Reporting from the heart of Cascadia



School’s out forever

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Booksmart besties Molly and Amy pretty much aced high school. Valedictorian and student-body president Molly (Beanie Feldstein) was accepted to Yale, her top-choice university—and the first step in her goal of becoming the youngest Supreme Court justice—while study buddy and super-activist Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) plans to spend some time volunteering in Botswana before continuing her studies at Columbia. All those late nights at the library paid off—except that somewhere along the way,…

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Silver Reef Money

My Ski to Sea Journey

Practice makes perfect

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

If you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you’ve probably discerned that I love the following: 1. Music. 2. A good wander. 3. People-watching. 4. Events that bring the community together. Any day I can combine those four things—and it happens around these parts on the regular—tends to be a good day.

Ski to Sea, which takes place Sun., May 26, and the many peripheral events in its extended orbit afford me the perfect opportunity to craft one such outing, and it’s a journey…

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Ski to Sea

Solace on the slopes

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

For lord knows how many years, my longtime snowboarding partner, P.T. Crinkle, has relished basking in the glow that comes from playing a starring role on a local team of outwardly mellow but secretively competitive Ski to Sea racers.

This situation appeared unchanged as recently as a couple of months ago when, during a late-night stargazing session at a remote backwoods location, he started griping about how his teammates had “coerced” him into doing the cross-country ski leg so…

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Mixed Messages

Make your radish shine

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A radish sends mixed messages.

They can look like something designed by Willy Wonka, but taste like mustard gas. In perhaps the ultimate bait-and-switch of the vegetable world, eating a radish can feel like leaning in for a kiss and getting slapped. The key is to get as much mileage out of that slap as you can.

Too often, spring radishes sourced fresh from local farmers markets or pulled from backyard gardens are sliced into salads, which doesn’t offer enough contrast to let them…

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Silver Reef Money
On Stage


Of rabbit holes, swans and rubies

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Every year, renowned actors, dancers, musicians, acrobats and other performers from around the globe make tour stops at the Mount Baker Theatre to share their talents as visiting artists, or as part of the space’s seasonal lineup. But a glance at MBT’s June’s roster—which features a number of Bellingham-based dance companies making their mark—proves local acts get their time under the spotlight, too.

The first gig on the list is Opus Performing Arts’ annual Spring Showcase, which…

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A Fire Story

Burning down the house

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A recent report by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center and the National Interagency Fire Center calling for this year’s wildfire potential to be “above normal” in the Pacific Northwest may have Whatcom County residents already thinking about the threat of local fires and another summer of smoke-filled air. But what would it be like to lose everything you own to fire?

Writer and cartoonist Brian Fies explores exactly that in his new graphic memoir, A Fire Story. In October 2017, his…

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Island Life

Scenes from the studio

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

When I moved to Whatcom County more than 20 years ago, I spent the first year of my residency at my family’s longtime cabin on Lummi Island. It was the only time in my life I’d ever lived alone, and I soon learned that being surrounded by natural beauty 24 hours a day took some of the sting out of the fact I’d left behind a whole lot of people I loved when I relocated from Idaho to Washington.

I’d wanted a change, but it was initially difficult to adjust from having a full-time job…

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Best of Skagit
Best News Story

Save the Whales

Skagit is a land of wild rivers, soaring glacier peaks, fertile valleys and forested dots of islands sprinkling an inland sea. Powerful predatory whales live in these waters and feed on the tastiest wild fish on earth, the Chinook. Ours is as exotic as any landscape on the planet, and perhaps it is more threatened than many.

Those whales—the southern resident orcas—aren’t especially shy and can be viewed almost daily, although their numbers are in precipitous decline. Deaths in their pods have exceeded live births, threatening a spiral to extinction. They’re sick, and they’re starving. The cause? Increased human activity around the Puget Sound, as a region that is loved too much and too recklessly.

Alarmed by the decline of these iconic creatures, the Washington Legislature this session passed sweeping protections for the Salish Sea’s ailing orca population. Championed by lawmakers who represent Skagit and the San Juans, a quartet of bills cover a variety of measures, including whale watching, pollution and more. Yet budgets passed by the House and Senate so far contain no funding to continue the governor’s task force on orca recovery. There’s no agreement on plans to increase Chinook runs. And revenue measures to help pay for everything, from increasing hatchery production to enforcement of habitat protections, have yet to be decided.

