Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Bottoms Up

Expedition to a bath

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It was just past noon and the sun beat mercilessly down upon an exposed stretch of remote North Cascadian mountainside where Uncle Don and I were attempting to overpower a violently out-of-control rock drill before it bounced into the ruinous abyss below.

“Hit the kill switch!” Uncle Don screamed as he pinned the roaring, jerking, noxious-exhaust-belching contrivance against the ground with every inch of his rangy scarecrow-like body.

Hissing and snarling, I kept swatting my hand…

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Silver Reef Stay and Fly

Sea Food

Dinner in the bay

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A couple of years ago, my manfriend and I spent the Fourth of July aboard our friend’s boat at Squalicum Harbor dining on pulled pork sandwiches and a plethora of side dishes while watching the fireworks light up the night sky. And even though we didn’t motor into Bellingham Bay to watch the action—the skipper wanted to avoid the hassle of docking the boat after dark amid the rowdy crowd of seafaring celebrants—just being on the water while the explosive action was happening was a…

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Paradise Silver Reef
On Stage

Going Greek

Sophocles and beyond

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

iDiOM Theater isn’t known for its restraint. Not long after wrapping up its regular season with a mainstage production of Sarah Ruhl’s genre- and gender-bending play Orlando at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, the most prolific theater company around announced its Summer Rep lineup.

They deemed it an “ambitious mini-season,” but that’s a bit of an understatement. Typically, the creative collective has gone above and beyond when it comes to entertaining and enlightening the masses. Five…

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Auction Action

Van Gogh for the Youth

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The legacy of a world-famous artist will be front and center when Garden of Life and Studio UFO team up for “Van Gogh for the Youth: A Night Under the Stars” Thurs., June 20 at Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building. The multi-pronged fundraiser will benefit Growing Alliances, a local nonprofit that provides professional development training for youth transitioning out of foster care via the wonders of urban agriculture. While attendees are listening to classical music, up-bidding on…

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Paradise Silver Reef

Great Pretenders

Of Hollywood and history

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Just in time for hammock season comes local author Laura Kalpakian’s latest novel (her 16th), The Great Pretenders

Set in Hollywood in the 1950s, it’s got the right blend of glitz and pop culture so you can while away a sun-filled Saturday, allowing yourself to recuperate after your recreational endeavors or take a break from your gardening toil. 

Better still, it addresses social and political issues of that era—the blacklisting of communist sympathizers in the film…

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Paradise Silver Reef

Summer Solstice Festival

Show me the light

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

I usually don’t mind darkness. I’m not making a dramatic existential statement—I’m talking about literal darkness. When the seasons change and the days become more night than day, I don’t exactly welcome it like some kind of vampire, but I don’t shun it either.

I hate the cold, but I can get down with the dark.

Until last winter.

For the first time, the shortening of the daylight hours and the increasing encroachment of night felt oppressive. I didn’t become depressed or…

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Silver Reef Stay and Fly
Best of Skagit
Best News Story

Save the Whales

Skagit is a land of wild rivers, soaring glacier peaks, fertile valleys and forested dots of islands sprinkling an inland sea. Powerful predatory whales live in these waters and feed on the tastiest wild fish on earth, the Chinook. Ours is as exotic as any landscape on the planet, and perhaps it is more threatened than many.

Those whales—the southern resident orcas—aren’t especially shy and can be viewed almost daily, although their numbers are in precipitous decline. Deaths in their pods have exceeded live births, threatening a spiral to extinction. They’re sick, and they’re starving. The cause? Increased human activity around the Puget Sound, as a region that is loved too much and too recklessly.

Alarmed by the decline of these iconic creatures, the Washington Legislature this session passed sweeping protections for the Salish Sea’s ailing orca population. Championed by lawmakers who represent Skagit and the San Juans, a quartet of bills cover a variety of measures, including whale watching, pollution and more. Yet budgets passed by the House and Senate so far contain no funding to continue the governor’s task force on orca recovery. There’s no agreement on plans to increase Chinook runs. And revenue measures to help pay for everything, from increasing hatchery production to enforcement of habitat protections, have yet to be decided.

