Vibrant Mount Vernon: Not Just for Tulips Any More

Downtown Mount Vernon in Skagit County is best known for the tulip fields, but it is growing with new businesses, events, parks, and more!

See something, say something

Ken Karlberg makes suicide prevention personal by asking each of us to take the time to lsiten and talk, and to ask for help when you need it.

Final Word | Even If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It!

Humor alert — Loretta reminded me to provide a satire disclaimer. No toes were intentionally stepped on in the writing of this Final Word

Humor Without a Safety Net

By its nature, Bellingham Alive is designed to be a perpetual work in progress. As our community changes, Bellingham Alive will always change with it. Few may have believed that Bellingham Alive would succeed when we published our first issue 10 years ago in the Great Recession. I did, however. I had faith in my wife, Lisa, and her vision and determination. Our goal was simple—to simply make a difference in our community, to celebrate our community, and to help drive business through the doors of our community. Certainly, we hope that our magazine has become a source of pride for our local counties. That is our goal. That is our commitment to you.

Don’t come home without a mammoth, dear!

Ken (and Loretta) offer their post- Winter Olympic Games thoughts to increase viewership Every two years, we celebrate the world’s athletes, their incredible stories of sacrifice, and the spirit of Olympic competition. Once upon a time — back before cell phones and the internet—the whole world tuned in. Now, not so much. Why? Well, as all her readers know, my alter-ego, Loretta, is a marketing genius. Together, we were retained last week to…

Garbage Shaming

Loretta gets serious about recycling to avoid the public stockade. I  don’t shame easily. As a native New Yorker, my adherence to social norms was often optional, kind of like taking abstinence advice from my mom when I was a teenager. I would listen politely, and then do what I wanted. Mom, I should have listened. You were right, abstinence does make the heart grow fonder. Then, however, the effectiveness of trying to shame me was, well — let’s just…

The Power of One

Ken shares his thoughts on the spirit of Valentine’s Day For most males in serious relationships, Valentine’s Day is one of three days each year that strike fear in their hearts, the others being their partner’s birthday and their wedding anniversary. Get it right, or you die. Forget the dates, and you die. I have all these dates dutifully calendared, with a fail-safe…

A Parent’s Pain

Ken’s Hopes for Parents in Pain During the Holidays For the holidays, I decided to unwrap a personal wound to support divorced parents everywhere whose relationship with their children brings them a sadness that only parents can know. I have my share of emotional scar tissue from 60 years of life. I carry my pain well, I hope, after years of devotion…

The Sad State of Guy Love

Ken Explores the Emotional Health of Male Relationships Affection toward other males does not come naturally to most men. We are conditioned from birth to show strength, typically physical strength, but most certainly to project strength of any type as…

Roundabout is Fair Play

Ken takes a Sunday drive back to his future Once upon a time—back when the wheel had just been invented but not yet patented—I used to worry only about the rare road rage incident with a local farmer and his John Deere tractor when I drove in our local counties. Life was simpler then. We had fewer people, fewer cars on the road, and more cows, as it still should be if I had my way. To this day,…

Romancing the Whine

A Guy’s Viticulture Guide to Relationships I am either fearless or foolish because I habitually connect dots for the sake of humor, like the parallels between romance and wine, that should never be connected in public. This issue’s feature article on wine inspired me yet again —…

Could I Do That?

“Paying the ultimate sacrifice for our country” — I dislike that expression. We hear the phrase every Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and sometimes on the Fourth of July, as if the majority of us age 60 and younger know its meaning from personal experience. I know that I don’t. To me, whenever I hear the words, especially from the mouths of non-veterans, the expression sounds slightly hollow no matter how…

Cats Rule, Dogs Drool

Ken, er, Garfield, Jr., goes off-leash to offer some catty remarks No disrespect to horses, rabbits, piglets, and other critters, but dogs, not you all, are my competition for household dominance. Dogs have…

The Case for Porta Potties

Ken puts a few tongue-in-cheek suggestions in the Mt. Baker Theatre’s suggestion box When I attended the grand opening of the Mt. Baker Theatre in 1927, she was a thing of absolute beauty and the pride of the community—and she still is, perhaps even more so now. Ah, the childhood memories. But…

