Spotlight

Shrub Farm: Drink to your health

Ten years ago, Josh and Tomo Kramer met while studying massage in Maui.

If the couple would’ve been asked then what they thought they’d be doing in a decade, they probably wouldn’t have guessed they’d be small-business owners making and selling a healthy elixir called shrub—a vinegar preserve infused with fresh fruit and herbs that is chock full of enzymes, vitamins and a living culture, the Mother of Vinegar.

However, since Tomo was a nationally certified chef and Josh had studied…

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Spotlight

Soulcraft Allstars: Part Two: Scoring goals

“What?” Jay Julius, Chairman of Lummi Nation said, looking incredulously at his phone as the lights and cameras from our interview setup pointed at him. “Sorry, but I’ve got to jump on my boat right now,” Jay said. We were filming a story about how the Lummi stopped the coal export terminal from coming to Cherry Point. But that would have to wait for another day. Fish pens had broken, spilling more than 250,000 farmed salmon into the Salish Sea. “If you can be ready now, you…

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Spotlight

Anacortes Vintage Market: Quality and quantity under one roof

Before the doors open to the Anacortes Vintage Market’s fall show and sale taking place Oct. 18-19 on the pier at the city’s expansive Port Transit Shed, ticket-holders should know they’ll be stepping into a carefully curated wonderland.

“This is a vintage market and merchandise needs to fall under this category,” organizers say of those who apply to the biannual juried event. Not only do vendors need to have an active business license, but they also need to be willing to provide…

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Spotlight

Soulcraft Allstars: Part One: The beginning

It’s not advisable to hike to Haiti through the mountains of the Dominican Republic. But here we are, carrying heavy camera equipment, and hoping to avoid trouble. We are heading to Boukan Chat, where a small village of farmers lives alongside a bird on the brink of extinction, the Diablotin. We’ve collected young field biologists to play in a soccer match against the village team. Eventually, this friendly match will become the annual Diablotin Festival, with a parade, film…

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Spotlight

Heininger Holdings: Helping you hit the road

When Jeffrey Heininger was a teenager in Playa del Rey, California, he designed a bracket for his Schwinn Stingray to hold the bike seat differently. It worked, and he hit the road.

Decades later, the founder of Bellingham-based Heininger Holdings, LLC has more than 30 inventions to his name, and many of them are related to elevating the travel experience.

That’s not an aberration. Heininger’s pedigree practically guaranteed he’d make the most of motion. His father was a World War…

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Spotlight

Smash Mouth: Return to the Astro Lounge

In 1999, Lance Armstrong was winning his first Tour de France, Barbie was turning 40 years old, SpongeBob SquarePants was introduced and we were all preparing for whatever Y2K would bring.

In an old house that had been converted into a recording studio in Los Gatos, California, the members of Smash Mouth were under pressure and feeling it.

Their 1997 album, Fush You Mang, had yielded the surprise hit “Walkin’ On the Sun”—and, with its turn away from Smash Mouth’s ska/punk…

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Spotlight

Welcome to Yes: Bellingham Advanced Medical Imaging

As a CT Technologist at Bellingham Advanced Medical Imaging (BAMI), Jason Plumb knows when patients are confronted with the large, donut-shaped machine that has the ability to take pictures of their organs, bones and other tissues, he has the power to put them at ease.

“Calm patients make for a better exam,” Plumb says, noting the “quiet and quick” scans he oversees require people to remain still and sometimes hold their breath. “I’m very relaxed, and I want my patients to be relaxed…

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Spotlight

Bellingham Symphony: Your Community. Your Orchestra.

What’s in a name?

Well, if you’re an arts entity who has built a rock-solid reputation by presenting professional-level classical music to welcoming audiences for more than 40 years, thanks in large part to the creative contributions of talented community members from throughout your county, your moniker is what defines you.