As we dedicate this issue to celebrate all the best our region has to offer in scenic beauty, in recreation, in menus and samplings that are unique to who we are, let us acknowledge how fragile it is and how fierce we must be in its protection.

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Thinking Outside the Box

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: The status of law enforcement, public safety and criminal justice reform was outlined in the annual report of Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo to County Council this week. The news is mostly encouraging; and—following two failed ballot initiatives to build a big…

Amy Goodman
Goodbye, First Amendment

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or of the press,” reads the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yet, for the first time ever, a publisher is being prosecuted under the World War I-era Espionage Act. Julian Assange, cofounder of the whistleblower…

Rumor Has It
Breaking News

It was exactly one week ago that I lamented the disappearance of Saxophone Guy from Boulevard Park. I’m not sure if he read my missive or if he just sensed my sadness, but a few days ago, cutting through the standard-issue noise and amplified post-grad glee of the park came the plaintive…

Trove Web
Cashing in on Cambodia

I write in defense of Sen. Doug Ericksen and his partner collecting $500,000 from the authoritarian Cambodian regime. If Ericksen’s half is $250,000, this is barely $685 dollars a day. This…

Break the dams

I’m all for breaching the Snake River dams, if that’s truly what is best for both salmon recovery and the orcas that feed on them. But truthfully, I’m not so sure it is.
Dams do exactly…

Fallen state of media

I was disturbed to see the continued shrinking of our only daily print newspaper, as the Herald once again limits itself—this time to Sunday through Friday.
I feel strongly about the loss…

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Today's Events
Bard on the Beach


A Wild West-inspired version of The Taming of the Shrew kicks off the 30th Bard on the Beach season at Vanier Park in Vancouver, BC. Through Sept. 21, the Shakespearean favorite will show in…

Smart Business Leadership Series


Mark Peterson of Sustainable Connections, Amanda Grelock and Melissa Elkins of the Community Food Co-op, and Tyson Romanick of Saturna Capital will speak at the first Smart Business…

Wellness Wednesdays


The Mount Vernon Downtown Association hosts its third “Wellness Wednesdays” event at 12pm at the Skagit Riverwalk Plaza. “Yoga With Judy” will be the lunch-hour workout. The month-long series…

Wednesday Farmers Market


Attend the Bellingham Farmers Market’s Wednesday Market from 2pm-6pm at the Barkley Village Green, 2215 Rimland Dr. The midweek market continues through September.

Ferndale Book Group


Social class distinctions about overcoming cultural discrimination and about standing up for oneself will be topics of a Ferndale Book Group discussion focused on Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market


The Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market takes place from 3pm-7pm at Hammer Heritage Square, 200 Metcalf St. Vendors will offer a selection of produce, crafts and more through September.

Group Run


All levels of experience are welcome at a weekly Group Run beginning at 6pm in Mount Vernon at the Skagit Running Company, 702 First St. The 3- to 6-mile run is great for beginners or for…

Calypso Kitchen


Sarah Chan leads a “Calypso Kitchen: Caribbean Creole Home Cooking” course from 6:30pm-9:30pm at the Community Food Co-op, 1220 N. Forest St. The night’s menu will include accra (salted-cod…

Creekside Open Mic


Sign up to read your poetry and prose or play music—or simply listen in—at a Creekside Open Mic starting at 6:30pm at Sudden Valley’s South Whatcom Library, 10 Barn View Court, Gate 2.…

Bellingham Mayoral Forum


The Downtown Bellingham Partnership will host a Mayoral Forum at 6:30pm at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. April Barker, Seth Fleetwood, Garrett O’Brien, and Pinky Vargas…

Brewers Cruise


“Bellingham Bay BREWers Cruise” features liquid fare from Boundary Bay Brewery and two other local or regional breweries at 6:30pm at San Juan Cruises’ dock at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal,…

Marina Albero and Jeff Johnson


Barcelona-born pianist Marina Albero and bassist Jeff Johnson will join forces for a Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center concert at 7pm at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 205 Prospect St. Entry…

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