It’s Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.

Happy Wednesday, Boulder. I hope your week is trundling along nicely.

For today, we’re starting to ramp up our election coverage. Over the next week we’ll be publishing candidates’ answers to six questions we got from Boulderites. The answers published today are to questions about homelessness and climate change: How would the candidates, if elected as mayor or city councilmember, deal with these two challenges affecting our city? We’ve also published profile pages for each candidate today, so you can get some background on whose electoral promises you’re reading.

The answers to two more questions will be published on Friday, with the remainder publishing early next week. The culmination of these answers and more will be a handy BRL election guide available before ballots are mailed out. That way, if you’re trying to vote early — which makes the election process much easier for election officials — you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Also, Jenna Sampson has something to give you a break from election stories. A trail that might someday connect Nederland to Winter Park is now open, but only for a little bit. More than a decade in the making, the Toll Trail offers local mountain bikers a great way to see fall foliage, but get on it before it closes for the winter at the request of Eldora Ski Resort.

Enjoy your day. I’ll see you Friday.

— Tim

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Featured stories

2023 Boulder City Council election: Where the candidates stand on homelessness solutions

What do you think are the most promising initiatives for reducing homelessness? Explore the responses from all 14 Boulder City Council and mayoral candidates. Continue reading…

2023 Boulder City Council election: Where the candidates stand on climate change action

We are in a climate emergency. With your leadership, how would Boulder change commensurately? Explore the responses from all 14 Boulder City Council and mayoral candidates. Continue reading…

‘Killer views’: Long-awaited Toll Trail opens, paving the way to eventually connect Nederland to Winter Park

The scenic five-mile trail, with a complex history, traverses private land and is currently open for access. However, it will close for winters at the request of Eldora Ski Resort. Continue reading…

Boulder Reporting Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization that empowers our community through non-partisan, locally focused journalism that informs and connects.

In other news

Clouds add to perfection

Meandering clouds will periodically temper a warm — but not searing — sun today as temps touch 70. Add some humidity in the 40% range and you’ve got yourself a day that’s as pleasing for your sinuses as for your disposition.

Elijah McClain trial ripples through Boulder 

NAACP Boulder County is calling on the Boulder Police Department’s top brass to resign following new revelations surrounding the death of Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Black man who died in 2019 after Aurora police put him in a carotid chokehold and paramedics injected him with ketamine.

A trial is currently underway after state prosecutors charged three Aurora officers and two paramedics with manslaughter, among other charges. Last week, the Boulder Police Department’s deputy chief, Stephen Redfearn, who was a captain in the Aurora Police Department at the time of  McClain’s death, testified as a witness. (Redfearn was subpoenaed to testify and is not facing charges.)

After McClain was confronted by officers, Redfearn said he updated the code for the dispatch call from “suspicious person” to “assault on an officer,” according to coverage of the trial by CPR News. The change was made without investigating the incident, CPR reported.

Following this testimony, NAACP Boulder County wrote a letter to city officials alleging that such a change to the code “reeks of a cover-up in which Redfearn apparently found it unnecessary and irrelevant to question or investigate the report by the officers, thereby creating a pathway for the supposed justification (‘assault on a police officer’) of the brutal murder of Elijah McClain.” The letter also calls on Police Chief Maris Herold to resign for hiring Redfearn.

In a statement provided to Boulder Reporting Lab, City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde said the letter from NAACP Boulder County “misrepresents the facts of what occurred.” Regarding the code change, the city manager said it had no bearing on the investigation or outcome. Read more on BRL.

Boulder’s climate vulnerability: A mixed bag

The Environmental Defense Fund and Texas A&M University have released an interactive Climate Vulnerability map that shows what areas in the United States are most at risk to the threats brought by climate change. The map uses a blend of environmental, health, infrastructure and socioeconomic metrics to give an idea of what areas are at highest risk, and what even cities with relatively low risk can do to improve their situation. Everything from residents getting colonoscopies to rates of hate crimes, proximity to landfills and superfund sites, traffic congestion and proximity to libraries shape the results.

Boulder, overall, looks relatively okay. Central Boulder, for instance, is in the 7th percentile for climate vulnerability. That’s a good thing. The lower that number, the better. Denver, conversely, is in the 90th percentile, thanks to exposure to pollutants and housing foreclosure risk, among a plethora of factors.

It’s not all cheery, though. Central Boulder is in the 93rd percentile for alcohol abuse and suicide death rates. We’re also vulnerable to increased mosquito activity that is associated with increased illnesses. And extreme heat and wildfire risk paints the entirety of the area. We’re also in the 98th percentile for proximity to facilities that make or process chemicals known to be toxic to humans, and maintain that 98th percentile for being close to facilities hat have violated EPA regulations for air, water or soil contamination.

Music festival in Lafayette

This Saturday, Oct. 7, seven stages will host more than 20 bands as the City of Lafayette enjoys a festival that will bring music to town for the better part of the day and into the night. As the event page describes it, Lafayette is a haven for all music, from “Latin and jazz to hard rock and soul,” so the festival promises a wide array of genres. Though most of the early bird tickets are sold out, day-of tickets will be available for $40 a person.

Nationwide FEMA test

Just after noon MT today, FEMA will be testing its nationwide alert system. The test will involve messages sent to cell phones, TVs and radios. Set to take about 30 minutes, don’t panic if you receive multiple pings from the government. They’re just trying to make sure they can warn you in case of a disaster.

Non-violence resources

Monday was the International Day of Non-Violence, a date chosen because it’s the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi — the notoriously pacifistic leader of the Indian independence movement. Acknowledging the day, the City of Boulder highlighted some of the resources available to residents to promote peace in our community.

One of the most useful of these is the mediation services offered by the city’s Community Mediation and Resolution Center. If you’ve got a disagreement with your landlord or tenant, a simmering disdain for your roommate, or a neighbor whose dog barks through the night without pause, mediation might help the situation before it comes to blows.

Other resources provided by the city is a hotline and shelter for those experiencing domestic violence, elder abuse, discrimination for sexual or gender identity, or most other situations you can think of. Brought by the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, the hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the shelter offers victims a safe place to recover and move out of a dangerous situation.

Last week to use Coalton Trailhead for this year

The Coalton Trailhead, along with the Coalton and Meadowlark trails, will be closed from Monday, Oct. 9 until 2024. Situated west of US 36 near Louisville, the trails will be cut off from people but not cows, as grazing is completed alongside trail maintenance. Erosion is the main risk to the trail’s health. Rejuvenation techniques including better drainage and strategic asphalt use will try to mitigate that risk.

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Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other related topics. He is also the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Email: