Need some fuel for the week ahead? ☕ We’ve got you covered.

First up, everything you need to know about Boulder’s proposed library district before tomorrow’s City Council vote to determine if it moves ahead. Reporter John Herrick breaks down the details — from how much it would cost, to who would run it — to help you better understand the basics.

Then BRL spring intern Harry Fuller talks to Devin Joslin, principal traffic engineer for the City of Boulder, about the shift in the city’s transportation safety focus away from local streets and toward the Core Arterial Network (CAN). 💭 Got a transportation question you want answered? Email us. 📩

Lastly, Boulder Reporting Lab is honored to be among one of four local newsrooms across the country selected by the Chronicle of Philanthropy for its inaugural Philanthropy & Nonprofit Accountability Fellowship. Read more below about how we’ll be using those resources to examine the unique role played by local community foundations in climate disaster relief and recovery, through our reporting on the Boulder County Wildfire Fund.

Want to also pitch in and help us do what we do? Hit the big blue button below. 👇

– Jezy, managing editor

One of Boulder County’s younger residents enjoys the art-forward festivities at the Healing Day of Remembrance on Saturday, April 2, at BMoCA. Presented by Growing Up Boulder’s Youth Leadership Healing Committee, the youth-led event was designed to help process grief after the King Soopers shooting, Marshall Fire and Covid-19 pandemic. Credit: Ning Mosberger-Tang 

Quickly

Mostly cloudy and mild: Expect plenty of cloud cover today, with highs in the mid-60s. We should have a couple cooler days on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a warming trend into the weekend.

🚮  Debris removal timeline: According to the newly released project schedule, the Marshall Fire coordinated debris cleanup program is expected to take four months, weather permitting. Per Boulder County: “Thirty crews will be assigned throughout the regional project, with 15 initially working in Superior, nine in Louisville and six in Boulder County.”

👮 Suspicious death investigation results in arrest: A 21-year-old suspect has been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide (Class 4 felony) and Causing an Accident Involving Personal Death or Personal Injury (Class 3 felony) after a person was found dead Friday morning on the 4800 block of Pearl Street. “The Boulder County Coroner’s Office will determine the exact cause and manner of death as well as identify the victim and notify the next of kin.”

⛷️ Eldora spring hours: Boulder’s local ski resort is currently open 9 a.m.–4 p.m., seven days a week. “The onset of the spring melt-freeze cycle means that snow surfaces tend to be quite firm early in the morning, so lifts now open at 9 every day (not 8:30 on Sat/Sun).” 

🏖️ Summer jobs for young people (Deadline extended): Boulder County residents ages 14–17 are invited to apply for summer jobs with the Boulder County Youth Corps. Deadline has been extended through April 8.

Top Stories

Debate over Boulder’s proposed library district is about to come to a head. Here’s what you need to know.

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, David Farnan, director of the Boulder Library and Arts Department, agreed to slash his budget by 15%. It was among the deepest cuts to any city department in response to Covid-19. Farnan said he didn’t have much of a choice. 

“I had to lay off 66 people. But to be honest with you, if I were the city manager, I don’t know if I could have done anything else,” Farnan said. “Do we cut public safety? Would that have been a better choice?”

Nearly two years later, many of those cuts remain in place. The Canyon Theater is still closed. The adult literacy program, BoulderReads, is without a manager. And the Carnegie Library, the city’s primary archive for local history, is still understaffed, partially closed and running out space for historical documents. 

The city’s library funding has long been dicey, advocates for the library lament, and the pandemic only exacerbated the problem. 

“The biggest problem is every time there is a downturn, the library is the first one to get cut,” said Joni Teter, a member of the Boulder Library Champions and the city’s Library District Advisory Committee (LDAC). 

For years, Teter and others have been calling for the creation of an independent library district that would remove the library from municipal control. The district would become its own government entity — paid for with its own pot of money generated from property taxes — and would oversee a region with several libraries and a wider range of services.

The most recent proposal for a library district was developed by the 12-member LDAC, which the Boulder City Council appointed in 2021 to explore the creation of a district. In February 2022, the committee came back with a detailed recommendation for how to do so. 

This week, the Boulder City Council and the Board of County Commissioners will vote on a resolution to decide whether this proposal moves ahead.

The votes mark a major milestone in the long-running effort to shore up what proponents say would be a more sustainable funding source for the city’s libraries, and what opponents say could be an added financial burden — particularly on small businesses and residents already struggling to afford housing.

