It’s Friday, Oct. 27, 2023.

It’s Friday, Boulder, and we have news for you.

For today, John Herrick has a story on BVSD paying thousands to another family. The payout is the result of a settlement agreement with the parent of a Black student that also prohibits the parent from suing the school district. The settlement might have been prompted by a discrimination lawsuit filed by a white family earlier this summer.

Also, the camping lawsuit against the City of Boulder now has a trial date. And a climate nonprofit we profiled a year ago that aims to help Boulderites electrify their homes is officially launching this weekend. Lastly, the Guns to Gardens event recently held in Lafayette took 140 unwanted guns out of the local community. As the metal is melted and gun stocks reconstituted, come spring those former weapons may be used to plant flowers.

Have a wonderful weekend. For those who love the snow, you’re in luck. For those who don’t, you’re not.

— Tim

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Featured stories

BVSD agrees to pay another parent in the wake of a discrimination lawsuit 

The agreement highlights ongoing tensions over racial and ethnic disparities in the rates of student discipline. Continue reading…

Who’s running for Boulder mayor, City Council in the 2023 election

Got your ballot but still not sure who to vote for for mayor or city council? Get to know your candidates and read their responses to our questionnaire on six critical community issues. Or check out our full Election Guide. 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

Snow tomorrow!

A high in the 40s today will bring even colder temps tomorrow and through the weekend. But after a couple days in the 30s with flurries, the sun will return and autumn will wrestle a few more 60-degree days from winter before it takes hold in earnest.

Camping ban lawsuit inches toward trial

District Court Judge Robert Gunning on Thursday, Oct. 16, set a trial date for the lawsuit challenging the City of Boulder’s camping ban. The trial is set for August 2024 and would mark a significant development in the lawsuit, which aims to halt enforcement of a city ordinance that allows police officers to ticket homeless people for sleeping outside.

The lawsuit, filed in May 2022 by the ACLU of Colorado, argues that the city’s camping ban, first adopted in 1980, is unconstitutional. Generally, the plaintiffs argue that ticketing people for sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to go is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. The city has sought to dismiss the case, in part by arguing the law is necessary to maintain access to public spaces.

This month’s trial date order came after a judge rejected parts of the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. That decision allowed the key claims in the case to move ahead. Gunning’s order mostly addresses procedural matters and does not make any judgments on the merits of the case. It establishes a range of timelines for the parties to gather statements from experts, request responses to written questions and submit copies of exhibits, among other tasks. 

The parties could still reach a settlement before heading into a trial.

Even if the camping ban is upheld, it’s possible the city may have to alter how it enforces it. Current enforcement practices have allowed police to ticket people on days when the city’s largest shelter turned people away due to being full. Read more on BRL.

Go Electric Colorado launch

Almost a year ago to the day, BRL toured the house of Stuart Cummings, a Boulderite who has fully electrified his life. In the tour, Cummings highlighted a nonprofit he was helping to found that would offer others free consultations on how they should go about their version of the electrification journey.

“Make solar dead last,” Cummings said on the tour with BRL as one of his top tips. “You can buy wind-source or solar credits from Xcel. Instead of paying 25 or 30 grand on a solar setup, spend an extra five or 10 bucks a month. It’s way more important to get an EV, get a heat pump, or even start with a [heat pump] water heater. That’s the low-hanging fruit.”

Now that nonprofit is officially launching. Go Electric Colorado is hosting its launch event at a recently electrified home in Longmont this Sunday, Oct. 29. Tickets are available now. Visit its website to learn more or schedule a consultation for your home.

“We’re neighbors helping neighbors respond to the climate crisis by reducing our carbon-fuel use,” said Cummings in a GECO press release.

Lots of local guns turning into gardening tools

Earlier this month, a Lafayette church opened its doors to those looking to get rid of their firearms. Part of the “guns to gardens” movement, organizers take firearms and turn them from a weapon into a trowel or some other gardening tool. “If you feel that it is no longer safe or desirable for you to have a gun in your home, this is a responsible way to dispose of it,” said Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, the church’s senior minister.

An “astounding” 140 weapons were donated during the Oct. 14 event — more than double expectations, said Constance Holden, event co-chair.

The two-hour event collected 40 rifles, 90 handguns and 10 assault rifles, which were cut into pieces on site. A Colorado Springs nonprofit organization, RAWtools, will forge them into garden tools and art work for later sale.

“We were delighted with the community’s response, just elated,” Holden said.

Garden tools made from guns. Courtesy of RAWTools

Louisville flushing water mains through November

Louisville city staff started flushing city fire hydrants starting on Oct. 23. The flushing will continue on weekdays until Nov. 22. The reason for the practice, which is done every year, is to clear sediment and rust from the water mains to prevent such sludge from reaching water users. Yet when flushing is in progress, some water discoloration might occur, and the city advises residents to avoid washing their clothes between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays when crews are nearby. If your water appears rusty, the city says you can run a hose or sprinkler system for a few minutes to clear the loosened sediment.

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ICYMI

Exclusive: Boulder County’s elected coroner takes ‘time away’ after internal investigation substantiates workplace allegations. Emma Hall, who has served as county coroner since 2011 and was elected four times, proposed the ballot effort to extend term limits for the county coroner. Since 2020, eight employees have left the coroner’s office, which employs 15 people.

Ballot Issue 2A: A bold pitch to more than double funding for the arts in Boulder. The compromise measure would boost funding for local nonprofits. But opponents say it would limit discretionary spending on other needs, such as homelessness services or another climate or public health emergency. 

Boulder City Council approves overhaul of Police Oversight Panel’s rules and appointments. The most significant change gives the city manager the authority to appoint new members to the 11-member panel. Previously, Boulder City Council made appointments. Councilmembers’ decision not to consider suggested tweaks led one panel co-chair to resign.

Meet the candidates running for BVSD Board of Education in the 2023 election. Boulder Reporting Lab asked the Boulder Valley school board candidates six questions. Here are their responses.

Illegal Pete’s 13th location, and third in Boulder, to open in Table Mesa Shopping Center in December. The newest Illegal Pete’s is stepping into the space formerly occupied by Murphy’s South, which closed due to low sales that predated the pandemic. 


Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other related topics. He is also the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Email: tim@boulderreportinglab.org.