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5280 Magazine April 2021

Founded in 1993, 5280 is the largest local magazine in Colorado. The magazine's stories often make national headlines, and since 2005 5280 has been nominated for four National Magazine Awards. Get 5280 Magazine digital subscription today.

United States
5280 Publishing, Inc
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
book smarts

Blessed with a restless mind constantly looking for problems that need solving, Gitanjali Rao has become a renowned scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur—all before graduating high school. In 2017, moved by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, the STEM School Highlands Ranch student invented Tethys, a portable device that uses nanotube technology to detect lead in drinking water. Rao, along with three classmates, responded to recent increases in teen suicides by developing an artificial intelligence app called Kindly that’s intended to detect and prevent cyberbullying. Now the 15-year-old is developing a prototype to diagnose early-stage opioid addiction. All those achievements haven’t gone unnoticed: Named Time’s first Kid of the Year in December 2020, she released her second book, A Young Innovator’s Guide to STEM, on March 16. In it, Rao details…

2 min
pay dirt

53 Tons of greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalents Wompost has kept from escaping into the atmosphere since the company launched. Yes, composting releases a little CO2, but it’s negligible compared to the potent greenhouse gases (like methane) landfills emit. Plus, nutrient-dense compost improves soil, and, thus, plant health. 60 Gallons of compost each Wompost subscriber receives each year, enough to fill a four-by-eight-foot raised bed when mixed with topsoil. Seeing what food waste can become (and using it to grow vegetables), Pace says, motivates people to continue composting. Shares also can be donated to community gardens. 153,568 Pounds of waste Wompost has diverted from landfills—the combined weight of five typical garbage trucks. Subscribers, who pay between $9 and $29 a month, receive a five- or 64-gallon bucket and compostable bags that…

2 min
natural selection

Nature, it turns out, actually adores a vacuum. So, early in the pandemic, when stay-athome orders forced Coloradans to retreat inside, flora and fauna filled the city streets. Birdsong grew more distinct. Coyotes ran through neighborhoods. Car traffic stopped (or at least thinned). “For the first time human noise was low enough that researchers could hear the inner machinations of the Earth,” Denver artist Kalliopi Monoyios says. “I thought: This is incredible.” Inspired, Monoyios and fellow local artist Anna Kaye began planning what would become LandMark, an outdoor exhibition opening in Arvada and Lakewood this month. The show celebrates and investigates different aspects of the natural world with naturethemed work from two dozen local sculptors, photographers, and mixed-media artists in parks in the two suburbs. “Shelter” (pictured at right), for example, is…

3 min
state of mind

Brittany Kochar, 31, weathered the first six to eight months of the pandemic fairly well. But as time dragged on, the Littleton resident, who in 2019 was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after her sister was murdered, began to feel the isolation eroding her mental health. Toward the end of 2020, Kochar’s anxiety, frustration, and PTSD increased—and they’ve only intensified in the new year. “Recently, I felt a lot like this isn’t really living, this is just surviving,” Kochar says. “And it’s exhausting.” The torrent of stressful events we’ve endured during the past year—the pandemic, but also a contentious election, the reckoning over systemic racism, and devastating wildfires—is so unprecedented that experts struggle to say how, exactly, this tumultuous period may impact our mental health over the long term. But early…

1 min
the insiders

“Owning a restaurant during a pandemic is way harder than being a divorce attorney,” quips lawyer-turned-chef Natascha Hess, who opened Berkeley’s the Ginger Pig six months ago. After four years of operating the Ginger Pig food truck and a year at a stall inside Boulder’s Rosetta Hall, Hess and partner (and former Rosetta neighbor and mentor) Carrie Baird are thrilled to spread out in their own 2,000-square-foot space. Hess’ initial Asian street food menu was based on her years in Beijing as a student and the foods her host mother, Nalu, taught her to make. Hess and Baird’s collaboration, however, has made the Ginger Pig’s current roster more playful and tastier than ever. Hess’ classic Sichuan eggplant and char siu remains on the menu, but Baird has created a killer…

6 min
late bloomer

Spring is here, and so the beautiful struggle that is Front Range vegetable gardening begins again. For me, in a house on a wind-pounded hill east of Boulder, it starts tenderly and optimistically, as it must, with tiny seedlings sprouting under the 6400 Kelvin grow lights in my basement. Then the campaign moves outdoors and progresses, like some sort of Kübler-Ross grief exercise, through the stages of hope, fear, heartbreak, renunciation, and, finally, acceptance, as the proud harvest commences, yielding heirloom tomatoes and weird cucumbers which, factoring everything in, cost me somewhere between 35 and infinity dollars per pound. When you don’t rely on the food you grow for survival, gardening is a civvy’s way to intimately experience nature’s violence without too much being on the line. There is always news…