What a day to be alive, Boulder. Mid-70s with a light breeze? You seein’ this? Here’s what’s up so you can get back outside.

For today’s top story, John Herrick reports on the city’s new flood strategy. Historically, the city prioritized projects to protect “affluent areas with the highest property values,” it said. Its new master plan lays out a vision to prioritize areas “where the life safety risk and community needs are the highest.”

In other (related) news, the CU South annexation agreement will be on the Nov. 8 ballot after a judge dismissed the case for a ballot title change. Also, a prescribed burn might be happening today. And you could go see a play at the Dairy or do yoga with cats. Or do both. The timing works out — I checked. That and more for your perusing pleasure below.

Have a tremendous weekend. You deserve it.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Some clouds and an easy, breezy breeze: 70s for the next couple days with Sunday eking into the 80s. And you’re not crazy, the days are getting shorter. The sun is now setting right around 7 p.m.
  • Yes, cars are returning to West Pearl: City officials are moving ahead with reopening West Pearl Street to cars as soon as the end of this month. During a Boulder City Council meeting on Thursday night, councilmembers — many frustrated by their lack of input in the decision — said they want city staff to look into options for closing the street to cars again as early as summer 2023.
  • CU South referendum moves ahead to Nov. 8 ballot: During a Thursday hearing that lasted fewer than 10 minutes, Boulder County District Court Judge Dea M. Lindsey dismissed a lawsuit seeking to change the ballot title language for a measure to undo the CU South annexation agreement. The swift decision allows the referendum to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.
    • The annexation agreement between the City of Boulder and the University of Colorado sets terms for developing the university’s South Boulder property to build housing and university facilities and offices.
      • The agreement also gives the city land to build a flood wall designed to protect residents living in the South Boulder Creek floodplain.
    • Residents opposing the annexation agreement — in part because it allows development on wetlands — petitioned to undo the agreement through a referendum this year. Last month, they asked the city to make a slight change to the title of the ballot measure. The city declined. Opponents of the agreement then sued to try and force the change — a legal maneuver that could have delayed a vote on the measures.
    • The judge dismissed the case on Thursday because the state law under which the lawsuit was filed did not apply to local election matters. “That’s the nature of home rule,” Judge Lindsey said.
  • Ron Stewart preserve at Rabbit Mountain may be closed today for a prescribed burn: The park will reopen Saturday, Sept. 17, at sunrise. If conditions are not favorable for operations the park will be open today. As with all prescribed burns, conditions must meet certain criteria for the burn to take place. Fire managers assess fuel moisture levels and continuously monitor current and projected weather forecasts.
    • This is a good thing. More prescribed burns will hopefully be forthcoming, as Boulder’s landscapes are made to burn.
  • Boulder Police arrest a serial burglar: Boulder Police detectives arrested a man who has used the same method for a series of burglaries. After entering an apartment building, he would walk from room to room, trying each door until finding one unlocked. If that unlocked apartment contained a person wondering why a stranger just entered their apartment, the man would say he was “looking for a friend,” or something of that nature before leaving. If the apartment was empty, he would steal small items such as air pods, jewelry and cash. Various apartment complexes affected include those located at:
    • 3700 block of Arapahoe Avenue. 
    • 800 block of 20th Street. 
    • Walnut and 30th streets.
    • 21st and Canyon streets.
  • Anyone who may have been a victim or has information related to thus case is encouraged to call Detective A. Tuck at 303-441-4322 reference case 22-08324.
  • And remember, one of the best ways to protect your property is to lock your doors.
  • A September free of sugary drinks in Louisville: There’s still a chance to finish out September without a sugary drink. The Healthy Louisville Kids coalition — a group of individuals, businesses and organizations committed to promoting children’s health in Louisville — is focused on reducing the consumption of sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks and sports drinks, as these beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet. They’re also a major contributor to chronic disease for both children and adults.
    • According to the Boulder County website, children who drink at least one sugary beverage a day are roughly 30% more likely to die from a heart attack, 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and 55% more likely to be overweight or obese. Over a quarter (26.6%) of Boulder County children ages 5-14 years old are overweight or obese, a 43% increase since 2003. These trends prompted the Boulder County Board of Health to proclaim childhood obesity a public health emergency in 2019.
    • “Sugary drinks are a major factor that contribute to unhealthy weight and chronic disease,” said Lexi Nolen, Boulder County Public Health’s interim executive director. “Efforts like this one that encourage people to replace sugary drinks with tasty, healthier options are important to our community’s health and are especially important for children.”
    • For a chance to win a Hydro Flask, sign up for the Sugary Drink-Free September challenge.
  • Boulder County offers $3,500 Use Tax rebate for residents rebuilding after Marshall and Cal-Wood fires: The rebate program forms just one part of the support that the county offers residents as the community recovers and rebuilds. Other programs include the coordination of the Private Property Debris Removal Program, which has now cleared all participating properties, as well as the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, which has raised an unprecedented amount of money to support mainly those rebuilding their homes.
    • Everyone who lost a home in either the Marshall or Cal-Wood Fires and is rebuilding on their affected property qualifies for the county’s use tax rebate. The county estimates the rebate will cover all or most of the county’s use tax for the majority of affected residents. To claim the rebate, property owners must file building permits within three years of the fires: Dec. 31, 2024 for Marshall Fire-impacted properties and Oct. 31, 2023 for Cal-Wood Fire-impacted properties.
    • More information about the Federal Disaster Use Tax Rebate Program, including how to apply, will be available soon on the county’s Community Planning and Permitting Website.
  • Women’s march planned for October: Several local women’s groups, including YWCA Boulder County, are planning a reproductive rights march and demonstration for Oct. 8 in front of the Boulder County Courthouse. According to organizers, the goal of the event is ensuring elected officials support the rights of women, girls, and the LGBTQ+ community.
    • “We join together in solidarity in Boulder County and across the country on October 8 to demonstrate and march for our shared beliefs in the reproductive and fundamental rights for us all.” 

