Lifestyle

Taste Sensation

Why do some things taste better together than others? The tongue, for all its functional importance, is a largely misunderstood, multipurpose muscular organ. We use it to speak, mock others,…

Bringing Soothing Sounds of Song to the Dying

Threshold Singers Since 2007, the Bellingham Threshold Singers have been providing soothing sounds for people who are seriously ill or dying. These 40 or so women are committed to providing comfort for their clients as they labor through death with the help of song. Last year, the dedicated group performed more than 500 “sings” for clients in Whatcom County, six-year member Janis Walworth said. Each “sing” lasts about 15-20 minutes and usually only consists of two to four singers in…

Award-Winning Infant Care In Anacortes

Island Hospital Center for Maternal & Infant Care An Anacortes care center is one of just 13 winners of an international award for promoting healthy and successful breastfeeding practices. The Island Hospital Center for Maternal & Infant Care in Anacortes earned the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners Care Award (IBCLC Care Award). There are only 13 IBCLC Care Awards given annually worldwide. Recipients are listed as IBCLC Care Centers for two years. “It takes about six…

Program is Getting People Outside for Their Health

Recreation NW Parkscriptions Bellingham public health and medical professionals increasingly want you to take a walk in the woods — or even just around the block. It’s all part of a national program called Parkscriptions, or ParkRx. It is a national program, based in Washington D.C., aimed at encouraging community mental and physical health through physical activity like walking and hiking. And, locally, the nonprofit Recreation Northwest has adopted the concept as part of its drive to…

Information Technology Degree Boosts Whatcom Community College

Whatcom Community College is already making a name for itself as a place to be trained in the rising field of cyber security. Now it has taken another step — offering a four-year degree in cutting-edge information technology. Last fall, Whatcom CC offered a new bachelor of applied science degree in Information Technology…

Game Changer

Rick Mergenthaler Rick Mergenthaler knows a thing or two about challenges. The retired high school basketball coach learned to ignore naysayers and face obstacles head on. He contracted polio as a child and overcame it without his young doctors ever correctly diagnosing the illness. It wasn’t until he was a high school sophomore complaining of back pain that his more experienced pediatrician recognized the cause for his…

One-on-one Interview with Paula Poundstone

For a standup comedian, Paula Poundstone asks a lot of questions. She is quirky, inquisitive, and brilliant, all traits evident during her September show at Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre. She keeps a punishing touring schedule – she is booked for 35 shows in the first half of 2018 alone – and her routine is only partly one – about a third of what she does on stage…

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…

White Snow Geese Enthrall, but Have a Dark Side

Drive through Skagit Valley’s fields from December through February and you’ll likely see hundreds of pristine white birds waddling about the…

Wonder Woman: Jen Gallant

Girls on the Run Coordinator, Trailblazers founder The rhythmic sounds of small footsteps on gravel is music to the ears of Jen Gallant. For more than a decade she has been making a difference in the lives of kids across Whatcom County. “I began volunteering…

Sharing the Bounty

Fidalgo Island & Guemes Gleaners Imagine being at the supermarket and overhearing this conversation between a mother and her son: “Mom, can we get some apples?” “No honey, they’re too expensive, maybe next week.” Head gleaner of the Fidalgo Island & Guemes Gleaners (FIGG), Sylvia Cooper,…

Current, Classic Video Games Fill a Niche

Best Buds Gaming Lounge As Hugh and Alexis Newmark manage their shop, a little brown package arrives. It has been sent from Germany, which could only mean one thing. Giddy with excitement, they carefully open it…

Farm-to-Table Cheese

Ferndale Farmstead From “seed-to-cheese,” Ferndale Farmstead is conquering every step of making artisan Italian cheese, and it all happens on the Ferndale farm. The 680 cows that produce the milk for the cheese are all fed by crops grown on the Ferndale land. Twice…

One Hundred Years of Service is Just the Beginning

Rotary Club of Bellingham After celebrating 100 years of service, Rotary Club of Bellingham member, J.C. Hickman, said it is just the beginning. Started in September of 1917, the Rotary Club of Bellingham has brought community leaders and business owners together for generations. The club’s number is 331, meaning it was the 331st Rotary Club in the world. Rotary’s name comes from the club’s early days, when members rotated from office to…

Let Phoenix Desert and Sun Heat Up Your Winter

Escape the gray and head to sunny Arizona. Nestled in the urban core of the Grand Canyon state discover the bustling city of Greater Phoenix boasting more than 300 days of sunshine annually. And there’s no better time than now to come play in this Sonoran playground. Take a…

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 a means to the ultimate end — that is, to establish a pecking order amongst ourselves. Who’s the best athlete, the smartest, the most successful, and most emotionally self-sufficient? This manhood formula is tried and true….

Fall Arts Feature

This feature story appeared in the November 2017 issue of Bellingham Alive Magazine.

