Reporting from the heart of Cascadia


Standing Rock North

Canadian government approves pipeline expansion

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government picked winners and losers among a number of large energy export projects this week. Decisions were delivered on three crude pipelines—Enbridge’s Line 3 and Northern Gateway, and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain—and on a previously pledged tanker ban along British Columbia’s northwest coast.

The Trudeau government approved Trans Mountain and Line 3, but rejected the Northern Gateway project due to its impacts on coastal old…

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Songs Not of the Season

Save the carols for later

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

After last week’s confession that I am an unrepentant Black Friday shopper (this year I scored some discount underwear and a glittery sweater, possibly to be worn together), it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I set my radio to the station that plays nonstop Christmas music before the clock struck midnight on Thanksgiving.

However, unlike so many of the other holiday traditions I can’t get enough of, I do have a threshold when it comes to carols. Because I’m a musical…

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Pickett House

A treasure chest of history

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

There are ghosts at the George E. Pickett House in Bellingham. Chances are you won’t see them, but if you visit the house on Peabody Hill—the state’s oldest documented wooden structure on its original site—you’ll certainly feel them.

It was built by John Peabody, and if you venture up those rickety stairs and look carefully you’ll see the planks he used from the Roeder-Peabody lumber mill at Whatcom Falls. They expanded and contracted over the years, and to seal the cracks…

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Hunting for Answers

Of elk and elections

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The day after the election, I went hunting for elk. Being away for a week gave me the space to begin wrapping my head around Trump’s victory. I could let my own thoughts percolate away from the noise and drama—except when I checked the news on my device. Obsessively. At the expense of scanning for elk.

Though I was in the middle of the wilderness, far removed from the chaos unfolding in Washington D.C., I was—like we all are—inextricably linked to those events. And I couldn’t…

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Polly Dyer

Honoring a conservation hero

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In the North Cascades, a mosaic of public lands—national, state and provincial parks; national forests; wilderness and recreation areas—protects many of the region’s most beloved areas.

It’s easy to take their stewardship for granted, but in truth, Washingtonians owe a great deal of gratitude to early visionaries like Polly Dyer, who passed away recently at age 96.

Without Dyer and her ilk, imagine what might have been: Clear-cuts in the Stehekin Valley. An open-pit copper…

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Downtown Visions

Weathering the storm at PAPO

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The windstorm that hit Western Washington on Aug. 29, 2015 was a whopper. In addition to knocking out power to much of Whatcom County, the angry gusts downed trees, sent debris flying to and fro and generally did its best to endanger human lives.

Before I took the advice of newscasters and holed up inside my house on that stormy summer day, I ran a couple of errands that had me driving down Bellingham’s Holly Street corridor.

Among the pedestrians who were hustling along the…

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Manchester by the Sea

A masterpiece in a minor key

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Manchester by the Sea is a masterpiece in a minor key, an exploration of grief that never lets its characters—or its audience—off the hook.

It manages this even when it’s funny, which is surprisingly often. Kenneth Lonergan’s film, which understands the humor that can be found in unimaginable suffering, might be unbearable otherwise. But it would still be essential viewing.

Casey Affleck is magnificent as Lee Chandler, a janitor in Boston. We see him plunging toilets, repairing to…

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On Stage

Why Not

Working through the hard stuff

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

For many years, improviser and actor Robin Corsberg was used to being the life of the party.

And although the longtime performer still commands an audience—whether it’s making people laugh as a mainstage performer at the Upfront Theatre, in a juicy role at the iDiOM Theater, or onscreen in local and regional projects and commercials—she’s now doing so without a drink or two under her belt.

Corsberg’s two years of sobriety will be one of the topics she’ll tackle during “Why Not,”…

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Ticket Cascadia

Nocturnal Animals

A story within a story

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

High art meets base behavior in Nocturnal Animals, the singular second feature from Tom Ford, the fashionista and filmmaker.

