Volunteers can help Whatcom County seniors check their smoke detectors


Columnist Dean Kahn gets wiggy with costumes from La Rue Costume Rentals. From left, Kahn sports a 1980s mullet, an Elvis quiff and pirate locks a la Jack Sparrow.


An elderly gentleman called The Bellingham Herald a few days ago bothered that Bellingham firefighters don't help senior citizens check their smoke detectors and batteries.

The man, who didn't leave his name, said he had recently moved into a new home but, at age 89, he wasn't about to climb a ladder to check his detector.

When I contacted Fire Chief Bill Boyd, he told me that perhaps a decade ago firefighters carried spare 9-volt batteries during service calls. If they came upon a smoke detector that needed a battery, it got one.

But that wasn't a formal program, Boyd continued, and a one-time grant to install smoke detectors came and went.

I then checked with several social service agencies to see if anyone has a local program to help seniors with their smoke detectors. I learned that volunteers can help those seniors if they call the Northwest Regional Council at 360-738-2500.

I hope that 89-year-old man, or someone who knows him, gives the council a ring.


What sounds like an interesting talk on local history will start at 4 p.m. next Sunday, May 20, at Nooksack Indian United Methodist Church, 6605 Mission Road, outside of Everson.

Bellingham writer and researcher Candace Wellman will discuss little-known Nooksack history, with a focus on family and friendship connections between the Nooksack Tribe and mid-19th century settlers.

The public is welcome. For more details, contact Pastor Barbara SilverSmith at 360-756-6003 or bsilversmith@gmail.com.

Wellman is busy writing the biographies of eight Coast Salish women and their husbands, a work of pioneer history I can't wait to read.


A new photo-heavy history book is in the works at Lynden Pioneer Museum. The book, "Footsteps on Front Street," will document in photos and text existing downtown buildings, and changes to them over the past century.

Advance copies can be purchased for $21.70 and picked up July 20 at the museum. To reserve a copy, call the museum, 360-354-3675.


Back in 2007 I wrote a story about the first Bellingham Wig Out and reluctantly agreed to be photographed wearing three different wigs: a 1980s mullet, an Elvis 'do, and pirate locks complete with bandana.

In case you don't remember, the Wig Out is the annual day when local people are encouraged to wear a wig just for the fun of it. For those deep into the event, there's a group Wig Walk downtown, followed by a wig contest and photos.

People can wear any kind of wig, but this year's emphasis is surf-and-sun wigs, ala Annette Funicello, surfer dudes and The Beach Boys (in their younger days).

The Wig Walk starts at 5 p.m. Friday, May 25, in front of the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, 1312 Bay St. The walk through downtown ends about 5:45 p.m. back at the museum, where wig judging will commence.

Reach DEAN KAHN at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.

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