It’s Monday, Boulder. How are you? I hope you’re terrific. Here’s what’s going on.

For today’s top story, John Herrick — our very own dogged reporter — delves further into BVSD’s discipline disparities. According to a newly released dashboard, Boulder High has the highest disparity in suspension rates for Latino students among BVSD’s largest schools. The new data is among the most granular published by any school district in the state. It continues to paint a portrait of a systemic problem with school discipline.

Also, the Colorado Supreme Court is hearing Boulder County’s arguments that the county should be able to commandeer mineral rights on lands where leased oil wells aren’t doing anything. Plus, the dedication of Boulder’s Infinite Walk of Peace. And there’s belly dance classes, for those who have been waiting for the perfect time to try wiggling their torso about.

We’ll be back here Wednesday. Hopefully you will be too.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • It’s hot today, and maybe tomorrow: High 80s for those who want them. For those who don’t, high 60s and rain will follow close behind.
  • North 95th Street (Valmont to Lookout) reconstruction and resiliency project public meeting: On Tuesday, Sept. 20, residents can tune in to hear about the Public Works Department plan to reconstruct North 95th Street between Valmont and Lookout roads. The project will start in late 2023 and continue through the end of 2024.
    • Improvements will be made to protect the road and surrounding open space from damage during future flood events, as the area has seen significant flooding over the past 20 years, including 2013 and 2015.
    • This is the final segment of a multi-year effort to reconstruct North 95th Street between Lafayette and Longmont.
  • Colorado Supreme Court to hear arguments in Boulder County oil and gas case: The latest installment in a yearslong court battle between Boulder County and a Colorado oil and gas operator will take place before the Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. The Boulder County Attorney’s Office will present oral argument in Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County v. Crestone Peak Resources Operating, LLC. The county filed this case in 2017, arguing that several of the oil company’s leases over lands in eastern Boulder County expired due to a lack of oil and gas production. If the leases are found to have expired, the county will have full control over the mineral rights, to the extent possible under state law.
    • Both the Boulder County District Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against the county, finding that the leases remained in place even though the oil and gas wells were not extracting anything from the ground.
    • The state’s highest court granted review of whether oil and gas operators must produce oil and gas to maintain their leases or if they can hold those leases with idle wells.
    •  Most of the county’s oil and gas leases are more than 40 years old, with outdated royalty rates and other terms. Wells associated with these leases have often been years shut in.
    • Several law professors from the CU Law School, the Colorado Association of Mineral Rights Owners, and the Colorado State Land Board, a major mineral rights owner and manager, all filed amicus curiae briefs in support of the county.
      • Context: Boulder County has a long history of fighting against oil and gas drilling. In 2012, the county passed its first drilling moratorium. The moratorium ended in 2016, when the Colorado Supreme Court stuck down such local bans. The county borders Weld County, which produces more oil and gas than any other county in Colorado.
  • AI will be detecting fires in Boulder County: On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Boulder County will announce a new partnership with Pano AI, “the first company to offer a fully-integrated active wildfire detection solution that uses artificial intelligence to help fire agencies stop catastrophic wildfires.”
    • According to the company, the technology will support local fire authorities in coordinating a rapid response to new ignitions, helping them extinguish fires before they become a threat.
    • Why now: “Given the intense heat and dry weather this year, there is concern of a similar disaster occurring in the coming months.”
    • Pano AI has a website, for those interested.
  • Midair plane collision kills three pilots: On Saturday morning, two single-engine small planes collided about two miles south of Longmont, killing two pilots and one pilot in training. Both aircraft were allowed to fly visually. “Neither aircraft was in contact with an air traffic control at the time of the mid-air. And neither aircraft was required to be in contact with a controller,” an official with the National Transportation Safety Board said. Neither had a collision-avoidance system. Nor were they were required to. The NTSB has launched an investigation. The preliminary report will be released within two weeks. If you witnessed the incident, contact NTSB at witness@ntsb.gov.
  • Boulder celebrates its resident pollinators: For its eighth year, Boulder Bee festival will be filling Central Park on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will not only learn about bees, but also local efforts to regenerate Boulder’s tree canopy, its soils and habitats.
    • There will also be booths that provide information on composting, organic lawn care, native plants and insects, and fire-resilient landscapes.
  • The festival will spotlight Cool Boulder programs and community actions to combat the climate and biodiversity crises through natural climate solutions.

Go deeper

New data suggests Boulder High has BVSD’s largest suspension disparity for Latino students

By John Herrick

In an effort to better understand longstanding racial and ethnic disparities in student punishment, the Boulder Valley School District has released a data dashboard that provides the most detailed glimpse yet into how the problem is playing out in each of its 57 schools. 

The dashboard, published in August, is a response to calls from Black and Latino parents who are concerned about their children being punished more harshly for the same behavior as white students. The new data indicate that BVSD’s Latino students are nearly three times more likely than white students to be suspended both in and out of school.

Such disparities continue to be common across Colorado, despite extensive research showing that suspending students and referring them to police can reduce their odds of excelling academically and graduating. Punishment can also increase their odds of involvement with the criminal legal system. 

Continue reading…

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BRL picks

🏕️ Dedication of the Infinite Walk of Peace: On Wednesday, Sept. 21 at noon, Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett, Rep. Joe Neguse, and Boulder Rotary Club President Cassidy Murphy will help dedicate the Infinite Walk of Peace, an enhancement of Boulder’s International Peace Garden. It will take place at the city park by Boulder Creek between the Boulder city building and the library auditorium. Meet on the north side of Boulder Creek. The dedication coincides with International Day of Peace 2022.

💃 Monday night belly dance classes: At the Tribe Nawaar Studio, you can find the answer to several pressing questions: “What has made our belly dance style such a wildly popular dance form? The power and presence of the moves? The lush and layered costuming? The sense of community created by a group of dancers working together to create an improvised art? All of the above?” Tickets start at $12 for drop in.

🎨 Art and Sip at the Longmont Museum: Thursdays this fall, the museum is open late for Art & Sip classes, exhibits, films, live music, and conversations in the 250-seat Stewart Auditorium. Wine, beer, and concessions are also available for purchase.

🧸 Boulder County kids sale: Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Boulder Valley Christian Church is the “best kids consignment sale in town.” Click here for a ticket to get in early.

Covid in Boulder County: Sept. 19, 2022

  • 98 daily new cases (7-day avg.) Down 22% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 16 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) The same as a high of 16 last week.
  • 38% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 66% since July 2020.

ICYMI


Tim Drugan

Tim Drugan covers wildfires, water and other climate change-related issues for Boulder Reporting Lab 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.