It’s Friday, Aug. 25, 2023.

Happy Friday, Boulder. Exciting times.

Yesterday marks a year since I took over this newsletter. I hope the year has been as enjoyable for you as it has for me.

Anywho, for today, our tireless reporter John Herrick reports on continued airport conversations happening. Several members of the Boulder City Council indicated to city planners last night they want to shut down the municipal airport in favor of using the land for housing — but they first want answers on whether it’s even legal to decommission the airport. So, a decision on the airport’s future won’t be happening right away.

What’s clear is that as housing becomes more important, it seems Boulder has different priorities than when the airport was a mere dirt landing strip back in 1928.

And John also covers a candidate forum attended by the three mayoral candidates currently in the race. Though none of the mud-slinging of national politics has made its way to Boulder, there are distinct differences emerging among the candidates.

Have a nice weekend. Or an extra nice one.

— Tim, reporter

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Featured stories

Boulder City Council considers airport closure for housing — and braces for potential legal battle

The future of the public-use airport will likely be decided by a new city council. The desire to shut it down appears to be shared among those with a wide range of political ideologies. Continue reading…

The race for Boulder city mayor heats up with candidate forum

The three official candidates for city mayor fielded questions from PLAN-Boulder County during a forum at the Boulder Public Library this week. Despite a lack of fireworks, differences among the candidates are coming into focus. 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

A respite from heat punctuated with lightning

The next couple days will be in the 60s. And I hear you, Boulder. You’re saying, “Today and tomorrow in the 60s? Tim, doesn’t that warrant an exclamation point? Let’s see some enthusiasm!” Well, Boulder, I used a period because I don’t want to jinx a coming cool spell and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t either. I have a ratty old sweater that smells faintly of mice that I have big plans of wearing, so excuse me if I’m not interested in tempting Mother Nature to change her mind.

Rain and thunderstorms will accompany the temperature drop.

Second Boulder e-bike voucher program starts soon

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, the second round of Boulder e-bike vouchers opens for registration. By registering online between Aug. 30 and Sept. 13, Boulderites older than 18 can enter themselves for a chance to get savings up to $1,600 on a form of transport that’s both more fun and more sustainable than a car. Note that the cost for an e-bike even after the standard voucher is estimated to be around $1,000.

The vouchers will be allocated through a lottery process, with a standard income pool in addition to one for those making under a certain income. Income-qualified recipients may get an extra $200 for safety gear.

The initiative is funded by Boulder’s Climate Tax that passed last November. For those who want to learn more, read the city’s pre-registration webpage.

BRL reported on the first round of vouchers, where Boulderites’ interest far exceeded the number available.

City-run internet utility loses steam

A majority of Boulder City Councilmembers indicated last night they support pursuing a partnership with a private company to help complete the city’s build-out of broadband internet infrastructure.

A final decision will be made at a future meeting. But the leanings of council on the issue is an indication that the idea of creating a city-run internet utility has run its course. One goal of creating a municipal utility was to bring more competition to the market and drive down costs. Voters in 2014 passed a ballot measure giving the city authority to provide broadband service, “either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners.”

City officials are now recommending a partnership in which Boulder would lease its $20 million “fiber backbone,” currently under construction, to a private company. The company would then connect businesses and residents to the backbone. The primary reason for this recommendation is to avoid taking on additional debt or raising taxes to pay for the build-out.

Several councilmembers said they still want to make sure the build-out brings more competition to the market. They want to ensure the city awards a contract that prioritizes companies that are not Comcast (Xfinity) or Lumen (CenturyLink), both of which control Boulder’s internet market.

King Soopers shooter deemed competent for trial

According to prosecutors, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, the suspect charged with killing 10 people in the 2021 supermarket is now mentally competent to proceed to trial. State mental hospital experts cited Alissa’s consistent medication adherence, including a new unidentified drug, as the reason for his improved competency. Because his mental state is “tenuous” — Alissa has been diagnosed with schizophrenia — health officials recommended ongoing psychiatric care and medication to maintain his competency.

The court must accept the conclusion for the trial to resume. Prosecutors requested Alissa’s stay at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo due to its better care capabilities than the Boulder County Jail. Should the request be granted, Alissa will commute the 140 miles to Boulder for his court hearings.

Overdose awareness events in Boulder County

Aug, 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and Boulder County Public Health and Boulder County Community Services are encouraging residents to commemorate the day by attending events in Nederland and Longmont on preventing overdoses. The events will provide education on the problem, free overdose reversal medication, fentanyl specific information and peer support.

Replace your lawn with native plants

Residents in Boulder, Lafayette and Louisville — as well as other cities that are too many to mention — can get a discount on replacing their lawn through Resource Central. And if you’re thinking of getting rid of that thirsty grass, you should get on the interest list, as their program regularly sells out. They offer plants in the fall and spring of each year. BRL previously reported on their efforts.

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Boulder to switch all streetlights to LEDs, aiming for energy savings and starry night skies. How bright should the city be? Boulderites will soon have a chance to weigh in under an LED pilot.

You spoke, we listened! Here are 6 questions you want us to ask Boulder candidates this election. We need your help to realize our vision for reporting this fall.

City Councilmembers take aim at restrictive liquor laws to help revitalize University Hill. ‘We’ve deliberately handicapped any business that currently exists or wants to exist on The Hill.’

Boulder residents to pay more for water as city addresses urgent flood risk and aging infrastructure. Boulder has the highest risk of flooding of any municipality in Colorado, and it has fallen woefully behind in managing that risk. 

Boulder City Council, in response to a housing shortage, raises occupancy limits with landmark vote. The change will allow five unrelated people to live together. It is part of a broader effort by council to increase the supply of housing in Boulder, where most of the residential land is zoned to only allow single-family homes.

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: