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Ekar Farm, an urban garden oasis at 6825 East Alameda in the heart of Lowry, fights food insecurity in Denver through education about food systems and by reconnecting thousands of volunteers and students a year to the Earth. It’s mission is to connect, grow, nourish and repair and the easiest way to do that is simply to get your hands dirty. 


“When we frame what we’re doing, we’re doing food and environmental justice and we’re trying to accomplish systems-level work, says Sue Salinger, the Executive Director of Ekar Farms.   We know that giving people food is a form of direct aid.  Education is a part of changing the systems. So we work with kids from preschoolers through college, and adults as well.” 

The one and a half acre farm is hidden behind the Denver Academy of Torah, between apartment buildings and suburban housing. It bustles with activity starting early every morning during the growing season.  While many are getting ready for spring and summer planting in their home gardens, the season of community farming is a year-round job for Sue, her team, and volunteers. 

“It matters for the people who receive the produce.” says Salinger. The farm grows culturally appropriate food “for the people we’re giving it to, high quality, organic vegetables that are beautiful and nutrient-dense because we’re taking care of the soil.”   

In Hebrew “Ekar” means “the most important things.” Those things are environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual connection.  In the Jewish Tradition, the ability to see the connection between our bodies and the Earth starts with repairing our environment and food. People support and celebrate each other with food, and with the growth of urban farming, it’s also supporting the environment. 

Ekar Farm grows lavish gardens of produce for food banks and donation centers. Acorn squash, potatoes, varieties of lettuces, carrots, and radishes. And sweet to tart fruits of raspberries, blueberries, and more from their apple and plum fruit trees.  

The importance of community gardens was highlighted during COVID-19 with the growing issue of food insecurity among Denver residents.

“People did start to panic, and it was a good wake-up call that our food system is broken. Our food system locally is very dependent on food being brought in by trucks from all over the world.” says Salinger. “So this is a fix.” 


Salinger shared about the lasting impacts of food insecurity following the COVID pandemic and how it pulled the curtain back on how our food is unevenly distributed to Denver families. “The food system connected itself and rallied. It really showed an example of how we can respond to a community in crisis to meet people’s needs. That’s a lesson that I think is going to serve us well as the climate emergency intensifies.”

According to the Colorado Health Institute, “in 2019, approximately one in 10 Coloradans experienced food insecurity, defined as eating less than they felt they should in the past year because there was not enough money for food.” 

A Denver food Pantry hosted by Jewish Family Services will go through up to 100,000 pounds of food a week. Sue discussed the work that can be accomplished with an acre of land annually. In the climate of Colorado. With the soil provided, an acre of agriculture can produce anywhere between 18,000 to 20,000 pounds of food that can be sold, donated, and distributed to those experiencing food insecurity. 

“We’re going to need to work together to make sure that people are able to have their food needs met.” says Salinger. 

The land that was renewed by Ekar Farm used to hold a factory for destruction, a World War I and World War II air force base that manufactured bombs. The specific site that lays beneath Ekar Farms was part of the cement depot, causing the soil to be high in alkaline where chunks of cement found their way back to the surface throughout the farming season as the plotting beds were shaped. 

“We’re turning an area that used to produce bombs into an area that supports life, community, and putting that life back into the soil.” says Salinger. 

“Ekar farm became one of the Rocky Mountain seed hubs and we distributed 17,000 packets of seeds through food pantry partners and into community garden groups,” explained Salinger.

Ekar Farm is a new form of urban gardening to provide communities with fresh produce and even their own plot to rent out for the growing season.  There is a half acre comprised of 40 ten by ten foot plots that can be rented to community gardens.  Some are rented by school kids where students are able to participate by watching their own plot of land produce vegetables, and nearby residents are also able to rent out their own personal garden patch and have the space to grow their produce.

Community gardens, food pantries, hydroponic gardening, and new systems to distribute food are only expanding for the future needs of the population. Community gardens are non-profits and farm equipment, seeds, harvesting, and distribution are bolstered by donations, community funding and grants.  

With bees helping to pollinate, the smell of fresh soil, and educated farm hands directing the projects, consider giving back this Earth Day to Ekar Farm or another community garden near you.  By supporting local community gardens and reforming our food system, communities can come together to not only reduce food waste but bring connection between people and the Earth. 

Ekar Farms continues to bring the Jewish tradition of connecting back to the Earth by improving the environment around them. Support community farms, gardens, and help build a network of personal gardens to reduce reliance on distributed produce in grocery stores. Ekar Farms is a nonprofit and is accepting donations as well as time spent through volunteer work.

Ekar Farm, an urban garden oasis at

On this Earth Day let’s honor the great Denver Mayor Robert Speer.  Elected three times to lead Denver (1904-1912), he was an ardent supporter of the so-called City Beautiful Movement. 

