In January of 2019, the WhatcomTalk team celebrated its 5th birthday, which means we just hit our next milestone! That’s six full years of bringing positive local stories to our readers. Throughout 2019, our team of professional writers published more than 650 stories that capture what it’s like to live, work, and play in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Blaine and all across Whatcom County.

Here are the 10 most frequently read stories on WhatcomTalk in 2019, as selected by YOU, our readers.

  1. Remembering Bellingham’s Forgotten ‘White City’ Amusement Park
  2. Meet Art and Margaret Rojsza, the Masterminds Behind the Ferndale Clock Tower
  3. Bellingham Couple Creates Backyard Concert Series
  4. Western Washington University Prepares to ‘Paint Bellingham Blue’
  5. May I Take Your Order? Meet Whatcom County Servers Who’ve Been With Their Eateries For Eons
  6. Neighborhood Notes: The History of Bellingham’s Tallest Building
  7. In Late 1940s, World’s Tallest Christmas Trees Put Bellingham on the Map
  8. PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center First in Washington State to Offer New Valve Treatment for Emphysema
  9. New Fairhaven Tower Nods to City’s Past
  10. Blaine: A Short History of a Coastal Town

And here are the 10 most frequently liked and shared WhatcomTalk stories on Facebook last year.

  1. In Late 1940s, World’s Tallest Christmas Trees Put Bellingham on the Map
  2. Bellingham Food Bank Adds Menstrual Products to Offerings
  3. Former Opioid Addict: Cannabis ‘Changed My Life’
  4. Beloved Local Veterinarian Dr. Christine Monroe Launches Mobile Vet Clinic
  5. Remembering Bellingham’s Forgotten ‘White City’ Amusement Park
  6. A Monument to Peace: History of the Peace Arch
  7. El Noa Noa: Nacho Typical Taco Stand
  8. Angels Walk Among Us: Support Officer Volunteers Help Strangers Through the Hardest Times of Their Lives
  9. Meet Art and Margaret Rojsza, the Masterminds Behind the Ferndale Clock Tower
  10. PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center First in Washington State to Offer New Valve Treatment for Emphysema

Want to read (or re-visit) even more of our 2019 stories? We asked our writers to tell us which features they most enjoyed writing this past year.

Matt Benoit

The pieces I wrote on Bellingham’s White City and the 1948-49 Christmas trees were particularly fun to research and write. I enjoy reaching into the past and bringing it back to life through compelling writing. 

The research is like a treasure hunt, and when you put the treasure together and organize it, you have a story with interesting details. The finished stories were popular with readers, and that makes me very happy. 

Annika Sampson

It’s hard to pick a favorite story from 2019, but if I had to choose one, I would pick my very first story I wrote for WhatcomTalk, about motherhood in Bellingham. I had a chance to connect with women in Whatcom County who all shared one common dream: to build, and believe in, a better world for their children.

Photo courtesy: Teizeen Mohamedali

I think about that often now, the hopefulness that goes hand in hand with motherhood. It’s informed many of my choices, big and small, that I’ve made since, as I ask “What sort of world am I building for the next generation? Am I being a good ancestor?”

I love running into the women that I spoke with around town, seeing their children grow and thrive, and feeling excited about the opportunities that Bellingham holds for imagining new and radical forms of parenting and community. 

Anna Diehl

Photo credit: Christopher Wise

My favorite WhatcomTalk article from last year is probably “The Beat Generation in Whatcom County: Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, and the North Cascades.” This story meant a lot to me as a student of literature, and writing it felt like revealing Whatcom County’s lesser-known place in a widespread cultural phenomenon.

I enjoyed interviewing Christopher Wise because his classes left me feeling that I wasn’t done with this chapter of local and literary history. The article challenged me to consider Whatcom County from an outside perspective, and it’s only a matter of time until I see Desolation Peak for myself.

Steven Arbuckle

I was given an assignment to write a profile on local non-profit Whatcom Center for Early Learning, which assists babies born with challenges. All of this is well outside of my experience, but I scheduled a meeting to collect the information I needed to write an interesting and informative article.

Photo credit: Steven Arbuckle

As I spoke to the executive director, I realized I’d fallen into a fascinating story. Here was an organization of people who spend their days helping others they did not know, and here I was interviewing a man who was clearly devoted to and excited about the services they offered, and the improvements they could make in people’s lives. The passion was infectious, and I felt lucky who have stumbled into the experience.

What a great reminder that there are incredible stories and colorful characters all around us, and we never know when we might make a connection that deepens our understanding of the we live in.

Kristin Noreen

I think my favorite article was the one about the tattoo artist, KC Lange, because we connected so well during the interview. We got to telling our “war stories”—me as an engraver and him as a tattoo artist—and I told a long story about a military wife I met, and he said something that showed he’d really been listening and understood why I chose that story. We both got choked up. I didn’t expect that level of emotional bonding in an interview and it was kind of a triumph. I hope that warmth and empathy came through in the final piece. 

Carol Lo & Tina Stacy

Our story about the Rocky Steady class for Parkinson’s at the Y is our most favorite of the year. Both of us know people with Parkinson’s (indeed, we both know one the participants in the story) and featuring all of the folks who fight back against the disease in that feature was very heartwarming and humbling. Being able to show their determination and joy in the face of such an adversary really felt great to get their story out. 

Photo credit: Bob Wiemers

We both appreciated the opportunity to cover the totem dedication ceremony as well, because that’s exactly the kind of event neither of us may have known about had it not been for our work with WhatcomTalk. Getting the chance to talk with the leaders of the Lummi tribe as well as the folk from Phillips 66 who valued their contribution was the kind of thing we had hoped being writers for WhatcomTalk would bring. 

Marla Bronstein

I’ve known Emma Morgenthaler since she was in elementary school, just as she started her gymnastics journey. And now she’s headed off to college with a full-ride scholarship. It only cost more work and sacrifices that most families make.

Photo credit: Marla Bronstein

Henry Peterson and Sandy Atwal invited me to attend their marriage ceremony. The grandeur of the event and the days leading up to it was equally matched by the powerful and meaningful traditions.

Some of my favorite old restaurants are in Lynden. And Bellingham. And Deming. And these servers there have relationships with their customers that go back decades…Foster Fail was also so much fun to write. People love their animal babies!

I can’t help but mention my favorite story from 2018, as well, the Rainbow Bridge feature. My husband, Ken, and I first noticed “something” happening up at the bridge area the weekend before the painting was complete. When Ken called to tell me about the bridge being done in the colors of the rainbow, I went online to see if any local news agencies had mentioned it. No one had, so I quickly pitched it, and was given the chance to turn it around in a handful of days to publish! I believe it’s the “most seen” article I have written. 

Lindsey Major

My favorite story I wrote for WhatcomTalk in 2019 is the one about Dining for Women. There are many reasons why it’s my favorite, but my first and foremost is organizer Kathy Young’s passion for what she does. In my time with WhatcomTalk, that interview with Young was the only one to exceed 15 or 20 minutes; I sat with Young in Woods Coffee for nearly an hour. She brought me printed articles, magazine stories, literature, DVDs, contacts, and more. When reading her poem, she teared up. Her passion for the cause is moving and something I admire deeply.

Photo courtesy: Kathy Young

The second reason I love this story so much is because I do think it’s an important cause. I think that we can sometimes be blind to the struggles other communities face, more so when it’s so far away. Dining for Women raises money for women living in poverty in third world countries, providing them education, healthcare, and general welfare. Through researching this story, learning about how poverty is sexist and how women are treated across the globe, my eyes were opened to a way of life I had never understood. I understand Young’s passion and drive for the cause.

Kate Galambos

Public art is one of a seemingly endless list of cultural resources available for Whatcom County residents. While I have always noticed the murals adorning the buildings in Ferndale, it was special to hear the stories behind each piece from Rebecca Xzcar. Each painting came alive as she described who painted it and how they came up with the design. After completing this assignment, I become more curious about the murals in downtown Bellingham.

Featured photo by Stacee Sledge

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