May 2018 (volume 27, issue 5)

Alternatives to Jail Save Money

Defining “Fair” and Maintaining Public Safety With capacity set at just over 200 inmates and an actual daily average population closer to 400, Whatcom County’s jail is beyond crowded. Since 2016, whenever the jail has reached capacity, both pre-trial inmates … Continue reading

How Much Water Do Salmon Need in the Nooksack River?

In so many ways the Nooksack River basin is the lifeblood of our county, and the quality and quantity of the water it carries is crucial to sustaining our high quality of life. Of critical importance is the flow in … Continue reading

In Retrospect: From 2002 to 2018

Editor’s Note: Joe’s first article appeared in the April 2002 issue of Whatcom Watch. It was so successful editor Sally Hewitt asked Joe if he was intersted in writing a monthly column. He accepted the offer and the first Beaks … Continue reading

Poor Salmon Returns Expected

As the tribal and state co-managers begin the annual salmon season setting process, the effects of drought and poor ocean conditions over the past few years — combined with ongoing loss of habitat — are leading to another year of … Continue reading

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale Action Taken at March 13, 2018 Meeting Shall the council: 37. Confirm the executive’s appointment of Mark Personius as director of Planning & Development Services? Mr. Personius has been employed by Planning and Development Services since … Continue reading

Port of Bellingham Commission

Soliciting a Port Reporter Whatcom Watch is seeking a person to compile Port of Bellingham Commission votes. Since 2000, Whatcom Watch has reported on over 2,700 Port Commission votes. For a person who likes to keep an eye on government … Continue reading

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at March 12, 2018 Meeting Shall the council: 37. Authorize the mayor to sign a ,000 agreement with the Whatcom Council of Governments to help fund the Whatcom Smart Trips program? At the 2/27/2006 meeting, vote #42, the … Continue reading

Memorial Park

Memorial Park, located in Bellingham’s Sunnyland Neighborhood, honors members of the U.S. military from Whatcom County who were killed in war. Each year, the park hosts heartfelt ceremonies as part of the community’s observance of Memorial Day. The land was … Continue reading

Kinder Morgan Suspends Nonessential Spending

This article originally appeared on the Sightline Institute website and is reprinted with permission. It’s a High-stakes Showdown of Cinematic Proportions In a surprise Sunday afternoon [April 8] announcement, the company backing a huge oil pipeline proposal in British … Continue reading

Weed Control Tips for Organic Gardeners

I am often so enthusiastic about starting the garden in the spring that I plant more than I can take care of through summer. By August I’ll be too busy harvesting, cooking and preserving my crop to pull up large … Continue reading

County Council Listening Tour Re. County’s Criminal Justice System

Upcoming Sessions  All meetings start at 7 p.m. May 1 — County Council Chambers May 15 — Sudden Valley Dance Barn May 29 — Ferndale Library June 12 — Fairhaven Middle School June 26 — East Whatcom County Regional Resource Center, Maple … Continue reading

Bellingham Reduces Incarceration Challenge

Thinking Outside the Box I take full responsibility and I’m sorry for what I did, but if I could serve my sentence outside of jail then I can keep my job, take care of my family and be able to … Continue reading

Planning for Change

The fertile flats of the valleys west of the Cascades were formed over geological time by river flows and frequent floods. The clay soils and cool climate of the Skagit Valley, situated at the same latitude as Northern Europe, are … Continue reading


Do You Enjoy poetrywatch? Want to see it continue? Then please, send your poems to us and let the Whatcom Watch share them with our readership! Seriously, we really do want your roughly 25-line poems (though length is by no means … Continue reading

Northwest Reverence, Frustration, and Vision

To celebrate 27 years of publishing Whatcom Watch, we will be printing excerpts from 20 years ago. The below review is from the May 1998 issue of Whatcom Watch. Editor’s Note: “The Good Rain” was selected by the Whatcom Community … Continue reading

The Exemplar of Democracy in Retreat

“If we think of fascism as a wound from the past that had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking at the scab,” Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 … Continue reading

Open Letter to Peacehealth St. Joseph Cancer Center

Greetings, Cancer Center Board of Directors: Is there a sadder comment on cancer care than “I wish someone had told me?” That was my wish in 2009 about my wife’s glioblastoma treatment and was the despairing 2018 wish of a … Continue reading

Who Will Be There For You When You’re Dying?

When I heard specialist physicians, titled hospitalists, were hired to care for hospital inpatients, I asked the hospital for a job description so I might judge their impact on patients, especially at the end of life. PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical … Continue reading

Bellingham Marches for Our LIves

On the morning of March 24, I boarded the WTA Route 1 bus at Fairhaven Station en route to the March for Our Lives event at City Hall, and there were only two other passengers on board — a couple … Continue reading

Tips on Organizing a Rally

As someone who organized the first on-campus protest at the University of Illinois in 1961 (a peace march) and has been involved in several causes and organization efforts over subsequent decades I offer a few tips that I hope may … Continue reading