That was why when the board of Whatcom Symphony Orchestra came together in the spring of 2018 and made the big decision to rebrand itself as Bellingham Symphony…

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Spotlight

NW Art Beat: Opening doors to creativity

Guests are always welcome at glass and mixed-media artist Melissa Ballenger’s studio off of Highway 9 near Big Lake, but if you’re the type who needs an invitation, look for the OPEN flag fluttering at the end of her driveway—or play it safe by making plans to attend the 16th annual NW Art Beat tour taking place July 20-21 at 15 venues throughout the Skagit Valley and into southwest Whatcom County.

Ballenger is one of 22 artists who’ll be opening a variety of studio doors in the name…

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Spotlight

Intellitonic

Intellitonic

In Bellingham, we have a keen interest in street-level businesses. We follow their openings and closings, renovations and retoolings with the kind of attention many people devote to their favorite sports teams.

But how many of us look up and wonder who occupies the floors above our coffeehouses, hair salons and comic-book shops?

Not many, I’d wager. Which is what makes the upper stories of the city’s buildings the perfect home for mysterious companies with secretive…

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Spotlight

Downtown Sounds 2019

Anniversaries are important.

Not only do they allow us to mark an occasion, but they also give us the opportunity to look back and see how far we’ve come.

In the case of Downtown Sounds, which will kick off its 15th season on Wed., July 10, the geographic distance the concert series has traveled is slight, but nearly everything else has changed quite a bit.

From its start, the mission of Downtown Sounds has always mirrored the broader mission of its parent organization, the…

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Spotlight

Arsenio’s Next Act: A comedian with staying power

Know this: If you heckle Arsenio Hall during his standup comedy show Thurs., July 11 at the Silver Reef Casino Resort, you will immediately regret your decision.

“Every now and then, someone takes their life into their own hands and attempts it,” the actor, producer and former late-night talk-show host says, noting that those who choose to interrupt a performer with 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry are typically under the influence or suffering from an abundance of…

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Spotlight

Eddie Money: Cashing in at the Silver Reef

Eddie Money is sort of like everyone’s dad. He loves terrible jokes—dad jokes, if you will—so much so that he has been known to solicit from his fans online. He frequently gives interviews with his wife by his side, and she’s not afraid to give him a hard pinch when she senses his notorious outspokenness is about to get him in trouble—again. He and his family currently star in their own reality show, which features plenty of Money’s five children rolling their eyes at his hijinks…

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Spotlight

Abbott’s Alley: Sustainable living in Skagit

In downtown Sedro-Woolley, a green arch greets residents and visitors to Abbott’s Alley—a portal to the future with a window to the past.

Just across the street from City Hall, the six mixed-use buildings beyond the sign comprise an ambitious net-zero project by Martha Rose Construction. Merging the longtime company’s “standards of the future” with elements of a time gone by—an era when people often lived above or adjacent to the places they worked—Rose’s trademarked…

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Spotlight

Sugar Ray at the Silver Reef Casino

Cascadia Spotlight: Sugar Ray

Mark McGrath knows how to give people what they want.

Possibly more important, the longtime Sugar Ray frontman also knows what people don’t want.

They don’t want be guinea pigs for new songs. They don’t want to suffer through the deep cuts of the band’s back catalog.

They want to hear the hits.

So, when Sugar Ray takes the stage of the Event Center at the Silver Reef Casino for a 7pm Fri., March 1 concert, the hits are what the audience will…

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Spotlight

Skagit Cohousing: Thriving Kids, Happy Parents

“Kids thrive in community,” Karen Gimnig says.

She should know. Gimnig’s teens grew up in a cohousing community outside Atlanta and now she’s part of a group building Skagit Cohousing in Anacortes.

“We’ve all heard ‘it takes a village,’” she says. “I didn’t really understand what that meant until I had one. Before we found cohousing, my kids’ village was spread all over town.”

Since moving to cohousing the Gimnig kids have had playmates right outside and…

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Spotlight

HUMP! Film Festival: A DIY celebration of love

In an earlier iteration of Dan Savage’s HUMP! Film Festival, audiences watching the compendium of short films designed to change the way America sees, makes and shares porn were lucky enough to witness a couple of amorous couches who couldn’t keep their cushions off of each other—at least when the resident humans left them alone long enough for them to test out the tensile strength of their own springs. 

