Whatcom Co.: 90 Million Gallons of Water a Day
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 12:42 am // Guest writerGuest writer Eric Hirst is retired to Bellingham and enjoys using his professional abilities to benefit our community. He has a doctorate from Stanford and spent his professional…
Wed, Jul 15, 2015, 12:38 pm
The Bellingham Business Journal has weighed in on the economic impacts the proposed super coal port at Cherry Point might have on our Whatcom County economy. Associate editor, Oliver Lazenby, has written an overall look at the recent $48,000 study by the Philadelphia PFM Group which was paid for by Community Wise, a grassroots local organization seeking factual information about the project. The article title is: Could coal terminal be net negative for local economy?
Community Wise is comprised of many leading business and professional people who are skeptical the project will benefit either Bellingham or Whatcom County. They are seeking to bring out the facts about such coal ports rather than take confrontational public political action as Re-Sources is doing. The study was commissioned to examine the economic impacts of the coal port.
Other issues besides economic are environmental impacts, opportunity costs, quality of living impacts from noise and coal dust, traffic impacts from blocked railroad crossings, and visual impacts of continuous trains passing through Bellingham. Even economic impacts can be divided into 2 or 3 issues - such as overall impact on the county, what and how many new permanent jobs will be created at the coal port, what new business activity may or may not follow the coal port. This BBJ article is a fine overview of the various economic issues and goes beyond what we have read to this date.
- John Servais
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Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 9:50 am
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a black writer. And his writing is about blacks living in the United States. I tripped over his name maybe a year ago as he is a columnist online for The Atlantic Monthly. One of my favorite writers for many years is James Fallows, also with The Atlantic, and perhaps he mentioned Ta-Nehisi once. I started reading Ta-Nehisi's posts and have found him a very good read, very intelligent, very committed to understanding as best he can the situation of blacks in America.
Ta-Nehisi is coming out with his second book on Tuesday, July 14. I have already pre ordered the digital version and will start reading him tomorrow. The title is "Between the World and Me". In it he writes to his 14 year old son. (Update: His son is 14. Originaly I wrote his son was younger.) So this is a writing approach for getting a difficult message into comprehensible form. Not my conclusion. Ta-Nehisi has written about his efforts.
We do not have many blacks in Bellingham and it might be a question why this book deserves attention. Two reasons. One is the question of why we have so few blacks in Bellingham. The second reason is we are all Americans - citizens of the United States - and we have a national issue with our history of race, to put it mildly. Ta-Nehisi has already shown an amazing ability to block the white noise and hear the real narrative being played out in America. He brings brilliance to his writing and we can learn much from him. And we need to.
- John Servais
Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 4:38 pm
Nice article about Bellingham in the current issue of the Seattle Weekly. It says Seattleites are moving to Bellingham in droves. Well, more specifically it interviews older people who have recently moved here because Seattle is losing its charm. Younger people are staying in Seattle because it is too hard to make a living here. But those who are retired find lower cost of living and housing prices here.
Fairhaven is featured quite prominently in the article. Some comments marvel about the ambience. And, indeed, Fairhaven deserves respect for being a relaxed location. Little known - and not mentioned in the article - is the fact that every business in Fairhaven is locally owned and managed. Even the Haggen grocery store. Not a single Starbucks, Gap, Applebee's or any such. There are a couple bank branches that belong to larger banks.
The reason for this local control is that different property and building owners have, over the decades, declined to rent or sell to chains. Starbucks has tried more than once to open in Fairhaven. And someday this will end with some food chain opening on a corner. But for the past 40 years, Fairhaven - with locally owned Village Books leading the way - has been an example of an urban village with local control.
For a taste of Fairhaven ambience, check out these photos.
- John Servais
Mon, May 25, 2015, 11:19 pm
The Coast Guard, after a weekend of safeguarding citizens on the water, has graciously assisted Chiara D'Angelo off the anchor chain of Shell's Arctic Challenger and released her without laying charges.
According to the Defense Video & Image Distribution Sytem,
"“It was cold, rainy and she was starting to display signs of hypothermia,” said Chief Warrant Officer Charles Chavtur, commanding officer of Station Bellingham. “Boatcrew members were able to safely assist her down from the chain and gave her blankets and water. We brought her back to the station where she was evaluated by EMS and released to her family and friends.”"
"The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment Rights of people to safely and lawfully assemble on the water and is committed to enforcing the laws and regulations necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime public."
