Commerce, Culture

Sumas, border town of boom and bust, stays hopeful

April 21, 2021
The main thoroughfare through Sumas on its way to the Canadian border isn’t seeing much traffic since the COVID-19 pandemic forced closure of the border crossing to all but essential traffic. Although the town is home to 1,700 people and still growing, closed gas stations, empty storefronts and a lack of grocery stores give the impression of a town in decline.
Matt Benoit
photo: Matt Benoit © 2021
Public Health

Pandemic job loss, quarantine, anxieties fuel opioid use surge

April 16, 2021
The physical and emotional toll wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures has been accompanied by an increase in opioid use and related deaths over the past year — after five years of decline — in Washington state. At the same time, use of even more dangerous synthetic opioids is becoming more prevalent, making the increased use even more hazardous.
Heather Spaulding
photo: Amy Nelson © 2021
Public Health, Social Justice

Caught in a web of causes: homelessness hits harder than ever

April 16, 2021
The growing presence of unhoused individuals and their expanding footprint into residential neighborhoods has shocked and bewildered others in the community, while the urgency of the problem threatens to distract from understanding the underlying realities perpetuating this crisis.
Rowan Forsythe
photo: Rowan Forsythe © 2021
Commerce, Governance, Natural Resources

North Fork Nooksack Forest project: thinning for habitat or harvesting for profit?

April 8, 2021
Following the comment period on a draft Environmental Assessment of a proposal to cut trees and manage vegetation to improve habitat and stand conditions and to harvest timber in the North Fork Nooksack area, next steps are up to Forest Service project managers.
Alex Meacham
Governance, Recreation

Skaters, business, Port collaborate for Bellingham waterfront skate park

April 2, 2021
A local business owner and rag-tag group of skaters have cleaned up an abandoned parking lot under the Chestnut Street bridge on the Bellingham waterfront with the goal of establishing a skatepark, as the City and Port of Bellingham look at expanding the area’s current agreement to include that use.
Jack Finley
photo: Jack Finley © 2021
Culture, Education, Social Justice

Books under scrutiny: censorship and cancel culture in a changing society

April 1, 2021
In a time of massive reevaluation of once widely accepted tropes, celebrities have been called out for past insensitivities and much worse, schools renamed and statues toppled. But what does it mean when books are brought into the discussion?
Ella Banken
Education, Public Health, Recreation

‘Crazy’ high school sports seasons arrive … better late than never

March 26, 2021
High school athletics have finally returned in Whatcom County after being delayed through the first half of academic calendars by COVID-19 restrictions.
Matt Benoit
photo: Matt Benoit © 2021
Community Voices, Governance, Social Justice

Community Voices / Clyde Ford on speaking up and raising eyebrows

March 25, 2021
Change happens when you speak up, and speak out. Drawing the attention of politicians and ordinary citizens to the need for change often helps bring it about … to shine light on the work that remains to be done in this great state, particularly with regard to racial equity and social justice.
Clyde Ford
Commerce, Editor’s Desk, Governance, Natural Resources, Public Health

From the Editor’s Desk / Readers respond to why the San Juans need a rescue tug

March 19, 2021
Lopez Island readers of the article “Rescue tug stationed in islands is best bet to avoid oil spills in San Juan-Gulf waters, study says” responded to the article’s posting in Lopez Rocks.
Mike Sato
Agriculture, Commerce, Governance, Natural Resources

A next step to resolve Nooksack water rights waits on legislative budget decision

March 19, 2021
The state Department of Ecology has announced its intent to resolve the contentious issues around water rights in the Nooksack Basin through the legal action of adjudication, and money to move that process forward is proposed in the budget under consideration by the Legislature.
Alex Meacham
photo: Amy Nelson © 2021
Commerce, Governance, Natural Resources, Recreation

Rescue tug stationed in islands is best bet to avoid oil spills in San Juan – Gulf waters, study says

March 12, 2021
With increased vessel traffic around the San Juan Islands, some worry that the risk of oil spills may be rising as well. A new study makes the case that an emergency response tug stationed in the islands would be money well-spent.
Kimberly Cauvel
photo: Monika Wieland Shields © 2015
Natural Resources

Removal of birdseed feeders advised to stem rising salmonellosis deaths

March 7, 2021
Recently, wild birds have been dying at a higher rate, and birdseed feeders are being blamed. A state advisory asks people to take down birdseed feeders until April 1 to protect pine siskins and other birds.
Ella Banken
photo: Alan Fritzberg © 2021
Community Voices, Culture, Editor’s Desk, Public Health

From the Editor’s Desk / Young adults weigh risks in choosing to mask, distance in COVID-19 fight

March 6, 2021
To help stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, young adults are making choices that range from the hard decision to curtail visits home to see family, to feeling safely unmasked with family or select friends.
Salish Current readers

In Whatcom’s 42nd Legislative District, a series of changes is turning election tides

March 3, 2021
Gains in voter support made by local Democrats in recent years may be due to demographic shifts caused by a wide variety of trends in who lives here, how they work and how each political party gets its messages out.
Matt Benoit
Education, Public Health

Masked young adults key to beating COVID in the long term

February 26, 2021
With the number of COVID-19 cases in Whatcom County spiking among young adults, the county council has approved a public awareness campaign to influence young adults to adopt safer COVID-19 behaviors and help end the pandemic.
Alex Meacham
Education, Governance, Public Health

Internet connectivity has improved in Whatcom County, but many gaps remain

February 25, 2021
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many more students in Whatcom County are able to connect to the internet for remote learning, thanks to communitywide efforts, particularly in rural communities with limited or no internet options. Still, a clear digital divide remains.
Jacqueline Allison