I know it’s early, but have you thought about what’s for dinner tonight?

If you’re like me, you might be ordering in from Nosh Boulder, the co-op food delivery service here in town. The City of Boulder is subsidizing associated fees through Feb. 28, so you can support your favorite local restaurants without the extra costs charged by the big guys like DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Today’s top story from Ryan Ernstes looks at Nosh’s recent fire relief efforts as part and parcel of its mission to be more than a delivery service. “We’ve been through the wringer as restaurants the past few years,” says Marcy Miller, owner of Organic Sandwich Company, whose Louisville restaurant was nearly lost in the blaze. “But we’ve felt supported. Now we’ve got to offer that support.”

Also in this newsletter: Benjy Sachs offers an update on Covid vaccination rates for kids in Boulder County. Plus your regular dose of need-to-know community information, like updates on where FEMA money has been spent after the Marshall Fire, details on how to get technical support and free water testing from a team of Purdue civil engineers, the latest on volunteer opportunities and more.

Sorry — I’m still thinking about my Nosh order tonight. Chile relleno from Coma Mexican Grill, or the crispy eggplant roll from Motomaki? Whatever local flavor shows up at my door, I’m happy to know it’s helping support my neighbors.

– Jezy, managing editor

Donovan Bender, team lead at Organic Sandwich Company, works at the restaurant’s Pearl Street location in Boulder on Jan. 23. The shop is one of the many local dining establishments offering delivery through Nosh Boulder, a homegrown alternative to corporate giants like DoorDash and Grubhub. Credit: Anthony Albidrez

Top Stories

Nosh Boulder is throwing its weight into Marshall Fire relief efforts. It’s all part of the community-driven mission of the restaurant-owned food delivery service.

With support from Boulderites and city government, the homegrown alternative to corporate giants like DoorDash and Grubhub acts as a community partner in tough times. But customer awareness still lags. Read the full story

Covid: 50% of Boulder County kids 5-11 are fully vaccinated

In Boulder County, 61% of younger children have now received at least one dose, and 50% have received two. That’s higher than the statewide average, and far higher than the national rate. Read the full story

Could Omicron get us closer to herd immunity? CU scientists unpack this and other pressing virus questions

A team of virologists and immunologists from CU Boulder weigh in on some of the most pressing questions that people are asking about the new variant. Read the full Q&A

Quickly

⏱️ Dry day ahead. “But another quick-moving system will bring snow to our area on Thursday.” Via NWS Boulder.
⏱️ FEMA has directed $43.6 million (some grants but mostly loans) toward wildfire and wind storm damage. The agency breaks down the numbers here.
⏱️ In the same release, you’ll find dates to connect with FEMA representatives at home improvement stores in Boulder, Louisville and Longmont through Feb. 25.
⏱️ Two aid groups are helping fire victims sift through their ash: Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Colorado and Samaritan’s Purse.
⏱️ A civil engineering team from Purdue University is supporting fire victims by providing free onsite technical support and water chemical testing for heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
⏱️ The Donation and Resource Center at the Flatirons Mall is no longer taking donations from the public. Bulk donations accepted by appointment only. Call 720-574-2300. 
⏱️ Debris removal resources are still available in-person at the Disaster Recovery Center at 1755 S. Public Road in Lafayette.
⏱️  Reminder: a webinar on wildfire recovery insurance will be hosted by United Policyholders on Thurs., Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. Register here.
⏱️ The Coalton Trailhead and the Meadowlark, Mayhoffer-Singletree and Coalton trails remain closed through February due to the Marshall Fire.
⏱️ Also still closed: Marshall Mesa and Greenbelt Plateau trails. Muddy trail closures were lifted in the Doudy Draw/Flatirons Loop area, as well as Lefthand.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Jan. 26, 2022

  • 712 daily new cases (7-day avg.)  🔺Up 13% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 90 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 40 since July 2020.
  • 69% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 72% since July 2020.
  • Data: Here’s how and where we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news

