It’s Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.

Good morning, Boulder.

For today, I have a story about happenings at the Boulder County’s Coroner’s Office (BCCO). According to documents obtained by Boulder Reporting Lab, earlier this year, the Boulder County’s Human Resources Department hired an independent firm to investigate complaints from BCCO staff against Emma Hall, the Boulder County coroner. The findings of that investigation revealed a work environment of alleged favoritism, micromanagement and antagonism.

In an office that currently employs 15 people, eight have left since 2020, according to the human resources department. The coroner is an elected official. Hall began her fourth term this year.

Also, we explain who’s behind the negative campaign mailer that arrived in the mailboxes of many Boulderites, plus plenty more.

Have a good day.

— Tim

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Don’t miss Colorado Poet Laureate Andrea Gibson, actor Betty Hart, and special video messages by best-selling authors Michael Connelly and Gillian Flynn, at Boulder Library Foundation’s fundraising gala, Oct. 26. Witness the stories of lives forever changed by library programming. Buy your tickets today!

Featured stories

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. 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

Warm, less warm, cold

Today will be 70 and sunny. Tomorrow will be mid-60s and partly cloudy. Then the descent continues until snow arrives on Saturday. If you’re still set on that summer tan, today might be your last shot.

Boulder’s city election gets national attention, for better or worse

One of the many mailers sent out to voters in recent days features a photo of Councilmember Bob Yates with the backdrop of protesters waving Trump flags and storming the nation’s Capitol. The mailer states “Bob Yates was a registered Republican until May of 2022 — 16 months after the January 6th insurrection.” This rare example of negative campaigning warrants some explanation.

It was the result of a $6,500 independent expenditure by the Working Families Party, a New York-based left-leaning political party, according to city campaign finance records.

Yates, now registered as unaffiliated, said he did not attend the Jan. 6 insurrection. “The attack on our nation’s Capitol was abhorrent and criminal. Those involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he told Boulder Reporting Lab.

The mailer was not coordinated with any of the four candidates running for city mayor. Councilmemember Nicole Speer is endorsed by the Colorado Working Families Party, a local branch of the national party. But she said she did not coordinate with the party in sending it out. By definition, an independent expenditure is “not controlled by, coordinated with, or made upon consultation” with any candidate or campaign committees. Read on BRL.

Hall Ranch closed again, burning again

More prescribed burns are hopefully protecting Hall Ranch from future intense wildfires that could not just char that landscape but bring flames to nearby towns. If weather cooperates, the burn should be complete and the ranch open again tomorrow. As a reminder, if you see or smell smoke, it’s part of the deal, so don’t panic.

Courtesy of Boulder County

Guaranteed income applications opening soon

Applications open Oct. 30 for the pilot program that will provide 200 Boulder families with $500 a month — no strings attached. Though there are income requirements and applicants must have experienced a hardship brought by Covid, those who feel they qualify should apply. Applications will be open through Nov. 17.

“We see the increased need in our community as a result of COVID-19 and the rising costs of living,” said Elizabeth Crowe, Housing and Human Services deputy director. “We believe in the transformative power of direct cash assistance and look forward to seeing its positive impact for participants and our community as a whole.”

Lafayette yard clean up

If you live in Lafayette, rather than a leaf drop-off service this fall, the city is providing a curbside clean-up program. The city says Republic Services will come by on a designated Saturday to take away:

  • Up to twenty Kraft paper bags of yards waste (leaves, grass clippings, plants, etc.).
  • Up to five bundles of shrubbery and tree limbs cut to four feet in length and no more than 18 inches in diameter and tied with twine or rope.

The service will run on Nov. 11 if you live south of Baseline Road and East of Highway 287, and Nov. 18 if you live opposite that and also those living west of Highway 287 north and south of Baseline Road. The city says you should have the waste on the curb by 7 a.m. lest you miss the truck.

Winterize your sprinklers

Colorado State University has a helpful document for Front Range residents who want to keep the winter from destroying their irrigation systems. A thorough piece of work, it’s bound to answer most of your questions, if not all of them. A key takeaway, don’t trust that just opening the faucets will drain the system, you’ve got to blow things out with pressurized air. Who knew. Also, wear eye protection while you do.

“It is important to remember it is much less costly and much less labor intensive to properly and efficiently prepare the system in the fall than to repair damaged fittings, piping, valves, sprinklers and other components in the spring,” the document says.

Tall bike curbs now in place

Tall curbs are used in Canada, and now also in Boulder. Benefiting the cyclists of Baseline Road, the curbs add protection yet also beauty — surprising for concrete. Local artist Talia Swartz Parsell is to thank for the lovely designs.

The curbs wrap up Phase 1 of Baseline Road’s changes to make the dangerous street hopefully less dangerous. Phase 2 will begin design in 2024, and already the priorities include enhanced bike lane protection, pedestrian improvements and transit efficiency. Feedback from residents on what they think of Phase 1 will help inform the design of Phase 2.

Courtesy of the City of Boulder
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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: