It’s Monday, Sept. 25, 2023.

Here we are, Boulder, Monday. I feel good. Supple. I hope you do too.

For today, I have a story about evacuations from wildfire. After thousands of Boulderites took to South Boulder’s roads to flee the NCAR fire in 2022, many have worried about the gridlock that made traveling a few blocks take hours. While the city and county are developing disaster protocols to ensure people can get to safety quickly, personal preparedness is just as important. Ensuring you’re getting alerts and know multiple exit routes out of your neighborhood are great places to start. This month, the county also introduced a new countywide evacuation platform to aid in the process.

Also, Jessica Mordacq has a story about a burgeoning local mecca for musicians. Stone Cottage Studios is an old miner cottage in North Boulder that provided local musicians a venue to perform virtually during the pandemic. Now, the space is pivoting into live performances, with people enjoying music in an intimate venue that feels like the cabin it is.

Finally, we won a lot of awards over the weekend from the Colorado Press Association. Notably, this newsletter was named Best Newsletter in our category of newsrooms. Thank you for your readership and making this happen.

Have a lovely day. I’ll be here Wednesday. I hope you will as well.

— Tim, reporter

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Election season is here and it’s time to get up to speed on candidates and issues! Create Boulder and the Boulder County Arts Alliance will be co-presenting a Mayoral and Council candidates forum focused on arts and culture on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Dairy Arts Center. Meet the Candidates for Mayor and City Council and learn their views on the future of Arts & Culture in Boulder.

Featured stories

‘Minutes to hours to get people evacuated’: Boulder County takes on its wildfire evacuation challenge

Neither the city nor the county have designated wildfire evacuation routes, and this won’t change due to the erratic and fast-moving nature of fire. But officials have allocated funds from voter-approved wildfire sales taxes to better assist residents during emergency evacuations. This includes identifying dangerous “choke points” and launching a countywide communications website for the first time. Continue reading…

‘Local treasure’: Boulder’s version of NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts, tailored for emerging artists, to begin selling tickets this fall

From a historic stone cottage in North Boulder, Stone Cottage Studios has transformed into a hub for up-and-coming musicians to share their music and stories. Continue reading…

Boulder Reporting Lab wins 14 honors at Colorado Press Association awards, including for General Excellence

BRL won eight first-place honors and three awards for overall excellence for work in its first full year of publishing. 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

More dry sun

A diligent sun will continue the low-80s through the next few days. No precipitation is in the forecast in meaningful amounts until this weekend. That doesn’t mean you can’t still wear your waders and rubber boots around town, the decision will just be more of a fashion statement than one made for function.

Suspect in stick beating arrested

At 1:30 p.m on Saturday, Boulder PD responded to reports of an assault involving a stick on the Goose Creek Path near Junction Place. The victim was found bleeding from head injuries and received immediate medical attention while the suspect was arrested.

The victim is currently receiving treatment at Boulder Community Hospital for severe head injuries. Police are still investigating the incident. The suspect had no permanent address and it’s still unclear whether drugs played a role. Authorities encourage witnesses to contact the non-emergency dispatch at 303-441-3333.

Weigh in on Boulder County minimum wage increase

Boulder County is set to increase its minimum wage in unincorporated areas to $15.69/hour, surpassing Colorado’s 2023 minimum wage by 15%. The move is a response to rising living costs and supports the county’s lowest-paid workers. An online survey, open until October 16, allows employers and workers to provide feedback on future wage plans. The county also invites businesses to participate in virtual listening sessions on Sept. 28, Oct. 2 and Oct 6. An in-person town hall event is scheduled for Oct. 12, and a public hearing will be held on Nov. 2. Denver currently has a minimum wage 27% higher than Boulder County’s.

The Boulder City Council this month decided to stay the course on pursuing a minimum wage increase for city workers in early 2025, despite recent pressure from workers and nonprofits operating food banks to raise legal pay sooner.

Water conservation coming to Lafayette

The City of Lafayette is leading by example as it launches a water conservation initiative across seven municipal facilities. Beginning with Fire Station #1, it is replacing grass and vegetation with water-wise landscapes to reduce outdoor water usage. This sustainable approach aims to combine fireproof lawns with pollinator plants for local biodiversity. Upcoming projects include city hall, the library and the police department. The rec center, golf course clubhouse and Fire Station #2 will be completed later.

These projects come as Lafayette is facing a shortfall in its water enterprise fund, leading to 60% bill increases for residents in the coming years. One of the main uses of water in the city is for lawn irrigation, as usage jumps from 2 million gallons a day in winter to almost 10 million in summer. And that 10 million almost taps out the city’s single treatment plant.

Lafayette councilmember tragically dies suddenly

Last weekend, Lafayette City Councilmember Tonya Briggs passed away suddenly at the age of 44. Briggs was a dedicated public servant who was passionate about animal welfare and the environment. She leaves behind her husband, Doug, and three daughters.

“Tonya was born and raised in Boulder, where she quickly became known for her warm heart and unwavering commitment to helping others. She dedicated her life to community service, working tirelessly to improve the lives of those less fortunate,” her obituary reads.

“Whether it was volunteering at local shelters, organizing food drives, or mentoring disadvantaged youth, Tonya’s selflessness knew no bounds. Her impact extended beyond her charitable work. Tonya was an avid environmentalist, advocating for sustainable practices and tirelessly promoting conservation efforts in Boulder. Her passion for nature was infectious, inspiring countless others to take up the cause. Tonya Briggs will forever be remembered for her boundless kindness, infectious smile, and unwavering dedication to making Boulder a better place.”

Tonya was first elected to the Lafayette City Council in 2019 for a two-year term and re-elected in 2021 for four years. Apart from her council work, Tonya and her husband operated a family plumbing business called Around The Clog.

Rather than flowers, her family asks that donations in her honor be made to Good Life Rescue and Mother Gaia Rescue.

Funny-colored water

Some residents of Louisville noticed a funny color to their water last week. But if you’re one of those concerned residents, consider your fear vanquished. The discoloration, the city says, is solely aesthetic and due to seasonal changes to the city’s source reservoirs. Still, they’ve adjusted the treatment process and flushed parts of the water supply system. So bathe and drink with ease.

October closures in Boulder County open space

Boulder County Parks & Open Space will have some partial and temporary closures on three properties starting Monday, Oct. 2. Here are the details:

  • Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain will be completely closed to all visitors on Mondays and Tuesdays from Oct. 2-Jan. 31 for elk management hunting.
  • Carolyn Holmberg Preserve at Rock Creek Farm will have a partial trail closure from Oct. 2-5 for culvert installation. The access trail to Stearns Lake will be closed, with detours in place.
  • Heil Valley Ranch Main Trailhead Parking will be closed for construction on the following dates: Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 10-12, and Monday through Thursday, Oct. 16-19. All other trails and trailhead parking lots will remain open.

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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: