You can’t fight city hall: city hall doesn’t fight fair

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm   //   Guest writer

Pat McKee guest writes this.  He is a resident of Sunnyland and was a leader in their seven year planning effort. - The future look of Bellingham's distinctive…
Editor's Blog

Giant Art Installation Targets Predator Drone Operators

Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 5:30 am

The Huffington Post ran this story about the Inside Out project in April. The enormous photo is posted in a field; a portion of the village is visible to the left.

"By giving a face to the victims of drone strikes abroad, a powerful new art project is forcing U.S. drone pilots and policy makers to ponder the deadly consequences of one of America's key counterterrorism programs.

"Two weeks ago, artists gathered in a rural community of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to unveil a gigantic portrait of a local child whose parents and siblings were allegedly killed by missiles fired from a U.S. drone.

"The installation can be seen from the cameras of drones that are known to fly over the region and is called #NotABugSplat, in reference to the slang used by the military for a man killed in a drone strike."

Deb Gaber


Xwe’chi’eXen

Sat, Aug 30, 2014, 12:29 am

Photo: Hannah Potes, Billings Gazette

"We are standing with Washington’s faith leaders today to tell Gateway Pacific Terminals that the peoples of the Pacific Northwest will not accept environmental and economic destruction for their company’s profits.” said Jewell James, Lummi elder and House of Tears master carver.

Warrior up in love with the planet.

Tip Johnson


Video Tribute to Fairhaven’s Gordie Tweit

Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 11:59 am

A 20 minute video of Gordie Tweit has just been posted to YouTube.  Bellingham mural artist Lanny Little created the tribute to the beloved Fairhaven elder and historian.  Gordie is the retired pharmacist of Fairhaven Pharmacy and has a vitural living museum of south side Bellingham history in the basement of the building.  He is now 88 years old and still active caring for and organizing his collection of historic books, documents and photos. 

This is a fine video for all who enjoy local history or have a fondness for the eclectic historic Fairhaven district.  The pharmacy is the oldest continuous business in Fairhaven, starting in 1891.  During this 125 years it has only moved across the street from its original location in what is now called the Sycamore Square building, which was built in 1890.   

The video includes testimonials to Gordie by other south side Bellingham historians, Penny Tillson and Brian Griffin, plus tributes by Dee Robinson of Village Books, Jeff Jewel of the Whatcom Museum, and Bellingham mayor Kelli Linville.  It also has a segment of Gordie's sister Eloise.

- John Servais


Novel Immune-Suppressant Vaccine Completely Blocks HIV in Monkeys

Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 5:15 am

A recent article on aidsmap.com announces, “A novel and relatively simple vaccine that can be administered orally has managed to completely block rectal infection with SIV, the monkey equivalent of HIV, in rhesus macaques and produced rapid re-suppression of viral load in monkeys who were previously infected with SIV.

“The vaccine, whose success at blocking infection was described by its own designers as ‘surprising’ and ‘unexpected’…

“…The vaccine programme is a collaboration between scientists at the French Institute for Research into Cancer and HIV Vaccines at Paris-Descartes University and ones at the Chinese Tropical Medicine Institute at the University of Chinese Medicine in Guangzhou.    

“The researchers note that their approach was based on a long-held hypothesis that conventional vaccines that rely on stimulating an immune response to a microbe in advance of exposure to it could not work in HIV, as this virus uses the very cells that proliferate in an immune response – primarily CD4 T-cells – as the ones it chooses to reproduce in. The trick with an HIV vaccine would therefore be to induce the body to recognise HIV but not mount a proliferative response to it. This could work if the body is induced to respond to HIV as if it was harmless – to induce so-called ‘immune tolerance’ to it.

“…Two initial safety trials are now planned in humans.”

To read more details see the link above.

Deb Gaber


Scientists Discover Area of Brain Responsible for Exercise Motivation

Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 9:01 am

According to a press release from Seattle Childrens Hospital, "Scientists at Seattle Children’s Research Institute have discovered an area of the brain that could control a person’s motivation to exercise and participate in other rewarding activities – potentially leading to improved treatments for depression.

"Dr. Eric Turner, a principal investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Integrative Brain Research, together with lead author Dr. Yun-Wei (Toni) Hsu, have discovered that a tiny region of the brain – the dorsal medial habenula – controls the desire to exercise in mice. The structure of the habenula is similar in humans and rodents and these basic functions in mood regulation and motivation are likely to be the same across species. 

