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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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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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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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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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…

Avenue Q


Show up to see a fast-moving adult take on Sesame Street when the school edition of Avenue Q shows at 7pm Thursday through Saturday, and 2pm Sunday at Anacortes High School’s Brodniak Hall,…

SICBA Home & Garden Show


Seminars, vendors, a Lego Build Contest,  activities for kids, live music and much, much more will be part of the SICBA Home & Garden Show happening from 12-7pm Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday, and…



Dana Crediford makes her directorial debut when Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth students present showings of the award-winning musical Godspell at 7pm Friday, 2pm and 7pm Saturday, and 2pm…

The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee


“Tweenagers” played by adults will disclose hilarious and touching stories from their home lives as they spell their way through a series of words hoping never to hear the “ding” of the bell…

Rock & Gem Show


Rocks from worldwide sources, minerals, fossils, gems, jewelry, approximately 30 entertaining and educational exhibits, gold panning, dealers, door prizes, silent auctions, demos and more…

Goose Rock Hike


Join members of the Mount Baker Club for a hike to Goose Rock today. Beginning at West Beach in Deception Pass State Park, the route passes under the bridge and continues toward Coronet Bay…



Baroque violinist Linda Melsted and harpsichordist Jonathan Oddie will play a duo recital of works by Johann Sebastian and Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, Duphly, Mondonville, and local composer…

Whatcom Symphony Orchestra with Christopher Guzman


Noted pianist Christopher Guzman will join the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra for the ensemble’s “All-American Salute to Spring” at 3pm at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St. The…

Never Let You Go


Chevy Stevens reads from Never Let You Go at 4pm at Village Books, 1200 11th St. The book of fiction focuses on a woman who has left an abusive relationship and started a new life with her…

Art of Jazz


The Seattle-based band Duendre Libre will be the featured group at the Jazz Project’s monthly “Art of Jazz” concert from 4-6:30pm at the Majestic, 1027 N. Forest St. Entry is $10 for…

Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson


Virtuoso slack key guitar players Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson will present an evening of superb guitar that explores the beauty of Hawaiian music as it reflects its native land, the range…

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