Happy Friday, Boulder! 🌸 Should be warm springtime weather out there for your Mother’s Day weekend plans.

We’re capping off an exciting week in our world, because we found out we received our tax-exempt status from the IRS. We’re officially a 501(c)(3). And that means every dollar you donate to BRL is tax deductible, retroactive to the date of our incorporation in May 2021. It also means that it’s an extra great day to support our nonprofit local journalism.

Today’s top story from John Herrick rounds up Thursday’s town hall by Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold. Plus, today’s deadline for the city’s transportation survey, the return of Wednesday’s farmer’s market, this weekend’s BVSD plant and seed sale, a new aging-friendly designation for Boulder and more.

See you back here bright and early on Monday. Thanks for reading.

– Jezy, managing editor

Spring is springing in Boulder, as evidenced by this colorful scene near near 30th and Baseline. Credit: Harry Fuller

Quickly

⚠️ Fire weather watch on Saturday: A warming and drying trend continues today, elevating fire weather conditions. High near 80. Fire weather watch is in effect Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

🚗 Final day for transportation survey: Today is the last day to provide feedback on four proposed City of Boulder transportation projects being considered for submission for funding in the Denver Regional Council of Governments’ (DRCOG) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), 2022-2025 funding cycle. Per the city: “Community members can watch short informational videos on each project and view project factsheets on the city website. They can also schedule virtual office hours with city transportation staff to learn more about the projects.”

🤝 City expands in-person services: As of yesterday, May 5, the City of Boulder has restored many in-person options for several services in its newly consolidated New Britain Services Center. “The center will serve as a key location for community members to interact with city staff in essential areas such as human services and planning and development.” Learn more here.

🥾 Summer trail repair projects: The Royal Arch Trail is first up on the city’s newly released list of summer trail repair projects. The work will include rebuilding steps along Sentinel Pass. The full length of the trail will be closed while repairs are made through the summer and into the fall: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, with occasional closures during the same time period on Fridays.

❤️ Lifelong City: The City of Boulder has been named a Colorado Lifelong City, a designation for aging-friendly communities in the state. Per the city: “This designation is the result of a two-year planning process that sought to ensure that individuals of all ages, including those who are in later stages of their lives, can thrive in our community.” 

🏗️ Unique housing project alert: Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), the city’s housing authority, has announced its purchase of a 4.35-acre site at 3300 Penrose Place for redevelopment into 115-unit affordable apartment community. Per BHP: “The site, adjacent to Foothills Highway and 34th Street, was previously owned by the Geological Society of America (GSA). It includes an architecturally notable building which will be incorporated into the new community development.” Construction is expected to start in 2025.

👩‍🌾 Wednesday market returns: Running May 4–October 5, the Boulder County Farmer’s Market is open on 13th Street, 4–8 p.m., for all your mid-week grocery needs. Plus live music, a beer garden, arts and crafts from BMoCA and more. More info here.

🚲 Bike donations: Got an old bike taking up space in your garage? REI is now accepting donations on behalf of Community Cycles. If you need to drop off a bike when Community Cycles is closed (Mon.–Wed.) swing by REI at 1789 28th St. to drop off your donation.

Top Story

Boulder Police Department ramps up patrols in certain areas of the city

The Boulder Police Department is shifting its strategy for policing to focus on specific locations across the city where officers have received the most calls and reports of crime. 

This includes sending out more officers to patrol places like the Table Mesa Park-n-Ride, where officers have received reports of people stealing cars and car parts, such as catalytic converters. 

It also includes discussing potential crime-reduction strategies with business owners at the 24-hour convenience store Circle K on 15th and Canyon, and the 24-hour breakfast restaurant IHOP on 28th. 

The details came during a police department town hall on Thursday, part of a monthly series intended to inform the public about the department’s work and take feedback. The city is developing a new master plan for the Boulder Police Department.

During the town hall, Stephen Redfearn, the deputy chief of operations for the Boulder Police Department, said the city began having weekly meetings in late March to discuss how to reduce the number of reported crimes in these areas. 