Speer and other Denver leaders recognized the importance of trees, the evaporative cooling they provide as well as the beauty they bring to a city.  They sought to make Denver the Queen City of the Plains, an oasis amid the high altitude grasslands east of the Rockies.

Aside from the cottonwood trees that grow on the banks of the South Platte and local creeks, virtually every tree you see in Denver has been planted by someone.  Against the odds of a semi-arid climate, trees have been nurtured by humans in an area where, on their own, they would likely die.

The fact is many trees did die. Dutch Elm disease, lightning strikes and development over the years have all taken their toll.  The Park People have a great resource guide to help people in Denver understand what trees have the best chance of survival on our prairie.

The Park People, through their program Denver Digs Trees, recognizes our need for trees and this weekend volunteers will fan out across the city to plant more than a thousand new trees in 28 low income neighborhoods.  In neighborhoods in dire need of shade, it can cost as little as ten dollars. Watch for the 2023 sign up to be announced soon so you can jump on the tree bandwagon.  

Now, as Denver continues to grow and more concrete and asphalt is poured, the city’s tree canopy is woefully lacking.  While most Denverites live within a ten-minute walk of a park, trees shouldn’t be relegated to just parks.  Treelined streets will keep our homes cooler and make our city more beautiful.

Trees are not a magic bullet for combating climate change but they are a good start. There’s much to be done.

Let’s begin with downtown Denver where an estimated 1,800 trees cover about 4 percent of the area. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says Denver’s tree canopy ranks downtown at the bottom of the list of America’s 20 largest cities.

As the 16th Street Mall undergoes revisions, there are plans to add 400 to 500 trees at a cost of $9 million. You can’t just plunk trees in the ground here. Trees must have proper access to irrigated soil to survive. In the high-rise jungle of downtown, that’s expensive.

As Denver races against the climate change clock, The Union of Concerned Scientists says by 2050, the city will experience 20 to 35 days a year of 95 degree or hotter days. The City Forester’s Office says Denver is planting about 6,700 trees a year but that’s not near enough to reach a goal that would increase the citywide tree canopy from 13 percent to 20 percent.

Tree equity gaps exist in Denver.  A recent study by the Nature Conservancy says neighborhoods lacking tree canopy are 14 to 15 percent hotter than neighborhoods with trees and lawns. Sadly, many of those neighborhoods lacking trees are low-income neighborhoods like Globeville-Elyria Swansea.  Perhaps the worst example is Sun Valley where approximately 90 percent of the people live under the poverty line.  American Forests says Sun Valley’s tree coverage is a low 3 percent.  Compare that with West Highland with a tree canopy of 18% and only 12% of people living in poverty.  

Denver’s efforts on trees and green space could use improvement. Citywide, the Trust for Public Lands says just 8 percent of Denver’s 155 square miles is populated by parks.  That compares to 21 percent in New York City and 13 percent in Los Angeles.  There are initiatives to create more parks but mostly on a small scale. 

A voter-approved measure to require rooftop gardens on buildings was watered down by the Denver City Council and most new developments plant few trees and have little green space.  A 2006 vow by former Mayor John Hickenlooper to plant a million trees in Denver fizzled.  Only 225 thousand were planted.

The bottom line is that, like the past, it takes work to make the Denver the Queen City of the Plains.  It also takes commitment from its citizens to plant and maintain trees on right-of-ways and yards.  Trees cool our neighborhoods and help conserve energy.  They help keep the air healthy and reduce flooding and heat related illnesses.   

On this Earth Day, let’s pledge to make Denver cool and green again, for everyone.

On this Earth Day let’s honor the

Eleven years after receiving an unforgiving marijuana citation, things have come full circle for Daniel Morgan as he opens Denver’s first social equity dispensary, Social Cannabis, at 5068 N. Federal Boulevard across from Regis University. 

“It has been such a long, hard process to get here, but it feels like a dream come true. It doesn’t even feel real.” 

Denver’s marijuana social equity program received its first application from Daniel, a University of Denver alumni, who left for Wyoming his senior year and came back with a career-altering marijuana citation. Morgan has not set foot in Wyoming since. The citation during his final year of study in business, came with lasting impacts that stretched far beyond his sentence of a year-long term of probation and a steep fine. 

“It was terrifying. At the time of the citation, cannabis was a lot more frowned upon. Since it was essentially during the tail end of my senior year, it was a time when I was applying for a lot of jobs, and companies started asking me for background checks. I would get all the way to that point, but then I would never hear back.”


For years, the cannabis industry has been criticized for barring those who have been harmed by the war on drugs. People served extended sentences in prison for petty marijuana charges while others made millions from Colorado’s lucrative industry. As a result, consequences of marijuana convictions fell harder on marginalized communities and people of color. According to a report by the ACLU, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. This while, marijuana use is roughly consistent across all ethnicities and 75% of dispensaries in Denver are owned by white men.  