Created in 2007 by a crew of Bellingham-based actors and burgeoning filmmakers…

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Spotlight

O Christmas Tea: A show steeped with holiday hilarity

Attention, fans of Monty Python, Mr. Bean, and Dr. Seuss: It’s time to grab your teacups and settle in for a warm mug of holiday hilarity with United Kingdom comedy legends James and Jamesy.

Not long from now, the duo will be bringing their wildly popular holiday classic O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy back to Bellingham for a Wed., Dec. 12 performance at the historic Mount Baker Theatre.

Combining British propriety with an unabashed love for the unexpected, London’s three-time…

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Spotlight

Skagit Cohousing: An invitation to interaction

“When I read about cohousing, I realized it is a way for me to live into the values I have long professed,” Dan Gerhard of Skagit Cohousing says.

The group is designing a neighborhood to be built in Anacortes, and the soon-to-be neighbors look forward to living in a way that nurtures relationships, attends to the environment and supports each individual to become the best self they can be.

The impact will extend far beyond the 30 households who will live there, as each person…

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Spotlight

Trash Talk: Waste diversion at The RE Store

At The RE Store, every day really is Earth Day.

That’s not hyperbole. Founded in 1993 as a program of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, the reuse-focused retailer currently located in Bellingham’s Fountain District has spent the past quarter-century working tirelessly to divert a dizzying array of building materials from the world’s waste stream.

On any given day, patrons perusing the offerings at the Meridian Street locale might find anything from fir flooring from the 1900s…

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Spotlight

Show and Tell: NW Art Beat Open Studio Tour

According to fusion artist Gary Giovane, sometimes it’s easier to show than to tell.

For example, if he were to attempt to explain to a patron new to his work that he paints with acrylics on cedar wood panels using a foundation derived from Native Northwest Coast traditions—while also incorporating elements from Celtic and Japanese art, as well as using tenets from the British Arts & Crafts movement—he might be met with a confused shrug.

“If I can actually show the visitor what…

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Spotlight

An Eerie Invitation: Music and monsters at the Guemes Island General Store

There’s an eeriness to this night. Is it the clouds slowly creeping across the bright fall moon? Is it the wind that frantically whips the leaves around the empty streets only to stop suddenly, as if calmed by an unknown force? Is it that your kids have hardly argued with you all day?

It’s hard to say, but the chill running down your spine as you apply the finishing touches of makeup to complete your zombie pirate costume lets you know something’s brewing. You gather the kids…

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Spotlight

Whatcom Symphony Orchestra: Making music come alive

When the members of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra tune their instruments and take the stage for their season-opening concert at 3pm Sun., Oct. 8 at the Mount Baker Theatre, it will signal both the start of the venerable arts organization’s 42nd season and its first under the leadership of new(ish) executive director, Gail Ridenour.

Ridenour has been at the helm of the WSO since January, but her connection to orchestral music and the particular kind of community that comes with it is…

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Spotlight

Yoga Therapy: At 3 Oms, an in-depth approach to healing

One might think that someone who has been studying yoga for more than half their life would have little else about the ancient practice left to learn.

In the case of Cat Enright—who was first introduced to yoga when she was 23 and will soon be 52—that assumption would be an incorrect one.

As a longtime Iyengar instructor at downtown Bellingham’s 3 Oms Yoga, Enright has continued to seek additional teachings throughout her many years of practice. She was considering pursuing a…

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Spotlight

Downtown Sounds: After the party

When last we left off with the hardworking crew from Downtown Bellingham Partnership, they were at the cusp of the first of the five weekly concerts that comprise Downtown Sounds, their perennially popular concert series that evokes literal dancing in the streets. Even though the nonprofit has been throwing this party for some 13 summers now, 2017 came with some factors that built in uncertainty that had not been felt since the series broke out of its alley home and took itself to the…

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Spotlight

Viva Farms: Continuing the legacy of farming in Skagit Valley

As the executive director of Viva Farms, Michael Frazier is well aware that the Skagit County nonprofit where he’s worked since the end of the 2014 farming season has become a vital resource for those looking to make a living from the land. We caught up Frazier for more details about how the business incubator that debuted in 2009 is helping ensure the future is full of farmers.