Wonder Woman: There’s Always a Solution

Meredith McIlmoyle, Anacortes Arts Festival Director Anacortes Arts Festival executive director Meredith McIlmoyle has been event planning for 26 years. She began as a student assistant at Arizona State University, solo planning an event for the first time in 1993. She grew up in Denver, then lived in Arizona for 13 years, but now calls Anacortes home after living here for 16 years. McIlmoyle describes event planning as 90 percent problem-solving, and she’s adamant about it. “It’s rare…

A Circus Story

I lived near Bellingham for 22 years before discovering there’s a circus in town. It’s aptly named Vaudevillingham and is put on by the Bellingham Circus Guild. Located just down the road from the hub of Fairhaven in a big warehouse, the circus puts on a show the 15th of every month. The event…

A Weekend of Films

Friday Harbor Film Festival Between 1,400 and 1,500 people are expected to attend the Friday Harbor Film Festival’s fifth annual documentary film festival November 3–5. Festival organizers Lynn Danaher and Karen Palmer founded the festival with an intention to share documentary films that tell relevant stories and encourage positive change. Danaher and Palmer run the festival with four pillars in mind: to entertain, inspire, enlighten, and encourage. Screened films must fit in…

Exploring the Human Condition Through Art

Bellingham has its artistic success stories (Death Cab for Cutie, comedian Ryan Stiles), but it also has its grassroots luminaries. Author, poet, and radio producer Shannon Laws is one. She has the privilege of not only being one of many talented Bellingham artists, but…

Hometown Pot Shop

Big cities in Washington have seen a boom of new marijuana stores in the last few years. New shops can be found all over Seattle and even Bellingham. But not every store’s goal is to make it big in the big city. Smuggler Brothers in Sedro-Woolley is maintaining a small-town identity in the growing world of marijuana sales. Purchasing Manager Olas Yoho said…

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…

More Local Art? Step Right Up

Fairhaven Fourth Friday Art Work Fairhaven is Washington’s best-kept secret, according to artist and shop owner Scott Ward, who moved north from Seattle a year ago. The exposed brick buildings, the boardwalk, the historic architecture, and the cozy shops combine to create a storybook-like experience, perfect for afternoon strolls and romantic evening walks. To Ward, the Fairhaven Fourth Friday Art Walk felt like the perfect event to showcase both what the town has to offer, and the work…

Whimsical Driftwood Sculptures

Joe Treat If you drive down Worline Road in Bow you’ll pass a house guarded by life-sized driftwood statues. A massive rhino stares down all who enter the driveway with reflective black eyes. The porch is bookended with two owls and a rather terrifying zombie-like creature. What can be best described…

Small Brewery, Large Taste

Atwood Ales With a yank, the doors of the old barn are pulled open, revealing a network of interconnected piping, flashing lights and chromed steel woven between ancient boards. With only two barrels of small-batch…

Farms Tour: Cows. Alpacas. Sea Urchins?

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms If you’ve ever wondered just how does that food get from farm to table, or if you simply want to channel…

Cable Show Highlights Community Doers

For the last 2 ½ years, Marie Marchand has done her part to raise up voices from the greater Bellingham community. As…

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,…

Living Intentionally and Collaboratively

Bellingham Cohousing Coffee hour starts at 10 a.m. each morning. Residents sit quietly in the common house and drink their coffee while catching up with neighbors. Six acres of land was bought in 1997 and three years later, the first family moved into their unit and Bellingham Cohousing was…

An Artful Approach to Storytelling

Chris Moench It all started with a lump of clay. While Chris Moench hasn’t always been a professional potter, art has always been a strong force in his life and now occupies him as a full-time career. Moench has made a…

Quirky Play About The Pig War Comes to Life

Only some people are aware of the major dispute between Great Britain and the United States over who had rightful ownership of the San Juan Islands, referred to as The Pig War. The mid-1800s conflict never actually resulted in physical combat, but was instead resolved diplomatically. It is quite likely that just a handful of people know that in the 1960s Emilia Bave created a play…

The Wilderness in Our Backyard

North Cascades Institute While pursuing his graduate degree in biology at Western Washington University Saul Weisberg worked as a climbing ranger in the North Cascades National Park. As a ranger, Weisberg discovered the beauty of the park so many were still unaware of. In 1986, Weisberg co-founded the North Cascades Institute with a mission to provide education to all in order to promote conservation and…

Celebrating the Sea

Bellingham SeaFeast Festival After a successful maiden voyage in 2016, SeaFeast is returning to Bellingham September 22 and 23 for two days of games, live music, and of course, good eats. The festival celebrates the history and tastes of the Salish Sea, and admission is free. The feasting begins Friday with a “sea-feed” downtown, where attendees can purchase a ticket to eat their fill of Dungeness…

More Than You Can Chew

Did you have breakfast today? How about lunch? Maybe a little snack before dinner? For as long as I can remember, the expectation has always been that you…

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…

Going Boutique in Seattle

The Edgewater Hotel If you are looking to pamper yourself in Seattle and want a truly Pacific Northwest experience, the historic Edgewater Hotel is the perfect boutique alternative to Seattle’s predictable national chains. The Edgewater is a fusion of old school and contemporary styles — offering warm and rustic charm, edgy pop-culture energy, and stunning unobstructed shoreline vistas of brilliant sunsets, Seattle’s burgeoning skyline, and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. As Seattle’s only waterfront hotel, the Edgewater is…

A Bigger Slice of the Pie

Pizza’zza Expands in Fairhaven After about six months of renovation Pizza’zza officially reopened in June as a full-service, sit-down restaurant and tap room. While the carryout counter has been a part of what was once Yorky’s…

Play on Wheels

Western Washington University Summer Theatre With the vast amount of outdoor activities available to Pacific Northwest residents in summer, theater-going is rarely at the top of the list. From hiking to windsurfing to jumping in the bay, being outdoors is a priority in our short summer months. So Western Washington University’s Summer Theater program decided to integrate…

