July 2018 (volume 27, issue 7)

Bellingham’s Mental Health Court Reduces Crime and Victimization

by Amy Nelson “Acting strangely” in public can result in being arrested and possibly charged with a crime, for the many people with mental illness who find themselves living on the street. But a Bellingham Municipal Court program to divert … Continue reading

A Pipeline Controversy Explained

by Clark Williams-Derry Is Washington Now in the Tar Sands Crosshairs? Editor’s Note: Shortly before the July issue was scheduled to be sent to the printer, I learned the following article from Sightline.org was reprinted in the Cascadia Weekly. That … Continue reading

Bird Books: A Baker’s Dozen for Summer Reading

by Joe Meche Ever since my retrospective about the 175th Beaks and Bills column in the May 2018 issue, I’ve had occasion to look back over the list of columns that I’ve written in the past sixteen years. A few … Continue reading

Changes at Whatcom Watch

by Dan Reese This is a period of transition for the Whatcom Watch. With our longtime editor, Bob Schober, moving on, we’re searching for a replacement editor interested in guiding the paper going forward. The job is an unusual one … Continue reading

A Personal Statement

by Bob Schober I woke up the other morning and, for the first time in my 70 years, I worried about my country. I was a healthy, virile, potential cannon-fodder college student during the Vietnam years who watched Walter Cronkite … Continue reading

A Last Few Words

by Bob Schober This is my last issue as managing editor of Whatcom Watch. My wife and I are retiring from work and will spend the next several months wandering around the West, stopping to join protests to save public … Continue reading

Tribes Celebrate the Return of Salmon

by Lorraine Loomis Every spring and summer, many tribes throughout the region celebrate the return of the salmon and the beginning of salmon fishing season. My tribe, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, holds a First Salmon Ceremony and Blessing of … 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

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale Action Taken at May 8, 2018 Meeting Shall the council: 68. Update the Public Participation Plan? The Growth Management Act requires that counties create public participation programs for comprehensive plan and development regulation amendments. At the … Continue reading

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at May 7, 2018 Meeting Shall the council: 61. Spend .33 million to purchase 80 acres of wetlands? The property, located between Northwest Avenue and the Pacific Highway just north of the city limits, will be used by … Continue reading

July is Second Spring Time

by Peter Heffelfinger It’s July. You think your garden is all set for the summer: the tomatoes are blossoming and setting fruit, first potatoes are about to be dug, broccoli is heading up, and the pea vines are reaching the … Continue reading

A Big Blue House Called Utopia

by Bill Walker My fellow progressives, I need your help, right now, in building a big, beautiful blue house protected by a tall environmentally green wall of sanity in Washington, D.C. A house that judges each person not by the … Continue reading


“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy Do … Continue reading

Compassion for Nature

by Jonathan Moore Overly Sensible or Sensitive? An event took place five days ago which involved my wife, and an egg noodle she noticed lying precariously on the laundry room floor. Now if you knew Wanda, you’d be apt to … Continue reading

When Preparation to Die Is Too Good to Be True

by Robert A. Duke Whatcom County, WA vs. La Crosse County, WI Because 96 percent of people who die in La Crosse, WI. are claimed to have an advance directive (AD), Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement (WAHA) publicized La Crosse’s … Continue reading

Quick Projects

by Jim McCann What I like most are those quick, discrete projects that you can just tackle and then they’re done with. But sometimes the gods have other ideas. This particular one started off innocently enough with: “Honey, would you … Continue reading

How to Prepare for Leadership as Activists?

by Kathryn Fentress Let’s start with perspective. To be the most effective in facilitating change, we have to change our perspective. In the current paradigm of cause and effect we are repeating the same battles, the same issues, over and … Continue reading

Spiritual Courage Under Fire

by Kathryn Fentress This past MLK birthday celebration time I attended a showing of a documentary film of the civil rights’ movement in St. Augustine, Florida in 1963-1964. I had been arrested there with King, and the filmmaker invited me … Continue reading