Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Going Public

Outdoor art for everyone

Monday, November 23, 2020

Throughout December, I aim to shine a light on artists who are offering creative ways for people to shop locally for the holidays. But for now, a roundup of outdoor murals and installations that have recently been completed seems like a good way to celebrate a holiday season in which people are being urged to stay at least six feet away from each other.

The introductory line item comes courtesy of the Ferndale Arts Commission (, who in recent weeks have…

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Holiday Cheer

The spirits of the season

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Fairhaven Winterfest is going to have a different vibe this year, but from Nov. 27-Dec. 20 the annual holiday celebration in the historic district will go on—albeit with less events apt to draw a crowd, pandemic-related safety protocols in place, and shorter, socially distanced visits with Father Christmas.

One thing there will be more of are the spirits of the season. On opening weekend, Holiday Cocktail Kits can be preordered from select Fairhaven bars and restaurants for pickup…

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Bear Mountain

Mining proposal looms over Skagit

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

They thought it was over.

Late last summer, when Kiewit Infrastructure withdrew its application for an extensive surface-mining permit at a rock face on Big Bear Mountain, just outside of the village of Marblemount, members of the Skagit River Alliance breathed a sigh of relief. Members had formed the nonprofit due to the scope of the proposed project and the dangers they saw in it when it was up for approval before the Skagit County Planning and Development department.

“I guess I…

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On Stage


A tragicomedy with teeth

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

If Samuel Beckett’s Endgame had been set in 2020, the four characters shut inside their house for the duration of the one-act play would likely be part of a “quarantine bubble” designed to keep infection at bay during a global pandemic.

But iDiOM Theater didn’t tinker with the original 1950s-era script when it came time to resurrect one of the Irish playwright’s masterworks—meaning Beckett’s existential exploration of the futility of life and the repetitive nature of human beings is…

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Thanksgiving Classics

Home for the holidays

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

As per last week, I’m still eyeballs deep in watching made-for-TV Christmas movies. I’m currently on A Nashville Christmas Carol (featuring special guest star Wynonna Judd) and will shortly be transitioning to Christmas Next Door. However, on Thanksgiving, I’ll be taking a break from hauling out the holly jolly movies in favor of revisiting some turkey day classics.

It’s not so easy to find these days, but the classic of all classics is, of course, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.…

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Robert Blake

From the kitchen table

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Everyone has adapted to our curtailed COVID existence in different ways. Some of us stockpiled food, fed sourdough starters and embraced our inner Betty Crocker. Some of us cleaned out our closets, started a workout regimen and dedicated ourselves to healthy self-improvement. Others of us became one with our pajamas, rediscovered that frozen cookie dough can be a complete meal and rewatched Gilmore Girls from the beginning (me, I’m talking about me).

Robert Sarazin Blake, on the…

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The Gristle
Down to the Wire

DOWN TO THE WIRE: Whatcom County Council held another lively teleconference meeting this week, working through the final code amendments to help limit unrefined fossil fuel export projects at Cherry Point. Council is expected to vote on the proposed land-use code amendments by the end of…

Alan Rhodes
Giving Thanks in Troubled Times

Civil unrest, political chaos, racial reckoning, global pandemic—by any measure it has been a difficult year. But Thanksgiving arrives this week and even in these times of turbulence and vexation there is still much for which we can give thanks. I asked a number of people around the town…

Rumor Has It
Let’s Talk Turkey

Now that the holiday season is upon us in all its consumerist glory, I’d like to talk turkey about shopping local.

I’m like one of Santa’s elves, but instead of toiling away in Santa’s workshop, I post up on my couch, and instead of making toys, I just lecture people. And I don’t…

Fiddling in a firestorm

Since Sept. 30, and particularly in recent days, much economic activity has ceased in all parts of the country, with restrictions or closures of nonessential enterprises. Perhaps 20 million…

Too little, too late

Whatcom Health officer Greg Stern’s logic about in-person classrooms for younger students appears to me to have some pretty big holes. He reasons that because there is less transmission in…

Who pays the cost?

This letter is in response to a recent opinion on an “Emission-Free Future.” Before commenting, I need to state that I absolutely believe in climate change and the causes of it. I also…