Salish Current spent another year digging deep into the issues that matter to our region in health, public safety, education, environment, business, governance and community.
Moving forward, we’ll extend fact-based, in-depth reporting to build the trust necessary to navigate the sea of information and its flotsam and jetsam of mis- and disinformation.
Take a look back at some of the stories we reported in 2022 — and get ready for 2023.
Health and Safety
Local journalism is key for healthy communities: forum
March 18, 2022: Local journalism is not optional, but essential, for healthy communities and democracy, asserted speakers in the “Trust 2022” online forumMarch 17 sponsored by Salish Current and Village Books. Two nationally respected journalists and Washington’s attorney general spoke to how local news coverage can help rebuild trust in democratic institutions. — Reported by Clifford Heberden
Skagit sheriff/social-worker partnership is a game-changer in mental health calls
Feb. 4, 2022: A different approach to how first responders in Skagit County address mental health crises is changing the outcome of behavioral health emergencies and helping people stay out of the hospital or jail. — Reported by Lauren Gallup
Schools assess safety protocols after shootings, threats
June 17, 2022: Recent school shootings and threats have renewed concern over safety — and impact on students’ mental health. — Reported by Kenneth Duncan
Some progress but gaps remain in mental health care for Whatcom adolescents
Aug. 24, 2022: Summer services in the Bellingham and Nooksack Valley school districts aimed to fill gaps with a new option this year: mental health therapy. — Reported by Matt Benoit
Schools aim to lessen concussion damage on and off the field
Oct. 14, 2022: Athletes and other students are benefiting from new practices for school districts in assessing and dealing with concussions, although challenges still exist. — Reported by Matt Benoit
Tribal sovereignty education comes — slowly — to school curriculum
May 5, 2022: Public school districts are working with tribes to develop a crucial new curriculum on tribal sovereignty and treaty rights. — Reported by Sarah Reeves
Law into action: teaching sexual inclusivity in school sexual education
May 26, 2022: Local public school districts are preparing to meet new state mandates for teaching about sexuality and gender. — Reported by Lauren Gallup
Confrontations, demands for parents’ rights challenge local school boards
March 4, 2022: Impassioned conversations are occurring nationwide as sometimes-large groups of parents show up at once sparsely attended school board meetings — including in Whatcom County — with local issues including COVID-19 mask mandates, critical race theory and sexual health education. — Reported by Matt Benoit
Will Kennedy decision change the religious landscape in public schools?
Aug. 12, 2022: School officials in Whatcom County say policies regarding religious practices for all parties have not and will not change as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. — Reported by Kai Uyehara
Trust in truth of news is a casualty of the information wars
Nov. 11, 2022: A growing and divisive mistrust of the truthfulness of news media raises serious concerns for the local community and the wider society. — Reported by Matt Benoit
Faith communities ally for climate justice; to hold Sacred Earth Fair
July 28, 2022: A grassroots multifaith network is seeking to increase awareness of — and action to address — climate change issues through its Sacred Earth Fair July 31. — Reported by Clifford Heberden
Rising seas, surging storms put many low-lying areas at risk
Oct. 13, 2022: Sea levels are expected to rise by 1.5 to nearly 2 feet by 2100 along low-lying shorelines around the Salish Sea—including many areas where people live and recreate. — Reported by Kai Uyehara
Devastating wasting illness of influential, iconic sea stars still a mystery
Oct. 21, 2022: Sea star wasting syndrome still threatens area sea stars, but community scientists and researchers are helping to shed light on the mysterious illness. — Reported by Rena Kingery
Dead gray whale: a sign of what’s to come?
June 17, 2022: The emaciated body of a dead gray whale washed up on a Salish Sea beach raises questions about food supply and species survival. — Reported by Cooper Castle
Can Southern Resident killer whales have legal rights?
April 28, 2022: Ecosystem conference: Advocates are promoting “rights of nature” as orca numbers dwindle. — Reported by Olivia Palmer
Intalco restart: can ‘green’ aluminum get ‘clean’ power?
July 21, 2022: Options for a clean-power source are narrowing for a buyout firm with a sustainability ethos that wants to restart and upgrade the Intalco aluminum plant near Ferndale. — Reported by Eric Scigliano
Who will farm to feed the people?
Oct. 28, 2022: Whatcom and Skagit farm centers equip and empower a new generation of farmers. As their predecessors age, farmland prices increase while affordability of land decreases. — Reported by Kai Uyehara
Anacortes toxic city dump one of hundreds dotting the state
Nov. 11, 2022: A landfill for four decades, a site on the edge of a forest in Anacortes is the target of a cleanup plan being negotiated by the City and the Department of Ecology. — Reported by Richard Arlin Walker
Child care shortfall frustrates families, hampers local economy
Sept. 22, 2022: Demand far outstrips the supply of available and affordable child care locally. The problem is multifaceted, as solutions also will need to be: Part 1. — By Matt Benoit and Sadie Fick
Local unionization efforts aim to raise wages, lower burnout
Aug. 12, 2022: Unionization efforts in retail, healthcare and journalism have become more frequent since the pandemic heightened awareness of risks and hazards for workers. — Reported by Matt Benoit
Sylvia Center closure clouds future for local theater
July 7, 2022: Announcement of the closure of Sylvia Center for the Arts — a surprise to many — has prompted questions about the future of local theater. — Reported by Matt Benoit
Moving from tragedy to hope — with clay
Feb. 16, 2022: In the hands of artisan potter Chris Moench, clay becomes “moving sanctuaries” that evoke remembrance of tragedy — and meditations on hope. — Reported by Chris O’Neill
San Juans adopt island-by-island vacation rental cap
May 18, 2022: How much tourism is too much? San Juan County sets a cap on vacation rental permits. — Reported by Nancy DeVaux
Affordable housing — however defined — is in short supply in Skagit County
March 24, 2022: Everyone’s versions of “affordable” housing are in high demand — and short supply — in steadily growing Skagit County. — Reported by Lauren Gallup
Winter shelter solutions lag behind need as unhoused number continues to grow
Feb. 3, 2022: Whatcom County’s unhoused population has seen a steady rise over the past decade, making it hard to plan how to meet shelter and housing needs. But planning — a year or more in advance — is an important part of finding long-term solutions. — Reported by Noah Harper
Voting for a judge: does it matter?
April 21, 2022: A Whatcom District Court judgeship will be contested in the primary for the first time in 24 years — prompting the question of why some judges are elected. — Reported by Matt Benoit
Faith-based Lynden group works for racial unity
July 1, 2022: Racial tensions in Lynden in 2020 galvanized the formation of a group working to build bridges between communities and cultures. — Reported by Clifford Heberden
Women who lead: San Juans to have first all-woman county council
June 28, 2022: San Juan County is on track to have its first all-woman county council next year. — Reported by Nancy DeVaux
What do ‘community policing’ and ‘police reform’ mean … in the islands?
Oct. 28, 2022: Island-style policing in the San Juans may be an embodiment of real police reform — or it may fall victim to changing times. — Reported by Kathryn Wheeler
From the Editor’s Desk: Fact-checking 42nd District campaign mailers
Oct. 21, 2022: Political mailers to 42nd Legislative District addresses — timed to arrive with ballots — carry a variety of assertions and arguments; Salish Current fact-checks the claims. — Reported by Mike Sato and Salish Current Staff