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Community Voices

City of Bellingham police chief hiring process — success or flop?

April 14, 2022
A local civic action group is hoping Bellingham’s next police chief will work to strengthen community cohesion and be transparent and accountable to the public.
Riveters Collective Justice System Committee
Social Justice

Review: ‘Of Blood and Sweat’ traces role of Black labor in building white wealth and power

April 12, 2022
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.
Mary Kinser
Social Justice

Leaning into ‘treatment over punishment’: jail diversion programs show potential

April 8, 2022
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.
Matt Benoit
Commerce

Fire damages historic downtown Friday Harbor buildings

April 7, 2022
No one was injured in an early-morning blaze on lower Spring Street in Friday Harbor that was reported when it drew the attention of a passing driver at 3:43 am. At least four businesses sustained damage.
Nancy DeVaux
Social Justice

Refugee resettlement in Whatcom works to meet growing needs

April 1, 2022
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.
Kenneth Duncan
Community Voices

A second chance

March 31, 2022
Sharing the story: A rough road from abuse during an upper-middle-class childhood to an adult life of “camping out,” estrangement from loved ones and time in prison have led one man to the Light House Mission, a new sense of purpose and a better time of life.
John Dunne
Community Voices

Making community whole again during a time of plagues

March 30, 2022
Salish Current’s recent Trust 2022 forum on media and democracy highlighted ongoing challenges the news industry faces — but also charted a pathway for how local newsrooms can potentially revitalize our civic life and institutions, notes Community Voices contributor Derek Moscato.
Derek Moscato
Commerce

Reuse, repurpose, re-imagine: mall properties are in transition

March 25, 2022
What’s next for once-major shopping malls in Skagit and Whatcom counites that are among others nationwide seeing vacant storefronts on the rise? Some are empty shells possibly facing demolition, while others seem to be in the process of reinventing their roles in real-life brick-and-mortar.
Matt Benoit
Community Voices

Reflecting on International Women’s Day

March 25, 2022
Much change has happened since 1910 when the idea of an International Women’s Day was proposed by Clara Zetkin at the International Conference of Working Women. A lot still needs to change, notes a Community Voices contributor.
Terri Thayer
Housing

Affordable housing—however defined—is in short supply in Skagit County

March 24, 2022
Everyone’s versions of “affordable” housing are in high demand—and short supply—in steadily growing Skagit County.
Lauren Gallup
Culture

Farmer-artist counters food, fuel uncertainty — through permaculture

March 23, 2022
The past two years since the outbreak of COVID-19 have been turbulent and uncertain times for many. As fuel and food prices rise, the drive to become more self-reliant is also on the increase. A Whatcom farmer and glass artist suggests the path to that is permaculture.
Chris O’Neill
Agriculture

Seed swaps strengthen community — and improve produce

March 18, 2022
Gardening strengthens community ties, along with providing people with access to nutritious, homegrown food. Recently, more and more local gardeners are gravitating to seed swapping to enable access to the best plants for the particular microclimates of this region, yielding the tastiest produce.
Sarah Reeves
Journalism

Local journalism is key for healthy communities: forum

March 18, 2022
Local journalism is not optional, but essential, for healthy communities and democracy, asserted speakers in the “Trust 2022” online forum March 17 sponsored by Salish Current and Village Books. Two nationally respected journalists and Washington’s attorney general spoke to how local news coverage can help rebuild trust in democratic institutions.
Clifford Heberden
Housing

Risk of homelessness high for many in the San Juan Islands

March 18, 2022
Unhoused individuals and families live in every county in Washington. In San Juan County, the problem is compounded by low-paying jobs in the service industry — among the lowest wages in the state — as well as the high cost of housing and a shortage of affordable rentals.
Nancy DeVaux
Governance

Age scrutiny aside, state’s youngest senator looks after business in the 42nd

March 12, 2022
It was an abrupt and unplanned career start for Simon Sefzik when he was selected in January to fill the vacant state Senate position for the 42nd District. Now, at the end of the legislative session, he looks back at what made it work, and what’s next.
Clifford Heberden
Public Health

Masks off, vaxxed, ready to go out … what’s next with COVID-19?

March 11, 2022
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.
Kenneth Duncan