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

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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).…

Open House Garden Party

12:00pm

Join Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for its Open House Garden Party Week and pot bare root plants any time from 12-4pm Tuesday through Friday at the NSEA campus at 3057 E. Bakerview…

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…

English Country Dancing

1:30pm

Attend English Country Dancing classes from 1:30-3pm Thursdays at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, 315 Halleck St. No experience or partner is necessary.

Spotlight on Skagit

4:00pm

More than 70 local businesses and organizations will be on hand at the “Spotlight on Skagit” from 4-7pm in Burlington at Van Zyverden’s Warehouse, 12035 Higgins Airport Way. The event…

Chai Why?

4:00pm

Philip Lutgendorf, a Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies at the University of Iowa, leads “Chai Why? The Making of the Indian National Drink” at 4pm at WWU’s Communications Facility,…

Skagit Spotlight

4:00pm

More than 70 local businesses and organizations will be on hand at the “Spotlight on Skagit” from 4-7pm in Burlington at Van Zyverden’s Warehouse, 12035 Higgins Airport Way. The event is the…

Jazz Jam

5:30pm

The Jazz Project’s Jud Sherwood hosts a rotating house trio featuring top-flight local and regional musicians at a Jazz Jam happening from 5:30-8:30pm Thursdays at Illuminati Brewing, 3950…

Incognito

6:00pm

Reserve a seat in advance for the unconventional “Incognito” dinner series starting at 6pm at Ciao Thyme, 207 Unity St. Entry is $82 to the six-course (or more) feast featuring seasonal fare.…

Community Action Poverty Simulations

6:00pm

Discover more about the fears and frustrations low-income people face every day when the Whatcom Dream hosts Community Action Poverty Simulations from 6-9pm Thursday and Friday at Cornwall…

Pub Run

6:00pm

Attend a weekly Pub Run starting at 6pm at BBay Running (1431 N. State St.) or at local breweries. The 3- to 5-mile runs are open to all levels and abilities of runners, and BBay ambassadors…

Ladies Night

6:30pm

Find out about ways you can recreate during the spring and summer at a “Ladies Night” gathering from 6:30-9pm at Backcountry Essentials, 214 W. Holly St. Raffles, beverages, snacks and more…

Five-Ingredient Dinners

6:30pm

Join Wellness Chef Kate MacKenzie as she prepares four healthy and delicious “Five Ingredient Dinners” from 6:30-9pm at the Community Food Co-op, 1220 N. Forest St. The evening will feature…

Big Ole

6:30pm

Big Ole: A Timber Mill Whistle in Bellingham author Todd Warger leads “The Story of Big Ole” at 6:30pm in Maple Falls at the Ferndale Library, 2125 Main St. Warger’s presentation will focus…

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm

The Balkan Folk Dancers meet from 7-9:30pm Thursdays at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. Dances are taught, and mentoring is available. Suggested donation is $5.

Saving Tarboo Creek

7:00pm

As part of the “Nature of Writing” series, Scott Freeman and Susan Leopold Freeman read from Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St.…

Night Beat

7:30pm

In collaboration with WWU’s Department of Music, Bellingham Music Club will offer an evening of music high in emotion and virtuosity at a “Night Beat: Western Treasures” concert at 7:30pm at…

Jansen Jazz Band

7:30pm

Talented community members will share their varied instrumental and vocal talents at a Jansen Jazz Band concert at 7:30pm at Lynden’s Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Under the direction of…

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…

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,…

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