Welcome to Wednesday, Boulder. Here’s what’s going on near you.

Today, John Herrick and Henry Larson provide a story on addiction solutions in our area. Boulder County has repurposed one of its office buildings to provide out-patient drug addiction treatment, including for people who are addicted to methamphetamine. This comes as the library is reopening — albeit without bathrooms — after meth residue was found from people smoking within. The city and county are in the process of buying a home in town to provide in-patient recovery services, part of an effort to begin to respond to the drug addiction problem that extends across our country.

Also, we’re growing our team. If you go to our jobs page, you can see we’re looking for a full-time editor, and two part-time reporters — one to cover the outdoors and another for local government. If you know someone who might be interested, please spread the word.

Enjoy your hump day.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Chance of rain today, sun tomorrow: High 30s will lead into the 40s tomorrow that will lead into the 50s by Friday. The opportunity for moisture shows in several days over the coming week.
  • Legislative session begins: On Monday, state lawmakers representing the City of Boulder returned to the Colorado Capitol for the 2023 legislative session, promising to strengthen the state’s gun laws and rights to abortion, among other policy priorities, over the course of the 120-day term.
    • In his opening remarks, Senate President Steve Fenberg said he supports legislation to tweak the state’s red flag law so that it’s easier for people to temporarily confiscate a person’s firearms if they are considered a threat to themselves or others. “We lost more than 1,000 Coloradans to gun violence in 2021,” he said. “That is simply unacceptable.”
    • Rep. Judy Amabile, chair of the Business Affairs and Labor Committee, said she is working on bills around wildfire insurance. She has said some companies are not providing insurance to people living in mountain communities. “We cannot have that happen in our state. We have got to be able to provide a mechanism for people to be able to insure their home,” she said during a town hall in December. Amabile said she is also interested in a bill to refer a measure to the ballot to amend the state constitution to enshrine the right to an abortion.
    • Rep. Junie Joseph, vice chair of the Finance Committee, has said she is interested in working on a bill that would allow school districts to move their school board elections to even years, coinciding with state and federal elections when voter turnout is higher. The policy priority comes after city voters last November passed a measure to move city council elections to even-numbered years, starting in 2026.
    • Separately, Tracey Bernett, who represented the eastern half of Boulder County, resigned as a state representative. Her decision came after the Boulder County District Attorney filed criminal charges against her for allegedly falsifying her home address, presumably to run for reelection in a more politically favorable district. A vacancy committee will fill her seat.
  • Boulder has a new sheriff and county commissioner: Yesterday, Ashley Stolzmann, a chemical engineer and former mayor of Louisville, was sworn in as county commissioner. She will take the seat vacated by Matt Jones, a former state senator who did not seek reelection. Boulder County also has a new sheriff, Curtis Johnson, the former division chief with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. He replaced Joe Pelle, who was first elected in 2003.
  • FEMA flood projects now complete: In a Boulder County memo to the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee, the county says that after more than nine years, it has finished recovery efforts from the 2013 floods. Every major creek way received a facelift, as did many parks and trails across the plains and into the foothills. FEMA funded $20 million worth of recovery and improvements to drainage to hopefully shore infrastructure against future flooding.
  • Insurance companies extend ALE coverage: Additional Living Expenses insurance, or ALE, helps homeowners cover the cost of living while they’re trying to rebuild or find a new place to live. Some insurance policies only offer ALE coverage for one year, but after a Dec. 11 request from the Colorado Division of Insurance, insurers agreed to extend coverage to 24 months for Marshall Fire survivors.
    • HB 22-1111, which was signed into law in June 2022, requires insurers to offer a minimum 24 months to collect ALE, with two extensions of six months. But the law only applied to future wildfire survivors.
  • Stolen food and beer at Backcountry Pizza and Tap House: At about midnight on Saturday, two people broke into the outdoor freezers at Backcountry Pizza and Tap House on Arapahoe Avenue and stole some $10,000 worth of food and beer, including frozen and raw meat, dozens of eggs, milk, cheeses and 14 five-gallon kegs of the restaurant’s own brewed beer.
    • Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Montano-Banda at 303-441-1906 reference case 23-00216.
  • Hall Ranch is closed due to mud: “Melting snow is creating a mess out there” in Hall Ranch, the county said. It will take some time to dry out.
  • Reminder – Stazio Covid testing closing: This coming Sunday, Jan. 15, will be the last day of Covid testing at the Stazio ball fields in East Boulder. With federal funding running out, the temporary facility will be no more. Thank you to all who worked there through the pandemic, swabbing thousands of infested nostrils. We appreciate you.

Go deeper

Boulder is buying a home for people to live in and recover from methamphetamine addiction

By John Herrick and Henry Larson

January 11, 2023

Two months before the use of methamphetamines shut down the library last month, the City and County of Boulder started implementing a program to help people wean off the highly addictive stimulant that has communities scrambling for solutions. The relatively cheap and readily available drug contributes to homelessness, overdose deaths and incarceration rates.

In October 2022, Boulder County repurposed one of its office buildings to provide temporary out-patient drug addiction treatment, including for people who are addicted to methamphetamine.  

The addiction treatment center off Broadway is run by Tribe Recovery Homes Inc., a Denver-based organization that mostly manages sober living homes. 

According to county officials, about 12 people are visiting the center for clinical and therapeutic services and peer support. 

The addiction recovery work is paid for through a $900,000 grant the county won in 2021 from the U.S. Department of Justice. While medication is often used to ease cravings to opioids, the most common treatment for people addicted to methamphetamine is behavioral therapy. 

The county’s out-patient treatment center was set up as a temporary solution while the City of Boulder found a property it could buy and use for inpatient treatment. Tribe would still provide the services. City of Boulder officials said this week they are in the process of closing a deal on a home. If all goes as planned, the recovery home could be up and running in a matter of months. 

Continue reading…

BRL picks

🌻 Intro to plant care: This Saturday from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Terracotta’s owner will host a free workshop on the basics of caring for your plants. No need to register, just show up at the store at 2005 Pearl St. to learn how to help your plants “thrive.”

🏋🏽 Weight room orientation: Middle schoolers who want to lift weights at the rec centers have to be oriented. This Friday, the South Boulder Rec Center will offer such an orientation for 12 to 13 year olds who want to pump iron with a supervising adult. Included in the price of a day pass, or with a membership to the rec centers, the orientation will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

🎫 Bluebird Music Festival tickets on sale: “The full schedule is now posted for all four events taking place at the Bluebird Music Festival at Macky Auditorium” on April 29 – 30. Headlined by Ben Harper and Watchhouse, you can check out the full lineup here.

🎸 Live music at BOCO Cider: Most nights, BOCO cider hosts local or aspiring artists adjacent to the folk genre. Some of the upcoming artists will be performing Folk Rock, Indie Folk, and Blue Collar Folk. See the full offerings on their events page.

🎼 Thursday live music: R Gallery and Wine Bar is also on that live music grind. Every Thursday they offer a free musical performance. This week it’s Laurie Dameron.

For more ideas on what to do this week, check out BRL’s Local Events page.


Tim Drugan

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other climate-related issues for Boulder with a focus on explanatory and solutions journalism. He also is the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Tim grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from UNH with a degree in English/Journalism. Email: tim@boulderreportinglab.org.