Wednesday already? 📆🤯 Don’t let the week slip by without getting informed on what’s going on in your community right now with BRL Today.

We’ve got a pair of top stories for you this morning. First up, John Herrick offers an update on city council’s response (or lack thereof) to the recent lawsuit filed against the city by the ACLU of Colorado over its ordinance against public camping. Then Jessica Mordacq takes you inside the Cultural Caravan — a roaming concert series bringing live music to unexpected places all over the county — which kicks off today.

Plus this morning’s flash flood threat in Front Range burn areas, tomorrow’s insurance town hall for Marshall Fire survivors, a new “high” Covid-19 transmission status for Boulder County and more.

– Jezy, managing editor

Josh Halpern (right), founder and artistic director for the Cultural Caravan — a nontraditional music fest bringing pop-up concerts to local businesses and public spaces — performs on Pearl Street during last year’s event. Read all about Halpern’s vision for Round 2 of this unique concert series, which kicks off today, in this morning’s story by Jessica Mordacq. Credit: ELD Photography

Quickly

🌧️ Cool and rainy: Expect a few showers this morning, with highs in the mid-to-upper 50s. We should see a warming trend through the rest of the week, culminating with highs in the low-80s this weekend.

🌊 Flood threat in burn areas: Recent widespread rain across the burn areas of the Front Range mean an increased threat of flash flooding this morning. “Calwood and lower reaches of Cameron Peak burn areas would be most susceptible,” per the National Weather Service.

🦠 High transmission, no new restrictions: Boulder County’s Covid-19 community transmission level has been changed to “high,” per CDC guidelines, based on the number of recent hospital admissions (more than 10 per 100,000 people over the past seven days) related to the virus. “BCPH does not plan to implement new public restrictions at this time but does encourage everyone to take steps to stay safe, make a plan to access resources, and protect those around them,” a Boulder County Public Health spokesperson told the Boulder Reporting Lab on Tuesday.

🏗️ Rebuilding better: The Town of Superior, City of Louisville and Boulder County are hosting “a series of in-person workshops to help residents navigate the resources and tools available on the County’s Rebuilding Better website.” The first of three events kicks off tonight at 6 p.m. Register here.

🔥 Marshall Fire insurance townhall: Join the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) for another virtual meeting for people affected by the Marshall Fire on Thursday, June 2. Underinsurance will be the topic of discussion, with a focus on taking questions from survivors.

🌎 Sound off on climate tax: Got thoughts on the city’s proposed climate-related tax initiative? Officials say the proposal would raise about $3.9 to $8 million per year, depending on the tax rate, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bolster climate resiliency. Take the survey through Thursday, June 2.

🏳️‍🌈 Say it loud: Today marks the first day of Pride Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Be sure and mark your calendars for official Boulder County Pride celebrations, June 6–12, featuring events and activities for the whole family, culminating in the Longmont Pride Festival on June 11 and the Boulder County Pride Festival on June 12.

🚴 Active transportation: June is also Walk and Bike Month in Boulder. The City of Boulder is partnering with local community organizations to host free group walks, bike rides and other events celebrating active transportation, including Boulder’s Walk and Bike to Work Day on Wednesday, June 22. 

Top Stories

Boulder councilmembers critical of the city’s camping ban remain quiet on lawsuit challenging it

Members of the Boulder City Council have said little publicly in response to last week’s lawsuit seeking to halt enforcement of the city’s controversial camping ban — even councilmembers who fiercely campaigned against it last year. 

Most are not commenting on the suit due to the pending litigation. But that some of the policy’s staunchest critics on council have remained mum could be an indication the courts may end up deciding the fate of the decades-old policy prohibiting sleeping in public spaces. 

“I think we’re going to look for feedback from the city attorney’s office on the merits of the case and the next steps that we should take,” Mayor Aaron Brockett told the Boulder Reporting Lab. 

Brockett has said he supports the camping ban. In July 2021, he voted to broaden the camping ban to include a prohibition of tents and propane tanks. But in April that year, he opposed spending another $1.5 million on hiring six additional police officers to clear encampments. 

Cultural Caravan connects local musicians, businesses and nonprofits with scaled-back performances for everyday audiences

Imagine sitting on the patio of a Pearl Street restaurant, enjoying a meal and the warm weather when, suddenly, you hear a beautiful sound. A couple of musicians with stringed instruments have set up a few yards away and begin to play a slow, melodic song, crafting a soundtrack to your dining experience..  

The following day, you’re browsing tall wooden shelves for a new read in Boulder Book Store, where you happen across a local author reading to a group of kids. But this isn’t your average storytime: Musicians perform a live score behind the reader’s voice, perhaps marking the first time some children in attendance have seen a cello or stand-up bass played in person. 