"Exercise is one of the most effective non-pharmacological therapies for depression. Determining that such a specific area of the brain may be responsible for motivation to exercise could help researchers develop more targeted, effective treatments for depression.

“Changes in physical activity and the inability to enjoy rewarding or pleasurable experiences are two hallmarks of major depression,” Turner said. “But the brain pathways responsible for exercise motivation have not been well understood. Now, we can seek ways to manipulate activity within this specific area of the brain without impacting the rest of the brain’s activity.”

Read the entire press release at the link above.

Deb Gaber


What Lies Beneath Stonehenge?

Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 8:02 am

An article in the September issue of Smithsonian Magazine reports that British archaeologist, "(Vince) Gaffney’s latest research effort, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, is a four-year collaboration between a British team and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria that has produced the first detailed underground survey of the area surrounding Stonehenge, totaling more than four square miles. The results are astonishing. The researchers have found buried evidence of more than 15 previously unknown or poorly understood late Neolithic monuments: henges, barrows, segmented ditches, pits. To Gaffney, these findings suggest a scale of activity around Stonehenge far beyond what was previously suspected.


According to Gaffney, “This is among the most important landscapes, and probably the most studied landscape, in the world,” he says. “And the area has been absolutely transformed by this survey. Won’t be the same again.”

Deb Gaber

 

 


“Young Blood” to be Given to Alzheimer’s Patients in Clinical Trial

Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 8:08 am

The website IFLScience is reporting that, “This October, a clinical trial is set to begin in which patients with Alzheimer’s disease will be given blood from younger people in the hope that it will improve their cognition.


“While this may sound a little odd, there is method behind the madness. Several previous studies in mice have demonstrated the rejuvenating capabilities of young mouse blood. Old mice given young blood showed improvements in the health of various organs, and one study even found that it can improve cognitive function.


“Taking this one step further, Stanford scientists injected blood plasma from young humans into old mice, and it was found to have the same rejuvenating benefits as young mouse blood.


“We saw these astounding effects,” lead researcher Tony Wyss-Coray told New Scientist. “The human blood had beneficial effects on every organ we’ve studied so far.”


“…The trial will involve giving blood plasma donated by people under the age of 30 to patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive function will be assessed both before and after the transfusion, and family members or carers will be asked to report any improvements.


“… While we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves just yet, Wyss-Coray believes that this kind of treatment could potentially be useful in a number of diseases. “Blood might contain the fountain of youth after all,” he says. “And it is within us all- that’s the crazy thing. It just loses its power as we age.”


Deb Gaber


ATS Red Light Cameras Issue Bogus Tickets

Sat, Aug 23, 2014, 8:06 pm

Thousands of bogus tickets. Yep, our old nemisis, ATS Red Light Cameras, the operation that almost got to set up in Bellingham, have some malfunctioning cameras in a community on Long Island  in New York state.  Imagine that.  Why was our city council  so sure this was a good deal that they voted for the cameras despite strong opposition from citizens? Well, you know, they just know so much more than we citizens.  One of the first things new Mayor Kellie Linville did was make this go away - at a cost of $100,000 thanks to the bumbling of the City Council. Read and appreciate what confusion we narrowly avoided.  

- John Servais


Political Junkie:  Cathy Lehman to resign from Bellingham City Council

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 8:52 am

Riley Sweeney's Political Junkie has breaking news of Cathy Lehman of the Bellingham City Council planning to resign at the end of the year.  This will leave a full year of her four year term unserved.  Riley has the full scoop.  And beats the Herald - again - with important local political news. 

I can add this to what Riley has posted: Several of us political junkies have known that Cathy is bored silly as a council representative and did not plan to run again.  I knew but had agreed - no doubt with others - to not post this information.  But her resigning early is news to me.  And will cause real political confusion in our city for the next 14 months.  

On councils, power is perceived by staff and other council members to be held by those expected to be serving for years into the future, those who expect to be reelected to another term.  Thus a lame duck representative, who has said this is their last term, or that they are resigning soon, has little influence on their fellow council members on issues before the council. And staff at city hall treat them like a ghost - hardly there.  What's to lose?  Nothing.  No, I'm not making this up.  Council members have explained this to me. 

