boulder Archives - Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 10, 20172min8070

The Aspen City Council on Monday passed a resolution declaring the day traditionally observed as Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Aspen Daily News reported that council members unanimously approved the resolution implementing the Indigenous Peoples Day, which supporters say would be used as an opportunity to celebrate native cultures. Although Aspen doesn’t recognize Columbus Day, local banks and courts were closed Monday in honor of the European mariner credited with supposedly leading the first expedition to the Americas in 1492.

However, over 50 cities and towns across the United States — including Denver and Boulder — have stopped recognizing the day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day, out of concern that Columbus was brutal in his treatment of the natives he encountered and that his arrival ushered in centuries of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

“It concerns my people, and Native Americans across the country, that we celebrate a holiday to a person who has caused us great pain,” Roland McCook, a member of the Ute tribe told the Aspen council, at the Sept. 25 work session. “The holiday reminds us every year how we were treated in the interest of manifest destiny.”

State legislators have taken up the issue — to either rename or cancel Columbus Day as a state holiday — in each of the last two sessions, but Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, a candidate for attorney general next year, has not been able to advance the legislation. The proposition was opposed by Italian-American organizations who consider Columbus an important historical figure.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 5, 20174min4161
Boulder straw campaign
(Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

The Colorado town that charges a dime for plastic bag and a puts an extra tax on your sugary soda might have its eyes on your straws next. That’s the word Tuesday from Alex Burness of the Boulder Daily Camera.

There’s a public education campaign afoot called Suck the Straws Out of Boulder to talk to the public about how bad plastic straws are for the environment.

The campaign is led by Graham Hill, a 54-year-old Boulder resident who also leads Shared Paths Boulder, a membership group that supports cycling, walking and trails.

The idea isn’t out of left field, even for Boulder, however.

The Camera notes that Boulder-based EcoCycle is behind the Be Straw Free campaign and uses local 15-year-0ld Milo Cress as its anti-straw front man.

While it’s encouragement in Boulder, it’s a little more serious in a places farther to the left, namely California.

Two weeks ago, The San Jose Mercury News interviewed Cress about his irritation with straws. He talked about how they’re one of the most common forms of plastic that washes up on beaches and about how the slightest breeze can throw the source of pollution to the wind.

The article notes that Manhattan Beach near Los Angeles banned disposable plastics, including straws, entirely, and Berkeley is considering a ban, too. New York City, Miami, London and British Columbia are among the places weighing the issue.

How did Boulder get this far behind the curve?

Gov. John Hickenlooper, who used to own a brew pub, has even lent support to cutting down on straws. In 2013, he declared “Straw Free Day” in Colorado, noting that Americans use 500,000 plastic straws a day.

Smooth pop singer Jack Johnson is expected to plug the straws campaign during his shows at Fiddler’s Green in Greenwood Village July 13 and July 14, the Camera says.

Burness did some shoe-leather reporting to ask Boulderites whether they’d stop using straws

“I just don’t need them,” so-called infrequent straw user Steven Choi told Burness in the Boulder Safeway.

Choi noted, “It seems like people could be putting more effort into things other than straw elimination.”