States and water districts in Colorado basin fight over drought plan details

Progress on new drought plan in Colorado basin is slow going

By Isaac Windes, Cronkite News

States, federal and Mexican officials hailed a binational agreement this fall that they said could lead to a radical shift in how the region prepares for and responds to drought.

But three months later, they appear no closer to a drought contingency plan, as negotiations have pitted states and water districts against one another, as the U.S. tries to hammer out details of the plan.


The Stapleton Foundation is ditching the KKK mayor’s name

What may be the first domino in the Stapleton name change movement has fallen.

The defunct Stapleton Airport control tower looms over the growing suburban lanscape. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) stapleton airport; suburbs; homes; residential; denverite; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty
The defunct control tower from the old Stapleton Airport looms over the growing suburban landscape. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

What may be the first domino in the Stapleton name change movement has fallen.

The Stapleton Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities, the organization that developed the redevelopment plan for the old municipal airport and worked with the city to choose Forest City as the master developer, will drop Stapleton from its name starting in January.


Colorado natives now slightly less outnumbered by transplants

New data shows who is living in and leaving the state of Colorado.

Looking west from the top floor of the newly-completed Country Club Towers, Aug. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) country club towers; residential real estate; apartment building; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; denver architectural foundation; cityscape; skyline;
Looking west from the top floor of the newly-completed Country Club Towers, Aug. 16, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado natives got a baby boost last year with the total number of people born and living in the state jumping to 2.37 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


How Colorado lawmakers are addressing sexual harassment at the Capitol

There’s a sense of urgency on this issue as the 2018 legislative session starts in a few short weeks with a cloud over it.

A legislative executive committee meeting on sexual harassment at the Capitol, Dec. 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) government; copolitics; denver; colorado; denverite; legislation; sexual harassment; kevinjbeaty;
The executive committee meets to discuss sexual harassment policies at the Capitol, Dec. 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The policies adopted by the New York Assembly after a major sexual harassment scandal haven’t eradicated the problems there, but there’s been some important changes. Complaints that used to go the speaker of the assembly now go to an independent investigator who has the power to interview any and all witnesses and review all communications, including emails and text messages.

“Everybody now knows it’s not going to be an inside job,” said Rick Rossein, a professor at CUNY School of Law, a specialist in employment and civil rights law and the author of the new policies. “It’s going to be somebody who can investigate without fear or favor.”

The investigator — Rossein and a female colleague now fill that role as well — makes recommendations to a bipartisan ethics committee, which can hold hearings. While the hearings are closed, if there’s a finding that inappropriate behavior occurred, that finding becomes public.

“That’s really important and powerful,” Rossein said. “Taxpayers and constituents have a right to know what’s going on. … Making it public is important when there is a finding. Keeping it confidential when there is not a finding is equally important.”

Independence, accountability, confidentiality, transparency: These are the issues Colorado legislators are grappling with as they consider policy changes in the wake of sexual harassment accusations against members of both parties.

On Friday, members of the executive committee of legislative council, made up of leadership from both chambers, decided to authorize the hiring of the general assembly’s first human resources professional and to put together a request for proposals to find a consultant who can make additional suggestions. That might look like minor tweaks to Joint Rule 38, which describes the process for handling sexual harassment accusations, or it might look like an entirely new policy.

There’s a sense of urgency on this issue as the 2018 legislative session starts in a few short weeks with a cloud over it. And once the session starts, there are just a few months in which to find consensus on policy changes while getting the rest of the people’s work done.


Comal Kitchen offers Denver unique, Ethiopian coffee experience

“People talk about gossip, politics, everything around coffee,” said Ethiopian coffee purveyor Sara Gebre.

Peter Rae (left to right), Daniel Matoba, Christine Harwood and Sarah Fischer clink coffee cups. Comal Kitchen, Dec. 14, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; comal kitchen; food; globeville; taxi;
Peter Rae (left to right), Daniel Matoba, Christine Harwood and Sarah Fischer clink coffee cups. Comal Kitchen, Dec. 14, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Comal Kitchen, the social enterprise founded to give residents of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea a leg up into entrepreneurship, launched new Ethiopian coffee offerings this week.

Sara Gebre is the collective’s newest member, and the first to come from outside Comal’s normal north Denver focus area. She’ll be serving up traditionally-made coffee on Thursdays between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. each week, delivered with cookies and urns flowing with incense.