We on NWCitizen will be exposing the council's illegal Sunnyland plan changes of August 11. Cathy was very much a big factor in that decision as she loves putting big buildings anywhere in the city - residential ambience be damned. I learned that in taking her on a tour of Fairhaven during our planning process a couple years ago. With her seen as a strong future council member, and as president of the council now, her influence was major in the Sunnyland debacle. So, after she votes to violate city codes and hurt a neighborhood to the best of her power, she exits. Very poor form.  

- John Servais


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An Imminent Threat:  The State Plans for CBR Disaster While Counties Punt

Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 11:48 am  //  Terry Wechsler

While the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars defining risks of crude by rail, Skagit County finds no significant adverse impacts of a crude-by-rail proposal.

1 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014

You can’t fight city hall: city hall doesn’t fight fair

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm  //  Guest writer

Patrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.

2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014

Village Books

In historic Fairhaven. Take Exit 250 from I-5.

Good Friends and Neighbors:  What $54 Million Doesn’t Buy, Part 2

Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:54 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Not content with causing massive inconvenience, BNSF is now literally dumping on county residents.

10 comments; last on Aug 26, 2014

Devil In the Details

Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm  //  Guest writer

Judith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.

1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2014

Good Friends and Neighbors:  What $54 Million Doesn’t Buy

Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 7:12 am  //  Terry Wechsler

A massive upgrade of the Cascade [rail] Corridor has left residents stranded and the sheriff asking Washington, DC, to intervene.

6 comments; last on Aug 21, 2014

Reliable Prosperity

Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 3:13 pm  //  Guest writer

Sandy Robson guest writes of the need for real prosperity at Cherry Point, not a destructive short term coal port that destroys the fishing grounds.

4 comments; last on Aug 18, 2014

Fleetwood versus Ericksen: What Happened in Round One?

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 10:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Some Context for the Primary Results

0 comments

The Rule of Law - Bellingham Style

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:31 pm  //  John Servais

Bellingham City Council abruptly changes zoning codes to force Planning Department plan on Sunnyland residents.

7 comments; last on Aug 14, 2014

Final Updated Election Results

Fri, Aug 08, 2014, 10:10 am  //  John Servais

Updated Wed evening. The Tuesday evening 8:20 pm Auditor report on the election is in.

5 comments; last on Aug 08, 2014

Councilmember Murphy’s Proposed Rental Ordinance Is Deeply Flawed

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 8:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Councilmember Murphy's proposal is based on a complaint-based rental ordinance from Tacoma, demonstrated to do little for the health and safety of tenants.

9 comments; last on Aug 04, 2014

Trial by Fire:  A Rising Tide of Civil Disobedience

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 4:47 am  //  Terry Wechsler

Carefully planned actions are rolling across the state to make the point that it's not OK to expose us to risks associated with CBR.

7 comments; last on Aug 04, 2014

Northwest Citizen Releases Polling of Whatcom Voters

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 11:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Northwest Citizen has conducted a phone poll of likely voters, with some surprising results!

9 comments; last on Jul 29, 2014

Plan Commission & Samish Neighbors Bypassed on Rezone Docketing

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 7:52 am  //  Dick Conoboy

In contravention of the Bellingham Municipal Code, the City Council will consider on 4 August a last minute docketing request that ignores the Planning Commission and Samish Neighborhood.

1 comments; last on Jul 30, 2014

Sunnyland Planning Process Explained - Partially

Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:47 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Mike Rostron explains how Bellingham city planners played loose and illegal with planning processes.

0 comments

City Council Approves Resident’s Sunnyland Plan

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 7:22 pm  //  John Servais

Sunnlyland residents win one - after a seven year effort. Planning Department failed them and all of us.

2 comments; last on Jul 23, 2014

What Landlords Need to Know about Rental Registration

Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:30 am  //  Guest writer

Landlords are so caught up opposing a licensing and inspection ordinance, they cannot see the upside for them in ridding the city of bad rentals.

19 comments; last on Aug 01, 2014

Sunnyland Deja Vu

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 1:24 pm  //  Guest writer

Judith Green explains how the Bellingham Planning Department is trying to cram their plan onto a neighborhood.

5 comments; last on Jul 21, 2014

Trial by Fire:  Call to Action to Comment on the BP Pier Expansion

Sun, Jul 13, 2014, 2:26 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Years after BP completed its north dock, the Army Corps of Engineers released a draft EIS and it's really really stupid.