Pickin’ Washington’s Bluest Jewels

Bow Hill Blueberries Summertime means warm breezes, crab boils, and berry picking. If you haven’t already visited Bow Hill Blueberries in Bow, then you’re missing out on some of Washington’s best berries. The farm has been selling blueberries since 1947, owned by the Anderson family until Susan and Harley Soltes bought it in 2011. The Solteses wanted a farm with the whole package: an infrastructure, WSDA license, and…

A Family Farm for Everyone

Cloud Mountain Farm Center Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples, pears, peaches, pumpkins, and so many more types of produce cover the 20 acres of farmland known as Cloud Mountain Farm Center. Cheryl and Tom Thornton began their family farm in…

Master Chef Opens Specialty Bakery

Opera Pastries and Coffee Those hungry for a taste of France have a new destination to try in downtown Bellingham. Opera,…

No Dairy? No Problem

One of the greatest tragedies of being lactose intolerant is the inability to enjoy one of the best go-to foods there are—pizza. You can, of course, make your own recipes at home, but there’s nothing that quite compares with going out with friends, ordering a pitcher of beer and a large pie. But thankfully, there are…

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…

Heliotrope Hotel

Retro Vibe Meets Pacific Northwest Mood Bellingham’s hotel accommodations have long lacked a middle ground; a space that neither has the price tag of The Chrysalis Inn nor the disconcerting nature of the motels on North and South Samish Way. In May, however, The Heliotrope Hotel…

Best of the Northwest 2017

Click the link below to view the top three businesses in over 120 categories. Congratulations to our 2017 Best Of The Northwest winners! Best of the Northwest 2017

Pet Photographer Diane Padys

Diane Padys wasn’t always on track to become a photographer. “Photography was always a passionate hobby of mine from college,” she said. Padys spent a number of years working as a staff accountant in San Francisco before she decided to take her passionate hobby and turn it into a career. Today, she runs…

Dog Paddle

Pups rehabilitate in the pool Carrie Lane, owner of K9 Lap of Luxury, was first inspired by the powers of canine hydrotherapy at…

Making Spaying and Neutering Accessible

WeSNiP Every Thursday morning, cat owners gather in the parking lot of Bellingham’s Salvation Army, and every Thursday morning, the team at WeSNiP is ready to go. Cats are loaded on to the WeSNiP van and taken to the Northwest Organization for Animal Health (NOAH) Center in Stanwood to be spayed or neutered. They are driven back to the parking lot later that evening, ready to head home to their owners. WeSNiP…

Big Island, Small World

San Juan County: Orcas Island Orcas Island, known as the “Gem of the San Juans,” is the largest of the archipelago. It boasts the highest mountains on the islands, most of which are in Moran State Park; waterfalls, and numerous hamlets, with Eastsound the first stop for many tourists. You can choose to live close to a town or far off the beaten path. Homes facing west get the most spectacular sunset views, and many properties are shaded by…

“Slo-Pez” Neighbors Revel in the Rural

San Juan County: Lopez Island When visitors come to Lopez Island, they feel like they’re part of the neighborhood. Known as the “Friendly Isle,” inhabitants wave to everyone they pass. Rumors claim…

Watching the Neighborhood Grow

Skagit County: Eaglemont When Denise Hewitt and her husband moved to Eaglemont about 20 years ago there were hardly any other homes. Now, it’s become an established neighborhood. “It’s a great community,” she said. “It started out being mostly retired people and then as the years went by, lots of families [came].” There’s plenty to do in Eaglemont to keep a family occupied. The Eaglemont Golf Course serves as a neighborhood hub, featuring…

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

Skagit County: Skyline Courtney Blackston and her family moved into the Skyline neighborhood a year and a half ago, and are happy to call it home. The Blackstons are a military family, and they fell in love with Anacortes for the school district, the downtown amenities, and the community feel. They instantly felt welcomed by all the other military families in the neighborhood, and Blackston loves…

A Seafarer’s Dream

Skagit County: Shelter Bay Danny Hagen grew up in the Shelter Bay house that he now lives in with a family of his own — his wife, Nicole, and their two little ones, Kaysen and Duncan. The Hagens moved into the neighborhood in 2014 because they were about to start a…

From Summer Vacation to All-Year Family Fun

Skagit County: North Big Lake North Big Lake was once a summer vacation destination for Margie Holdt and her family, but now it’s home. When Holdt and her late husband began thinking of retirement about 20 years ago, they opted for an upgrade, rather than a downsize. “We had three adult sons and we decided that we wanted something large enough that they could come and spend time here with their families. too,” Holdt…

Coal Mines of Bellingham

Bellingham’s neighborhoods have their own character, but some share a feature you can’t even see: a wide network of underground coal mine tunnels. Hundreds of miles of abandoned coal passageways honeycomb Bellingham’s depths, none bigger than the…

A Place to Grow Together

Whatcom County: Columbia The weather is a comfortable middle area, between shedding the last of winter and the opening notes of spring. Residents of the Columbia neighborhood are coming out of hibernation. People are outside jogging, walking their dogs and cycling. Lori Pobuta is pouring a cup of coffee and serving up donuts, observing the quiet commotion from her window. Long before Pobuta built her house in the Columbia neighborhood, she knew…

Neighborhood Police

In November, a string of home break-ins put Bellingham residents on edge. The burglaries followed a pattern: multiple suspects breaking into homes, particularly on sunny days when residents were out. One neighborhood after another got hit. Christy Nieto, an 11-year Bellingham resident, and her Birchwood neighbors felt the unease….

