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In downtown Bellingham, the planets have aligned once again

Nine hand-blown glass marbles, part of a late artist’s science-meets-art display depicting the solar system, are being replaced and will be dedicated in an 11 a.m. Saturday ceremony near the sculpture of the sun at the traffic circle connecting Boulevard with State, Wharf and Forest streets.

Those marbles were stolen in November last year and have never been recovered, said Deborah Todd, whose son Jamus Todd Stone created the marbles as part of an art installation along North State Street.

“We’re going to (replace them) with something not quite so precious and make them more tamper-proof,” Todd said in an interview. “The planets now look like beads” and are closer to their actual size relative to the sun.

Her son’s colorful hand-blown glass spheres — representing the eight planets and the dwarf planet Pluto — were mounted on pedestals along North State Street to approximate their distance from the actual sun and give perspective on the size of our solar system.

Each pedestal has information about the planet.

In addition, benches are being added to the sun display near the State Street roundabout, where the art installation and its purpose is described.

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A model of the sun contains information describing the “State of the Solar System” project as a scavenger hunt for eight planets and the dwarf planet Pluto near the roundabout connecting State, Forest, Boulevard and Wharf streets. Robert Mittendorf The Bellingham Herald

“It’ll be a place for people to relax and appreciate the project,” Todd said.

Bellingham Police said no arrests were ever made in the theft, which devastated Todd because her son died of a suspected overdose shortly after creating the planet series, called “State of the Solar System.”

But Todd said she found duplicates of the original marbles while she was sorting her son’s personal effects. Those are on display at a private location, she said.

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A marble fashioned to resemble the planet Uranus was mounted on a pedestal near North State and East Chestnut streets in downtown Bellingham in 2016 as part of an art project . The marble was stolen, ong with several others, in November 2018. Robert Mittendorf The Bellingham Herald

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A pedestrian walks past the empty “State of the Solar System” display for the planet Uranus on Monday morning. Nine marbles from the State Street installation were stolen in November 2018. Robert Mittendorf The Bellingham Herald
Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.
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