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…

Trove Web
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


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).…

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,…

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,…

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.…

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…

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…

3 Cs Plant Sale


Perennials, herbs, vegetable starts, trees, flowers, canning starts and more from 20-plus vendors can be found at 3 Cs Farms’ Plant and Craft Sale from 9am-3pm Saturday and Sunday at 6222 Mt.…



Transition Fidalgo & Friends presents “FutureFest: Building the World We Want” Saturday and Sunday in Anacortes at the Port Transit Shed Event Center. The event will celebration imagination,…

Dirty Dan Harris Festival


Live music, selections of food and shop offerings, an all-ages fish toss, a donut-eating contest, a Dirty Dan lookalike contest, period costumes (and costume contests), an uphill piano race,…

Earth Day Work Party


Give back to an organization that prioritizes the sustainability of farming and our planet at an Earth Day Work Party taking place from 11am-3pm in Mount Vernon at Viva Farms (located on the…

Pottery Demos


As part of Dirty Dan Days, come watch local potters demonstrate their various techniques to produce the wares you love to use from 12-3pm at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave. Among them…

Choo Choo Soul


Genevieve Goings and Constantine “DC” Abramson, the stars of Disney Junior’s “Choo Choo Soul,” will perform at 1pm and 4pm at Mount Vernon’s McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way.…

Utopia Earth Day


Join Skagit Land Trust and friends from 1-4pm for an afternoon of exploring the Utopian Conservation Area (near Sedro-Woolley). Attendees can tour completed restoration projects, learn about…

Chuckanut Chili Cook-off


As part of the annual Dirty Dan Harris Festival, attend the annual Chuckanut Chili Cook-off from 1:30-3:30pm at the Fairhaven Village Green, 1207 10th St. Tickets are $6 and will cover a…

Audubon at the Museum


Join experts from North Cascades Audubon Society for a monthly “Audubon at the Museum” gathering from 1:30-3:30pm at the new John M. Edson Hall of Birds at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121…

Rambling Unicorn


Katy “Unicorn” Shaw leads “A Rambling Unicorn Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail” from 3-4:30pm at the Everson Library, 104 Kirsch Dr. From record-setting snow in the High Sierras to rampant…

Seeing Pink


Help raise funds for Lydia Place at a “Seeing Pink” benefit from 4-7pm at the Ciao Thyme Commons, 207 Unity St. Heavy appetizers, dinner by Chef Mataio Gillis, paired cocktails, jazz music by…



Contemporary Christian music singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Crowder brings his “American Prodigal Tour 3.0” to Bellingham for a 7pm concert at Western Washington…

Pink Martini


Take a musical trip around the world—from France to Iran, Armenia to South Africa—when Pink Martini and lead singer China Forbes perform at 7pm at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N.…

Take Me to Church


The iconic Betty Desire and the Panty Hoes present a weekly “Take Me to Church” drag production starting at 8pm at Rumors Cabaret, 1119 Railroad Ave. Entry is by donation; funds raised…

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