photo: Ann Potter © 2020

Toxic tansy ragwort is having a boom year

September 14, 2020
Alex Meacham

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.

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photo: TechNotes © 2020

Students, teachers step up to remote-learning challenges — with help — as school year begins

September 4, 2020
Matt Benoit

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.

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photo: Port of Vancouver © 2020

Proposed Roberts Bank terminal will add cargo capacity — but at what cost to Salish Sea

August 25, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

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.

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photo: Mike Sato © 2020

‘Defund the police’ movement drives Whatcom racial justice discussions

August 14, 2020
Alex Meacham

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.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Farming is more challenging than ever during the pandemic

August 7, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

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.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Local schools seek parent, student feedback before announcing fall plans

August 2, 2020
Genevieve Iverson

As fall school start dates approach, many local districts are waiting to release detailed back-to-school plans amid uncertain COVID-19 health concerns.

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photo: Lane Morgan © 2020

Port, County race to bridge Whatcom’s digital divide

July 23, 2020
Mike Sato

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.

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photo: League of Women Voters Skagit © 2020

Ballots in the mail July 15, primary vote Aug. 4

July 17, 2020
Mike Sato

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.

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photo: Matt Benoit © 2020

Fate of fall sports remains uncertain in haze of COVID-19 pandemic

July 17, 2020
Matt Benoit

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.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Solidarity rally, Cornwall landfill, Cherry Point occupy local officials during the week ending June 12

June 11, 2020
Mike Sato

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.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

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

May 29, 2020
Mike Sato

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.

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photo: Leta R. Sanchez © 2020

Justice delayed by COVID creates hardships, weakens protections

May 22, 2020
Matt Benoit

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.

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photo: City of Bellingham © 2020

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

May 1, 2020
Stella Harvey

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.

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photo: Carlos Rexach © 2020

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

April 27, 2020
Matt Benoit

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.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

The things we do for COVID: iconic local businesses change their ways

April 21, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

At several local companies, trying new things has been essential for keeping dollars coming in and meeting their missions of serving the community.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Community Voices / Business as usual not happening soon, per Whatcom’s Satpal Sidhu

April 10, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

Family dairies, the annual Ski to Sea race and visitor and shopper traffic from Canada are just a few archetypal activities being disrupted in Whatcom County as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. Business as usual is not due back in Whatcom County any time soon, said county executive Satpal Sidhu in an April 10 interview.

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