Good morning, Boulder! 🌄 Welcome to the second-ever edition of BRL Today. 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and we couldn’t be more thankful to be building this new independent, nonprofit community newsroom with you. 

In today’s newsletter, you’ll find essential reporting on the substitute teacher shortage at Boulder Valley School District, along with the numbers on Covid-19 vaccinations for kids and a look at how Boulder’s restaurants are weathering declining sales during the pandemic — plus your regular dose of curated community information, the latest Covid news and more.

BRL Today will publish every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But since we’ve got so many out-of-office replies in our inbox this week, we’ll see you Monday.

– Jezy, managing editor

Credit: Anthony Albidrez for Boulder Reporting Lab

Top Stories

Boulder Valley’s substitute teachers, feeling undervalued and underpaid, are now in short supply

Substitute teachers are in high demand. Boulder Valley started the school year with a pool of substitutes half of what it used to be, as substitute pay was cut from last year. The shortage is forcing teachers and staff to fill in for others. And it was one of the reasons the district cited for cancelling classes on the Friday after Veterans Day. John Herrick spoke to several substitutes and BVSD officials on the problem, and solutions. Read the full story.

More than a third of younger children in Boulder County have gotten a first Covid-19 shot

Boulder County Public Health is more than halfway to its goal of vaccinating 14,000 children ages 5-11 against Covid-19 by the end of January 2022. As of Nov. 20, 35% of this age group had received its first vaccine dose. That compares to about 11% nationally. Read the full story.

The pandemic hit Boulder’s restaurants harder than those in other Front Range cities. An uncertain winter looms.

For restaurants in Boulder, the effects of the pandemic recession were more severe than in other Front Range cities, data show. While recovery is underway, it could be another three years before the industry’s sales rebound to pre-pandemic levels. Read the full story.

Quickly

⏱️ Expect much cooler conditions today, with light snow in the mountains. Highs in the mid-40s.
⏱️ On Thanksgiving Day: Zero chance of snow, says National Weather Service. Meanwhile, Eldora is open. Other mountains are set to open soon.
⏱️ Boulder County has released its final official results for the Nov. 2 election.
⏱️ The county is also urging residents to ensure their pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date, after a skunk in Longmont tested positive.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Nov. 24, 2021*

  • 117 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔻Down 13% 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 and where we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news

  • Mask up, border counties. Citing strained hospital capacity, the Tri-County Health Department issued a public health order requiring face coverings indoors for Adams and Arapahoe counties for the remainder of 2021.
  • Denver, too! The city has renewed its mask mandate, which was previously lifted in May — effective today.
  • Rule change. A new amendment to Public Health Order 21-02 “requires [care] providers to do all they can to provide all eligible individuals with monoclonal antibody therapies,” which can help protect people with Covid-19 from severe illness.
  • Holiday closures. Boulder’s free community Covid-19 testing sites, including the Gerald Stazio Softball Fields, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Regular hours (8 a.m.–6 p.m.) resume Friday, Nov. 26.

BRL Picks

🌽 Community table. Hot food for free at the Boulder Bandshell from 3–4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Volunteer or support Feet Forward, an organization providing support services to people experiencing homelessness in Boulder.
🚲  DIY bike workshop is back! For Community Cycle members only: Work on your bike with the help of experts. Reservations now open. Available Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Become a member here
👩‍🏭 Make it work. BLDG 61: Boulder Library Makerspace has regularly scheduled Open Studio hours today from 1–6:45 p.m. Get hands-on with access to 3D printers, sewing machines, screen printing equipment and more. No registration required for access to most tools.
🎨 Public art. Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is partnering with Anythink Libraries to bring community art to three Anythink library locations. Check out this video feature on artist Armando Silva before you see his mural on display at Anythink Huron Street in Thornton.

What We’re Reading

  • Planning and Development Services Director leaves post. Jacob Lindsey, whose purview included CU South and other high-profile projects, will step down from his director position on Dec. 3. He held the position for the past year. In an announcement of the departure on the city’s website, Lindsey offered parting thoughts: “I am leaving with such regret,” he said. “It is clear to me that Boulder, as a local government, has what it takes to make a significant difference in sustainable and progressive planning: a talented staff team dedicated to continuous improvement, a respectful and knowledgeable council willing to forge compromise, and an informed, impassioned community that advocates for its convictions.” [City of Boulder]

ICYMI from BRL

🏥 Covid-19 patients are straining Boulder County hospitals again, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. John Herrick reports.
🗳️ After rallying for the 2020 presidential election, most Boulder college students didn’t vote this year. The data highlights a huge participation gap in off-year elections.
🗞️ Read all about it! Five questions, asked and answered, about our entry into Boulder’s long history of local news innovation.

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.

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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.