George Pickett portrayer to raise money for Pickett house; Charlie Sheen supports Bellingham motorcycle movie

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 18, 2013 

Now 157 years old, the Pickett house in Bellingham understandably needs some repairs, and a fitting way to raise money for the job has been found.

Mike Vouri and Mike Cohen will present their two-hour show, "The Life and Times of General George Pickett," as a benefit to replace several windows in the historic house at 1207 Ellsworth St.

"The glass is falling out of the windows," said Edradine Hovde, president of Whatcom Chapter 5, Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington, the group that cares for the house.

The show will focus on Pickett's famous doomed charge while a Confederate major general at the Battle of Gettysburg. It will start at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St.

Tickets are $15, available at brownpapertickets.com, at daughtersofpioneers@hotmail.com and at the door, if still available.

A soldier, Pickett built the house overlooking Bellingham Bay after he was ordered to erect Fort Bellingham to provide security for early settlers. In 1859, he landed his company on San Juan Island to defend America's claim to the island and defy British forces at the outset of the Pig War, so-called because tensions rose when a British pig foraged in an American settler's garden.

Vouri dresses in costume to dramatically portray Pickett's life. Cohen accompanies him by playing banjo and singing songs from the 1800s.

Vouri was a Bellingham Herald reporter and an employee of Whatcom Museum before he became chief of interpretation and historian for San Juan Island National Historical Park. The author of "The Pig War: Standoff at Griffin Bay," he now lives on San Juan Island.

SHEEN SHINES FOR MOTORCYCLE DOCUMENTARY

On Aug. 5, I wrote about "Out of Nothing," a documentary being made about several Whatcom County motorcyclists trying to set a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The story mentioned the filmmakers' plan to seek $50,000 in donations through Kickstarter so they could shoot extra footage at Bonneville. Ryan Stiles, the well-known comedian and one of the movie's producers, is the face of the online appeal for money.

Donations were a bit poky at first, until actor Charlie Sheen, who knows Stiles from their time together on the sitcom "Two and a Half Men," recently donated $10,000 and spread word about the movie to his fans on Twitter.

As of mid-afternoon Friday, Aug. 16, a total of 187 people had pledged a total of $26,540. The deadline for donations is Thursday. Aug. 22.

"We're pretty optimistic," said Logan Barnett, one of the film's executive producers. "We're gaining momentum."

To donate, go to kickstarter.com and search for Bellingham or for "Out of Nothing." To see a trailer for "Out of Nothing," go to outofnothingmovie.com.

WARM-UP FOR WARPLANES

On June 10, I wrote about a foundation's effort to shoot a documentary about the United States' covert delivery of military aircraft to the Soviet Union during World War II.

Jeff Geer, president of BRAVO 369 Flight Foundation, said he and several other pilots recently completed a 4,000-mile, round-trip flight between Great Falls, Mont., and Fairbanks, Alaska, as a test flight for the project.

If they win approval from Russian officials, they plan to fly next year from Great Falls to central Russia, the 6,000-mile route used to deliver warplanes to help the Soviets fight Hitler's troops.

For the test flight, Geer and Alan Anders, the owner of a 1942 North American AT-6 Texan, flew the vintage aircraft, accompanied by Whatcom County pilot Mark Kandianis in his Cessna 206, along with Elizabeth Ackerly, a Boeing 777 first officer with American Airlines.

The foundation hopes to produce more than a dozen documentaries, plus museum exhibits, school materials and interactive features. To follow the project, go to bravo369.org or follow Bravo 369 Flight Foundation on Facebook.

WEDDING COUPLES WANTED

By the way, The Bellingham Herald is starting work on its 2014 edition of Whatcom Weddings. I'm the editor, so I'm looking for wedding stories to feature in the annual publication.

Whatcom County couples willing to share stories and photos from their fall/winter 2012 or 2013 wedding should contact me at 360-715-2291 or dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com.

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

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