0 comments

Intrado Not to Intrude in Bellingham

Tue, Jul 08, 2014, 8:20 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The city council "persuades" the city administration to withdraw a request for an intrusive police threat warning system

2 comments; last on Jul 08, 2014

Power to the Permit! (or Closely Hold This!)

Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 6:54 am  //  Terry Wechsler

It is time we stop allowing corporations to externalize the costs associated with their risky business practices, and demand more from our regulators who hold the keys to…

3 comments; last on Jul 13, 2014

Manifest Clandestine-y

Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 5:04 am  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Sandy Robson breaks the story of officials from Washington treated to a coal-promoting junket to Wyoming.

2 comments; last on Jul 13, 2014

A Question of Freedom

Fri, Jul 04, 2014, 5:00 am  //  Guest writer

Ferndale's most famous landmark is frequently commented on and is often in the news. Here is their side of the story.

4 comments; last on Jul 07, 2014

Trial by Fire: Lessons Not Learned One Year after Lac-Megantic

Wed, Jul 02, 2014, 5:14 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

On the anniversary of the Lac-Megantic disaster, communities throughout North America rally in solidarity to remember and protest wholly inadequate government response to crude-by-rail's risks.

4 comments; last on Jul 12, 2014

Sins of Omission

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 9:01 pm  //  Guest writer

In the Weekly, Tim Johnson left out three words in quoting Craig Cole - and his story misleads readers. Guest article by Sandy Robson.

11 comments; last on Jul 01, 2014

DOJ Grant Brings Confusion and Anger to City Council Meeting

Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 10:24 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Bellingham Police Department wants to purchase "threat assessment" software with federal monies. Citizen comments were vehement and negative. City Council confused.

5 comments; last on Jul 03, 2014

Widespread Slaughter Won’t Work

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 10:18 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the failings of a bad policy framework are revealed

1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Fireworks Ban in Bellingham in Effect as of 18 June

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 7:53 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The possession and use of consumer fireworks are no longer permitted within the city limits.

1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Herald and Weekly Withhold the News

Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 11:39 am  //  John Servais

Wyoming Senators and coal honchos were in Whatcom County June 10 - to hold a news conference with select reporters.

7 comments; last on Jun 20, 2014

Dawn Sturwold Retiring End of Month

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.

3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014

Stay the Frack Out of Our Forearc Redux

Fri, Jun 06, 2014, 2:07 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Part 2: Following Ken Oplinger to California, and Home Again

4 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

The Road to Perdition

Sun, Jun 01, 2014, 12:39 am  //  Guest writer

A Venn diagram where coal, the Endangered Species Act, Republicans, and Wyoming’s Board of Education collide.

2 comments; last on Jun 02, 2014

Feint, Calumny, Solidarity

Wed, May 28, 2014, 3:15 pm  //  Guest writer

A perspective by guest writer Ellen Murphy reflects on the Whatcom Watch and the threatened law suit by Craig Cole.

22 comments; last on Jun 01, 2014

Extracting Profit and Destroying Experience: The Waterfront Plan

Tue, May 27, 2014, 1:23 am  //  Wendy Harris

Why was so little consideration given to the concept of developing the waterfront for eco-tourism?

5 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014

How Park Improvements Generate Heat

Mon, May 26, 2014, 7:51 pm  //  Wendy Harris

City park improvements have implications on the local and global scale.

2 comments; last on May 29, 2014

Montana & Wyoming to WA: Permit Coal Export Terminals… Or Else

Thu, May 22, 2014, 12:10 am  //  Guest writer

Wyoming is ready to try and legally force us to limit our environmental scoping for the Cherry Point coal terminal

4 comments; last on Jun 17, 2014

The Trojan Slaughterhouse and the Scrivener’s Errors

Sun, May 18, 2014, 11:57 pm  //  Wendy Harris

Reckless rezones and far-fetched explanations result in more slaughterhouses and meat packing plants

3 comments; last on May 20, 2014

Who Filed for Charter Review Commission?