In April of 2021, a social equity marijuana bill was signed into law which could lead to the most expansive change in the history of Denver’s marijuana industry. Its comprehensive social equity program aims to break the barriers to entry for those who have been negatively impacted by marijuana laws. The program also makes the application process more accessible to all by waiving or reducing initial licensing fees, which can cost several thousand dollars.

Denver aims to more accurately reflect its demographics in the cannabis industry by removing the city’s marijuana retail license cap exclusively for social equity applicants who meet one of the following criteria: Individuals may qualify if they have lived in an Opportunity Zone or Disproportionately Impacted Area for at least fifteen years between 1980 and 2010. Individuals may also qualify if their annual household income does not exceed 50% of Colorado’s median income, or if they, a spouse, parent, guardian or child has been convicted of a marijuana offense in the past and have not had a previous retail license revoked. 

According to Dr. Tristan Watkins, program manager for Colorado’s Cannabis office, the social equity program is also vitalizing Denver’s marijuana delivery industry by exclusively taking social equity applicants until 2027. This bill applies to individuals who wish to open their own delivery business or partner with existing dispensaries. 

Because of the time consuming application process, only nineteen out of Denver’s 206 dispensaries are licensed to have delivery services provided by the social equity program. However Dr. Watkins believes the business is headed in a great direction. “Although it’s not popular yet, it is happening, and licenses are being rewarded.”

Michael Diaz Rivera is one of those social equity licensees with his marijuana delivery company, Better Days Delivery.  He was busted for possession and accused of distribution.  Because of the conviction her served a couple months in jail. The new laws have given him opportunities to succeed in the marijuana industry.  “By focusing on the communities most impacted we can begin the healing needed to transform. In my situation, in particular outside of my family community, I am grateful for the people who pick me up after my mistakes and hold me accountable. Now that I am in the position that I am in, I feel as if it is my duty to pay it forward.”

Discouraged as he felt by his bust, Morgan found the silver lining to all of this when he started getting involved in the cannabis industry, budtending for minimum wage at a local dispensary right off of DU’s campus. Morgan found a home in the industry, and quickly grew fascinated with the cultivation side of retail cannabis. 

“After I moved on from budtending, I was washing pots, transplanting, cleaning–really taking on all growing responsibilities.”  Morgan continued to climb the industry’s ever-growing ladder as an executive with Starbuds. 

“I was extremely focused on cultivation early on,” says Morgan, “but when the company I had been working for transitioned and sold a lot of its cultivation, I started getting into the business side of the industry. I started doing a lot of consulting work and helping open up stores all around the United States.”  

Everything changed for Morgan when Denver’s social equity marijuana bills were signed into law, offering priority licenses to those who had been convicted of marijuana charges in the past. Morgan no longer had to forfeit his dream of owning his own marijuana business, but the application was just the first step of a very challenging journey.

“It was a very, very long process. It started with applying to the program, then applying to the state, then applying to Denver to have it approved for processing. After that, I had to attend a hearing in Denver where I met a lot of nearby residents and company owners.” 

Dan says, “There was zero opposition at the hearing, and many of the business owners believed that opening up Social Cannabis would benefit their companies as well.” After the hearing, Morgan had to pass several different extensive inspections in order to arrive at the grand opening of Social Cannabis. 

Morgan is partnering with over twenty cannabis vendors participating in the Social Responsibility Give Back Program, a plan designed to increase the vitality of Denver’s diverse areas by partnering with local businesses. One of the participating organizations is Ananeo, a program that provides housing, coaching, and mental health resources for those re-entering everyday life after prison. Morgan is truly passionate about giving back to the social equity program and helping others that want the same things he does. 

“Going through this process and facing all of the difficulties and hurdles I have been through, I realize that even though I finally got through it and am opening up my own business, it is still extremely difficult for other people to get here.” 

That is why Morgan is committed to creating a mentorship program that will help guide other social equity applicants through the process of opening their own businesses in the marijuana industry. As the first social equity dispensary owner in Denver, Morgan says, “I want to make it easier for other people. Although it’s my business, it’s not just about me. I want Social Cannabis to help other people and enable them to succeed.” 

He recently spoke with city of Denver officials who were very receptive to his idea, and he hopes to launch the mentorship program within the next month or two.   Morgan is proud to open up the first social equity cannabis store in Denver and hopes donations generated from the sale of select brands at Social Cannabis will help expand opportunities for others who have faced debilitating challenges.

“I ultimately want to maximize the potential of the social equity program and give back to the communities that deserve it.”

 A handful of other dispensary applications have been submitted for processing through the social equity program, but so far Morgan owns the only social equity dispensary in Denver.

“Without the social equity program, none of this would have been possible for me. Social Cannabis is essentially my proudest accomplishment.”

