Good morning, Boulder! 🌄 Welcome to BRL Today.

As we reported last week, newly reduced hours at Boulder County’s only 24/7 walk-in crisis center have left a hole in the local mental health safety net after the Marshall Fire. In today’s top story, we’ve got a list of mental health providers who accept Medicaid or offer relatively affordable rates.

We’re also happy to bring you the premiere story in our new Community Leaders sponsorship program, about a local nonprofit called Circle of Care. The organization eases isolation for older residents on fixed incomes by offering discounted tickets (and companionship) to local arts events around Boulder County. Plus, you’ll find your regular dose of essential community info, Covid-19 updates and more.

See you on Friday! 👋

– Jezy, managing editor

BRL Reporter John Herrick crews Boulder ultrarunner Clare Gallagher, who won the women’s 2022 Black Canyon 100k race in Arizona last weekend. Credit: Ryan Thrower

Top Stories

Marshall Fire is adding to high demand for mental health resources. Here is a list of providers offering services.

Joy Redstone, director of the Naropa Community Counseling Center, said she hasn’t seen this level of demand for mental health services in her nearly 30 years as a therapist. And, she said, it’s hard to hire therapists. Like other providers, Redstone said Naropa stopped accepting new clients for individual therapy sessions a couple of weeks ago due to a mounting waitlist. Read the full story and list of resources

‘It’s my life, not just a job’: Boulder nonprofit gives older people the gift of the arts 

Circle of Care was sparked by what its founder Joan Raderman calls an “epiphany” she had while singing at a nursing home Christmas party in 2003. “We get older people into public spaces. That generates visibility of older adults who normally are the ones not seen, the hidden,” she said. “They have a right to be in the community — they were the ones who helped build it.” Read the full story

Become a BRL Community Sponsor today!

Quickly

⏱️ Heavy snow possible today (4–8 inches) with highs near 34.
⏱️ The deadline to submit a Right of Entry form to opt in or out of the county’s debris cleanup program has been extended to Friday, Feb. 18.
⏱️ The Town of Superior continues a series of virtual meetings on rebuilding after the Marshall Fire. Next week’s meetings will focus on Downtown Superior, Coal Creek Crossing & The Ridge, Sagamore and Rock Creek Ranch neighborhoods.
⏱️ The Boulder County Wildfire Fund has raised more than $30 million from 66,000 donors. 27% of the funds have been distributed. See where the money has gone.
⏱️ Local financial assistance for Marshall Fire victims has been extended to also help people whose homes were damaged by smoke and ash, along with those who suffered business-related losses due to the fire.
⏱️ Want to donate? A new platform is now available to connect individual donors with relief organizations to help people affected by the Marshall Fire. Sign up here.
⏱️ Gov. Jared Polis has announced he will seek re-election.
⏱️ After being closed all year due to the Marshall Fire, the Coalton Trailhead and trails will reopen Friday, Feb. 18.
⏱️ Open Space is hiring a resource planning manager.
⏱️ Boulder County is looking for volunteers for its Community Services Youth Mentoring Program. Learn more.
⏱️ Boulder ultrarunner Clare Gallagher won the women’s 2022 Black Canyon 100k race in Arizona last weekend, with a time of 9:06:21.👟🙌

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Feb. 16, 2022

  • 141 daily new cases (7-day avg.)  Down 67% over preceding 7-day avg. (Note: This data was last updated Feb. 11.)
  • 40 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) Down from avg. of 41 since July 2020.
  • 64% percent of ICU is occupied. Down 71% since July 2020.
  • Data: Here’s how and where we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news: Mask edition 😷

