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

January 13, 2022
Matt Benoit and Mike Sato

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.

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

January 7, 2022
40th and 42nd District Legislators

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.

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Vigil calls for more urgency to save endangered salmon, orcas

November 22, 2021
Jacqueline Allison

A vigil in support of endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest drew environmental advocates and members of the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe to the Bellingham waterfront on Nov. 20. The event commemorated the 30th anniversary of the original declaration of Snake River sockeye salmon as endangered, and was held in conjunction with several similar events around the region.

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Not taking it: the hows and whys of religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement

November 19, 2021
Matt Benoit

With some employees seeking religious or medical exemption from the state’s COVID-19 mandate, employers and workers both have continued to adapt over the past month to how that plays out in the workplace. Receiving a medical exemption is often relatively straightforward, but religious exemptions are less so, in the application and the approval processes.

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Housing and growth issues surround Skagit County consideration of ‘fully contained community’ proposal

November 18, 2021
Lauren Gallup

Mostly rural Skagit County — with a population density about half of Whatcom County to the north and one-sixth of Snohomish County to the south — has a big-county problem: housing. Planners are looking at solutions including a comp plan amendment to allow “fully contained communities,” or FCCs, to create urban villages in currently rural zones.

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On the street and in the forum: tackling homelessness with meaningful solutions

November 12, 2021
Mallory Biggar

The complex and urgent problem of homelessness has been the focus of academics and policy makers as well as people with a firsthand knowledge of the experience, in two separate gatherings recently in Bellingham — and activists say that those most affected should be involved in creating solutions.

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Community Voices / The loudest jets in the quietest park: How Growlers invaded the Olympics

November 4, 2021
Karen Sullivan

It’s good to take a rational look at how we came to have an electronic warfare training range for the loudest jets on the planet over the quietest national park in the lower 48, writes a Community Voices commentator.

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Whatcom County to consider climate change goals in delay of natural gas franchise renewal

October 28, 2021
Mallory Biggar

The Whatcom County Council voted to reschedule until early January a decision renewing a franchise agreement with Cascade Natural Gas, following testimony by climate activists regarding the franchise’s effect on climate change goals — and after spirited discussion among council members.

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Voters to have their say — amid controversy — on San Juan County charter amendments

October 28, 2021
Heather Spaulding

San Juan County voters will have had their say by Nov. 2 on hotly debated amendments to their charter proposed by the Charter Review Commission. The amendments have raised controversy, with one group launching a campaign encouraging voters to reject all the proposals.

 

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Election 2021: Addressing homelessness is priority for city, county candidates — and there’s agreement on how to do so

October 14, 2021
Lauren Gallup

Candidates for Bellingham city and Whatcom County councils share concern that there are not enough options for people living unhoused in the area, and incumbents and challengers both say they want to do more to address the housing crisis.

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Election 2021: Parties aim to influence Port elections; candidates embrace nonpartisanship

October 13, 2021
Ralph Schwartz

Port of Bellingham commission seats are nonpartisan, but that doesn’t mean the political parties aren’t trying to sway the outcomes of this year’s elections with endorsements and campaign funding support.

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‘Where’s the ferry?’ islanders ask as crew shortages stymie scheduled sailings

October 12, 2021
Heather Spaulding

In San Juan County, where ferry service is an integral part of the state highway system, recent cancellations of ferry sailings related to crew shortages have resulted in some residents unable to get home, to work or to doctor appointments, and have delayed arrival of groceries and other vital supplies.

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Election 2021: Candidates vie to drive the engine of Whatcom County’s economic development

October 8, 2021
Ralph Schwartz

Two of three commissioner positions for the Port of Bellingham — the county’s economic engine — are up for election on the Nov. 2 ballot. Along with speaking to the issues, candidates have found they need to explain the job’s impact whenever they knock on voters’ doors.

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Election 2021: Grassroots effort puts four People First Bellingham initiatives before voters

October 7, 2021
Ella Banken

Bellingham voters will determine in the November election whether they want to live in a city with expanded protection for renters’ rights, where police can’t use invasive technology, where the right to unionize is protected and where hourly workers’ compensation is protected when they vote on four initiatives promoted by People First Bellingham.

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Election 2021: City, county candidates vary on police reform needs, approaches

October 7, 2021
Stella Harvey

Urgency around police reform and public safety has not brought people to the streets this year, but voters in Bellingham and Whatcom County have the opportunity to weigh in on what approach their local officials should take when it comes to local policing and public safety.

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Community Voices / Voting is what constructs a democracy: be a voter

September 30, 2021
Robin Bailey

Voting is what constructs a democracy, and elections have consequences, with decisions made at the local level having direct effects around planning, housing, police, fire, parks, transportation and public works. People vote to make changes they think are necessary by putting people in office or by voting for or against issues.

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