Jail needs to change, community agrees; but how?
An advisory committee for the Justice Project aims to ensure that voters’ priorities are considered in the next Whatcom County Jail ballot measure.
A most interesting job
Commentary: Meet Sandy Hart, who may have one of the most interesting jobs in Bellingham.
Some progress but gaps remain in mental health care for Whatcom adolescents
Summer services in the Bellingham and Nooksack Valley school districts aimed to fill gaps with a new option this year: mental health therapy.
Schools assess safety protocols after shootings, threats
Recent school shootings and threats have renewed concern over safety — and impact on students’ mental health.
Who are the homeless?
Our concept of the “deserving poor” needs to expand past attitudes mirroring 17th and 18th century mores that drive today’s ambivalent response to homelessness.
Leaning into ‘treatment over punishment’: jail diversion programs show potential
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.
Skagit sheriff-social-worker partnership is a game-changer in mental health calls
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.
For the people: what local legislators plan for the 2022 session
Dealing with climate change, providing economic relief post-COVID-19 and ensuring sustainability for the Washington State Ferries system made the priority lists of elected officials returning to take care of the people’s business when the 2022 session opens Jan. 10.
Businesses open but not ‘as usual’ as pandemic continues to affect restaurant staff, management
Restaurants are open for business but definitely not back to normal, as management and staff work their way through post-pandemic-shutdown changing realities. While federal support dollars helped many owners to carry on and stay in business, the industry is seeing a trend toward workers leaving, prompted by concerns for their physical and mental health as well as newly difficult social interactions in an already stressful work environment.
In country, town and city, treatment for drug addiction is urgently needed
Harm reduction programs and collaborations among police, health professionals and society at large pave the pathways to treatment needed by those addicted to drugs, agreed an expert panel at the recent Ralph Munro seminar. Along with looking at why people turn to drugs and how to get them the help they need to overcome addiction, the panel offered ideas as to what’s needed in the way of policy.
The Gardenview Village tiny homes open avenues of hope for those experiencing homelessness
Gardenview Village, a new community of tiny homes located off Lakeway Drive in Bellingham, will include 35 houses to serve unhoused members of the community when complete. The site already is providing homes to some residents since opening in mid-October.
Election 2021: City, county candidates vary on police reform needs, approaches
Urgency around police reform and public safety has not brought people to the streets this year, but voters in Bellingham and Whatcom County have the opportunity to weigh in on what approach their local officials should take when it comes to local policing and public safety.
Police, mental health workers face challenge, confusion with new use-of-force law
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.
As gun death rates rise in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties, state refocuses to public health approach
With the number of gun deaths in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties on the rise and outpacing statewide trends, policy and law makers are stressing public health-focused solutions that could be more effective in prevention than legal tactics.
Bellingham police budget tweaked for near future; equity advocates continue push for more
In Bellingham, some local racial justice advocacy groups transitioned their demands from over the summer to budget season, looking for tangible proof that their representatives heard their calls for change over the last six months.