It’s Friday, September 1, 2023.

It’s the Friday before a long weekend, Boulder. So let’s all just pretend to work for a few hours then bask in the unofficial final weekend of summer.

For today, BRL’s hardest-working reporter, John Herrick, has a story on forums recently held for candidates of this year’s election. Now that the opportunity to join the race for city council and mayor has passed, it’s a good time to get an overview of who’s in the field. Homelessness and housing seem to be of highest importance to Boulderites this year, or at least the Boulderites who ask questions at forums and read BRL. One notable observation, at least from this climate reporter’s perspective, is the limited enthusiasm in the forums for wildfire mitigation and climate solutions. Few candidates mentioned the Marshall Fire.

Also, Jessica Mordacq has a story about beer labels for the 18 craft breweries Boulder sports. For when it comes to getting locals to try your brews, eye-catching artwork is always helpful. And where the breweries are serious about what’s inside the can, the canvas outside allows for some relaxed creativity. It’s a fun story, a palate cleanser after political speak.

I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. We’re taking a break from our labors to celebrate, so we will see you back here next Wednesday.

— Tim, reporter

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BRL Today newsletter sponsor

On Saturday, Sept. 9, from 1-6 p.m. at The Dairy Arts Center on 2590 Walnut Street: Please join the Found Collective for our carefully curated artisan/maker, outdoor market place held in the North parking lot of the Dairy Arts Center. There will be live music, food truck, shaved ice, ceramics, fine jewelry, vintage clothing, tarot readings, bespoke antiques, heirloom dyed vintage clothing and HomeGoods, turquoise, flamenco dancers and much more!

Featured stories

Six takeaways from this week’s Boulder City Council election forums

On the question of public safety, one of the dominant issues this election, some candidates spar over what it means. Continue reading…

Judging a beer by its label: How Boulder County craft breweries set their cans apart with eye-catching designs

Though it’s cheaper to keep brewing the same beers with unaltered labels, new recipes and label art keep locals wanting more. 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

Still hot with some wet

Mid-90s today will shepherd in low 90s tomorrow. The decent continues through Monday, when temps will top out in the low 80s for your Labor Day festivities. A good thing, as it’s difficult to appreciate more than 100 years of workers’ rights in excessive heat.

On that note, something to consider this coming Monday is the changing climate’s effect on workers. Outside laborers bear the brunt of intense heat and extreme weather events, and will more so as that heat and those extreme weather become more frequent. Heat waves are already killing those who pick our food, take away our trash and build our homes.

Boulder Police arrest roommate for fatal stabbing

After being called to a disturbance on Zamia Avenue at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, Boulder Police found a man dying of stab wounds. Garrett Littenberg, 27, who lived at the same address, was arrested on-site and charged with first-degree murder. The victim was identified as Kurt Smolker, 30, by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.

Trade gas for cash in new EV exchange program

The State of Colorado has started a vehicle exchange plan where it’s offering incentives for residents to trade in old gas or diesel vehicles and switch to electric. Participants can opt for $6,000 towards a new electric car or $4,000 towards a used one. The program is income-restricted to those making at or below 80% of their area’s median income.

Around 70 dealerships have joined the program, as other coming incentives from the state, the federal government and Xcel Energy will make it only more enticing for Coloradans to switch away from gas. This comes as the state tries to get 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030. We’re currently at about 90,000.

Boulder Creek Events announces no Hometown Fest this year

The organization, which also used to produce the Boulder Creek Festival on Memorial Day, said in a statement on Facebook that it would not be putting on the Labor Day creek event this year — and possibly for good. The group blamed the Covid pandemic that “hit event planning and production companies especially hard” and rising costs of putting on the festival.

“Not many people know this, but the fees to put on an event in the City of Boulder are exorbitant— everything from park fees, permits, police, parking meters, you name it. Our little hometown event couldn’t stand a chance,” it said. “It’s impossible to know what the future holds.”

Get a free agricultural tour

If you’re interested in touring the county’s agricultural land, you can sign up now for a Sept. 9 event. The county says the free tour will let you see the diverse properties that support grazing, veggies and other crops. The tour leaves from Longmont’s Boulder County Fairgrounds. Registration is mandatory due to limited space. No walk-ins allowed.

Last chance to swim at the Spruce Pool!

Monday is your last chance to splash about in the Spruce Pool. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. but will then close for the year. The leisure pool at Scott Carpenter will also close after Monday. But for lap swimmers, Scott Carpenter’s lap pool should be available to quench your lapping thirst through the end of September. Metaphorically quench your thirst, of course. Don’t drink the pool water. That’s gross, and probably dangerous.

Recycle Halloween costumes

From Sept. 1-29, the City of Lafayette is accepting gently used costumes for all ages at the Lafayette Public Library. Then, the costumes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the city’s Ectoberfest on Oct. 7, from 2 to 6 p.m., at Louisville Community Park.

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Critical deadline looms: 13,000 UnitedHealthcare-insured patients at Boulder Community Health face potential disruption in care starting Oct. 1. Monthslong contract dispute sparks patient concern over medical access and costs as the two parties struggle to reach agreement. “We’re all under red alert.”

Was a CU Boulder student stabbed downtown last week? Here’s what we know and don’t know. University officials said they’re “aware of an incident” involving a student. The Boulder Police Department is now referring to it as an “altercation,” in which someone was cut — not stabbed — and driven to the hospital by friends. 

Boulder Police Department unveils its long-term plan to “reimagine policing.” The vision, which has been in the works for nearly two years, would increase officer staffing levels, invest more in training and launch neighborhood meetings with the goal of prioritizing prevention and problem solving. The Boulder City Council will weigh in on Sept. 7. 

Meet downtown Boulder’s newest murals and the artists who made them. Street Wise Arts’ first seasonal mural series explores what it means to heal as a community. “A city’s public art is a big part of its identity.”

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. 

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: