Bellingham Alive | January 2018

Page 1

HEALTH Opioid Addiction Medical Advances New Beer Resolution JANUARY 2018 DISPLAY UNTIL JANUARY 31 $3.99 US • $4.99 CAN

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46 OPIOID ADDICTION Opioids, the latest medical scare to take hold on America’s psyche, is a new label for an old problem. The nation’s ongoing search for ever-more powerful painkillers is hardly new — yet newly scary. Deaths have grown four-fold since 1999, and overdoses now kill more annually than car accidents. Contributor Ken Karlberg reminds us that today’s fascination with oxycodin, Vicodin, morphine, and fentanyl is rooted in days before the Civil War. He stops at Harlem in the 1930s, the AIDS crisis, and Nancy Reagan’s War on Drugs, and reminds us that morality and blame have no place in solving the opioid epidemic. But what is ahead? A call to action to retool our national thinking as we face a national emergency.


Taste Sensation


By the Numbers


Lasting Image  Lake Padden


Game Changer  Rick Mergenthaler

22 In the Know  Whatcom Community College’s New Degree Program 23 Community  Recreation NW Parkscriptions 24 In the Know  Island Hospital Wins Award 25

Book Reviews


Who Knew?


Spotlight  Threshold Singers


In the Know  Shooting Totality


Five Faves  Waterside Trails


A Lot of Flowers


Necessities  Subscription Boxes


Around the Sound  Arista Wines


Savvy Shopper  Eclipse Bookstore


Nutrition  Kale Salad


Health  Colds and the Cold


Opioid Addiction


Medical Advances

HABITAT 71 Featured Home  Yellow Cedar Healthy Home 75

Remodel  Waiting Rooms


The Vault


Dining Guide

82 Mixing Tin  Uisce Irish Pub’s The Sidecar 83

Sip  New Beer Resolution


Review  A’Town Bistro


8 Great Tastes


Featured Event  Five for Fighting


Top Picks


Out of Town

95 The Scene  Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards


Editor’s Letter




Letters to the Editor


Meet the Staffer  Patrick McMahon


Final Word

52 MEDICAL ADVANCES From the predictable to the mind-boggling, we are seeing the world of medicine — with the help of science and engineering — boldly going where no one has gone before. Detect cancer with a smartphone app? Use a 3-D printer to build a custom knee replacement? Make a specific kind of pot to help moderate epilepsy? “Correct” a gene to prevent hereditary disease? It’s all happening now.

January 2018


NOTES On the Web

Be sure to check us out at: Submit your events on our calendar! Do you have an event that you would like our readers to know about? offers an events calendar where viewers can search by day, venue, event type, or city. Go to and submit your event today. Once your event has been approved by our editorial staff, it is live.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE If laughter is the best medicine (and this is our Health and Wellness issue, after all), standup comic and National Public Radio star Paula Poundstone has already done a world of good. She took the stage at Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre in September, and we got a fun oneon-one interview with her just before that.

Join us on

NSLife Entertaining





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For the holidays, you got everyone exactly what they wanted. Now, get

exactly what you want.

NOTES Editor’s Letter


et the countdown begin. No, not for the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve — one of my least-favorite holidays — but for winter solstice. It arrives about the same time this magazine, our Health and Wellness issue, will appear in your hands. To me, winter solstice represents the symbolic time when days are supposed to stop getting shorter. (Technically, they don’t yet, but one can pretend.) You won’t notice much difference until about February, but just knowing it’s going to happen helps endure cold, rainy December and January. A similarly solstice-sensitive friend and I usually write or call around December 21st to celebrate, feeling like we’ve turned a corner. The sense of accomplishment is just not the same at summer solstice, when everyone’s hopped up on sunshine, 10 p.m. daylight and vitamin D. Like the solstice, the new year does bring transition. Rather than setting resolutions (which rarely survive past February), I like to think of the new year as the chance to reset. At Bellingham Alive, we’ve moved to a new office, trading wooded, isolated surroundings for the bustle (and increased lunch options) of a more-commercial plaza. Transitions are coming to the magazine, too, starting in January, with some new contributors. Tops on the list is the debut of our beer column (p. 83), written by Neal Tognazzini, a Western Washington University philosophy professor who is also a certified beer judge — or, as he puts it, a thinker and a drinker. The column will alternate months with longtime wine expert Dan “The Wine Guy” Radil. Frequent interior designer contributor Tanna Edler of Tanna By Design will be joined by a new voice, Bellingham’s Jennifer Ryan of Jennifer Ryan Design, to bring you all kinds of ideas on how to remodel or spruce up your home. Beauty veteran Ashley Thomasson will have more company in our Wellbeing section: skincare expert Lisa Crosier and medical enhancement physician Dr. Tianna Tsitsis. They’ll be writing about how to look — and feel — good for 2018. We will also say goodbye to the long-running Wonder Woman series, and hello to Game Changers, expanding to include the women, men and couples who provide inspiration to all of us through what they do in their lives and for their communities. If you have a candidate for Game Changer, tell us. We know they’re out there. As for our readers, winter solstice is behind you, and know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Happy New Year. Power on. — Meri-Jo Borzilleri Editor In Chief




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Neal Tognazzini Neal splits his life between thinking and drinking: He has a Ph.D in philosophy and is a professor at Western Washington University, but he is also a beer sommelier and a nationally ranked beer judge. Neal grew up in the Pacific Northwest but spent a decade away after college. By the time he moved back to Bellingham in 2014, he had finally learned to appreciate the beauty of grey skies and the taste of craft beer. When he proposes a toast, it’s usually to his amazing wife of 14 years and his courageous and curious 6-year-old.  p. 83

