Washington Park can be cleaned up without banning beer, says councilman Charlie Brown

Categories: Environment

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Denver City Council member Charlie Brown (in hat) at a hearing earlier this year.
Should 3.2 beer be banned in Washington Park? Two weeks ago, Denver City Councilman Chris Nevitt suggested the city try banning beer in Wash Park for six months in order to combat drunken behavior; he sent that request to Laurie Dannemiller, director of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation. And at a public meeting on April 10, both Nevitt and Dannemiller outlined the reasons for such a ban. But plenty of those in attendance argued against this move -- including council member Charlie Brown, whose District 6 actually includes most of the park and surrounding neighborhoods.

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Washington Park beer ban decision expected soon -- but why do we even have 3.2 beer?

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April is here, and Denver's parks are abuzz -- but not because of daffodils, robins and honeybees. Rather, it's our First World right to get buzzed -- whether it's with booze or with pot -- in these public places that has people springing into action. And while the 4/20 Rally in Civic Center has its own set of issues, a major booze battle could reach its peak today or tomorrow in Washington Park, where City Councilman Chris Nevitt wants to ban beer for six months after complaints from neighbors about boozy behavior reached the point of overflow.

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Washington Park alcohol ban meeting: Freedom and responsibility versus urine and vomit

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Over a hundred residents of Washington Park and beyond made their way to the Denver Baha'i Center last night to debate whether or not the park should put a temporary ban on alcoholic beverages -- specifically 3.2 beer, the only liquor allowed there.

The crowd seemed evenly divided, with half of those in attendance agreeing that a ban should be put in place to solve some of the problems in the park and surrounding areas, while the other half argued that the ban wasn't the right fix.

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Tumbleweed invasion has its roots in fire, drought

Categories: Environment

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For the past two weeks, the area around Colorado Springs has been besieged by tumbleweeds. Piles of the dessicated, rolling shrubs have clogged streets and yards, trapping residents at home in at least one case. For farmers, the plants have choked off irrigation ditches, the piles of tinder-dry shrubs forming fire hazards.

Clearly, Colorado is in the midst of a tumbleweed boom, with an unusual number of the noxious weeds popping up in the central and eastern parts of the state. And this likely won't be the last season that we spend buried in the brush.

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Video and photos: Tumbleweeds meet fire whirl in Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Categories: Environment

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The tumbleweed invasion is nigh. Over the past few weeks, gaggles of the rolling desert shrubs have taken over portions of central Colorado, clogging streets and driveways, and trapping a few residents in their homes. Some communities around Colorado Springs have even resorted to clearing away the plants with snowplows.

But for a few firefighters this month, tumbleweeds briefly became a real danger.

On March 13, personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, and three local fire departments were conducting a prescribed burn at Rocky Mountain Arsenal when a fire whirl swept up thousands of loose tumbleweeds.

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Frackers and their critics argue over proposed study of industry's health risks

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Joann Ginal.
Not enough is known about the health impacts of oil and gas drilling in Colorado, or we already know more than enough. Surveying residents who live near wells about their "quality of life" is either a terrific idea or a lot of unscientific twaddle -- and a waste of money to boot. The sparring at Thursday's hearing over House Bill 14-1297, which would require a study on the effects of hydraulic fracturing in four Front Range counties, reflected the fractious divide among legislators, business interests, environmentalists and others over our booming natural gas industry.

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Stapleton officials can't figure out if they can accept parks lover's cash offer

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Patricia Olson.
To Patricia Olson, the offer just made sense. If the Stapleton Development Corporation was having trouble paying for the continued services of Dennis Piper, a key consultant involved in planning the emerging neighborhood's parks and open space, then Olson would pay Piper's salary out of her own pocket.

But her generous offer has been hanging fire for two weeks while SDC officials try to figure out what to do about it.

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Alamosa "healthy living park" rises again

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The battle over the sale of a former school property in Alamosa -- which deeply divided the town last summer, pitting advocates for a "healthy living park" against backers of a private, high-end RV resort -- appears to have reached an unexpected resolution. A settlement in a lawsuit over the sale stipulates that the park group can purchase the property from the RV developer for $900,000, thereby keeping the land public and heading off a proposed land swap that would have privatized city-owned ranch land north of the site.

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Video: Amazing time-lapse record of St. Anthony Hospital demolition

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Video below.
This week's cover story, "High-Rise Anxiety," looks into the uproar over redevelopment of the old St. Anthony Hospital site -- which is being welcomed by some residents as a long-awaited economic revival of the West Colfax business district, while others are concerned about the impact of the project on the Sloan's Lake neighborhood. But whatever side of the issue you're on, there's no denying that taking down the 130-year-old hospital complex -- nearly a million square feet of various structures, from various eras -- was one hell of a demolition job.

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Top ten states for solar jobs: Colorado's on the list, but advocate says the news isn't all good

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Infographic below.
According to a solar jobs census conducted under the auspices of The Solar Foundation, Colorado ranked ninth in the U.S. for solar jobs, with 3,600 people employed by the industry here during 2013. See an infographic about the findings below.

A cause to celebrate? Not according to Margaret McCall, an energy associate with Environment Colorado. That's because the state actually is lower on the roster than it was last year due to hiring stagnation.

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