BoCo, briefly: May 22, 2024

Local news at a glance

Courtesy: Butterfly Pavilion

BSH receives $50k grant for permanent supportive housing 

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless received a $50,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support the Zinnia Permanent Supportive Housing project located at 2000 Sunset Way in Longmont. 

The 39,500-square-foot building, currently under construction, will be able to house 55 people when the project is complete this fall. The $400,000 project is not fully funded yet, according to BSH spokesperson Andy Schultheiss. Other funders include the Colorado Department of Housing and the developer, Element Properties.

The shelter currently supports 179 formerly homeless people in permanent supportive housing. Its most recently completed project, Bluebird Apartments, has 40 units that have been fully leased since January. The apartments are “infused with trauma-informed care and design from top to bottom,” according to a release. 

City of Boulder took legal action in response to public records request

Boulder Interim Police Chief Stephen Redfearn and the City of Boulder filed a petition earlier this month asking the court to weigh in on a public records request filed by Boulder Reporting Lab senior reporter John Herrick. The petition named Herrick individually and not BRL.

The hearing was cancelled and the case was closed after Herrick withdrew his records request. 

The public records request related to the $1 million settlement city council recently approved for a mishandled sexual assault case that was ultimately dismissed in a preliminary trial. The city acknowledged that the detective failed to properly investigate the case. That detective was the subject of an internal investigation that found he failed to properly investigate more than 40 cases. He no longer works for the city.

City spokespeople said in emailed statements that the city believes the orginal criminal case has been expunged. 

“As such, the city was unsure about whether the records were releasable,” one of the statements said. “Due to this uncertainty, the city decided to utilize an option in the Colorado Open Records Act that allows a record-holder to seek court guidance.”

According to the petition, the requested documents contained “graphic descriptions of a sexual encounter” between minors and releasing them could violate Colorado laws on expungement in juvenile cases. The petition claimed that releasing the records “would do substantial injury to the public interest.”  

Herrick says he was willing to drop the CORA in part because the city had already admitted wrongdoing and because of the sensitive nature of reporting on sexual assault allegations involving minors. He also felt responding to the petition would take time and energy away from other stories that would have greater impact. 

“If the city were to file a similar petition over something that we really did feel like we should be reporting on, I would say, without a doubt, we would have followed through on it and gone to court and probably made our case and had a chance to see what the judge would say,” he says. 

“It’s good to be skeptical of this type of action, because it’s essentially naming a journalist in a legal filing,” he adds. “At the same time, I think the city has made clear in its communications with us that it had some genuine questions about whether or not this information should be released.”

Still, this sort of legal action by the city is unusual. More commonly, public officials might redact or deny a request and let journalists decide if they want to challenge that decision in court. This is the first time in at least two years that the city has filed this sort of petition, according to a city spokesperson. 

Gunbarrel Library Branch to open next year

A library in the heart of Gunbarrel is on the horizon, according to Boulder Library Foundation’s May newsletter.  

The branch is expected to open in May 2025 across from King Soopers in the former 1st Bank building at 6500 Lookout Road, according to the announcement. 

Additionally, the grand opening of the library’s new NoBo branch is scheduled for June 29. The 12,000-square-foot space is at 4500 13th St. The NoBo Corner Library closed May 22 ahead of the relocation. 

In other news… 

• Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation May 17 at the Butterfly Pavilion adding invertebrates to the list of species that can be conserved in Colorado, “empowering Colorado Parks and Wildlife to protect and conserve these vital creatures of virtually every ecosystem on the planet,” according to a Butterfly Pavilion release. 

• Enforcement on vacant lot requirements for properties impacted by the Marshall Fire in Louisville began earlier this month. The requirements include restoring vacant lots to their natural grade and keeping them clear of dead vegetation and trash. Property owners who are not in compliance and have not been in contact with the city will receive courtesy notices, according to a Louisville spokesperson. An estimated 70 lots are in compliance and 35 are not.

“I am happy to work with individual residents to answer any questions they may have about lots in their area,” Nancy Hodges, the community services officer with the City of Louisville, said in an email. “We appreciate everyone who contributes to creating a sense of normalcy and safety in the Marshall Fire rebuild neighborhoods.”

• The encampment at the Auraria Campus protesting Israel’s military action in Gaza has cleared, Denverite reports. Student organizers said in a statement that they “achieved significant milestones that have made clear the power of student organizing.”


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