Tanna Edler

It’s In The Details Lake Samish Garden

Guide Style


in the North Sound

Inner Beauty

Tanna is the owner of Tanna By Design ( She specializes in residential and commercial remodels and new construction design. Tanna has received three top awards from the National Interior Design Society Association and was named their 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Designer of the Year. Additionally, she was voted North Sound Life’s Best of the Northwest interior designer in 2013, 2014, and 2015.  p. 75

Ski to Sea

Mount Baker Theatre at 90

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Arlené Mantha Third-generation baker, and professionally trained pastry chef from Los Angeles, Arlené has taught classes for Bellingham Alive’s “Meet The Chef” series as well as the Bellingham Gluten Information Group. Her passion for comfort food and modern aesthetic has manifested itself in her catering company, Twofiftyflora.  p. 39


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Zacchoreli grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and has lived in Bellingham with his partner of 17 years and their two zany dogs. He is a Cordon Bleu Chef, has a master’s degree in English Studies from Western Washington University, and is a grant writer for a non-profit organization. He and his partner enjoy wine, traveling, and anything that has to do with the culinary arts.  p. 17

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PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER  Lisa Karlberg EDITOR IN CHIEF  Meri-Jo Borzilleri ART DIRECTOR  Dean Davidson STAFF WRITERS/PHOTOGRAPHERS Kate Galambos | Catherine Torres

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Positive Letter

This issue was by far my favorite. I loved all of the clothing, from the sweaters to the accessories. I liked how everything the model was wearing was listed from which store and how much. Then you gave great suggestions on how to host a wine and cheese party. This could be an expensive month for me! Thanks for a great issue.

Just wanted to say, I loved the Publisher’s Letter by Lisa Karlberg in the December issue of Bellingham Alive. We need more positivity! Love the fashions too, great job as always! Natalie R., via Facebook

Kara N., Bellingham


Bellingham Alive welcomes comments and feedback for our Letters to the Editor section. We’d love to hear what you have to say and are open to story ideas about the people, places, and happenings in the North Sound (Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan counties). Let us know what you like, and what you’d like to see in the magazine! Contact editor Meri-Jo Borzilleri at


Fashion Shoot, Wine & Cheese a Hit



Letters to the Editor

The December Comfy & Cozy fashion shoot was amazing! I loved all the styled fashions and especially liked the fact they were all from local boutique shops at an affordable price. Nice job! Jennifer N., Mount Vernon

Editor’s Note: The December 16 Lighted Boat Parade and Santa’s Arrival in Friday Harbor has been cancelled.

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January 2018


NOTES Meet the Staffer Every issue we introduce you to a staff member at Bellingham Alive.

What is your role at the magazine and how long have you been with K&L Media? I’m a part-time editor. After all, what’s a workaholic, retired journalist supposed to do once settled in Bellingham? Somehow, Boulevard Park, Village Books, Stones Throw Brewery, Mount Baker Theatre and Vancouver just weren’t enough. So here I am back in front of my MacBook Air struggling to use Word, spell “couture” and remember whether Chardonnay is capitalized. After several months here at Bellingham Alive, the old journalistic juices are once again astir.

What is your background?

Patrick McMahon

A Midwesterner at heart, I grew up in Aurora, Ill., west of Chicago. I graduated from Stanford University where a stint as editor of the Stanford Daily led me to Washington, D.C.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Los Angeles and Seattle. I retired in 2015 after 23 years on and off at the Los Angeles Times. Along the way, I was an assignment editor in business, California political editor, and Orange County edition editor. It was while Pacific Northwest reporter for USA Today in 1997–2003 that I discovered and became enchanted by Bellingham.

What is your favorite part of working for a regional lifestyle magazine? Getting better acquainted with the North Sound. From my duplex apartment overlooking Bellingham Bay, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the region. But what a surprise to pick up the magazine at my Fairhaven Haggen, only to find it rippling with new eating, hiking, shopping and living ideas in Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties. Working here continues to amaze me.

What are some of your hobbies and interests? I love to go exploring. The San Juans, Skagit, Camano Island, Vancouver, historic Bellingham. I am a book collector, an avid reader, and a fan of used bookstores. And, of course, I’m a big eater. 


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LIFESTYLE In The Know · Calendar · Spotlight Artist · 5 Faves

Taste Sensation Why do some things taste better together than others? WRITTEN BY ZACCHORELI FRESCOBALDI-GRIMALDI


he tongue, for all its functional importance, is a largely misunderstood, multipurpose muscular organ. We use it to speak, mock others, whistle, and eat. Arguably, the tongue’s most important daily task is the role it plays in the gustatory system. This system includes cranial nerves, gustatory cortex, and approximately 9,000 papillae, or taste buds. Taste buds have their own little regions on the tongue. Each region is responsible for detecting specific flavor profiles. The very back of the tongue detects bitterness, the tip helps with sweet and savory, and two locations on each side of our tongue identify sour and salty. … continued on page 20

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© Cody Vanderwerff

Lasting Image

“Being able to live in a place where you feel like you can escape the city and explore nature is unlike any other feeling. A short drive to enjoy Lake Padden on the first snow day is impossible to pass up.” CODY VANDERWERFF

January 2018 19



With the tongue, flavor is entirely dependent upon location. When we prepare to take a bite from a peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich, first we smell combined aromas of the bread, peanut butter and jam. This stimulates our salivary glands. Thus, when we take that first bite, we simultaneously experience the savory, sweet, and salty — an appealing combination. And yet we are able to detect the individual flavor qualities of each ingredient. But did you ever wonder why milk is such a satisfying chaser to that PB&J? It’s because milk stimulates sensory receptors that identify richness, or umami. If we followed that bite with something acidic, say, orange juice, many of us would experience unpleasant bitter flavors that would ruin our PB&J pleasure.

