Chalk floats through the air. Thumping feet hit the mat-covered floor. Athletes cling to colorful round holds that cover the high walls, pure strength and stamina holding them in place. This is Vital Climbing Gym. Finbarr Anderson, a new climber as of April 2022 and a third-year student at Western Washington University, said when people start climbing, they generally find their skill level rapidly advances.
The Washington state midterm elections are fast approaching – ballots are mailed Oct. 19 and due by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8. If you’re in Whatcom County, you’ll see statewide and local elections on the ballot. Local elections, the focus of this column series, tend to have lower media coverage and voter participation compared to statewide and national elections.
After opening a first location in Ferndale last February, family-owned-and-operated thrift store Mystery Thrift opened a second location in downtown Bellingham on Sept. 3, with a focus on charity, affordability and sustainability. Kyle Weiss, his wife Nicole and their daughter Avery own the business, while other members of the family work or volunteer within it. Co-owner Kyle Weiss was hoping to land a larger second location in Ferndale, but the best building for the business was on Commercial Street in downtown Bellingham. The building will soon be shared with We Care, another donation-based thrift store.
After a summer of harassment and a violent act of vandalism, Bellingham business WinkWink Boutique remains resilient in the face of hatred. Five individuals threw rocks through the storefront windows of WinkWink in the early morning hours of Aug. 6, a culmination of the violent threats that the business had been receiving as a result of Uncringe Academy, the progressive sex-ed courses they offer for youth.
A month out from the Nov. 8 midterm elections, community members are finding ways to build solidarity and civic engagement on local and regional levels. A local political action group, Indivisible Bellingham, is hosting an action-oriented Rally for Reproductive Rights, Freedom and Privacy at Bellingham City Hall on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m.
When third-year student Kateri Rinallo arrived at Western Washington University, she had a realization. “Gas is really expensive,” Rinallo said. She’s not wrong — according to AAA, the average price for a gallon of gas in Whatcom County is $5.45 — almost two dollars more than the national average. So when she came to Bellingham, Rinallo switched from four wheels to two. She gets around on her bike and says it takes her only 10 minutes to ride from her house right to the front of any lecture hall.
Many Bellinghamsters enjoy the Saturday Farmers Market in the depot square regularly, which is alive and well after 30 years of business. The market has kept running through the hard work of director Lora Liegel, the part-time staff, dedicated vendors and patrons who attend. The market, open weekly from April to December, has been under the care of Liegel since March 2019. Being introduced to the market just one year before the COVID-19 shutdown, she found herself consulting with the city of Bellingham and the Whatcom County Health Department to create a safe operational plan. The pandemic took its toll on the market, like many other businesses.
A few thousand people welcomed the return of the summer Downtown Sounds concerts as 1980s music from the band Nite Wave played across downtown Bellingham. The concert on Wednesday, July 6, was the first of five concerts happening downtown throughout July and August put on by the Downtown Partnership. They are among a few different free concert events planned this summer throughout the city.
After years in the works, the first phase of the Padden Creek 24th to 30th streets project reached completion on Sept. 21.
One iconic monument stands above the rest throughout Whatcom County’s section of the Cascades: Mount Baker. This formidable peak is the third highest in Washington state behind Mount Adams and Mount Rainier – it is also an integral part of recreation in the county. Every year, many people attempt to summit the mountain.
At the end of Bellingham’s Cornwall Avenue lies a small beach covered in trash and shards of sea glass. Mounds covered in tarps rise up from behind the chain link fence that attempts to keep people away and the remnants of roads have crumbled onto the rocky shore. This is what's left after over one hundred years of industrial use on this 17-acre plot of land that the city is working on turning into a park.
Thousands lined the streets of downtown Bellingham and later filled Depot Market Square on July 17. This was the first time since the start of the pandemic Bellingham held its annual Pride Parade and Festival.
“It’s like how a hot dog tastes better at a baseball game,” said Schweinhaus Biergarten cook and server David Ritscher when asked if a good atmosphere has the power to make beer taste better. There are many places to grab a beer in Bellingham, from Gruff Brewing to your local gas station. But what makes beer taste great? Sure, the hops and yeast are important, but a big part of getting a beer is the setting.
In the northwesternmost corner of Washington state, campaigning has begun for the competitive and valuable state senate seat representing the 42nd district.
An estimated 1,500 people turned out for the Whatcom Youth Pride parade and festival in Bellingham on June 4.
The courtyard of Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building was home to a number of red dresses for 10 days this past month. Some dresses hung on a tall rack, others lay strewn across a rock; another hung in a tree, and two more were displayed on a fence.
Whatcom Youth Pride hosted its first in-person pride parade and festival in two years on Saturday, June 4, in Bellingham.