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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
Governance

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, 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, Public Health

Stakes are high for restaurateurs and staffs as eateries open under COVID-19 Phase 2 rules

June 18, 2020
Restaurants and cafés in Whatcom, San Juan and Skagit counties are re-opening — to a profoundly changed environment — after weeks of being able to provide only take-out services due to statewide efforts to thwart the spread of COVID-19.
Stella Harvey
photo: Amy Nelson © 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
Commerce, Governance, Public Health

Economic recovery, shrinking local budgets, Cherry Point moratorium in the news for the week of May 29

May 29, 2020
Economic recovery, a shrinking budget and the Cherry Point fossil-fuel shipping moratorium were among topics discussed by Whatcom County and City of Bellingham councils this week.
Mike Sato
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Governance, Social Justice

Justice delayed by COVID creates hardships, weakens protections

May 22, 2020
From local courts to federal ones, stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have had a significant effect on the wheels of justice across the United States.
Matt Benoit
photo: Leta R. Sanchez © 2020
Commerce, Natural Resources, Public Health, Recreation

Whale watch industry sits dockside during COVID-19 pandemic

May 16, 2020
Like much else in the time of COVID-19, searches for black-and-white orcas, speckled grays and humpbacks were interrupted in early March. Dozens of whale watching boats, from Vancouver Island to San Juan Island, from Everett to Edmonds, bob in place dockside.
Kimberly Cauvel
photo: Island Adventures © 2020
Commerce, Governance

Cherry Point development, solar, waterfront project more in the news for the week ending May 15

May 15, 2020
Port of Bellingham commissioners will vote May 19 on a pass-through agreement with Silfab Solar related to a $4,000,196 project proposal to expand the company’s  facilities in Whatcom County and create between 20 and 40 new full-time jobs in five years, among local government business this week.
Mike Sato
photo: Amy Nelson © 2020
Governance, Public Health

In-person comment is out, for now: local governments adapt to life under COVID

May 1, 2020
City and county councils and commissions across Washington state are finding new ways to conduct their public meetings since Gov. Jay Inslee issued the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order March 23, requiring local governing bodies to temporarily halt their in-person meetings.
Stella Harvey
photo: City of Bellingham © 2020
Public Health, Social Justice

San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom nonprofits refocus to meet basic needs, uncertain future

April 27, 2020
For the 375,000 people living in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties, community foundations and other nonprofits are adapting to provide the most essential services to people affected by COVID-19 and unemployment. Throughout the region, many organizations are seeing dramatic increases in demand. People need help ranging from mortgage and rent relief to mental health support to deliveries of food and medicine.
Matt Benoit
photo: Carlos Rexach © 2020