The relationship between fat and acids is a Tango de la Muerte performed on the tongue. Wine and cheese are a popular beverage and snack combination. The fat molecules from the cheese coat the tongue and create a pleasant mouth feel. A sip of a high acid wine like Sauvignon Blanc rinses the fatty layer from the taste buds. The newly rinsed taste buds are ready to taste more of the wine’s flavor profile. The recursive nature of eating and sipping serves to enhance the flavors of each item consumed.

MASTERS OF MANIPULATION Chefs hang their hats on the ability to know what goes with what. Long aware of the tongue’s geography, chefs have learned, through instruction and experimentation, how to manipulate our taste buds to maximize our dining indulgence. It’s no accident why they know to pair some ingredients with others. Fat, found in both meat and dairy products, coats the tongue and inhibits the function of some taste receptors. To help cleanse the tongue of this heavy coat, chefs may include an acidic element, such as vinegar or citrus juice, to a dish that helps minimize taste receptor clogs. Diners then experience both delicate and robust flavors as the food passes over various regions of the tongue. Nick Moss, award-winning executive chef at Bellingham’s 9Restaurant, explains. “One of my favorite tricks to leverage flavor is to use roasted peppers in my non-clam chowders. The cream naturally balances out the flavors by calming the taste buds that detect heat from spice.” This strategy allows the diner to experience the thrill of the pepper’s heat, which is almost immediately tempered by the fat in the cream. Try this at home with a grilled pepper jack cheese sandwich and a glass of milk! 20

WINE AND CHOCOLATE? YES, BUT PROCEED WITH CAUTION Just as there are different kinds of chocolate; dark, bittersweet, milk — there too, are a number of reasons why many wines eschew chocolate. Dry red wine, generally, does not pair well with chocolate because the chocolate is sweeter than the wine. This drowns out the wonderful flavors of wine, often leaving it tasting bitter, acidic, or “hot” because of an emphasized alcohol content. It would be like eating a pickle with a sweet popsicle. The tip of the tongue experiences the sweet notes, which are immediately destroyed by dominate sour notes of the pickle. Like wine, cocoa nuts have a broad flavor profile that includes fruit and herbs, so a low-acid red wine coupled with a semi-sweet dark chocolate could pair nicely. But like anything that we eat and drink, pairing foods with wine is subjective. So, if you like sweet chocolates with dry wine, then unapologetically indulge your papillae. Bigger, bolder wines with spicy, smokey flavor characteristics such as Cabernet Franc or Syrah might just work here. You be the judge! Food and wine pairing is not the exclusive domain of chefs and oenophiles. Look for complementary characteristics or contrasting elements of taste. Have hot-buttered popcorn served with a big, buttery Chardonnay. Try sweet wines with spicy foods, such as pad Thai with Riesling. In the end it all comes down to trusting your tongue. If your taste buds put a smile on your face, then you’ve succeeded in selecting a combination that works for you! 

Game Changer



ick Mergenthaler knows a thing or two about challenges. The retired high school basketball coach learned to ignore naysayers and face obstacles head on. He contracted polio as a child and overcame it without his young doctors ever correctly diagnosing the illness. It wasn’t until he was a high school sophomore complaining of back pain that his more experienced pediatrician recognized the cause for his back troubles and significantly smaller leg. Without knowing he had had polio as a child, Mergenthaler never played the victim — not that he would have. He just thought himself different from the other able-bodied kids. He had to practice more, try just a little bit harder. As a result, he said he has always been “inspired by odds to overcome obstacles.” That’s the kind of person that makes a great coach. Mergenthaler’s career spans 43 years in education, 13 of those years


in Anacortes, and he has coached high school basketball for 28 years. Think of all the lives — and generations — he helped shape. Starting his career as a basketball coach wasn’t easy. Most interviewers asked if he played college basketball or was a good player, to which Mergenthaler honestly answered no, which deterred his hiring. He finally received a job offer from Idaho’s Dietrich School District. The high school had 32 students. He coached football, basketball, girls volleyball, track, taught six subjects, and drove the bus to basketball games. Mergenthaler had earned his master’s degree in physical education, but felt there was more he needed to learn. So he took it upon himself to learn everything he could about coaching and took notes while watching basketball games. Mergenthaler admits in his memoir, “Living Impossible Dreams: The Life of a High School Basketball Coach,” that in his early years of coaching he sometimes tried to establish multiple coaching techniques at once, which only caused confusion among the players. He has since learned his lesson and many others — the biggest being to figure out your dreams and do what it takes to attain them. He credits his wife and kids with helping him achieve his. “It was hard on them, much harder on them than it was on me. I’m thankful for their support so I could achieve my dreams.” The former coach worries that young people today tend to give up on something if they don’t immediately have success. They need to realize success takes unbelievably hard work. On the same note, parents need to “support and encourage your kids, but know when to let go.” Being involved is great, but letting children fend for themselves and even fail is part of life. When asked about the message of his memoir he said, “Never give up and anything is possible.” It’s important to be reminded from time to time that things worth working towards, especially one’s dreams, aren’t easy to come by. If they were, they wouldn’t be dreams. 

