Back to Monday, Boulder. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s news to report.

For today, Jenna Sampson covers Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, a volunteer rescue operation founded in 1947. With the influx of outdoor enthusiasts, there’s also been an influx of people needing aid, making RMRG one of the busiest rescue groups in the country. Pile on the increasing cost of necessary gear, like radios jumping from $300 a pop to upwards of $2,000, and the group is trying to figure out how to stay solvent.

“I feel like we’re entering a new zone of funding needs,” said Steve Dundorf, RMRG’s current president.

Also, the City of Boulder is entering talks with local Native American tribes to figure out what to do with the Fort Chambers site. A training ground for Boulderites who would go on to participate in the Sand Creek Massacre, the land is currently designated as city open space.

Thanks for reading. See you Wednesday.

— Tim, reporter

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What to know today

  • Some clouds, small chance of drizzle: Temps in the 50s might, a weak “might,” find company in precipitation. If that doesn’t please you, you might want to take a vacation, as the weather for the rest of the week is going to look a lot like today.
  • Tribal consultation scheduled: City of Boulder officials and members of the Boulder City Council are planning to meet with Indigenous leaders from more than a dozen tribal nations this week as part of a consultation aimed at updating the city’s contract with the nations.
    • To be discussed is how the city should notify Indigenous nations when it finds human remains and cultural artifacts. The city is also seeking advice for how to update its interpretive signs across the city to help Indigenous peoples “share stories they want to tell and communicate their cultural, spiritual and historical connections to the Boulder Valley.”
    • The city also wants input on how to manage Fort Chambers, a parcel on the plains east of the city. Also known as the Poor Farm, the city purchased the property in 2018 and designated the land as open space. A plaque at the site says it was “used during the Indian uprising,” an interpretation that is inaccurate and prioritizes a colonial perspective. The land was used by men to train and organize before the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, where soldiers killed hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho people, most of whom were women and children. The city said it is consulting with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes to create a management plan.
    • The meetings, scheduled for March 15-16, are closed to the public. — John Herrick
  • Boulder staff helping Denver: The last few months have brought a wave of migrants to Denver, causing the city to issue an emergency declaration. To aid its neighbor, the City of Boulder offered staff the opportunity to earn a stipend for volunteering to support Denver’s migrant shelter operations, for up to three shifts a month. As Boulder has received support from Denver in the past, “the city was honored to be able to return the favor,” said the city’s website. Dozens of city staff from various departments have volunteered.
    • “We recognize the migrant community is experiencing complex, difficult and challenging circumstances beyond what most of us can imagine,” said Boulder City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde. “We are committed to supporting our local partners and fellow municipalities as they provide resources during this international humanitarian crisis.”
  • Additional victims sought in sexual assault case: Boulder PD is investigating a Boulder therapist who has been arrested on two counts of felony sexual assault on children. The suspect is in his 70s now, and was in his 40s at the time of the alleged crimes. The victims came forward as adults. The city has posted a picture of the suspect with the hopes that anyone else who might have experienced the aforementioned trauma could come forward.
    • Anyone with any info related to the investigation should contact Detective Lutz at LutzC@bouldercolorado.gov or 303-441-4374 reference case 20-11516.
  • Free contraceptives to students on campus: The University of Colorado Boulder Student Government has approved a bill establishing a pilot program to provide free or subsidized emergency contraceptives to students, the CU Independent reported. The program, in the works since fall 2022, would allow students to access emergency contraceptives for free or at a reduced cost at the Wardenburg Health Center’s Apothecary or on-campus markets. The program is expected to launch in May 2023, and will be funded by student fee reserves and a defunct initiative.
  • Covid rates back to low: Boulder County has dipped back down to low transmission based on hospitalization rates. Eleven people were hospitalized for Covid as of March 10, according to county data. As always, getting vaccinated, tested and staying home when sick are good measures to keep yourself healthy.

Go Deeper…

‘Entering a new zone’: Boulder’s all-volunteer mountain rescue group expands operations as calls for help increase

By Jenna Sampson

March 13, 2023

Last week, a snowboarder got lost near the Caribou Townsite near Nederland. He was rescued after running in place through the night to stay warm. Forty people from 13 agencies worked for 12 hours to successfully locate the man. One of the main groups involved was the nonprofit rescue group that serves Boulder County, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group (RMRG).

As the season changes, rescues will go from snow to dirt, and equipment will switch from snow machines to hiking boots. But rescue needs will only increase as we head into summer.

“We see the most accidents when the weather is nice and pleasant to be outside,” said Angela Tomczik, a 10-year veteran of the RMRG team. 

The all-volunteer nonprofit recently closed its 2023 recruiting season amid this evolving search-and-rescue system. The organization, in its 76th year, is under pressure to meet the needs of ever-more users of open space — and ever-more calls for rescue. 

The new recruits will fill any gaps in expertise to ensure missions are still run like a well-oiled machine, even as the team of 75 now responds to around 200 calls a year, up nearly 40% in less than 10 years. 

Continue reading…

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BRL picks

🥾 Age well town hall: By 2030, adults 65 and older are expected to comprise 20% of the population of Boulder County. On Thursday, March 16, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Sunshine Fire Protection District, Station 1, Boulder County commissioners will present the county’s plans to support aging with grace.

“Whether it’s a program on Medicare basics, caregiver events, or nutrition counseling, many of our residents will need these resources and we are eager to discuss what’s available and what interests our neighbors have regarding aging in Boulder County,” Commissioner Claire Levy said.

🎨 Open Studios: A month of photography began at the 1st Congressional Church last Friday, March 10. On March 16, a reception will be held to discuss the displayed work from 4 to 6 p.m. Find out more at the Open Studios website.

🎤 Ani DiFranco at Boulder Theater: On March 15-16, Ani DiFranco and special guest will be performing at the Boulder Theater, from 8 p.m. to midnight. “Widely considered a feminist icon” and “known as the ‘Little Folksinger,’ her music has embraced punk, funk, hip hop, jazz, soul, electronica and even more distant sounds.” Tickets here.

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

ICYMI

  • Are Boulder restaurant-goers becoming ruder? Bad customer behavior seems to be increasing, according to local restaurant owners, who still face staffing shortages and other pressures. Some are starting to put their foot down.

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.