The Ins and Outs of the Top Knot

One of the biggest-trending hair styles I see these days is the “high bun,” popularly known known as the “top knot.” This hairstyle is so quick and simple, you can apply it before you cook breakfast, and it’ll translate throughout the day as you drop off the kids, run your…

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…

Overcoming Hearing Loss

Student finds community at Western Johanna Urbach isn’t sure when she lost the ability to hear in her right ear. One possible explanation is when she was 15 months old and received shots, she couldn’t sit up straight afterwards and got an ear infection. While this could explain Urbach’s hearing loss, it still remains a mystery. However, her parents didn’t find out that she had…

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 side and stared at the clump of dirt and…

Sipping Chocolate Fits to a Tea

Evolve’s Chaicolate good for Easter, Mother’s Day The first rule of comparing sipping chocolate to hot chocolate is…don’t. “It’s incomparable to hot chocolate,” says chocolatier Shannon Fox, co-owner and co-founder of Evolve Chocolate in Bellingham. “It’s an actual preparation of a food product.” The biggest question we have of sipping chocolate, a fixture at European cafes but only a recent trend here, is “What…

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, public safety, and…

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 been properly trained. But the depth of the…

Ways to Spend Time With Your Love This February

February is chock-full of events in our neck of the woods. They serve as a great opportunity for both familiar and new experiences. Take advantage of the fun and spend some extra time with your love…or best friends. 1. Chuckanut Bay Distillery hosts tours and complimentary tastings every Saturday…

Tech-Savvy Surgery Comes to Bellingham

The Bellingham medical community has something new and exciting to talk about — the da Vinci Surgical System. The robotic system is praised for its minimally invasive surgeries, which can make for quicker recovery times and easier healing. Local surgeons are already making use of the da Vinci, and are experiencing great success with surgical outcomes. The set-up and system almost seem like something out of a science fiction movie. A…

Best Day Ever

Serial entrepreneur Anne-Marie Faiola is at it again. In addition to Bramble Berry, her soap-making supply company, Faiola has set to work on providing both mental and physical betterment through an extension of her Bramble…

For Health’s Sake, Let Your Creativity Flow

What do you need to be healthy? Drink plenty of water, exercise, eat good food, what about painting or playing music? Numerous…

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….

Sips to Your Health

If you haven’t stopped by Saku Tea at the Tide Lines Gallery yet, then make your way to the cozy tea bar. Husband and wife team, Kuros…

Spotlight: Misha Collins

For the past five years, the first week of August has meant more than another seven days of summer. For thousands of people around the world, August 1 commences the official beginning of the world’s largest scavenger hunt, also known as GISHWHES: The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, which began in 2011 and has had teams all over the world…

Finding A Place

There’s something for everyone at The Comics Place. My Little Pony comics are interspersed with Mad Max and Marvel. Six shelves are dedicated to both tabletop and board games, and an island in the center of the entryway provides the familiar and cacophonous scrape and…

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…

Five Faves: Holiday Markets

The Lights of Christmas With more than one million lights on display, it is no wonder The Lights of Christmas is one of the most popular holiday festivals in the North End. Not only will you see more lights than you can imagine, but every weekend in December offers food, music, entertainment, and shopping. Warm Beach Camp, Stanwood, thelightsofchristmas.com   Snohomish Holiday Market There are few places as quaint as…

Wonder Woman – Erin Monroe

September is Workforce Development Month, a time to honor workforce development professionals who support job seekers, local employers, and economic development in their communities. Here in Snohomish County, it was a busy month for wonder woman Erin…

Community Effort, Community Hub: Stanwood – Camano YMCA

The driving motto behind the YMCA is “for youth development, for healthy living, for social responsibility.” You can hear this motto on every phone call and see it on every webpage. For residents of Stanwood, however, this is no empty tagline. These words mark a promise, kept…

McMenamins Anderson School Celebrates its One-Year Anniversary

When McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell opened one year ago, it earned bragging rights as the largest McMenamins property in Washington State. Known for its pubs, breweries, and historic hotels, McMenamins restores historic buildings—often working closely with local historical societies and fine artists to tell the story of a place—and transforms them into lively destinations the whole family can enjoy. At five acres and 90,000 square feet, the Anderson…

Bob Goodwin

The role of a producer can be a strange one. You begin, as R.W. “Bob” Goodwin did, in the mailroom. You work your way up. You look back at each rung, and see that you have created a ladder that leads into clouds. You keep climbing until you’ve reached some vague sense of the top. But for Goodwin, that linear progression toward some Hollywood Vallhalla wasn’t in those clouds at the…

The Accidental Bucketlist

Without guys like Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and the guys along the defensive line, there would be no Legion of Boom, because it all starts up front. Those guys don’t get nearly the credit they deserve. —Richard Sherman Half of what I know about football I learned in second grade, when I told my class 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…

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…

Haunting Road Trips: Ghost Towns and Utopias

This time of year is perfect for charging or gassing up the car and taking a good old-fashioned road trip around the byways and scenic routes of our beautiful area….

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…

DIY Gurus of Youtube

I remember watching This Old House on lazy weekends, idly plucking at a bowl of popcorn while Bob Vila tears apart the plaster wall of a Victorian with glee. These days, homeowners get most of their renovation know­how in the great how­to library of YouTube. But not all home remodel videos are created equal—some of them are too complicated, some skip important steps, and some are just downright silly. But the best of them are so helpful, they deserve a special mention. One of the superstars of YouTube DIY is Matt Risinger of Austin, Texas. Now, not all of the advice he dispenses works in our cooler, wetter climate, but he does some beautiful work and explains it all very well. Another favorite is Craig Heffernan. Craig specializes in deck­building for beginners. More enthusiast than teacher, Kirsten Dirksen takes you through eco­houses and tiny houses loaded with features and information. She’s a great person to turn to for inspiration and ideas, Dirksen’s passion shines through. Going with a contractor is usually a good idea for most large remodel and construction projects. But if you feel like rolling up your sleeves and framing your own tiny house, these folks can help you get started. Or at least get you into enough trouble to keep it interesting. Links: Matt Risinger Craig Heffernan Kirsten Dirksen

Barn Raising

Dreaming of a new outbuilding for your property? Find inspiration in the gorgeous equestrian barns constructed by DC Builders in Snohomish County…

Household Know-How

We’ve rounded up our favorite how-to videos that demonstrate helpful tips and tricks for accomplishing household cleaning and organizing tasks.

Edmonds: The Heart of the Arts

The inspiring landscape, supportive community, and rich artistic history create a lure that draws artists and art enthusiasts to Edmonds. “There’s a power and a presence about being in…

Legal Care: Turning the law into a language people can understand

It’s a new year, and it’s time for a new way to think of law. Pop culture portrays great lawyers as an all knowing, strategic creatures capable of destroying…

Sun Valley

Take a ten-hour drive southeast—or a twohour flight—and you’ll find yourself at the famed ski destination, Sun Valley, Idaho. Often thought of as a snowy playground for the elite, Sun Valley is actually…

Darrell Hillaire and Setting Suns Productions

It seems reductive to call Darrell Hillaire a playwright, given how much work he has done in his life on behalf of the Lummi Nation, and for Lummi youth in particular. Darrell has served as a coach, mentor, teacher, and leader for the Lummi Nation for more than twenty years. He has served on community boards, on the Lummi Indian Business Council, and as Chair of the Lummi Nation. He…

Five Faves: Native Blooms

Western Red Columbine (AQUILEGIA FORMOSA) These lovely star-like blooms bob on delicate stems among lacy foliage. Running counter to the claim that native plants aren’t showy, a patch of these in any landscape will catch the eye. Wild Mock Orange (PHILADELPHUS LEWISII) Collected by Lewis and Clark on…

Comfort Foods

When I think of food, I think of the various elegant, modern food photographs I see on Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites. Or I think of the carefully plated dishes we make at the…

Old School Trailer Works

What’s old is new again in entertaining, and the new interest in vintage culture brings with it the welcome return of the Airstream. With four businesses under…

Wonder Woman: Jenni Cottrell

Jenni Cottrell believes in pooling resources and bringing together a community around the beauty and power of art. To illustrate this point, she tells a story about when she was with a friend at an auction in Alaska they saw a painting they loved. The auction was to benefit the town’s new public library, and Cottrell really wanted to see that…

Seeing the world in a whole new way

Inspirational doesn’t begin to describe local resident Jim Stegall, who, at 85 and in company with his guide dog Emilio, celebrates the 20th anniversary of his almost four-month, 12,000- mile trip through South America. By the time he set off, Stegall and his 70-year old travel partner, David Hopkins, were both legally blind and eager to see what the world had to offer….

Wonder Woman: Zsofia Pasztor

  Zsofia Pasztor is a busy woman. She is a parent of four, part-time instructor, business owner of Innovative Landscape Technologies, and creator of the successful Farmer Frog Model. Her passions are horticulture and education—two things that took on a life of their own after the recent economic slump that affected many small business owners. Pasztor is what you would call a hands-on person. She has been educated in ways that make her a…

Leadership Snohomish County Program

The Leadership Snohomish County Program has a mission—to develop leaders for a lifetime. Geared toward anyone seeking to build and expand their leadership skills, Leadership Snohomish educates people of all ages for a bright future.

Hog Wild for Sustainability

The next time you fail a drug test, you might try to blame it on the BB Ranch prosciutto. Nice try, but eating butcher William von Schneidau’s “pot pig” products won’t get you high. The Pike Place Market butcher teamed up with Jeremy Gross of Snohomish’s Bucking Boar Farms and began feeding marijuana scraps to…

Climbing for Kids

Dave Mauro climbed the steep incline, knowing the end was near. He stepped onto the summit, looked out at the twinkling lights of Nepal and Tibet and said to himself, “Thank you.” It was 3:42 a.m. on May 20, 2013, as he reached the top of Mount Everest. A Bellingham resident, Mauro began…

Five Faves: Local Aphrodisiacs

Oysters Packers Oyster Bar Semiahmoo You can’t get fresher or more locally sourced oysters than the farm right outside the bar. These succulent oysters are sure to do the trick, and pair nicely with Packer’s well-crafted cocktails. semiahmoo.com/packers Chili Peppers COA Mexican Eatery Mount Vernon Genuine Mexican can be…

Dr. Mitchell Kahn and the Skagit Opera

Dr. Mitchell Kahn and the Skagit Opera In January, the Skagit Opera performed at Lairmont Manor in Bellingham for the first time. One of the missions of the Skagit Opera, which has been in operation since 2003, is to spread an appreciation to new audiences, in addition to serving well the…

Wonder Woman: Rose Lathrop

  Passionate, community-minded and up for a challenge, Huxley graduate Rose Lathrop has dedicated her career to sustainable planning and design….