Go deeper

With new flood plan, City of Boulder shifts strategy to prioritize people over property

By John Herrick

The Boulder City Council unanimously approved a new citywide flood protection plan on Thursday, Sept. 15, that seeks to prioritize projects that benefit disadvantaged neighborhoods — rather than those with the highest property values.

The new Comprehensive Flood and Stormwater Master Plan, last updated in 2004, will help guide how the city builds more than 30 flood projects across the city in the coming decades. The projects total about $350 million, according to city officials. 

The long-term vision for flood planning comes as the city moves ahead with several large-scale projects designed to slow down and divert floodwaters amid a worsening climate crisis. 

Continue reading…

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BRL picks

🍎 “Fed Up” viewing at Louisville Public Library: Healthy Louisville Kids coalition is partnering with the Louisville Public Library to show a series of documentaries about the harms of sugar and sugary drinks over the next few months. The first screening will be on Monday, Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at 951 Spruce St. A free dinner from Verde will be served and afterwards panelists, including Dr. Seth Kramer, will lead a discussion. Everyone in the community is welcome to attend. No registration is necessary.

🎭 “The Children” a play by Lucy Kirkwood: Tonight, as well as many others during its run into October, the Dairy Arts Center hosts this “humorous and profoundly timely” play. “Two retired nuclear scientists reside in an isolated cottage by the sea as the world around them crumbles. Together they are going to live forever on yogurt and yoga, until an old friend arrives with a frightening request. In answering her, they must resolve a question we all face: What, exactly, do we owe to future generations?” Tickets start at $25.

📚 ‘Less Is Lost’: Andrew Sean Greer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Less,” has a sequel coming out, called “Less Is Lost.” He’ll be in Boulder for the only Colorado stop on his book tour on Thursday, Sept. 22, at Boulder Pubic Library’s Canyon Theater. Arsen Kashkashian and Maeve Conran will interview him for the BBS and KGNU Bookclub Show. Tickets are $10.

😻 Caturday Yoga: Cats and yoga. On Saturday at 9 a.m. at Purrfect Pause Cat Cafe, those interested in combining felines with forward folds will be treated to 15 resident cats roaming the studio space “offering snuggles and kisses” while you stretch. If you can’t make it this week, no worries. Caturday yoga happens every other Saturday at the cafe. Tickets are $30.

🏕️ Women’s survival course this Sunday: Via Jessie Krebbs (Alone Season 9): “I’m teaching a women’s survival course this Sunday near Boulder from 9-5 if I get enough sign ups for it. Stories of injury and death in the wilderness scare many women away from the backcountry. I teach women survival skills, boosting their self-confidence and efficacy in sketchy situations.”

Covid in Boulder County: Sept. 16, 2022

  • 106 daily new cases (7-day avg.) Down 13% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 14 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) Down from a high of 16 last week.
  • 38% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 66% since July 2020.


Tim Drugan

Tim Drugan covers wildfires, water and other climate change-related issues for Boulder Reporting Lab 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.