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Special Reports

CDN Special Reports represent our newsroom’s deepest dives into single subjects, going beyond daily headlines to focus our reporting, visual journalism and other story-telling tools in enterprising ways on topics of special interest. These are a team effort in CDN’s newsroom, which is typically at work on one at all times. Check back here often to find our latest in-depth work, and feel free to suggest enterprise-reporting subjects at newstips@cascadiadaily.com.

Written by Julia Tellman

Diverted: Tracing the path of recycling in Whatcom County is a multi-part series that follows waste from curbside to commodity market.

Written by Cocoa Laney

Day Trip Diaries is a travel series profiling communities within two hours’ travel of Bellingham.

Written by Cocoa Laney

Made in Cascadia is a multipart series highlighting makers and artisans in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad works to right a derailed freight train on the Swinomish Reservation in Anacortes on March 16. The train was headed to a nearby oil refintery and leaked an estimated 5,000 gallons of diesel after derailing.

Written by CDN Staff

A review of what our newsroom reporters, editors and photographers consider to be the most memorable and important examples of 2023 work — a glimpse at a year in the life of people in a place we are proud to call home.
A woman in a boat on the lake rows among teammates.

Written by Meri-Jo Borzilleri

Our Boys in the Boat is a series about the legacy of Whatcom and Skagit County rowers on the University of Washington crew that won Olympic gold in 1936, depicted in the book and movie “The Boys In The Boat.”

Written by Hailey Hoffman

Working Waterfront is an occasional series that captures the past, present and future of Whatcom County’s waterfront, and highlights the people behind the industry.

Written by Jaya Flanary

Time to Spare is a three-part series that explores league culture, highlights women bowlers, and details the impact of bowling alleys closing and the history of the sport in Whatcom County.
An inmate sanitizes a food cart in the jail kitchen which has black mold growing on the walls and ceiling.

Written by Ralph Schwartz // Edited by Staci Baird

Beyond Bars is a special report that explores the county’s controversial effort to build a new jail. Voters on recent jail bond measures made it clear they won’t accept a new jail without better social services for the people who wind up behind bars. Editor’s note: Due to broad public interest in this subject, this story, originally published Jan. 15, has been made available outside the newspaper’s paywall as a public service by Cascadia Daily News.
Curtistine Billups wears a "Women in Construction" bandana.

Written by Audra Anderson

Women Empowered is a monthlong series of Q&As with regional women in traditionally male-dominated fields in honor of Women’s History Month.

Written by Julia Lerner // Edited by Ron Judd

Off Target is a multipart special report exploring the county’s operations at Plantation Rifle Range, one of two publicly owned ranges in the state.
Teacher Lizzy Chandler, left, watches Mac play in the mud pit Feb. 13 at Barefeet Farm School. The outdoor school operates year round, rain or shine.

Written by Audra Anderson

Child Care-less is a two-part series about the child care landscape in Whatcom County.
Alyshia Losey, left, is hugged by younger sister Elizabeth Babcock as the family of David Babcock talk about his death, in 2022, on Jan. 7. Babcock shot and killed by Sedro-Woolley police in February 2022. A 300-page report cleared the officer of wrongdoing.

Written by Ralph Schwartz // Edited by Audra Anderson and Ron Judd

An officer rapidly fired nine bullets at David Babcock’s car February 2022 after he drove over the curb on a Sedro-Woolley road to avoid spike strips. One of the bullets struck Babcock, 51, in the back of the head. His family is convinced he didn’t have to die at the hands of police. Editor’s note: Due to broad public interest in this subject, this story, originally published Jan. 15, has been made available outside the newspaper’s paywall as a public service by Cascadia Daily News.
Rubin Hutchins performs a Swan Ton Bomb wrestling move as firefighters put out a shed  fire in the background along West Bartlett Road in Lynden on March 9. North Whatcom Fire and Lynden Fire departments responded to the fire. No injuries have been reported.

Written by CDN Staff

A review of what our newsroom reporters, editors and photographers consider to be the most memorable and important examples of 2022 work — a glimpse at a year in the life of people in a place we are proud to call home.

Nooksack River near Lynden

Written by Julia Lerner and Olivia Hobson // Edited by Audra Anderson

Flood: One year later is a multipart series exploring how the devastating November 2021 flooding changed the lives of Whatcom County and Skagit County residents, as well as bodies of government, over the past year. From farmers to mayors, the historic flooding led to economic challenges, developing plans for the future and preparative measures.

Terri McMahan holds a brick honoring Title IX outside of Carver Gym at Western Washington University on Sept. 26. McMahan played on Western's volleyball team in the 1970s.

Written by Cassidy Hettesheimer // Edited by Meri-Jo Borzilleri

Title IX at 50 is a three-part series exploring and reporting on how the federal law has impacted and changed lives of Whatcom County women in sports over the past half-century. At times controversial, the legislation has gone a long way toward leveling the playing field for girls and women since its inception in 1972. Editor’s note: Due to broad public interest in this subject, this series has been made available outside the newspaper’s paywall as a public service by Cascadia Daily News.