No new reservations, for now: Living and working around ferry delays, cancellations in the San Juans
September 2, 2021
This year’s peak-season summer Washington State Ferries sailing schedule has been plagued by delayed and canceled sailings, some due to a shortage of crew and some to mechanical problems. For the long Labor Day weekend, things are not looking much brighter for the San Juan Islands runs.
Summer of rallies, marches sparks multiple approaches toward social justice in Whatcom
August 24, 2021
Calls from the streets of Whatcom County last year for social justice have inspired new groups to form and older ones to revitalize, as each takes its own approach to creating a more equitable community.
Police, mental health workers face challenge, confusion with new use-of-force law
August 20, 2021
House Bill 1310 established new rules about use of force by police when it took effect in Washington last month, and law enforcement and social service agencies continue to grapple with confusion related to challenges to the new law.
Skagit fair sates longing for fun and ‘normalcy’ in face of COVID-19
August 19, 2021
After a year’s hiatus, the Skagit County Fair resumed Aug. 11-14 with an increased attendance over past years — despite COVID-19 infections spiking in the county.
Climate, Community Voices
Community Voices / Addressing climate change in Whatcom County
August 17, 2021
Climate change effects are here, and the Whatcom County’s Climate Impact Advisory Committee is calling for establishment of an Office of Climate Action to lead planning to deal with the multiple problems climate change is bringing now and in the near future.
Out of the news desert: Bellingham to get a new startup
August 15, 2021
A local newspaper owner has announced he will launch a new for-profit local news site supplemented by a weekly print piece in Bellingham in January.
Jim Simon / Post Alley
Community Voices / San Juan County to vote on climate, environment, equity, justice amendments to county charter
August 12, 2021
Priority for climate and environment; justice, equity and inclusion; and an emphasis on citizen engagement are driving proposals the San Juan County Charter Review Commission has advanced for the November ballot. The commission is continuing its work and plans to submit additional propositions for the 2022 ballot.
Whatcom director among public health leaders stressed by threats, resistance re pandemic management
August 11, 2021
Email threats, irate officials and dealing with misinformation have become part of the job for stress-filled public health workers, including the director of Whatcom County’s health department.
Stephen S. Howie / Crosscut.com
Natural Resources, Public Health
Prepared for the worst, local agencies plan wildfire-fighting strategies while hoping for the best
August 5, 2021
Whatcom County’s emergency management teams will focus this year’s training on fighting wildfires, and are stepping up reminders to the community that most such fires are caused by human actions — and therefore preventable.
photo: Matt Benoit © 2021
Governance, Public Health, Social Justice
Community Voices / New police laws will make our communities safer
August 3, 2021
In response to “a clear call” for reforms in criminal justice and police accountability, Washington’s state legislature responded with several new laws. Now, 40th District legislators say they believe there has been some misinterpretation of the new laws, and hope that lawmakers and law enforcement agencies will continue to work to implement the new laws in good faith.
Sen. Liz Lovelett, Rep. Debra Lekanoff and Rep. Alex Ramel
Homelessness, fossil fuels, food deserts: primary candidates face the issues in Bellingham, Whatcom forums
July 30, 2021
Candidates in the 2021 primary election for Bellingham city and Whatcom county council positions answered questions on topics from homelessness to fossil fuel in forums hosted by he League of Women Voters of Bellingham-Whatcom County.
Governance, Natural Resources
Years in the making, amendments ban new coal or oil industries, new shipping terminals at Cherry Point
July 29, 2021
No new oil- or coal-based industries will be allowed at Cherry Point west of Ferndale under Whatcom County’s latest — and groundbreaking — Comprehensive Plan amendments, following a unanimous vote by the county council.
Water supply on Guemes: an island paradise faces challenges
July 27, 2021
More people and rising sea levels mean continuously increasing freshwater challenges on Guemes Island, compelling action on the part of individuals — and possibly government — to ensure enough water supply to meet demand.
photo: Elisa Claassen © 2021
Governance, Social Justice
People’s choice: renter protections, police tech, workers’ rights initiatives make November ballot
July 26, 2021
After a major volunteer-led effort, four initiatives presented by People First Bellingham received enough verified signatures to be on November’s ballot, even as some city council members expressed concern potential legal challenges the initiatives may present.
Local courts work to catch up on COVID-backlog delays in delivering justice
July 23, 2021
Courts in Whatcom County are trying to regain the flow of delivering justice that was in play prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown — and the recovery is proceeding differently at each level of the court system.
Have enough water? San Juan prepares to find out, with USGS study
July 21, 2021
A study funded by the state legislature and the U.S. Geological Survey will address a major barrier in both predicting San Juan County’s future water needs and managing current systems: the capacity of wells in the county is unknown.