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Moving from tragedy to hope — with clay

February 16, 2022
In the hands of artisan potter Chris Moench, clay becomes “moving sanctuaries” that evoke remembrance of tragedy — and meditations on hope.
Chris O’Neill
Commerce

Recent robberies prompt renewed look at security for cannabis retailers

February 11, 2022
An uptick in brazen robberies and burglaries of regional cannabis retailers since November has prompted local dispensaries to reinforce security, while the cash-only operations — legal here for eight years — remain stifled by banking regulations related to marijuana’s federal illegality.
Matt Benoit
Transportation

Floods, COVID, retirements complicated December snow removal

February 10, 2022
Clearing roads after December’s heavy snowfall was extra-challenging for local crews in Whatcom County, with over a foot of snow reported in some of the area’s microclimate zones.
Chris O’Neill
Public Health

Skagit sheriff-social-worker partnership is a game-changer in mental health calls

February 4, 2022
A different approach to how first responders in Skagit County address mental health crises is changing the outcome of behavioral health emergencies and helping people stay out of the hospital or jail.
Lauren Gallup
Housing

Winter shelter solutions lag behind need as unhoused number continues to grow

February 3, 2022
Whatcom County’s unhoused population has seen a steady rise over the past decade, making it hard to plan how to meet shelter and housing needs. But planning — a year or more in advance — is an important part of finding long-term solutions.
Noah Harper
Governance, Public Health

Hope isn’t a strategy: Bellingham again seeks a new police chief

February 2, 2022
The City of Bellingham has renewed its search for a new police chief, and aims to choose from a short list of finalists by this summer.
Mike Sato
Public Health

Blockbuster year for power outages pushes need to plan

February 2, 2022
Electrical power was out due to severe weather almost three times more hours in 2021 than in 2020 for customers of one of the state’s largest utilities, prompting some customers to look at fallback plans — and for insights as to how outages are managed.
Kenneth Duncan
Commerce, Environment

Anticipated Salish Sea vessel traffic increases spark calls for more environmental protections

January 28, 2022
Fossil fuel and terminal expansion projects up and down the Salish Sea are estimated to boost annual shipping vessel traffic by at least 25% in the near future, and the projected increase has raised concerns about increased risk to the environment.
Clifford Heberden
Climate, Environment

Winter leaves hummingbirds in the cold: dead, alive … or in torpor?

January 27, 2022
Is that lifeless-looking hummingbird lying on the frozen ground really dead … or in torpor? Wildlife rescue professionals say it’s not uncommon to see Anna’s hummingbirds at their centers during the winter months, as the birds have moved farther north with climate change. Inert-seeming hummingbirds may in fact be alive but conserving energy, and experts advise contacting professionals to find out how to help.
Chris O’Neill
Culture, Environment

Keep walking, or keep off? Guemes beach-walking pushes question of private property versus public access

January 27, 2022
Disagreement between those who hold to a long-established practice on Guemes Island of public access to walking across privately owned tidelands and a property owner’s opposition to what he sees as trespassing has evolved into a lawsuit.
Lauren Gallup
Governance

Advocates for open government sue San Juan County to open public records

January 27, 2022
The public’s right to access government documents and the government’s power to keep certain information private are at loggerheads in San Juan County, with the Washington Coalition for Open Government bringing suit against San Juan County for violating the Public Records Act.
Heather Spaulding
Journalism

Bellingham to be a two-newspaper town again — in a brave new information world

January 21, 2022
A new digital and print publication launching this month will make Bellingham a two-newspaper town once again. The publication launches into an information environment much different from the last time the town had two papers, and observers look forward to the prospect of seeing more local news on government, agriculture and other topics.
Matt Benoit
Culture

Paradise full: Finding space to rest at Lopez Island cemetery

January 18, 2022
At 140 years old, pastorally situated Lopez Union Cemetery is encountering high demand — but running out of space. Managers are looking to ground-penetrating radar technology to help determine just how much space is available in the nonprofit cemetery, and considering other options as well.
Gretchen K. Wing
Transportation

Ferry delays are beyond inconvenience, islanders stress at community meeting

January 14, 2022
Islanders gave Washington State Ferries staff an earful at a community meeting about how disruptions on the San Juan-Anacortes ferry route hamper access to healthcare, education, jobs, supplies and families. With COVID-19, freezing weather and crew shortages, ferry riders have endured a chaotic year and want to know what the state will do to improve the situation.
Heather Spaulding
Governance

Youth has its day and its say in 42nd District Senate vacancy vote

January 13, 2022
In a special meeting Jan. 11, the Whatcom County Council appointed Simon Sefzik as the newest — and youngest on record — member to serve in the Washington State Senate, filling the vacant 42nd District seat of the late Sen. Doug Ericksen.
Matt Benoit and Mike Sato
Community Voices, Justice

Community Voices / MLK Day in Bellingham: looking backward, stepping forward

January 10, 2022
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.
Clyde W. Ford

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