Monthly Archives: June 2017

‘Coroner IDs homeless man found dead outdoors just north of Boulder’

Read the brief update in the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:

The Boulder County coroner on Tuesday identified the homeless man found dead outdoors over the weekend as 59-year-old John Fritsch.

The cause and manner of death are pending further investigation since the autopsy was completed, the coroner’s office said.

Officers responded to a report just after 8 a.m. Sunday of a man found dead behind an unoccupied building in the 5000 block of 28th Street in unincorporated Boulder County.

The sheriff’s office previously said the death did not appear suspicious.


Again, I applaud the DC for NOT using the term “transient” as a label — one with understandably negative connotations in our city and county — for a resident who happened to be homeless.

R.I.P. John . . .


2017 MDHI Point-in-Time Report for Boulder County

See it here, and be advised that it missed most of the homeless people who are actually living on the streets. Some, including the Homeless Philosopher, boycott this “census” for a variety of reasons.

The Point-in-Time Survey done each year has become a grossly inaccurate yardstick when it only counts 600 homeless people in all of Boulder County on a single night in January, 2017. There must have been an equal or greater number who escaped notice altogether!

One good thing about this undercount is that it may tend to reduce funding from both public and private sources for the local homeless shelter / services industry. That has been my motivation for declining to participate in the PIT for several years now.

— MRW 

Another great comment from the Daily Camera website, and more

Originally published on 4/28/2015:



By Max R. Weller

This comment by “InsideBBubble” is also copied from Worried about local control, Boulder to oppose homeless ‘right to rest’ act:

I think if we really thought about it, we’d all admit that the shelter was just a scam on Boulder by the county. They needed a shelter. They knew every community would object. They knew Boulder is too sanctimonious and could never say no. Now they’re all laughing at us. Schadenfreude. As in “You want these problems Boulder? You think you’re so much better than we are? Here you go.” And they ship a few more dozen.

Besides them being shipped here from other states when they get out of jail or become too much of a nuisance in places like San Francisco (which is giving them bus tickets to Boulder) since the 1960’s Boulder has been…

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‘[Transient Migration] a bar to successful Boulder County homeless strategies’

Read the story in the Daily Camera here. Excerpt copied below:

The existing need and scarcity explain why the housing goals associated with Boulder’s newly approved Long-Term Homelessness Strategy are, in the estimation of city officials, both ambitious and insufficient.

Over the next three years, the document states, a total of 180 new units of housing should be created between the city and Boulder County for the benefit of both high-needs homeless individuals and low-income or non-chronically homeless people in need of “rapid rehousing.”

Kurt Firnhaber, the city’s housing director, acknowledged the goals are a “stretch.”

But, clearly, achievement of those targets would still leave a massive amount of need, as assessments of regional homelessness suggest that even during the dead of winter — the down season for transient travel to the area — about 600 people are unhoused in Boulder County.

In Boulder and Longmont, the issue is highly visible, primarily with single homeless adults in the two cities’ respective downtowns. The majority of the homeless services in the county, and the only overnight shelters, are in those two cities. 


STOP ACCEPTING TRANSIENTS FROM OUTSIDE OF BOULDER COUNTY FOR SHELTER / SERVICES! Really, it’s that simple; I believe that adequate housing solutions can be found for ALL of our local homeless residents — defined as those with a valid photo ID showing a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency. It seems likely that over half of those seeking aid of all kinds are from elsewhere, so hand them bus tickets on RTD to Denver and sack lunches to-go. Then, embrace the truly progressive concept of inexpensive Tiny Homes. Finally, understand that a small percentage of homeless people will NEVER want to live as society would like them to — these are the folks who require a minimal level of emergency shelter / services during wintertime.

See what’s happening in Madison, WI — just one example among many cities in America which are leaving Boulder, CO in their dust:

One year in, Madison’s village of tiny houses wins over many neighborhood critics.

— MRW 

‘Homeless man found dead in unincorporated Boulder County’

Read the report in the Daily Camera here (I presume updates with more details will be on the same link). Copied below:

Just after 8 a.m. [Sunday], officers responded to a report of a man found dead in the 5000 block of 28th St. in unincorporated Boulder County.

The 59-year-old homeless man was found behind an unoccupied building, according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

The death does not appear suspicious, according to the sheriff’s office, which is investigating the death along with the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.

The man’s name is being withheld pending notification of relatives and the completion of the investigation.


I knew this man. Recently, he’d been walking over to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless from his campsite — just a stone’s throw away from mine — every morning before the doors open at 6AM. When I returned to the 4900 block of N. Broadway yesterday morning, I saw the BCSO deputies and what looked like it could have been the coroner’s van parked at the vacant house on the other side of U.S. 36; I immediately knew that someone had died over there, and I guessed who it was based on his history of seizures (at least twice each month during our acquaintance since last October).

I admired J. because he never hesitated to call it as he saw it — despite being a short, skinny guy. He’d tell some transient knucklehead right to his face, “You’re a f***ing idiot!” if that was what the situation called for . . . After all, Boulder is full of misguided do-gooders telling these scurvy characters how great they are and how much they’re entitled to grab for free. I felt like J. was a kindred spirit of mine, and I shall miss him.