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January 2018 21




hatcom Community College is already making a name for itself as a place to be trained in the rising field of cyber security. Now it has taken another step — offering a four-year degree in cutting-edge information technology. Last fall, Whatcom CC offered a new bachelor of applied science degree in Information Technology Networking, the two-year school’s first four-year degree, to 24 students. Officials say it is the only program of its kind to be offered in the northwest corner of Washington state. The IT program has been in the works since 2014, after the college secured a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Whatcom is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. Recently, the college received another NSF grant for the same amount to develop an online version of the program that will be offered in Fall 2018. The online version will allow for an additional 24 students to be enrolled in the program. “It is a pathway for students who have graduated with an IT degree from a community college, because typically those credits will not transfer to a university,” said Corrinne Sande, computer science and information systems program director at Whatcom. “We have a lot of colleges that have a two-year program [Whatcom is one] and those students do very well in their jobs, but eventually if they want to move up into more managerial positions, they usually need to earn a BA (bachelor of applied science).” The program differs from others because it includes a lot of interactive, hands-on learning. Each class in the program has a small group set-up, rather than a large lecture format, and four hours of lab time associated with it. “We’re preparing people for the workforce,” Sande said. “It’s not book knowledge, [students] actually know how to 22

configure a router, set up sensors, and secure them. That’s what’s cool, is they’re ready to go to work as soon as they graduate.” The program is composed of three focus areas recommended by the National Security Agency. Input from an advisory committee made up of local industry members was also incorporated into the program’s curriculum, approved by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in 2016. The curriculum, which will continue to adapt with time, covers niche subjects that many colleges do not offer, such as how to secure industrial control system networks at places like refineries, substantial employers in the North Sound. “All of these [computer information systems] programs require input from industry and adjustments to whatever industry needs,” Sande said. “For example, our industrial control system course, we put that in there specifically because we had students getting jobs in refineries and utilities, and they needed to have that information.” Janice Walker, dean for workforce education at Whatcom, said the college decided to pursue the program because of the growing workforce gap. Walker said there is a statewide and regional need for employees with IT networking skills. According to Employment Security Department data, annual estimated employment openings in the CIS field in Whatcom County numbered 279 in 2015. “[The program] could assist with economic development in terms of attracting businesses to the community, because they know there’s a qualified workforce available to take in and work in their companies, who are people who typically want to remain in the community,” Walker said.  Whatcom Community College 237 W. Kellogg Rd., Bellingham 360.383.3000 |



Program is Getting People Outside for Their Health Recreation NW Parkscriptions WRITTEN BY KENJI GUTTORP | PHOTO COURTESY OF RECREATION NORTHWEST


ellingham public health and medical professionals increasingly want you to take a walk in the woods  — or even just around the block. It’s all part of a national program called Parkscriptions, or ParkRx. It is a national program, based in Washington D.C., aimed at encouraging community mental and physical health through physical activity like walking and hiking. And, locally, the nonprofit Recreation Northwest has adopted the concept as part of its drive to put Bellingham on the map as the recreation capital of the Northwest. In 2013, April Claxton and Todd Elsworth founded the nonprofit with the principles of stewardship of public lands in mind. For the last four years, they have served as the problem-solvers for the central question: How do you get more people engaged outdoors and being a part of Bellingham’s recreation economy? That is clear for Claxton. “Highlight all the amazing outdoor recreation places and opportunities we have in (Bellingham) and really, to have more people look to Bellingham as the place to come outside and play.” Bellingham’s proximity to the mountains, forests and the Salish Sea make it an ideal location for spending time outdoors. Be it hiking, alpine sports, kayaking, biking or trail running, Bellingham has quickly become one of the hallmark destinations for outdoor enthusiasts around the region. Part of her job is to make people want to move to Bellingham, Claxton joked.

If Claxton could tell you one thing, it would be that getting outdoors is good for your health. And she would be right. A growing community of the public, medical practitioners and public health professionals agree, going on a hike is good for you. Parkscriptions is new to Recreation Northwest, Claxton said, and is as simple — literally — as a walk in the park. The program is simple, Claxton explained, instead of medicine, the health practitioner prescribes an activity. The patient then receives a prescribed routine like a weekly stroll in a green space around their home or spending a few hours a week exploring trails near their home. Parkscriptions is about getting over the barriers that keep people at home or inside, Claxton explained. “Specifically, that it will help people get over that initial hurdle of where to go and what to do, because I think often if you are just hearing “Go outside” or just exercise and it is not something you do all the time. It is daunting to think about what you should do and where you should go.” So far, four medical providers have adopted the program locally and more than 121 people have been prescribed activities. Claxton hopes to make it 40 medical providers in the coming year.  1319 Commercial St., Ste. 201B, Bellingham 360.223.5262 |

January 2018 23


Award-Winning Infant Care In Anacortes Island Hospital Center for Maternal & Infant Care WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY CATHERINE TORRES


n Anacortes care center is one of just 13 winners of an international award for promoting healthy and successful breastfeeding practices. The Island Hospital Center for Maternal & Infant Care in Anacortes earned the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners Care Award (IBCLC Care Award). There are only 13 IBCLC Care Awards given annually worldwide. Recipients are listed as IBCLC Care Centers for two years. “It takes about six weeks for breastfeeding to become easier than formula feeding,” said Dr. Jody Cousins, the physician advocate at the center. She understands the many frustrations associated with feeding a new baby. Before the Affordable Care Act made infant care more affordable, Dr. Cousins sought to create a center, where women have access to optimal breastfeeding care and advice under their existing health insurance plans. Since it opened in 2015, the center has helped more than 800 patients, two-thirds of whom don’t have primary physicians at Island Hospital. Many new moms are inundated with the message, “Breast is best.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding infants until six months of age, then continuing breastfeeding alongside solid food until at least one year. A myriad of data proves breast milk helps boost a baby’s immune system, improves gut health, and decreases a mother’s risk of postpartum depression. Seems like an easy choice. But what many moms don’t learn until they’re sleep deprived, covered in spit up, and cradling a fussy baby is that sometimes breastfeeding is difficult and even painful. Dr. Cousins didn’t set out to win awards, though she is proud of being “the only clinic like this in the area” and the evident impact it has made. The first year the clinic was in operation, the rate of breastfeeding in the community increased by 8% for babies one to six months old. “We’re not going to take all the credit for it,” Dr. Cousins said. She acknowledged the wonderful nurses in the Island Hospital maternity ward, but she emphasizes the goal of the center is to “Make every effort to keep women breastfeeding, who want to keep breastfeeding.” She has every patient who enters the clinic to “define your own success” which the staff uses to tailor the sessions. The center doesn’t only deal with breastfeeding. They’ve helped parents with bottle feeding, assisted moms that want