With the federal agency declining to prosecute, the ball is passed to the Port of Bellingham, a local agency that relies on the City of Bellingham's law enforcement and judicial system.
In the last case of "lock-down" protests over public resources at "Pit Park," the city viciously prosecuted protesters, driving many out of town. They spared no expense to make the point that such expression was not welcome.
That was a different time, a different mayor and a couple police chiefs back.
Sometimes difficult issues can be hard to express and harder to hear. That's when those willing to shout into the wind are most valuable to society. It's time for the city to declare if they will recognize divergent views and stand on our country's founding principles of freedom of expression.
We shall see.
Sat, May 23, 2015, 3:08 pm
Following up on Tip Johnson's post of Thursday evening, the young environmentalist protestors are continuing their efforts on Bellingham's waterfront. Down on the Port of Bellingham's Whatcom Waterway - our former cargo ship wharf - Shell Oil has tied a huge oil exploration support ship, the Arctic Challenger. Friday evening, Chiara Rose D'Angelo climbed the anchor chain and tied herself in - about 10 feet or more above the water. Not a safe place for a young woman even in warm clothes. This morning she was still there and remains at 2 p.m. this Sunday afternoon. Her beliefs have moved her to put her own safety at risk. The Coast Guard, Bellingham police and port security have been present during the several day protest.
The apparent leader of the protest, Herb Goodwin, claimed yesterday that the Shell ship was planning to quickly leave Bellingham and a protest had to be increased to prevent this. This apparently inspired Chiara. However, the ship has shown no intention of trying to leave.
Komo 4 and King 5, two Seattle television news stations, have posted short stories on Chiara clinging to the anchor chain. We are told more internet web sites are beginning to cover this, so I will look to link. We at NWCitizen hope to bring you more coverage of this developing issue on our waterfront.
Thanks to Reese Semanko of Mount Vernon for use of his photo.
Seattle's The Stranger has the most complete report on last evening.
The Guardian of London, England, now has the story, even if details are a bit messed up.
- John Servais
Fri, May 22, 2015, 10:35 am
A couple dozen folks, including political junkies, bloggers, editors and reporters, gathered yesterday afternoon at NY Pizza to bid Riley Sweeney a goodbye as he leaves political reporting and commentary behind to take a job with the city of Ferndale. Ralph Scwhartz, a reporter with the Bellingham Herald, was there and has posted up a fun article about the gathering on his political blog at the Herald website.
Permanent links to the Bellingham Herald and to Ralph and Samantha's political blog are in the right side column of NWCitizen, under the "Local Blogs & News" label.
Thu, May 21, 2015, 4:26 am
Apple Pay - and Google Wallet - are secure ways of using our credit and debit cards. Far more secure than using the cards themselves. As we all know, credit card info is stolen on a routine basis, forcing users to cut them up and wait for new ones, causing limitless aggrevation while working with banks and credit unions to get illegal purchases reversed. Credit cards in other countries are more secure, with chip technology being the most common security solution. Wall Street and the big banks have ignored this problem for decades because the losses are less than 3% and all the angst is on the users and small issuing banks.
WECU - the Whatcom Educational Credit Union - has just implemented Apple Pay for all its members. It started on Wednesday without fanfare. All I had to do was scan my WECU credit card into my iPhone 6 - didn't even need to go to the credit union. I tapped the app - passbook - and it coached me to take a photo of my credit card. The app then displayed the credit card number and info for my approval. I tapped ok and it was done.
Then it was time to test it. Walgreens on Meridian enables both Apple and Googe payment systems. For my first time purchase, the register clerk, Sawyer, helped me. It was simple, but I did not know whether to touch or wave the phone near the credit card reader. With advice, I held the phone near the normal credit card reader at the check out counter and my phone came alive - displaying the credit card. I held the top of my phone within an inch of the graphic symbol (top of this article) that was on the card reader. A nice "ding" sound told Sawyer that I had successfully paid, and my receipt was printed. It took about 2 seconds. You can look for these graphic symbols on credit card readers the next time you shop. The process with a smart phone is much faster than using a credit card.
You can scan in credit cards and also debit cards. You can scan in Visa, MasterCard and others. When it comes time to pay, you tap - on your smart phone screen - the icon of the card you want to use. Very cool.
Is this article news or an advertisement? It is news - and a nudge to local business owners to enable it for payment. This important new tech process has very real benefits to everyday people. It is a secure way of using cards and you can still use your old credit card separate from your phone. Within a couple years we will all be using this system routinely. Apple deserves credit for initiating this.
