August News Shorts

By The Denver North Star staff

Here are a

DPS Says Agreement Reached on Employee Minimum Wage Increases

Denver Public Schools recently announced it has reached financial agreements with several employee labor organizations. The minimum wage for paraprofessionals was increased to $20 per hour on Aug. 1 and the minimum wage for all DPS workers will increase to $20 per hour by the 2024-2025 school year, the district stated. Separate three-year agreements have been reached with the Amalgamated Transit Union (bus drivers and mechanics), Colorado Federation of School Safety Professionals (DPS patrol officers), Communications Workers of America (custodial staff), and the Denver Federation for Paraprofessionals & Nutrition Service Employees (paraprofessionals and food service employees). The district stated it is continuing to work on agreements with other labor organizations. DPS will host a career fair for these and other positions on Aug. 18.

Denver Launches Solar Energy Co-Op

Denver and Solar United Neighbors have launched the 2022 Denver Solar Co-op, a group energy-purchasing program that helps members reduce the cost of their panel installation. The Solar Co-op is open to homeowners and small business owners in Denver. Members learn about solar energy and leverage their membership numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a competitive price, the co-op stated.

New this year, the Denver Solar Equity Rebate Program will offer qualifying households $8,000 off their solar system. To qualify, households must make less than 100% of the area median income (AMI). For a family of four, that’s less than $117,200 per year of combined income.

The Colorado Clean Energy Fund also announced its new financing opportunity for co-op members called the Solar Equity Loan, which can support homeowners earning less than 100% of the AMI, adjusted for household size.

According to Solar United Neighbors, combining the city’s rebate with financing options like the Solar Equity Loan means households could install solar panels without paying anything upfront and reduce their electricity bill while paying off their loan. Solar United Neighbors said it will facilitate a competitive bidding process for solar panel vendors.

Members will then select a single solar company to complete the installations. According to a statement by Solar United Neighbors, joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar energy panels. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.

Solar United Neighbors will host several free information sessions about solar energy and the co-op. People interested in converting to solar energy can find more information at

No One Qualified for RTD District C Ballot; Write-In Candidate Needs One Vote to Win

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced Aug. 1 that none of the candidates for the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) Board of Directors District C seat had gathered enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The candidates were Kathryn E. Vandegrift and Michael Guzman, but because Guzman filed as a write-in candidate 110 days before the election, he qualified for that designation.

“While there was no sufficient candidate petition for RTD C, there is one write-in candidate for that race,” Annie Orloff, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office, told The Denver North Star in an email. “So as long as they get at least one vote, they will be the winner and the next RTD Director for District C.”

For RTD races, candidates have to get 250 eligible voter signatures from their district to be nominated on to the ballot, but neither Guzman nor Vandegrift were able to do so. Guzman is the only candidate who filed as a write-in.

Mas Kaos Pizzeria and Taqueria Closes

According to Mas Kaos Pizzeria and Taqueria on Instagram, the business at 4526 Tennyson St. has permanently closed. Westword reported in July that the business announced its closure in an Instagram story that is no longer available. “With heavy hearts and tears in our eyes, we regret to inform you all that Mas Kaos has closed its doors permanently,” the post read, according to Westword. “This was an incredibly hard decision that we did not think we were going to have to make.” The closure comes about a year after owner Patrick Mangold-White died after being struck by a fallen tree on a fishing trip in Montana.

Fourth Annual La Raza Park Day Is Aug. 21

One of the largest lowrider vehicle events of the year returns from 1-5 p.m. Aug. 21 at La Raza Park, 1501 W 38th Ave. The Latin Soul Party will DJ, and there will be food, vendors, lucha libre wrestlers, break dancing, mariachi bands, Grupo Tlaloc Aztec Dancers, and more. Organizers said 39th Avenue between Osage and Navajo streets, as well as Navajo and Osage streets between 39th and 38th avenues, will be closed for lowrider parking and traffic.


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