Happy Friday!

For much of this year, a group of politically engaged — and often politically opposed — Boulder citizens has been quietly coming together twice a month on Zoom. They have been trying to advance one cause they can all agree on: Boulder needs much more public input in its policy decisions.

John Herrick has the scoop on Dialogue Boulder. That’s the name of this new, loosely organized group of about a dozen people from different ends of the local political spectrum. Its goal is to explore changes to how the city government gathers feedback from residents to make policy. And this week, it sent its list of 30+ recommendations to City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde and the members of the Boulder City Council. Whether this is the beginning of more from Dialogue Boulder is unclear.

– Stacy, publisher

Birdcall, a fast-casual chicken sandwich shop, opened its 29th Street location in Boulder on Dec. 6.
Credit: Emily Tracy.

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Top Story

Boulder’s political organizers are often at odds over city policy. But they agree change is urgently needed for more public input.

At a time of heightened partisanship, about a dozen community organizers from opposite sides of the political spectrum formed a group called Dialogue Boulder. On Wednesday, the group sent a list of recommendations to city officials for how to include public input in its policy decisions. Read full story

Quickly

⏱️ 50% chance of snow. High near 33.
⏱️ George Reynold Branch Library in South Boulder library is reopening on Dec. 14, after a major remodel.
⏱️ The city’s new East Boulder Lime e-scooter pilot program has upgraded its scooter fleet, to the company’s new Generation 4.0 model.
⏱️ Prairie dog update: The city will report on its latest work to manage prairie dogs on open space in a virtual meeting, Monday, Dec. 13, 6-8 p.m.
⏱️ The 60-year-old man who died this week at the Eldora Ski Area after colliding with a tree while skiing has been identified as Robert Williams of Nederland.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Dec. 10, 2021

  • 109 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔺Up 20% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 69 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 38 since July 2020.
  • 68% percent of ICU is occupied 🔻Down from avg. of 72% since July 2020.

Latest Covid news and information

  • Omicron. During yesterday’s Covid update, Colorado State Epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy reported on data emerging from South Africa: “Reinfection does appear to be more common with Omicron than it was with Delta,” she said, and “we are seeing some level of impact to vaccine effectiveness.” But the infection may be less severe than other forms of the coronavirus.
  • Boosters. 16- and 17-year-olds are now eligible.
  • Equity vaccination clinic. Boulder County and the state are hosting an equity vaccination event to serve communities who experience barriers in access to vaccines, on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Timberline Elementary in Longmont. Kids ages 5-11 and their family members who need boosters or other doses are encouraged to sign up. Appointments for kids are required. Not for older siblings or adults. Sign up here.

BRL Picks

💰 ARPA dollars. Boulder County received $63.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. How to spend it? The county board of commissioners already has identified broad areas to target: economic challenges, housing affordability, mental health and social resilience. Now it’s looking for working group participants to help decide what, exactly, to fund under each category. Each group will be asked to recommend solutions. The application link is here. Deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 14.
🍫 Sweet music. The Boulder Chamber Orchestra will perform Maxime Goulet’s Symphonic Chocolates this Saturday night. Sweets are on the menu: four different chocolates, corresponding with the movements of the orchestral suite.
🥞 Holiday brunch. The Junkyard Social Club is hosting a holiday edition of its family-friendly disco brunch this Saturday: “Grownups, enjoy brunch cocktails from DV8. Grab a bite from the FED Boulder food truck, or hot drinks and sweet treats at the Junkyard Cafe.” Tickets ($10) are here.
❄️ Winter wonderland. Re-upping this pick: Chautauqua gets the full holiday treatment during WinterFest 2021 this weekend — carriage rides, cottage tours, live music and more. Check out the full schedule of free and ticketed events here.

What We’re Reading

  • Boulder County adopts $550 million budget. The Boulder County Commissioners yesterday approved a budget of $549.8 million for 2022. That’s up about 11% from its adopted 2021 budget of $493.2 million. Commissioner Matt Jones said in a statement: “An important part of the budget is what we did to accelerate our forest health and wildfire mitigation work after last year’s record breaking Calwood Fire. We added a new Fireshed coordinator to help accelerate the scale and pace of forest health work to meet today’s ferocious fires.” [Boulder County Commissioners]
  • Fentanyl killed 624 Coloradans in the first nine months of the year. That’s compared to 102 fentanyl deaths during all of 2018. Nineteen of the deaths this year were in Boulder County, according to the latest story in the Colorado Sun’s Boulder-focused series on fentanyl deaths. Public record requests confirmed five recent additional deaths in the county. A parent of one of these victims — Alex Young of Erie, 24 — told the Sun: “Through this process, there’s really been no questions about: Where did this stuff come from? Who did he buy it from? I guarantee you this was all taking place digitally, so there’s got to be a digital paper trail on Venmo, on Snapchat.” [Colorado Sun]

ICYMI from BRL

👮‍♀️ City report: Boulder’s program sending behavioral health pros on police calls faces staffing pinch. The city’s Crisis Intervention Response Team has been up and running since February. It responded to 523 crisis calls, yielding only six arrests. Many more calls came when clinicians were unavailable.
🎉Boulder artists get a holiday boost at POP! Gallery on Pearl Street. Check it out this weekend ➡ “You’ll see excellence in art by more than 90 artists from all around Boulder County.”
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Stacy Feldman

I'm the founder and publisher of the Boulder Reporting Lab. I previously co-founded and was executive editor of Inside Climate News, a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit newsroom covering the climate emergency. I was a 2020-21 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder, where I developed the concept for BRL.