Eleven years after receiving an unforgiving marijuana

After a long career in broadcasting, you’ve decided to leave Tegna and 9News and leap into the unknown. Can you describe the excitement and trepidation you feel as you meet this moment?

I’ve been reacting to monumental change my entire career. My first job required typewritten scripts that were then taped together to be physically run through a teleprompter. Now there’s an app for that. There’s also a broadcast quality camera on the phone that houses that app. Instead of carrying a heavy camera with giant tapes and a tripod that weighed more than me, one can now shoot and entire TV story on a device that fits into my back pocket. Change is always scary but if there is one thing I have learned after 30 years in television is that change also breeds creativity.

What was it about these last couple of years that helped you decide to take this risk?

The pandemic has proven the need for a strong ethical media now more than ever. But it’s also changed how we live our lives.  How journalists adapt to this change will determine our success in the future. I want to be a part of leading that change.  On a personal note, both of my daughters graduate this year – one from high school, the other from college, so it is a good time to work on “me” and my future! 9NEWS has been supportive of my decision even as my team heads into the May ratings period. For the first time in my adult life, I will have my birthday off and will be able to spend uninterrupted time with my girl’s (whether they want to or not!).

Things are changing so rapidly in television news.  Was there a turning point for you where you felt you would be better served by trying something new?   

I strongly believe news is more important to our democracy than ever before, and my decision to try something new is built on that belief. So many people have asked if investigative journalism will suffer in the wake of the changes in our business. The only way to protect its future is to make it harder and harder to cut. We do that by doing a better job of being a watchdog in our communities. Luckily there seems to be a never-ending supply of stories to dig up!

You talk about betting on yourself.  What does that look like as you envision your future?  

I am not the first to jump. I am inspired by so many Colorado journalists reinventing the business model. Many of those people (like Vicky Collins who publishes Bucket List Community Cafe) have paved the way! I am inspired by the Colorado Sun, Colorado Public Radio, COLab, Open Media, there are too many to list. I am betting that I have something to lend to this spirit of entrepreneurship. I have often said I had the best job in the business. And, I did. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best journalists in the country and I will miss my colleagues so much! But inspired by those who have jumped before, I realized I have some new ideas I’d like to explore. I finally looked around and thought, who better to jump than me!

Many people are leaving their jobs and reinventing themselves in the wake of Covid.  What advice do you have for others who are considering a major transition at this time? 

I am not sure I’m the best one to answer that, since my story is still being written! Call me in 6 months 😊

After a long career in broadcasting, you’ve

You recently retired after a 45-year career in construction risk management.  How is it going so far?

I love retirement! It took me about a month to decompress and unwind from going to work every day.  Then I settled into a comfortable routine of house chores, health & fitness, biking and walking everywhere; along with re-connecting with friends beyond the on-line social networks used during the long pandemic and the busy holidays.  The key is to be financially secure and understand where money goes after retirement, and be able to re-adjust to the recent inflation and gas price increases.  Then I looked for ways to better connect with my community.  My favorite quote is “Think globally. Act locally.”   Finally, I am doing occasional professional consulting to help with the bills.

Lots of people start their days off with a cup of coffee but you’ve taken your morning joe to a whole new level.  Tell us about your coffee quest?

Back in early November while unwinding, and with winter approaching, I was looking for simple excuses to get out and about.  I make great coffee and I had a favorite coffee shop haunt near my house.  Out of curiosity I looked on-line and saw about eight shops in LoHi, some of which I had been to and some of which I hadn’t.  Since then I’ve been to 13 (not including several restaurants and cafes that also sell coffee.)  Some unique spots are Pinwheel Coffee which is managed by high school kids and shares a space with my bike shop, Queensberry Coffee which has as many dogs as people and Steam Espresso Bar which is in an historic Denver firehouse..    

What have been the benefits of getting out each week on your coffee runs? 

Walking is always good for any reason even if winter weather.  Seeing more of the neighborhood was nice along with seeing more of old houses without the leaves.   I have lived in Highland for 22 years and still can visualize the old houses and businesses that are gone and disappearing so rapidly. Supporting local businesses and workers is very satisfying.

You say you know a good cup of java.  What conclusions have your reached about the coffee shops in North Denver?

I’m no connoisseur or snob when it comes to coffee.  I do appreciate the many variables involved such as bean, grind, water, time & temperature.  I drink mine small, black, light roast and with a double shot of espresso.  They seem to all have their distinct personalities and character from whatever old building or former business that was there.  Every barista or server I meet is super friendly!  Lots of people are working from their laptops.  Dogs are welcome.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to find new activities and purpose in retirement?

A couple of mantras I believe in are that ‘health is wealth’ and ‘sitting is the new cancer’ so just keep moving.  Getting involved and giving back to the community is something I’ve always done but I think retirees play a crucial role with their free time, experience, and passion.  Retirees should put a lot of time and energy in relationships, personal and professional.  I’ve found this hugely rewarding my entire life but more so in retirement.

You recently retired after a 45-year career

Tears spill from the eyes and stream down the cheeks of mothers, wives, and other family members as the men, and many women in their communities pack a small bag and head away from the frontlines of a war. A battle zone right in their own neighborhood. Children whimper with fatigue and hunger as their parents hold their hands and pull them along a muddy sidewalk or road. 

They sidestep bodies wrapped in bloody sheets. Some are neighbors. Others are strangers. Some are even children. Were they on their way to school the day they were killed by enemy gun fire?  The dead are young and old, men and women. Some are slumped over with their hands tied behind their back, a bullet in the back of the head. A cyclist lays in a pool of blood, stopped dead in his tracks by heavy artillery from a tank. Pregnant women hold their abdomens moving as fast as they can to safety as debris and shrapnel whiz past their heads. 

The International Human Rights Commission says civilians are the victims of rapes and executions, while their homes are looted by military soldiers.

These are not the tears of Ukrainian civilians under Russian attack. These atrocities are happening in other places in the world but you probably have not heard of them, at least not through hour-to-hour news coverage every day for weeks.

When I first sat down to write this piece I planned to express my disappointment and sometimes outrage at how much attention, both in the media and the international political stage, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has received compared to the minuscule if not complete absence of news coverage of the conflicts I just mentioned… the many other places where Black and brown people are victims of the bully next door, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, or a bully in their own country.

But I’d like to go a bit deeper.

I would like us all to move beyond our collective amnesia and remember we have been here before. We have seen this movie several times.

I’ve covered conflict zones and crimes against humanity since 2008 when I first traveled to the southern part of Sudan (before South Sudan seceded and became the world’s newest country). I’ve witnessed first-hand violent acts against women, children, men. Entire families killed. I know what genocide looks like. (PHOTO)

It never gets easier seeing my brothers and sisters suffer the brutality of a bully with power. There are no words to describe looking into the eyes of one of my ancestors, a grown man who has had his family, his home, and his dignity stripped from him. Or trying not to stare in shock at the once beautiful, now bloodied, black face of a young mother who reminds me of one of my cousins.

What the children of war from all ethnic and racial backgrounds have seen, bodies riddled with bullets, playgrounds that are backdrops for a killing field, should not be seen by anyone, anywhere.

My heart aches for the Ukrainians and my news colleagues who are at their side reporting this horrendous story, risking their own lives.

This does not have to be an either-or conversation. No need to compete to compare scars to see whose horrific experience is worse. We must focus on our shared humanity. We may come from different countries, speak different languages, eat different food. But we can all share compassion for one another. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

After the Holocaust, we said never again. After Rwanda, we said never again. After Cambodia, we said never again.

We even have weeks to heighten awareness of genocide and crimes against humanity. This month, April, we vow we won’t forget man’s inhumanity toward man.

And yet, here we are again.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vicious war against Ukraine is strikingly similar to other atrocities I’ve covered in the past 15 years.

To date, more than four million people have now fled Ukraine.

I have seen all of this before, firsthand in southern Sudan in the early 2000’s.

For far too long the international community and the media have had a tepid response to bullies in certain parts of the globe. While some may say the color of the skin of the victim may play a role in response and actions to help, I know my heart does not see color and aches for the people of Ukraine, the families torn apart in just a few days or hours as it does for my brothers and sisters in South Sudan, Rwanda, and other parts of the world.

I applaud my fellow journalists who have recently and openly said they feel that only now when they see victims that look like them they realize the lack of coverage and perhaps compassion they had for victims of crimes against humanity and genocide in Africa.

But now that we (all of us) know better, we can do better.

If we do nothing else during this Genocide Awareness month recognize a bully when you see one. Call him out. Everywhere. In. the. World.


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Tears spill from the eyes and stream

In challenging times people often look for an escape from reality. Some choose to exercise, vacation, or watch movies. Chuck Rozanski, found his escape in comic books. Rozanski is the founder of Mile High Comics, located off I-70 between the Denver neighborhoods of Globeville and Sunnyside at 4600 Jason Street.

“I’ve been buying and selling comics for more than 52 years. I came from a very unhappy childhood. And for me, comics were an escape.” said Rozanski. Coming from a difficult upbringing, Rozanski looked for an escape that could help him in the moment and the long term.

“When people use the word escape, they think of escapist literature, and they think of going off into fantasies in order to not deal with the harshness of reality. For me, comics were a financial escape because I had the epiphany when I was 13 years old that there was this new market evolving, and it was very small at that time,” he said.

