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Agriculture

Food security requires connection to land, to each other

March 10, 2022
Feeding communities is particularly challenging now, in the face of systemic upheaval, climate change and uncertainty. San Juan islanders making key connections to build resilience for future food security met recently in an ag summit.
Sarah Reeves
Journalism

Local news and democracy forum dedicated to journalist Floyd McKay

March 10, 2022
The online forum “Trust 2022: Why Independent Local News is Important to a Strong Democracy” to be held on March 17 will be dedicated to the memory of journalist and educator Floyd McKay, who died in Bellingham on March 4.
Mike Sato
Natural Resources

Holding the line on phosphorus in Lake Whatcom

March 4, 2022
Popular as a residential and recreational site, Lake Whatcom is also the source of drinking water for many county residents. Following its listing in 1998 as polluted with increasing levels of phosphorus, the lake is the focus of efforts to meet targets to bring down those levels.
Mallory Biggar
Education

Confrontations, demands for parents’ rights challenge local school boards

March 4, 2022
Impassioned conversations are occurring nationwide as sometimes large groups of parents show up at once sparsely attended school board meetings — including in Whatcom County — with local issues including COVID-19 mask mandates, critical race theory and sexual health education.
Matt Benoit
Governance

Broadband’s coming but cost, quality still in question

March 4, 2022
Two years of pandemic isolation not only revealed how important internet connectivity is in today’s world but also exposed the stark divide between those with service and those without. Now, the task of providing reliable, low-cost internet service continues.
Chris O’Neill
Natural Resources

‘Most special place’ for salmon, native culture gains protection with San Juan land bank purchase

February 25, 2022
A pristine site along the southeastern shore of Lopez Island with deep history for Coast Salish peoples has gained protection from development with approval of its purchase by the San Juan County Land Bank.
Gretchen K. Wing
Agriculture, Natural Resources

Streamside shade: fish and farm advocates struggle to find common ground

February 24, 2022
Salmon recovery is a priority for many in Washington who see vegetated streamside buffers as important to salmon-friendly habitat. But some in the state’s agricultural community see the threat of loss of productive farmland from proposals such as the Lorraine Loomis Act discussed earlier in this year’s legislative session.
Lauren Gallup
Climate

Floods, fish and farming intersect in Nooksack Basin’s complex challenge

February 17, 2022
As Whatcom County works to prepare for the next major flooding events and to foster community resilience, a discussion on long-term solutions and ways to promote salmon population and environmental preservation along the Nooksack River is taking shape.
Clifford Heberden
Journalism

Forum set on vital need of local journalism for strong democracy

February 17, 2022
The urgent issue of supporting local news to help ensure a strong democracy will be addressed by two leading journalists and Washington’s attorney general in a free online forum next month organized by nonprofit local newsroom Salish Current in partnership with Village Books.
William Dietrich
Culture

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
Commerce, 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