How about this weather, huh? ☀️ We hope during these ongoing challenging times you’re enjoying these milder days before snow forecasts return for the weekend.

In today’s top story, reporter John Herrick talks to Boulder’s outgoing Planning Board chair David Ensign about the challenges ahead when it comes to meeting the city’s affordable housing goals. Plus a powerful story from a Penn State ecologist on the world her children will inherit as climate change produces more extreme weather events like the Marshall Fire.

Send us your photos while you’re out and about this week, and you just might see them featured in Friday’s newsletter. 📸 👀

– Jezy, managing editor

Fishing with a friend in Boulder Creek at Eben G. Fine Park on Tuesday, March 1. Photo: John Herrick

Top Stories

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. Read the full story

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. Read the full story

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Quickly

⏱️ Warmer and partly sunny, with highs in the upper 60s.
⏱️ Today is the deadline to apply for both Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans. Apply here
⏱️ As of Feb. 16, FEMA has approved about $1.5 million in grants to fire-affected renters and homeowners, and SBA has approved $74 million in loans.
⏱️ Tonight’s online Boulder County meeting on the coordinated debris removal program has been postponed due to “pending legal action.”
⏱️ The Colorado House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning Russian president Vladimir Putin and expressing solidarity with Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict.
⏱️ CU has moved to liquidate its investment in Russian companies.
⏱️ 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.”
⏱️ Lisa Widdekind of Boulder is circulating petitions to run for the Boulder County Commissioner District 3 seat.  She previously ran and lost in 2018. 
⏱️ Boulder County residents ages 14–17 are invited to apply for summer jobs with the Boulder County Youth Corps. Deadline is March 31.
⏱️ The city is still accepting volunteer applications on the following boards and commissions: Boulder Junction Access District – Parking, Boulder Junction Access District – Travel Demand Management, Board of Zoning Adjustment, Design Advisory Board, and University Hill Commercial Area Management Commission.
⏱️ Join building science expert Mark Attard tomorrow, 7–9 p.m, for a webinar on rebuilding to net zero after the Marshall Fire.
⏱️ Applications are open for Boulder Library’s annual library card art contest.  Submit your designs by March 31!

Covid-19 in Boulder County: March 2, 2022

  • 69 daily new cases (7-day avg.)  Down 48% 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

  • Masks optional at CU Boulder. The campus-wide mask mandate expires at 6 a.m. on Monday, March 7. “Until then, masks continue to be required in all public indoor spaces, classrooms and laboratories. It’s also important to note masks will continue to be required after March 7 at the Wardenburg Health Center.” 
  • Cash for jabs. $100 gift cards are being offered by the Covid vaccine clinic at the Hub to anyone 18+ completing their primary series of vaccinations. Appointments are not required. Pre-register to reserve your spot

BRL Picks

🎬 BIFF is back. The Boulder International Film Festival returns beginning tomorrow for its 18th year with a star-studded guest list and lots of local flavor. In addition to a jam-packed slate of films from around the world, the event will include live music and a film-inspired food fundraiser featuring eight local chefs. Check out the full program here, and get your tickets here.
🎗For the kids. Help support research to find cures for childhood cancers with a St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser event at Boulder High School on March 17, 4–6 p.m. Donate to a team that’s shaving their head in solidarity (or sign up to put your own hair on the line) before the clippers come out on the big day inside the main gym at BHS, 1604 Arapahoe Ave.
🗳️ Proposals wanted. Got a programming idea for the upcoming El Movimiento Sigue exhibition at BMoCA? They’re seeking proposals to help “develop free public programs that honor the history of Los Seis de Boulder and spark conversation about the current state of equal opportunity for all people in our community.” Deadline is tomorrow.
📚 Paperback paradise. Friends of the Longmont Library presents its anticipated Paperback Bookanza sale on Friday and Saturday, March 4–5. All paperback titles will be $1 each at Longmont Public Library, 409 4th Ave.

What We’re Reading

  • Rep. Joe Negue responds to the new IPCC report. “The west is burning, communities are hurting, and we can no longer risk the cost of inaction. This crisis is fueling wildfires, harming ecosystems, impacting water supplies, food production and risking the well-being and livelihood of countless families.” [Rep. Joe Negue]
  • State lawmakers draft bills to curb car part theft. “Catalytic converters, which make a vehicle’s exhaust fumes less polluting, contain precious metals, making them attractive to thieves. But as more and more of the car parts are stolen, and as global supply chains still feel the economic effects of the pandemic, the resulting supply and demand imbalance means it can take weeks to replace a catalytic converter. In the meantime, victims have to scramble to find an alternative means of transportation to work, school or child care.” [Colorado Newsline]
  • 2021 Boulder County post-election data report. Voter turnout in Boulder County was about 47.3% (above the statewide average, below the 2019 election in the county). Nearly all voters voted via mail. Only about 19% of 18-25 year-olds in the county cast a ballot. [Boulder County]
  • Colorado republicans file federal suit to exclude unaffiliated voters in state primaries. “The lead attorney on the lawsuit is John Eastman, the conservative, controversial former visiting scholar at the University of Colorado who, while employed by CU, also authored memos on the ways former President Donald Trump could overturn the results of the 2020 election. Eastman is being investigated by the U.S. House committee looking into the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol after a pro-Trump rally where Eastman spoke.” [Colorado Sun]

ICYMI from BRL

🚗 Why did Nosh Boulder run out of gas? The city-subsidized alternative to big corporate apps went under suddenly this month, shocking many local supporters. We talked to Nosh’s director of operations about what went wrong — and his hopes for the future of co-op model in Boulder.
🎙️ ‘This history belongs to all of us’: Fisk Jubilee Singers make a joyful noise to cap off NAACP Boulder County arts and culture series. The vocal music ensemble from Nashville’s historic Fisk University comes to Boulder on Sunday, Feb. 27, for an afternoon of songs from a long tradition of Black resilience. The free show will culminate two months of visual and performing arts programming presented by NAACP Boulder County.
🔥 A Boulder renter who lost everything in the Marshall Fire wrestles with what it means to be a fire victim. “This has been a weird process of identity. A lot of the things I lost in the fire were me,” says Charla Harvey, a 28-year-old photographer and graduate student at Naropa University.

About Us

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– 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.