It’s Wednesday, Boulder. And tomorrow’s Thursday, it’ll be here soon, but not yet.

Complaints to the city over the police oversight panel are still accumulating. Some say there are people with anti-police bias on the panel. Another complains about Councilmember Junie Joseph for voting against an investigation into the panel selection. And the latest is about police officers showing up to a city council meeting during a vote about the panel. They were in uniform, the complaint says, but there on their own time. City code says you can’t wear your uniform on your own time.

We’re also publishing a story, out of CU, that explains why 246% more homes have been destroyed by Western wildfires this last decade when compared to the one before.

Though lightning still starts many wildfires, those fires are usually far from humans and don’t consume any structures. Human-begun fires, however, often ignite near buildings. With the fire season now well past when summer lightning strikes, this extension puts sparks in the way of high autumn and winter winds. Think Marshall.

Bask in today. I’ll see you Friday.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Precipitation possible: A chance of rain coupled with a few clouds today will lead into sun at the end of the week. Temps will fluctuate from the 30s to the 50s from today through Saturday.
  • Pitch for ‘micro apartments’ in Boulder. Last night, the Boulder Planning Board started its review of a proposal to build 45 “micro apartments” at 2206 Pearl St., the location of the Boulder Creative Collective museum and the Melting Point glass blowing studio.
    • The developer, stok Investment Group, said it wants to provide “attainably priced housing” near the city’s downtown. The 300-square-foot apartments would be priced to serve residents earning up to 120% the area median income, roughly $105,000, according to its concept plan. The developer says the apartments would likely be priced between $1700-$2600 per month. The apartments would not be deed restricted.
  • Lottery for a place to live: Boulder County Housing and Human Services is hosting a housing lottery today from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for housing vouchers, which helps tenants subsidize the cost of housing. The county expects to issue as many as 200 housing vouchers this year.
    • Two categories of housing vouchers will be available, “Housing Choice” and “Mainstream.” The vouchers are available to households earning up to 50% Boulder County’s area median income, or $43,900 for an individual and more for families. Households seeking the Mainstream voucher must include someone between 18- and 61-years-old with a “documented disability.”
    • With the voucher, tenants should pay no more than 40% of their income on rent and utilities. The remainder of their rent is covered by the voucher. (Spending more than 30% of your income on housing makes you “rent burdened,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.)
    • To apply, visit this page. Applicants don’t need to provide verification or paperwork to apply, according to county officials.
  • Police Oversight Panel meets tonight: For those interested in the less political side of the Police Oversight Panel, the group is meeting this evening at 6:30 p.m. The panel reviews investigations into complaints of officer misconduct and its meetings have historically generated little publicity. It is the last meeting before the new 11-member panel begins its work next month, according to city officials.
  • Applications still open for city internships: After a two-year pandemic-induced break, the city is bringing back its summer internship program. With opportunities to work in the City Manager’s Office, Housing and Human Services, Innovation and Technology, and Parks and Recreation, it provides young people the chance to see if they’re interested in pursuing a career in civic duty.
    • The program is six weeks and paid. The gig requires a commitment of 20 hours a week from June 1, 2023, through July 31, 2023. And you have to be entering your junior or senior year in the fall of 2023 to apply.
    • In addition to taking part in local governing, internships will get career readiness sessions that “will develop and enhance professional skills” to “help them succeed in their post and in future endeavors.”
    • “Not only does this internship program help youth develop professional skills and find their voices, but it also elevates youth perspective on public issues and city operations,” said Mario Martinez-Varelas, youth opportunities program manager. “Program participants bring diverse viewpoints that help strengthen city government.”

Go deeper

Complaints pile up over appointment of members to the Police Oversight Panel

By John Herrick

February 8, 2023

Nearly two weeks ago, after several delays, the Boulder City Council appointed six new volunteers to serve on the city’s Police Oversight Panel, which reviews city investigations into officer misconduct. 

The drawn-out process has been politically fraught. Pushback from some residents prompted councilmembers to twice delay a vote on whether to appoint the new members, who need time to complete training and orientation before their first meeting in March.

The dust is yet to settle on the appointments, as residents continue to file complaints with the city alleging violations of city code and policy. The allegations could trigger new investigations into members of the Boulder City Council, the volunteers and nonprofits who helped nominate panel members — including the NAACP Boulder County and El Centro Amistad — and city police officers. 

Continue reading…

Western wildfires destroyed 246% more homes and buildings over the past decade – CU Boulder fire scientists explain what’s changing

By Philip Higuera, Jennifer Balch, Maxwell Cook, and Natasha Stavros

February 8, 2023

People have built more homes and buildings in areas surrounded by flammable vegetation, with the number of structures up by 40% over the past two decades across the West — with Colorado contributing to the trend.

Continue reading…

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What else we’re reading

  • Governor Jared Polis says we’re too reliant on gas. Volatile prices of the fossil fuel that heats 66% of Colorado homes has caused huge energy bill increases for many Coloradans. This isn’t helped by rate increases that gave Xcel “a record $1.74 billion in net revenue” in 2022, CPR reports. The utility said Colorado is “its most lucrative service territory.”

BRL picks

🥶 Winter bike to work: This Friday, Feb. 10, is the winter iteration of bike-to-work day. Between 7 and 9 a.m., there will be breakfast and giveaways at breakfast stations around town. The weather should cooperate. Snow shouldn’t be a concern.

🚴🏽‍♀️ A bicycle workshop, for women by women: Inspired by bike-to-work day? Over the weekend, “learn how to change a tube, adjust brakes and shifting, or make any other adjustment that could ruin a ride.” The women’s-led course at Community Cycles will teach beginner-to-advanced bicycle maintenance. Registration required.

📖 Tell your Covid story: The Boulder Library for Local History is collecting stories from locals on their experiences through the pandemic. The library is asking Boulderites to take part in writing history so we can “show future generations what living through a pandemic was like.” The questionnaire will be open through February, with a Spanish version also available. Read our story on the project.

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


Tim Drugan

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other climate-related issues for Boulder 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. Email: