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.
Who’s getting their shots? Whatcom develops a new strategy for COVID-19 vaccinations
Whatcom County health officials are now reporting COVID-19 vaccine rates in the county by school district, enabling a new, more strategic approach to making vaccine opportunities available to reach the largest number of people and those with access problems.
Late data delays Whatcom County districting; US Census blames COVID-19
A months-long delay in the delivery of 2020 U.S. Census data has compelled the 2021 Whatcom Districting Committee to postpone updating county voting district maps, despite the county charter’s strict May 1 deadline on map generation and submission.
In Whatcom’s 42nd Legislative District, a series of changes is turning election tides
Gains in voter support made by local Democrats in recent years may be due to demographic shifts caused by a wide variety of trends in who lives here, how they work and how each political party gets its messages out.
Masked young adults key to beating COVID in the long term
With the number of COVID-19 cases in Whatcom County spiking among young adults, the county council has approved a public awareness campaign to influence young adults to adopt safer COVID-19 behaviors and help end the pandemic.
Local food banks have been addressing a hunger crisis — even before COVID
Even before the pandemic lockdowns caused unemployment to skyrocket, food banks worked to help millions of Americans who were not able to feed their families.
Oil train derailment in Whatcom County drives home transport risk concerns
An oil train derailment spilling more than 29,000 gallons of Bakken crude in Whatcom County is prompting officials lobbying for state and federal oil train regulations in recent years to consider whether more can be done.
Unlikely partners’ compromise will halt new fossil-fuel development at Cherry Point
An effort to steer future development at Whatcom County’s primary industrial center away from fossil fuels while providing regulatory certainty is inching closer to completion with the help of an unlikely partnership between environment and industry interests.
Community Voices / Nooksack water rights adjudication is an existential threat to farming’s future
Whatcom County farmers say they view water rights adjudication as an existential threat to their future, in their long-term battle to maintain farming as part of the local economy and culture.
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.
Students, teachers step up to remote-learning challenges — with help — as school year begins
School districts have worked since spring to ensure they’re adequately prepared for the 2020-2021 school year. Many, including here in Whatcom County, are receiving local, state and federal funding to help build infrastructure for remote learning.
Proposed Roberts Bank terminal will add cargo capacity — but at what cost to Salish Sea
A lesser-known yet major Canadian infrastructure project could bring major changes to shipping traffic in waters shared by British Columbia and Washington. If constructed, Roberts Bank Terminal 2, would enable Canada to move another 2.4 million shipping containers per year through its southernmost terminal about 1 mile from the Washington state border.
‘Defund the police’ movement drives Whatcom racial justice discussions
Local activists are advocating for a 50% reduction in the Bellingham Police Department budget, even as BPD says it could use more resources for meeting the calls it routinely answers now — including a large number related to behavioral health and social welfare. While reformers would like to see change soon, community-wide conversations are just beginning, and the eventual direction and pace of change are as yet unknown.
Farming is more challenging than ever during the pandemic
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, farms are facing more challenges than ever during the busy season, with their workers among the most vulnerable to the virus and produce reaching fewer buyers through usual markets, festivals and tourism outlets.
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.
Port, County race to bridge Whatcom’s digital divide
The COVID-19 shutdown of businesses and schools revealed a stark digital divide as many local businesses and households faced working, teaching and learning at home whether equipped and ready, or not.