Good morning, Boulder! 🌄 Let’s get right to it.

In today’s top story, I’ll take you inside the Museum of Boulder exhibition exploring the life and legacy of Boulder County resident Rose Lueras, who banded together with Latino families in a legal battle to integrate the Lafayette Swimming Pool in 1934. The exhibition runs through Aug. 14 at the downtown local history center, with an upcoming panel next Thursday.

Plus a U.S. district court judge blocks Superior’s new gun rules, lagging job numbers in the local food service industry, this weekend’s Opera in the Park and more.

Until Friday,

– Jezy, managing editor

Ryan Smith won the High Lonesome 100-mile running race in Colorado’s Sawatch Range on July 24, 2022. Smith, who co-founded the Boulder-based trail running group Rocky Mountain Runners, finished the race in 20 hours, 58 minutes and 57 seconds, setting a new course record. (Smith held the previous 2018 course record, which he beat last weekend by four minutes.) Credit: Kristi Mayo/Mile 90 Photography

Quickly

🌤️ Mostly sunny and warm: Expect more highs in the upper-80s today, under a mix of sunshine and cloud cover. We should be in store for a cool-down tomorrow, when highs should be in the low-70s amid afternoon rain chances.

🧑‍⚖️ Judge blocks Superior’s gun rules: U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Moore last week ordered the Town of Superior to halt enforcement of its ban on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines, siding with pro-gun activists who sued the town earlier this month alleging the recently passed gun laws violate their Second Amendment rights. The federal judge, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, cited a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a New York law limiting the carrying of guns outside the home.

What it means for the rest of Boulder County: In addition to the Town of Superior, the cities of Boulder, Lafayette and Louisville have passed similar gun-violence protection measures. The expanded patchwork of gun laws came after the 2021 King Soopers shooting prompted state lawmakers to enact legislation allowing local governments to pass more stringent gun control measures. A spokeswoman for the City of Boulder said it is still enforcing its gun laws. 

🍽️ Food service, by the numbers: As the Boulder County economy continues to recover from the recession induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, jobs in the accommodation and food services industry continue to lag, according to recent data from the State Demography Office. Jobs that include providing meals and lodging are down 14% from 2019 levels, according to the 2021 data. Over that same period, the number of jobs in the high-paying professional, scientific and technical services sector have increased in Boulder County. 

♻️ Carelessness ‘wreaking havoc’ on local composting: That’s the message Western Disposal Services sent out to customers on Tuesday night. “A1 Organics, one of the only processors in the region that accepts food waste for composting, has put haulers throughout the Front Range on notice that the compostables stream coming from both residents and businesses, polluted with everything from household trash to disposable gloves and a dizzying array of plastics, must be cleaned up,” Western Disposal wrote in its email. It said that beginning in August, compost will be inspected and “may be landfilled,” adding that “carelessness and indifference are…threatening the program’s very existence.” (Click here for compost guidelines.)

💸 Feedback on new sales tax: Boulder County Commissioners are hosting two public hearings next week related to a possible new sales taxes for wildfire mitigation and emergency response, along with an extension to the existing transportation sales tax, which could come before voters in November. The meetings will take place on Thursday, Aug. 4 — one at 10:30 a.m. (re: transportation) and another at 3 p.m. (re: wildfire and emergency response). The county says draft ballot language will be available on the Board of County Commissioners website after Thursday, July 28.

➡️ New data on disparity: A Black person in Boulder County is at least four to five times more likely to be charged with a crime than a white person, according to a recent joint analysis by the national nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice and the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. That was one of the longstanding racial disparities caused partly by bias in the criminal legal system, researchers said. (The final written report will be released this summer, according to a press release on Thursday from the district attorney’s office.)

💭 Thoughts on the matter: Regarding the above research, District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the following in his office’s joint presentation with the Vera Institute: “I think we have to do a better job of deciding who’s going to be charged, how they’re charged, and how they’re then prosecuted to ensure that the impact and the collateral consequences that may fall from a conviction don’t increase the likelihood that they return to the justice system.”

🙋 Zero-waste volunteers wanted: Boulder County Fair is looking for volunteers Aug. 11–14 to help monitor recycling, landfill and compost bins and spread the word about the zero-waste initiative. “Volunteers will help by educating fairgoers on the importance of zero waste and will be around the waste stations to ensure waste streams are uncontaminated,” according to the county. Multiple shifts are available over the course of the four-day event, with no prior experience necessary. Volunteers must be 13 years or older. Sign up here.

🚰 Tracking water woes: The City of Boulder has released a new map tool designed to help residents identify water outages. The map, presented in English and Spanish, displays planned and unplanned service disruptions confirmed by city staff over the previous 12 hours. Access the tool and learn more about reporting outages here.

Top Story

Museum of Boulder exhibition dives deep on the life and legacy of Rose Lueras, who fought to integrate the Lafayette Swimming Pool in 1934

By Jezy J. Gray

It was the second-hottest July in Colorado history when the City of Lafayette opened its first public swimming pool in the summer of 1934. But the new facility would do little to cool the racial tension that began to crest when local resident Rose Lueras and her 12-year-old daughter Rosebelle were denied entry to swim on the basis of their Latino heritage. 

