Reporting from the heart of Cascadia



School’s out forever

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Booksmart besties Molly and Amy pretty much aced high school. Valedictorian and student-body president Molly (Beanie Feldstein) was accepted to Yale, her top-choice university—and the first step in her goal of becoming the youngest Supreme Court justice—while study buddy and super-activist Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) plans to spend some time volunteering in Botswana before continuing her studies at Columbia. All those late nights at the library paid off—except that somewhere along the way,…

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My Ski to Sea Journey

Practice makes perfect

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

If you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you’ve probably discerned that I love the following: 1. Music. 2. A good wander. 3. People-watching. 4. Events that bring the community together. Any day I can combine those four things—and it happens around these parts on the regular—tends to be a good day.

Ski to Sea, which takes place Sun., May 26, and the many peripheral events in its extended orbit afford me the perfect opportunity to craft one such outing, and it’s a journey…

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Ski to Sea

Solace on the slopes

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

For lord knows how many years, my longtime snowboarding partner, P.T. Crinkle, has relished basking in the glow that comes from playing a starring role on a local team of outwardly mellow but secretively competitive Ski to Sea racers.

This situation appeared unchanged as recently as a couple of months ago when, during a late-night stargazing session at a remote backwoods location, he started griping about how his teammates had “coerced” him into doing the cross-country ski leg so…

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Mixed Messages

Make your radish shine

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A radish sends mixed messages.

They can look like something designed by Willy Wonka, but taste like mustard gas. In perhaps the ultimate bait-and-switch of the vegetable world, eating a radish can feel like leaning in for a kiss and getting slapped. The key is to get as much mileage out of that slap as you can.

Too often, spring radishes sourced fresh from local farmers markets or pulled from backyard gardens are sliced into salads, which doesn’t offer enough contrast to let them…

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On Stage


Of rabbit holes, swans and rubies

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Every year, renowned actors, dancers, musicians, acrobats and other performers from around the globe make tour stops at the Mount Baker Theatre to share their talents as visiting artists, or as part of the space’s seasonal lineup. But a glance at MBT’s June’s roster—which features a number of Bellingham-based dance companies making their mark—proves local acts get their time under the spotlight, too.

The first gig on the list is Opus Performing Arts’ annual Spring Showcase, which…

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A Fire Story

Burning down the house

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A recent report by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center and the National Interagency Fire Center calling for this year’s wildfire potential to be “above normal” in the Pacific Northwest may have Whatcom County residents already thinking about the threat of local fires and another summer of smoke-filled air. But what would it be like to lose everything you own to fire?

Writer and cartoonist Brian Fies explores exactly that in his new graphic memoir, A Fire Story. In October 2017, his…

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Island Life

Scenes from the studio

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

When I moved to Whatcom County more than 20 years ago, I spent the first year of my residency at my family’s longtime cabin on Lummi Island. It was the only time in my life I’d ever lived alone, and I soon learned that being surrounded by natural beauty 24 hours a day took some of the sting out of the fact I’d left behind a whole lot of people I loved when I relocated from Idaho to Washington.

I’d wanted a change, but it was initially difficult to adjust from having a full-time job…

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Best of Skagit
Best News Story

Save the Whales

Skagit is a land of wild rivers, soaring glacier peaks, fertile valleys and forested dots of islands sprinkling an inland sea. Powerful predatory whales live in these waters and feed on the tastiest wild fish on earth, the Chinook. Ours is as exotic as any landscape on the planet, and perhaps it is more threatened than many.

Those whales—the southern resident orcas—aren’t especially shy and can be viewed almost daily, although their numbers are in precipitous decline. Deaths in their pods have exceeded live births, threatening a spiral to extinction. They’re sick, and they’re starving. The cause? Increased human activity around the Puget Sound, as a region that is loved too much and too recklessly.

