The Gristle

A capricious flower

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A CAPRICIOUS FLOWER: Jay Inslee delivered his inaugural address last week as he begins his historic third term as governor of Washington. The governor and the state’s eight other newly-elected and re-elected officials were sworn into office as the Legislature set to work on a new session. Their opening was brisk, as lawmakers introduced nearly 500 new bills.

In his speech, the governor said that now is a time for “relief, recovery and resilience.”

“We have big challenges that demand we take big steps,” Inslee admitted. “We are not going back to normal. We are going forward toward a new normal. We are on a path in this legislative session to a more just normal, a healthier normal. And we’re not just talking about the pandemic.

“These halls may look empty, but when you scratch the surface, there’s a robust and incredible story about Washingtonians that’s still unfolding,” he said.

“More than 3,500 Washingtonians have lost their lives to the pandemic. Many thousands more continue to struggle on their path to recovery from this virus. Families, business owners, workers and students have been through too much. There is still a palpable anxiety in the air.”

The governor’s speech touched on economic recovery, education, homelessness and the need to overhaul the state’s mental health system. He also declared his continued commitment to fighting climate change.

‘We cannot let the short-term crisis of COVID-19 blind us to the long-term health cataclysm that is climate change,“ he said.

Amid calls to relax social distancing standards and allow businesses to reopen, Inslee cautioned that Washingtonians should not expect their lives to return to normal after the COVID-19 epidemic is under control.

Restrictions are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, as Senate Democrats pushed through a measure that would extend all of the governor’s emergency proclamations indefinitely. Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 8402 would continue the restrictions ordered by Inslee until the governor declares an end to the state of emergency or the legislature repeals his orders. The measure passed along straight party lines by 28-19 votes, with all Democrats voting “yes” and all Republicans voting “no.”

Inslee also announced a plan to set up vaccination sites statewide with help from the National Guard and others as part of an overall goal to vaccinate 45,000 people a day.

Inslee said while the goal is currently higher than the current allotment of vaccines the state is receiving from the federal government—100,000 doses a week—the state is working to get the infrastructure in place now for that amount once doses increase. The state is currently vaccinating between 13,000 and 15,000 people a day, he said. The U.S. has recorded more than 23 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 397,000 deaths. There have been more than 277,000 cases in Washington state, with 3,900 deaths.

Topping a grim list of statistics, COVID continue to rear through Whatcom County’s rural communities.

“Cases have skyrocketed in the areas of Lynden and Nooksack Valley,” county health officials announced last week. “The 14-day case rate is more than three times higher in the Nooksack area than it was last week and is more than twice as high in Lynden.”
As of last week, only 9,000 vaccine doses had been distributed by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to vaccine providers in Whatcom County, which is only enough to provide a first dose to about 50-60 percent of the first tier in Phase 1A, according to county health officials.

“We have the will, the fire, and the ability to get everyone in Whatcom vaccinated, but we don’t have the vaccines,” said Cindy Hollinsworth, communicable disease manager for the Whatcom County Health Department.

Shipments of doses to Whatcom County have varied from as little as 300 in a week to as much as 5,000, and that unpredictability has complicated planning efforts. Additionally, due to failures of key federal programs some of Whatcom County’s most vulnerable community members working and living in long-term care facilities have instead had to be vaccinated by local providers. This population, along with the rest of Phase 1A, will continue to need prioritization by local vaccine providers.

“What’s needed most right now from the community is patience,” Hollinsworth said. “Everyone will have the chance to get vaccinated. We know vaccination needs to move faster in our country, our state and our county. We’re doing what we can to speed this along.”

“We have a lot of hard work to do this year, and we can get through it happier, healthier and more prosperous if we work in unison, finding common ground, recognizing the humanity of others and acting out of kindness,” Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu encouraged last week in a public statement in the wake of extremist violence that erupted in the nation’s Capitol and in Olympia.

“The word ‘freedom’ seems at times divorced from its meaning and value. Freedom does not stand alone or exist in a vacuum. Rather it is a consequence of the practice of responsibility, honesty, integrity and discipline. Like a capricious and beautiful flower, it blooms only when the conditions and care are right.

E pluribus unum—Out of many, one—the motto of the United States, should be at the forefront of our thoughts as we come together to live, work and govern in Whatcom County,” Sidhu said.

