WhatcomTalk is proud to publish positive stories daily about our Whatcom County communities and what it’s like to live, play and work in this beautiful corner of the country. We shine the spotlight on people, businesses and organizations doing good things and tell stories that otherwise go untold.
Stacee Sledge, publisher and community manager
Stacee began her career at Better Homes & Gardens magazine in her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, before finishing a master’s degree in journalism at Drake University and relocating to Bellingham in 1996. She knew Bellingham was the place she’d always call home on the day she arrived and spotted stunning Bellingham Bay on one side and the spectacular views of Mount Baker on the other. She’s been an active Bellingham freelance writer since 2000, writing restaurant reviews and other features for the Bellingham Herald, as well as food, home design and lifestyle articles for Whatcom Magazine. Stacee and her husband love raising their son and daughter where they can enjoy all the spoils of Whatcom County. Stacee was named Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 2018.
Amy Guerra, business development and storytelling pro
Amy comes to WhatcomTalk after several years as Mount Baker Theatre’s associate executive director & marketing director. Amy loves making great things happen, and has enjoyed past successes such as increased engagement, record sales, new product markets, big tech implementations, nationally recognized creative campaigns, and thriving employees. She holds an MBA and quite often her daughter (which she reports as more useful, usually). Her public writing life includes ad copywriting for print and broadcast media, technical writing in the software industry, and various business writing projects. Amy also writes creative nonfiction works because she says, “I can’t bear my wonder alone, and my dog and the dirty dishes don’t talk back.” She has also taught classical ballet locally, to adults, for 10 years.
Dan Jones, director
Dan has been running his own businesses in the technology realm for the last 13 years. He currently has around 50 team members working between his six organizations. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from Western Washington University and Master of Science degree from City University, he focused on building products that create long-term impacts in the marketplace. When not working long hours as an entrepreneur, Dan enjoys skiing, wind surfing, and spending time with his wife and twins in Olympia.
Cassandra Darwin, copy editor
After leaving a marketing career in Southern California, Cassandra found her forever home in Bellingham with her husband and two young children. She initially came to WhatcomTalk as a freelance writer. Cassandra loved meeting with and writing about the people and businesses that make Bellingham such a wonderful city. When she isn’t correcting grammar, punctuation, and spelling, Cassandra loves to hike the trails around Whatcom County with her family.
Margaret Bikman, writer
Margaret Bikman was entertainment news coordinator at the Bellingham Herald for 27 years and a contributor to Entertainment News NW for four years. She’s also a reference and instruction librarian at Whatcom Community College. She enjoys performing and visual art events of all kinds, dancing, hiking, and traveling to exotic places like Cuba, Alaska, the Yucatan, Nova Scotia, and New Orleans. Margaret and her husband, Jay Saxton, have two grown children and one granddaughter, who all live in Portland. Contact her at email@example.com.
Matt Benoit, writer
Matt is a Bellingham native and 2014 graduate of Washington State University. At WSU, he received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Production from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Matt has written for the Bellingham Herald, Tri-City Herald, Spokesman-Review, Pacific Northwest Inlander, and Discover Magazine online, among others. In addition to being a writer, Matt is an amateur photographer, stand-up comedian and mascot performer, and occasionally gets paid for such endeavors. He also enjoys travel, beer, auto racing and camping, and thinks nothing beats a day of sunshine in the Pacific Northwest.
Annika Sampson, writer
Annika writes professionally about the intersection of community, environment, and food. Personally? She just writes a lot of weird poetry and love letters to the flowers growing in her backyard. Annika grew up on an island in Maine, went to college in the Twin Cities, and finally found home in the PNW. She spent a year teaching in India as a Fulbright Scholar. She also taught food and gardening to public school students, creative writing classes to adults with developmental disabilities, and was the lead teacher at an innovative forest school program. She’s a yoga teacher, cinephile, gardener, home cook, language-lover, spice and herb aficionado, and hiker. Annika believes that curiosity is one of our most undervalued and accessible resources, and every day she tries to harness and direct it towards meaningful work.
Tony Moceri, writer
Tony Moceri is a Western Washington University grad who has a wide range of interests; he enjoys writing about them all as a freelance writer and on his blog at www.tonymoceri.com. He’s a local entrepreneur that’s owned and operated a variety of businesses in Whatcom County, which he continues to do. Tony can often be spotted around the community doing coaching of one form or another. He coaches youth sports as an elementary, middle, and high school coach and adults in real estate investing and business. He also loves to travel and explore new places with his wife and daughter, often camping in the summer and flying to warmer weather in the winter.
Marla Bronstein, writer
Marla Bronstein has lived in Bellingham for more than 20 years and has partnered with numerous local performing arts organizations in many capacities. Marla maintains two blogs: If Only I Were In Charge and her video blog GimmeAMinute. Marla is the published author of A Whole New Normal and does occasional event planning and project management. Marla currently sits on the National Board of the Acoustic Neuroma Association, a patient-focused, member organization that supports families of and those diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma. She is also Board President of S.O.A.P.Box Players, Inc. an award-winning non-profit organization that uses the arts as an educational tool. In her very little spare time, Marla can be seen writing in her “coffice” (any Woods Coffee shop in and around Bellingham), networking and building community.
Frederica Kolwey, writer
Frederica grew up in Boulder, Colorado and moved to Bellingham in 2013 to attend Western Washington University. She graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental journalism. She is a freelance writer and yoga instructor, as well as an IPA drinker and outdoor recreation enthusiast.
Lorraine Wilde, writer
Lorraine has lived and worked in Whatcom County for more than 25 years. Her experiences are as varied and unusual as Bellingham itself. She is owner and strategist of the public relations company, Wilde World Communications. As a freelance writer and environmental scientist she’s published more than 300 articles and blog posts on a range of subjects including entertainment, science, pet care and parenting in respected publications including Parents Magazine, Leaders in Heels and Sheownsit.com. She has worked as a teacher of both university-level science and elementary school special education. She has loved being active as an actor at Bellingham’s Upfront Theatre, iDiOM Theatre and Sylvia Center for the Arts. She’s also deeply involved in local film production via local production companies and Bellingham Film as an actor, script supervisor, assistant director and communications director. Lorraine and her family enjoy hiking, rafting, bicycling, and kayaking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Kristin Noreen, writer
Kristin Noreen found home at last in Bellingham, 15 years ago. She is an avid solo bike tourist and overcame disabling injuries from being hit by a car to ride solo through the mountains of British Columbia. She works as an environmental permit consultant, but her passion is finding and writing about subcultures. Her other loves include cats, tiny housing, and Oxford commas.
Lauren Brigolin, writer
Lauren believes the best part of writing is sharing the stories of others. She loves how the blank page bursts to life through the quotes and conversations she shares with those in her community and loves to learn all the details of their world. A Western Washington University graduate of public relations and theatre, Lauren is a storyteller at heart. She has written plays and been an actress for countless performances and earned awards and recognition for both. Lauren loves to explore, eat local food with her best friend, and finds joy in everything around her.
Karen Hanrahan, writer
Originally from the Midwest, Karen Hanrahan arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 2015. Karen has been a solo entrepreneur in the wellness industry for over 20 years. She is the mother of two adult children, a prolific narrative photographer and collage artist. When not taking way too many pictures or preparing for the next art walk, Karen loves to cook, take road trips, and go antiquing. She also spends a fair amount of time defending her feet from her goofy cat. Writing offers Karen a way to tell stories about people who do wonderful things in her community.