This moment is the catalyst for an ongoing exhibition at the Museum of Boulder, on display in the local history center’s second-floor Lodge Gallery through Aug. 14. The show presented by the Lafayette Arts & Cultural Resources Department draws from extensive research and photographs to bring a long-ignored and painful chapter of local history to life. 

Until that pivotal summer day, the new pool had been a source of local pride. With municipal coffers coming up short, the city had solicited material donations from residents to help with construction, giving locals an added sense of ownership over their new community asset. “Public spirited citizens,” as the Lafayette Leader called them in the newspaper’s pledge cards, donated cement by the sackful.

But who counts as the public would prove to be a thorny question for local officials, as evidenced by a hand-painted sign declaring the facility was designated for white people only. Lueras and her daughter were excluded, along with the roughly 30 other Latino households in Lafayette at the time, even though their family donated 10 bags of cement to the construction effort. 

“It was a slap in the face,” said local historian and activist Frank Archuleta, whose research forms the spine of the exhibition on display at the Museum of Boulder. “[They] didn’t want the Mexicans and Latinos in that pool.” 

In May of 1934, a few months before the pool would officially open, the city began discussions to lease the facility to the local private volunteer fire department. The transfer was designed in part “for the purpose of keeping Mexicans from using the pool,” according to later court testimony from firefighter and city councilmember Henry Mathias. 

By denying entry to Latinos on the basis of race, the city soon found itself facing legal action from Lueras and 25 other Latino families who banded together in a fight for civil rights that would echo through the ages. 

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BRL Picks

🎭 Opera in the Park: Want to take in a little culture in the open air? Head to the Boulder Bandshell this weekend, July 29–30, for Opera in the Park. Exploring the art form from the 16th Century through the contemporary period, this family-friendly outdoor concert will feature classic arias and scenes from Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Verdi, Floyd, Heggie and more. Tickets here.

🌊 Into the ‘deep end’: Everyday objects take on a new life at the hands of artist Sofie Ramos, whose ongoing DEEP END exhibition at BMoCA runs through Sept. 5. Painting over household furniture like couches and lamps, the materials become “characters in her wildly imaginative installations and stop-motion animations” in this dazzling mixed-media show.

🍻 IPA Day: Who doesn’t love drinking for a good cause? Hop heads of all stripes are invited to the 14th annual Jul-IPA rooftop party at West End Tavern to support victims of domestic violence on Saturday, July 30, 12–3 p.m. Enjoy hop-forward samples from local and national breweries, along with BBQ from West End Tavern Chef Ronnie Oldham, prize auctions, live music and more.

🏊 Troubled waters: Rescheduled — Explore Boulder County history with a panel of local experts as they discuss the Museum of Boulder’s ongoing exhibition about racism and discrimination at the Lafayette public pool in 1934, when a group of Latino residents led by Rose Lueras sued the city for equal access. The ticketed event ($5) takes place at the museum (2205 Broadway) on Thursday, Aug. 4. Read today’s top story to learn more.

Covid-19 Updates: July 27, 2022

  • 161 daily new cases (7-day avg.) ⬆️Up 6% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 15 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) ⬆️Up from a high of 13 last week.
  • 32% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 68% since July 2020.
  • Note: Stazio Ball Fields in Boulder is now the only free community testing site in Boulder County. It’s open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What We’re Reading

📖 Rocky Mountain bounces back from wildfire and pandemic stresses: “With COVID’s grip loosened from much of the American psyche, the park returned to 4.4 million visitors last year — not a record, but enough to reinforce a timed-entry system that by some evaluations is going well. Now park folks are ready to brag about some wins, not just some avoided losses.” [Colorado Sun]

📖 Diversifying the state’s trucking industry: “Even with Colorado’s growing diverse population, more than nine out of 10 holders of commercial drivers licenses in the state are male, and, of those who self-reported their race, 91 percent are white. Shenika Carter is determined to change that. ‘This is new trucking,’ said Carter, co-owner of Carter Truck Driving Academy, which might be the nation’s only Black-owned truck driving school, with an office in Aurora and a practice yard in Denver. ‘We do things that are unheard of in our industry — with compassion for people, compassion for humanity, welcoming all ethnicities, all genders.'” [CPR]

ICYMI from BRL

💡 Boulder considers acquiring public streetlights owned by Xcel to reduce consumption and gain more autonomy over its energy infrastructure. The conversion to smart LED lights would lower the city’s electric bill, provide more responsive maintenance and reduce light pollution, according to a city staff memo.

🔥 What worries Boulder Fire-Rescue about wildfire in the city proper? Junipers, mulch and wooden fencing, to name a few. New laws could be in store. The lack of fire in the city so far means ‘the fire department’s gotten really lucky,’ says Wildland Fire Division Chief Brian Oliver, who breaks down ways to mitigate the threat of potential home-to-home ignition.

🏘️ In rebuff to Boulder City Council, city’s Planning Board allows housing near pharmaceutical plant in East Boulder redevelopment plan. The board approved a version of the East Boulder Subcommunity Plan, a long-term vision for adding residential neighborhoods to an entirely commercial area of the city. The plan is now back in the hands of the city council.

🎒 Boulder Valley School District punishes Black and Latino students at disproportionately higher rates than most Colorado districts. Parents continue calls for accountabilityLatino students at BVSD are about 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than white students, a Boulder Reporting Lab analysis of district data shows. The district and parents are not in total agreement on how to address the longstanding problem.

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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.