to transition to formula, helped with breast pumping, and worked with moms transitioning back to work. It’s a one-stop shop for early infant nourishment, growth, and development. The staff of board certified lactation consultants don’t just help first-time moms, plenty of third and fourth time moms come in claiming “this baby is not like my other kids.” Just as all babies are different, so are all mothers. Not all mothers want to breastfeed, and that’s OK, the center doesn’t exist for them. For the mothers who do want to breastfeed, even part time, Dr. Cousins and her staff offer advice and solutions in one-on-two sessions. Holly Eldridge who is working on her lactation consultant certification, explained the satisfaction she feels helping mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals. Eldridge explained a good number of mothers come in with babies who are tongue tied, a condition where the membrane connecting the tongue’s underside to the bottom of the mouth is too short. That makes breastfeeding difficult for the baby and painful for the mother. After minor surgery, Eldridge said watching “the relief that the mothers have on their faces is incredible.” All in all, Dr. Cousins and the staff at the Island Hospital Center for Maternity & Infant Care are necessary cheerleaders for mothers struggling to reach their breastfeeding goals. Dr. Cousins explained that a lot of times it helps to hear, “’This is awesome and you’re doing it so well,’ or ‘This is hard, why don’t you try this?’” For a new mom constantly wondering if she’s doing it right, that kind of support is the gold standard.  1213 24th St., Ste. 100, Anacortes 360.293.3101 |

Book Reviews

In the Know



Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky 384 of pages Doubleday This book is a masterful compilation of research, as the author travels far back into the 18th century to shed light on the most storied hospital in American history. At the forefront of every dangerous plague and historical catastrophe (i.e. yellow fever, tuberculosis, AIDS, childbed fever, mental illness, the Civil War, 9/11, etc.), Bellevue has been the best training ground for every type of medicine known to humanity. Far from offering a dry medical tome, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Oshinsky sprinkles in fascinating tales of the heroes who made this hospital, who discovered life-saving vaccines, who invented the concept of an ambulance, who battled sexism, anti-Semitism, and racism, and who ultimately set the example for all to see, that everyone rich or poor, deserves medical care.

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones 384 of pages Bloomsbury Press

Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50; it has ravaged many small cities, towns, and rural areas, has stymied economic recovery and destroyed millions of families. In other words, America has a problem. This book does an outstanding job of investigating the beginnings of the epidemic, moving seamlessly between the area in Mexico where the black tar networks grew into a thriving business here in the States, and the prescription drugs that aided the heroin addiction. Few people in America today do not know of someone who has been touched by this scourge; this is a powerful read that will give you much needed information because without knowledge, we cannot stop millions more from dying.

January 13, 2 p.m. Clearing Clutter for the New Year South Whatcom Library 10 Barn View Court, Bellingham 360.305.3632 | January is the time for starting anew. Carolyn Koehnline, psychotherapist, clutter coach, and journal therapist, will teach you practical and creative strategies to help you get started in de-cluttering your life. Hearing Koehnline’s fresh ideas will give you motivation for a clean start.

January 15, 10 a.m. Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Read-In Village Books 1200 11th St., Bellingham 360.671.2626 | In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., bring your kids to Village Books for stories about the civil rights movement, tolerance, and diversity in a decade-long tradition. Western Washington University students and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen will read and help with fun arts and crafts.

WHO KNEW? Big Band Denied On New Year’s Day, 1962, a relatively unknown band called The Beatles drove 10 hours to audition at Decca Studios in London. Where the band might have begun their massively popular career, they were denied. The producer would later find that he turned down what would be the most popular and sensational music group of all time.

Uniting Nations On New Year’s Day, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill put forth a declaration titled “United Nations.” The declaration was signed by 26 countries in hope of creating an international peacekeeping organization in the postwar years. Countries that signed promised “life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and to preserve the rights of man and justice.”

Cleaner Television On New Year’s Day, 1971, President Richard Nixon signed legislation banning cigarettes ads on TV and radio. It followed heated debate about the connection between cigarettes and serious health problems such as cancer. Since then, regulators have chipped away at cigarette ads, barring them from event sponsorship, outdoor advertising, select magazines and the use of cartoons, like Joe Camel.

Castro Takes Cuba On New Year’s Day, 1959, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and his family flew out of Cuba and into exile, escaping the populist revolution led by Fidel Castro. With U.S. assets seized by Castro, a Communist revolutionary in alliance with the Soviet Union, it wasn’t long before a trade and travel embargo was enacted between the U.S. and Cuba.