Sat, May 17, 2014, 2:34 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley takes a closer look at the Charter Review Commission candidates

2 comments; last on May 21, 2014

Bellingham’s 2013 Water Quality Report: The Facts But Not the Truth

Tue, May 13, 2014, 5:04 pm  //  Wendy Harris

Bellingham's annual water quality report indicates that city hall's propoganda machine is going strong

1 comments; last on May 14, 2014

Stay the Frack Out of Our Forearc

Sun, May 11, 2014, 2:20 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Part 1: Introduction to the Bellingham Basin’s Potential for Fracking, Earthquakes, and Earthquakes Due to Fracking

3 comments; last on May 14, 2014

Riley scoops Herald - again

Fri, May 09, 2014, 10:02 am  //  John Servais

The Political Junkie for Whatcom County - that would be Riley Sweeney - has Overstreet not running for reelection in the 42nd.

1 comments; last on May 13, 2014

An Imminent Threat

Fri, May 09, 2014, 6:10 am  //  Terry Wechsler

Why Washington must step in and assume lead agency status in Skagit County for the Shell crude by rail proposal.

6 comments; last on Jun 21, 2014

The Whatcom Republicans’ Huge PCO Advantage

Tue, May 06, 2014, 5:52 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .

1 comments; last on May 07, 2014

‘Legislative Sausage” or “Slaughter this Ordinance”

Mon, May 05, 2014, 3:34 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the gyrations of the bid for widespread county slaughter are exposed.

2 comments; last on May 07, 2014

Move To Amend - Persons vs Corporations

Thu, May 01, 2014, 10:21 pm  //  Guest writer

Move to Amend is a national movement to amend the U.S. Constitution and define persons as people and speech as not money.

7 comments; last on Jun 02, 2014

SweenyPolitics:  Fleetwood files against Ericksen

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 8:20 am  //  John Servais

Riley posted this morning that Seth Fleetwood has decided to challenge Doug Ericksen for state senate in the 42nd District.

1 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014

Planning or Development Commission?

Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 6:28 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Every Bellingham Planning Commission member has ties to development or development-related businesses.

4 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014

“Friends and Neighbors”?

Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 1:59 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

A closer look at Whatcom County's industrial "stewards of the environment."

4 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014

Action Alert for Tonight: Waterfront Wildlife and Habitat Threatened

Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 11:43 am  //  Wendy Harris

The public needs to support city council and request that a waterfront habitat assessment include terrestrial species and habitat connectivity.

0 comments

Water, Water Everywhere, but ...

Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 2:57 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

or How Not to Plan for Future Generations' Water Needs

12 comments; last on Jun 30, 2014

Charter Review and District Only Voting

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 10:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

A simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting

0 comments

Roosevelt Neighborhood Pleads for Left Turns

Wed, Apr 09, 2014, 9:07 am  //  Riley Sweeney

City pushes for Alabama Street improvements, residents speak out

3 comments; last on Apr 14, 2014

Assault

Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 4:29 pm  //  Guest writer

By Christopher Grannis: Wherein despite every effort and expense, citizens cannot make the City follow the law or work for neighborhoods

2 comments; last on Apr 07, 2014

Killer Industrial Jobs or Long-term Job Killers?

Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 12:52 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Why commenting on the EIS for Comp Plan revisions for Cherry Point means demanding an EIS in the first place.

5 comments; last on Jun 25, 2014

Anatomy of a Development Part XII - Citizens Win Against University Ridge

Wed, Apr 02, 2014, 6:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Ambling University Development Group pulls out. University Ridge will not be built.

12 comments; last on Apr 06, 2014

Tell County To Expand Scope of EIS Review for Plants and Animals

Tue, Apr 01, 2014, 1:27 pm  //  Wendy Harris

Please help us protect county wildlife by ensuring that the scope of the EIS review is adequate. A sample scoping letter is included.

0 comments

Public May Comment On EIS Scoping For County Comp. Plan Until April 7th

Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 2:23 am  //  Wendy Harris

The public has a week to comment on the scope of issues reviewed under the EIS.

0 comments

My State of the Lake Report for 2014

Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 1:32 am  //  Wendy Harris

On March 26, 2014 the city and county provided their update and assessment on the status of Lake Whatcom. This is mine.

2 comments; last on Apr 01, 2014

County Considers Purchasing Toxic Property

Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 10:32 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue

3 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014

Propaganda Replaces Public Information:  An Analysis of the Lake Whatcom TDML Process

Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 12:52 am  //  Wendy Harris

The public is not provided with a proposed plan or adequate information prior to the annual "state of the lake" meeting

4 comments; last on Mar 18, 2014

Mobile Slaughter

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 1:11 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein there's a crackdown on growing plants, and plans to let slaughter run free

2 comments; last on Mar 16, 2014

 

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