This Week's Cover


A Weedy Problem

A document will arrive soon on the governor’s desk he’s indicated he will sign. When he does, if he does, the document will radically transform the delivery of medical marijuana in Washington, reducing its availability to patients and dramatically increasing its cost. Ironically, this arrives at a moment of bated success in the state’s cautious yet ambitious experiment with marijuana, and at a moment of ferment in the reconsideration and reform of drug laws nationally.

Senate Bill 5052,

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This Week

The Gristle

The Justiciability of Jail

THE JUSTICIABILITY OF JAIL: More than 150 people packed the Whatcom County Council chambers last week to learn more about a sales tax initiative that would finance the construction of a $122.5 million jail and Sheriff’s complex near Ferndale. More than 50 people commented in a lengthy special evening session Council had called exclusively to gather additional information about public support for the proposal and for alternatives that could reduce the cost and frequency of incarceration.

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Radio Free Bellingham

Time to turn up

It is true we have been doing a lot of talking about nascent Bellingham radio station KVWV (94.9 FM) in the Cascadia Weekly recently. Enough so that people may begin to wonder if we have some kind of self-interest, financial stake or other hidden agenda at play here.

The answer: Nope. We just happen to have a soft spot for community-minded sources of entertainment and news, especially those that are free for the end user. Anything the general public can easily access that adds voices and

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A Weedy Problem

Medical marijuana reform heads for governor’s signature


A document will arrive soon on the governor’s desk he’s indicated he will sign. When he does, if he does, the document will radically transform the delivery of medical marijuana in Washington, reducing its availability to patients and dramatically increasing its cost. Ironically, this arrives at a moment of bated success in the state’s cautious yet ambitious experiment with marijuana, and at a moment of ferment in the reconsideration and reform of drug laws nationally.

Senate Bill 5052,

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Piece of Cake

A modern take on Cuban cuisine


As my taxi rocketed through Havana, I saw around me a charming mix of architectural styles I recognized from pictures and movies. 

In real life, however, laundry fluttered from baroque balustrades and mold marred the pastel facades of neoclassical treasures. Exhaust from picturesque vintage cars stung my eyes. Pedestrians dressed in bright leggings dodged traffic while holding the hands of uniformed schoolchildren. Billboards on the carretera featured photographs of Fidel Castro and Hugo

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Counting the Rings

Arbor Day, past and present

It was April 15, 1896 and breakfast bacon had gone up in price from 10 cents to 12.

It was also the first-ever Arbor Day in Fairhaven. The celebrations were commissioned by Mayor Eli Wilkins as a way to beautify the logged-out area that had been developed only seven years before.

Members of the city were busy planting 117 cork bark elm tree saplings every 25 feet along what was then Front Street, now State Street, just above the boardwalk that winds along the bay.

That was 119 years ago.

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Ex Machina

Meet your robot master


Science fiction may be the defining movie genre of our time, but too often it’s just a vehicle for escapist space adventure or paranoid dystopian fantasy. A sci-fi movie that actually has intelligent things to say about science—that’s all too rare. It’s what we get in Ex Machina.

Human scale, mind-stretching and eerie, it’s the debut feature from the novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later). For his first time in the director’s chair, Garland goes easy on

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Empty Bowls

Ceramic artists fill a need


Sometimes, meals are nourishing in more ways than one.

This concept will become clear when community members sit down to dine on steaming bowls of seafood chowder or minestrone soup as part of the annual “Empty Bowls” fundraiser taking place Thurs., April 30 at Bellingham’s Old World Deli.

The obvious way attendees will get nutrients into their systems is by bringing spoons to their mouths and finishing their evening repasts. But even before that, they’ll be taking part in a fulfilling

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The Hunting Ground

A call to action


Just like a horror movie, The Hunting Ground opens with unsuspecting victims.

As “Pomp and Circumstance” plays on the soundtrack, a series of home videos shows women joyfully opening acceptance letters from colleges and universities. The women don’t know that upward of 20 percent of them, one in five, will be sexually assaulted during their college years.

This is but one of many alarming statistics presented in this well-researched documentary, which tops any fictional chiller for shock

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On Stage

Poetic Palavers

A way with words


Whatcom County isn’t a place that takes a casual approach to National Poetry Month. Every April, residents find a plethora of verse-related events to choose from in a variety of different realms—both onstage and off.  With the nationwide celebration coming to a close April 30, we’d like to draw your attention to a number of ways to make sure you sufficiently enjoy the final week of creative wordplay.

Last Friday’s “Scratchpad” show at the Upfront Theatre was a perfect example of how poetry

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Mingled Visions

Timothy Egan meets Edward Curtis


Seattle in 1895 is booming with lumber and coal industries fueling the town’s economic expansion and population growth, as well as fishing, shipbuilding, wholesale trade and shipping. 

Edward Curtis, a dashing young photographer making a living photographing Seattle’s wealthiest citizens, has a chance encounter with Princess Angeline, the daughter of Chief Seattle.

Native Americans were at that time banned from Seattle city limits, and Princess Angeline lived illegally on the fringes of

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Best of Bellingham

What's the best neighborhood? The one you live in, judging from this fiercely competitive category. With more than 2,400 entries in the Cascadia Weekly readers choice awards, every neighborhood was named again and again. But with so many terrific places--Trader Joe's, Hardware Sales, Kulshan Brewing Company, Jeckyl & Hyde, Homeskillet, on and on--Sunnyland comes out on top.

