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 two young children where they can enjoy all the spoils of Whatcom County. Stacee was named Bellingham Regional Chamber Woman of the Year in 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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, as both her hometown and current town oblige.
Amy Page, writer
Amy Page is a writer and photographer. A recent graduate of Western Washington University with a bachelor’s in visual journalism, she enjoys capturing the world around her in moments big and small. As a photojournalist, Amy has worked for Klipsun Magazine, Bellingham Alive! and Seaplane Magazine. She was born in Grapevine, Texas and grew up in both Washington state and British Columbia, Canada. As a person who considers herself a little bit of everything, she loves film, video games, stupid humor and getting creative.
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.
Kali Brooks, writer
As a Western Washington University graduate with a degree in Business and Sustainability, Kali is hyped to meet so many gung-ho individuals through writing and is happy to share inspiration throughout such an environmental and socially aware community. Constantly in awe of Whatcom County, she has a hard time balancing her love of travel with her desire to continue to learn from such a wonderful place. Kali enjoys adding to her collection of colored corduroys, a good pun, and can most often be found either grocery shopping or running in the Chuckanuts.
Kenneth Clarkson, writer
A Maryland native, Kenneth moved to Bellingham in 2012 to pursue music, writing and his passion for the outdoors. In 2016, he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in news/editorial journalism from Western Washington University. Kenneth enjoys any and all things Vonnegut, Hemingway and Camus.
Theresa Golden, writer
As a child, Theresa frequently visited the Pacific Northwest where she developed fond memories of playing in the snow in July at Mount Baker, fishing for trout, and running into Canada at Peach Arch State Park. She moved to Washington shortly after graduating from Humboldt State University as an art major. When it comes to life, she loves making things, going on adventures with her camera and listening to people’s stories.
Sara Holodnick, writer
Sara made her way to the Pacific Northwest via California. Shortly after her arrival she co-founded Bellingham’s only historical walking tour company and downtown gift and souvenir shop. Sara spends her “free” time editing books for local authors, helping women fulfill their dreams of business ownership, and devising delicious cocktails through her blog, saragalactica.com. When she isn’t busy being an ambitious entrepreneur, she loves to spend time sipping coffee with her family, laughing with friends, and walking her dogs Dale Cooper and Harry Truman.
Janine Johnson, writer
Janine Johnson was born and raised in rural upstate NY, near the Quebec border, on a Christmas tree farm. She moved to southern California to finish college and pursue a career in TV production. After 10 years as a cameraperson and producer for television shows and commercials, Janine moved to rural western Washington, the childhood home of her husband. She now lives on a quiet hillside taking in the stunning views with her husband and three daughters.
Daniel Meyer, writer
Daniel was born in Oregon and raised in Whactom County. After living in Tennessee for a bit, he, his wife and two daughters moved back home to Bellingham. He’s a WWU alumni, Seahawks fanatic and a Mariners fan even though it hurts. In his free time he enjoys spending time with family, playing baseball and reading or writing words. He has a bad habit of chewing plastic straws but is working on it.
Rob Rich, writer
Rob Rich is a naturalist and writer exploring where people connect with land, water, plants, and wildlife. That’s why he’s a particular fan of beavers, and the diverse watersheds they help us conserve. In addition to over a decade of environmental non-profit experience throughout New England and the Pacific Northwest, Rob has taught field ecology and writing, grown native plants with Fourth Corner Nursery, and banded birds with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A former contributing editor with Camas and The Bellingham Review, Rob has also published work with High Country News, Northern Woodlands, Earth Island Journal, and others.
Jade Thurston, writer
The privilege of being born and raised in Bellingham alongside handfuls of relatives and lifelong friends is just the start to Jade’s Whatcom County adventure. After graduating Bellingham High School Jade attended Whatcom Community College where she earned an Associate Transfer Degree while playing for the Women’s soccer team. Now she finds herself at Western Washington University, joyfully pursuing a Visual Journalism Degree and interning here at WhatcomTalk. Most of Jade’s spare time is accompanied with a soccer ball at her feet or plans of world travel in her head.
Joy Wiggins, Ph.D., is an activist, educator, writer, TED Talks speaker, researcher, and mother. She received her doctorate from The Ohio State University in multicultural education with a focus on social justice in children’s literature and has been teaching in higher education since 2000. She is the director of Global Peaceful Paths, LLC, a consulting company that focuses on equity, inclusion and social justice. She has presented at numerous international and national conferences and has been published in many higher education journals. She also presented part of her current work, women liberating women in the workplace, at a TEDxWWU Talk.
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.
Taylor Bailey, writer
Taylor was born in San Diego, California, and spent her childhood traveling around the world, living in Germany, Japan, and Switzerland before moving to Bellingham in 2013 to be close to the mountains (and the ocean!). She thoroughly enjoys a variety of activities: writing, cooking, baking, gardening, bird watching, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, camping, and bouldering. If you want to drink tea and knit, make some bread, or go on a hike, Taylor’s excited to join. Over the last few years, Taylor has built a love of this county and community, and loves to tell people about the wonderful things happening here. She likes to eat local food, learn about local wildlife, explore, adventure, and write about it all.