BoCo, briefly: March 6, 2024

Local news at a glance: Marshall Fire soil, BSH day center and more

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Study: Soil not toxic after Marshall Fire

Toxic metals in Marshall Fire burn areas didn’t reach dangerous levels, according to a CU Boulder study published in Environmental Science & Technology

“A lot of toxic materials were burned during the fire,” Noah Fierer, who worked on the research, said in a Feb. 29 press release. “So people were justifiably worried that the soil in their backyards might be contaminated.” 

Researchers found higher concentrations of copper, zinc, lead and chromium on burned properties, but the concentrations were “well below the estimated thresholds of concern determined by the EPA,” according to the release. 

Day Center plan resubmitted

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless didn’t make any major changes to its management plan, resubmitted to the City on Feb. 29, to allow day services at its North Boulder facility. The resubmission comes about a month after a neighborhood meeting in which housed residents expressed concerns relating to safety and loitering around the shelter.

While the original plan stated that shelter capacity would be increased from 160 to 180 beds, the new plan says that capacity will only reach 180 if and when the shelter receives funding for additional staff. 

The unhoused community members staying at the shelter will also have to sign a “conditions of stay contract” agreeing not to loiter, camp or leave trash in the surrounding neighborhood. 

The shelter will offer free transportation to discourage loitering and camping, BSH spokesperson Andy Schultheiss said in an email. In repeated cases, the shelter can deny services for a period of time as a consequence, he said. 

The re-revised plan also adds a stipulation for the shelter to call the police in response to physical violence on the property. 

City spokesperson Lyndsy Morse-Cassillas previously said the City reviews plans on a two-week track. If the City approves the plan, Schultheiss says the shelter expects to provide day services within weeks of that approval.

Read more about plans for day services at boulderweekly.com/news/under-one-roof.

In other news…

  • Colorado had the third-highest prison population increase in the country (behind Montana and Mississippi) between 2021 and 2022, according to a recent U.S. Department of Justice report. Despite the 8.2% rise, Colorado’s total prison population was among the lowest in the country in 2022 at 17,168 people incarcerated, Axios reports.
  • Boulder’s food tax rebate applications opened March 1 and will close June 30. Rebates will be $104 for individuals and $318 for families. Learn more or check your eligibility at bitly/49AsoAk.
  • Boulder County is accepting proposals for its Climate Innovation Fund grants. The grants are available for local carbon dioxide removal, landscape resilience and landscape restoration initiatives. The County plans to distribute $550,000 in total. 
  • League of Women Voters Boulder County is hosting “Civility Matters: Promoting respectful dialogue in a divided world” on Sunday, March 17 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Lafayette Public Library (775 W. Baseline Road). Attendance is free; registration required. Visit LWVBC.org.
  • Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks is starting construction on a new 1.5-mile trail section, Vesper Trail, on Gunbarrel Hill near the intersection of 75th Street and Lookout Road.