Good morning! 

Last week, a tip landed in our inbox: Mental Health Partners, Boulder’s main mental health provider, was shuttering its weekend walk-in crisis center and slashing hours during weekdays amid a worker shortage. 

The facility is Boulder County’s only in-person center open 24/7 to anyone seeking care for a mental health emergency, besides hospital emergency rooms. 

Or rather, it was. The change happened Sunday, at what may be the worst possible time for our community – in the wake of several compounding crises.

Reporter John Herrick spent the week seeking answers. Today’s top story unspools what he found. John’s article is part of an ongoing investigative series by our journalistic colleagues across the state, called “On Edge,” led by the Colorado News Collaborative. 

Providing this kind of in-depth reporting is why we launched Boulder Reporting Lab. It’s made possible by readers who support us. Will you help us do more? Consider making a donation today – or, at the least, simply click forward ☝️ and send our signup link to a friend or five! 

Thanks for reading, 

– Stacy, publisher

The Mental Health Partners 24/7 walk-in crisis center at 3180 Airport Rd. is intended to keep people out of costly hospital emergency rooms. Credit: Anthony Albidrez

Top Story

Boulder’s largest mental health provider cuts emergency services. The move comes as the community endures one crisis after the next.

Mental Health Partners says it can’t hire enough clinicians to run its walk-in crisis center 24/7. The nonprofit is cutting operating hours, leaving a gap in Boulder County’s safety net for people experiencing a mental health crisis at a critical time. In the last year, demand for the walk-in crisis center has trended upward, according to state data. “We’re not out of the woods on shock and trauma,” said the director of JFS in Boulder. “We’re just entering it.” Read the full story

Quickly

⏱️ Mild temps again today (50 degrees), and through Thursday.
⏱️ The Town of Superior is hosting a virtual meeting tonight from 6–7:30 p.m. regarding reconstruction after the Marshall Fire. Tune in here.
⏱️ Reminder: Use of force and complaints against officers will be the subject of a Police Chief Town Hall at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10. Register here.
⏱️ BVSD’s virtual hiring event for teachers of color is happening this Saturday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.
⏱️ The district is also seeking feedback on menus for next school year. Parents and guardians of elementary students can submit their thoughts here, and secondary student parents and guardians can submit here.
⏱️ Boulder Community Health Foundation has received $2 million in support from Amy Batchelor and Brad Feld of the Anchor Point Foundation to expanded system-wide wellness resources and programs.
⏱️ Boulder Community Health primary-care clinic will be one of four new tenants at the former Alfalfa’s building at 1645 Broadway.
⏱️ The new location will consolidate two BCH primary-care clinics: Spruce Street Internal Medicine at 2575 Spruce St. and Dakota Ridge Family Medicine at 2995 Baseline Rd.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Feb. 9, 2022

  • 191 daily new cases (7-day avg.)  Down 71% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 56 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 41 since July 2020.
  • 69% 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

  • Class-to-clinic vaccine locator. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has released a tool for finding the Covid-19 community vaccine clinic closest to the user’s school of interest. The Class-to-Clinic Locator includes more than 1,650 schools within a 15-mile radius of a community vaccination site.
  • Covid tests for Medicare beneficiaries. The Biden Administration announced that Medicare will pay for rapid at-home Covid-19 tests for beneficiaries beginning this spring. “This will ensure Colorado seniors and individuals with disabilities have access to the testing they need,” Sen. Michael Bennet wrote in a tweet.
  • What’s next for BoCo mask mandate? Requirements for indoor face coverings are being dropped in surrounding communities and across the country, raising questions about whether BCPH is planning to do the same. The county is currently requiring masks due to “high transmission” status, according to the Boulder County website.

BRL Picks

🚲 Winter Bike to Work Day. Taking part in the signature community cycling event on Friday, Feb. 11? Grab a bite for the commute at one of the dozens of breakfast locations in and around Boulder. Here’s a map to help you plan your route.
💘 Share the love. Want to do some good this Valentine’s Day? On Feb. 14, all three Boulder County locations of Sweet Cow Ice Cream will donate 100% of all proceeds to Impact on Education in support of Marshall Fire victims.
🔥 Wildfire webinar. The Institute for Science and Policy will host a webinar exploring the Marshall Fire and the changing wildland-urban interface at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The event features Jennifer Balch, director of Earth Lab at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at CU Boulder, along with Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones and Wildfire Partners Manager Jim B. Webster. Tune in here.
🥕 Mobile food pantry. CU Boulder is looking for volunteers to help with its mobile food pantry on Feb. 17 at the UMC South Terrace Plaza. Attendees will get up to 30 pounds of food in multiple boxes on a first-come, first-served basis. The mobile food pantry is free and open to CU Boulder students, faculty and staff, along with hungry residents of Boulder and Broomfield Counties. Sign up here.
👨‍🍳 Little Iron Chefs. BVSD is inviting middle school student teams of 2–4 to compete in its Iron Chef Cooking Competition for cash prizes and the opportunity to have their recipe featured on next year’s school lunch menu. Recipe entries are due by Friday, Feb. 18. More details here: English / Spanish.
💪 Boulder strong. Join photographer Ross Taylor for an opening reception at the Museum of Boulder on Friday, Feb. 18, to celebrate the resilience of the community a year after the mass shooting that killed 10 people at the Table Mesa King Soopers. Representatives from the Boulder Strong Resource Center will be on hand to help guests process and reflect on the exhibition featuring portraits of helpers who stepped up to support the community in the wake of the violence.
🏕️ Campground hosts wanted. Love the outdoors in Colorado? Parks and Wildlife is looking for a two-person resident volunteer team to help out at Eldorado Canyon State Park. Volunteers will stay onsite in the park’s historic two-bedroom home, with an obligation of 24 service hours per week over 3–6 months. Learn more and apply here.

What We’re Reading

  • Appeals court climate victory for Boulder County. “In the first ruling of its kind, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled today that the historic climate accountability lawsuits filed [against oil companies Exxon Mobil and Suncor] by Boulder County, San Miguel County, and the City of Boulder will continue to proceed in state, rather than federal, court. This decision sets a precedent for more than two dozen similar cases across the country.” [EarthRights International]
  • Free school meals. Thanks to a proposed law, schools throughout Colorado could offer free breakfast and lunch to all students. Most districts (including BVSD) have already opted in to the federal government’s Seamless Summer Option, which provides free meals for students, but the new law would make it permanent. “By providing healthy school meals free for all public school students, we will take away the stigma and embarrassment that has been a regular part of the school meals experience for kids from low-income families.” [Colorado Newsline]

ICYMI from BRL

⛷️ Winter Olympics in a warming world. CU geography professor and research group co-director Noah Molotch talks about the science of human-made snow, its use at the Olympics and how climate change may impact the future of snow sports in Colorado and beyond. 

About Us

Hi. We’re Boulder’s new nonprofit newsroom. Our mission is to help you get more informed about the issues you care about and more connected to the city you love. To do this, we provide high-quality, original journalism on the most pressing issues plus curated community information — all paywall-free. Learn more about us here and here.

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– The BRL Team

Stacy Feldman

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