News Columns & Blogs

Dean Kahn

A dying mother’s dream; community gives daughter a grand wedding

Friends and businesses rallied to ensure Bev McKissick, who has terminal bone cancer, could see her only daughter marry. Kaitlin McKissick and Kyle Holland moved up their wedding date so Bev would be able to attend and to walk down the aisle. The family’s finances were strapped due to medical expenses, but the community donated much of the cost and materials of the wedding so Kaitlin and Kyle could marry in grand style.

Dean Kahn

Retired teacher offers 10 cents a mile when he goes hitchhiking

Retired teacher Michael Schneider of Lummi Island advocates hitchhiking as a way of sharing rides to help the environment and reduce fear between people. He travels to distant parts of the country and then hitchhikes to see local sites, meet people and learn history. He has used his thumb to see parts of the Midwest, the Deep South, and Kentucky coal country.

Dean Kahn

How the threat of Bellis Fair mall led to the greening of downtown Bellingham

Bellingham, Wash., had few street trees downtown before the early 1980s, when talk arose of a potential regional mall outside the business district. In response to the threat of a mall, business property owners paid for sidewalk improvements and hundreds of street trees to boost downtown’s appeal. More than three decades later, those trees provide a lush canopy for 15 percent of downtown.

Dean Kahn

Is this mystery man the rebel soldier whose family saved the historic Pickett house?

The Pickett house in Bellingham, Wash., was occupied in the late 1850s and early 1860s by George Pickett, famous for the Pig War standoff in the San Juan Islands and for a doomed Confederate charge at Gettsyburg in the Civil War. In 1889, former rebel soldier Robert Franklin Strother bought the residence and lived there with his two dressmaker daughters and their longtime domestic worker, a freeborn black woman. Strother’s daughter Hattie donated the house and its furnishings as a history museum before she died in 1936.

Dean Kahn

Bellingham man brings color, whimsy to historic Lutheran church in York neighborhood

Richard Sands lives in and is restoring the old Trinity German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bellingham, Washington. The church was later home to Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, and when bestselling author Robert Fulghum was a young minister there. The former church is one of several in York neighborhood that offered foreign-language services to German and Scandinavian immigrants who moved to Bellingham to work in its lumber mills in the early 1900s.

Dean Kahn

Will these concrete bollards be the next palette for Bellingham artists?

A Bellingham artist ran into trouble for painting downtown bollards to resemble toadstools without first seeking permission from the city. Meanwhile, a yarn shop employee has knit a popular Pikachu figure that fits over a bollard, and a nonprofit downtown promotion group is thinking about painting bollards as part of a color-filled event to brighten a sleepy block in the city’s commercial center.

What is ‘swatting’?

Around 400 swatting cases happen each year and the consequences can be deadly.