Housing and growth issues surround Skagit County consideration of ‘fully contained community’ proposal
Mostly rural Skagit County — with a population density about half of Whatcom County to the north and one-sixth of Snohomish County to the south — has a big-county problem: housing. Planners are looking at solutions including a comp plan amendment to allow “fully contained communities,” or FCCs, to create urban villages in currently rural zones.
‘Food hub plus’ part of ambitious collaboration to meet housing and food needs
A complex housing and food resources proposal for the Bellingham waterfront aims to employ a fusion of community and economic development in “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to meet local food supply needs — with the help of local farmers and suppliers.
Vaccine mandate becoming latest COVID ‘new normal’ for work or play
As the Delta variant of COVID-19 ravages the unvaccinated population, killing some and filling hospitals, public, private, and government entities have renewed masking mandates, and more are enacting vaccination mandates and requiring proof of testing to stamp out the virus from places of both work and play.
Skagit fair sates longing for fun and ‘normalcy’ in face of COVID-19
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.
Community Voices / New police laws will make our communities safer
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.
Water supply on Guemes: an island paradise faces challenges
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.
Major funding, new policies aim to provide ‘basic necessity’ of broadband
State legislators approved a record $411 million in the capital budget this session to expand high-speed internet across the state, in particular in communities with limited or zero connectivity.
New report details action plan for fixing Padilla Bay fecal coliform sources, urges participation
The Padilla Bay Freshwater Tributary Fecal Coliform Total Maximal Daily Load (TMDL) Report is due to be submitted by Ecology to the Environmental Protection Agency at the end of 2020 and lists fecal coliform bacteria sources and strategies for cleanup.
Toxic tansy ragwort is having a boom year
Pernicious, invasive and even sometimes deadly for livestock, tansy ragwort has enjoyed a booming bloom this summer in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties and across the rest of western Washington and Oregon.
Local schools seek parent, student feedback before announcing fall plans
As fall school start dates approach, many local districts are waiting to release detailed back-to-school plans amid uncertain COVID-19 health concerns.
Ballots in the mail July 15, primary vote Aug. 4
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.
In-person comment is out, for now: local governments adapt to life under COVID
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.
San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom nonprofits refocus to meet basic needs, uncertain future
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.