In the Media
Far from Russia's war in Ukraine, stores are running out of cooking oil, people are paying more at the gas pump, farmers are scrambling to buy fertilizer and nations are rethinking alliances.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has triggered seismic repercussions: a fast-moving refugee crisis, unprecedented sanctions against a major economy and a shakeup of global relationships, including a reinvigorated NATO. Below, we zoom in on some of the ways the world has changed since the war began on Feb. 24.
Ukraine and Russia are key exporters of wheat, barley, corn and cooking oil, particularly for African and Middle Eastern countries. Russia is also a major producer of fertilizer and petroleum. Disruptions to the flow of these goods are compounding other supply chain and climate challenges, driving up food and gas prices, causing shortages and pushing millions of people into hunger.
More than 5.8 million people have fled Ukraine in one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in recent history. Humanitarian groups, with resources already strained by crises elsewhere, have sprung into action. The U.N. refugee agency has projected that some 8.3 million people might leave Ukraine and called for more financial support for refugees and host countries as both face challenges with access to food, housing, transportation, education and money.
Beth Goodman sparked a national debate in 2003 when she welcomed quadruplets. Not only was Goodman 39 years old and single at the time, but she conceived the babies through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Though Goodman was admittedly "terrified," she was also overjoyed after spending more than a decade struggling with infertility. But many — including political commentator Bill O’Reilly — criticized Goodman’s decision as foolish.
But Goodman, now 57, is having the last laugh.
Next month, 18-year-olds Cason, Luke, Barrett, and Laila, will graduate from high school in Santa Barbara, California. Come September, they’ll head to college. Identical twins, Cason and Luke, will play Division 1 soccer at UC Davis, while Barrett is set to play soccer at Western Washington University. Laila accepted an offer at New York University, where she’ll run track.
“I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished,” Goodman said. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished as family.”
Bellingham city officials are asking for residents’ help as they create their first Urban Forestry Management Plan, a bible of sorts to guide the use of tree cover in the same way that the city sets goals for development of roads, sidewalks and bike paths.
Their first step was to publish a “State of the Urban Forest Report,” a 31-page document that examines the parts of Bellingham that have the most trees and explains the benefits trees provide for city residents.
“They give us shade, they give us food, they give us medicine. They give us so much and ask for so little in return,” said John Wesselink of Bellingham, a tree enthusiast who’s mapped the various tree species in about a dozen local parks.
Western Washington University is among the greenest areas of the city at 63%, and Wesselkink considers it a gem.
“Western’s campus is far and away the best place to see Bellingham’s trees,” he said.
When her partner tested positive for the coronavirus two days before Christmas, Michelle Green worried she, too, would become ill. She was two months pregnant with their second child. He was a bartender at the time, and some of his co-workers were infected with the virus.
“I told him to get in the guest bedroom and don’t leave,” said Green, a 40-year-old project manager at a retail technology start-up in the District of Columbia. The couple, who were both vaccinated, and their toddler postponed their Christmas celebration. Somehow, Green never tested positive.
Scientists around the world are investigating how a dwindling number of people such as Green have managed to dodge the coronavirus for more than two years, even after the highly transmissible omicron variant drove a record-shattering surge in cases this winter.
Last week, a group of Whatcom Community College students roamed around Maritime Heritage Park for a series of micro-lessons about the downtown space from speakers with backgrounds in history, botany and anthropology.
From the top of the staircase behind Bellingham Cider Co., Whatcom history professor Ian Stacy and his students looked out across the waterfront. Stacy dove into its history and the people who worked on it, many of whose stories have been lost.
In the foliage along Whatcom Creek, Whatcom ethnobotany professor Abe Lloyd highlighted a red cedar, a grand fir, a Douglas fir and red alder. He talked about how the Lummi and the Nooksack used the precious trees to build canoes, make clothes, brew teas and fuel fires. Loggers came and cut down large swathes of Douglas fir for their once-lucrative industrial endeavors, he said.
At the heart of the Introduction to the Salish Sea course at Whatcom is the ethic of place-based learning. Each week, the interdisciplinary course gives students background content to study and takes them on a field trip to various spots from the North Cascades to the San Juan Islands.
Whatcom's program is an extension of Western Washington University's Salish Sea Institute, which since 2015 has taught Western students about the history of the land, encouraging them to think critically about their place in it.
“Part of it is around supporting students to have experiential learning experiences and this connection to question of the ethics of place, the ethics of our relationships and where we live,” said Natalie Baloy, associate director of Transboundary Initiatives for the Salish Sea Institute.
Meet the class of 2022. They are the most in-demand college graduates to enter the job market in years. They have the expectations to match.
Grads are seeking more money and flexibility and more specifics about likely assignments than previous classes. Some want their employers to take stands on social issues. And after wrapping the last two years of their education under pandemic conditions, they are highly adaptable yet hungry for face-to-face work, training and mentorship.
Pay is thus far more generous than some grads were expecting. Liam Burke, 22, graduated early in March from Western Washington University and got three offers before accepting one. The position he took as a buyer and planner in the aerospace sector, he said, brought a salary higher than the first two offers—and came in above the range he shared during the interview process.
Mr. Burke said it was “nerve-racking” to wait for a best-fit job and let the other offers pass, but “you just have to have this quiet confidence that you’re going to do fine.”
Among those who have accepted jobs, 53% said their starting salary was greater than they expected, while 41% said it was what they anticipated, according to a survey of more than 1,000 college seniors from TimelyMD, a telehealth company providing medical treatment and counseling to students, published in April.
Higher COVID-19 case rates pushed Whatcom County into the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “medium” community level last week, but only one school district region within the county would actually fall in that level.
Two others would have received “high” ratings last week if the CDC measured community levels by school district, The Bellingham Herald’s analysis of the latest location data released by the Whatcom County Health Department found, while the remaining four would all be at the “low” level. Based on the data released Thursday, May 5, by the Whatcom County Health Department and U.S. Census data, The Herald found that the regions covered by the Blaine and Ferndale school districts would both be in the “high” range, based on each region having more than 200 new COVID cases and 10 new COVID-related hospitalizations per 100,000 residents between April 24 and 30.
As of Monday, May 9, St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham reported it was treating seven COVID-related patients. That would give it an average of 7.4 COVID-related patients per day over the past week (May 3-9), or 3.1% of the hospital’s inpatient beds.
While masking is recommended for everyone for counties with “high” community levels, the CDC only recommends face coverings for those who are at high risk of serious complications from COVID and those who could expose those at high risk for counties in the “medium” range. Masking in most indoor situations is not included among the CDC’s recommended guidelines for communities in the “low” level. At every level, the CDC says people “can wear a mask based on personal preference” and should wear a mask if they have COVID symptoms, test positive or have possible exposure.
The Western men’s golf team is ready for a postseason run. The Vikings were named the No. 1 seed in the West Region for the NCAA Division II Championships and will compete in the West/South Central Super Regional Thursday through Saturday in Pueblo, Colorado.
It is the 23rd season in a row Western will be making an NCAA postseason appearance.
Western earned its trip to the Super Regional by winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title in April, finishing 21 strokes ahead of Simon Fraser University. It was the 10th team title in program history.
Also in postseason action a few days ahead of the men’s team is the Western women’s golf team.
The Vikings were GNAC champions for the second season in a row and earned the 12th and final seed in the West Region with the West Regional scheduled for May 2-4 in Stockton, California. It will be the Vikings’ 12th appearance in the West Regional.
A sea of red formed at the Haxton Way and Kwina Road roundabout as Lummi Tribal members gathered in honor of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Awareness Day Thursday, May 5, on the Lummi Nation Reservation near Bellingham.
With posters, drums and wearing red, the official color of the movement, the group walked down Haxton Way to highlight the crisis. According to Washington State Patrol’s Missing Native American Persons report, as of May 2, there are 126 Indigenous people currently missing in the state — 40 men, 34 women, 31 girls and 21 boys. Led by Santana Rabang, who is of Coast Salish and Stó:lō Nation heritage, the group chanted the names of the missing and murdered: Andre Revey Jr., Arlene Keith, Carol Greene, Casey Jo Tom, Charleen “Tulee” Solomon, Darlene Celestine, David William, Diana Humphreys-Ballew, Donald Cook, Eddie Lawrence, Essie Cagey, Georgianna James, Ike Scarborough, Iva Smith, Jesse Celesinte Adams, Joseph Cagey, Kenneth Joseph, Lamar Felipe James, Lindsey Greene, Melina Ghost, Michael Jordan, Nancy Cooke, Roberta George, Theresa Mike, Tim Bowman, Treston Jefferson, Tyrell Jackson and Valerie Jefferson.
Organized by the Tribe’s advocacy and support services group, Lummi Victims of Crime, the march highlighted the high rate of disappearances and murders Indigenous people face.
According to Lummi Victims of Crime and a study commissioned by the Department of Justice, the murder rate of Native women is more than 10 times the national average.
Doug Lambrecht was among the first of the nearly 1 million Americans to die from COVID-19. His demographic profile — an older white male with chronic health problems — mirrors the faces of many who would be lost over the next two years.
The 71-year-old retired physician was recovering from a fall at a nursing home near Seattle when the new coronavirus swept through in early 2020. He died March 1, an early victim in a devastating outbreak that gave a first glimpse of the price older Americans would pay.
The pandemic has generated gigabytes of data that make clear which U.S. groups have been hit the hardest. More than 700,000 people 65 and older died. Men died at higher rates than women.
White people made up most of the deaths overall, yet an unequal burden fell on Black, Hispanic and Native American people considering the younger average age of minority communities. Racial gaps narrowed between surges then widened again with each new wave.
Three out of every four deaths were people 65 and older, according to U.S. data analyzed by The Associated Press.