Good morning, 

After the Marshall Fire, our small but mighty team of journalists turned BRL Today – then a three-times-a-week newsletter – into a daily, to curate the firehose of vital information as a public service for our community. We’ve produced original stories you won’t find elsewhere, too, and continue to do so. 

We take this work seriously, and boy, do we love it. We also realized something: We need another journalist to keep this thing going every day. 

Good news! We’re in the process of looking to hire this person – a full-time climate- and environment-focused reporter. In the meantime: Starting Monday, BRL Today will go back to landing in your inbox three mornings a week. But again, only temporarily. And you can still find new stories every day on our website and social media channels.

Thank you for reading, for your kind words of support, and for your donations during this time. We’re overwhelmed by it and grateful. 

Want to help us grow even quicker? You can do any (or all!) of the following: 

📣 Spread the word. Do you have a friend or family member (or five!) who’s not yet on our email list? Encourage them to sign up here

💸 Contribute here. Every single dollar makes a difference, and every bit of it goes into producing local journalism that matters.

🏢 Become a sponsor. Next month we’re launching our Community Leaders sponsorship program, a way for local businesses to support nonprofit Boulder-local journalism and reach our community. Hit reply ☝️ and let’s set up a time to talk. 

And please don’t miss today’s top stories (three of them) by John Herrick, along with all the vital fire, Covid and other news and information below. ⤵️

See you Monday! 

– Stacy, publisher

A remnant of the basement wall at the former residence of Tracy and Garrett Wilson of Louisville. The markings are from the previous tenants, who didn’t know the Wilson family but sent them a gift card after their home was destroyed in the Marshall Fire on Dec. 30. Credit: Anthony Albidrez

Top Stories

Boulder issues emergency order relaxing rental requirements to house people displaced by the Marshall Fire

More than a thousand homes were destroyed in a county with a tight housing market. The order issued on Jan. 13 is “necessary to prevent displacement or possible homelessness of persons by a disaster emergency,” the city wrote. Read the full story

Hundreds of complaints about Superior’s water have been filed following the Marshall Fire. Health officials have found no evidence of unhealthy contamination.

State and local officials, however, have not released information indicating whether any of the water samples analyzed so far were taken near the homes of residents who have complained of smoky water. Read the full story

Boulder police ticketed people for sleeping outside this winter on days the shelter was full, records show

The camping ban is one part of a multi-pronged homelessness strategy by the City of Boulder. How it enforces it could have legal ramifications. Read the full story

Quickly

⏱️ Colder today, with a chance of snow showers. Highs near 40.
⏱️ Right-of-way debris removal begins today in Boulder County. Contracted work crews will begin removing damaged and destroyed vehicles from public roads. 
⏱️ Removed vehicles will be stored in a secured facility and catalogued by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Owners and insurance companies wanting to access the facility should email or call 303-214-3203.  
⏱️ Reminder: Families affected by the Marshall Fire can access the Resource Distribution Center in Broomfield daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for clothing, food, books, household essentials and more.
⏱️ $2 million in grant funding is available to displaced fire victims, via the Colorado Association of REALTORS® Foundation. Learn more and apply here.
⏱️ The Disaster Assistance Relief (DAC) center in Lafayette will begin closing at 5 p.m. instead of 7 p.m., starting Saturday. It’s still open seven days a week.
⏱️ Speaking of the DAC: Motor vehicle division staff will be there on Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., to replace car titles and registration for fire victims.
⏱️ More new hours! Starting today, the Boulder County Public Call Center (303-413-7730) for people affected by the Marshall Fire will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday, Jan. 21.
⏱️ Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones says he will not run for re-election in 2022.
⏱️ The payment pause for federal student loans has been extended until May 1.
⏱️ The King Soopers location on Table Mesa Drive, where 10 people were killed by a shooter last March, will not open next week as planned. The company’s statement did not mention the ongoing UFCW Local 7 strike.
⏱️ Maintenance and repair work along the Cottontail Trail in Gunbarrel is expected to resume starting as early as Tuesday, Jan. 18.
⏱️ Boulder County Arts Alliance (BCAA) is offering $250 micro grants (unrestricted) to Boulder County artists affected by the Marshall Fire. Apply here.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Jan. 14, 2022