The shift in policy is part of a broader response to an uptick in crime across the city, like much of the rest of the country, according to Redfearn.

Violent crimes — which include aggravated assaults, robbery, rape and murder — are on the rise in Boulder, according to an analysis by the Boulder Reporting Lab of crime data reported by the Boulder Police Department to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (Relative to Colorado and the U.S., these crime rates were never that high to begin with, according to FBI data dating back to 1985.)  

BRL Picks

🌱 Plant and seed sale: Drop by the BVSD Greenhouse at 6600 Arapahoe Rd. and browse thousands of organically grown perennials, annual flowers, herbs, hanging baskets, summer berries and vegetable starters grown by BVSD students. The event kicks of today, noon–6 p.m., continuing tomorrow and next Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

 🎸 Boulder Creek Festival: May 27 marks the kickoff of this year’s Boulder Creek Festival, featuring three days of free outdoor concerts along with a craft beer fest, street art competition, kids’ activities and more. Full schedule and showtimes can be found here.

🕺 Dance it out: Looking for an alternative to the dancefloor status quo? Head to Trident Booksellers and Cafe tomorrow, 10 p.m.–1 a.m., for a night of fancy footwork. Enter through the back to enjoy DJ sets pumped through a killer soundsystem on the heated covered patio. “P.S. even the techno will have soul in it.”

⛰️ Flatirons educational hike: Join OSMP Recreation Coordinator Dakota Anderson for a moderately strenuous hike (2.5 miles, 900 ft. elevation gain) to the base of Boulder’s iconic flatirons on Friday, May 27. Hikers will learn about the history, geology and culture of the city’s iconic natural landmark. More info here.

Covid-19 Updates: May 6, 2022

  • 90 daily new cases (7-day avg.) Down 30% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 0 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) Down from avg. of 40 since July 2020.
  • 51% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 71% since July 2020.
  • Focus groups: “Boulder County Public Health is hosting one-hour focus groups (in-person and virtual) to better understand the concerns of our community regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and children under 18 throughout the month of May.” Register here.
  • Vaccines for under 5: The FDA has announced that June 8 is the earliest date that it will present data to its outside advisers for a recommendation on whether to authorize Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for younger children.

What We’re Reading

📖 Record-setting April for Colorado weather: “The number of fire warnings is just one way to quantify the intense weather Colorado — in particular the Front Range – had in April. There were also strong, incessant winds along the plains that exacerbated the fire danger. And then there’s the drought. Last month was on track to be the driest April in Denver’s history until a scant 0.05 inches of rain fell over the city on Friday, according to the weather service. ‘It’s not something that’s unique to Denver,'” said Bruno Rodriguez, who leads the National Weather Service Boulder office’s fire weather program. “‘We’re seeing this across the I-25 corridor and the plains.'” [CPR News]

📖 Big money behind catalytic converter thefts: “The skyrocketing value of the precious metals inside catalytic converters has launched a massive black market industry where thieves are cashing in on a fairly unregulated world of buyers. Records provided by police departments in Denver and Boulder show more than 4,000 catalytic converter thefts in the two cities since the beginning of 2021.” [Denver7]

ICYMI from BRL

💰 Plans for the remaining cash in the Boulder County Wildfire Fund are coming into view. What will it mean for survivors? During the second public meeting regarding the dispersal of $28.5 million in earmarked Marshall Fire disaster relief, Community Foundation Boulder County CEO Tatiana Hernandez laid out details surrounding a formula for determining how funds will be divided among households.

🏠 In a possible first for Colorado, City of Boulder may expand its affordable housing program countywide to jointly address the regional crisis. The idea comes as part of a recommendation for spending federal stimulus money to ease the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on low-income families.

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Our journalism depends on you.
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Send us your ideas at tips@boulderreportinglab.org.

– The BRL Team

Jezy J. Gray

I’m the managing editor of the Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, I was the final editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Voice, a local bi-weekly newspaper where I led a small but mighty team of journalists to regional and national honors in feature writing, diversity reporting, LGBTQ+ coverage and more. I look forward to listening to and learning from the Boulder community as we work together on telling the stories that matter here.