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Culture

Paradise full: Finding space to rest at Lopez Island cemetery

January 18, 2022
At 140 years old, pastorally situated Lopez Union Cemetery is encountering high demand — but running out of space. Managers are looking to ground-penetrating radar technology to help determine just how much space is available in the nonprofit cemetery, and considering other options as well.
Gretchen K. Wing
Transportation

Ferry delays are beyond inconvenience, islanders stress at community meeting

January 14, 2022
Islanders gave Washington State Ferries staff an earful at a community meeting about how disruptions on the San Juan-Anacortes ferry route hamper access to healthcare, education, jobs, supplies and families. With COVID-19, freezing weather and crew shortages, ferry riders have endured a chaotic year and want to know what the state will do to improve the situation.
Heather Spaulding
Governance

Youth has its day and its say in 42nd District Senate vacancy vote

January 13, 2022
In a special meeting Jan. 11, the Whatcom County Council appointed Simon Sefzik as the newest — and youngest on record — member to serve in the Washington State Senate, filling the vacant 42nd District seat of the late Sen. Doug Ericksen.
Matt Benoit and Mike Sato
Social Justice

Community Voices / MLK Day in Bellingham: looking backward, stepping forward

January 10, 2022
Community organizers of Bellingham’s 30-plus-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. Day event are refocusing this year from an in-person gathering to a call for voting rights action — and asking the community to urge Bellingham officials to commit to support for the community-based observance going forward.
Clyde W. Ford
Housing

Housing pressures spark new look at inclusionary zoning

January 7, 2022
Inclusionary zoning policies that either incentivize or require developers to include some units in construction projects that qualify as affordable housing are being reexamined as a way to provide much-needed affordable housing in Bellingham.
Lauren Gallup
Governance

For the people: what local legislators plan for the 2022 session

January 7, 2022
Dealing with climate change, providing economic relief post-COVID-19 and ensuring sustainability for the Washington State Ferries system made the priority lists of elected officials returning to take care of the people’s business when the 2022 session opens Jan. 10.
40th and 42nd District Legislators
Agriculture

Community Voices / Nooksack flood, water solutions to protect families, fish and farms will require collaboration

January 5, 2022
Whatcom farmers are calling for communitywide collaboration in pursuing solutions to flooding and water supply issues in the Nooksack River Basin.
Rich Appel
Culture

2021: A look back at some stories from the first full year of Salish Current

December 31, 2021
2021 was a year like no other, with themes such as public health vis-à-vis COVID-19 and opioid addiction; social justice in the courts, the arts, housing and policing; and climate change and natural resources including water rights management. Salish Current offers a look back via articles published during the nonprofit newsroom’s first full year.
Salish Current editors
Community Voices, Culture, Recreation

What’s life without a future?

December 30, 2021
What awaits us in the new year? Salish Current asked our readers and writers to take us there by sharing one thing they look forward to doing in 2022.
Salish Current readers
Commerce

21st century evolves from setbacks to optimism for developer David Syre

December 23, 2021
Despite success in the 1980s and 1990s, Whatcom County real estate developer David Syre and the company he founded faced setbacks at the turn of the new century. These days, he looks forward to countering misinformation through a local news project.
Matt Benoit
Agriculture

Whatcom farmers face manure management challenges after flooding

December 22, 2021
Flooding in Whatcom and Skagit counties in November put major stress on local dairies, including lost animals and lost revenues for some. Now there’s another hurdle: With storage lagoons overtopping, where can they store all that manure? Farmers and county and state agencies are stepping up to the challenge, to prevent pollution downstream and restore infrastructure.
Lauren Gallup
Commerce

Half a century on, Syre influence continues in Whatcom County

December 17, 2021
Local real estate developer David Syre was a driving force behind some of the most high-profile Whatcom County construction over the last 40 years. His vision evoked both applause and dismay, not only locally, but from Alaska’s Kodiak Island to the tip of South America. Now spending his time primarily as a painter and philanthropist, Syre has turned his focus back on Whatcom County.
Matt Benoit
Commerce

Growth in local cannabis business amplifies challenges as well as revenues

December 16, 2021
Cannabis industries in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties have experienced a large increase in both revenue for retailers and excise tax proceeds for governments over the past two years. But sales growth means competition for supplies and workspace, and smaller, more locally based businesses are struggling to keep a foothold among the bigger players.
Kenneth Duncan
Agriculture, Climate, Recreation, Water Supply

Community Voices / Is time running out? Streamflow trends in the Nooksack watershed

December 15, 2021
Given the high volume of rain and flooding during the past few weeks, it may seem strange to talk about water scarcity in the Nooksack River system. Although the watershed has ample water in the winter (often too much water), it holds too little in the summer to support healthy salmon. Complicating the water supply issue are the adverse effects of climate change.
Eric Hirst
Natural Resources

Talking turkey in the San Juans: strutting the line between welcome wildlife and pest

December 10, 2021
The American wild turkey, introduced for hunting in the San Juan Islands around 1980, seems to have learned well how to live near humans — to the extent of unwelcome encroachment, in the minds of some. Given mixed responses in human-dominated environs, what makes a wild creature a charming neighbor to some and a pest to others?
Gretchen K. Wing
Public Health

Eldercare crisis inspires ‘life-changing’ innovation on San Juan Island

December 10, 2021
Faced with a looming crisis in long-term eldercare, voters approved a tax increase levy for San Juan Island Hospital District 1 to buy the Village at the Harbor, a privately owned assisted-living center in Friday Harbor. The hospital district’s innovative solution — one of few similar programs in the country — could provide a new model for assisted living.
Heather Spaulding