, Unit I in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

Regis University Starts New Mobile Food Bank

Regis University is partnering with the Food Bank of the Rockies to offer a Mobile Food Pantry on their Northwest Denver campus on the first Tuesday of each month starting in April. It will be open from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and be located in parking lot 6 off of Regis Boulevard/50th Avenue between Federal and Lowell boulevards. Anyone, regardless of income or immigration status, can visit the mobile food pantry to receive canned food, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat products. No one will be turned away

Regis University and Arrupe Jesuit Open New Fields

Regis University, Ranger Athletics, and Arrupe Jesuit High School invited the community to the grand opening of two newly illuminated and artificially turfed fields.

Made possible through a special partnership between the Shea Homes, the university, and the high school, construction was completed six months after the project broke ground on Oct. 7.

INC Survey Shows Residents Support Changes to Trash, Recycling, and Compost Pickups

The Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) Climate & Sustainability committee conducted a city-wide survey of residents, sending survey information out through local registered neighborhood organizations (RNOs), city council district offices, and local media sources (including The Denver North Star).

While surveys differ from polling in that they may not include as scientifically representative of a sampling of residents, the results show strong support for changes including free composting, more frequent recycling, and trash fees that are based on the size of the trash cans residents use:

  • Nearly 80% of respondents stated that it was important or very important that Denver change our trash diversion rate (currently at only 26%) in order to fight climate change. 
  • Over 75% of respondents said they would be willing to pay a small monthly fee if diverting more of Denver’s trash to composting and recycling will have a major impact on meeting Denver’s climate change goals.
  • Over 74% of respondents indicated if they also received free composting and recycling, they would be willing to pay up to $10/month for trash services. Of that number, over 30% indicated they would be willing to pay up to $20/month. 

But the survey was not all good news for proponents of this measure. “There is clearly a lack of general knowledge among residents and neighbors about the reasons and specifics behind this proposed change,” Keith Meyer, Co-Chair of the Climate and Sustainability committee, said. “The written messages we received from over 200 respondents indicated that there are still a lot of questions out there about this proposal.” 

Denver City Council is expected to start discussions on possible changes this month with possible official proposals this spring. More information can be found on denvergov.org and denverinc.org.

Wellspring School Launches Shoe Collection Drive to Raise Money for Library Renovations

Wellspring Catholic Academy of St. Bernadette is conducting a shoe drive now through May 3 to raise funds for renovations to the school library. 

Wellspring organization will earn funds based on the total weight of the shoes collected as Funds2Orgs will purchase all the donated footwear. All donated shoes will then be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of microenterprise partners in developing nations. 

Funds2Orgs helps impoverished people start, maintain, and grow businesses in countries such as Haiti, Honduras, and other nations in Central America and Africa.

Proceeds from the shoe sales are used to feed, clothe and house their families. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti even earned enough to send to her son to law school.

“We are excited about our shoe drive,” said Francisco Castillo-Fierro, Assistant Principal. “We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets they would like to donate to us and help those less fortunate become self-sufficient. It’s a win-win for everyone,” added Marie Irlando, Wellspring Parent.

Anyone can help by donating gently worn used or new shoes at Wellspring Catholic Academy of St. Bernadette, as well as the St. Bernadette Parish, both are located at 1100 Upham Street Lakewood, CO 80214.

Denver Receiving $350 million for South Platte Project

Photo by David Sabados

Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, Mayor Michael B. Hancock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District of Omaha Commander Col. Mark Himes, and Executive Director of the Greenway Foundation Jeff Shoemaker spoke at the bank of the Platte River, celebrating the $350 million Denver will be receiving from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. They also recognized Congresspersons Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter, who could not be in attendance.

Funds will be used for river cleanup, flood prevention, especially in lower income communities near the river, and other infrastructure projects.

Street Seen: Farewell Winter

By Basha Cohen

Photos by Basha Cohen

Denver shoveled its fair share of snow in 2022 with 47 inches recorded by March 30. But, the wild intervals of 70 degree-plus days kept the Colorado mantra alive, “If you don’t like the weather here, wait five minutes.” Jefferson Park brought sledders, boarders, and cross-country skiers to its “bowls” off of 23rd Avenue. Sloan’s Lake, Crown Hill, Berkeley, and Rocky Mountain Lake brought runners, bikers, and dog lovers to their snowy shores. Snowmen stood stoically in the rising heat of the day shedding their gloves off their melting arms. More incredible than any snow-day activity, though, was the brilliance of the sunrise and sunset splashing across the canvas of the Rockies’ snowy backdrop. Farewell winter. Hello spring. Life is good.


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