As we dedicate this issue to celebrate all the best our region has to offer in scenic beauty, in recreation, in menus and samplings that are unique to who we are, let us acknowledge how fragile it is and how fierce we must be in its protection.

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The Gristle
Game Theory As Politics

GAME THEORY AS POLITICS: The week of officially filing for public office is over, and the Gristle will make two predictions about elections leading into the fall:

Tony Larson will be the top vote-getter for the office of Whatcom County Executive in the August primary, because the votes of…

Robert Reich
The Hidden Economy

The award for this year’s Biggest Backhanded Compliment to Trump goes to White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who recently predicted a Trump victory in 2020 because “people will vote for somebody they don’t like if they think it’s good for them.”

Trump is the least…

Trove Web
Wrong for so many reasons

Trump’s plans to overhaul immigration policies to discourage family unification and only accept “highly skilled” people is wrong for so many reasons.
The idea of changing the policies…

Sounds of freedom

Several weeks ago I was in the car-ferry line in Coupeville. For the full 45 minutes while I waited two Growler jets circled the lagoon, the blast so strong that most of us closed our…

May is elder law month

Did you know that May is National Elder Law Month? If your answer is “no,” you are not alone.
We are fortunate in Whatcom County that a number of attorneys offer expert elder law…

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Today's Events
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest


Through May 31, residents of the Upper Skagit Library district can celebrate National Photography Month by entering their photos for a chance at some great reading-related prizes. There are…

Ski to Sea Book Sale


Find a large selection of books and media for all ages at the annual Ski to Sea Book Sale happening from 10am-6pm Wednesday through Friday, and 10am-1pm Saturday at the Bellingham Public…

Parkinson's Dance Class


Pam Kuntz leads a dance class for people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement or neurological disorders at 11am at Ballet Bellingham, 1405 Fraser St., suite #103. Entry is free. No…

Meet a Truck


As part of Public Works Week, attend a “Meet a Truck” event from 1pm-3pm in front of Bellingham City Hall, 210 Lottie St.  There will be demonstrations, activities, crafts and a story time.…

English Country Dancing


Enjoy gentle English Country Dancing to beautiful music from 1:30-3pm at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, 15 Halleck St. Newcomers age 50 and up are welcome, and no partner is…

SeaFeast Kickoff


Join friends and partners of Bellingham SeaFeast for a Summer Kickoff and Season Sendoff for commercial fishers from 5pm-6:30pm at the Mountain Room at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1103 Railroad…

Spring Fling with Skagit Women in Business


Skagit Women in Business will host its 39th annual Spring Fling at 5:30pm in Mount Vernon at the Grand Willow Inn, 17926 Dunbar Rd. The event celebrates the accomplishments of local women,…

Hidden Forest Foray


Join the local chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society for a “Hidden Forest Foray” from 6pm to dusk starting at the top of Arboretum Drive (off Bill McDonald Pkwy). Attendees at the…

Off-Leash Books


Meet therapy dogs Mac and Wally from Dogs on Call at “Off-Leash Books: A Books and Dogs Meet-and-Greet Event” at 6pm at the Mount Vernon City Library, 315 Snoqualmie St. The free event will…

Spring Soups for the Body and Soul


Karina Davidson helms “Spring Soups for the Body and Soul” from 6:30pm-9pm at the Community Food Co-op, 1220 N. Forest St. Participants will enjoy Thai chicken soup with lemongrass,…

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club


The monthly “Life Between the Pages” event begins at 6:30pm at Evolve Chocolate + Cafe, 1200 11th St. (above Village Books). The edible event includes food and cocktail pairings related to a…

Balkan Folk Dancers


The Balkan Folk Dancers meet from 7-9:30pm Thursdays at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. There is teaching early in the evening, and no experience or partner is necessary as most dances…

Birds of the West


As part of a “Nature of Writing” series, ward-winning artist Molly Hashimota will share her new book, Birds of the West: An Artist’s Guide at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. In the tome,…

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions


Dragon Tales Productions resents readings of three new works by local playwrights at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at the Studio Theater at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 205 Prospect St.…

House Concert with Wandering Seas


The dynamic local folk trio known as Wandering Seas will perform at a House Concert at 7:30pm at the Chuckanut Center, 103 Chuckanut Drive N. Suggested donation will be $5-$10 at the door.

Good, Bad, Ugly


Watch “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” at 7:30pm every Thursday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. At 9:30pm, stick around for “The Project”—which tonight will be “Prop Prov,” which…

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