Alarmed by the decline of these iconic creatures, the Washington Legislature this session passed sweeping protections for the Salish Sea’s ailing orca population. Championed by lawmakers who represent Skagit and the San Juans, a quartet of bills cover a variety of measures, including whale watching, pollution and more. Yet budgets passed by the House and Senate so far contain no funding to continue the governor’s task force on orca recovery. There’s no agreement on plans to increase Chinook runs. And revenue measures to help pay for everything, from increasing hatchery production to enforcement of habitat protections, have yet to be decided.

As we dedicate this issue to celebrate all the best our region has to offer in scenic beauty, in recreation, in menus and samplings that are unique to who we are, let us acknowledge how fragile it is and how fierce we must be in its protection.

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The Gristle
Game Theory As Politics

GAME THEORY AS POLITICS: The week of officially filing for public office is over, and the Gristle will make two predictions about elections leading into the fall:

Tony Larson will be the top vote-getter for the office of Whatcom County Executive in the August primary, because the votes of…

Robert Reich
The Hidden Economy

The award for this year’s Biggest Backhanded Compliment to Trump goes to White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who recently predicted a Trump victory in 2020 because “people will vote for somebody they don’t like if they think it’s good for them.”

Trump is the least…

Trove Web
Wrong for so many reasons

Trump’s plans to overhaul immigration policies to discourage family unification and only accept “highly skilled” people is wrong for so many reasons.
The idea of changing the policies…

Sounds of freedom

Several weeks ago I was in the car-ferry line in Coupeville. For the full 45 minutes while I waited two Growler jets circled the lagoon, the blast so strong that most of us closed our…

May is elder law month

Did you know that May is National Elder Law Month? If your answer is “no,” you are not alone.
We are fortunate in Whatcom County that a number of attorneys offer expert elder law…

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Today's Events
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest


Through May 31, residents of the Upper Skagit Library district can celebrate National Photography Month by entering their photos for a chance at some great reading-related prizes. There are…

Plover Ferry Rides


The Plover ferry runs weekends through Sept. 2 from 12-8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 10am-6pm Sundays departing on the hour from the Blaine Visitor’s Dock, Gate II at Blaine Harbor.…

Plover Ferry Rides


The Plover ferry runs weekends through Sept. 2 from 12-8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 10am-6pm Sundays departing on the hour from the Blaine Visitor’s Dock, Gate II at Blaine Harbor.…

Public Sails


Join the Schooner Adventuress for a Public Sail from 12pm-3pm Saturday, and 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm Sunday leaving from Squalicum Harbor, 722 Coho Way. Excursions on the 105-year-old watercraft…

Oceans Flamenco with Savannah Fuentes


Dancer Savannah Fuentes returns to Bellingham to present “Oceans, Flamenco en Vivo” at 7:30pm Sunday at Tha Outlet (1209 Cornwall Ave.) and 7:30pm Monday on Whidbey Island at Bayview…

Plant Diagnostic Clinics


Local Master Gardeners will be on hand for Plant Diagnostic Clinics from 4:30pm-7pm Mondays through May at the SkillShare Space at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave.  Bring your…

Swing Dancing Classes


Learn the basics in a friendly environment at Swing Dancing for Everyone classes at 5pm Mondays at Presence Studio, 1412 Cornwall Ave. At 6pm, attend Intermediate/Advanced Lindy Hop, and, at…

Open Mic Night


Published and unpublished writers are encouraged to attend and enjoy a welcoming audience as they share their stories, poems and essays at a monthly Open Mic Night starting at 7pm at Village…

Salish Sea Early Music Festival


The largest Salish Sea Early Music Festival of the season begins at 7pm in Bellingham at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2117 Walnut St. Attendees can hear four of Johann Sebastian Bach’s…



Those looking to share their creative verse as part of the weekly Poetrynight can sign up starting at 6:30pm at the Alternative Library, 519 E. Maple St. Readings begin at 7pm. Entry to the…



A weekly open mic for comedians, “Guffawingham!,” takes place at 9pm every Monday at the Firefly Lounge, 1015 N. State St. Entry is free. The event features approximately 20 standup…

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