January 2018 25

Community the Spotlight LIFESTYLE In

Bringing Soothing Sounds of Song to the Dying Threshold Singers WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY KATE GALAMBOS


ince 2007, the Bellingham Threshold Singers have been providing soothing sounds for people who are seriously ill or dying. These 40 or so women are committed to providing comfort for their clients as they labor through death with the help of song. Last year, the dedicated group performed more than 500 “sings” for clients in Whatcom County, six-year member Janis Walworth said. Each “sing” lasts about 15-20 minutes and usually only consists of two to four singers in order to keep the event intimate and relaxing. Singers have no agenda before they arrive, no set list, or expectations about the effects of their songs, two-year member Donna Inglis said. Clients’ conditions can change very quickly, meaning the singers adapt to each sing with different rhythm and sound. Sings do not consist of recognizable songs, rather the women concentrate on calming tones and rhythm and sing in a lullaby-like manner. “We sing songs people won’t recognize so that they can 26

concentrate on relaxing and not the lyrics,” Inglis said. Special requests can be made, however, the group stresses that they are not performers and do not know just any song. Friends and family of sick loved ones can request a visit from the Bellingham Threshold Singers at no cost. While most of the singers have a strong passion for song, they do not come from a professional background. The group rehearses twice a month and each sing is led by a designated leader with hand signals to keep the talking to a minimum. Sometimes clients’ environments can be chaotic. “It can be a challenge to create a sacred space with all the distractions. We try to create a bubble for our clients, but like life, death is fluid,” Walworth said. For singers Walworth and Inglis, the experience is powerful. Each sing is different and drives them to live life to the fullest. While much of our society has a tendency to avoid the subject of death, the Bellingham Threshold Singers embrace it as just as natural as birth. “There is something about making connections with people at those very intimate moments. I feel privileged to be a part of that,” Walworth said. Beyond each client connection, the group gives singers a sense of sisterhood. With such powerful shared experiences, the ladies are brought together and depend on each for support, Inglis said. Bellingham Threshold Singers are part of the national nonprofit organization, Threshold Choir, which has more than 150 chapters worldwide. The Bellingham chapter makes up one the largest groups, with about 40 members.  P.O. 5303, Bellingham 360.927.4384 |

On the hunt for Totality

Photographer and Friends Find Magic and an Eerie Light During Solar Eclipse WRITTEN BY ROBERT DUDZIK PHOTOGRAPHED BY ROBERT DUDZIK AND GREG POWERS


he tent flaps are pushed aside and a cold breeze greets my nose, I know that today is the day. With excitement in the air, I quietly rouse my camp, making sure to tread lightly, as it is only 5:30 in the morning. As our stoves are fired up and water is boiled, I make sure all my camera gear is ready. During the hype of the 2017 solar eclipse, it seemed that the entire West Coast was planning a trip to view this solar phenomenon. But for four friends, it was about finding solitude in the backcountry to witness a truly magical event. To do so, the five of us embarked on a five-day journey —  a 335-mile drive from Bellingham, then a 12-mile hike into Oregon’s Bull of the Woods Wilderness, where we spent four nights camping out. As I sat at 4,700 feet above sea level with my hiking buddies, I had to quickly find the perfect location for my tripod and camera. This may sound easy, but it wasn’t, because our photo site was on the side of a burned-out hill with downed trees littering the ground. Despite these hindrances, my camera was ready, with my custom Solar Film filter affixed to the front just as the moon touched the sun’s left-most outer ring. The filter was key: By letting through only 1/1,000th of the sun’s energy, this film allowed me to stare directly at the sun through my camera, while not searing my eyes or destroying my camera’s sensor. This film allowed me to take 1,500 photographs (one photo every eight seconds) of the entire event, letting me build a time-lapse video of the entire eclipse. From those 1,500 photos, 19 were selected for use in the photo collage you see above. Even though the totality of the eclipse lasted just two minutes, it was spectacular to watch as the moon steadily marched across the sun, giving our surroundings an eerie, pre-dawn glow and making the temperature drop quickly. As soon as the sun was fully eclipsed by the moon, I stood in awe. Pulling my eye away from my viewfinder was like stepping into a world I’d never seen. The valley below us was dark, while the trees around us were draped in a light glow. Overhead, the eclipse looked as though it was just a jewel, suspended in the sky. Those two minutes will be burned into my mind forever. No words were spoken between myself or my friends. All we could do was sit and witness the magic.  Bull of the Woods Wilderness Mill City, Oregon

© Robert Dudzik

In the Know




BOULEVARD PARK This beloved park is truly a treasure of Fairhaven. Witness a gorgeous view of the sunset glistening over Bellingham Bay, or the brightening sky of sunrise as you stroll along an overwater boardwalk. When it’s dark, you can see the twinkling city lights of downtown Bellingham in the distance. The park also features a fishing dock, pocket beaches, a Woods Coffee, and a playground. 470 Bayview Drive, Bellingham 360.778.7000 |



LAKE PADDEN PARK Perfect for a snowy day. Explore the forest trails on the park’s east side, or follow the main, 2.6-mile gravel trail that loops around the lake, once Bellingham’s source of drinking water. Watch for mallard ducks, buffleheads, and other waterfowl. 4882 South Samish Way, Bellingham 360.778.7000 |


HORSESHOE BEND TRAIL This easy trail follows the Nooksack River for a few miles through a dense, old forest. After crossing a log bridge at 0.6 miles, you’ll find a spot where a stone bench once sat on the river’s edge — watch as raging water crashes against huge boulders.


We got your smile! MICHAEL A. SACRO, DDS Phone: 360-384-3440 Email: Web:

10500 Mt. Baker Highway, Deming 206.625.1367 |

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CAP SANTE PARK Located on the outskirts of Anacortes, this 37-acre parkland features short hikes with breathtaking views of Fidalgo Bay, the San Juan Islands, Mount Baker, and the Cascades. Clamber atop one of many boulders to get an incredible panorama of the area. 1000 West Ave., Anacortes 360.293.1900 |

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Wander through less-than-amile-length trails surrounded by lush forestry on this 80-acre parkland. Follow the eastern trail to a beach covered in multicolored pebbles, or the western trail for a panoramic view of the surrounding water.

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January 2018 29



SPORTS MEDICINE Taking a stroll. Building a snowman. Racing down the mountain. A healthy body is a body in motion. Our Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team is dedicated to returning these joys to you.

