Now you know: May 11, 2023

This week’s news in Boulder County and beyond

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Courtesy Boulder Pickleball

New pickleball facility opening in Boulder

When Scott Fliegelman started Boulder Pickleball nearly four years ago, he wasn’t exactly sure what it would turn into. 

The pro-pickleball player did everything he could in the sport without a dedicated space, like teaching lessons on private courts and starting a pickleball-focused podcast. After two years of searching, Fliegelman is now opening a new facility on May 15. 

“Boulder has a community of players that has really exploded in the last couple of years,” he says. “And the current facilities, whether public or private, are just not adequate for the demands for court access.”

The new 19,000-square-foot facility, which will be located at 3550 Frontier Ave., will have five courts and a variety of classes, workshops, clinics and leagues. 

Fleigelman wants the space to be for everyone — from beginners to pros. His podcast, 4.0 to Pro, is also gaining popularity as he gives tips on specific shots or strategies in 20-minute episodes. 

“It’s turned out to be really popular and fills the void in the pickleball space,” he says.

Courts are available to rent for $11 an hour per person. There’s also a membership option for people who play a couple times a week. The company will host a kick-off event on June 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. — more details coming soon on Boulder Pickleball’s website, boulderpickleball.net.
— Will Matuska

Using AI for climate-smart agriculture and forestry 

Researchers at Colorado State University are helping develop artificial intelligence to track carbon in farms and forests. 

Earlier this month, the AI Institute for Climate-Land Interactions, Mitigation, Adaptation, Tradeoffs and Economy (AI-Climate) was established to “leverage AI to create more climate-smart practices that will absorb and store carbon while simultaneously boosting the economy in the agriculture and forestry industries.” 

Because most carbon on land is found in soils and forest biomass, Francesca Cotrufo, soil crop sciences professor at CSU and senior researcher at the National Renewable Energy Lab, says “when we look at how we can contribute to climate change mitigation by drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere, then soils are by far the best natural solution.”

AI-Climate is part of a cohort of new AI-focused institutes under the National Artificial Intelligence Research Institute. The eight-person CSU team will develop AI-based analysis methods to monitor carbon stock exchanges and improve measurement of soil organic matter.

“[Farmers] can’t manually survey thousands of acres of land every year,” said Shahi Shekhar, director of the institute and a professor at the University of Minnesota, in a press release. “We’re developing easy-to-use tools where we can show all of these measurements and images of the soil to an AI neural network and let it figure it out for us, saving farmers and foresters time, energy and money.”

The institute brings together scientists and engineers from Minnesota, Colorado State, Cornell, Delaware State, Purdue and North Carolina universities.
— Will Matuska

Boulder looking for funds to repair rec
centers

How to fund restoration for each of Boulder’s three recreation centers will be a topic of conversation at the May 25 City Council meeting. 

Both the South and North Boulder rec centers (SBRC and NBRC) are about 50 years old. The East Boulder Community Center is 30 years old.

According to Alison Rhodes, director of Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department, all three facilities are nearing an “inflection point,” describing the SBRC building as “past its useful life.” 

“The way facilities are built in the United States, they’re built [to last] anywhere from 30 to 50 year[s],” Rhodes says. “And so we know once they reach that age, you’re reaching a point where maintenance is going to exceed the value of the facility based on asset management standards.”

But Rhodes doesn’t want you to “freak out”: There are no plans to close the SBRC.

“We’re at the point where we’re asking questions,” she says. “What funding is available?”

Rhodes says the city currently doesn’t have the money to repair all three rec centers, and will need to explore options such as bonds, selling property or entering into public-private partnerships.

Residents can visit the city’s “Future of Recreation Centers” website to learn more, sign up for email updates, and fill out a questionnaire, which is open through June 2. 

“Zero decisions have been made,” Rhodes says. “There will certainly be a lot of community involvement.”
— Caitlin Rockett

CUPD seeks national accreditation 

The public is invited to comment as the CU Boulder Police Department seeks national accreditation through the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrations (IACLEA).

Accreditation is intended to improve law enforcement agencies by creating standards and best practices. The accreditation process is voluntary and if CUPD complies with all 215 IACLEA standards, it will be Boulder County’s first nationally accredited police department. Standards range from crime prevention and community involvement, to incident management, operations and more. 

Newly added standards include duty to interview policies, which require officers to prevent colleagues from engaging in misconduct of any kind, and the use of a personnel early intervention system, which tracks an officer’s actions to identify and prevent potentially damaging behavior. 

Jennifer Barry, CUPD accreditation manager, was unavailable for comment by time of publication. 

A team of IACLEA assessors will review written materials, interview individuals and inspect facilities. CUPD will be required to submit annual reports and undergo regular reviews to ensure standard compliance. 

Comments should address CUPD’s ability to comply with IACLEA standards, and can be made by calling 303-492-2971on May 22 between
5 and 7 p.m., and via email to
jmurphy@iaclea.org by May 25.
— Caitlin Rockett  

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