Rozanski created Mile High Comics in his parent’s basement in 1969 when he was only thirteen years old. By the age of nineteen, Rozanski opened his first retail store in Boulder, Colorado, and by the age of twenty-one, he had four locations and had invested in purchasing the “Mile High” collection of Golden Age comics. The Golden Age comics are the most extensive and highest-quality collection of antique comics ever discovered.

Some titles that are a part of the “Mile High” collection include DC Comics’ Superman and Marvel Comics’ Journey into Unknown Worlds. The collection also includes comics from Dell Publishing, Harvey Comics, and Quality Comics. 

“There was a new market evolving where older comic books were selling for more than their original issue price, and that was something that started pretty much at the same time as Marvel Comics in 1961 and 1962,” said Rozanski. “But it really started taking off in 1965 when the guys that owned Collector’s Book Store in Hollywood first put-up ads saying, hey, we have old comic books for sale and offered the very first comic catalog.”

Rozanski’s initial focus in his comic journey was to make a profit. The discovery of the “Mile High” collection sparked Rozanski’s inspiration for his operation. The collection is comprised of mint copies of every comic published between 1938 and 1950.  He has owned the collection for over twenty-one years and now focuses on promoting comics as an art form. 

Through his comic journey, Rozanski has had over thirty locations in Colorado and California. Today, his only location is in Denver. The Denver location is a massive warehouse that houses around ten million comic books. 

Seeing his fair share of comics, Rozanski said he has a few favorites. One of which being a specific variation of the Amazing Spider Man.

“Well, I started off as a big fan of Amazing Spider Man as written by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko,” he said. “I had a complete Marvel collection of every issued that had ever been printed in cloth. I also have been a huge fan of the Carl Barks Disney comics. So going all the way back to when he started in 1943.”

As far as best selling comic books, Rozanski says it is always the big four. 

“The big four are always the perennial bestsellers and they’re, Spider Man, X Men, Batman, and Superman,” said Rozanski. “Superman’s probably the weak sister of that group. But definitely anything related to Spider Man and the X Men. Those are the brands that franchises generate the most in the way of sales.”

While exploring the massive warehouse of Mile High Comics, one may notice many posters and flags supporting the LGBTQ+ community. 

“I’m transgender,” said Rozanski. “And being a gender fluid individual, I make sure that everybody who comes here is aware of the fact that I support that community, and I’m a part of that community. And if that’s something that doesn’t fit into your worldview, then maybe you’d be better off shopping somewhere else.”

Rozanski said that when he became public with his gender identity, he noticed a shift in the customers that would buy from his stores. 

“When I came out as being transgender, we lost 10,000 customers who said that they would never deal with us again because my chosen lifestyle was contrary to their religious beliefs,” he said. “And the offset to that is that we saw an influx of about 10,000 customers who admired me for my courage and coming out and being the only corporate executive really in America who is out as a transgender individual.”

Rozanski said that LGBTQ+ inclusion in comic books has been increasing. Plus, he says some retro comics now have gay characters who were not previously identified as gay. One of his personal favorites is Stuck Rubber Baby.

“I think that if you go back to one of the earliest works, Stuck Rubber Baby is a graphic novel that was put out by DC Comics,” he said. “It is Howard Cruz’s story of growing up as gay in the South, and that deals with not only gay issues, but also this was during the civil rights movement. So, there’s a significant civil rights aspect to that as well.”

Rozanski has been able to supply comics to people all over the world. His N.I.C.E (New Issue Comics Express) subscription service allows customers to get comics anywhere in the world on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.  In a world that has been increasingly transitioning to digital, Rozanski has been successful with tangible comic books. He said the connection between a physical comic and your imagination is what makes comics so important. 

“Well, I think that there’s a different part in your brain that is activated when you’re looking at something in your hands and you’re having to fill in the blanks yourself,” he said. “When you look at the real comic geniuses, like Jack Kirby, and you look at the way that they constructed their panelizations they somehow had figured out a way to trigger these kinds of visualizations in a really optimized form.”

Rozanski insists on improvement and progression at Mile High Comics. Each day he prides himself on ensuring that the store looks better at the end of the day than it did at the beginning.

“Our goal every day is to do something which makes the store better. Sometimes that just involves artwork, or signage. Sometimes it involves new racking, sometimes it involves buying collections. Sometimes it involves hiring a new staff member and training them and integrating them to help the community,” Rozanski said. “No matter what, our goal is that when we lock up at night, that the store is in some way, somehow, some fashion better than it was when we unlock the door in the morning.”

In challenging times people often look for

As college basketball fans cheered on their favorite teams during March Madness, the foodie fans of Denver were watching their brackets too. The Know, from the Denver Post, created a competition to find out who has the best tacos in the city.  

A sweet sixteen of Denver’s best taco locations have been cooking their way through the brackets and to the surprise of some, a humble underdog food truck parked at the Aria development near 52nd and Federal made it to the dance.  

