Governance, Social Justice

‘Defund the police’ movement drives Whatcom racial justice discussions

August 14, 2020
Local activists are advocating for a 50% reduction in the Bellingham Police Department budget, even as BPD says it could use more resources for meeting the calls it routinely answers now — including a large number related to behavioral health and social welfare. While reformers would like to see change soon, community-wide conversations are just beginning, and the eventual direction and pace of change are as yet unknown.
Alex Meacham
photo: Mike Sato © 2020
Agriculture, Commerce, Public Health

Farming is more challenging than ever during the pandemic

August 7, 2020
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, farms are facing more challenges than ever during the busy season, with their workers among the most vulnerable to the virus and produce reaching fewer buyers through usual markets, festivals and tourism outlets.
Kimberly Cauvel
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Governance, Transportation

‘A very complex issue’: Ramel gives update on San Juan Islands ferry delays

August 5, 2020
The state-run ferry system linking Salish Sea communities has remained on a three-vessel winter schedule due to lower travel volume. As vehicle traffic has increased over the summer and loading and unloading times have taken longer, the result has been hour-long delays by the afternoon and evening.
Mike Sato
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Education, Public Health

Local schools seek parent, student feedback before announcing fall plans

August 2, 2020
As fall school start dates approach, many local districts are waiting to release detailed back-to-school plans amid uncertain COVID-19 health concerns.
Genevieve Iverson
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Culture, Public Health

Local music plays on — differently — with stages dark during pandemic

July 31, 2020
For performers and proprietors with fully booked schedules from outdoor concert series and private weddings to indoor venues, the COVID-19 pandemic struck suddenly in March, indefinitely altering the lives of anyone associated with live entertainment.
Matt Benoit
photo: Matt Benoit © 2020
Commerce, Governance

No Whatcom vote this November on increase in Port commission members

July 24, 2020
Port of Bellingham commissioners took no action at their July 14 meeting on allowing Whatcom County voters to decide whether to expand the commission to five members from the current three, effectively closing the issue for now.
Mike Sato
photo: Amy Nelson © 2019

Port, County race to bridge Whatcom’s digital divide

July 23, 2020
The COVID-19 shutdown of businesses and schools revealed a stark digital divide as many local businesses and households faced working, teaching and learning at home whether equipped and ready, or not.
Mike Sato
photo: Lane Morgan © 2020

Ballots in the mail July 15, primary vote Aug. 4

July 17, 2020
The primary election clock today started its three-week countdown to primary election day, Aug. 4. Washington voters are able to stay safe by voting by mail during COVID-19 times, as always, so there should be no excuse for not exercising one’s most powerful citizen’s right: voting.
Mike Sato
photo: League of Women Voters Skagit © 2020
Culture, Education, Public Health

Fate of fall sports remains uncertain in haze of COVID-19 pandemic

July 17, 2020
After a spring of no sports for students across the region, summer is giving school districts a chance to plan for what may happen come fall.
Matt Benoit
photo: Matt Benoit © 2020
Culture, Governance, Public Health

Former Public Market on fast track for refit as emergency shelter

July 9, 2020
The City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and Lighthouse Mission Ministries are working to meet a July 15 deadline for refurbishing the former Public Market building at 1530 Cornwall Avenue into a “Base Camp” facility that can provide adequate care for area residents needing housing that enables following social distancing guidelines.
Max Brunt
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Commerce, Transportation

Necessary travel: ferries’ winter schedule in summer brings travel delays for locals, visitors in San Juans

July 3, 2020
Currently, several COVID-shutdown related factors require WSF to continue running on a limited schedule even as summer travel increases, creating travel delays and raising as-yet unanswerable questions about when things may change.
Genevieve Iverson
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Commerce, Governance, Natural Resources

More scrutiny sought on proposed logging around North Fork near Glacier

June 26, 2020
The U.S. Forest Service has proposed logging about 5,700 acres near the North Fork of the Nooksack River around Glacier, Canyon and Wells creeks. Called the North Fork Nooksack Vegetation Management Project, the proposal focuses on the timber harvest part of the Forest Service’s multiuse mandate. That puts it at odds with the priorities of some conservation groups, and it is being met with requests for further evaluation.
Alex Meacham
photo: Tony Angell © 2020
Commerce, Governance, Natural Resources, Social Justice

Solidarity rally, Cornwall landfill, Cherry Point occupy local officials during the week ending June 12

June 11, 2020
City officials praised organizers and participants of Bellingham’s Peaceful Solidarity Rally on June 6 at Maritime Heritage Park, in one of several local government meetings last week.
Mike Sato
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Natural Resources

New oil spill response base in Friday Harbor will address present — and growing — threat

June 5, 2020
A new response base to be built on San Juan Island will amp up the Islands Oil Spill Association’s prevention capabilities — all the more vital because local small-spill threats are not likely to get response from elsewhere.
Genevieve Iverson
photo: Islands Oil Spill Association © 2020
Community Voices, Culture, Public Health

Community Voices / The coronavirus pandemic adds new twists to the ‘good death’

June 4, 2020
In our time of pandemic, the hackneyed phrase, “a good death,” has come to have new meaning and, yes, a new life.
Floyd McKay
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Community Voices, Culture, Education

Community Voices / Busier-than-ever librarians connect people with books, job ads, even food during COVID shutdown

May 29, 2020
Whatcom County libraries have been closed to the public for over two months now. Despite the closures, staff have been busier than ever, working from home and pitching in wherever possible to provide services to the public.
Christine Perkins
photo: Whatcom County Library System © 2020