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THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 2021

🏙️ TODAY IN DENVER

The Denver Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resilience is aiming to keep Denver residents cooler without making the planet warmer.

Its new plan, which was released on Tuesday, is for Denver to make a gradual transition from furnaces and hot water heaters to electric heat pumps that heat and cool — and they want to begin in low-income areas that make up most of the 30% of Denver homes that don’t have air conditioning.

Heat pumps are powered by renewable energy and basically function as a “reversible” A/C unit. When it’s hot, the pump will push hot air out of the house, and vice versa when it’s cold.

The effort to battle the city’s climbing temperatures is part of a bigger initiative to battle the planet’s rising temperatures. According to city data, the use of natural gas to heat indoor spaces and water accounts for roughly a quarter of the city's greenhouse gas emissions.

The full “electrification” of the city won’t be cheap and it won’t be fast, but city officials say work on the transition will begin this year and extend at least into 2024. Rebates and incentive programs will hopefully help expedite the process.
[CO Sun; Denverite]

⚠️ Note: The City Cast Denver team is taking a day off to honor Juneteenth. So don’t expect a new episode in your podcast feed tomorrow, and you won’t hear from me until Monday morning. Have a great weekend!

☀️ We’re looking at temps near 100 again today, but tomorrow and the rest of the weekend will drop to the lower 90s with an increased chance for some cooling thunderstorms ⛈️ So, you might actually be able to leave your house this weekend.

— Peyton Garcia, (@peytonmgarcia)

📰 IN OTHER NEWS

🔥 Where to expect fire bans and when
With a record-threatening heat wave and severe drought conditions broiling Colorado, 15 local counties are enacting stage 1 fire bans this weekend. If you’re considering making your way to the mountains for some summer camping, be aware of which areas have fire bans and what that means for your s’more-roasting plans. [9News]
👉 What you can do: Get the deets on Colorado’s different fire ban stages and what they mean for your camping plans.


🥡 Could this be goodbye gratuity?
As the local minimum wage ticks up, some restaurants are switching from traditional tipping to a “service-included” model in an effort to keep labor costs affordable without having to reduce staff. Unlike with tipping, a mandatory 15-20% service charge allows restaurant owners to share some of that money with kitchen staff. [The Know]
👉 What you can do: Listen to this episode of City Cast Denver to hear from one Denver coffee shop owner who did away with tipping and upped wages.


🏗️ Phase One of Sun Valley redevelopment complete
Demolition of old housing units in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood began Tuesday, and some of the brand new high-rise apartments replacing them have already opened. The new residences are reserved for Denverites making 60% of the area’s median income, which was the same requirement for the old ones, meaning no one is getting priced out. [9News]
👉 What you can do: Read up on the related Sun Valley tank farm redevelopment project that has been 10 years in the making.


✏️ DPS principals demand (and achieve) change
Last year, Denver’s principal turnover rate was 17.5%, quite a bit higher than the national 13% average. But school leaders think that could soon change. Earlier this month, the school board approved its first contract with the district’s first principals union. Agreements go into effect July 1 and include scheduled salary raises, a one-time COVID-response bonus, and a promise from principals not to go on strike. [Chalkbeat]

🎙 TODAY'S PODCAST

A Walk Through Denver’s Juneteenth Past and Present
18 mins

The Juneteenth Music Festival is back in person this year and just in time for its 10th anniversary! Producer Xandra McMahon hangs out on Welton Street with the festival’s organizer, Norman Harris.

🗓️ MARK YOUR CALENDAR

+ SATURDAY: Stay Wild Market
Gear up for your summer of hiking, biking, camping, and rafting at this outdoors adventure market at Ironton Distillery.

+ FRIDAY + SATURDAY: Juneteenth Music Festival
Celebrate Juneteenth this weekend with live music, street markets, discussion panels, and a parade. To get the lowdown on festival events, listen to today’s City Cast Denver episode featuring event organizer Norman Harris.

+ SUNDAY: La Raza Park Celebration
The official dedication celebration of the newly-named La Raza Park will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m. (Bonus: the city will be giving away free reusable bags at this event just ahead of Denver’s new bag-fee ordinance starting July 1.)

+ SUNDAY: Liberation Day Party
Denver’s staple LGBTQ+ bar and nightclub, X Bar, is hosting a Pride Liberation party beginning at 6 p.m.

🏳️‍🌈 MOMENT OF JOY

In honor of Pride Month, I’m sharing a delightful story of one Colorado man who found the courage to come out as gay at 90 years old. Kenneth Felts fretted about “going to the grave as a straight person,” but now he’s found an abundance of love and acceptance through The Center on Colfax’s virtual elder program. He called it his lifeline during isolating times throughout the pandemic. “Coming out at 90, it's never too late to find out who loves you, who doesn’t, and to let yourself love," says Felts. Read Felts’ full story here 👉 [Denver7]

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