And we’re back. It’s Monday. Hello, Boulder.

For today, Jessica Mordacq covers pop-up art exhibits and events that let local teens support one another’s mental health and give the community insight into its young people. Teen mental health is a troubling trend. A local nonprofit that offers free therapy for Boulder youth who are having suicidal thoughts has received a drastic increase in referrals over the last few years. This is not just a local phenomenon. The U.S. surgeon general has warned about a “devastating” youth mental health crisis affecting our nation.

The art initiative, started by Boulder High students, is called SEEN. The name is a testament to the fact that many young people want their struggles acknowledged, rather than fixed, as many loved ones make it their mission to do.

Also, Boulder City Council wants city planners to explore closing West Pearl Street periodically throughout this summer.

Have a lovely day.

— Tim, reporter

BRL Today sponsor

We are all in this together — SUPPORT LOCAL

Nigh is a new way to experience and support local. Nigh Technologies is a small team in Boulder on a mission to revolutionize local commerce to help our local businesses. The local revolution is starting in Boulder. Join the Nigh pilot

What to know today

  • A cloudy, un-Coloradoesque week: Besides snow, the beginning of this week will sport an amount of clouds not normal to our sunny state. Temps will range from the high 30s to mid-50s. And possibly, in the week’s later days, we might even see some rain.
  • Boulder City Council requests temporary closure of west Pearl Street: Councilmembers told city planners last week that they want the city to explore the temporary closure of West Pearl this summer. This could mean cars would be prohibited from using the street on weekends, weeknights or during certain events.
    • “I think it’s low-hanging fruit for us to consider weekend closures and really test whether vehicles are the mechanism for vitality or whether it’s people,” Matt Benjamin said during a study session last week. “I think we owe it to our community to test those things.”
    • The street was reopened in September 2022 after it was closed to cars for more than a year to allow for outdoor dining during the Covid pandemic. Residents have voiced their support for keeping the street closed to cars, but restaurant owners have said the lack of parking and car traffic is bad for business. The closure could also impact the HOP bus route, sending it to less convenient stops and along more narrow roads. Earlier this month, City officials recommended against closing the street to cars.
    • Councilmembers said they want the city to engage with west end businesses before making any decisions to close the street. They also want officials to report back with granular sales tax data to better understand how the closure could impact their bottom lines.
    • The temporary closure would be part of a broader pilot aimed at creating “sustainable, inclusive, bike- and pedestrian-friendly” downtown streets. City councilmembers also asked that 13th Street be closed all day on Saturdays during the Farmers Market. The Saturday market is scheduled to open April 1. — John Herrick
  • The insurance crisis and building in disaster-prone environments: The Biden administration released its annual economic report with some nuggets that pertain to Boulder. Much of the report discusses climate change and how the federal government, by picking up the bill for certain disasters, might be incentivizing people to continue living as they did before the world started warming. If the United States is going to remain economically viable, the report seems to suggest, this cannot continue.
    • The report talks about how already insurers are bowing out of high-risk communities. “Major insurers have already stopped offering hurricane wind coverage along the Gulf Coast and are increasingly exiting high fire-risk areas in California,” the report reads. “Moreover, the increasing likelihood that multiple catastrophic events could occur concurrently could raise costs or limit the availability of reinsurance.”
    • In the foothills around Boulder, where those living nestled among flammable landscapes are already facing struggles with insurance, questions have long been raised about the future, long-term viability of some of these communities.
    • The report also discusses what is touched on in almost every discussion around climate change: Underserved communities will feel its effects the worst. Those without the ability to move away from catastrophe-prone areas, those who don’t have air conditioning in increasing heat waves, those who can’t afford a quality air purification systems to combat wildfire smoke, will be the first to feel, and are already feeling, the effects of fossil fuels on our environment. Outside of implications of human rights, such suffering would also affect federal health care programs, as many low-income people are on Medicare or Medicaid.
    • “Without forward-looking adaptive planning that anticipates changing conditions, climate costs will very likely keep growing, compounding risks to infrastructural, social, economic, and financial systems across the United States,” the report concludes.
  • Drinking water report: The City of Boulder released its annual drinking water report. In addition to covering Boulder’s water sources and regulatory monitoring results for 2022, the report indicates that the city received violations for not meeting all of the Colorado Department of Public Health’s requirements for backflow prevention. The city says it’s not an emergency, and is working to ensure compliance in 2023. But backflow is not pretty, as water from an individual user can flow back into the water main, potentially contaminating everyone’s supply. The only direction you want clean water to flow is into people’s homes.
    • On the bright side, the city did well in terms of copper and lead, having had such consistently low levels city officials now don’t have to test nearly as frequently as they once did.
  • Sustainable agriculture funding: Boulder County has announced the recipients of its 2023 Sustainable Food and Agriculture Fund. A swath of local farmers, agricultural producers and nonprofit organizations will receive funding to launch or accelerate environmental projects that will boost food and agricultural sustainability in our region.
    • Among the host of recipients, goals include strengthening regional food purchasing, compost spreading, ecological restoration and building resilience through perennial projects. The agriculture fund overall hopes to promote an increase in soil health, a decrease in supply chain emissions, and to help local farmers and food producers find ways to thrive in the face of risks posed by climate change.
    • “This funding allows Speedwell to create more regenerative and resilient systems on our farm while working toward deepening the understanding of sustainable agriculture in Colorado,” said Speedwell Farm and Gardens, which received a grant for $40,000.

Go Deeper…

‘Give us space to see each other’: Boulder High students take action to address mental health crisis with new arts initiative

By Jessica Mordacq

March 27, 2023

Last year, Taylor Robinson, a Boulder High School junior, was struggling. Robinson was a freshman when the pandemic shutdown happened, and when it was time to return to school in-person, they became extremely overwhelmed and anxious.

“I have watched friends and classmates and peers go through very similar things and struggle to ask for help, to find help, and to feel safe asking for help,” Robinson said. “I know a lot of people struggle with seasonal depression. Finals are coming up, and that’s stressful. It’s been a lot in our community in the past year, and months.” 

Hannah Berns, also a junior at Boulder High, echoed Robinson’s experience. “School’s been insane the past few weeks,” she said. “We’ve had two swatting incidents for school shootings. There’s been suicides this year.”

Continue reading…

BRL Presenting Partner sponsor

Join us again at Boulder’s only large-scale, inclusive celebration of our community’s vibrant arts and cultural offerings and our city’s thriving creativity at the 10th Annual Boulder Arts Week from April 7 – 15, 2023. This year’s event includes art walks, exhibitions, performances, dance, music, theater, public art, lectures, readings, and workshops at venues throughout the city.

BRL picks

🩸Blood drive at the museum — reminder: The Museum of Boulder is hosting a blood drive tomorrow, March 28 to address a blood shortage. The drive is operated through Vitalent, which also has a donation center in town you can visit at any time. If you donate, you’ll be entered into a raffle to possibly win a $10,000 gift card. Be sure to drink lots of water before and after. And if you need a reason to donate, you get an excuse to indulge in a salty snack, like seaweed.

🏀 March Madness at Avanti: If you’re looking for a place to watch the NCAA tournament, Avanti will probably have some folks for you to watch with. The watch parties continue the tradition most recently seen with the World Cup.

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


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: