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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

🏙️ TODAY IN DENVER

Meet Denver’s new chief equity officer, Dr. Aisha Rousseau.

Mayor Michael Hancock announced Tuesday morning that he’s tapped Rousseau to oversee the Office of Social Equity and Innovation, a department that focuses on dismantling institutional racism and advancing equity and diversity in all city departments, from government policies to education programs to law enforcement training.

Upon its creation in 2019, the chief equity officer position was held by Hancock’s deputy chief of staff Erin Brown until Brown was hired as vice president of community investment and impact by the Colorado Health Foundation earlier this summer. Kim Desmond took over the role in the interim until she was recently named San Diego’s own (and very first) chief race and equity officer.

For the last six years, Rousseau served as the director of the Division of Disability Rights for the City and County of Denver. In her new role, she will be tasked with creating the brand new Denver Institute of Equity and Reconciliation, part of Hancock’s vision for making Denver “a national leader in research related to racism, bias, inclusion, [and] practices of reconciliation,” according to a city press release.

Rousseau starts her new role Oct. 11.
[CO Politics; 9News; CBS4]

👉 What you can do: Learn more about Dr. Aisha Rousseau and the Office of Social Equity and Innovation.

⛅ It’s sweater weather! Partly sunny skies with a high of only 60.

⚠️ P.S. Yesterday’s newsletter contained a typo. The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago took place in 1893, not 1983. Our bad!

— Peyton Garcia, (@peytonmgarcia)

📰 IN OTHER NEWS

📍 Here’s what our new congressional districts could look like
After several hours of debate and seven rounds of voting, the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission came to an 11-1 agreement Tuesday night on a final draft of the state’s new congressional map. The version that will be sent on to the Colorado Supreme Court for revisions or approval has three safe Democrat seats, three safe Republican seats, and two seats that could go either way. The map’s new eighth district spans from north Denver into Greeley, has a heavy concentration of Latino voters, and is expected to elicit a close race. [CO Sun]
👉 What you can do: Check out the final map draft.


🩺 DougCo’s not done with Tri-County just yet…
In response to a disagreement surrounding COVID mask mandates, Douglas County officials decided (rather hastily) to cut ties with the Tri-County Health Department earlier this month and form their own public health entity. But turns out, setting up a new health department takes time. This week, DougCo commissioners agreed to allow the TCHD to continue to provide its current health services to DougCo residents through 2022, but DougCo will not reinstate any appointees to the TCHD board. [CO Politics]
👉 What you can do: Hear more about DougCo’s secession from the Tri-County Health Department on this recent episode of City Cast Denver.


🚔 Judge dismisses police lawsuit over vax mandate
Last week, seven Denver police officers filed a request to nullify the city’s vaccine mandate, alleging it to be unlawful. Yesterday, Judge Shelley Gilman quickly dismissed the lawsuit, citing that the plaintiffs did not fulfill the requirement of exhausting all alternative administrative avenues before resorting to a lawsuit. Randy Coporon, attorney for the officers, said he plans to file an administrative complaint with Denver's public health department. The mandated deadline to receive the vaccine was today. [Denver Post]

💉 Schools aren’t using state’s free testing program
When the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment created a free weekly COVID testing program for kids in schools, the aim was to help track and prevent outbreaks among students. But so far it hasn’t worked because less than 1% of Colorado students are using the program. Gov. Polis is pleading directly with parents and school leaders to step it up. “Parents have to want it. Schools have to implement it,” he said. No Denver Public Schools are currently utilizing the program. [CO Sun]
👉 What you can do: Learn more about the school testing program.

🎙 TODAY'S PODCAST

Titwrench: 13 Years of Musical Revolution
14 mins
Titwrench was so much more than your average music festival — it was, and still is, a community. With Titwrench taking place for the final time this weekend, Host Bree Davies sits down with longtime friend and head of the Titwrench Collective, Sarah Slater, to talk about the evolution of this fest.

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🗓️ MARK YOUR CAL

+ SATURDAY + SUNDAY: Estes Park Elk Fest
This mountain town tradition offers live music, Indigenous dance performances, elk bugling contests, and, if you’re lucky, maybe even appearances from the town’s resident elk.

+ SATURDAY + SUNDAY: Cheesman Park Art Fest
National artists, homegrown musicians, and local chefs will gather in Cheesman Park for the 8th annual rendition of this award-winning festival.

+ SUNDAY: People + Produce
Stop by Belleview Station for the final installation of Denver BAZAAR’s People + Produce farmers market. (Tickets include bottomless mimosas!)

🥧 MOMENT OF JOY

Credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Pumpkin is one of my favorite things to eat, and this time of year, recipes are rife with the stuff — pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin curry, pumpkin chai lattes… 🤤 So please excuse me while I daydream over all 13 of these pumpkin-stuffed recipes and beg my fiancé (who’s a wiz in the kitchen) to try his hand at a couple of them. 

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