Seen any good movies lately? 🎞 They’re everywhere at the 18th annual Boulder International Film Festival, which kicked off yesterday.

I had a great conversation with exhibiting filmmakers Katrina Miller and Beret Strong about their new documentary exploring race, place and belonging in Boulder. You’ll find that Q&A among today’s top stories, along with reporting from this week’s Louisville City Council meeting on environmental building code exemptions for Marshall Fire victims.

We’ve also got a story from John Herrick about Boulder’s Community Court program, which has dismissed hundreds of nonviolent charges related to homelessness since launching in October 2020. Municipal Court Judge Linda Cooke, who helped start the program, presented to the City Council this week. The main event at Tuesday’s council meeting was a discussion about crime in Boulder. John crunched all that data here weeks ago — with handy charts. Find it in the ICYMI at the bottom of today’s newsletter. 👇

– Jezy, managing editor

Filmmaker Katrina Miller on the set of This Is [Not] Who We Are, a documentary about race, place and belonging in Boulder. The film premieres at Boulder High School this Sunday, March 6, as part of the Boulder International Film Festival. Courtesy: Katrina Miller

Top Stories

New Boulder documentary cracks open the conversation on race, place and belonging in ‘the happiest city in America’

This Is [Not] Who We Are premieres Sunday at the Boulder International Film Festival. We talked to filmmakers Katrina Miller and Beret Strong about what audiences can expect. Read the full story

Boulder’s Community Court has dismissed hundreds of nonviolent charges related to homelessness

Since launching in October 2020, the city’s grant-funded program has sought to send fewer of the people experiencing homelessness to jail. Read the full story

‘We want you back’: Louisville City Council moves to exempt Marshall Fire victims from new energy efficiency codes

After an impassioned discussion about climate change and costs, councilmembers voted to draft an ordinance exempting fire victims from having to follow the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code when rebuilding their homes. The vote on the ordinance itself will be decided in a future meeting. Read the full story


⏱️ Partly cloudy and cooler today with highs in the low 60s. Snow forecasts return overnight and through the weekend.
⏱️ The Disaster Recovery Center in Lafayette for those affected by the Marshall Fire closes this Saturday. FEMA says many of the services provided by the center are available online, through the FEMA mobile app or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.
⏱️ Expenditures for foundation removal are eligible for FEMA reimbursement. Burned vehicles, basements, footings are also eligible.
⏱️ Boulder County commissioners express “frustration and dismay” in response to delays in the launch of the county’s debris removal program due to a lawsuit filed by Demanding Integrity in Government Spending.
⏱️ The City of Boulder is kicking off a new program “to reimagine how we use our curb space to better align with community transportation and parking goals.” Participate in the online questionnaire here.
⏱️ This Sunday’s prescribed burn has been canceled. The county says parks will be open unless otherwise closed due to muddy conditions.
⏱️ CU Boulder is making the Guardian mobile safety app free to all students, faculty and staff. “The app allows you to set your friends and family members as your guardians as you walk, run or bike anywhere in the United States.”
⏱️ Construction on the revamped Scott Carpenter Park will start at the end of March. Work should be done by Memorial Day. 

Covid-19 in Boulder County: March 4, 2022

  • 57 daily new cases (7-day avg.)  Down 56% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 19 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) Down from avg. of 41 since July 2020.
  • 61% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 71% since July 2020.
  • Data: Here’s how and where we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news

  • Boulder schools revealed as sites of huge Covid outbreaks. “The latest report on COVID-19 outbreaks from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is among the most unusual since the agency started sharing the data in April 2020. Of the 76 new or tweaked outbreaks listed on the agency’s March 2 statewide update, fifty pertain to Boulder County — and all of them involve either K-12 schools or child-care centers.”
  • More free Covid tests from the feds. Starting next week, U.S. households will be eligible to order an additional set of four free at-home Covid-19 tests from the federal government. Order yours here.
  • What’s next for vaccines for small children? “Two companies could have data on vaccines in kids under 5 in a matter of weeks. Pfizer has said it’ll have data on three doses ‘in spring’ and Moderna has said it’ll have data by the end of March. If the data looks good, there’s nothing to stop the FDA from authorizing a vaccine for kids of a certain age group.” 

BRL Picks

🕊️ Ways to help Ukraine. People in Boulder and beyond are looking for ways to help the Ukrainian people amid the ongoing Russian invasion. The Washington Post has a great round-up of organizations you can support, including Doctors Without Borders, GlobalGiving, the International Rescue Committee and more.
👨‍🌾 Garden to table. Reminder: Are you a BVSD parent who wants to help your little sprouts grow? Thanks to a grant from Boulder County Sustainable Food and Agriculture, $100 stipends are available for five hours of training across two days on March 8 and April 9 to help you “make best use of your child’s (or childrens’) school garden.” Today is the last day to register.
📰 Support student journalism. The CU Independent is holding a fundraiser through the month of March to cover website hosting fees and other basic operating costs for the student-led news outlet. Want to support the next generation of journalists cutting their teeth right here in Boulder? Donate.
📚 Weigh in on Library District. A virtual town hall regarding the proposed Library District will take place March 10 at 5:30 p.m. Sign up for public comment by sending an email with the subject line “March 10 Town Hall.”

What We’re Reading

  • Russia-Ukraine explainer from local scholars. “CU Boulder experts in Russia and Ukraine held a roundtable discussion Feb. 28, and shared insights into what has led to the crisis, how citizens of both countries are reacting, what effect economic sanctions could have on both Russia and the West and how Americans can help from afar. [Here] are the five key takeaways from professors Erin Hutchinson (history), John O’Loughlin (geography), Sarah Wilson Sokhey (political science) and David Bearce (political science).” [CU Boulder Today]
  • Price gouging after the Marshall Fire. “The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is investigating dozens of claims of price gouging against Marshall fire victims. Most of the complaints are about rent, department spokesperson Lawrence Pacheco said. Attorney General Phil Weiser declined to discuss specifics because the complaints are still under investigation.” [Denver Post]
  • American Ukrainians in Colorado. “Ulana Bihun lives in Louisville, Colorado …. her family is selling homemade pierogies (varenyky) to raise money to help Ukraine. All proceeds will go to RAZOM, a 501(c)(3) organization run by Bihun’s friend in New York. One dozen pierogies with a side of fried onions and sour cream is $15. Text Bihun at 303.547.5690 to order.” [Yellow Scene]


📈 Eleven years of Boulder crime data in three charts. The violent crime rate today is similar to the peak of the last major wave, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to an analysis of FBI data by the Boulder Reporting Lab. Even then, the rates of aggravated assaults, robbery, rape and murder were comparatively low.
🏠 Planning Board chair’s parting message: Boulder can meet its affordable housing goals, but challenges loom. David Ensign leaves his post after serving five years on a board often at the center of the city’s most contentious housing debates. One major challenge that remains is how to create more middle-income affordable housing in Boulder.
🌎 IPCC report shows climate risks are rising — a scientist looks at the dangers her children will have to adapt to, from Western wildfires to water scarcity. “My third child is now 9 years old,” writes scientist Erica A.H. Smithwick. “According to the IPCC report, his future will include about four times as many extreme events compared to the experience of someone in their 60s today.” And that’s if nations hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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Archived work by Jezy Grazy for Boulder Reporting Lab.