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Apr 24


Skagit Valley Tulip Festival: The flower-focused Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place throughout the month of April at a variety of venues from Mount Vernon to Edison to La Conner, Anacortes, and beyond. In addition to being able to explore fields of budding daffodils and tulips, there'll be a street fair, arts events, a kids garage sale, a boat show, a tulip run and tulip pedal, live music, a quilt walk, a wine festival, roller derby, book sales, a parade and much more. Head to the website to check out the full roster more »

Field Days with WCD: Join the Whatcom Conservation District and Whatcom County Public Works for a "Fishtrap Watershed Exploration Field Day" from 5-7pm Wednesday at Lynden City Park, 8650 Depot Rd. Hands-on exploration of water quality sampling and salmon habitat will be part of the free event. "Citizen Science Water Quality Testing Training" will happen from 1-4pm Friday at Berthusen Memorial Park, 8837 Berthusen Rd. Both events are free. more »

Plant Sale: Peruse beautiful selections from local nurseries, houseplants, vegetable starts and homegrown plants at an annual Plant Sale from 9am-4pm Thursday and Friday at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center, 315 Halleck St. All proceeds benefit the center. more »

The Spitfire Grill: Performances of The Spitfire Grill conclude this week with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. The dramatic musical focuses on a girl trying to make a fresh start in a small town in Wisconsin, and the power of redemption. Tickets are $20. more »

Harvey: The Lynden Performing Arts Guild concludes its production of Harvey this weekend at 7:30pm Thursday and Friday, and 2pm Saturday and Sunday at the Claire vg Thomas Theatre, 655 Front St. The comedy focuses on Elwood P. Dowd, an affable man who claims to have an unseen (and presumably imaginary) friend Harvey—a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch-tall rabbit. Tickets are $8-$12. more »

The Foreigner: Larry Shue's The Foreigner continues this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, 1600 H St. The comedy takes place in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia and focuses on a man who overhears more than he should after being falsely identified as a French man who speaks no English. Tickets are $8-$14; additional showings happen through May 2. more »

Scratchpad, Bellinghamlet: Local poets will join improvisers onstage to write poems that will influence improv comedy scenes—and vice versa—at "Scratchpad" performances at 8pm Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. At 10pm, stick around for "Bellinghamlet," an improvised Shakespeare format. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. more »

One-Act Operas: Western Washington University's Western Opera Studio presents performances of Enrique Granados' tragic Goyescas and Puccini’s only comedy, Gianni Schicchi, at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday, and 2pm Sunday, at the school's Performing Arts Center (choir room 16). Both one-act operas premiered at the Metropolitan Opera during World War I. Tickets are $13-$16. more »

Wild Things: Kids, adults and adventurers can join Wild Whatcom Walks for "Wild Things" excursions from 9:30-11am every Friday in April at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. Entry is by donation. more »

VIGIL FOR PEACE: Join the longest-running Peace Vigil in the country—48 years and counting—from 4-5pm every Friday afternoon at the corners of Cornwall Avenue and Magnolia Street. more »

Tech Expo & Job Fair: Find out more about technology and employment opportunities in the Pacific Northwest at today's "Bellingham TechExpo + Job Fair" from 5-8pm at the Best Western Lakeway Inn, 714 Lakeway Dr. Entry is free. more »

The Magic of Elliott: Award-winning Anacortes-based magician (and high school student) Elliott Hofferth presents "The Magic of Elliott" at 6:30pm at Brodniak Hall at Anacortes High School, 1600 20th St. He'll be joined by longtime assistant Aliya Zaheer and Vancouver Island's "The Magic of Zanthera." Tickets are $5; funds raised benefit Anacortes Boy Scout Troop 4081. more »

Cannabis Connections: If you are involved in the cannabis industry, consider showing up for the first "Connecting Cannabis Industry Professionals" meeting tonight from 7-9pm in Bellingham (RSVP for the location). The group's mission is to "create long-term relationships built on honesty, integrity and success." more »

Power Shift: Physics professor and author Robert Arthur Stayton shares ideas from Power Shift at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St The book clearly outlines the world's current energy dilemma, and the way forward. more »

Trivia Bee & Silent Auction: Ken Jennings of Jeopardy fame will return to Bellingham to co-host the Whatcom Literacy Council's 19th annual "Trivia Bee & Silent Auction" at 7pm at Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave. Tickets to come cheer on the teams who will compete in a format similar to the game show Jennings so excelled at are $10 per person or $25 per family. Peruse the website to find out more about competing. more »

Sisters of Song: Songsmith Joanne Rand and violinist Anna Schaad team up for a "Sisters of Song" performance at 7pm at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. The performance is in celebration of Rand's latest release, Still a Real World. Tickets are $12-$20. more »

One Spirit Fundraiser: Guests will enjoy live music, food, a dessert auction and a silent auction while helping One Spirit Medical Missions fund scholarships for medical students in Haiti and work toward the establishment of a clinic at a "One Spirit" fundraiser taking place from 7-10pm at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave. Entry is $25. more »

Joshua Roman: Cellist, composer, curator and programmer Joshua Roman will return to the area for a special Bellingham Festival of Music recital at 7:30pm at Western Washington University's Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. Roman has appeared as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and more. Tickets are $15-$35. more »

Friday Night Dance Party: A mix of swing, Latin and ballroom will be highlighted and danced to with an introductory lesson at the weekly Friday Night Dance Party from 7:30-10pm at the Bellingham Dance Company, 1705 N. State St. Admission is $5-$7. more »

Bellydance show: The world-famous Ruby Beh will be the featured performer at a full-length Bellydance Show taking place from 8-10pm at the Star Club, 311 E. Holly St. Local dancers Anyelle and Lillia will also be highlighted. Entry is $5. more »

Salsa Night: Rumba Northwest continues its "Friday Night Salsa" gatherings from 9pm-12am every Friday at Cafe Rumba, 1140 N. State St. The event kicks off with Salsa lessons by Antonio Diaz and Heather Haugland, followed by dancing to a variety of hot Latin rhythms until midnight. Entry to the all-ages event is $4. more »

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