Wed, May 20, 2015, 8:24 am
There is a very small restaurant - 32 seats - in the Sunnyland neighborhood called Home Skillet. It serves breakfast and lunch. NWCitizen writers have met there many times for breakfast and to discuss local politics and articles-in-progress. The food is excellent, the staff just sassy enough to keep you alert and yet provide superb service. Dining there the first time is a fun experience. Weekends are over-crowded. All in all, one of those fine little businesses that help make Bellingham and Whatcom County nice places to live.
Today's online Bellingham Business Journal has a lengthy and wonderful article about Home Skillet, with several photos. It tells us about the special experiences and training the owners went through before starting the restaurant. They were cooks in one of the most unique places in the world with a very demanding clientele. I know, as my late brother, local dentist "painless Bill," was one of them.
The Bellingham Business Journal provides daily local business news. I check it each morning and find they often have news before the Herald. The Herald business reporter, Dave Gallagher, worked there before being recruited to the Herald. Readers benefit from the competition between the Herald and Business Journal. There is a new link in the right side "Links" column that will direct you to the Business Journal. Of course, the link to the Herald has been there for many years now.
- John Servais
Wed, Apr 29, 2015, 11:27 pm
What credible evidence did Baltimore police have that gangs were unifying to take them out? Or is that classified? It provided a convenient excuse for the police to suit up in military gear to provoke a bunch of high school kids.
Parents and teachers report that "…police actions inflamed a tense-but-stable situation." Police reportedly turned away school buses and prevented students from dispersing. Was there a strategy and tactical plan? Or is that classified?
In the National Review, a columnist blames Democratic policies and practices, suggesting racial arrest disparity exists because "Criminals make their own choices..", that "Meretricious “black rage” rhetoric…" props up "..not a revolt, but a crime spree." The author admits police can be undisciplined, calling it political "..incompetence and corruption..", "..the product of the progressive wing of the Democratic party enabled in no small part by black identity politics."
Maybe we shouldn't blame the kids, blacks or the cops - or the Democrats. Sure, there will always be unruly children, undisciplined police and bad public management, but isn't it time to admit that the militarization of police has steadily made things worse? Democrats don't have any monopoly on militarization.
When you can't see the difference between our civilian police force and soldiers in the National Guard, we've crossed a line that could be difficult to retrieve. It won't get anything but worse without more transparency and vigorous debate. Civil order is a delicate balance served neither by hooliganism or a police state. Only words can keep sticks and stones at bay. Bring on 2016!
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Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 12:42 am // Guest writerEric Hirst provides us all with a well researched report on Whatcom County water issues - rights, Lake Whatcom, ground water and more.
9 comments; last on Jul 25, 2015
Tue, Jul 14, 2015, 4:13 pm // John LesowThe fight to keep Point Roberts from becoming a Radio Tower Farm is not over.
3 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015
Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 5:38 am // Dick ConoboyBellingham police are obviously trained to de-escalate armed confrontations. This is the way it should be.
6 comments; last on Jul 14, 2015
Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 8:27 am // John ServaisLois Garlick has died. For many decades, she and George served as environmental stewards and leaders in preserving wildlife and nature.
2 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015
Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 9:27 am // John ServaisLast minute political maneuvering by liberal council seeks to counter conservative review commission ballot proposals.
Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 9:13 am // John ServaisThe Charter Review Commission made Monday evening's meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council
3 comments; last on Jul 08, 2015
Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 5:34 am // Dick ConoboyFor Rent: York neighborhood, new, 7 bedroom single-family home, near WWU. Only $44,000 a year. City planning not paying attention.
6 comments; last on Jul 09, 2015
Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 4:30 pm // John ServaisTwo dirty tricks by the uber-conservative minority on the Charter Review Commission aimed to put their agenda before the council.
3 comments; last on Jul 07, 2015
Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 2:55 pm // David CampTrees are dying for lack of water! Only citizen action can save them.
Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 7:47 am // Dick ConoboyIf your 4th of July holiday is much more quiet this year, you can thank Clay Bulter who passed away at the end of May.
Mon, Jun 29, 2015, 5:00 am // Dick ConoboyThe Samish Neighborhood Plan has been the subject of three undesired rezones in the last year. The city ignores its own guidelines to the detriment of all.
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 6:00 pm // John ServaisUpdated at 6 pm. Our county justice system has spent 6 years trying to teach Luba Pekisheva that she should not defend herself. Justice denied and miscarried.
