Hello, Boulder. We hope this morning’s edition of BRL Today finds you rested and ready for the week after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Before the break, I spoke to Jacob Lindsey, the city’s outgoing director of planning and development Services. He’s leaving for a gig in the private sector after about a year on the job. Before parting with the city, he shared some thoughts on how Boulder should address its housing challenges. We also talked about why he thinks Boulder “will always remain desirable — and expensive.” You can read more below.

And from one holiday to the next: Hanukkah began last night. To all who are celebrating, we wish you a happy, healthy eight days of light.

– John, reporter

Pearl Street on Nov. 28, 2021. Credit: John Herrick

Top Story

Parting words from Boulder’s departing urban planner: Commission an ‘in-depth’ housing study to inform policy

The one thing many Boulder residents seem to agree on is that the city has a housing problem. But how to solve it remains a big question. Jacob Lindsey spent the past year as Boulder’s planning and development director. He’s now moving on and out of Boulder, and gave some parting advice in an interview with the Boulder Reporting Lab: “I would suggest that Boulder commission a very in-depth analysis of its housing markets because a lot of our housing discourse right now is based on conjecture,” Lindsey said. Look to Charleston, South Carolina, for a model, he noted. Read full story

Quickly

⏱️ Highs near 70 today, well above normal. Expect warm and dry weather much of this week, with near-record highs possible. No chance of rain or snow through next weekend.
⏱️ November could end up tied for the third-warmest November on record in Denver, according to the National Weather Service. Similar for Boulder.
⏱️ Citing “alcohol-related accidents, vehicle crashes and other public safety violations,” the city will prohibit parking on Flagstaff Mountain from 9 p.m.–5 a.m., starting as soon as Thursday, Dec. 2.
⏱️ Eldora has nearly 30 open positions as the ski season is set to ramp up. Like other local businesses, the hiring crisis has prompted the resort to raise pay.

Covid-19 in Boulder County

  • 123 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔺Up 12% over last week.
  • 88 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 37.
  • 60% of ICU is occupied by Covid patients 🔺Up from avg. of 22%.
  • 70% percent of ICU is occupied in total 🔻Down from avg. of 73%. (This number is down because beds were added to at least one hospital.)
  • Data. Here’s how we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news

  • Omicron. That’s the latest Covid-19 variant “of concern,” according to the World Health Organization. It’s unclear whether the variant is more contagious or lethal.
  • Boosters. Health experts say Omicron is a reason to get a booster shot. In Boulder County, earliest appointments are weeks out. To get an appointment, check for spots at the region’s mobile vaccine clinics, the city’s Sunday clinic at the Boulder Library or Boulder Community Health by calling 303-415-7777.
  • Testing reminder. You can always sign up to get a Covid-19 test at one Boulder’s free community Covid-19 testing sites, including the Gerald Stazio Softball Fields. No appointment necessary.

BRL Picks

🎁 Donate. Starting today, Boulder’s Emergency Family Assistance Association is accepting donations for new and unwrapped gifts. Drop off gifts at 1575 Yarmouth Ave. from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Here’s the organization’s Amazon wish list. You can donate to the YMCA, too.
🥬 Apply to be a new vendor at the Boulder Farmers Market. Applications are open through Jan. 5, 2022.
🏠 Comment on the East Boulder Subcommunity Plan, which includes more than 4,000 new housing units.

What We’re Reading

  • Homelessness. In 2019, TGTHR (formerly known as Attention Homes) built a 40-unit affordable apartment building in Boulder’s Whittier neighborhood to serve young adults who aged out of foster care. Earlier this month, reporter Jessica Seaman spoke to some of the residents who live there. “It’s been pretty nice, especially compared to where a lot of us were before. For me, it’s brought a lot of community. I’ve made a lot more friends,” said A. Hatton, a 19-year-old. [The Denver Post]
  • Spanish Flu. Nicole Docimo, an archivist at the Carnegie Library for Local History, published local accounts of life in Boulder in 1918, when the Spanish Flu was spreading across the state. Health officials closed churches, schools and places of amusement, according to news reports. They also emphasized going outside. [Boulder Public Library]
  • Hospitals are under strain across the county. “Health-care workers aren’t quitting because they can’t handle their jobs. They’re quitting because they can’t handle being unable to do their jobs. Even before COVID-19, many of them struggled to bridge the gap between the noble ideals of their profession and the realities of its business.” [The Atlantic]

ICYMI from BRL

🍏 Boulder Valley’s substitute teachers, feeling undervalued and underpaid, are now in short supply. John Herrick spoke to several substitutes and BVSD officials on the problem, and solutions.
🦠 More than a third of younger children in Boulder County have gotten a first Covid-19 shot. Benjy Sachs reports on progress made toward the county’s goal of 14,000 vaccinated kids by the end of January 2022.
🗞️ We just launched last week! Missed our first BRL Today newsletters? Not to worry: You can catch up here and here.

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– The BRL Team

John Herrick

I report on housing, climate, health and local government for the Boulder Reporting Lab. I previously covered the state Capitol for The Colorado Independent and environmental policy for VTDigger.org. I’m interested in stories about people, power and fairness.