News Briefs: Feb. 23, 2023

Regional Forester Frank Beum, Under Secretary Dr. Homer Wilkes. Courtesy US Forest Service.

County Voter turnout report available

Boulder County Elections Division released its 2022 post-election data report and map that shows voter registration statistics, voter turnout, how many voters voted in each precinct, and more. Some key points:

There were 224,533 registered voters throughout Boulder County, which is down slightly from 2021 (231,109) after increasing every year since 2014.

74.4% of registered voters cast a ballot in 2022, which is lower than the voter turnout in previous gubernatorial years 2018 (82.4%) and 2014 (74.6%).  

Longmont (65,481) passed Boulder (65,394) with the highest number of registered voters in the county for the first time.

95.5% of total ballots counted were cast via mail-in ballot, 4.5% were at a vote center.

Molly Fitzpatrick, Boulder County clerk and recorder, says voter turnout was normal for a gubernatorial election, but noted a record-breaking 55,000 ballots returned or cast on election day. 

Fitzpatrick says she is already gearing up for the next set of elections: Boulder’s mayoral election this fall, followed by the presidential primary, statewide primary and the 2024 general election. 

“Our office is always busy preparing and planning for the next election,” she says.

Peak to Peak Charter School announced state winner in Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM

Peak to Peak Charter School is the Colorado winner of the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition. The national competition prompts public middle and high school students to solve issues in their communities and gives winning schools at least $12,000 in technology and school supplies. 

The Lafayette-based K-12 school’s project addresses water issues facing the community after the Marshall Fire by creating a water-diagnostic tool to test for contamination that is cheap and accessible. Kristie Letter, the teacher leading the team of students, says a “huge number” of the school’s students and staff were evacuated by the fire, many were displaced and some lost everything.

“Now, our students perceive the danger of climate change in Colorado — high winds, drier weather, warmer temperatures — as more of an immediate threat,” Letter says.

Sophomore Tanishka Tagare says the competition was a “revolutionary experience,” especially because the team learned new physics and chemistry concepts.

“This insightful project has shaped the way we view water contamination in our communities,” she says.

The school will continue through the competition, with the chance to be named one of three national winners that will receive $100,000 in “prize packages” including Samsung technology and classroom supplies. 

U.S. Forest Service invests in Front Range wildfire protection

Earlier this month, the U.S. Forest Service announced it is contributing $37 million “to continue cross-jurisdictional, strategically important wildfire protection efforts in Colorado’s high-risk Front Range.” 

This is the second consecutive year the region was selected to receive funding through the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which first sent $18.1 million in 2022. The additional funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, includes efforts to reduce fire risk on an additional 16,000 acres. 

“We are grateful for these investments which support community, tribal, and partner collaboration for strategically reducing wildland fire risk,” said Frank Beum, regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region, in a press release.

The Forest Service will work collaboratively with agencies and organizations to complete hazardous fuel reduction projects along the Front Range, and continue the environmental analysis of wildfire treatment projects like mechanical thinning, hand thinning and prescribed fire.