  • BoCo mask requirement ends Friday. Via Boulder County Public Health: “Although masks will no longer be required by BCPH after February 18, Boulder County Public Health recommends all individuals 2+ wear a mask while around others. Schools, childcare centers, private businesses, and employers may choose to implement their own policy requiring masks for individuals in their space. Boulder County Public Health provides signage for entities that wish to continue requiring masking after the order requirements end.”
  • It ends in all BVSD buildings, too. That’s according to an email from superintendent Rob Anderson, citing the Boulder County Board of Health’s decision to rescind public health orders related to masking. Federal law continues to require masks on district buses.
  • CU Boulder to keep masking (for now). The CU Boulder Public Health Office says the university will continue to require masks in indoor public spaces and on all CU Boulder campuses. “We will consider going mask-optional on our campus if we see continued significant progress in two main metrics: fulfillment of the university’s COVID-19 vaccine booster reporting requirement as the Feb. 24 deadline passes and continued reduction of community transmission in Boulder County.”
  • Free KN95 masks at the library. Drop by the main location of the Boulder Public Library at 1001 Arapahoe Dr. for to pick up five free KN95 masks while supplies last. They went quick last time!

BRL Picks

❤️‍🩹 Support group. Experiencing grief, stress or anxiety in the wake of the Marshall Fire? The Colorado Wildfire Support Group meets today at 12:30 p.m. for the first in a series of sessions offering virtual drop-in support. The group will meet at the same time every Wednesday through April 6.
👷 Building community. Want to pitch in and help fire victims have a comfy place to call their own? Hope Lives Here – Colorado is seeking volunteers for their Build a Bedroom initiative. Open slots are available for lead designer, assembly and install crew, delivery drivers and more. Sign up here.
📚 LGBTQ+ youth book club. Teens of all identities, orientations and backgrounds are welcome at Book Queeries, a book club exploring queer representation in young adult literature. Nine seats are available for the first meet-up on March 1 to discuss Molly Beth Griffin’s Silhouette of a Sparrow. Participants get a free copy of the book. Register here.
🎤 Diversity panel. The history of the Latinx experience in Boulder County is the subject of a panel at the CU Law School on March 16, 7–8:30 p.m. State Historian Nicki Gonzales will moderate the panel, “The Roots of Today’s Racial Exclusion in Boulder County and the Road Ahead,” featuring Donna Lovato, executive director of El Comité de Longmont, BVSD school board member Richard Garcia, and Frank Archuleta, historian for the City of Lafayette.

What We’re Reading

  • Where does Boulder County need the most federal support? After spending an initial $5 million of Boulder County’s $63 million in federal Covid relief, officials are eyeing a second phase of spending to mitigate health and economic impacts of the pandemic. “KGNU’s Rossana Longo-Better spoke with Boulder County Commissioner Marta Loachamin about the survey and next steps for distributing this phase of federal money sent out to relieve the economic and health impacts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.” [KGNU]
  • The emotional cost of Colorado hospital visitation rules. To give comfort to patients and their loved ones amid restrictions designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, a longshot bill would require state health facilities to allow at least one visitor per patient in most circumstances. “‘For me, this is a no-win situation,’ said Sonya Jaquez Lewis of Boulder County, one of three Democrats on the five-member Senate committee. ‘You’ve got families who need to get in and you’ve got staff you have to protect. Why are we put in a position of having to choose?'” [Denver Post]

ICYMI from BRL

📈 Eleven years of Boulder crime data in three charts. The violent crime rate today is similar to the peak of the last major wave, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to an analysis of FBI data by the Boulder Reporting Lab. Even then, the rates of aggravated assaults, robbery, rape and murder were comparatively low.
👩‍🏭 DIY art show returns from two-year hiatus to celebrate local makers. The annual exhibition of works presented by BLDG 61, the Boulder Public Library’s free community workshop, celebrates local outside-the-box visual artists. After being shut down for Covid, the return of Maker Made represents more than a slow return to normal. It’s also an opportunity to expand public perception of the value of libraries at a critical moment in Boulder.

About Us

Hi. We’re Boulder’s new nonprofit newsroom. Our mission is to help you get more informed about the issues you care about and more connected to the city you love. To do this, we provide high-quality, original journalism on the most pressing issues plus curated community information — all paywall-free. Learn more about us here and here.

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– The BRL Team

Jezy J. Gray

I’m the managing editor of the Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, I was the final editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Voice, a local bi-weekly newspaper where I led a small but mighty team of journalists to regional and national honors in feature writing, diversity reporting, LGBTQ+ coverage and more. I look forward to listening to and learning from the Boulder community as we work together on telling the stories that matter here.