December 29, 2022
Thanks for the memories, 2022; what’s next, 2023?
Salish Current editors

Salish Current spent another year throughout 2022 digging deep into the issues that matter to our region in health, public safety, education, environment, business, governance and community. Revisit some of those stories … including the challenge of a child care shortage and how Whatcom County voters dealt with that. Stay with us in 2023 for another year of fact-based, in-depth reporting that builds the trust necessary to navigate the vast sea of information that surrounds us. (Courtesy photo)

December 29, 2022
Thanks for the memories, 2022; what’s next, 2023?
Salish Current editors

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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

Students have joined other members of their communities throughout the country in protests against gun violence since the wave began 23 years ago. In July, the Bellingham March for Our Lives echoed messages from similar events such as this 2018 rally. (Image courtesy Ginny Broadhurst)

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

Education

Marking Treaty Day, a Children of the Setting Sun Productions video, provides historical perspective on the Point Elliott Treaty, an agreement between sovereign Indigenous nations and the U.S. government. (CSSP image)

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

Nature

A Southern Resident killer whale calf breaches alongside a pod-mate in the Puget Sound. These icons of the Northwest are endangered, their population is in decline and their chances of recovery are unsure. (Courtesy Brad Hanson, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center)

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

Business

A new generation is dedicated to learning the business, science and art of farming, to feed the nation — even as they face the challenge of finding affordable farmland. (Kai Uyehara / Salish Current photo © 2022)

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

Community

As unhoused people cope with winter cold, housing insecurity and difficulty accessing the most basic of amenities, advocates and elected officials work on planning long-term solutions. (Noah Harper / Salish Current photo © 2022)

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

Governance

Mailers produced by candidates, political parties and political action committees (PACs) in support of and against candidates have begun to arrive in 42nd Legislative District mailboxes. How accurate are their claims? In pursuit of the truth, Salish Current staff have fact-checked some of the statements. (Salish Current image © 2022)

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

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