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SHOP Savvy Shopper · Necessities · Around the Sound



t is not too bold to say that A Lot of Flowers has become a staple of the Fairhaven community. Since 1985, the store has had a handful of owners and has occupied three different locations — all within old Fairhaven. And, when it first opened, the name literally referred to the lot where the nursery stood, rather than signaling a vast amount of flowers, co-owner Kelly Swordmaker said. She and her little sister run the shop now located at 1011 Harris Avenue. Kelly was brought into the business once her sister, Penny Ferguson, bought the store after working there for years. The third location of A Lot of Flowers is painted in a bright chartreuse that provides a backdrop for the more dulled greens of the indoor plants that adorn the shelves. Succulents, houseplants, statuary, jewelry, cards, and home decor fill the inside of the store. While A Lot of Flowers operated as more of an outdoor nursery before moving to its current location, now customers can find small gifts and indoor items. … continued on next page

A Lot of Flowers has gone through quite an evolution from outdoor nursery with a petite “rustic” indoor shed with only cold water, to a beautiful designed store that attracts major foot traffic. “I can’t tell you how amazing it is to turn around and have hot and cold running water. Now we have heat and air conditioning,” Swordmaker said. No more hats and long-underwear for six months out of the year. Outside, shoppers can find larger statuary and garden accessories. A Lot of Flowers believes in supporting local artisans and small business owners like themselves. The statuary is all sourced from three Washington artisans and much of the art along the walls is painted by local artist Ben Mann. He has worked with A Lot of Flowers owners for years, creating pieces with their specific requests in mind. To keep with the color blocking strategy of product and plant arrangement, Mann’s paintings reflect certain colors depending on the owner’s requests. The sisters use this color blocking method of grouping similar colored items throughout the store to organize merchandise easily. “When people come in looking for a pot, for example, I usually ask, ‘What is your favorite color?” Swordmaker said. Within each color display there is a mixture of textures from glass to wood pots. The store is small, yet provides layers of interest from these small vignette displays. The sisters fill their shelves based on price, locality, and fair trade status of the product. Gifts like the small potted floral arrangements called “tid bits” are inexpensive and adorable. For as little as $14.98, customers can get a sweet small pot with an arrangement made of leftover flowers from the fresh cut arrangements. These mini arrangements make for a good gift for a co-worker, teacher, or maybe the mail deliverer. Other popular items are the crow and raven statues. “I think we like the crow because they are smart birds,” Swordmaker said. Whether it is a bright plant or a smart crow to watch over your garden, A Lot of Flowers is a quaint place to find it.  1011 Harris Ave., Bellingham 360.647.0728 | 32

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Expert Advice from Edmonds

Around the Sound




his time of year, the crisp air is perfumed with the crackling of alder hearth fires and spiced with notes of cinnamon and pumpkin. The promise of unhurried dinners as we gorge ourselves with extra helpings and good conversation lures us indoors. And the perfect complement to any New Year’s Eve or winter gathering is, of course, a beautiful wine or bubbly libation. I asked the professional wine connoisseurs at Arista Wine Cellars in Edmonds to give me the 4-1-1 on all things wine for the winter season. Combined, the staff at Arista have over 140 years of wine drinking experience, and they conduct more than 50 tastings annually. “We are intimately involved in everything here,” said Roger Clayton, a 15-year veteran at Arista, who took over as owner in 2016. “We know the wines personally because between the staff and I, we’ve tasted every one of them.” The founders of Arista Wine Cellars, David and Ruth Arista, opened in downtown Edmonds 20 years ago. They stocked the shelves with wine they knew North Enders would love and took an active role in the community, sponsoring shows at the Edmonds Center for the Arts and serving on the Edmonds Downtown Alliance. Arista continues to specialize in Northwest wine varieties. as well as Clayton’s special love for Italian wines. But you’ll also find bottles from Spain, France, Germany, South America, and of course, California. You can sample some of the store’s special offerings during public wine tastings on Saturdays. You’ll find roughly 800 labels in store, and you can count on expert, firsthand advice. As you prepare your 2018 wine list or your next wine

tasting party this season, here’s a quick four-step tasting guide from Clayton, which is sure to put you “in-the-know” alongside sommeliers, or at least get you a touch closer.

WINE TASTING 101 1. Open bottle and sniff. Smelling the cork and sniffing the bottle’s nose can help you determine if the wine is still good. Anything that smells like cement, wet cardboard, stinky feet, or nail polish remover has turned. Seems obvious, but better to sniff it out than taste feet, in my opinion.

look like a fabulous host or the best dinner guest ever, here are Clayton’s top five picks for New Year’s or winter dining. Perfect Holiday Dinner Wine: Try a chardonnay as it won’t fight with the myriad of flavors happening on the table. Clayton recommends the Joseph Drouhin Macon Villages ($13). Best Bang for Your Buck: Luciano Sandrone Docetto d'Alba ($22) or Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blancs ($16).