‘The work never stops’: Boulder’s top traffic engineer on the city’s shift in safety priorities from local streets to arterial roadways

Traffic hums constantly through arterial roadways like Broadway and 28th Street in Boulder. As the name suggests, these streets act as vital arteries that move large numbers of people — in cars, on bikes and on their feet — throughout the city on a given day.

The large volume of traffic on arterial streets naturally leads to more conflict on the road, and thus a larger share of accidents. The city’s 2022 Safe Streets Report found 65% of severe crashes are occurring on these major thoroughfares. 

As a result, the City of Boulder announced earlier this month it would begin shifting its transportation safety focus away from local streets and toward the development and improvement of the city’s Core Arterial Network (CAN) through “a connected system of protected bike lanes, intersection enhancements, pedestrian facilities and transit upgrades that will help make it safer, more comfortable and more convenient for people to get where they need to go via Boulder’s main corridors.” 

Devin Joslin, principal traffic engineer for the City of Boulder, spoke to Boulder Reporting Lab about the Safe Streets data, and what this shift will mean for Boulderites looking for safety improvements to local streets.

Boulder Reporting Lab receives Chronicle of Philanthropy reporting fellowship to examine local climate disaster relief and recovery through Marshall Fire fund

Boulder Reporting Lab (BRL) has won a one-year journalism fellowship to examine the unique role played by community foundations in climate disaster relief and recovery, through its reporting on the Boulder County Wildfire Fund. The fund, administered by the Community Foundation Boulder County, has raised an unprecedented amount of donations since the devastating Marshall Fire turned neighborhoods to ash on Dec. 30, 2021, destroying more than a thousand homes and displacing residents.

Become a BRL Community Leader sponsor!

BRL Picks

💀 Dead & Company return. Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann bring their psych-rock reunion supergroup back to Boulder on June 17 and 18 for the Dead & Company Summer Tour 22. Tickets for the Folsom Field performances go on sale April 8 at 10 a.m.

🤘 Red Rocks concert season opens. And speaking of live music: Whether you catch country-radio chart toppers The Chicks, indie darling Phoebe Bridgers, Beach Boys visionary Brian Wilson or one of the other 100+ performances in store this year, there’s a show with your name on it during the 2022 season at Colorado’s iconic performing arts amphitheater. Check out the full calendar here.

👩‍🎨 Artists wanted. Street Wise Arts is looking for 10 artists for a live-painting battle during the Boulder Creek Festival on Saturday, May 28 (Memorial Day Weekend). Artists will each receive a $250 supply stipend to paint a picnic bench, with the grand prize winner taking home $500. Apply here.

COVID Updates: April 4, 2022

  • 88 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔺Up 55% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 0 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) Down from avg. of 40 since July 2020.
  • 52% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 71% since July 2020.

What We’re Reading

📖 Buster Keenan, Boulder Book Store pillar, gone too soon. “If you’ve ever walked into the Upper North Room & heard the recording telling you to watch your step, you’ve heard his voice. If you’ve ever admired the section signs, you’ve appreciated his work. If you’ve ever emailed info@boulderbookstore.com, you’ve reached out to him.” [Boulder Book Store]

📖  End to CU Boulder president search in sight.“University of Colorado regents are nearing completion of their search for a new president and on Friday announced they’re mulling at least five candidates, but declined to name them or release demographic details on candidates considered so far.” [Denver Post]

📖 Nearly 4,000 catalytic converters stolen in Boulder and Denver since 2020. “Denver7 Investigates requested police data from Denver and Boulder police on catalytic converter thefts and learned that 3,928 catalytic converters were stolen off cars from the start of 2020 through early March 2022. However, the majority of those thefts occurred in 2021.” [Denver7]

ICYMI from BRL

🚗 With homelessness on the rise, Boulder County considers penalties for people living out of their vehicles. The proposed ordinance, which was presented to the Board of County Commissioners on March 29, would impose a $300 fine for a third offense of residing in a vehicle for more than 24 hours over a seven-day period on county land.

💰 What’s the plan for distributing the rest of the Marshall Fire fund? Community Foundation Boulder County releases first details. The local philanthropy is placing a priority on helping fire victims rebuild. For some, that raises questions over whether the most vulnerable may be left out.

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Thanks for reading!

Our journalism depends on you.
Have a story tip for us?
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.