Kike’s Red Tacos food truck, run by Cesar Silva Gonzalez and his parents, Enrique Silva Figueroa and Olivia Gonzalez, is in the final bracket along with Tacos Selene in pursuit of the title of Denver’s Best Tacos. 

“Somehow you guys got our small 80 sq ft truck to the finals going up against all these amazing established restaurants. Regardless of the outcome, thank you for voting for us and getting us this far,” said Kike’s Red Taco Truck on its Facebook page. 

While Kike’s family is surprised to see their food truck in the headlines, customers aren’t shocked that they’ve made it to the championship round. Instead of trying a new angle on tacos or modernizing a classic staple, Kike’s simply sticks to Hispanic traditional meals to win customers over in their newbie food truck business. 

Most take the time to visit this lunch gem hidden in a parking lot for their birria burrito, a slow cooked steak that as one customer said while waiting in line, “practically melts in your mouth.” It’s not a surprise that despite longer wait times and sold out signs posted on the truck, the lines keep getting longer. 

“I’ve been here at least a dozen times,” says Michael, a regular of Kike’s Red Tacos, who is thrilled the family owned taco truck is coming out near the top. “We’re very happy to see Kike’s so far into the competition because we’ve been coming here for probably about eight months now.”

 Kike’s Red Tacos stays in the same parking lot location instead of traveling around Denver making customers track the food truck down. “We’re about 20 minutes away so we travel a little bit to come here,” said Michael. “The wait is always about 20-45 minutes, so it’s always a good wait, but I know on weekends to come earlier because they sell out around 2 p.m..” 


Of course, I had to try the competitor for Denver’s best tacos myself with a simple two set of steak tacos. With a thick outer soft shell and seasoned tenderloin, my head turned. Kike’s simple mix of cheese, onions, and cilantro, paired with a classic bottle of Coke, is a perfect meal for the upcoming summer. 

Not only did the March Madness taco competition shine a light on Kike’s, but it’s a champion in online forums too.  “There’s a sub Reddit called Denver Food and probably about once every other week someone asks where the best tacos are, and for the last four months every single time the answer is unanimously Kike’s,” says Arron, a first time customer of Kike’s Red Tacos.  Luckily, Kike’s Red Tacos also provides a mobile order and pay ahead to help reduce the wait time and get their famous birria burrito into your hands faster.

Kike’s Red Tacos food truck is located in the parking lot at 5256 North Federal Boulevard. It’s open from 11 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday.  So it’s down to Kike’s Red Tacos and Tacos Selene.  May the best taco win!  

As college basketball fans cheered on their

In early 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, Montbello high school teacher Dan Clarke observed that his student body’s overflowing potential did not align with the opportunities available to them after high school. Community “students and parents were on the front line, while others were working from home, yet they were getting paid significantly less.”  

“Seeing the disconnect between my life, the lives of my children, and my students’ lives made me very aware that I needed to do more to create real change,” says Clarke. He stated that first “we needed to get money in the pockets of our students.” He felt especially called to support women of color and “be a force to help get women in leadership.” 

Clarke started a business to create oral histories.  “Back in the ’80s, my dad had this idea to record people’s family history on VHS tape. He had interviewed my grandfather before he passed away. Now that we have that, it’s just an amazing treasure for our family.” 

Clarke decided to reimagine his dad’s original business idea using Zoom instead of VHS tapes.  He created an online business called Mamabird Interviews that captures the essence of loved ones through interviews.

The name “Mamabird” came about organically as the team brainstormed ideas about what the business should be called. As soon as someone mentioned “Mamabird” it stuck because it captures all the company’s essence: Family, wisdom, guidance, and opportunity.

Clarke designed Mamabird Interviews to leave just as much of an impact on customers as the aspirational young women of color who would run it. The interview team consists of six women and former high school students of Montbello: Areyana, Janine, Yusura, Allie, Karla, and Lorena. They lead each interview with “curiosity, care, and empathy,” says Clarke.

Successfully conducting hour-and-a-half-long interviews with complete strangers takes a lot of confidence and communication skills. As interviewers, the women become skilled at meeting new people, making connections, and successfully networking. 

Because many of the interviewees are much older than the interviewer, Clarke says they often take on a teaching role to the young women. Clarke says “the age, racial, and socio-economic intersectionality has been a wonderful part of this because now our women are interacting with people they would not have interacted with and vice versa.” 

“Every time we do an interview, the experience is wonderful. People love the videos and are so impressed with our interviewers,” says Clarke.  Mamabird helps these women grow and learn as they pursue their goals–Karla is a nursing student and mother of three, Areyana, Yusura, Allie, and Lorena are college students, and Janine is a military spouse and mother of two.