Coastal Encounters

The North End’s Best Beaches A day at the beach burns bright in one’s memory. We are drawn to water, because the sea is…

Whistler Winter Wonderland

With an annual average snowfall of more than 35 feet, Whistler Blackcomb is famous for the soft powder on its Whistler Winter Wonderland slopes. Advanced skiers and snowboarders will find plenty of places to play, including heli-skiing packages. Beginners are best starting out at Blackcomb Base, Whistler Village and Whistler Creekside and gradually working their way up to the more advanced slopes.

Five Faves: Hiking Trails

Saint Edward State Park KIRKLAND Located on a forested bluff overlooking the northern end of Lake Washington, several dirt trails wind around 316 acres of moss-wrapped old growth trees and peekaboo stretches of sand and waterfront….

Wonder Woman: Molly Helmuth

Each issue, we highlight a woman who is setting a prime example of what success looks like in our local marketplace. This issue we celebrate Molly Helmuth, who calls Monroe’s Evergreen Speedway her home track, and is a rising star on the stock car circuit. Molly Helmuth turns 19 in mid-June. At the age when most girls are trying to figure out which boy would make a good senior…

Snohomish Makes a Splash

The new aquatic center in Snohomish is making a splash. The fully equipped facility has something for everyone. More advanced swimmers can take advantage of the 10-lane lap pool set a comfortable 78-80˚F with two 1-meter diving boards, while kids can play in the variety of pool attractions. The recreational pool is set at at a higher 84-86°F…

Low-impact Exercise, High-impact Returns

You haven’t been to the gym in ages. You’re busy, you’re tired, and you have endless work, family and social obligations. You know you need…

Bothell’s New Village

Among The Village’s shopping and dining options, which include a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and Massage Green Spa, will be local chef John Howie’s newest restaurant, The Beardslee Alehouse and Wildwood Distillery.

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 engineered to offer solutions to life’s challenges, even gender-related relationship problems — and even if the answer may come at my expense. I can’t help myself. I am stupid smart. My social laboratory of late has been the “women behind the magazine” at Bellingham Alive. I am typically outnumbered…

Poet de la Paz

For many students at Western Washington University, Professor Oliver de la Paz is the amiable and quirky character often seen walking the halls of Humanities building, bobbing his head to his tunes, his…

Five Faves: Great Dates

Keenan’s at the Pier BELLINGHAM After a nice stroll around Boulevard Park and Taylor Dock, a sunset dinner at Keenan’s at the Pier would be the perfect way to spend a special evening. Located in the intimate and elegant Chrysalis Inn and Spa, Keenan’s offers fine food, a full wine list and great views. thechrysalisinn.com -> Keenan’s at the…

Always on Duty

DANIEL HOWARD Daniel Howard was on his way home after spending time in Oregon last May. He had been in Oregon recovering from an injury he sustained while working for the fire…

George Dyson’s Answer

Every year, Edge.org asks its gigantic constellation of thinkers, intellectuals, scientists and world thought-leaders — among them Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, Rebecca Goldstein and many others — a question and publishes their answers. Bellingham’s own George Dyson is an annual participant in the Annual Question. George is the author of Turing’s Cathedral, Darwin Among the Machines and many…

Uptown Art Studio

With a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of wine in another, Uptown Art makes creating your latest masterpiece more fun and more social than ever. Newly opened in December near the Bellwether Hotel, the spacious art gallery offers a display of beautifully presented paintings as well as events that help you create your own. Uptown Art owner Robert Mishkin believes that the world needs a social get-together not an art lesson….

Wonder Woman: Mimi Osterdahl

In every issue, we will highlight the accomplishments or great careers of women in our area. In this issue, we celebrate…

Getting Clean for Spring

Ahh, it’s almost spring in the Northwest! The birds will fly north and begin singing again, the rain will subside and you will once again see the faint…

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…

Senior All-Stars: Volunteers Who Shine

ADRIENNE LEDERER Neighborhood and Parks Activist Energetic, warm, outspoken Adrienne came into volunteerism through a political campaign in 1996, but it was through a notice in the paper about the Guide Meridian-Cordata Neighborhood that she found herself truly engaged. She joined her neighborhood association and found her niche. Bellingham’s growth on the north end of the city didn’t include a plan for parks. And with all of the discussion…

Engaging Communities

Retirement Communities That Offer Amenities: When we think of retirement communities, we generally think of endless games of bingo and terrible food. Fortunately, we have retirement communities in our area that offer amenities beyond television reruns and canasta. The Leopold on Cornwall Ave. in downtown Bellingham is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has played host to Clark Gable, President William H. Taft, Prince William of Sweden, among many other…

Staying Engaged: Senior Living

Welcome to the new era of retirement, in which retirees teach part-time, volunteer for nonprofits, mentor young people, doorbell for candidates, organize neighborhood potlucks and run 5Ks. Voted Best Place to Retire many times over by many national publications, Bellingham seems to embody this new feisty spirit of retirement. We are no longer convalescing into old age. We are healthier longer than…

