Monday already? 😱 Good thing we’ve got everything you need to get the week started on the right foot.

Covid is up in Boulder. We know that because the data tells us, but also because it affected our small newsroom last week. We had to slow down and are still recovering, but we still have lots of stuff you need to know: like the latest on the proposed Boulder library district, this week’s construction on Olde Stage Road, and the historic trek of Centaurus High School science teacher Eddie Taylor whose climbing team just became the first all-Black crew to summit Mount Everest.

Got a recent photo around town to feature in our newsletter? Send it our way. In the meantime, we hope you like pictures of our pets. 🐶❤️

– Jezy, managing editor

Meet the Boulder Reporting Lab pets: Joni Mitchell, age 8, takes a break in the sun as her family hikes and climbs at North Table Mountain/Golden Cliffs in Golden, Colo. Credit: Stacy Feldman


🌤️ Partly sunny and warm: High near 85 today, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms.

🆕 Hybrid in-person council meetings delayed: The City of Boulder announced on Friday it will delay hybrid City Council meetings due to a “significant spread of COVID-19 across Boulder County.” Separately, the county health department announced that the number of new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days exceeded 200, shifting the county’s community-level risk from low to medium, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “The risk of COVID infection is increasing in the community and enhanced prevention measures are recommended to keep people healthy and limit the strain on healthcare systems in Boulder County.”

📈 What’s driving Covid uptick: According to the Colorado COVID-19 Modeling Group, the highly infectious Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 is likely driving the rise. The group issued a new statewide modeling report on Friday, estimating that 1 in 108 to 1 in 149 Coloradans are infected with Covid (compared to its April 12 estimate of 1 in 375). It projected “that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 could reach 500 or higher by mid-June.” That’s compared to 116 hospitalized as of May 13 in the state.

🗳️ Library district heads to a vote: According to Boulder Library Champions, the advocacy group has collected the 100 signatures needed to put a library district question to voters on the fall ballot: “The petition requests that voters in November be asked to create and fund — through a dedicated property tax of up to 3.5 mills — the Boulder Public Library District.” In Fort Collins, voters in 2006 approved a similar ballot measure that both formed the library district and approved the tax funding at the same time. [See our previous coverage, here and here, on how and why we got here.]

🚧 Road maintenance: Olde Stage Road will be reduced to one lane beginning today, 7 a.m.–4 p.m., as Boulder County Road Maintenance replaces two failing minor culverts. The construction should last about a week, if the weather cooperates. Per the county: “Expect short delays during working hours as flaggers will be used to move alternating lanes of traffic. Please use caution in the work zones as the surface will be gravel until asphalt patches can be installed at the end of the week.”

💻 Legislative townhall: Want a wrap-up on the 2022 Colorado state legislative session? Join Boulder-area representatives Judy Amabile, Edie Hooton, Tracey Bernett, and Senator Steve Fenberg for a virtual town hall at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.  Register here.

🔥 Marshall Fire insurance townhall: Join the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) for another virtual meeting for people affected by the Marshall Fire on Thursday, May 19. Underinsurance will be the topic of discussion among DOI representatives and builders who are rebuilding homes in Boulder County. The townhall will also include discussion of SBA home disaster loans with a representative from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

❤️‍🩹 Where to still donate to support fire survivors: After the closure of the Donation and Resource Center at the Flatirons Crossing Mall on April 30, support items for those affected by the Marshall Fire can be donated through Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) and the Marshall ROC (Restoring Our Community). Register to donate.

⛰️ No mountain high enough: Centaurus High School science teacher and coach Eddie Taylor reached the peak of Mount Everest last week, alongside the rest of the BVSD educator’s Full Circle climbing team. The crew is the first all-Black team to reach the top of the highest mountain in the world.

🥾 Trail update: Heil Valley Ranch South Side is scheduled to reopen on Thursday, June 16, after recovery work related to the Cal-Wood Fire of October 2020. Flash flood risks will close the main trailhead parking area daily at noon through Sept. 30.

BRL Picks

🌱 Plant one on me: The 10th annual Amazing Plant Sale at Sunbeam Farm continues through May 26. Drop by 1005 Cherryvale Rd. in Boulder daily for more than 150 varieties of “lovingly-grown” 100% organic plants, flowers, herbs and veggies selected for Colorado’s climate.

🍽️ Dinner and a show: Bluebird Supper Club returns to the Rayback Collective in Boulder on Wednesday, May 18. This week’s installment of the dinner and concert series will feature a special debut of the Salmon Mountain String Band, featuring members of Leftover Salmon and the Yonder Mountain String Band. Tickets here.

🧵 Sew-cial scene: The Boulder chapter of the American Sewing Guild meets tomorrow, May 17, for an open-sew event that’s free to the public. Guests will be provided a work area with power to set up their machines — attendees can use floor model or demo machines to work on their projects — along with an ironing board, irons and a cutting table. Attend virtually or in-person, 6–9 p.m.

Covid-19 Updates: May 16, 2022

  • 220 daily new cases (7-day avg.) ⬆️Up 145% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 9 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) Down from 10 on May 10, 2022.
  • 44% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 71% since July 2020.

What We’re Reading

📖 After losing his home in the Marshall Fire, a Boulder firefighter navigates the prospect of rebuilding as peak fire season kicks off: “MacLaughlin was on-site fighting the NCAR Fire in South Boulder in April, when the evacuation of thousands in Boulder’s Table Mesa neighborhood reminded residents of still-lingering memories from  the Marshall Fire. Still, MacLaughlin said returning to the address he called home for years is worth the risk. The memories are too important to give up.  ‘It’s always stressful when at night, when you hear the 50 mile an hour winds much like what happened on Dec. 30,’ he said. ‘We don’t live in fear, but we’re aware of it and we take seriously the red flag warnings.'” [CPR News]

📖 Air monitoring equipment reveals elevated benzene levels of pollution in Weld County: “The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division’s new, state-of-the-art air monitoring equipment discovered elevated benzene emissions at two injection well sites in Weld County. Injection well sites are used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas operations. Emissions are generated when wastewater is transferred from a truck to a basin, as part of the disposal process. Division experts believe that a lack of proper disposal of the wastewater is causing the elevated levels of emissions.” [Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment]


🍎 BVSD paraeducators say they’re underpaid for their vital work in the classroom. Will a new deal bring their wages in line with the cost of living in Boulder County? A tentative agreement reached between the district and the Boulder Valley Paraeducators Association includes a 1.5% general pay raise, a cost-of-living increase and stipends for additional training.

☕ ‘We love coffee culture’: Married team John Imig and Kristi Persinger elevate community and cut through the pretense at January Coffee. After sharpening their skills behind the top espresso bars on the west coast, the caffeinated couple bring their people-centered vision to Boulder at a brand new shop at Market Square Shopping Center.

💰 Plans for the remaining cash in the Boulder County Wildfire Fund are coming into view. What will it mean for survivors? During the second public meeting regarding the dispersal of $28.5 million in earmarked Marshall Fire disaster relief, Community Foundation Boulder County CEO Tatiana Hernandez laid out details surrounding a formula for determining how funds will be divided among households.

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Archived work by Jezy Grazy for Boulder Reporting Lab.