The Hammer

The Hammer, Vol. XVI

Giving the cold shoulder to rising rents
May 4, 2022 at 5:45 a.m.

By RON JUDD
Executive Editor

Two Important Weather Notes: Yes, The Hammer like anyone else loves to see the days finally getting longer. But no, you're never, ever going to be able to just leave the house without a fleece or down puffy. So let's all just zip up, bear down and move on. 

The Rents are Too Damn High: Look, The Hammer has been trying for years to make peace with the urbanization of the ‘Ham. But an advertisement sent along by a friend the other day for a sky-view apartment in Fairhaven for $4,500 a month was a gut punch. 

Confessional: We shouldn’t care who’s moving in to those places at those prices, but it’s tough not to wonder, is it not? 

Of Course: It might be nobody. The condo/apartment construction shenanigans engaged in by global investors for sheer flipping purposes surely has reached the shores of Bellingham Bay with little notice. Someone please take a tally of those units where the lights never go on at night. 

Sincere Get-Well Wishes: To all in the area who’ve been hammered this week by COVID infections. And to all who saw it coming once public masking rules were relaxed about six weeks ago: Yup.

Happy Trails: To Bellingham’s Mike Adkinson, known affectionately in the newsroom as “Tractor Man.” Adkinson soon will be, as ably described by CDN News Producer Audra Anderson, “puttering 1,700 miles across the country in his 2008 John Deere tractor. Average speed: 12 mph.” Departing on May 15 from Kulshan Brewery, he’s on a quest to raise awareness about Parkinson’s Disease. A nice public send-off seems in order. 

Seriously: The Hammer has a soft spot for old tractors and seasoned guys on a mission, but we’ll all be rooting for Mike to get that tractor back to Minnesota in one piece.

Ski to Sea, Back on Tap: Great to see Bellingham’s signature event resuming at month’s end. Registration is still open, and the race’s resumption on May 29 is for real. 

Bearing Bad News: For the bulk of folks competing in the Schlub Division who don’t qualify as elite athletes: Yeah, it’s too late to start training. 

Remember, Win or Lose, You Lose: Of course, it’ll be even worse if you don’t.

Pro Tip on Above: If you’re as glacially slow as The Hammer once famously was in the Ski to Sea's mountain bike/now cyclocross division, the best way to train for the event is to sit on your bike on a stand and have a succession of hundreds of people rush up behind you and repeatedly screech, “ON YOUR LEFT!”

Pro Tip II: Ear protection is recommended; dignity insurance is available for an additional fee. 

Hat-Tip Dept., Proving Beyond Reasonable Doubt The Hammer Can Be Nice: Speaking to the City Club, Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu ventured where few pols have had the nerve to go last week when he gave a candid assessment of the proposed restart of Ferndale’s Intalco aluminum smelter, calling the prospect “highly questionable.” 

More on That: Sidhu, like most of us, would surely love to see those smelter jobs — or some reasonable facsimile — return. But the math on the necessary energy deal remains beyond fuzzy, and has been from the start.

And Finally: Good news up at Old Main (formerly known as “Main”), where Western Washington University’s coffers got a $6 million boost from the recent legislative session, with money tabbed for capital use, addressing “learning disruption” resulting from the pandemic, and establishment of a master of science in nursing program. A goodly portion of Western officials and faculty members were sipping Mai Tais on a beach as part of their regular paid sabbatical holidays and not immediately available for comment.


The Hammer is swung on Wednesdays and updated as needed.

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