Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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…

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…

Village Books
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…

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Today's Events
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival


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


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


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…



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…

Community Action Poverty Simulations


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…

Opera Studio Performances


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


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,…

Wild Things


Kids, adults and adventurers can join Holly Roger of Wild Whatcom for a “Wild Things” Community Program from 9:30-11am every Friday in April at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. Please…

Lynden Book Sale


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


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


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…

Books and Bites


Bring your lunch if you’d like and join “Books and Bites” to discuss Kim Heacox’s Jimmy Bluefeather from 1-2:30pm at the Blaine Library, 610 3rd St.

Kimono Reception


An artist reception for “Kurume Ikat Kimono” takes place from 1-3pm at La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. The exhibit—which closes today—is part of…

Coffee Tasting


Attend a weekly coffee tasting from 3-3:30pm at Camber Cafe, 221 W. Holly St. Entry is free, and no RSVP is needed to come in and enjoy a small tasting flight of the venue’s single-origin…

Food Not Bombs


All are welcome to partake of nutritious and delicious vegan meals when Food Not Bombs offers a community meal from 4-6pm every Friday on the corner of Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue…

Family Story Night


Bellingham Storyteller’s Guild members will lead an hour of coaching and an introduction to the craft at 6pm at the Fairhaven Library, 1117 12th St. At 7pm, Family Story Night will commence.…

Race to Alaska


Stand Up Paddle Boarder Karl Kruger presents “Race to Alaska” at 6:30pm at the Firehouse PAC, 1314 Harris Ave. As part of the R2AK race, Kruger SUPed from Port Townsend to Ketchikan in two…

Always...Patsy Cline


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…

Skagit Jazz Night


Young musicians from around the region will perform at the eighth annual “Skagit Jazz Night” at 7pm at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First St. The show will feature the jazz bands…

Adrian Legg


Renowned acoustic and electric guitarist Adrian Legg brings his diverse musical styles to Mount Vernon for a 7:30pm performance at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. The British musicians…

North Cascades Concert Band


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


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…

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