In-person comment is out, for now: local governments adapt to life under COVID
City and county councils and commissions across Washington state are finding new ways to conduct their public meetings since Gov. Jay Inslee issued the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order March 23, requiring local governing bodies to temporarily halt their in-person meetings.
San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom nonprofits refocus to meet basic needs, uncertain future
For the 375,000 people living in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties, community foundations and other nonprofits are adapting to provide the most essential services to people affected by COVID-19 and unemployment. Throughout the region, many organizations are seeing dramatic increases in demand. People need help ranging from mortgage and rent relief to mental health support to deliveries of food and medicine.
The things we do for COVID: iconic local businesses change their ways
At several local companies, trying new things has been essential for keeping dollars coming in and meeting their missions of serving the community.
Community Voices / Kids in the time of COVID
Very few kids would trade being able to see and hang out with friends, participate in football and other sports, go to restaurants now and then, and even go to school every day for being confined at home with their families, all day, every day. But that’s where they are for now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools around Washington state.
Community Voices / Safe on a ‘plague’ ship in the time of COVID-19
Our once-in-a-lifetime, 50th anniversary world cruise was sunk by a coronavirus somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Nobody had COVID-19, but our vessel was treated like a plague ship nonetheless.
Community Voices / Life in the time of COVID-19
We asked Salish Current readers and writers to share their stories about how the COVID-19 virus is affecting them in this time of the evolving “new normal” — virtual coffees and happy hours, worries about the vitality of the arts and cultural sphere, isolation and social-distancing rules, and more.
Virus versus visitors: San Juan residents weigh health risks of tourism amid pandemic
In the San Juan Islands, locals bank on a bustling tourism economy to generate business and provide wages, particularly during the sunny summer months. But with a growing pandemic, islanders, like others in small vacation destinations, are realizing fewer visitors might mean healthier locals.
A wood stove swap-out is helping clear the air in rural Whatcom County
The tree-dense Columbia Valley, flanked by Red Mountain to the east and Sumas Mountain to the west, contains at its center around 1,600 homes. Many rely on wood stoves as a primary heat source. As a result, the valley’s large amount of wood smoke often combines with specific weather conditions to produce the county’s worst air quality.
San Juan Islands’ fresh-water supply sustainability is in question
Back in the ’70s, the Lopez Island water witch and other old-timers would rattle a newcomer’s cage by telling him the water feeding wells in the San Juan Islands came from a large undersea aquifer reaching to Mount Baker. The water witch and the old timers are gone, and the specter of climate crisis is here. No one jokes about fresh water in the islands coming from Mount Baker. Instead, talk is in earnest and concerns the question of sustaining the islands’ supply of fresh water.
Whatcom plans as climate crisis threatens shorelines, homes, livelihoods
The worst impacts of climate change in Whatcom County are yet to come, scientists say. Researchers say that while some changes may seem to be emerging slowly, swift action is needed to curb and prepare for them.Residents are already seeing impacts on the waterfront, air quality and fisheries they treasure.
Grassroots groups work to save habitat, keep streams cool for Nooksack salmon
As local streams get less water from lower snowpacks and grow warmer during hotter summers, some local grassroots organizations are working to reverse or soften the damage to habitat and the fish that rely on colder water.