These are the kinds of experiences Boulder residents can expect during the Cultural Caravan, a roaming music festival bringing performing artists to both improvised and established venues for pop-up concerts and onstage performances around the city. Returning for its second year, the event hinges on a combination of artistic excellence and the element of surprise.  

“If you happen upon it, we haven’t conditioned you to hear Mozart,” says classical cellist Josh Halpern. As founder and artistic director of the Cultural Caravan, he sees potential in this lack of conditioning, skirting past audiences’ preconceptions — think dress codes, price tags and the unwritten etiquette of concert halls — to create space for a connection with the music in a familiar environment. 

Halpern says the surprising nature of pop-up concerts fights the stereotype that classical music is boring or inaccessible to everyday people outside of a black-tie gala. “Instead, musicians who look like you happen to be playing music,” Halpern says. “Out of the context you expect it, you can look at it with a fresh perspective.”

But those nontraditional sites aren’t the only places where you can expect to encounter live music when the Cultural Caravan returns June 1-11, 2022. In addition to 25 free pop-up shows at local businesses across Boulder, the festival also includes seven ticketed MainStage concerts at the Boulder Bandshell, Dairy Arts Center, B2 Center at the ATLAS Institute and the Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium.

BRL Picks

🥖 Bready to rock: Moxie Bread Company in Louisville hosts the first pop-up concert during this year’s Cultural Caravan music festival today at noon. Drop by to hear Kristin Gornstein, Josh Halpern, Tamara Goldstein and Enion Pelta-Tiller perform traditional Scottish songs with a classical bent. Check out today’s top story to learn more about this roaming concert series taking place June 1–11.

⛰️ Outside(r) art: Want to create in the great outdoors? Open Studios presents the Boulder County Plein Air Event, June 3–11. Colorado artists ages 15 and up are invited to participate by painting, drawing, stitching or sculpting scenes around Boulder County (open space or city streets) and submitting for a final exhibition, awards jury and art sale at Boulder’s historic Chautauqua Auditorium on Wednesday, June 11. Register here.

🇲🇽 Latino love: The Museum of Boulder and the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County present a celebration of community and culture on Saturday, June 4. The Cultural Day event will feature conversations with local authors, a craft station from Luna Cultura, food trucks, dance performances and more. Tickets here.

🎞️ Serene cinema: The Buddhist Arts and Film Festival returns to the Dairy Arts Center June 3–5 with documentaries and feature films highlighting what the festival’s founders call “the reality of our fundamental interconnection.” Films include Carving the Divine: Buddhist Sculptors of Japan, Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das, Precious Guru: Journey into the Wild Heart of the Second Buddha and more. Tickets here.

Covid-19 Updates: June 1, 2022

  • 229 daily new cases (7-day avg.) ⬆️Up 6% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 14 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) ⬆️About the same as last week.
  • 44% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 70% since July 2020.

What We’re Reading

📖 Casey middle schooler to stay in custody: “The 14-year-old boy accused of threatening a shooting at Casey Middle School in Boulder will stay in custody at least until next week while authorities evaluate how much of a threat he poses to others, a Boulder County judge ruled Tuesday. The teenager had threatened to ‘shoot and bomb’ his school, Deputy District Attorney Brad Turner said in court Tuesday. The boy had done research on carrying out such a plot, had gory videos, bomb-making instructions and a photo of a person with an AR-15 rifle, Turner said.” [Denver Post]

📖 Boulder City Council signs off on gun control package: “Hours after news broke of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas, Boulder’s city council gave its first OK to a package of gun control laws, including a reinstated assault weapons ban from 2018. A second vote is required to finalize the ordinances, which will go into effect July 1.” [Boulder Beat]

📖 Consider the bicycle: “Bicycles and bicyclists veer to the political left. Environmentalists ride bicycles. American suffragists rode bicycles. So did English socialists, who called the bicycle ‘the people’s nag.’ Animal-welfare activists, who opposed the whipping of horses, favored bicycles. … But bicycles have also been used in warfare on six continents, and were favored by colonial officials during the age of empire.” [New Yorker]

ICYMI from BRL

ACLU of Colorado sues City of Boulder over camping ban that mostly affects people experiencing homelessness. The lawsuit is the latest flashpoint in a longstanding effort by civil rights advocates to overturn the controversial ordinance that predominantly penalizes homeless people for sleeping in public spaces.

🏊 Boulder Parks and Recreation aquatic facilities are operating at ‘reduced or constrained’ service levels. Here’s what you need to know for summer. Two city pools will be fully closed this season due to lifeguard and other staffing shortages.

💧 How much water does Boulder actually need — and how much is at its disposal? Navigating the complex world of Colorado water rights with City of Boulder Water Resource Manager Kim Hutton.

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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.