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As a new year dawns this morning, it seems more fitting to look forward rather than back. This isn’t the time for retrospectives: You probably don’t want to try to remember exactly what happened last night â let alone the last year.

When the 365 days that just elapsed included foreign strife, a worldwide economic meltdown, a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, skyrocketing foreclosure rates and cratering home values, the healthiest thing to do is to focus on the future.

The winter solstice has just passed, so the days ahead will literally be brighter. Here’s a look at what 2009 will bring in Boulder, Colorado and the world:

Put me in, coach! Coach?

The Denver Broncos will be looking for someone new to stand on the sidelines and scowl in 2009, following the firing of head coach Mike Shanahan after 14 seasons with the team. Former star quarterback John Elway’s name has been aired as a possible replacement.

Meet the new boss …

Stan Garnett will be sworn in as Boulder County’s new district attorney on Jan. 13, replacing term-limited Mary Lacy, who’s been on the job since 2000. Garnett has said he plans to review the JonBenet Ramsey murder case within his first 30 days and possibly send the case back to the Boulder Police Department, which hasn’t been involved in the case since 2002.

And 4 million of his closest friends

President-elect Barack Obama will become President Obama on Jan. 20, when he’s sworn into office in Washington, D.C., becoming the first African-American man to hold the office. Inauguration organizers expect to see record crowds at the history-making ceremony.

Growing pains

Boulder’s elected leaders in 2009 will be pushing up their sleeves to deal with what several of them call the most pressing issue facing the city: How to deal with new development inside city limits.

The proliferation of four-story, mixed-use condominiums across downtown has spurred a backlash from critics who say the projects loom over older architecture and block mountain views. Critics also say developers haven’t done enough to include on-site affordable housing in their projects.

The Boulder City Council will tackle several growth-related issues in 2009. Its members will consider whether developers who include apartments or condos in their downtown projects should continue to receive “density bonuses” for doing so, and whether they should be required to provide more “public benefit” to get those bonuses.

City leaders will also revisit how exemptions to the 35-foot height limit are awarded. They’ll ask whether developers who now pay into an affordable housing program instead of providing on-site affordable units should be allowed to continue the practice.

They’ll also consider additional regulations governing how “pop-and-scrape” residential redevelopment projects can be built in established neighborhoods.

To boob or not to boob, that is the question …

The owner of the Nitro Club, downtown Boulder’s only nude establishment, will appear before the Beverages Licensing Authority to apply for a liquor license in late January.

If he succeeds, zoning officials will classify his business as a tavern, rather than an “indoor amusement establishment,” its current designation. That means he won’t have to go through a “use review” before the Boulder Planning Board â a process that could shut the business down.

Back on the stump

The terms of four of the Boulder City Council’s nine members â Mayor Shaun McGrath, Suzy Ageton, Matthew Appelbaum and Macon Cowles â will expire in November, which means they’ll have to run for re-election to stay on the council.

A second life for scraps

Early in 2009, Western Disposal, Boulder’s largest trash hauler, will have finished providing all of its customers with new bins to use for curbside composting. That means residents will be able to leave yard waste and food scraps â but not meat â at the curb for pickup. Those scraps will later be turned into compost.

The Boulder City Council started requiring curbside pickup for composting and yard waste, which will take the place of the popular annual Spring Cleanup program.


Louisville is also focusing on garbage at the start of the new year. City leaders are working to negotiate a contract with a single hauler, Western Disposal, to provide a pay-as-you-throw curbside trash program.

Under a pay-as-you-throw system, residents who throw away more garbage have to pay higher fees â and that revenue helps to pay for free recycling for all customers. Backers say recycling will go up, while opponents complain they won’t be able to choose their own trash hauler.

Off the shelf

Officials in Superior, which doesn’t have a library of its own, will keep looking for ways to give residents access to free books. A long-standing deal with Louisville that let Superior residents use its library fell apart in 2008, shutting off their access to the adjacent city’s facilities.

Superior residents now must drive to Boulder or Broomfield to use a public library. The town is talking to libraries in both of those places about partnerships.

Dig deeper to ride

Climbing on board a Regional Transportation District bus will get more expensive this year: Starting today, local fares will increase from $1.75 to $2, express fares will jump from $3 to $3.50, and regional rates will climb from $4 to $4.50. Transportation officials say increased ridership and higher operating expenses made the higher fares necessary.

Welcome back â please provide three references

Columbine Elementary School, which has performed poorly on state tests in recent years, is scheduled to become a “new school” in the 2009-2010 school year. The Boulder school will be rebuilt â and different people may be working inside once construction is complete.

Boulder Valley Superintendent Chris King will meet with the staff in January to discuss a plan for the school’s future. Several weeks ago, King said teachers at the school would have to interview to keep their old jobs.

Construction work will begin immediately, and officials expect to open the new Columbine Elementary building in the fall of 2011.

Students at Boulder’s Casey Middle School will be shipped across town to Platt Middle School so construction crews can tear down the old Casey and rebuild a larger school in its place. Construction is scheduled to start in January.

Yes, but it’s a gourmet fruit cup

The Boulder Valley School District has hired an outside consultant to revamp its school-lunch program, and the district plans to work all spring and summer to have better food in place when students start back in the 2009-2010 school year.

Crime and punishment

This year will bring several high-profile Boulder County criminal trials.

Alex Midyette, 29, is scheduled to stand trial starting Jan. 12 on a charge of causing the death of his 11-week-old son, Jason Midyette, in 2006. The venue of the long-awaited trial has changed twice, moving from Boulder County to Jefferson County because of the potential for a tainted jury pool here. It was moved once again to Denver when it was determined that Jefferson County could not accommodate the trial after it was delayed from an October setting.

Alex Midyette’s wife, Molly Midyette, was convicted of child abuse resulting in death and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. She is scheduled to testify at her husband’s trial, which could last as long as four weeks.

In June, Diego Olmos Alcalde, 39, is scheduled to go on trial on charges that he raped and beat to death 23-year-old University of Colorado student Susannah Chase in December 1997.

Alcalde was arrested nearly a year ago after investigators said they matched his DNA to genetic material found at the crime scene, giving police a break in what had become a 10-year-old murder mystery.

In July, Longmont resident Kevin Elmarr is scheduled for trial in the murder of his ex-wife, Carol Murphy, whose body was found strangled and nude about 11 miles up Lefthand Canyon nearly 22 years ago. Police arrested Elmarr in 2007 after new DNA technology gave investigators reason to believe he was involved in the crime.

Camera staff writers Alicia Wallace, Amy Bounds, Vanessa Miller, Heath Urie and John Aguilar contributed to this report.

Archived comments

uh.. editors?

“When the 365 days that just elapsed… “

2008 was 366 days long.


1/1/2009 10:21:38 AM

RTD states “increased ridership and higher operating expenses made the higher fares necessary”.

Fuel prices have fallen more than 50%, and increased ridership actually results in additional revenues per trip and less cost per rider.

With gas at $1.50 per gallon, increased fares will result in decreased ridership and empty busses.

RTD needs to cut down on their administrative expenses and unending costly studies by expensive consultants.


1/1/2009 1:49:51 PM