This melodramatic yet nihilistic thriller unfolds in two distinct yet connected locations and mindsets, like a collision between Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind and David Lynch’s Lost Highway. Adapting his screenplay from Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony and Susan, Ford interweaves influences and style obsessions with an exactitude bordering on…

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SVCR Snow Doug
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

LAWLESS: Whatcom County’s commitment to lawlessness was on vivid display last week, as construction industry lobbyists, land speculators and property owners with trapped investments descended on County Council to protest a moratorium on development applications based on wells. Council…

MBT Tenors Northwest Ballet
Hold firm, Democrats

The recent election debacle has put the Republicans in control of both executive and legislative branches of our national government.…

Rights of peaceful assembly

The other day I observed a peaceful and well-regulated demonstration on a local railroad crossing. The demonstrators appeared particularly concerned…

Sanctuary, not sanctions 

Providing sanctuary is a primordial response of compassion and courage in the face of vulnerability and injustice.
Bellingham has…

Swinomish 2016
Today's Events
Washington Small Fruit Conference


Sign up in advance for the annual Washington Small Fruit Conference taking place Wednesday through Friday at Lynden’s Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, 1775 Front St.  The event is presented…

Santa in Town


For the 34th 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…

Peter and the Starcatcher


A dozen actors will portray more than 100 unforgettable characters when Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Peter and the Starcatcher shows this week at 7:30pm Wednesday through Friday, 2pm and…

Holiday Festival of the Arts


More than 100 local artists and craftspeople will show and sell their creative wares as part of Allied Arts’ 37th 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” this week from 5-10pm Thursday through Sunday in Stanwood at the 15-acre Warm Beach Camp, 20800…

Irving Berlin's White Christmas


Transport yourself to a lodge in Vermont when Irving Berlin’s White Christmas continues this weekend with shows at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at the newly renovated…

The Happy Elf


A new musical comedy by the Grammy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated composer and lyricist Harry Connick, Jr. can be seen at performances of The Happy Elf at 7:30pm Thursday and Friday,…

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


Find out what happens when church volunteers, struggling to present a Christmas pageant, are faced with casting the Herdman kids, the most inventively awful kids in history, when The Best…

A Christmas Story


The Theater Arts Guild’s rendition of A Christmas Story: The Musical, continues this week with performances at 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday, and 1:30pm Sunday at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln…

Homemade Christmas Bazaar


Peruse works by local artisans and stock up on candy and cookies by the pound at the 10th annual Homemade Arts & Crafts Christmas Bazaar taking place from 9am-4pm Friday and Saturday at the…

Toys for Tots


Donate new, unwrapped toys, cash and more at the annual “Toys for Tots” event taking place from 9am-5pm Friday and Saturday at a distribution center at 1650 Birchwood Ave. The all-local event…

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 December at the Connelly Creek Nature Are―a frequently…

Holiday Dessert Contest and Reception


“With My Fork” and “With My Fingers” will be the categories of a Holiday Dessert Contest taking place from 10am-2pm at the Inn at Lynden, 101 5th St. Judging begins at 2pm, and winners will…

Holiday Book Sale


Discover the perfect gift at the Friends of the Blaine Library’s Holiday Book Sale happening from 10am-6pm Friday, and 10am-5pm Saturday at the Blaine Library, 610 3rd St. The event coincides…

20th annual Pacific Arts Market


Several dozen well-known 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…

Holiday Port Festival


Music by dozens of local bands, orchestras, choirs and performance groups, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, art activities for kids, horse-and-wagon rides, gingerbread house viewings, Alaska…

Santa Train


The Forest of Imagination changes into a magical wonderland full of more than one million lights brightly twinkling in the night at “Santa Train” excursions from 5-9pm Friday through Sunday…

Festival of Lights


Find “unique gifts and adornments for the discriminating shopper” at the 12th annual “Festival of Lights” from 5-9pm Friday and 11am-5pm Saturday at Tillie Lace Gallery and School of Fine…

Holiday Tree Lighting


Bundle up for a Holiday Tree Lighting from 5-6pm at Ferndale’s Centennial Riverwalk Park, 1985 Main St. The free event will feature visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus, hot cocoa and cookies.

