Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Holiday Reads

More than stocking stuffers

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bibliophiles looking to gift books or simply stock up on reading material for the holidays might enjoy these new titles that express the power of reading to entertain, inspire, comfort, teach and build bridges.

As a librarian and lifelong book lover, Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks is my new “go-to” book to give to friends and family who are avid readers. Recognizing the significant role that certain books have played in her life, librarian Annie Spence sets…

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btown holiday

Festive Fidalgo

A pre-Christmas getaway

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Christmas season is upon us, so if you need a break from your shopping list, consider a quick jaunt to Anacortes. The city’s spectacular ocean views will rescue you from your winter blues, and its delightful mom-and-pop stores on Commercial Avenue promise a welcome break from big-box retailers.

I felt the tension slip away on Memorial Highway as soon as Fidalgo Bay came into view, flanked by Mt. Baker in a scene straight out of a postcard. After an afternoon rock-hopping for the…

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First Congregational Church


From Seattle to Skagit

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Many Skagit Valley artists are inevitable satellites of Seattle; they train there and market their work down south. Two new shows this month underscore that connection. 

At i.e. gallery in Edison, owner and artist Margy Lavelle brings the whimsical and edgy work of Seattleites Julie Paschkis, Warren Dykeman, and Joe Max Emminger to the forefront. And in Mount Vernon, transplants Trina Perry Carlson and Christian Carlson offer a joint exhibition of their own work.

The title of the…

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ICU Roof #2
On Stage

Tea Party

A calamitous Christmas

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Don’t be alarmed, but by procuring tickets to “O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy,” there’s a chance you might spend a minute or two under the spotlight dressed as a shark, or find yourself onstage portraying a member of the royal family.

And via the power of imagination, those in attendance at the Tues., Dec. 19 show at the Mount Baker Theatre can also expect to be surrounded by an endless sea of tea.

The premise of “O Christmas Tea” focuses on James (Aaron Malkin) and Jamesy…

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btown holiday

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The force is strong

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Making a movie like The Last Jedi takes a special blend of deep respect for the mythology of Star Wars and a strong impulse to keep the 40-year-old material fresh. Few franchises are this closely cherished by its fans (or its production studio), which makes any radical reinvention out of the question. Yet a series that doesn’t evolve eventually will waste away.

So kudos to writer/director Rian Johnson (who created clever genre twists on detective work in Brick and time travel in…

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Melvin Mania

Now brewed in Bellingham

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

If you felt an unusual exuberance in the vicinity of the Fountain District late last week, it was likely radiating from Melvin Brewery.

Thursday saw the release of Melvin’s first Bellingham-brewed beers—indeed the first beers they’ve brewed outside of their home base in western Wyoming—and the response among local hopheads was overwhelming. It was standing-room-only in their bustling taproom as the citizenry welcomed the latest brews to the Bellingham scene by quaffing $3…

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Energy Export

Permit approved for Skagit xylene project

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Skagit County moves forward with a project to ship 15,000 barrels of xylene per day to Asia.

Hearing Examiner Wick Dufford last week approved a key shoreline permit for the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery’s proposed Clean Products Upgrade Project, finding that it would not result in negative impacts from increased tanker traffic to and from the refinery. Skagit County Planning and Development recommended approving the permit.

The refinery at March Point—formerly Tesoro—has been…

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Energy Import

Regulators approve plan to retire coal energy

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

State regulators approve a plan that could help sunset the region’s reliance on coal-fired energy.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission last week unanimously approved a multi-party settlement of Puget Sound Energy’s request to increase electric rates and decrease natural gas rates for its customers. The three-member commission approved a 1 percent increase in electric rates, allowing an increase of $20 million in PSE’s electric revenues, and a decrease in natural gas rates…

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ICU Roof #2

A Cabin Christmas

Introducing Fruit Cocktail

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

If you happen to find yourself at the Cabin Tavern at 7pm Sun., Dec. 17 for “A Cabin Christmas,” you will be treated to, among other things, a performance by Fruit Cocktail, a dynamic duo that bears a striking resemblance to Jeff and Patti Braimes, musicians and longtime pillars of this fine community. Do not be fooled, however. The people you see before you are Frank Breech and Mona Hart, and they are the entertainment sensation you didn’t know you were looking for but have been…

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Best of Bellingham
Best Band

The Wednesdays

Music scenes, including ours, have traditionally been boys’ clubs—but the Wednesdays win in this category is a welcome indication of a change that has been a long time in coming. Unabashedly feminist and unapologetically political, the Wednesdays are making music with a message—and people are listening. With a motto of “Dismantling the patriarchy by day, playing basement blues punk by night,” coupled with an electrifying live show, the Wednesdays are making their mark and making it count.

