Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


From Budd to Blake

A musical mashup

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The majority of time that I sit down to write, I am able to focus on one thing—one band or musician, one venue, one festival, etc.

But sometimes I just want to write about everything. And this happens to be one of those weeks. If the following events could be arranged according to a similar theme, I suppose it would be that they are hyperlocal. Each, whether it be a benefit, an album release or a wingnut idea brought to life, speaks to something uniquely Bellingham. If you’d like to…

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SVCR Vanessa

Spring Forward

Still time for soup

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A really good soup can be a difficult thing to find—unless you’re an expert in the kitchen or you have an inside scoop on where to go in Whatcom County to find hearty, wholesome bowls of broth that will warm your insides and chase the winter blues far away.

Our neighbors down south have long known that Ivar’s is a go-to place for incredible seafood soups. That tradition started back in 1938 with Ivar Haglund’s homemade clam chowder. Today, Ivar’s is still churning out…

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SVCR Vanessa

Pool Project

In search of safer swimming

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Full disclosure: I’ve seen Molly Monahan in a bathing suit.

On a recent visit to Hawaii, Monahan, 64, was among a posse of vacationers sharing living space at a remote property on the Big Island. I joined her for a couple of snorkeling sojourns to nearby tidal pools, and can attest to the fact that, if humans had gills, Monahan would probably choose to live in the water.

Back on the mainland, Monahan reached out to me about her efforts to work with the Whatcom Family YMCA in…

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SVCR Vanessa
On Stage

Support System

Arts under attack in Trump’s budget

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mary Poppins is pissed, and Elmo was just given his walking papers.

While this may seem like the beginning of a weird joke, it’s not a laughing matter. When Donald Trump announced his first federal budget plan late last week, his presidential proposal featured a bloated military fund and the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting—a key source of revenue for PBS and National…

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SVCR Vanessa

Stand & Resist

Artists protect the Salish Sea

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

For years, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples have been fighting back against an onslaught of fossil fuel projects trying to push coal, tar sands, oil and gas to the shores of the Salish Sea, almost exclusively for export.

Among the leaders of that resistance movement have been artists of all styles and stripes, but their work is rarely seen by the public except as a banner in the background of a group shot in the newspaper.

With so many concerns about how the current presidential…

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Saunders' Story

Inside Lincoln’s White House

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

George Saunders is known as a short story genius; his 2013 collection, The Tenth of December, was a National Book Award finalist and named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review. Saunders is also an accomplished essayist of darkly humorous pieces exploring consumerism and the role of mass media in modern life, taking an often satirical look at corporate capitalism.

Now comes his first novel, and to hear Saunders discuss it, he might have preferred that…

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A former U.S. ambassador speaks out

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

John M. Koenig is a former U.S. ambassador to Cyprus who also held positions in Germany, Greece, and with NATO, an organization that has in recent weeks come under criticism by the new administration. After a 31-year career, Koenig retired in 2015, returning to his native Northwest and settling in Bellingham. I sat down with him recently to get his perspective on foreign relations in these days of President Donald Trump.

Alan Rhodes: Donald Trump had been in office for only one week…

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SVCR Vanessa


A one-name curmudgeon

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Graphic novels, and the movies based on them, work better with certain topics than others. Sixteen years ago, Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World, based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, centered on a pair of more-blase-than-thou teenage girls who walked, and talked, outside the loop of everything they deemed boring and conventional; it was the perfect movie about the perfect hipsters at the perfect “whatever” moment. Wilson, directed by Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins), is also…

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SVCR Vanessa
Best of Bellingham
Best Neighborhood


What makes a great neighborhood? In the years we’ve been polling readers for their favorite places, this category has moved steadily north—as has the emphasis on great parks, trails, schools, places to hang out, and homes that are stylish, established yet affordable have come into focus. The Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series is just one example of a neighborhood laying out all of its finest for the enjoyment of others. Roll on, Columbia!

Best of Bellingham write-ups by Tim Johnson, Carey Ross, Amy Kepferle, Scott Pelton, and Trail Rat
Photos by Patrick Beggan (

See all the winners »
The Gristle
High Barriers for Low Barriers

HIGH BARRIERS FOR LOW BARRIERS: The mayor has encountered headwinds in her long journey to site a homeless shelter near homeless services.

Earlier this month, the City of Bellingham—after years of searching—identified a potential location for a new emergency night shelter to serve…

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End military excess

The Trump administration and some members of Congress are developing plans to increase defense spending by $54 billion in the…

Wealth care, 
not health care

The GOP’s Orwellian-inspired naming of their Obamacare replacement as the “American Health Care Act” is designed to divert attention from…

St. Joseph, patron 
saint of workers

Women founded St. Joseph Hospital more than 100 years ago and worked for nothing. Then, in 2015, the lab workers…

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Today's Events
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest


The annual Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is accepting submissions through March 31. Winning entries are displayed for a year on placards in front of the Bellingham Public Library, and inside…

All-Paces Run


Staff and volunteers are always on hand to guide the way at the weekly All-Paces Run starting at 6pm every Tuesday at Fairhaven Runners, 1209 11th St. The runs are 20 minutes out and back on…

Fun with Cheese


Watch the breaking of the wheels at a “Parmigiano Classico” gathering starting at 6pm at the Ciao Thyme Commons, 207 Unity St. Attendees can taste the freshly cracked cheese and then enjoy a…

Bellingham Reads


Discuss Mischa Berlinski’s Fieldwork at a Bellingham Reads book discussion group meeting from 6:30-7:30pm at the Dodson Room at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. All adults are…

Harbor Porpoise Presentation


Pacific Mammal Research’s Cindy Elliser will give a presentation focusing on harbor porpoises at 6:30pm at the Burlington Public Library, 820 E. Washington Ave. The program on the fascinating…

Gather Round


All are welcome at a new monthly forum for people who love a good story, “Gather Round: True Stories Told Live,” taking place from 7-8:30pm at Honey Moon, 1053 N. State St. (in the alley).…

Books on Tap


Ferndale Library staff member Stacy Paull will helm a “Books on Tap” discussion focused on Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son at 7pm at Maggie’s Pub, 2030 Main St. The book club meets on the…

Maloney & Tergis


Fiddler Athena Tergis and vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mick Maloney will present their award-winning mix of Irish and Scottish traditional songs, folk tunes and world music at a 7pm…

Skagit Folk Dancers


Join the Skagit-Anacortes Folk Dancers for a weekly International Folk Dancing event from 7-9:30pm at Bayview Civic Hall, 12615 C St. No partners are needed; just show up and dance. Entry to…

Alton Brown Live


Songs, multimedia presentations, talk-show antics and potentially dangerous food demonstrations will be part of “Alton Brown Live” at 7pm at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. The…

Semiahmoo Stewardship


The North Cascades Audubon Society will host the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society’s Matt Christensen and Sarah Brookes for a “Stewardship North of the 49th Parallel” presentation from 7-9pm…

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