BUG Holiday Concert


As part of a seasonal “Music in the Library” series, listen to a variety of holiday music by the Bellingham Ukulele Orchestra from 5-6pm at the Lecture Room at the Bellingham Public Library,…

Olde Fashioned Christmas


Members of the Ferndale Heritage Society will help visitors step back in time at the annual “Olde Fashioned Christmas” taking place from 5-9pm Friday, 1-9pm Saturday, and 1-4pm Sunday at the…

Holiday Cocktail Party


Put on your dancing shoes for the Deck the Old City Hall Holiday Cocktail Party from 5:30-8:30pm at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. Tickets are $50 and include tasty drinks…

Fishboy First Friday


Head out of downtown proper to peruse the works of folk artist RR Clark and check out more than 50 unique paintings priced at $100 or under from 6-10pm at FishBoy Gallery, 617 Virginia St.…

Holiday Art Walk


More than 20 merchants will show the work of local artists at a “Holiday Art Walk” taking place from 6-9pm Friday and 10am-5pm Saturday in Old Town Anacortes. Patrons of the arts can peruse…

Downtown Bellingham Art Walk


The Alley District, Allied Arts, Ascend Chiropractic, 3 OMS Yoga, Bayou on Bay, Boundary Bay Brewery, Buethorn Studio,  the Community Food Co-op, Dakota Gallery, Downtown Bellingham…

Holiday Make.Sale


Local vendors both new and old will share everything from paintings to independently published comic books, photography, Bellingham flags, beauty products, clothing and much, much more at the…

Art on Tap


More than 25 artists will show and sell everything from paintings to sculpture, photography, woodwork, ceramics, jewelry, holiday portraits and more at the fourth annual “Art on Tap: Holiday…

Anacortes Tree Lighting


The town crier, Santa Claus, and students from local schools will be part of a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony starting at 6pm at the Anacortes Chamber, 819 Commercial Ave. After the…

Winter Book Sale


Browse children’s books while you enjoy the Winter Festival in the Everson City Park at a Used Book Sale taking place from 6-7pm at the park on the corner of South Washington and Lincoln streets.

Festival of Tiny Trees


Explore a winter wonderland of tiny trees, twinkling lights, music, sips, savories and sweets at a Festival of Tiny Trees from 6:30-8pm at the La Conner Regional Library, 614 Morris St. There…

Swing Connection Christmas Concert


Hear the big band sounds of the Swing Connection when the ensemble hosts its annual Christmas Concert from 7-9pm at First Baptist Church, 110 Flora St. Entry to the family-friendly…

Glad Tidings Christmas Concerts


The Whidbey Community Chorus presents a “Glad Tidings” Christmas Concert at 7pm Friday and 4pm Sunday at Oak Harbor’s First United Methodist Church, 1050 SE Ireland St. Entry is by…

Pippi Longstocking


Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth students bring an iconic character to life when they present performances of Pippi Longstocking at 7pm Friday, 2pm and 7pm Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at BAAY…

Saving Christmas Town


Join comical and quirky elves as they defend their city from the naughty and ominous characters of Oogie Boogie Land when the Dance Studio presents Saving Christmas Town at 7pm Friday, and…

Monologue Project Readings


Seventh graders will read from and perform sections from their work when Joel Gillman shares the Monologue Project at 7pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. Gillman’s students are learning a…

A Duet of Nutcrackers


Dance students will perform solos and duets alongside Western Washington University Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Band members at performances of Tchaikovsky’s classic “Nutcracker Suite” and…

The Nutcracker


The Skagit Valley Academy of Dance will present their 27th annual performance of The Nutcracker at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at Mount Vernon’s McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College…

Carols of the World


The Cantabile Chamber Choir of Skagit Valley presents “Peace on Earth: Carols of the World” concerts at 7:30pm Friday at Anacortes United Methodist (2201 H Ave.); 7:30pm Saturday at the…

Fifth annual Aerial Showcase


Local performers and guests artists will share their varied talents at the Bellingham Circus Guild’s fifth annual “Aerial Showcase” at 8pm Friday and 6pm and 9pm Saturday at the Cirque Lab,…

Ghosts and Games


Expect seasonal hilarity at improvised versions of The Christmas Carol when “My Three Ghosts” shows at 8pm Fridays and Saturdays through December at the Upfront Theatre, 1208 Bay St. At 10pm…

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