Denver Johnson & Wales campus already transforming under new owners

The former Johnson and Wales University campus in Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

Five months after Denver Public Schools, the Denver Housing Authority and nonprofit Urban Land Conservancy teamed to buy the 25-acre Johnson & Wales University property in northeast Denver, change is starting.

A pair of affordable housing projects are in the planning stages for the former dorm buildings on the property, located at 7150 Montview Blvd. A major expansion of the Denver School of the Arts on the campus’ west side also is on deck. That project is expected to allow the school to grow by between 500 and 700 students and prioritize students of color and low-income families, officials said when the sale closed in June.

The work follows pledges from Johnson & Wales representatives last year that the university would prioritize buyers dedicated to supporting the surrounding neighborhood, Joe Rubino reports.

“Old technique applied to a modern world” brings rotational cattle grazing to a housing development south of Littleton

Wranglers help push cattle through open space during a cattle drive through Sterling Ranch in Littleton on Nov. 21, 2021. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Dozens of cattle, Angus mostly, hoofed their way through the Sterling Ranch housing development south of Littleton last Sunday morning, cowboys at their flanks either on horseback or four-wheelers.

The few dozen cattle will soon be joined by perhaps 100 more and the whole herd will spend the winter grazing just west of the development, said Harold Smethills, founder and chair of the development company. By living on the land, the cattle will cut the risk of wildfires, boost soil health and provide a more hospitable environment for some of the area’s ground-based species such as burrowing owls. Then in the spring, the cattle will be taken back to their normal pastures throughout the area and the land will be allowed to freely grow again, Smethills said.

That method is called rotational grazing, said Lauren Connell, director of stewardship for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. And in the past decade it’s grown more popular across the west. Farmers and ranchers typically use rotational grazing, but Smethill’s property is the first time Connell said she’s seen it used at a housing development, Conrad Swanson reports.

Colorado’s COVID wave shows signs of receding, though impacts of Thanksgiving and omicron variant remain to be seen

A sign encourages visitors to wear face coverings while visiting exhibits at the Denver Zoo, on Nov. 2, 2021. (David Zalubowski, The Associated Press)

Colorado’s fifth COVID-19 wave may be starting to recede, but it’s too early to know whether spread over the Thanksgiving holiday or the concerning new omicron variant will stall or reverse the progress.

The number of hospitalizations for confirmed COVID-19 across the state dropped to 1,473 as of Monday afternoon, from a high of 1,576 on Nov. 23. Hospitals are still running near capacity, but the state reported more than 100 beds were available in intensive-care units for the first time in about three weeks.

Still, Colorado’s public health leaders are prepping in case those downward trends don’t continue. A group of experts advising the governor on Monday eveningunanimously approved an amended document outlining what the state’s crisis standards of care would look like in the event hospitals are completely full and need to ration health care, Meg Wingerter and Sam Tabachnik report.

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