Lynden woman gets guide dog


Alberta "Betty" Sikkema of Lynden graduated Oct. 20 from Guide Dogs of the Desert training program in Palm Springs, Calif., along with her custom-trained guide dog, Bethers, according to a press release from the organization.

"I have used a white cane for over 35 years," Betty said. "With a cane, you are always fearful crossing streets. I also have an allergy to dogs, so thought I could never have a guide dog. Bethers, a standard poodle, is my first guide dog. We're still earning as a team but already, I can walk faster (than with a cane) and have a renewed level of confidence and comfort."


The Fairhaven Branch of the Bellingham Public Library has received a $39,606 bequest from the Winifred Wilks Trust that's being used to update computer access and the children's areas, according to a library press release.

Winifred and her husband Kenneth moved to Bellingham when they retired in 1993. Winifred, an avid reader, was a frequent patron of the Fairhaven Branch Library until her passing in 2002.

The work began on the Fairhaven Branch Library in early 2013 and was completed recently. Library staff coordinated with the Friends of the Library and Tom Allen of Blackburn Office Equipment to redesign several areas in the building including the public computer stations, adding seating and tables with electrical access for patrons using wi-fi, new couches, and a second self-checkout station. Additionally, New Whatcom Interiors designed new computer tables while Coriander Designs created new chairs to recreate the look and feel of the historic library.


- Marca Babcock of Bellingham writes to say her daughter, Karen Harris, was in Guatemala doing a September experience for her graduate program at the University of Washington. Karen graduated from Bellingham High School and is studying to be an audiologist. You can read more on Karen's blog at

- Another proud mom, Holley Gardoski of Bellingham, writes that her daughter, Sofia Gardoski, a second grader at Alderwood Elementary school, raised $600 for the school PTA fundraiser recently.

- Faith Ulate of Bellingham has been selected Mrs. Whatcom County, according to a press release from that organization. Faith attended Meridian High School and Whatcom Community College. She works in real estate and she and her husband of 16 years, Francisco, have one son. She'll be representing Whatcom County in the televised Mrs. Washington America Pageant on Jan. 18, 2014.

- Matt Owings won the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center's 7th annual "Compete for a Cause" Cribbage Tournament Sept. 22 in the Boundary Bay Brewery Beer Garden. Games lasted all day for the 42 participants. Matt, who competed with his brother (and Bellingham Herald publisher) Mark but passed him in the second round, won a gift certificate to Boundary Bay. Second place went to Mike Durkey, who would have faced his wife Wendy for the championship had she not lost to Matt in the semi-finals.

Out and About is published Mondays in The Bellingham Herald.

Reach Executive Editor Julie Shirley at 360-715-2261 or

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