When the Bells Stop Ringing

F or weeks, I had mentally prepared myself to dig my stepfather’s grave. The first shovelful of sod was the hardest. I placed the first piece carefully to the…

Repeal and Replace

Ken offers suggestions for Trumpcare Is it just me or does anyone else question whether the federal government is serious about health care,…

Loretta’s Guide To Post-Divorce Dating

Loretta shares her stud-finding secrets Dating—near as I can tell, the after-market experience is punishment before the crime, kind of like law school. Don’t get me wrong. I love men. Well, most men, anyway. At their worst, men make interesting toys and at their best, men make excellent pets even if they haven’t…

A Reminder To Look For The Forest In The Trees

Ken rejoices in the sweet side of life’s randomness For the past few months, two beloved family members, my aunt and stepfather, have been in and out of the hospital. Both are terminally ill. In the next weeks or months, my stepsisters will be parentless without the…

The Leap

As a young teenager, I leapt a mighty leap from the cliff of life. It was a leap of faith for the bottom was nowhere in sight. I turned and looked back to see my mom, alone, waving. “I love you,” she said. The wind was cool as I began to fall. “Keep your jacket zipped tight,” my mom instructed. I was glad that…

Answer The Question, Please!

Ken taps his foot to the latest dance, the Trump-Clinton side-step. As a trial attorney, I have forced many unwilling adversaries to answer obvious, but difficult questions under oath. Admit it. You are jealous—don’t we all wish that we had the power to pop people’s balloons when their balloons deserve popping? I know—sounds fun, huh? Over the years, my questions have met with facial expressions that only a physician or mental health professional could diagnose. My personal…

Canada, Do The Right Thing!

Ken implores Canada to give Victoria, BC back To my Canadian brothers and sisters to the north—I love you but enough is enough. Your Canadian-U.S. balance ledger is badly in the red. The time has come for you beaver and moose lovers to pay up. It is past time, actually, over 170 years late, eh. Yes, you deserve credit for giving us Wayne Gretzky, Michael J. Fox, Alex Trebek (or more correctly, “what is Alex Trebek?”), Dudley Do-Right…

The Brazilian

Loretta responds to Ken’s “The Full Monty” What was Ken smoking? Did you read his Final Word on the fragility of male egos? Issue that man a WUI, officer! Clearly he was writing under the influence of something or sucking up to females. If the difference between kissing behinds and brown-nosing is simply depth perception, Ken went deep to prove a point. Women, behold,…

Cleavage Etiquette

Hi there. As a single mother of two pre-school kids, I feel compelled to offer some good natured, but badly needed male guidance in my first ever Final Word. But first I want to thank the magazine, and Ken, for sharing his personal space at the back of each issue with a female. I would say that I have big shoes to fill, but there’s nothing impressive about size nine, Ken, no matter how…

Husbandcare.gov

Ken’s Valentine’s Day gift for the woman who has everything I am a social scientist at heart. As with most males, I am genetically…

Senior Citizens United

Ken pays respect to his elders I have your backs, seniors—and your backsides, open medical gowns and all. So what if you unintentionally embarrass your kids by posting private comments about their childhood to their public Facebook wall? At least you figured out how to log on. It’s the thought that counts, right? And so what if you don’t trust a hybrid car that doesn’t make noise when the engine is running? I don’t either. If the dang thing…

Forgiving The Unforgiven

As a young boy, age 5 or 6, I used to play in the woods where Sunset Place is today. The soil was mostly clay and the clay would stick to my PF Flyers — the further that I walked, the longer that I played,…

Hope- The Emotional God Particle

I am in mourning. My comic idol is Robin Williams. The tragic loss of Robin should be a dark reminder — the will to live comes from within, even for the most talented amongst us. He had everything and yet he had nothing in his eyes, at least not…

P=mc2: Ken takes Albert Einstein behind the woodshed

Scientists need to take a chill pill, starting with Albert Einstein. His idea of a good time on a Friday…

Surviving Menopause- Ken puts his life at risk

The signs were subtle at first — a wide-open window during a cold snap in January and the perpetual running of Sleepless in Seattle on the Hallmark channel. In hindsight, it is now clear. But at the time, I was simply oblivious. Then came the fireplace blazing 24/7 and…