Mother-to-mother interviews are always very special. In an interview with a woman named Rachna, Janine prompted her and said, “Tell me what you love about your daughters.” Rachna’s eyes lit up as began describing her five and nine-year-old daughters. “They are both very different,” she says. She tells Janine that what she loves about her oldest is that “she really thinks a lot about things. She processes, she reflects, and she sees things that sometimes others don’t.” Rachna then shares that her youngest daughter reminds her of Shakespeare’s quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Some day, this recording will be priceless to her daughters, as the love Rachna has for them is palpable in the video. 

In the last two years, the nonprofit has elevated thirty women from Montbello and placed $200 per interview in each woman’s pocket.  Mamabird continues to touch lives by offering internship programs, career opportunities, and networking events for young women of color. The two-year anniversary video for Mamabird Interviews beautifully captures the essence of how the platform is changing lives.

“The way the women come at the interviews themselves is very different than I would, and they are more empathetic, more caring, more curious about wisdom, as opposed to just factual history, which I think has been very powerful,” says Clarke. Because many of the interviewees are much older than the interviewer, “they often take on somewhat of a teaching role to the young women.” Also, Clarke says the “age, racial, and socio-economic intersectionality has been a wonderful part of this because now our women are interacting with people they would not have interacted with and vice versa.” 

One of the most common life lessons that the interviewers get from older people is “you’ll only regret the things you don’t do.” This phrase seems fitting as Mamabird expands as a non-profit.  Mamabird continues to support marginalized women in their career goals and the team of interviewers continues to teach the world that “women lead differently.”

In early 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic,

It can be challenging to expand into a new fitness journey. Even beginning the progress towards health and strength can cause insecurities if the gym doesn’t fit your needs.  Weight lifting gyms can be especially intimidating with all their mirrors and sculpted bodies but with Denver Barbell Club Adrienne Vogelsang found the sweet spot for her fitness journey.          

“I have a lot of friends who are just afraid of the gym in general because you can go into a big box gym and there’s not always good energy. It can be very judgmental,” says Vogelsang, a member of the Denver Barbell Club and a nationally ranked weightlifter. 

“What’s cool about being a part of a Barbell Club and this weightlifting community, in particular, is that it’s all about fun and you’re challenging yourself,” she says.   Adrienne’s entry into the world was what she called a “fluke”. 

“I was supposed to go on a hike one morning and the weather was bad, so I ended up opening Class Pass (a fitness company that provided free trials and memberships to fitness hobbies) and it was one of the few times I had seen the Barbell Club’s open classes.” she said.

“I have done general fitness for a long time and I became more comfortable with lifting before I ever walked into the Barbell Club.  Adrienne began her experience at the Denver Barbell Club in 2019 and within months she the community was pushing her forward. 

“When I first walked in there, I had no intention of ever competing.” says Vogelsang. 

Barbell Club members encouraged her to try and train with members who were looking forward to their very first competition as well. “It just sort of became like an addiction.” said Adrienne. 

“It’s almost fun to be bad at something and on a week-to-week basis seeing yourself getting better.  It makes it an experience you don’t have as often as an adult.” Adrienne notes many adults have to think back years to answer the question “when did you do something new.”  

The Denver Barbell Club hosted the fourth Lord of the Lifts; Reloaded weightlifting event in March. It sets the stage for weightlifters to create a true challenge for themselves and work towards their fitness goals. 

“A week leading up to a competition is good and terrible at the same time,” said Adrienne, as her meal prep for the week resulted in plain tasting meals. The reasoning is to not try any new foods that could make one sick or unable to lift. Water intake plays a significant role in keeping weightlifters in their weight class. It’s common to heavily increase the water intake, to not only stay in weight class for competitions that organize lifters by weight, but also for general consistent hydration. And then there’s sleep, “It gets hard to sleep because you get so excited, or nervous, or a little bit of both.” 

Adrienne has won titles such as the Best Female lifter at the Colorado State Championships for 2022 as well as Best Overall Female Lifter for Lord of the Lifts in 2021. Since last summer she has competed in national competitions too.  

“It’s fun to attend local meets and competitions and see the start list and recognize names, she says.” “It’s a crazy, tight-knit community I would have never expected to be a part of.” 

During the Lord of the Lifts Reloaded competition, Adrienne challenged herself. She maxxed out lifting 110 kilograms during a “Clean and Jerk”, a two-part lift where the weight is brought to the shoulders and then lifted over the head at arm’s length. 

Adrienne ranked as number one for the Lord of the Lifts Reloaded for female weightlifting and ranked second for female powerlifting.  In addition to her lifting, she is now exploring coaching at the Denver Barbell Club and sees what the environment is like from a new perspective.

The Denver Barbell Club is accepting new members, even beginners, who are looking for an engaging community working towards fitness goals.  It’s located on 601 W. 29th in the Ballpark District near Coors Field. 

It can be challenging to expand into