In the Media

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 11:17am - Associated Press

For the uninitiated, outfitting a college dorm room can be a dizzying experience. Doing it at a time of high inflation can make it even more daunting.

The first step: Meticulously go over what the school allows and provides. If you want a microwave and minifridge, are the energy-saving combo models required? Do you need foam pool noodles to avoid hitting your head under an upper bunk, and if so, might the school provide them? Exactly how thick can a mattress topper be?

“You can see the look of terror on parents’ faces,” said Marianne Szymanski, an independent product researcher who has sent two kids to college. “You know, did I get the right mattress pad? It’s crazy.”

Etsy’s trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, said self-expression is top of mind for dorm-bound kids in such things as faux headboards and unique dresser knobs.

“Two of my favorite dorm trends right now are mood-boosting hues that incorporate bright and energetic colors like neon tones, and heritage styles, a nostalgic trend that embodies the traditional collegiate look with items like plaid linens, wood-toned furniture and monograms,” she said.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 2:29pm - NPR

If a University of Michigan student walks into the school's Ann Arbor health center and learns they're pregnant, the health worker's response is never exactly the same.

"It's easy to list: 'Well, you can continue a pregnancy, or you can consider a medication abortion or ... a surgical procedure,'" says Dr. Susan Dwyer Ernst, chief of gynecology at the University Health Service. "But we take those conversations in the context of the human being who's sitting in front of us."

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, Ernst has been thinking a lot about how those conversations with students will change. Michigan is one of several states with long-standing abortion laws that weren't enforced while Roe guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion. Now, as abortion-banning state laws take effect, university health centers across the U.S. are trying to figure out their rights and responsibilities when counseling students.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 1:52pm - Seattle Times

While Omicron subvariants have evolved to evade antibody responses from the primary COVID-19 vaccine series, a new laboratory study led by researchers at UW Medicine suggests boosters may offer some protection against serious disease.

An international research team analyzed plasma samples from people who had been infected with COVID-19 before vaccines were available, from those who had completed only a primary vaccine series, and from others who had been boosted with currently available vaccines.

Led by the lab of David Veesler, associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, the research team assessed seven of the world’s primary vaccines as well as immunity acquired through previous infection. The team consisted of infectious disease research physicians and scientists from UW Medicine, Fred Hutch Cancer Center, and research institutes in California, Argentina, Italy, Pakistan, and Switzerland.

The study, published Tuesday in Science, found a marked improvement in Omicron-neutralizing activity in the plasma of boosted individuals. The authors said this highlights the importance of vaccine boosters in improving antibody responses against Omicron strains, including BA.5.

“Vaccine boosters may provide sufficient protection against Omicron-induced severe disease,” the authors wrote in the study’s summary.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 1:50pm - Associated Press

U.S. adults who haven’t gotten any COVID-19 shots yet should consider a new option from Novavax -- a more traditional kind of vaccine, influential government advisers said Tuesday.

Regulators authorized the nation’s first so-called protein vaccine against COVID-19 last week, but Novavax shots cannot begin until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends how to use them.

Most Americans have gotten at least their primary COVID-19 vaccinations by now, but CDC officials said between 26 million and 37 million adults haven’t had a single dose -- the population that Novavax, for now, will be targeting.

“We really need to focus on that population,” said CDC adviser Dr. Oliver Brooks, past president of the National Medical Association. Hopefully, the vaccine “will change them over from being unvaccinated to vaccinated.”

While it’s unclear how many will be persuaded by a more conventional option, “I’m really positive about this vaccine,” agreed fellow adviser Dr. Pablo Sanchez of Ohio State University.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 1:47pm - Methow Valley News

The third cohort of Western Washington University’s (WWU) Sustainability Pathways is engaged with 18 Methow Valley partner businesses and organizations, working to advance sustainability initiatives in the Methow and Okanogan valleys.

By applying their academic learning in paid practicum work experiences, the undergraduate students build professional skills toward eventual careers.

A fellowship program, Sustainability Pathways is place-based. And with the Methow Valley’s broad range of agencies, businesses, schools, organizations and farms, its engaged community, and its strong base of leaders and changemakers willing to mentor students, it’s an ideal place for the Sustainability Pathways program.

This “dynamic rural mountain community … offers amazing opportunities to learn, engage in community events and happenings, recreate, and participate in sustainability work,” a program description reads.

