1) Students Strike for Climate Change
From Berlin to Nairobi, youth on September 20 took to the streets to demand action on climate change. Denver School of the Arts (DSA) students were among thousands of area youth who participated in the Global Climate Strike. DSA Senior Amelia Gorman led about 200 other students who walked out of school to participate in this international event, the first to focus on youths organizing globally on climate change. Accompanied by five DSA staff, they marched to City Park Pavilion, where they met with City Council President Jolon Clark and Colorado Majority Leader Alec Garnett.
“I just really wanted to be part of this global movement,” says Gorman, who cited Swedish teenager Greta
Thunberg and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal among her inspirations. “This is the first big step I’ve taken on the climate issue,” she says. Upon returning to DSA she engaged middle schoolers in writing letters to elected officials.
Though this was Gorman’s first foray into political action, it won’t be her last. Clark has asked her to bring a group of DSA students to testify as council considers local measures to combat climate change. “My generation is the one that will have to deal with years of irresponsible climate policy by outdated politicians. Our future livelihood is on the line. We must speak openly to those in power who have refused to act and urge them to do something immediately, and if they do not, we will hold them accountable at the ballot box when we turn eighteen,” said Gorman.
Though not yet 18, Gorman registered to vote at 16 and said, “I will be voting.”
2) Paul Sandoval Campus Full Buildout
Almost a year before Northfield High School (NHS) graduated its first class in May 2019, DPS acknowledged they wouldn’t be able to wait for the 2020 bond to build another classroom building; projections showed more seats would be needed for the 2020-21 school year. The original plans for the Paul Sandoval Campus at E. 56th Ave and Central Park Blvd. envisioned additional classroom buildings and expanded music, performance, and athletic facilities beyond what was built in 2014, when the first class arrived. The DSST building has been added, and DPS was able to get the final buildout phase of construction off the ground quickly by continuing to work with the same architect, LOA Architecture, and the same builder, Adolphson & Peterson Construction.
Having made decisions on design features and materials in the first phase was a big time saver, says DPS’ Director of Planning, Design and Construction Jennifer Song Koeppe. And working with the same architect and builder saved DPS the year-long RFP (request for proposal) process they went through for the first phase of construction.
The current project, estimated at $65.7 million, is adding a 46-classroom building, 2 new practice gyms, 4 tennis courts, a new soccer field, and 2 pickleball courts as well as expanding music and performance facilities. The DPS buildings on Paul Sandoval campus, which will accommodate 450 students at DSST and 1,800 at NHS, occupy 20 acres. An adjoining 20 acres of land is owned by the City. The sports fields are used by the campus, by Parks and Rec youth programs, and by other program rentals by permit only The pickleball and tennis courts are City facilities that are open to the public.
Construction is on budget and on schedule to open for the 2020-21 school year, says DPS Construction Project Manager Jim Staples. Surprises can happen, however, when building over an old airport. Staples says they recently discovered an 18” thick slab of concrete 121×127 feet buried under 2 feet of dirt during their work on the athletic fields. He estimates it will take about a week to remove it—but it won’t interfere with their ability to finish on time.
3) Neighborhood Watch: Suspicious Behavior, Not Suspicious People
“We are not reporting suspicious people. I don’t care if you’re Black, White, Hispanic, straight, gay. It does not matter…It’s your behavior that makes you suspicious,” says Denver Police Department Community Resource Officer Latrisha Guss, who led a Neighborhood Watch meeting at the Cube on September 12.
About 20 residents of all ages and diverse races and ethnicities attended the meeting. Watch is a block-by-block all-volunteer effort by individuals who wish to prevent crime by communicating better with police and neighbors.
Several who attended the meeting shared concerns that the program might lead to increased racial profiling. DPD officers, however, emphasized that only suspicious behaviors (e.g. trying door handles of parked cars or peering into car windows) warrant a call to police. Guss and other speakers also emphasized that no one should attempt to patrol an area or follow an individual. “If you’re one of those people patrolling, that has to stop,” said Guss.
DPD offers training for those who wish to serve as block captains and encourages those who wish to learn more about Neighborhood Watch to invite an officer to walk their block with them, attend a block party, or meet for small group conversations. Contact Officer Guss at Latrisha.firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-913-1405 for more information or to schedule a visit. For emergencies or crimes in progress dial 911; for non-emergency issues call 720-913-2000.
4) Rare Sighting of Tropical Bird: Groove-billed Ani
Local bird watcher and photographer George Ho, MD captured this photo of the Groove-billed Ani in Sand Creek. This tropical bird typically lives in Central America and northern South America, and its farthest north habitat is southern Texas—though Ho relates that sightings of the Groove-billed Ani in Colorado were reported as long ago as 1975. It is a member of the cuckoo family, as revealed by its two-toes-foreward, two-toes-back foot arrangement.