BTW, kudos to the DC for using the term “homeless man” in the headline rather then lumping J. in with the transients who come here and cause almost all of the problems we’re facing with homelessness today. He and I and so many of the rest of us homeless people are residents of Boulder County, even if we live outdoors here.

When my time comes, I hope I’ll also die outdoors as a free man.

SCAM ALERT: “Homeless Vet Dying of Lung Cancer Needs Help”

Originally published on 7/1/2013 — Mr. Grant is long gone from our city, but there are others like him still here.


By Max R. Weller

I first posted about this scam on November 27th, 2012 in a piece entitled Panhandler alert: he’s neither disabled nor a vet.

Now, Richard Grant a.k.a. [Denver] King is flying a new sign, the wording of which is the title of this post. It’s the same old scam, however.

I discovered this on Saturday, as I was relaxing in the shade near the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36, reading and watching the world go by. I felt no need to play the role of humble beggar (nor did I do so yesterday). I wondered why Mr. Grant was out there for about six hours during the course of the day, however, since he never makes even half as much as the minimum hourly wage he could earn by flipping burgers at any greasy spoon restaurant. So, after I’d set up my nearby campsite…

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Transient Migration exhausts Boulder Shelter’s supply of Red Cross disaster blankets

Blankets are a 30/70 blend of recycled wool and man-made fibers

A notice was posted on the north door of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless when I arrived there before 6AM this morning, to the effect that no more disaster blankets would be available for those sleeping outside for the rest of the summer. No mention was made as to whether these cheap but warm blankets (which wear out quickly and can’t be washed) would again be distributed this coming winter season at BSH (October through April).

It’s unfortunate that so many transients will obtain one or more blankets, then throw them away after a single night’s use; you can find them in ditches, on sidewalks, underneath bushes and trees, and littering open fields. The blankets, I mean . . .


Residents of other cities in Boulder County react to Mayor Suzanne Jones:

Excerpt from the Daily Camera — 

Several council members expressed a desire to pressure surrounding communities that they alleged ignore the issue of regional homelessness. The council was pleased with Longmont’s outlook, but criticized other county communities for their collective lack of involvement in serving, transitioning and then housing the homeless.

“We need to get them on board,” Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said. “This is a regional issue.”

Mayor Suzanne Jones, whose sister, Elise Jones, is a county commissioner, wondered aloud whether Boulder County officials might not “compel participation” from neighboring communities through withheld funds, or other punitive actions.

“I think it’s time to think about leverage,” Jones added.

A random sampling of the reactions of residents in other cities (besides Longmont) follows:

Okay, the dog is a ringer, but you get the point . . .


(This post e-mailed to Boulder City Council.) 

‘Stopping smartphone zombie children’

Read the editorial from the Dallas Morning News and picked up by the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:

A Denver dad says smartphones turned his two youngest sons into zombies. So he turned himself into a crusader.

Timothy Farnum, an anesthesiologist, wants Colorado to be the first state to ban smartphone sales to children younger than 13, and he already has plenty of parents on board. The behavior of his boys, ages 10 and 11, underwent striking changes when they got phones.

They became withdrawn, distracted, disinterested in playing outdoors. When he tried to take the phones away, Farnum told CNN, one of his previously easygoing sons showed symptoms that looked alarmingly like drug withdrawal: “He was very addicted to this little machine. It kind of scared me.”

Parents face an everyday challenge in trying to sort out the rapid-fire changes mobile technology is making in American life. How much is too much? Does early mastery of technology give kids a competitive edge later on? If electronic content is labeled “educational,” does it help or hinder?

All valid questions, all slowly being sorted out by pediatric experts. Their short answer: Media are inescapable for children growing up today, and it’s up to parents to be careful and vigilant regulators.

Farnum’s initiative, which would require retailers to ask pointed questions of shoppers about who will use new phones and maintain exhaustive records, is a long shot, and he admits as much. He hopes, he says, to at least get parents to examine current scientific studies on the effects of screen time on young children and teens to better enable them to set guidelines for their own families.

Such studies abound with cautionary messages: Excessive media exposure, especially for younger children, can interfere with sleep, hinder social development and discourage physical activity.

A study presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting found a direct correlation between hand-held electronic media exposure and delayed speech in very young children. And that’s already a problem: According to the recent study, a survey conducted at children’s 18-month checkups found one parent in five said their child was already exposed to at least a half-hour of screen time daily.

A columnist for Psychology Today explains it this way: A child hearing a story read by a parent visualizes the action taking place, interacts with the reader, and begins to link printed words with language. A child watching a video is passive, yet comes to expect constant stimulation: “The device does the thinking for them … their own cognitive muscles remain weak.”

Being a parent is no easy business; runaway technology often rockets beyond the research. But the research in this area is emerging with a consistent message: Too much mobile media exposure is a problem for our kids. Farnum reports that once he pried the smartphones away from his boys, they reconnected with such basic childhood pleasures as playing outdoors and reading.

Those are experiences all children need. It’s up to us to make sure they get them.

— Dallas Morning News


Caveat: I don’t have kids. But, I have to wonder why kids as young as 10 and 11 need a [dumbass]phone at all — what, if anything, am I missing here?