Sustainability Pathways Director Joshua Porter said that the 18 students in the cohort are learning to apply “systems thinking to community solutions” by working with organizations that are “committed to creating change that supports social justice, environmental quality, economic vitality and community health.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 1:45pm - The Bellingham Herald

The Port of Bellingham has received four proposals on what to do with the Boardmill building near Waypoint Park, reflecting a wide range of ideas that could dramatically change the look of the Waterfront District.

The proposals, which were obtained through a public records request, are currently being reviewed by a committee that includes Port of Bellingham staff as well as representatives from the city of Bellingham, Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism.

The committee is in the process of gathering additional information about the proposals and doing reference checks, but expects to have the review completed by the end of July, said Elliott Smith, director of real estate and asset management for the port. Port staff plan to make a recommendation to the three commissioners at a Tuesday, Aug. 9, meeting.

 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 1:44pm - The Bellingham Herald

Unseasonably warm weather is expected across Western Washington next week, with an outside chance that temperatures will approach triple digits.

High pressure building over the Pacific Ocean means there’s a 50-50 chance of daytime highs above 85 degrees starting Tuesday, July 26, according to an online briefing from the National Weather Service in Seattle issued Tuesday, July 19.

“A significant ridge begins to build offshore Sunday and into early next week, a period of temperatures much above normal for much of the Pacific Northwest,” meteorologist Jake DeFlitch said in the online forecast discussion.

 

Monday, July 18, 2022 - 1:16pm - The Bellingham Herald

Whatcom County returned to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “medium” community COVID-19 risk level, but for the first time in three months, no region within the county would receive a “high” rating.

After one week in the “low” range, Whatcom County’s rate of reported COVID-19 cases crept up enough for the CDC to give Whatcom the “medium” community rating when new data was released Thursday, July 14, marking the sixth time in the past eight weeks it has received a “medium” grade. But The Bellingham Herald’s analysis of the latest location data released Thursday by the Whatcom County Health Department showed that the regions covered by the Bellingham, Blaine, Lynden and Mount Baker school districts would receive “low” ratings if the CDC drilled down to that level.

The Ferndale, Meridian and Nooksack Valley regions, meanwhile, would received “medium” rankings, The Herald found, marking the first time since mid-April Whatcom County had not had at least one of its seven school district regions with a reported case rate or hospitalization numbers that would earn it a “high” rating.

 

Monday, July 18, 2022 - 1:14pm - The Bellingham Herald

Despite being closed for the Independence Day holiday, the Bellingham Food Bank set a record for the number of families served during the first full week of July.

Spurred by increased demand as more Bellingham residents feel the impact of recent inflation, the Food Bank helped approximately 3,300 families July 3-9, Executive Director Mike Cohen told The Bellingham Herald. That is the highest weekly number in the 50-year history of the Bellingham Food Bank. That’s not just a one-week spike. Business has been accelerating in recent weeks, Cohen said, after the Bellingham Food Bank helped approximately 2,000 families a week during COVID.

“We are seeing steady increases for, really, the last year, and the latest bit of inflation is certainly adding another push,” Cohen told The Herald. “Our Food Bank is about twice as busy as we were right before COVID started, and we saw big increases start at the turn of the calendar year when some of those pandemic benefits were ending, like the child tax credit. “As summer has progressed, we have been getting increasingly busier.”

 

Monday, July 18, 2022 - 1:11pm - Cascadia Daily New

One suspect is in custody and another is still at large following a shooting in downtown Bellingham early Sunday morning that left two victims hospitalized.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, two groups of people were fighting near The Underground Nightclub, Bellingham Police reported. Officers were alerted to shots being fired in the downtown area and immediately responded.

Suspect Gawain Orcutt, 23, of Mount Vernon, retrieved a handgun from a nearby SUV, fired in the air, then shot the first victim, 42, striking him in the foot and causing a non-life-threatening injury, a police release stated. He continued to shoot several more rounds at people, damaging a car. 

The initial investigation revealed Orcutt shot the 42-year-old man, then fired rounds at two other people, a 30-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, and then fled the scene, the release stated.

Further investigation and witness accounts revealed a second suspect involved in the fight also retrieved a gun and began firing into the crowd, hitting a 20-year-old man in the leg and causing a serious injury. The two victims, the 42-year-old man and 20-year-old man, were taken to the hospital for further treatment.