Cascadia Weekly: Is it true that only 108,500 acres of Skagit County’s 1.1 million acres are farmed? Why is…

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Spotlight

B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar: The world is its oyster

The month it opened, B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar sold a whopping 2,000 oysters.  

That was in May, and since then the restaurant connected to Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel & Conference Center has continued to draw welcome attention to itself by offering some of the freshest seafood around, prepared in ways both traditional and contemporary.

“It’s seafood with a twist,” the hotel’s general manager, John Burns, said on a recent sunny afternoon from a booth at the newly…

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Spotlight

NW Art Beat Studio Tour: Skagit Artists Together expand their vision

Behind every work of art, there’s a tale waiting to be told.

For ceramic sculptor Maria Wickwire, part of the joy of the artistic process is never knowing precisely what shape that narrative will take.

“Having always been attracted to figure sculpture and to story, I guess it was a natural progression to finding the deep vein of feminine archetypes I’ve been exploring since then,” Wickwire says of the alluring forms she’s been creating since falling for the malleable medium in her…

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Spotlight

Downtown Sounds

Most of us probably don’t spend a lot of time considering what goes in to making the ridiculously popular concert series Downtown Sounds happen.

For five weeks every summer, as if by magic, the 1300 block of Bay Street is closed to traffic, a stage goes up, bands begin to play and we throng there by the thousands to spend the evening dancing in the streets. At the end of each week’s show, we disperse, the temporary venue is dismantled and, by the next morning, it’s like the whole…

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Spotlight

Element Music Festival

For music fans, deciding whether to attend a music festival involves a certain kind of calculus. On one side of the equation are must-see bands and musicians, combined with the allure of seeing them in one place, over the course of a weekend.

The other side of the equation, however, looks a little different.

That’s where the downsides of festival-going factor in, which can be everything from the challenges posed by navigating overly large crowds and sometimes inhospitable venues…

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Spotlight

Fresh Bucks: Extending summer’s harvest at the Community Food Co-op

Asked to describe a typical workday as the outreach manager at the Community Food Co-op, Adrienne Renz’s face lights up as she describes a list of accomplishments that might leave a less energetic human exhausted.

She reports that the day before, in addition to leading a team meeting, she met with Sustainable Connections regarding a Whatcom Food Network forum, headed back to the office to discuss the Co-op’s upcoming Community Party, and then attended a school district wellness…

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Spotlight

Alice in Wonderland: Northwest Ballet Theater goes down the rabbit hole

It’s a sunny Saturday in May, but the 40 cast members and assorted crew on hand at the dress rehearsal for Northwest Ballet Theater’s revival of Alice in Wonderland appear to be more focused on furthering the story of a young girl’s adventures down a rabbit hole than they are in enjoying the springtime weather.

As Alice—a 21-but-looks-15 dancer named Hailey Forsberg—cinches her blue dress and stretches in advance of Act I, a quick look around NBT’s cavernous Cornwall Avenue locale…

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Spotlight

3 OMS Yoga: A community sanctuary, hidden in plain sight

If you’re not looking for it, it’s possible to walk by the entrance to 3 OMS Yoga without being aware that you’ve done so.

But once the door leading to the Cornwall Avenue studio has been located—a clue is that it shares an address with Kids Northwest and Dragon River restaurant—those seeking better physical, mental and spiritual health will find a warm and welcoming spot in which to explore the ancient practice of yoga.

And once you’ve left your street shoes behind on the…

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Spotlight

Spring Fling: A warmup to the Anacortes Arts Festival

Judging by the astounding array of events that take place during the Anacortes Arts Festival every August, it’s easy to believe claims by organizers that it takes more than 250 volunteers and as many as 2,000 work hours to put on the perennially popular three-day art party.

When I attended last summer’s soiree, I was struck not only by how much there was to do and see, but also by how smoothly the festival seemed to be running. As my date and I did everything from perusing indoor fine…

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