  • 718 daily new cases (7-day avg.)  🔺Up 114% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 47 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 39 since July 2020.
  • 55% 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

  • New hours for fairgrounds testing site. If you need a free vaccination or booster, you can now drive through the Boulder County Fairgrounds seven days a week, 8 a.m.–6 pm. Same-day appointments available. Register here.
  • “Incidental” Covid cases on the rise. State hospitals say they’re seeing more people getting diagnosed with Covid-19 after coming to the hospital for something else. Roughly two-thirds of last week’s approximate 350 Covid patients were admitted for reasons other than the virus.

BRL Picks

👕 Relief by design. Louisville resident and designer Roselyn Adams is raising money for the Boulder County Wildfire Fund with a limited-edition T-shirt. Choose from two styles: one for Louisville, and other for Superior. Why not grab one of each before they’re gone?
🧘 Mindful giving. The Little Yoga Studio is partnering with Community Foundation Boulder County for a virtual fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Meditation, poetry and yoga are all on the agenda. More info here.
🐶 Fido philanthropy. Peaceful Puppy pet grooming service is offering nail trims and self-wash (no appointment necessary) for any amount you’d like to donate. All proceeds will be pooled with other businesses at the Villa Shopping Center on Arapahoe Avenue to benefit victims of the Marshall Fire.
🤝 Meeting place. Don’t forget: The Boulder Jewish Community Center is still offering free spaces to meet and work for people affected by the Marshall Fire. Reserve your spot here.

What We’re Reading

  • 🐴 Good neighbors. Willie, the horse captured in this striking photo by the Denver Post’s Helen H. Richardson, was rescued from the Marshall Fire by Colorado State Patrol Master Trooper Travis Hood and his partner Trooper Shane Johnson. Jana Ward of the Boulder County Mounted Search and Rescue Team recalls the harrowing moment when she arrived on the scene. “‘It was chaotic, crazy and scary,’ Ward said. ‘We saw all these businesses in flames: a hotel, the Tesla dealership. As we pull into the circle there is a state trooper holding a horse.'” [Denver Post]
    ⛰️ State of the State. The Colorado Sun breaks down seven key lines from yesterday’s address by Gov. Jared Polis. “[He] delivered the final State of the State address of his first term, focusing mostly on the ways in which his administration and fellow Democrats plan to drive down the cost of living in Colorado. Polis also discussed his plans to combat rising crime and gaps in children’s mental health care, while briefly delving into his climate and environmental priorities.” [Colorado Sun]

ICYMI

🐶 Hound helps grieving pet owners find closure after the fire. A local missing persons nonprofit is expanding its mission to help Boulder County residents find the remains of missing dogs and cats in the wake of the Marshall Fire. In a photo essay, the Boulder Reporting Lab documents two search missions in Superior and Louisville.
🍎 What went down at the first BVSD school board meeting of 2022? Reporter Benjy Sachs brings you the key takeaways from Tuesday’s forum, where fallout from the Marshall Fire and surging Covid-19 cases were top of mind.

About Us

Hi. We’re Boulder’s new nonprofit newsroom. Our mission is to help you get more informed about the issues you care about and more connected to the city you love. To do this, we provide high-quality, original journalism on the most pressing issues plus curated community information — all paywall-free. Learn more about us here and here.

Not subscribed to this newsletter yet? Sign up. It’s free! You can find all previous editions of BRL Today here.

We’re just getting started, but we have BIG plans. Already like what you see? Consider becoming a BRL member today.

Are you a local business?
Learn about our sponsorship program to reach our growing audience and help public-interest local journalism thrive.
Email: sponsorships@boulderreportinglab.org.

Thanks for reading!

Our journalism depends on you.
Have a story tip for us?
Send us your ideas at tips@boulderreportinglab.org.

– The BRL Team

Stacy Feldman

I'm the founder and publisher of the Boulder Reporting Lab. I previously co-founded and was executive editor of Inside Climate News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit newsroom covering the climate emergency. I was a 2020-21 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder, where I developed the concept for BRL.