See all the winners »
The Gristle
Gifts of the Three Magi

GIFTS OF THE THREE MAGI: Whatcom County Council used their last meeting of the year to employ departing colleagues and approve a number of familiar and long-hammered policy goals before their membership shifts a bit next year. These actions included the creation of a Lake Whatcom Stormwater…

Alan Rhodes
Sharing Beauty

A few months ago New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a piece titled “When Beauty Strikes.” The column itself was a work of beauty as well as a thoughtful meditation on what it means to be fully human. A ballet school had opened across the street from Brooks’ Washington, DC…

Sea ice decline

With the smallest winter sea ice coverage since record-keeping began and the second warmest year ever in the Arctic, a new NOAA-sponsored study reveals the polar region continues to bear the…

Preserve net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission is voting this week on whether to repeal the “Net Neutrality” rule adopted in 2015.
Since its creation, the internet has been an open exchange of…

Bad bill

I have written to my representatives about how the Republican Party can justify this horrific tax reform bill.
This bill does not help us, only the wealthiest in our society and large…

Today's Events
Santa's in Town


For the 35th year, the Fairhaven Lions will host Santa Claus through the holidays at Yeager’s Toyland, 3101 Northwest St. Visits are free. You can take pictures with your own camera at no…

Holiday Festival of the Arts


More than 100 local artists and craftspeople will show and sell their creative wares as part of Allied Arts’ 38th annual “Holiday Festival of the Arts” from 10am-7pm daily through Christmas…

The Lights of Christmas


View festive holiday displays both outdoors and indoors at the annual “The Lights of Christmas” continuing this week from 5-10pm Thursday through Sunday in Stanwood at the 15-acre Warm Beach…

Little Women, the Musical


Northwest Washington Theatre Group concludes its performances of Little Women, the Musical at 7pm Thursday through Saturday at the Sudden Valley Dance Barn, 8 Barnview Court. Tickets are $12-$15.

Anne of Green Gables


Attend the final weekend of performances of Anne of Green Gables at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday at the Anacortes Community Theatre, 918 M Ave. The stage adaptation promises to capture…

Hot Cider & Cool Art


Painter Ben Mann will host “Hot Cider & Cool Art” from 10am-4pm Fridays and Saturdays through December 23 at his third-floor space in the Morgan Block Studios, 1000 Harris Ave.

Pacific Arts Market


Several dozen local artists and crafters will show and sell a variety of work—including jewelry, fine art, photography, textiles, clothing, bath and body, specialty foods, home decor, paper…

The Snow Queen


Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth students ages 9 to 12 will bring Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale The Snow Queen to life at performances at 7pm Friday, 2pm and 7pm Saturday, and…

Skagit Valley Chorale's Heralding Christmas


The Skagit Valley Chorale and guest percussionist Patrick Roulet will explore Christmas and winter-themed music from many different lands and traditions at performances of “Heralding…

Ghosts and Brawling


Imagine the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and help move the story forward when “My 3 Ghosts” continues this weekend with 8pm shows Friday and Saturday at the Upfront Theatre,…

VFW Breakfast


French toast, eggs, sausage and pancakes will be among the offerings at a VFW Breakfast happening from 8-11am at Lynden’s VFW Hall, 7011 Hannegan Rd. Entry is $6 (kids 5 and under are free).

Pancake Breakfast


Choose from pancakes, French toast or biscuits and gravy at a Pancake Breakfast taking place from 8-11am at the Ferndale Senior Center, 1999 Cherry St. Entry is $2.50 for kids and $6 for…

Breakfast with Santa


Attend a fundraising “Breakfast with Santa” from 9-11am at the Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center, 2600 Squalicum Pkwy. In addition to enjoying a hearty pancake breakfast, Santa and Mrs.…

Make It and Take It


Take home delicate glass balls showcasing tiny lichens, mosses, twigs and other forest trimmings at a “Make It and Take It: Living Glass Ornament” workshop at 9am at the Garden Spot Nursery,…

Coast Salish Winter Festival


Find unique handcrafted gifts created and sold by Lummi community members at the final Coast Salish Winter Festival event from 10am-5pm at Ferndale’s Lummi Gateway Center, 4920 Rural Ave.