Five Faves: Brunch

Homeskillet BELLINGHAM With each pop of a champagne cork, the entire staff yells “opa!” and you know it’s on. Skillets are delicious, but don’t overlook the pancakes and Cinnamon swirl French toast. For serious appetites, the biscuits and gravy are the real deal. homeskilletinsunnyland.com Copper Hog BELLINGHAM Whether you’re hankering for the traditional eggs benedict or you want to branch out and try Kahlua Pork Hash, the Hog aims to please. The sides menu is…

Tyree Callahan

Tyree Callahan is probably best known worldwide for his conceptual art piece Chromatic Typewriter, a 1937 Underwood typewriter that has color keys rather than letters. Small paint-laden sponges sit poised…

Tide Lines Gallery

Nestled in the Alley District is a boutique gallery filled with handcrafted treasures waiting to be discovered. While the mosaic tiled flooring may draw you into Tide Lines, it’s the artwork that keeps you…

The Alternative Library: Now recording

The Alternative Library (or Alt.Lib as it is known) is a grassroots, independent nonprofit in downtown Bellingham founded to foster and promote local artists. Located in the former Tiger Toys space on Railroad Ave., the Alternative Library not only houses an eclectic collection of books, they offer studio space for painters and will soon branch out into offering music recording…

Wonder Woman: Mayor Kelli Linville

When she turns her attention toward you as you speak, you know that Mayor Kelli Linville is listening. Not just putting on the appearance of listening, but taking in your words and considering them. Sometimes she responds right away, but typically she takes your words into consideration, thinks about them, and then meets with you at a later time to talk about your thoughts and concerns….

Chosen Child: Susanne Antonetta’s Make Me a Mother

Jin came to Susanne and Bruce on a flight into Seattle accompanied by an agency escort. Not unlike a birth, the moment they took him up from his car seat and held him, their lives changed forever. In her meditative and lyrical memoir Make Me a Mother, Bellingham poet and memoirst Susanne Antonetta-Paola traces the map of Jin’s adoption, from her decision at an early age to be a…

Robyn Smith

Robyn Smith believes in one central message when it comes to building a relationship between horses and humans — “natural is normal.” Her passion is creating strong bonds between the…

Everett Film Festival

Now in its 18th year, the Everett Film Festival was started by six enterprising women. Originally known as the Everett Women’s Film Festival, the festival was created to highlight the work of women in film production. For years, the film festival has featured animated shorts, documentaries and feature…

Mountain Biking Destinations

Five Faves 1. GALBRAITH MOUNTAIN – WHATCOM The granddaddy of all mountain biking destinations, Galbraith has many challenging but rewarding trails. Maintained by volunteers (many of whom you can meet along the trails), Galbraith isn’t just a great place to mountain bike, it’s an excellent model of balance between the interests of developers and cyclists. 2. LAKE PADDEN – WHATCOM Padden is a popular destination for locals, and it’s not hard to see why — the beautiful park welcomes all…

Silvertips

It’s true, Washington State is not Minnesota or Canada, but we’ve always had a solid history when it comes to hockey. The Lynnwood Ice Center has been around for awhile teaching the smaller set the fundamentals…

Five Faves: Happy Hour

Loft at Latitude Forty Eight Five BELLINGHAM On a warm day, the bay doors open and sea breezes waft over the tables. The Loft is a nice place to meet some friends for great late-afternoon specials. Entrée-sized portions for $5? Heck…

Corner of Inspiration: Doe Bay

Hugging the tip of Orcas Island, Doe Bay is a quiet place. The center includes houses, cabins, yurts, a hostel, campsites and a lodge. Offering Vinyasa Power yoga, Nidra and…

Wheels on Fire – Robin Robertson

Robin Robertson of the Bellingham Tennis Club laughed as she said, “Owning a tennis club was never on my list of things to do. I was in environmental science. I’m a Huxley grad.” So how did an environmental science professional with a…

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…

Aimee Frazier

It starts with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Aimee Frazier opens the door to her deck and walks out into the wilderness. This is her place. She loves the outdoors, and has dedicated her life to encourage the same sense of wonder and curiosity in others.

Bellingham’s New Foundry

The future of technology, and certainly of industrial design, seems to be very much 3-D printing.

The Whatcom Dream

Every day can be a terrible grind for those in poverty, for those who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, for those who don’t, or can’t, make enough to get by, to feed their families.

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…

Beach Walks and Breezes- Lummi Island Getaway

Quiet and unassuming, Lummi Island isn’t as showy and flashy as some of the other islands in the San Juans, but it has a lot to offer the weekender. The island is named for the nearby Lummi tribe, who called it Skallaham. Today, artists, retirees and young families make up the permanent…

Rosalinda Guillen

As Rosalinda Guillen talks about Community to Community — the organization she started to spread awareness and bring social justice to farmworkers in the community — she sits beneath two distinctive pictures. One is of her inspiration, civil rights…

ARTspot

ARTspot encourages bravery, and tries to make art accessible to everyone. It’s a place that gives you the permission to explore and play, and their mission is to bring high quality materials to artists of all levels — even beginners. Owner Tracy Felix Fraker is positive, inspiring and an incredibly talented visionary with a…

Edmonds Art Studio Tour

Have you ever wanted to see inside an artist’s process — their studio, tools and techniques? Each September, Edmonds hosts a studio tour that focuses on the artists in the city. It showcases how art is created, the motivation behind it and gives you…

Fresh Fall Produce

Summer brings farmers markets, and we have deliciously fresh, local produce filling our homes and tables. We revel in berries and corn, asparagus and tomatoes — and then it seems to end. The good news is that fall doesn’t prevent us from acquiring that farm fresh produce. We are lucky to have a long growing season and fertile soil here in the Northwest. It’s true that we’ll have to forgo the berries and tomatoes until…

