Welcome to Wednesday, Boulder. And welcome to March. Here’s your local news.

Today, John Herrick covers composting in Boulder. It seems A1, Boulder’s composting contractor, has had enough of the garbage entering their facility. They’ve also had enough of many products that a lot of people think are compostable.

The company announced this week it will no longer accept a range of biodegradable products, such as cups, bags, serviceware. On April 1, it will only accept food scraps, plants and certain compostable bags. The significant change is an effort to clamp down on contamination in its compost stream, which results in entire batches being dumped in the landfill because they cannot be sold.

Also, a rent control bill is moving ahead to the Colorado Senate. The bill would prevent landlords from raising rent excessively, though some worry it will impede investor profits and new construction.

Enjoy the day. It’s a good one.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Afternoon snow possible: Some flurries might fall this afternoon, followed by a couple days of clouds. After a few blustery ones, the foreseeable days appear to have manageable wind.
  • Colorado rent control bill moves ahead: The Colorado House on Monday voted 40-24, mostly along party lines, to pass a bill that would allow local governments to enact limited rent control measures. All four of Boulder County’s representatives supported the bill. It now heads to the state Senate.
    • The bill would bar local governments from capping rents outright. Since its introduction, the bill has been amended to allow landlords to raise rents 3% plus the consumer price index, plus “reasonable increases” resulting from “substantial renovations.”
    • The bill is an effort to prevent displacement due to the high cost of housing. Opponents argue it could limit investment returns for developers and therefore discourage construction needed to increase housing supplies.
  • Shooting on Canyon: Boulder PD is investigating a shooting incident that happened on Monday, Feb. 27, on the 1300 block of Canyon Boulevard. The victim, who identified as female, was shot in the leg while sleeping outside. The police arrived on the scene within three minutes of receiving the call. They applied a tourniquet and took the victim to the hospital, where they’re now in stable condition. The suspect fled the scene after the shooting.
    • Boulder PD worked with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office to track the suspect’s movements with one of their K9s, but were unable to locate the suspect. Detectives encourage anyone with information related to the crime to contact Detective Hartkopp at 303-441-1974 and reference case 23-01930. Or you can submit tips anonymously through the Crime Stoppers website or call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
  • SNAP benefits ending: Starting this month, thousands of Boulder County residents will have their monthly SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, account balances drop by at least $95, as the last of the pandemic-era emergency allotments expire. SNAP has been providing more than $5 million in food assistance each month to over 20,000 people in Boulder County. The changes “are not appealable.”
    • While the amount each household will lose depends on its size, makeup and income, each household will see a decline of at least $95 per month. “On average, the cut is about $90 per person each month,” EFAA has said. “For a household of four, that means a cut of $360… but could be up to $600.”
    • The cuts come as the price of food continues to inflate, with supermarket prices in January 2023 10% higher than at the beginning of 2022.
    • In Boulder County, more than 28,000 people suffer from food insecurity, according to EFAA. About one-fifth are children. Boulder County has compiled a list of organizations and resources providing food and financial support for residents.
  • Gross Reservoir fund distribution: Boulder County puts out a monthly newsletter updating the community on the Gross Reservoir expansion project. For those living near the project, the county is asking residents to complete a lighting impacts survey to determine the visual and lighting effects of nighttime construction activities.
    • The newsletter also says that roughly 500 households in the Gross Reservoir community will receive a letter from county commissioners in March, informing them about the $5 million Denver Water Gross Reservoir community impact fund. The fund is for “residents to help mitigate noise, light, and air impacts.” Boulder County has contracted with Peak Facilitation Group to solicit input from a soon-to-be-formed community advisory group on how the money might be distributed.
    • The number of funding rounds for the full $5 million has not been decided by county commissioners.
    • You can sign up to get the Gross Reservoir newsletter, or visit Boulder County’s Gross Reservoir Dam Expansion community impact mitigation fund website for more information.
  • DACA support: Boulder County commissioners have decided to join Los Angeles in an amicus brief in U.S. District Court to defend the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. This move follows Boulder County’s previous support for DACA and aims to protect the more than 800,000 people who have grown up in the United States and face the risk of deportation.
    • The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas is currently hearing a case brought by plaintiffs, including Texas, to undo the DACA program, which would put thousands of Boulder County residents at immediate risk of deportation.
    • “Boulder County is joining local governments from across the country, who share a common interest in fostering communities where all residents, regardless of immigration status, are able to provide for themselves and their families and feel safe and welcomed to participate in civic life,” said Commissioner Marta Loachamin.
  • Work for Parks and Recreation: The City of Boulder is now hiring for summer positions in its Parks and Rec department. Jobs include lifeguards, camp counselors and gymnastics instructors. I (Tim) worked as a camp counselor and member of the maintenance crew at the Boulder Res the summer after high school. It was a great gig. You won’t get rich, but you will get tan.

Go deeper

‘Single-use equals trash now:’ Big changes are coming to composting in Boulder

By John Herrick

March 1, 2023

The company that recycles compost for Boulder’s residents and businesses announced this week it will no longer accept many biodegradable products — including paper materials, tea bags, coffee filters, disposable cutlery and other items labeled as “compostable” — as part of its latest effort to crack down on contamination. 

A1 Organics, which operates one of the largest commercial composting facilities in the Front Range, said it will only accept food scraps, yard waste, plant trimmings and certain compostable bags. The change will take effect on April 1, 2023. 

Continue reading…

My Sister Liv: Sunday, March 4 at Boulder High

In Colorado, suicide is the leading cause of death in youth and young adults. This film is a local story that viewers come away from feeling empowered to connect and talk openly about mental health. Join us to learn how you can turn the tide of youth suicide March 4.

BRL picks

🎻 Fiddling at Dairy Arts Center: The “powerhouse Celtic ensemble” The Bow Tides will perform at the Dairy Arts Center on Friday, March 3 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The group is led by three Irish fiddlers — Ellery Klein, Jessie Burns, and Katie Grennan — who collectively have 15 years as fiddlers with the Irish-American supergroup Gaelic Storm.

🎸 Film Festival music: The BIFF Singer-Songwriter Showcase celebrates its 11th anniversary by presenting a lineup of Colorado musicians at the new Velvet Elk Lounge. The showcase will feature eight acts performing over two nights, with four acts per night. The event is a commitment to supporting local, original music. The first night starts on Saturday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m.

🌻 Replace your lawn to save water: Starting today, help conserve water in Boulder County by ordering a Garden in a Box through the nonprofit Resource Central. Most grass used on lawns is non-native to Colorado and requires much more water than our climate provides. The plants provided by in the aforementioned box are native, and not only need less water but provide nourishment for native pollinators.

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


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: tim@boulderreportinglab.org.