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News brief with The Colorado Sun: Debate on environmental rules and Beau Jo's owner gives shop to staff

Pizza crust with honey drizzling over it from above
Hugh Carey
The Colorado Sun
A Beau Jo's Pizza pizza crust gets a drizzle of honey on top, April 7, 2023. Honey is one popular addition to the Idaho Springs-based pizzeria chain's pizza crusts.

Each week, we talk with our colleagues at The Colorado Sun about the stories they're following. This time, Environment and Health Writer Michael Booth joins us to discuss what’s going on in Colorado with regard to electrification and cleaning up the air. We also talk about how Beau Jo’s Pizza is transitioning to new ownership.

The latest state electrification effort from Colorado officials is focused on electric vehicle chargers. Specifically, electrification advocates want to increase apartment tenants' access to charging stations for electric vehicles.

Booth said electrification access is increasingly important to apartment dwellers.

The Colorado Apartment Association, however, believes the state is pushing for too many EV chargers on rental properties. The apartment association supports access to chargers but is concerned that adding too many chargers “will add to the cost of building new apartments and make Colorado's affordable housing problem even worse,” Booth said.

Booth said he expects 40 to 60% of apartment parking spaces in the state to eventually be electrified in a way that is compatible with electric vehicle chargers.

At the same time, Gov. Jared Polis has ordered agencies to start cutting nitrogen oxide from oil and gas production in order to address the ozone problem in Colorado. Booth said Environmental groups are saying that's a good start, but it's not enough.

“They are pushing for legislation that would broaden that out and make sure that there are even more cuts, and that the process for permitting air pollution in Colorado is really overhauled in quite an extensive way,” Booth said.

In other news, the owner of Beau Joe's Pizza, an Idaho Springs-based pizza chain, is selling the restaurant to his staff. Last week, at a 50th anniversary event for the business, owner Chip Bair announced an employee ownership plan. Booth said the move is in line with the pizzeria’s local reputation for giving back.

“They're involved in every charitable effort, every fundraiser. People say they have saved the town (Idaho Springs) during the bad times because there are always 650 people sitting there on a Saturday afternoon eating pizza.”

Colorado U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse was at the 50th anniversary event. He told The Sun that the owner Bair’s generosity is “legendary” and called Beau Jo’s “a Colorado institution.”

As a reporter and host for KUNC, I follow the local stories of the day while also guiding KUNC listeners through NPR's wider-scope coverage. It's an honor and a privilege to help our audience start their day informed and entertained.
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