It’s Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023.

Happy Wednesday, Boulder. I hope you’re enjoying the crisp suggestion of fall as much as I am.

For today, I have a story about a nonprofit-led fire mitigation effort in Coal Creek Canyon. A collaboration of three separate nonprofits over three days in mid-August helped reduce the risk of incineration for 11 properties. Yet the effort, and the substantial time and energy necessary to mitigate each property, illustrates an issue that will only get worse unless something is done.

Right now, there aren’t many resources available to help homeowners bridge the gap between what they can afford and what they need to do to mitigate their homes, leaving nonprofits to pick up the slack. And that solution, similar to the problem it’s trying to fix, is unsustainable.

Also, John Herrick offers up a brief on Boulder’s newly formed public library district. In an important step toward hashing out an agreement over the district, which was approved by Boulderites last November, the city is considering moving ownership of library buildings to the district for free. This would avoid the awkward situation of the city being a landlord to the district, though some are concerned it leaves less control in the city’s hands.

Have a wonderful day. We’ll meet again on Friday. I’ll be counting the minutes until then.

— Tim, reporter

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Featured stories

Nonprofits step in to protect Boulder mountain homes from wildfire as government efforts still lag

A recent joint initiative by three organizations in Coal Creek Canyon reveals the importance of home-hardening on a community-scale and the magnitude of the problem before these groups. “We can’t get done what we hope to get done,” said one of the nonprofit’s leaders. Continue reading…

Boulder City Council to consider transferring ownership of library buildings to newly formed library district

The Boulder City Council will hash out an intergovernmental agreement with the Library District Board of Trustees as soon as next month, laying the groundwork for what role the city will play in overseeing the new library district. Continue reading…

ICYMI: Boulder Police Department unveils its long-term plan to ‘reimagine policing’ 

The vision, which has been in the works for nearly two years, would increase officer staffing levels, invest more in training and launch neighborhood meetings with the goal of prioritizing prevention and problem solving. The Boulder City Council is scheduled to weigh in tomorrow, on Sept. 7. Continue reading…

Boulder Reporting Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization that empowers our community through non-partisan, locally focused journalism that informs and connects.

In other news

Sun followed by sun followed by sun

If you were hoping for moisture, I’ve got terrible news. Today, tomorrow and the next day promise unabashed sun with a chance of precipitation so low it’s almost guaranteed the ground will remain parched. Yet we might be in the last summerly stretch. Following this coming Sunday, temps will begin dropping into the goldilocks zone of 70s and some 60s. This will gift intense Boulderites the perfect weather for excessive cardio, and allow those of us slower movers a lovely excuse to sip coffee in a light sweater.

Goats and cows return for wildfire mitigation

The City of Louisville is continuing its post-Marshall Fire recovery efforts with a second round of targeted grazing. Cattle and goats, which previously demonstrated success in reducing invasive plants and enhancing soil health, have returned to Davidson Mesa and North Open Space. They don’t need your help, so leave them be, and ask your dog to as well. Also, if you feel the urge to touch electric fences containing the animals, don’t.

Boulder partnering with National Civic League to improve city council meetings

Boulder was chosen by the National Civic League as one of three pilot communities to generate ideas and solutions for best practices at public meetings, especially city council meetings. The city will work with the League to design an inclusive and collaborative process with the public, using two main components:

  • A civic engagement scorecard, which will allow community members to provide feedback on the “civic health” of public meetings.
  • A civic infrastructure scan, which will consist of interviews with community members who are involved in various ways with public meetings.

Based on the findings, the League will make recommendations to the city about innovations to try at city council meetings. Some recommendations will be made based on the results of the 2023 community survey, available starting in early October. Then there will be a open community forum in early 2024 for the public to provide feedback on these recommendations.

“The Communications and Engagement Department has dedicated increasing resources … in improving community engagement over the past several years,” said Sarah Huntley, director of Communications and Engagement for the city. “Much of this work, however, has occurred outside the context of official meetings. We now have an exciting opportunity to innovate and make city council meetings more engaging and satisfying for all involved.”

East Age Well Center temporarily closed for urgent roof repairs

The East Age Well Center, at 5660 Sioux Drive, will be closed through Sept. 12. Though it was scheduled for routine maintenance that would have run through this past Monday, upon starting repairs, workers discovered an “unanticipated problem,” so the city says, remaining ominously vague.

The East Boulder Community Center reopened as planned yesterday.

Give input on a Boulder to Erie regional trail

Boulder County, in partnership with the cities of Boulder and Erie, is holding an open house on Sept. 13 to get public input on a potential “soft-surface” trail that would connect Boulder County with Erie. An idea that has been in the works since 2003, it began the process of identifying “needs, opportunities, and constraints” for the project in 2019. This town hall falls into one or many of those buckets.

The town hall will be at the Erie Community Library from 5 to 7 p.m.

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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: