Reporting from the heart of Cascadia

Visual

Natural Light

Springtime in the greenhouse

Monday, April 16, 2018

One of the favorite attractions of tulip season is the springtime art show at the River Gallery near La Conner. Drive south past the vibrant fields of flowers, turn west on Dodge Valley Road, then left onto Landing Road. Here the work of 39 artists is displayed perfectly in a converted greenhouse under natural light.

Jacqui Beck’s playful abstractions remain among my favorites. “A Day with Some Wind” evokes stairs and buildings surrounding dreamy-blue negative space—it’s…

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Smoking Crow
Food

Trash Talk

Going zero waste at the grocery store

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Aisles flanked by deep-red beets and mist-covered greens are what dreams are made of. With the arrival of local spring vegetables, browsing the produce section can be a transcendental experience.

Groceries provide joy and nourishment, but they also generate a whole lot of trash. It’s important to be mindful of the waste associated with shopping and how to minimize it for a healthy planet.

Taking a waste-free grocery trip should be at the top of your to-do list this Earth Day.…

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Smoking Crow
Outdoors

Hikes with Kids

A family affair, naturally

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

If you loved hiking pre-kids, but now have a family and have put the skids on those outings, Susan Elderkin’s Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington will inspire you to get back on the trails—albeit with modified expectations.

Offering 125 hikes that will appeal to kids from toddlers to grade schoolers, Elderkin knows all about mid-hike tantrums and car rides peppered with whining. But she also knows how well-chosen excursions can connect and energize a family, inspire children…

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Smoking Crow
On Stage

Queen Quest

Who will wear the crown?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Queen Elizabeth didn’t have to compete with Princess Margaret to become the Head of the British Commonwealth, but if she had needed to go up against her younger sibling, it’s likely the rivalry for the crown wouldn’t have included talent segments based on the sisters’ singing, dancing and comedic abilities.

That most definitely won’t be the case at 7pm Sat., April 21, when Skagit Valley College’s Rainbow Alliance presents its annual Drag Show at Mount Vernon’s historic Lincoln…

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Smoking Crow
Music

Record Store Day

Vinyl is forever

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

For people who own or manage music stores, Record Store Day is, like music itself, a thing about which people tend to have strong opinions. Many stores love it for the boost of business and exposure it brings. Other stores are more ambivalent, feeling, among other things, the event brings with it issues of access to exclusive releases; concerns that it uses an unfair amount of capacity of the limited number of pressing plants that still exist; and messaging that is in opposition to the…

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Smoking Crow
Film

Back to Burgundy

A full-bodied story

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wine helps the emotions flow, but so, apparently, does winemaking in Cedric Klapisch’s absorbing family drama, Back to Burgundy, a film so rich and pleasurable you’d be forgiven if you thought about it each time you have a glass of red.

Set in the picturesque winemaking region of France with a lot of time spent among the vines, the film recounts the uneasy reunification of three siblings after their father’s death and their efforts to keep the winery going under the threat of a…

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Smoking Crow
Words

Word Up

The power of poetry

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Those who prefer candy over creative wordplay will be out of luck when they plunk a quarter into a new contraption located at Fairhaven’s Village Books.

Instead of something sweet to chew on, people contributing their 25 cents to the Poetry Gumball Machine will instead spin a wheel to receive a poem. The spare change will add up as the verse is dispersed, and all funds raised through the month of April will be donated to the Whatcom Literacy Council.

Bellingham typically celebrates…

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Smoking Crow
News

Plastic Ocean

2018 Global Earth Day focuses on the world’s oceans

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Not all trash ends up at the dump. A river, sewer or beach can’t catch everything the rain washes away, either. In fact, Earth’s largest landfill isn’t on land at all.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches across a swath of the North Pacific Ocean, forming a nebulous, floating junk yard on the high seas. It’s the poster child for a worldwide problem: plastic that begins in human hands yet ends up in the ocean, often inside animals’ stomachs or around their necks. This…

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Smoking Crow
Film

Outside In

Lynn Shelton’s latest

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

One of the bittersweet recurring images we see in Outside In, Lynn Shelton’s sharp and stirring new drama, is of a man riding his bicycle. Chris (Jay Duplass), a scruffily handsome 38-year-old, has just returned to his sleepy Pacific Northwest hometown after two decades in prison, having received a mandatory minimum sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. Riding his bike feels like both a blissful assertion of his newfound freedom and something of a sad throwback to his teenage…

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Smoking Crow
Best of Skagit
Best Tulip Farm

RoozenGaarde

It’s tulip time, and the fields are alive with the light and color of spring. The word’s out, and this spectacular time in the Skagit Valley is no longer a secret.

But Skagit still holds a lot of secrets—mist-shrouded valleys, swollen and mighty rivers, and frosty high country thick with dark pines and devil’s club. And there are the hidey holes—the hamlets sprinkled along old forgotten highways, the winding sloughs and channels of the fertile delta, and the coast beyond—dotted with islands pungent from salt and rain. There are the bars and diners and coffeehouses, the playgrounds and trails. And there are the people who fill them, hearty and happy. And though our readers revealed some of these secrets, Skagit remains a treasure undiscovered.

Entries by Tim Johnson, Amy Kepferle, Carey Ross, Stephanie Young, and Trail Rat
Photos by Jessamyn Tuttle and Andy Porter

See all the winners »
The Gristle
A Last Ditch Effort

A LAST DITCH EFFORT: Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Noah Purcell of the state’s Solicitor General’s Office this week argue the state’s case in front of the United States Supreme Court. The high court agreed to hear State of Washington v. United States, the culmination of…

Views
Road to Damascus

Politicians, pundits and activists who’ve routinely denounced President Trump as a tool of Vladimir Putin can now mull over a major indicator of their cumulative impacts. The U.S.-led missile attack on Syria is the latest benchmark for gauging the effects of continually baiting Trump as a…

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Letters
A village responds to homelessness

There is incredible community activism helping to house the homeless in Whatcom County. It is led by an undaunted group of people who have staged protests like the tent city set up at the…

Support universal health care

Many Americans confuse free-market capitalism with freedom. How can we continue to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if we lack adequate health care? The changes brought about…

Taxation without representation

Since the start of the refugee program called Temporary Protective Status (TPS) approximately 20 years ago, each TPS refuge has been required to report and pay $800 every 18 months for the…

Village Books
Today's Events
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am

The flower-focused Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place throughout April at a variety of venues from Mount Vernon to Edison to La Conner, Anacortes, and beyond. In addition to being able…

Free Appliance Pick-up

10:00am

In honor of Earth Day, Appliance Depot is offering free pick-up of your appliances—whether they’re working or non-working—from April 7-May 5 in Whatcom County (typical fees are $10-$60).…

Hir

7:30pm

Attend performances of Taylor Mac’s subversive comedy Hir at 7:30pm Wednesday through Friday, and 2pm and 7:30pm Saturday at Western Washington University’s DUG Theater (in the Performing…

9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm

Friendship and revenge take center stage when 9 to 5, the Musical continues this week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the Anacortes Community Theatre,…

Opera Studio Performances

7:30pm

Join Western Washington University’s Opera Studio for performances of contemporary one-act operas at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the school’s Performing Arts Center…

Lynden Book Sale

10:00am

Find some fantastic spring reads and DVDs at bargain prices at a Book Sale happening from 10am-5pm Friday, 10am-4:30pm Saturday, and 1-4:30pm Sunday at the Lynden Library, 216 4th St.…

Bellingham Beer Week

10:00am

Beer Olympics, beer dinners, an Earth Day cleanup party, a cornhole championship, book signings, multiple release parties, hops planting, a mountain bike festival, brew-focused presentations,…

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm

Come and enjoy three days of instruction on how to improve your marketing skills and sell more books at the annual Chanticleer Authors Conference taking place Friday through Sunday at Hotel…

Always...Patsy Cline

7:00pm

Witness a musical tribute to a beloved country western star when Always…Patsy Cline begins this weekend with 7pm performances Friday and Saturday at the Conway Muse, 1844 Spruce St. Ria Peth…

North Cascades Concert Band

7:30pm

The North Cascades Concert Band presents its spring concert, “Sousa’s America,” at performances a 7:30pm Friday at Whatcom Community College’s Syre Auditorium, 7:30pm Saturday at Arlington…

Legends and Brawls

8:00pm

Any genre will be up for grabs when “Genre Legends” returns to the stage at 8pm Fridays and Saturdays through April at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. At 10pm, stick around for “Backyard…

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am

Choose from pancakes, French toast and biscuits and gravy at a Pancake Breakfast taking place from 8-11am at the Ferndale Senior Center, 1999 Cherry St. Entry is $2.50 for kids and $6 for…

VFW Breakfast

8:00am

Enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, French toast, eggs sausage and more from 8-11am at Lynden’s VFW Hall, 7011 Hannegan Rd. Entry is $6 (free for kids 5 and under).

Plant Society Field Trip

8:30am

Join members of the Washington Native Plant Society for a field trip near Sumas to Veder Mountain from 8:30am-4pm, where they will be looking for the first spring flowers of the year. Entry…

Fun with the Fuzz

9:00am

Sign up for the ninth annual “Fun with the Fuzz 5K” starting at 9am at the Bellingham Police Department, 505 Grand Ave. The road race supports families of police officers who are killed in…

3 Cs Plant Sale

9:00am

Perennials, herbs, vegetable starts, trees, flowers, canning starts and more from 20-plus vendors can be found at 3 Cs Farms’ Plant and Craft Sale from 9am-3pm Saturday and Sunday at 6222 Mt.…

Planting Day

9:00am

Bring patio-sized containers from home or purchase one on site at “Planting Day” event starting at 9am at Garden Spot Nursery, 900 Alabama St. Expert designers will be on hand to help you…

Earth Day Planting

9:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association to celebrate Earth Day and World Fish Migration Day from 9am-12pm at NSEA’s native plant nursery. Park at Heritage Bank (2405 E. Bakerview…

Ferndale City Wide Cleanup

9:00am

Volunteers are needed for litter cleanup, weed control and other small projects at the Ferndale City Wide Cleanup taking place from 9am-1pm starting at parking lot at City Hall, 2095 Main St.…

Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament

9:30am

Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center will host its 16th annual Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament fundraiser from 9:30am-5pm at the Bellingham Sportsplex, 1225 Civic Field Way. All ages are invited…

FutureFest

9:30am

Transition Fidalgo & Friends presents “FutureFest: Building the World We Want” Saturday and Sunday in Anacortes at the Port Transit Shed Event Center. The event will celebration imagination,…

Community Art Museum Day

10:00am

“Thinking Outside the Basket: Community Art Museum Day” takes place from 10am-4pm at Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building (250 Flora St.), and Old City Hall (121 Prospect St.). Basketry…

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am

The 26th season of the Bellingham Farmers Market continues from 10am-3pm Saturdays through Dec. 22 at the Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. In addition to offering locally grown…

Earth Day Celebration

10:00am

Join Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group for an Earth Day Celebration from 10am-4pm at Mount Vernon’s Edgewater Park, 600 Behrens Millett Rd. Attendees can help improve a walking path that…

Voting, the Heart of Democracy

10:00am

“Voting, the Heart of Democracy” will be the focus of a League of Women Voters of Bellingham and Whatcom County panel discussion from 10am-12pm at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central…

Ponds and Water Features

10:00am

Blaine C.O.R.E. (Community Orchards for Resources and Education) hosts a free “Ponds and Water Features” presentation from 10am-12pm at the Blaine Library, 610 3rd St. Attendees will learn…

Arch of Healing Installation Ceremony

10:30am

Attend an installation ceremony for the Arch of Healing and Reconciliation from 10:30am-12pm at Bellingham City Hall, 210 Lottie St. Sabah Randhawa, president of Western Washington…

Healthy Kids Day

2:00pm

Get a jump start on summer by attending Healthy Kids Day from 2-5pm at the Bellingham YMCA, 1256 N. State St. The free event will feature fun activities from community groups and sponsors and…

Veggie Gardening 101

2:00pm

WSU Whatcom Master Gardeners can help you navigate the best options for direct seed versus using transplants or starts in your garden at a free “Veggie Gardening 101: Seeds vs. Starts”…

Poetry Circle

3:00pm

Read the poems that have mattered the most in your life at a Poetry Circle taking place from 3-4:30pm at the Deming Library, 5044 Mt. Baker Hwy. Share a poem that stabs the heart, reveals…

Roller Betties Bout

5:00pm

Attend the Bellingham Roller Betties’ last regular bout of the season at 5pm at the pavilion on the campus of Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg St. The evening features a double…

Winterhouse

6:00pm

Ben Guterson reads from his first book of fiction, Winterhouse at 4pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. The enchanting urban fantasy middle-grade debut—the first book in a trilogy—is set in…

Rainbow Alliance Drag Show

7:00pm

The Skagit Valley College Rainbow Alliance will present its sixth annual Drag Show starting at 7pm at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First St. Special guest and emcee Vivienne…

Blackthorn Band

7:00pm

The musical traditions of Scotland and Ireland will come alive when Blackthorn Band performs at 7pm at Mount Vernon’s Littlefield Celtic Center, 1124 Cleveland Ave. The quartet performs…

Speakeasy 21

7:00pm

Bruce Beasley, Ramona Elke, Jory Mickelson, Kevin Murphy, Nancy Pagh, Dayna Patterson, and Rena Priest will be the featured guess at “SpeakEasy 21: Poets Talk Poetry” from 7-9pm at the Encore…

Songs from the Universe

7:30pm

Cosmic throat singer Matthew Kocel presents “Songs From the Universe” at 7:30pm at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. This is your opportunity to experience pure bliss in…

Nepal Trek Talk

7:30pm

See images and hear stories of a 32-day adventure through the mountains of Western Nepal with local travelers at a “Mustang-Saribung Pass Trek” presentation from 7:30-9pm at the Lummi Island…

Brigid Collins Benefit Concert

8:00pm

The duo of Sharon Mayson and Shauna Rae Samograd will present strong vocals and sweet harmonies covering Americana-style roots music and originals at an annual Benefit Concert for Brigid…

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