This Week's Cover


Think Pink

Despite winds that rattled houses, felled trees and shut down power to much of Whatcom County, the crowd in front of Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood during last month’s surprising storm stood strong.

Like many other people around the country, they were there to lend support to Planned Parenthood, who had recently been the target of a smear campaign alleging the longtime healthcare organization was selling tissue from aborted fetuses for profit.

Missives written by windblown attendees on a small

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This Week

The Gristle

Business Climate

BUSINESS CLIMATE: Two major employers have announced layoffs, prompting discussion of the health of the local economy.

At one of the first candidate forums at City Club last week, Whatcom County Council candidate Bruce Ayers laid the blame for the businesses’ troubles squarely on Bellingham’s “anti-business climate.” Apart from a lazy opportunity to drip venom on a community Ayers loathes, his is a curiously nonsensical statement.

In the case of Haggen Foods, it seems very much the

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Anacortes Oil-by-Rail

Skagit scurries to scrutinize the scope

While Shell’s Arctic drilling operation is shutting down, their plan to bring oil by rail to Puget Sound is just ramping up. Shell is proposing a massive new expansion in Anacortes.

Skagit County has officially begun sizing up the potential impact of 600 railroad tank cars filled with Bakken crude oil, crossing the Valley to Anacortes every week.  The County and the State Department of Ecology are in the early stages of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a proposed new rail spur and

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Storms for Salish Sea

Study projects 43 percent increase in vessel traffic


Royal Dutch Shell said it will end oil exploration in offshore Alaska “for the forseeable future’’ after an exploratory well in the Chukchi Sea failed to yield the hoped for oil and gas, but that doesn’t mean the impacts of energy expansion projects will end on the Salish Sea. Our region is targeted for export projects that could dwarf the XL Pipeline.

If all the new and expanding terminal and refinery projects in the Salish Sea are permitted and developed, including projects that

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Wild Throne

Living up to the lore


Very often, I am asked my opinion about the current state of Bellingham’s music scene and whether it is better or worse now than it has been at some point in the past. My answer is invariably the same, that the music scene ebbs and flows, and changes some over time, but overall remains stronger and more diverse than we tend to give it credit for in the moment.

Truth is, success is a continuum rather than a fixed point, and Bellingham bands and musicians exist all along that continuum.

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Northwest Bookshelf

The Nature of Writing edition


Reclaimers, by Ana Maria Spagna
University of Washington Press

How do we right our wrongs in this world? What is the appropriate way to live on a broken planet? In her latest book, Ana Maria Spagna embarks on a journey to explore the human capacity for fixing our ecological mistakes. Deciding that the concepts of “conservation, preservation and restoration” are too limiting or too idealistic, she lands upon the term “reclamation,” defining it as “mistakes and forgiveness. Creation

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D’Anna’s Café Italiano

Comfort food at its best


If you love Italian food, be sure to put D’Anna’s Café Italiano in Bellingham on your “must visit” list.

The cozy restaurant on North State Street serves fresh, handmade pasta and ravioli, Sicilian-style focaccia, hand-rolled gnocchi and many other comfort foods. In December, the eatery owned by Michael, Florita, and Catherine D’Anna will celebrate 18 years in business, a time during which it expanded from a 35-seat restaurant in one room, to a three-room restaurant with a capacity of

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Life on the Edge

A visit to Ucluelet


The west coast of Vancouver Island is paradise.

Pacific Rim National Park, which includes the almost-mythic stretch of pristine sand known fittingly as Long Beach, is a recreationalist’s Valhalla.

The ocean on this far edge of Canada is undeniably extreme, with towering waves that draw hardcore surfers and storm-watchers from hither and yon.

When the sea is rambunctious (trust me, not uncommon) the rocky headlands and surge channels emit thunder. When the ocean draws back, the tide pools

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On Stage

Party with Porter

When Harry met Fern


Although the title of Bellingham Music Club’s original new musical is A Swell Party with Cole Porter, it should be known (spoiler alert!) that the famous composer and songwriter won’t actually be in attendance during the course of the performance. 

“Porter himself is never onstage, but his presence is evident through the other characters,” musical director and co-writer Scott Henderson says. “Every famous name we drop in this play—and we drop a lot of them, from Igor Stravinsky to

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You can handle the truth


During my time as a part-time projectionist at the Pickford Film Center, I have learned many things about the likes, dislikes and habits of its engaged and enthusiastic patrons. For instance, although the unfailing generosity and support of the PFC’s membership base helped finance its beautiful, state-of-the-art home on Bay Street, if the powers that be ever do away with the free popcorn (with real butter!) for members on Mondays, there will be swift and certain hell to pay.

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Indelible Images

Museum of a world view


To get a sense of the enormous amount of time Corwin Fergus has spent using cameras to express himself, look through the slideshow labeled “Artifex” on his eponymous website.

Here, viewers will find Fergus, now 63, wedged into a precarious mountaintop with only his video camera and tripod to keep him stable. He can also be seen at various ages doing things like leaning against a BMW motorcycle loaded for travel, smoking a peace pipe, harnessing a rainbow, being encompassed by a

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The Tribe

No sound, all fury


One of the most original debut films in recent memory, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe is a gang drama set in a boarding school for the deaf. It features a nonprofessional cast of deaf and mute actors who are not given names, and is performed entirely in Ukrainian sign language without subtitles. Based on Slaboshpytskiy’s experience as a crime reporter and on stories of Ukraine’s “deaf Mafia,” it’s less a social portrait than an experiment in shaking up the balance of our

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