‘Verge of collapse’: Washington public defenders swamped by cases
The pandemic worsened persistent challenges for public defenders — rising caseloads, growing trial backlogs and increasing departures — and for defendants.
Racial equity commission picks up speed toward March milestone
With slightly more than three months remaining, a deadline nears to hire an executive director and filling the long-anticipated commission.
Permission to work boosts local refugees in resettlement
Court decision accelerates process of securing work for Afghan and Ukraine “humanitarian parolees.”
Jail needs to change, community agrees; but how?
An advisory committee for the Justice Project aims to ensure that voters’ priorities are considered in the next Whatcom County Jail ballot measure.
Changing names to step out of a racist shadow
Legacy, racism and inclusivity are at the core of the discussion in decisions to remove name dedications from the titles of institutions.
Faith-based Lynden group works for racial unity
Racial tensions in Lynden in 2020 galvanized the formation of a group working to build bridges between communities and cultures.
New safe-space resource center would assist immigrants
Bellingham’s Immigration Advisory Board is recommending a new resource center to assist immigrants in finding and accessing essential services.
Transformative power of uplifting diversity is at work in Whatcom
Positive images of contributions made by BIPOC members of the community are needed to transform negative stereotypes, asserts the lead planner of an event designed to do just that.
Voting for a judge: does it matter?
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.
Review: ‘Of Blood and Sweat’ traces role of Black labor in building white wealth and power
Bellingham author Clyde Ford meshes storytelling talents with meticulous skills as a historian in tracing how Black labor built the structures and systems creating white wealth and power, notes “Of Blood and Sweat” reviewer.
Leaning into ‘treatment over punishment’: jail diversion programs show potential
Amid calls to reform policing and criminal justice — and an aging, crowded jail — Whatcom officials, residents and law officers are looking to diversion programs for detainees with serious mental health or substance abuse issues.
Refugee resettlement in Whatcom works to meet growing needs
In barely six months of existence, the Whatcom County office of World Relief Western Washington has assisted 30 Afghan refugees in building new lives — and its staff expect to resettle 75 more refugees by September.
Community Voices / MLK Day in Bellingham: looking backward, stepping forward
Community organizers of Bellingham’s 30-plus-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. Day event are refocusing this year from an in-person gathering to a call for voting rights action — and asking the community to urge Bellingham officials to commit to support for the community-based observance going forward.
Editor’s Desk / Readers respond to NewsMatch challenge
Salish Current is not done fundraising for matching funds yet; we still have a few thousand dollars more to raise — but we’ve come a long way with the votes of confidence cast by donors in our Publisher’s Circle. The Circle’s grown and shows the breadth and depth of support from readers in Whatcom, San Juan and Skagit counties.
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.
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.