Vaccine mandate becoming latest COVID ‘new normal’ for work or play
As the Delta variant of COVID-19 ravages the unvaccinated population, killing some and filling hospitals, public, private, and government entities have renewed masking mandates, and more are enacting vaccination mandates and requiring proof of testing to stamp out the virus from places of both work and play.
Police, mental health workers face challenge, confusion with new use-of-force law
House Bill 1310 established new rules about use of force by police when it took effect in Washington last month, and law enforcement and social service agencies continue to grapple with confusion related to challenges to the new law.
Community Voices / San Juan County to vote on climate, environment, equity, justice amendments to county charter
Priority for climate and environment; justice, equity and inclusion; and an emphasis on citizen engagement are driving proposals the San Juan County Charter Review Commission has advanced for the November ballot. The commission is continuing its work and plans to submit additional propositions for the 2022 ballot.
Community Voices / New police laws will make our communities safer
In response to “a clear call” for reforms in criminal justice and police accountability, Washington’s state legislature responded with several new laws. Now, 40th District legislators say they believe there has been some misinterpretation of the new laws, and hope that lawmakers and law enforcement agencies will continue to work to implement the new laws in good faith.
Homelessness, fossil fuels, food deserts: primary candidates face the issues in Bellingham, Whatcom forums
Candidates in the 2021 primary election for Bellingham city and Whatcom county council positions answered questions on topics from homelessness to fossil fuel in forums hosted by he League of Women Voters of Bellingham-Whatcom County.
Years in the making, amendments ban new coal or oil industries, new shipping terminals at Cherry Point
No new oil- or coal-based industries will be allowed at Cherry Point west of Ferndale under Whatcom County’s latest — and groundbreaking — Comprehensive Plan amendments, following a unanimous vote by the county council.
People’s choice: renter protections, police tech, workers’ rights initiatives make November ballot
After a major volunteer-led effort, four initiatives presented by People First Bellingham received enough verified signatures to be on November’s ballot, even as some city council members expressed concern potential legal challenges the initiatives may present.
Whatcom council axes young adult social media COVID campaign despite vaccination success
In January, Whatcom County began an awareness campaign to engage young adults with information about COVID-19 safety. On June 29, a tie vote by the county council nixed an extension of the campaign.
Clock starts on Nooksack basin water rights inventory; stakeholders yet to discuss solutions
Weeks of sparse rainfall and a historic heat wave marked the end of June — and the start of a process to establish water rights among various users in Whatcom County’s Nooksack River basin.
Search for new police chief surfaces questions about transparency and the public’s role
As the City of Bellingham, city council and the newly formed Racial Equity Commission seek to address systemic racism in and out of policing, some community members looking to engage in the selection process for a new police chief in good faith have raised questions about the city’s commitment to transparency.
Efficiency, diversity, integrity: how many port commissioners to best serve Whatcom County?
As Whatcom County voters prepare to assess candidates vying for two of three seats on the Port of Bellingham Board of Commissioners and four of seven county council positions, some are once again raising the question of whether the area would be better served by a larger port board.
As gun death rates rise in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties, state refocuses to public health approach
With the number of gun deaths in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties on the rise and outpacing statewide trends, policy and law makers are stressing public health-focused solutions that could be more effective in prevention than legal tactics.
From the Editor’s Desk / One year old and changing life for the better
Nonprofit local news organization Salish Current is celebrating its one-year anniversary of incorporation on June 5, and continuing on its mission to fill gaps in covering vital news and provide a forum for civil discourse in Whatcom, San Juan and Skagit counties.
Major funding, new policies aim to provide ‘basic necessity’ of broadband
State legislators approved a record $411 million in the capital budget this session to expand high-speed internet across the state, in particular in communities with limited or zero connectivity.
House of Tears Carvers visit Bellingham with totem pole bound for DC
Several hundred people in Bellingham visited a totem pole created by Lummi carvers from a 400-year-old cedar log — the latest stop in the Red Road to D.C. tour of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere across the U.S. toward its final destination in Washington, D.C.