Hello there, Boulder. Good snowy morning to you.

For today — a perfect day for soup — I have a story about what kind of stove you should cook that soup on. Over the past few weeks, new research has linked gas stoves to increased childhood asthma rates. So what is Boulder doing?

Turns out Boulder was already considering a gas ban for new construction when building codes are updated this year. But that was for emissions to combat climate change. This new asthma data could make a ban even more convincing to some.

Also, Jared Polis gave his State of the State address yesterday. He spent much of his speech talking about housing and the lack of it in Colorado. He wants government barriers to building taken down and to reduce property tax rates.

Lastly, Jessica Mordacq profiles the first Front Range meal delivery kit that sources local ingredients from local producers — including several from Boulder. 

I hope you enjoy the snow today, and your soup.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Winter storm warning: There’s snow outside. (The NWS Boulder office recorded 2.7 inches at midnight.) It might even be falling as you’re reading this, but should finish up by tomorrow.
  • State of the State: Gov. Jared Polis delivered his annual State of the State address at the Colorado Capitol on Tuesday, rehashing notable challenges faced by Coloradans during his first term — “COVID-19. Shootings. Devastating wildfires. Record inflation. Spiraling hate speech” — and laying out a vision for his next four years in office.
    • Polis, who is from Boulder, tethered much of his hour-plus-long speech to the issue of housing. He said the lack of affordable housing means more traffic-jammed highways and longer commutes, mocking California’s “decades of poor planning” and “16-lane freeways.”
    • “Housing policy is climate policy. Housing policy is transportation policy. Housing policy is economic policy. Housing policy is water policy. And housing policy is public health and equity policy,” he said. “It impacts every part of our lives.”
    • Polis called on state lawmakers to cut “red tape” that adds cost and time to getting more housing built.
    • “We can’t just buy our way out of this. We have to break down government barriers, expand private property rights and reduce regulations to actually construct more housing to provide housing options at a lower cost,” he said. “We need more flexible zoning to allow more housing, streamlined regulations to cut through red tape, expedited approval process for projects like modular housing, sustainable development, building in transit-oriented communities that in and of itself empower the ability to deliver more transit at a low cost.”
    • He said the state is making its land available for housing across the state. For people who own homes, he said property taxes have been rising faster than their incomes.
    • “We must work together to pass a long-term property tax relief package that reduces residential commercial property tax rates and creates a long-term mechanism to protect homeowners from being priced out of their homes, while protecting the school funding,” Polis said.
    • He suggested reforms to the senior homestead tax exemption. “We should also make the senior homestead tax exemption portable. Our seniors should be able to downsize without having to pay higher property taxes, freeing up their larger old homes for younger, growing families.”
    • Apart from housing policy, he also backed recent calls to “get tough on auto theft.” One proposal, which is supported by Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty, would make practically any form of auto theft a felony, regardless of the value of the vehicle.
    • He said Colorado’s red flag law should be strengthened to allow more people, including district attorneys, to petition a judge for an extreme risk protection order. Such orders allow law enforcement officers to temporarily confiscate a person’s guns when they are deemed a threat to themselves or others.
  • Police charge man who was naked and bleeding: A bleeding man who got naked and climbed on top of a trash truck, refusing to get off the truck for nearly an hour and clearly in crisis, was charged by city police for “criminal mischief & attempted second degree trespass to a vehicle in connection to the shattering of a window at a local business in the 800 block of Pearl St & trying to break into the trash truck,” the Boulder Police Department tweeted.
  • State of the County: In case you missed it, last week the county commissioners presented a State of the County presentation. At the meeting they stuck closely to the slides available online, so if you read through that you’ll get the gist.
  • Rental assistance ends: As of Jan. 14, the county stopped accepting applications for rental assistance under a pandemic-era housing safety net, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The county has distributed more than $14 million to tenants and landlords under the program, according to a December news release.
    • According to data collected by the City of Boulder under its eviction prevention program, in 2022, 1,173 evictions cases were filed in the Boulder County court, which includes Longmont. The most common reason is rent payment.
  • Take a pic of your favorite tree: The City of Boulder will be putting out its first “State of the Urban Forest Report.” Appropriately, it’s soliciting pictures from residents to feature in the report. The report comes as the Cool Boulder initiative showed that more trees led to cooler areas, suggesting increased urban tree growth might be a way to combat heat waves brought by climate change.
    • You can submit your photo via the online form or on social media. Submissions are due next Wednesday.

Go deeper

Boulder to consider ban on gas hookups in new buildings this year 

By Tim Drugan

January 18, 2023

The City of Lafayette, meanwhile, is expected to approve its own gas ban ordinance in the first quarter of 2023, Mayor JD Mangat said. Momentum is growing among local governments to accelerate efforts to get off the fossil fuel.

Continue reading…

Boulder area’s first all-local meal kit delivery service launches

By Jessica Mordacq

January 18, 2023

Seeing an opportunity on the Front Range, Joy Rubey founded Spade & Spoon to provide locally sourced food and recipes to people’s doorsteps, and help local food producers weather the farmers market off-season.

Continue reading…

BRL picks

🚽 The Big Lebowski: The Coen Brothers classic will be shown at the Boulder Theater on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. If you haven’t seen the legendary movie, or haven’t seen it recently enough, you can buy tickets for $10.

🎹 Cozy Concert: This Friday at Sanitas Brewing, “beer and jams will be flowing.” Part of the brewery’s cozy concert series, those interested are encouraged to bring a blanket to sit on, or plan on jostling for a seat. Tickets are $7.

🗣️ “New” Story Collective: On Saturday at Junkyard Social, the story collective will be presenting a host of storytellers all telling true tales around the theme of “new.” Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 pre-sale and $25 at the door.

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

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.