8 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015
Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 5:00 pm // David CampA look at the proposal in historic financial context with projections and several questions for the proponents.
8 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015
Mon, Jun 01, 2015, 3:49 am // Dick ConoboyThree extraordinarily large (7-bedroom) single family home rentals are proposed by developers Dave and Jon Hansen on Iron St. in the York Neighborhood.
7 comments; last on Jun 10, 2015
Mon, May 25, 2015, 8:17 pm // John ServaisYoung Chiara spent 3 nights hanging from the anchor chain of Shell Oil's Arctic Challenger as a protest to arctic oil drilling.
Thu, May 21, 2015, 11:50 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein we ponder the fate of humanity
Mon, May 18, 2015, 11:17 pm // John ServaisJoy Gilfilen is challenging incumbent Jack Louws for County Executive.
4 comments; last on May 20, 2015
Fri, May 15, 2015, 6:10 pm // John ServaisRunning update of who is filing for office in Whatcom County. Posts during day Friday and final update Friday evening.
4 comments; last on May 17, 2015
Wed, May 13, 2015, 5:30 pm // John ServaisUpdated | Ski to Sea race does not need to race through sensitive Chuckanut Community Forest Park for special mountain bike leg. City did not renege.
10 comments; last on May 15, 2015
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 2:05 pm // Guest writerTani Sutley writes a second article on the increasing number of vacation rentals - and the County Council bill to let them expand dramatically.
4 comments; last on May 02, 2015
Thu, Apr 09, 2015, 5:03 am // Dick ConoboyThe Puget Neighborhood is about to become a bit more crowded but less than originally planned. 600+ students to be housed south of Fred Meyer.
6 comments; last on Apr 12, 2015
Sat, Apr 04, 2015, 1:15 pm // John ServaisThe port's latest bone-headed deal calls for the good citizens of Whatcom County to consider the options...unless we're enjoying our Groundhog Day.
3 comments; last on Apr 07, 2015
Thu, Apr 02, 2015, 8:30 pm // Tip JohnsonThe difference between a threat and a promise
5 comments; last on Apr 03, 2015
Wed, Apr 01, 2015, 12:20 am // John ServaisPort of Bellingham today sold out our public waterfront to a foreign shell company formed 6 days ago. Sold it cheap and with a screwy arrangement.
32 comments; last on Apr 05, 2015
Sat, Mar 21, 2015, 11:16 am // Guest writerKamalla Kaur worked with David Mason on his biographical materials and offers this tribute to his illustrious life.
2 comments; last on Mar 23, 2015
Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 5:00 am // Dick ConoboyThe Whatcom County Council has sent discussion on changing the meth ordinance back to the Public Works, Health and Safety Committee
Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 1:06 pm // John ServaisAdd your thoughts and remembrances. Robyn du Pre` was a stalwart and true environmental advocate for Bellingham and Whatcom County. She died this week.
9 comments; last on Mar 23, 2015
Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 10:39 am // Riley SweeneyRiley shares some insight into the national political parties
5 comments; last on Mar 09, 2015
Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 6:31 am // Dick ConoboyIn a hearing, possibly on 3 March, the Whatcom County Council will consider an ordinance changing the rules for contaminated meth use sites.
1 comments; last on Feb 27, 2015
Mon, Feb 09, 2015, 6:00 am // Dick ConoboyNot all rent-to-own propositions are an unwise method to buy a home but some are schemes to rip off the unsuspecting tenant.
Mon, Feb 02, 2015, 9:34 am // Guest writerNo ballot mailed to you. You must request a ballot for voting in the Whatcom Conservation District election. Deadline to apply is Feb 9. By Barbara Perry
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 10:56 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein Bellingham's billion dollar boondoggle is revisited
4 comments; last on Mar 03, 2015
Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 9:55 am // Terry WechslerThe Lummi requested on Jan. 5, 2015, that the federal government, through the Army Corps of Engineers, honor Art. V of the Treaty of Point Elliott and deny…
1 comments; last on Feb 04, 2015
Sun, Jan 25, 2015, 12:32 pm // Guest writerAdventures of George Pickett in the Pacific Northwest Wilderness
5 comments; last on Jan 28, 2015
Sat, Jan 24, 2015, 3:15 pm // Terry WechslerThe fourth area refinery crude by rail infrastructure project to receive permits without benefit of environmental review is being appealed, and provides an opportunity to make precedent.
Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 12:13 am // John ServaisThe second annual award for Citizen Journalism will be to The Political Junkie himself who runs the Sweeney Politics blog, Riley Sweeney.
2 comments; last on Jan 24, 2015
Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 3:07 am // Guest writerGuest article by Sandra Alfers. Water and sewer connections drive unwanted annexation. Trickle Creek homeowners are muzzled by a "no protest zone."
1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2015
Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 10:14 pm // Guest writerEllen Murphy gives us a poem for this Martin Luther King day of remembrance.
2 comments; last on Jan 21, 2015
Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 9:15 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the ridiculous is ridiculed
5 comments; last on Jan 21, 2015
Thu, Jan 08, 2015, 2:54 pm // Guest writerTani Sutley guest writes about the vacation rentals situation and presents goals for the county council to consider for improving our rural neighborhoods.
1 comments; last on Jan 10, 2015
Wed, Dec 31, 2014, 1:16 am // Guest writerDuuhhh! Try doing without it. Marian Beddill provides an overview of our rural Whatcom County water situation and the efforts to find fair solutions.
3 comments; last on Jan 08, 2015
Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 1:23 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Herald gave us their top 10 stories, Riley gives you his top 5
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 5:04 pm // John ServaisOne part of the environmental study for the proposed Cherry Point mega coal terminal has been completed and released. It deals with ship collisions - they call it…
2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2014
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 12:26 pm // John ServaisBellingham Public Works shows how tone deaf they can be to business concerns. They insisted on street work that takes away up to 80 parking spaces in Fairhaven…
Tue, Dec 16, 2014, 3:51 pm // Dick Conoboy7-0! City Council Unanimous. Rentals Will Be Inspected in Bellingham. Thanks go to WWU students for speaking out to city council.
5 comments; last on May 02, 2015
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 5:05 am // Dick ConoboyThe Bellingham City Council has added an inspection component to the registration-only rental ordinance proposal of Councilmember Murphy
4 comments; last on Dec 16, 2014
Wed, Dec 10, 2014, 6:37 am // Dick ConoboyThe ban on consumer fireworks that took effect last summer is valid all year, even New Year's Eve
1 comments; last on Dec 11, 2014
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 1:31 pm // John ServaisThe Horizon Lines ship - the many year resident of the Port of Bellingham - broke loose this morning due to failure of some system. A few photos.
3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2014
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 2:25 am // Guest writerTani Sutley writes of how unregulated vacation rentals are invading the Lake Whatcom watershed. She urges action before the Planning Commission meeting on 11 December.
4 comments; last on Jan 03, 2015
Wed, Dec 03, 2014, 2:20 pm // Richard LewisPoet Richard Lewis reflects on Elizabeth Warren
3 comments; last on Dec 07, 2014
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 4:27 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein Whatcom's Klan heritage may be oozing from some cracks
8 comments; last on Dec 06, 2014
Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 3:48 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley dives into the data with precinct maps and historical perspectives
Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:15 am // Dick ConoboyCampus Crest Communities, Inc. has officially offered for sale the Lincoln St. property that was to be a student apartment development.
2 comments; last on Nov 23, 2014
Wed, Nov 12, 2014, 1:51 pm // John ServaisUpdated Nov 12. Howard Harris, the founder of the Bellingham silent peace vigil at the Federal Building in Bellingham, has died. He and Rosemary were leaders in our…
Tue, Nov 11, 2014, 2:34 pm // John ServaisOn this Veterans Day, a note about how vets need our government to step up - as has never been done. And a personal note on the power…
3 comments; last on Nov 13, 2014
Thu, Nov 06, 2014, 6:53 am // Dick ConoboyThe Campus Crest apartment complex may be the "victim" of a corporate restructuring plan.
3 comments; last on Nov 10, 2014
Tue, Nov 04, 2014, 12:28 pm // John ServaisWhile smearing Seth Fleetwood over a common tax arrangement, we discover Doug Ericksen also has a benign tax lien - one he denied.
6 comments; last on Nov 11, 2014
Mon, Nov 03, 2014, 8:14 pm // Richard LewisPoet Richard Lewis weighs in on the Tea Party values
Sat, Nov 01, 2014, 12:29 pm // Tip JohnsonOr why to vote for Nyima, the dog, for County Prosecutor
4 comments; last on Nov 03, 2014
Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 2:18 am // John ServaisA link to Riley's Political Junkie for excellent recommendations - and a few thoughts of my own.
1 comments; last on Oct 30, 2014
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