Past Columns
‘Stop The Steal’

February 17, 2021

Camp 210

February 3, 2021

‘More Work To Do’

January 6, 2021

Pathways for Pathogens

December 23, 2020

Make A Difference

December 9, 2020

Down to the Wire

November 25, 2020

Blue Wave 2020

November 11, 2020

Dark Deeds

October 28, 2020

Fire and Water

October 14, 2020

Defining Family

September 30, 2020

Smoke and Acrimony

September 16, 2020

Housing Saves Lives

September 2, 2020

Increments

August 19, 2020

In the Mail

August 5, 2020

Experience Matters

July 22, 2020

Momentum

July 8, 2020

Economic Snapshots

June 24, 2020

False Flags

June 10, 2020

Napoleons In Exile

May 27, 2020

Saturday
Undercover

11:00am

“Undercover,” an exhibition of butter dishes juried by Nikki Mizak, will be featured for the final week from 11am-5pm daily through Saturday, and 12pm-4pm Sunday at Good Earth Pottery, 1000…

Members Show and Art Challenge

11:00am

View an annual “Members Show” for the final week from 11am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The exhibit features work up to 100 Allied Arts members in a variety…

Alfred Currier and Anne Schreivogl

11:00am

Oil paintings by Alfred Currier, acrylics from Anne Schreivogl, and oils by Patrizio will be featured from 11am-5pm Wednesday through Saturday through March 29 in Anacortes at Scott Milo…

Riding the Wind

11:00am

Michael Dickter’s “Riding the Wind” exhibit can be seen from 11am-6pm daily through Feb. 28 in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St. Face masks are required, and a…

From Where They Are

10:00am

Help raise funds for Fairhaven’s Firehouse Performing Arts Center by watching Kuntz and Company’s virtual performance of from where they are online as part of the Firehouse Studio. The focus…

A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:30am

Teens in grades 6-12 can submit their original writing for consideration in Whatcom County Library System’s annual poetry competition, “A Forest of Words,” through March 15. All styles of…

A World Well Traveled

12:00pm

“Max Benjamin: A World Well Traveled” can be seen from 12pm-4pm Thursdays through Sundays La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. The solo exhibit featuring the work of the…

Birdland

10:00am

Flock through Skagit Valley and view “Birdland” for the final weekend from 10am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at Smith & Vallee Gallery, 5742 Gilkey Ave. The exhibit featuring feathered…

A Straw in the Wind

11:00am

Margy Lavelle’s “A Straw in the Wind” exhibit can be seen for the final week from 11am-4pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The gallery is also open by…

Little Women, the Musical

12:00pm

Ferndale High School Theatre presents virtual viewings of Little Women, the Musical that can be streamed anytime Friday through Sunday. Over the course of four months, the cast rehearsed in…

Hurt Village

7:30pm

Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts concludes the second round of its New Works Play Reading Series at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday with live virtual readings of…

Bellingham Dockside Market

10:00am

Bellingham SeaFeast, the Port of Bellingham, and the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County have joined forces for a Bellingham Dockside Market taking place from 10am-2pm today at…

Watercolor Workshop with Molly Hashimoto

10:00am

From 10am-12:30pm, North Cascades Institute hosts a virtual workshop with painter Molly Hashimoto, “Green to Gold: Trees of the Cascades in Watercolor.” Fees are $50 and include a virtual…

Children's Literature Conference

10:00am

From 10am-11am and 2pm-3pm, attend a Day of Conversations as part of Western Washington University’s annual Children’s Literature Conference. A Virtual Exhibit, “Art as Protest/Art in the…

Street Law

10:00am

Law Advocates and Whatcom County Library System team up for Street Law today to offer free legal help for any civil law questions. Residents are able to attend virtual consultations with…

Stuff the Bus Food Drive

12:00pm

Helping Hands Food Bank and Skagit Transit will team up for a “Stuff the Bus” Food Drive taking place from 12pm-2pm in Burlington at the parking lot at Cascade Mall, 201 Cascade Mall Dr.…

Share Spot

12:00pm

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters hosts a Share Spot from 12pm-2pm Saturdays in the parking lot of the Industrial Credit Union, 3233 Northwest Ave. Thanks to a collaboration with the Miracle…

