Good morning! 🌄 Welcome to your Friday edition of BRL Today.

Boulder’s 1,400 public sector workers had about two months to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. The deadline was Dec. 8, and more than 99 percent complied.

John Herrick has that story. We also launched a new, regular feature this week covering BVSD school board meetings — we’re listening (and summarizing), so you don’t have to. And: Curious about the science behind Wednesday’s wind event? We have a handy explainer. Plus, an outdoors-themed Boulder film festival and plenty more community news.

Thanks, as always, for reading,

– Stacy, publisher

From left to right: Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy, City of Boulder Interim Director of Climate Initiatives Jonathan Koehn, City of Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) pose in front of an electric HOP bus at the North Boulder Recreation Center in Boulder on Dec. 16. Credit: Anthony Albidrez

Top Stories

More than 99% of Boulder city workers complied with Covid-19 vaccine requirement

The city has had almost full compliance. But questions remain about specific disciplinary action for Boulder’s 11 unvaccinated employees who have not requested a medical or religious exemption. Read the full story

Three takeaways from this week’s BVSD school board meeting

The main topics of discussion were: lower enrollment numbers for the current school year, budget projections for the next, and a public comment on bilingual education. Read the full story

Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour scales new heights at the Boulder Theater

Presented by a Boulder-based climbing advocacy organization, this global exhibition’s Colorado stop features short films about mountain cultures, remote landscapes and action sports. Read the full story

What fueled Wednesday’s extreme wind event in Boulder?

An unprecedented disturbance in the jet stream, with some help from the Rocky Mountains, led to gusts over 100 mph in Colorado. Read the full Q&A

Quickly

⏱️ Mostly sunny with a high near 42 today.
⏱️ Boulder Rep. Judy Amabile has joined calls for an audit into Colorado’s “broken” mental health system following an investigation by the Colorado News Collaborative.
⏱️ Nosh Boulder has been extended. The City of Boulder will subsidize the local restaurant delivery service from Dec. 20 through Feb. 28, 2022, at no cost to restaurants and customers.
⏱️ The city picked five Boulder County food and drink companies to participate in a pilot program to transition to climate-friendly packaging. Meet the winners.
⏱️ Do you attend Boulder County meetings and hearings? The county is shifting to a new meeting management system in 2022.
⏱️ Deadline alert: Boulder Valley School District’s open enrollment ends at 4 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2022.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Dec. 17, 2021

  • 93 daily new cases (7-day avg.)🔻Down 3% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 70 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 38 since July 2020.
  • 69% percent of ICU is occupied 🔻Down from avg. of 72% since July 2020.

Latest Covid news and information

  • Omicron update. Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday only five Omicron cases have been confirmed in Colorado, but: “It’s only a matter of time before it becomes the prevalent variant here.” The state has identified the first Omicron case of community spread. Boosters should fight it, Polis said. “Two shots isn’t enough.”
  • Text alert! Starting Monday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will send texts to all Coloradans 18+ who haven’t received their Covid-19 booster dose and live close to a large community vaccination site, where appointments are available. You can find the list of sites, and other places to get boosted, here.

BRL Picks

💸 Arts dollars. Nearly $1 million will be dispersed through the city’s cultural grant program in 2022, and applications are now open. Watch the info session to learn more. Organizations, individuals and classrooms are eligible to apply.
🕯️ Homeless memorial. The City of Boulder, together with faith organizations, advocacy groups and others, will hold the annual homeless memorial at the Boulder Bandshell (1212 Canyon Blvd.) at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 21. The event will honor those in the community experiencing homelessness who passed away this year.
🗺️ Future of social studies. The Colorado State Board of Education is still accepting public comment on draft revisions to state social studies standards. Check out the revisions here. The comment window closes on Jan. 1, and you can use this form to send your feedback. The standards will be released in June 2022.
📝 Free tutoring. Did you know the Boulder Public Library has an instant homework help service? Students, grades kindergarten through university, can get free one-on-one live tutoring for all subjects and standardized tests on the Brainfuse platform. In Spanish and English every day, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Note: You must have a library card.

What We’re Reading

  • BVSD dispels TikTok violence rumors. Late Thursday, Boulder Valley School District issued a statement addressing community concerns about threats circulating on TikTok. Viral posts had been warning of rumored school violence planned across the United States today. Although not credible, some districts elsewhere took heightened safety precautions. “According to our partners in law enforcement and Safe2Tell this topic is trending, but there is no specific information concerning threats or attacks planned at schools in BVSD or Colorado, but we continue to assess the situation,” the district wrote. [BVSD]
  • Major climate rule change. In a 10-1 vote Thursday, the Transportation Commission of Colorado approved a planning rule change that could slash greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, the state’s largest source of global warming pollution. Under the rule, transportation projects would have to demonstrate compliance with regional climate targets. If the projects fail their climate test, the state could divert funding into clean fuel and other climate-friendly investments. [Colorado Newsline and Colorado Energy Office]

ICYMI from BRL

🥾 Four trails to get funding in county’s new outdoors budget. John Herrick reports on the county’s $1.6 million investment in open space next year, primarily for building and upgrading trails, and on what didn’t get funded.
♻️ What will it take for Boulder to get to zero waste by 2025? The city of Boulder boasts the best recycling and composting rate in the state, by far, diverting 53% of waste in 2020. It still has a long way to go to reach its 2025 goal.
👋 New here? Want to catch up on earlier editions of BRL Today? You can find them all here.

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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.

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– 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.