Managing waste: what’s in your bins?
China’s 2018 steps back in accepting the world’s throw-aways have resulted in better local systems for managing our millions of tons of waste and recyclables—but more needs to be done.
Masks off, vaxxed, ready to go out … what’s next with COVID-19?
Washington residents won’t be required to wear masks inside many public areas starting March 12. But experts advise not to throw out those masks yet and caution that vulnerable groups are still at high risk of infection from COVID-19.
Skagit sheriff-social-worker partnership is a game-changer in mental health calls
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.
Blockbuster year for power outages pushes need to plan
Electrical power was out due to severe weather almost three times more hours in 2021 than in 2020 for customers of one of the state’s largest utilities, prompting some customers to look at fallback plans — and for insights as to how outages are managed.
Hope isn’t a strategy: Bellingham again seeks a new police chief
The City of Bellingham has renewed its search for a new police chief, and aims to choose from a short list of finalists by this summer.
Eldercare crisis inspires ‘life-changing’ innovation on San Juan Island
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.
Businesses open but not ‘as usual’ as pandemic continues to affect restaurant staff, management
Restaurants are open for business but definitely not back to normal, as management and staff work their way through post-pandemic-shutdown changing realities. While federal support dollars helped many owners to carry on and stay in business, the industry is seeing a trend toward workers leaving, prompted by concerns for their physical and mental health as well as newly difficult social interactions in an already stressful work environment.
Devastated after flooding, north Whatcom County moves into recovery mode
Well over 700 homes have been reported damaged in Whatcom County after the area endured three atmospheric rivers in less than three weeks. While cleanup is underway, the impacts on lives and livelihoods will continue for some time.
Not taking it: the hows and whys of religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement
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.
In country, town and city, treatment for drug addiction is urgently needed
Harm reduction programs and collaborations among police, health professionals and society at large pave the pathways to treatment needed by those addicted to drugs, agreed an expert panel at the recent Ralph Munro seminar. Along with looking at why people turn to drugs and how to get them the help they need to overcome addiction, the panel offered ideas as to what’s needed in the way of policy.
On the street and in the forum: tackling homelessness with meaningful solutions
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.
Community Voices / East Whatcom parents say, ‘We want our youth to stay drug-free!’
East Whatcom County parents want their youth to stay drug- and alcohol-free. To that end, the Mount Baker Community Coalition engaged a local teen as a Summer Youth Prevention Fellow in a collaborative effort with alcohol and cannabis retailers, to increase safe storage and reduce youth access to those substances.
The Gardenview Village tiny homes open avenues of hope for those experiencing homelessness
Gardenview Village, a new community of tiny homes located off Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, will include 35 houses to serve unhoused members of the community when complete. The site already is providing homes to some residents since opening in mid-October.
Community Voices / The loudest jets in the quietest park: How Growlers invaded the Olympics
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.
COVID-19 cases highest among 18- to 24-year-olds as students return to campuses
At the same time students were returning to university, community college and technical college campuses that had been closed to in-person instruction for a year and a half — and where full vaccination against COVID-19 is now required — the 18- to 24-year-old age group was reporting the highest number of cases.
Election 2021: Addressing homelessness is priority for city, county candidates — and there’s agreement on how to do so
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.