Discovering our Fall Leaves

Some say summer is what keeps them living in Western Washington, while others are diehard fall fans. It’s true, New England is featured across the nation as the place to view fall color, but here in the Northwest we experience our own wonderland of turning leaves. Red, gold, russet, orange — a flaming palette — blends seamlessly with filtered sunlight and cooler, crisp…

Judy Tuohy

If anyone knows the power of hard work and perseverance, it’s Judy Tuohy. As the director of the Schack Art Center in Everett, Tuohy helps run the non-profit organization that educates and…

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 night was to measure the speed of most everything in the physical world — sound, light, and my personal favorite, light in a vacuum. Really, Albert? I bet you didn’t date much. And your theories of relativity, including E=mc2? Way too complicated — try the old kids’…

Five Faves: Summer Fairs

VANCOUVER PNE VANCOUVER AUGUST 16–SEPTEMBER 1 The PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) has been in operation for 101 years, and draws 900,000 visitors during its 17 days. Loaded with cultural demonstrations, performances, rides, fair food and more, the PNE…

Max Kaiser and Hand Crank Films

Whether promoting SuperFeet insoles or helping Bellingham to seduce Google into making Bellingham a Google Fiber pilot city, Max Kaiser and his team at Hand Crank Films do more than set up a camera, point, shoot and cut. The creative choices — the quality of the light, the texture of the images, the composition of the shots — set Hand Crank Films apart from the average industrial video. Not only is the work of premier…

The Ghosts of Tonkin

Bellingham TheatreWorks, a new theater company in town, was recently established by the brilliant team of Mark Kuntz and Steve Lyons. Local playwright Steve Lyons graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and later found his passion in writing. Director Mark Kuntz…

Bellwether Market

The Bellwether peninsula now offers visitors, local employees and boaters a one-stop-shop where they can buy anything from chips, candy, coffee, or cigarettes to craft beer and wine. Bellwether…

The Workspace

2014 finds many business people away from the classic cubicle in the office, without a desktop computer or water cooler in sight. With technology available all around us, we can work from home, from Starbucks and even on vacation. But where we gain from the convenience of technology, we…

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….

Granville Island

Starting out as an unpromising little sandbar, Granville Island now shines as an example of what a community with chutzpah and vision can achieve in a couple of decades. Vancouver, B.C.’s original name was Granville, so it is fitting that this little island…

The Frigid Water Rescue- Rhonda Lasley

Officer Rhonda Lasley had been on the Sedro-Woolley police force for a month when she and civilian Nicole Vojkovich received a call from the Skagit sheriff’s office about an overturned boat at Dead Man’s Island. Prior to this, Rhonda had been employed for fourteen years by Skagit County Sheriff’s Office as a commissioned deputy where she received boating training that included water rescue, so she was the right person for the job….

The Woods Coffee – They’re Doing It All

We all know The Woods Coffee as a place to relax and enjoy delicious tea, coffee or a treat, but now they have taken their company to an entirely new level. Their coffee, originally roasted in Seattle by a few different companies, is now going to be roasted right here in Whatcom County. Twelve years ago, The Woods Coffee was born. Shortly thereafter, the company had to make a tough decision on whether to build…

Annie Crawley: Dive Into Your Imagintion

Neon green sea grass and fiery fields of red coral bubble with life. Streams of light dance weightlessly to the sway of a gentle current. Tentacles wrap and release tight circles. Urchins preen…

Holiday Entertaining – 7 Stress-Less Tips

I love to entertain. In fact, I do it for a living, which means I also understand the stress entertaining at home can bring. But…

5 Faves: Christmas Tree Farms

Check out our 5 favorite Christmas Tree Farms for your festive fir.

45 Things To Love About Winter

Yes, Virgina, there is a lot to love about winter! Check out our list of 45 items that might perk your interest.

Discover Anacortes

On the drive into Anacortes, constant teasing will occur. Just as a glimpse of the beautiful San Juan Islands appears the road meanders, stealing beauty from view. Located on Fidalgo Island, Anacortes is surrounded by water and only accessible by bridge or sea.

WWU Planetarium Manager Lands NASA Gig

WWU Planetarium manager Brad Snowder got a first-hand look at the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover this summer after being selected by NASA to help promote the mission and landing of the rover as it reached Mars.

Best of the Northwest 2012

We received more than 30,000 votes within 80 categories for this year’s Best of the Northwest.

5 Faves – Pumpkin Patches

Check out our top five favorite Pumpkin Patches around Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Jansen Arts Center: Arts Come Alive

This is an art gallery, but also much more. It is a place where artists can create, teach, share and engage adults and children alike in appreciation of the arts.

Diving In The Pacific Northwest

Take the plunge and learn about the wonderful world of diving in the Pacific Northwest.

Sleeping Lady Resort

Make your next getaway to the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort.

Quick Trip: Leavenworth

Take a quick trip through the charming Leavenworth, a beautiful Bavarian village in Washington.

Living Green – Plug Into The Electric Highway

New charging stations include three in Whatcom, Skagit counties… Lines of electric cars decorated the parking lot of Bellingham’s Sehome Village one morning in late May. Excited electric car owners and supporters hovered under informational tents and all around the fascinating vehicles. This was a big…