Jingle Bell Dash


Help raise money for AAUW STEM programs for girls in the community by taking part in today’s “Jingle Bell Dash” 5K Run/Walk starting at 10am in Anacortes at Seafarers Memorial Park, 601…

Sleighbells Ring


Attend “Sleighbells Ring” from 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Bellewood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian. Fresh-cut trees and wreaths, ornament and cookie crafting, bonfires, distillery and cafe…

Chainsaw Sculpting Open Studio


Visit the new studio and outdoor gallery of an award-winning chainsaw sculptor from 10am-4pm at Tomas Vrba Studio, 1481 E. Axton Rd. In addition to meeting the artist, watch him carve with a…

Holiday Tea


Partake in an afternoon of excellent conversation, good company, and delicious treats with your community, Friends of the South Whatcom Library, and library staff at a Holiday Tea happening…

Baker Beacon Rally


Anyone who spends time in the backcountry—from beginners to seasoned veterans—is invited to take part in today’s “Baker Beacon Rally” from 11am-2pm at Heather Meadows at the Mt. Baker Ski…

Fairhaven Winterfest


The annual Fairhaven Winterfest continues from 12-3pm this Saturday and next with a “Find the Elves” Treasure Hunt, visits with Father Christmas, and horse-drawn carriage rides. Entry is…

Hansel and Gretel


Attend a special holiday encore broadcast of a “MET Live in HD” showing of the fairytale opera Hansel and Gretel at 1pm at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. First St. Starring Alice…

Peter James Holiday Gallery Sale and Reception


Attend a Peter James Holiday Gallery Sale and Reception from 1-4pm at BelleWood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian. James’ photographs of the extreme beauty of Northwest Washington will be on display…

Youth Symphony Holiday Concert


Treasured melodies from many cultures and traditions will be brought to light by the musicians of the Fidalgo Youth Symphony at a “Holiday Concert” starting at 1pm at Mount Vernon’s McIntyre…

Holiday Wines from Spain


Attend a “Holiday Wines from Spain” tasting from 2-4pm at Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants, 19 Prospect St. Local importer Basilio Rodriquez Grueso from Casa Ventura will be pouring a selection…

Eat Your Words Cookbook Club


Foodies and novice chefs alike can attend today’s Eat Your Words Cookbook Club from 2-3:30pm at Sudden Valley’s South Whatcom Library, 10 Barn View Court. Make a dish to share and come ready…

Noel Trio


As part of the Firefly Concert Series, the Noel Trio will present music and poetry to celebrate the Yuletide season from 3-5pm at Lynden’s Jansen Art Center, 321 Front St. Performers include…

Mozzarella Class


Learn to make cheese from scratch at a “Let’s Make Mozzarella!” class happening from 3-4:30pm at Ferndale’s Appel Farms, 6603 Northwest Dr. Entry is $15 and includes cheese and crackers.…

Winter Dance Celebration


Dancers of all ages will perform at a contemporary dance concert featuring modern, jazz, tap and more when Fidalgo DanceWorks presents a “Winter Celebration” at 3pm in Anacortes at Brodniak…

The Nativity


Lyrical, modern and ballet dance forms will help tell the original story surrounding Christ’s birth when Dancing for Joy presents The Nativity at 6:30pm Saturday and Sunday at the Mount Baker…

Not So Silent Night


Join the Good Time Girls for their annual “Night So Silent Night” outing starting at 7pm in downtown Bellingham. Tickets are $35 and include three drinks, a caroling songbook and a “really…

Winter Star Mountain Journey


Day to Day Dance will host a performance of “Winter Star Mountain Journey” at 7pm at the Blaine Performing Arts Center, 975 H St. Through classical dance, hip-hop and modern dance, the…

Skagit Symphony Holiday Concert


Skagit Symphony hosts its annual “Holiday Concert” at 7:30pm at McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College Way. Selected choruses from Handel’s “Messiah,” selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker,…

Kulshan Chorus Winter Concert


“Choosing JOY: A Soul Journey” will be the focus of the Kulshan Chorus’ annual Winter Concert at 7:30pm at Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave. This season, the 100 voices of the chorus…

Teen Library Lock-In


Teens in grade 6 to 12 can attend a Teen Library Lock-In from 8pm-8am at the Ferndale Library, 2125 Main St. Students can expect games crafts, movies, yummy food, hot cocoa, scary stories and…

Wizard People, Dear Bellingham


Lovers of surreal theater, Rocky Horror midnight shows, Mystery Science Theatre, Harry Potter and beyond will want to attend “Wizard People, Dear Bellingham” at 8pm at the Alternative…

Christmas Milonga Tango Experience


Attend a “Christmas Milonga” Tango Experience from 9-11:30pm at Presence Studio, 1412 Cornwall Ave. All are welcome to come and dance the night away in a magical space during this season of…

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