News in Brief is published online every Friday, and updated throughout the week with bite-sized news from across Whatcom and Skagit counties. Read a roundup of the week's news in print the following Friday.
Thursday, Sept. 28
Interfaith Coalition begins winter coat drive in Whatcom County
Interfaith Coalition is again sponsoring a winter coat drive to provide coats to those in need. Executive Director Devin Connolly said they hope to receive 1,500 coats this fall — about 1,400 were donated in 2022.
Coats for adults, teens and youth are needed, from sizes XS to 3XL, according to the nonprofit. The deadline to donate is Oct. 11.
New and “in-great-condition” winter coats can be dropped off at one of these sites:
– United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St., Ferndale. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.
– St. Peter’s Mission Church, 6210 Mt. Baker Highway, Deming. Thursday, 3–5 p.m.
– Interfaith Coalition office, 495 E Bakerview Road in Bellingham. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Or call 360-734-3983 to set up a time to drop off donations.
Donated coats will be distributed in October at these locations and dates:
– United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington St., Ferndale. Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturday, Oct. 14 from 1–3 p.m.
– Bellingham Food Bank, 1824 Ellis St., Bellingham. Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 3–6 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
– St. Peter's Mission Church, 6210 Mt. Baker Highway, Deming. Thursday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 27
Bellingham Public Schools announces Climate Action Plan
After a year of deliberation by the Sustainability Advisory Committee, Bellingham Public Schools has developed a Climate Action Plan through 2028.
Key goals include improving energy efficiency of buildings, reducing waste and emissions, instituting “climate change education curriculum,” increasing student stewardship and shifting the culture to be more sustainable.
“While we have an abundance of work ahead, it gives me hope that as a district we were able to articulate our goals and a clear process for implementation,” superintendent Greg Baker said in a letter to the community. “Given the fierce climate urgencies all around us such as drought, wildfires, smoke and flooding, it is clear that the time to move forward with intention is now.”
The plan seeks to prioritize changes in operations, learning, culture, equity, leadership and health.
Whatcom County outdoor burn ban lifted
Whatcom County’s outdoor burn ban in unincorporated parts of the county will be lifted at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 following increased rain and moisture levels in the region.
Despite the rain, vegetation is still “susceptible to fire spread,” Whatcom County’s fire marshals advised Wednesday.
All outdoor burning requires a permit, except for legal recreational fires, and verbal burn permits and written burn permits will be available for residents in unincorporated parts of the county.
Open burning remains banned in cities and Urban Growth Areas in the county, including Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Birch Bay, Columbia Valley and Cherry Point.
Friday, Sept. 22
Woman missing for 3 weeks found alive
Sequim resident Samantha Rivers, who had been missing since Aug. 29 after last being seen in Bellingham, has now been found and is with her father, according to a Friday, Sept. 22 Facebook post from her mother, Laurie J. Schilling-Rivers.
The 20-year-old Samantha was released from a Bellingham hospital and was staying at Lighthouse Mission’s Base Camp shelter in late August when her phone was stolen and her father Sean Rivers lost contact with her, he told Cascadia Daily News in September.
Sean had been combing the streets for his daughter, speaking with homeless people who may have seen her and putting up missing posters.
Whatcom County executive names October Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu named October Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
On Sept. 15, Sidhu wrote in a proclamation that the county encourages citizens to "work together to promote the awareness" of Down syndrome and "celebrate the many wonderful accomplishments of individuals and their families" in October.
According to the proclamation, one in 700 babies are born with Down syndrome. Buddy Fest, an event to celebrate the achievements of children and adults with Down syndrome, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Lynden.