Another week, Boulder. Here’s what’s going on.

The City of Boulder is still searching for an organization interested in operating a proposed day center for homeless people. A request for proposals closed at the end of January, but the city received no full responses.

Also, Jessica Mordacq covers restaurants opening or relocating in 2023. Some highlights include the recently closed South Boulder staple, Caffé Sole, finding new life as a Boxcar location. Hapa Sushi is moving towards the mountains on Pearl. And a new Italian restaurant, Stella’s Cucina, has come to town, with a new spot to quench your thirst for Salvadoran cuisine at Pupusas Lover 2.

Finally, the City of Boulder has allocated a whole bunch of money for prairie dog management. With the rodents expanding their reach considerably, lethal control — begun in 2021 — will continue this year.

I’ll see you Wednesday.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Sun to start, snow to finish: While today will be in the 50s with some sun, and tomorrow might catch the tail end, Wednesday won’t. Rain and snow will combine with temps dropping to the 20s to remind you it’s still winter.
  • City still searching for day shelter operator: The City of Boulder is yet to find an organization interested in running a proposed day center for homeless people. According to a recent city staff memo, a request for proposals released in December received no complete responses by the deadline of Jan. 31, 2023. The city did receive a proposal from Feet Forward, a local nonprofit that provides resources and peer support services for homeless people, to provide “some select services.”
    • The city is hoping to create a day center as soon as late next year. The city’s largest shelter, the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, is closed during the day, except under certain weather conditions. The city’s downtown library, where homeless people often go to stay warm during the winter months, has closed its bathrooms and temporarily removed its computers due to methamphetamine contamination, leaving fewer resources available to unhoused people.
    • The city’s day center is estimated to cost up to $1.5 million a year to operate, in addition to the cost of the property. Its location is yet to be determined. Community members have said they want it to include showers, storage, legal support and help navigating social services and public benefits.
    • Though the city said it received “no responses” to its RFP, it is in early discussions with an organization that “may have some interest in this initiative and in providing these services to the community.” It has not released its name. The Boulder City Council is scheduled to receive an update during this week’s meeting. — John Herrick
  • Roughly $1 million to manage prairie dogs: The city plans to spend nearly $950,000 on removing, managing or killing prairie dogs in 2023, a significant bump over last year. This comes as part of the city’s long-term plan to deal with nuisance complaints from developers and farmers, some of whom lease open space land from the city for growing hay or grazing cattle.
    • The increase in spending for 2023 comes from more barriers being built to prevent dogs from returning to areas where they’ve been removed. Also, the land that the dogs have been on requires restoration, which isn’t cheap.
    • “Each year, as there are more properties where prairie dogs have been removed, there are more restoration needs,” Heather Swanson, interim deputy director of resources and stewardship at Open Space & Mountain Parks, said in an email.
    • BRL previously reported on the impacts prairie dogs can have on soil, like pushing land towards desertification, especially when combined with cattle grazing. Lethal control was only approved by the city in 2021, as the dogs are expanding their reach — recently adding more than 5,000 acres to their domain.
    • Read our recent story on the city’s management goals for prairie dogs.
  • Back to low: Boulder County downgraded its community level for Covid transmission from medium to low. This change is a result of the decline in Covid hospitalizations and is based on CDC guidelines.
  • Tracey Bernett pleads guilty: Tracey Bernett, a former Boulder County Democratic state representative, pleaded guilty last week to criminal charges stemming from allegations that she lied about her address when she ran for reelection in 2021, presumably to run in a more favorable district.
    • As part of a plea deal, she received a deferred sentence and 150 hours of community service for attempting to influence a public servant, a class 4 felony, and two years of concurrent probation for perjury, a class 2 misdemeanor.
    • “I apologize to those who supported me and citizens of Colorado,” Bernett said during an arraignment last Friday at the Boulder County District Court. “I will continue to help the citizens of Colorado to address the critical environmental issues we face.”
    • Bernett, an engineer with a keen interest in energy and climate policy, was first elected in 2020 under a Longmont address that, through the redistricting process in 2021, was drawn into House District 19, a more conservative district that includes Weld County. She has said she lives in Louisville and won reelection in House District 12. She resigned from office after the election, and a vacancy committee then elected Kyle Brown, who served on the Louisville City Council, to fill her seat.
    • Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty filed the charges against Bernett following a complaint from Theresa Watson, the chair of the Boulder County Republican Party. — John Herrick
  • Demand exceeds supply of housing vouchers, as expected. Boulder County received 1,941 applications for housing vouchers during its lottery last week, a demand that far exceeds the approximate 200 vouchers the county expects to issue this year. The vouchers are used to help subsidize the cost of renting an apartment, and they have long been in short supply.
    • County officials said they will be mailing letters and emailing applicants their lottery numbers in the coming weeks. As vouchers become available, the county said it will pull the numbers and post them on the county’s website to notify winners, who will also be contacted directly. The county plans to pull numbers on a monthly basis.
    • Applicants whose numbers are not drawn this year will also be notified by the end of 2023, the county said. They will be able to apply during the next application period.
  • Boulder reps town hall: The Colorado Senate President, Steve Fenberg, and Representative Judy Amabile will provide a legislative update on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. at 1535 Spruce St in Boulder. Those interested should RSVP. You’ll get a confirmation before the event.

Go deeper

New year, new restaurants: Meet Boulder’s newest additions for 2023

By Jessica Mordacq

February 13, 2023

The first two months of 2023 are almost over, and we’ve already seen several new restaurants open in Boulder. Others will soon launch or move locations this year. Hapa Sushi is moving a few doors down to 1068 Pearl Street in the spring. And the site of Caffé Sole in South Boulder, which recently closed, is becoming the second location of Boxcar Coffee Roasters in March. BRL spoke with the owners of four new (or relocating) restaurants. 

Continue reading…

Since 1997, the Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental Journalism has brought five journalists to CU Boulder each year where they deepen their understanding of environmental issues by auditing courses, participating in field trips and weekly seminars, and working on a significant project of their choice. The program runs for nine months and provides an $80,000 stipend, and more. See here for more information.

BRL picks

🎺 Jam night: The Boulder Jam Night — where musicians and music lovers come together to form jam bands and play music — takes place every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Coffee Stand on Arapahoe and Broadway. Participants can sign up at 6 p.m. with bands created at 6:15 p.m.. The event is part of the 2023 Evening Event Series and attendees are encouraged to bring their instruments and “share food, laughs, and tunes.”

😍 Sensory experience at Junkyard Social: A 21+ event on Feb. 14 at Junkyard Social will provide tasteful stimulation for those looking to spice up their Valentine’s Day. From 8 to 10:30 p.m., attendees will enjoy refined craft cocktails or mocktails while taking in the “multi-sensory experience” featuring burlesque performances, live music and spoken word performances. Tickets are limited, with the base price being $66.

🌄 Chautauqua at Museum of Boulder: Running through the end of February, “Chautauqua: 125 Years at the Heart of Boulder” is still available for viewing at the Museum of Boulder. The exhibit showcases Chautauqua’s history and its impact on the Boulder community with archival photos, videos, local artwork, and an interactive musical experience. The event is free.

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

ICYMI


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.