  • Guidelines for BVSD families. Need to know when to isolate your kiddos, and when to send them back to school? BVSD has published updated guidance on what to do for students who have tested positive.
  • Data quality issue. The Boulder County Public Health Covid data dashboard is incorrectly reporting the number of 5-11 year-olds who have received a second dose of the vaccine. (11,500 kids here are fully vaccinated, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health.) In an email to the Boulder Reporting Lab, posted later to Facebook, a representative said “BCPH is actively working to address the issue and perform quality assurance to ensure vaccine data quality issues are identified and corrected on an ongoing basis.” 
  • KN95s at Main Boulder Public Library. Starting today, the library will be distributing more than 5,000 KN95 masks for free at the 1001 Arapahoe Ave. location. Limit five per person. Must show up in-person to get yours.

BRL Picks

🧸 Free play. Want to help families displaced by the Marshall Fire take advantage of open-play programs for kids at no cost? Donate to The Junkyard, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community space. They’re hosting a freeform playdate for kids on Thursday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m, along with STEAMFest on Saturday at 10 a.m.
🎗️ Youth day of remembrance. Know a thoughtful teen with a heart for the Boulder community? Applications are open for the Youth Leadership Healing Committee, designed to honor the memories of those who were killed in the King Soopers shooting with a Healing Day of Remembrance event. It’s a 2-3 hour time commitment per week. $17/hr for approximately 6-8 weeks. Apply here.
👩‍👩‍👦 Community center for fire victims. Lionsgate Event Center in Lafayette is offering a lot more than a distribution center for donated clothes, food, toys and toiletries. They’re also offering free massages, live music, billiards, wi-fi, hot coffee and more. Volunteer personal shoppers and drivers are also available to distribute goods to those who can’t make it to the center.
🦁 More relief at Lionsgate. The event space at 1055 US-287 near the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette is also welcoming to its free store Whittier apartment fire victims, as well as Afghan refugees in Boulder County. (See our reporting on how the Marshall Fire is complicating resettlement efforts in Boulder County.) Additionally, therapy dogs are onsite on Saturdays and Sundays, with mental health advocates available everyday, along with insurance brokers and lawyers throughout the week.

What We’re Reading

  • How safe is the air? Boulder County Public Health gave an update on preliminary results from NOAA’s outdoor air quality monitoring in fire-affected areas: “While NOAA’s measurements showed the presence of some VOC gasses, the initial analysis indicated they were at levels similar to normal air pollution found in and around cities,” the county said. But particulate air pollution may remain a concern for months: “Snow and moisture are currently keeping potentially harmful particulates on the ground and out of the air. As weather changes and temperatures rise, the affected areas will dry out and, when wind speeds increase, air quality can fluctuate.” [Boulder County]
  • New contract agreement after King Soopers strike. Per UFCW Local 7: “The agreement contains the most significant wage increase ever secured by a UFCW local for grocery workers and includes first-year wage increases for long standing employees. Some workers will receive wage increases in excess of $5.00 per hour. The Union also successfully negotiated better healthcare and protected pension benefits for its members, along with more stringent safety measures in the workplace to protect employees and customers. This agreement also creates new paths to full-time employment opportunities for King Soopers and City Market workers.” [CBS Denver]

ICYMI from BRL

🗓️ Boulder City Council sets agenda for the next two years. The top legislative priorities include middle-income housing, homelessness, non-vehicle transportation and city election reform. Several policies that didn’t make the list risked overwhelming a short-staffed city government.
❤️‍🩹 ‘We need some help, too’: Sans Souci looks for support after the Marshall Fire. The resident-owned mobile home park was spared the worst of the destruction from the Dec. 30 wildfire, but the needs of its low-income and elderly residents are many and multiplying.
🦠 Covid-19 cases are trending down in Boulder County, according to state data. But the toll of Omicron is still unclear. State health officials are cautiously optimistic. New daily case counts remain high, they said, and residents should remain vigilant as unknowns surrounding Omicron (including data gaps) persist.

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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.