Bellingham Community Meal

12:30pm

Hot lunches in to-go containers will be provided as part of a monthly Bellingham Community Meal from 12:30pm-2:30pm at Assumption Gym, 2116 Cornwall Ave. Bellingham Community Meal has been in…

Virtual Comedy Open Mic

7:00pm

Bellingham Entertainment will be hosting virtual Comedy Open Mics from 7pm-9pm every Saturday until live events are allowed again. Each open mic will have eight performance spots and room for…

Sunday
Undercover

11:00am

“Undercover,” an exhibition of butter dishes juried by Nikki Mizak, will be featured for the final week from 11am-5pm daily through Saturday, and 12pm-4pm Sunday at Good Earth Pottery, 1000…

Members Show and Art Challenge

11:00am

View an annual “Members Show” for the final week from 11am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The exhibit features work up to 100 Allied Arts members in a variety…

Alfred Currier and Anne Schreivogl

11:00am

Oil paintings by Alfred Currier, acrylics from Anne Schreivogl, and oils by Patrizio will be featured from 11am-5pm Wednesday through Saturday through March 29 in Anacortes at Scott Milo…

Riding the Wind

11:00am

Michael Dickter’s “Riding the Wind” exhibit can be seen from 11am-6pm daily through Feb. 28 in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St. Face masks are required, and a…

From Where They Are

10:00am

Help raise funds for Fairhaven’s Firehouse Performing Arts Center by watching Kuntz and Company’s virtual performance of from where they are online as part of the Firehouse Studio. The focus…

A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:30am

Teens in grades 6-12 can submit their original writing for consideration in Whatcom County Library System’s annual poetry competition, “A Forest of Words,” through March 15. All styles of…

A World Well Traveled

12:00pm

“Max Benjamin: A World Well Traveled” can be seen from 12pm-4pm Thursdays through Sundays La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. The solo exhibit featuring the work of the…

Birdland

10:00am

Flock through Skagit Valley and view “Birdland” for the final weekend from 10am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at Smith & Vallee Gallery, 5742 Gilkey Ave. The exhibit featuring feathered…

A Straw in the Wind

11:00am

Margy Lavelle’s “A Straw in the Wind” exhibit can be seen for the final week from 11am-4pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The gallery is also open by…

Little Women, the Musical

12:00pm

Ferndale High School Theatre presents virtual viewings of Little Women, the Musical that can be streamed anytime Friday through Sunday. Over the course of four months, the cast rehearsed in…

Hurt Village

7:30pm

Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts concludes the second round of its New Works Play Reading Series at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday with live virtual readings of…

Bellingham Dockside Market

10:00am

Bellingham SeaFeast, the Port of Bellingham, and the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County have joined forces for a Bellingham Dockside Market taking place from 10am-2pm today at…

Watercolor Workshop with Molly Hashimoto

10:00am

From 10am-12:30pm, North Cascades Institute hosts a virtual workshop with painter Molly Hashimoto, “Green to Gold: Trees of the Cascades in Watercolor.” Fees are $50 and include a virtual…

Children's Literature Conference

10:00am

From 10am-11am and 2pm-3pm, attend a Day of Conversations as part of Western Washington University’s annual Children’s Literature Conference. A Virtual Exhibit, “Art as Protest/Art in the…

Street Law

10:00am

Law Advocates and Whatcom County Library System team up for Street Law today to offer free legal help for any civil law questions. Residents are able to attend virtual consultations with…

Stuff the Bus Food Drive

12:00pm

Helping Hands Food Bank and Skagit Transit will team up for a “Stuff the Bus” Food Drive taking place from 12pm-2pm in Burlington at the parking lot at Cascade Mall, 201 Cascade Mall Dr.…

Share Spot

12:00pm

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters hosts a Share Spot from 12pm-2pm Saturdays in the parking lot of the Industrial Credit Union, 3233 Northwest Ave. Thanks to a collaboration with the Miracle…

Bellingham Community Meal

12:30pm

Hot lunches in to-go containers will be provided as part of a monthly Bellingham Community Meal from 12:30pm-2:30pm at Assumption Gym, 2116 Cornwall Ave. Bellingham Community Meal has been in…

Virtual Comedy Open Mic

7:00pm

Bellingham Entertainment will be hosting virtual Comedy Open Mics from 7pm-9pm every Saturday until live events are allowed again. Each open mic will have eight performance spots and room for…