2. Pour and Swirl. The act of pouring the wine, especially into the right style of glass, can wake the wine up a bit. Swirling agitates the wine in order to reengage it with oxygen, which brings out flavors and aromas that have been left docile. 3. Sip or Slurp. Slurping, like swirling, draws oxygen back into the wine and acts like a mini decanting. Sip a small amount of wine and push it over your palette for a full flavor profile. See what flavors you can pull out with every sip — apple, cinnamon, or baker’s chocolate perhaps? If you’re shopping for winning wines at Arista Wine Cellars, and you want to

Works with Everything: Adami Prosecco ($16). Prosecco can cut through the richness and fattiness of cheese during appetizers and yet be enjoyed right through dessert. Worthwhile Splurge: 2014 Long Shadows Group Saggi Super-Tuscan Blend San Giovese Cabernet and Merlot ($54). For Clayton and his staff, this is a near perfect wine. Rare and worth every penny. Now get out there and be the party’s wine star! Bottoms up!  320 5th Ave. S., Edmonds 425.771.7009 |

January 2018 35

SHOP Savvy Shopper


1104 11th St., Bellingham 360.647.8165 36

THE SHOP Eclipse Bookstore sits on the edge of Fairhaven, a mere block uphill on 11th Street from Village Books. But the two couldn’t be more different. Eclipse can be easily recognized by the towers of books guarding its doorway. Like every volume inside, the books stacked are used. But that doesn’t really matter because at Eclipse Bookstore the fun comes in finding a book, rather than simply looking for the one you set out to buy.

With countless trades over the years and the shop’s growing reputation, the community now comes to him to either sell or donate their books. But Carlsen still keeps an eye out. “There’s a lot of neat books to be found there,’’ he said. “All the time.” Today you might catch him setting up stacks outside his shop or sitting, obscured at the counter behind the register and a mountain of books.


Stacked or shelved inside the shop are approximately 75,000 books, Carlsen estimates. While only a fraction are organized on shelves, the shop gathers most into sections and genres. With such a large collection, someone searching for a book is likely to find one. A major shop-thrill is perusing the stacks and shelves, only to discover an exciting book you hadn’t even known about. You won’t find yesterday’s bestseller, but you will be surprised when you enter Eclipse Books — whether it’s by the fun, messy aesthetic that makes you feel like you’re in a paper cavern — or by one of the books you find within. Carlsen describes his store as a place for the one percent that still enjoys used book stores. That one percent, he says, contains every type of person.

The book columns lining the pavement provide a subtle taste of what’s waiting inside. Upon entering, it’s easy to feel daunted by the sheer number and arrangement of books. Countless tomes line shelves that seemingly run in every direction, stretching up to ceilings and down staircases. Huddled around these walls are even more books, growing like stalagmites toward the ceiling. A neat freak might not appreciate these arrangements, others would argue they embody the bookstore’s charm. With surrounding books on all sides, stacked haphazardly around even more books, it’s a fun place to get lost.

KEY PEOPLE Owner David Carlsen opened Eclipse Bookstore in 1990 and moved into the current location in 2000. With the help of an architect, Carlsen was quick to add high, wood-beam ceilings, hardwood floors, a bay view and a spacey basement, all according to his vision. Then came the books — and more books. He worked closely with the community early on, seeking out those interested in passing on their collections.

FAVORITE ITEMS “I like them all,” Carlsen replied when asked of his favorite book, a response not entirely unexpected from a bookstore owner. But when badgered further, he conceded. If he were in a desert-island scenario, he admitted that he’d probably bring along a book of interviews with a figure he admires. 

January 2018 37


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WELLBEING Nutrition · Take a Hike · Spa Review · Beauty

Make it a Merry January with A Kale-icious Salad WRITTEN BY ARLENE MANTHA


ere in the Northwest, January can be such a dreary month. Post -holiday blues, cold and rainy weather that lost its luster long ago. Pocketbooks need a recoup and taxes are looming. Resolutions have been broken and old habits are back. Rather than continuing the eating habits of months’ previous, I prefer to prepare a delicious kale and wild rice salad each week that guarantees me three things: 1. That I will eat when I am hungry 2. That I will eat nutritiously and deliciously 3. And then, I find this surprise — an unexpected perk when I eat this salad — it literally makes me more alert, awake and feeling vibrant, eyes wide open. The way I always want to feel when I eat. This salad is delicious cold or warm, with or without added protein, like grilled chicken or salmon. It’s so flexible that I stir fry it up with added veggie or add it to pastas or soups. Also, … continued on next page

I dress it ahead of time and it does not wilt! This is a huge bonus for convenience, plus I package them in to-gos. They make for quick easy grabs.

SUPERFOOD I get a variety of kale because the nutrition varies. For instance, black kale is the most nutrition of all the kales, but the colors and textures of Russian kale, curly kale and purple kale make me so happy! It must be all those antioxidants, omegas, calcium, and over-achieving vitamins that feel so good when I eat them. All the while, the wild rice is filling without weighing me down. Kale, garlic, lemon, green onion, olive/hemp oil, sea salt and pepper, oh my! I purchase my kale from the Bellingham Food Co-op because it’s all organic and there is a very consistent product and pricing. I can pick all of it up in one place and that works for me. I hope you’ll try it and reap the health and wellness that this beauty provides all year around.

SALAD RECIPE 3 bunches of kale (any variety) 1/2 head thin-sliced purple cabbage 1 bunch green onions 2 cups cooked wild rice

DIRECTIONS • Pull kale leaves off the kale stalks then cut leaves into bite size. Slice stalks on the bias (at an angle) and add to bowl with kale leaves. • Massage kale with your hands to break down the tickle sensation on the back of your throat. • Slice thin the purple cabbage and add to bowl. • Slice green onions and add to bowl. • Add the cooked wild rice to salad bowl (get an early start as wild rice takes 1 hour to cook).

DRESSING RECIPE 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup hemp oil 2 heads of garlic smashed and rough sliced Juice of 4 lemons Sea salt + pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS • Heat olive oil in small sauté pan, add garlic, sauté until soft and browned a bit • Turn off heat then add lemon juice, hemp oil. sea salt and pepper • Whisk and pour over salad and toss. To your health and Happy New Year!  40

Yes, Cold Can Give You A Cold 10 Tips to Keep You and Your Family Healthy This Winter WRITTEN BY KIMBERLY BLAKER


he medical field has long known people are more prone to catching colds and the flu during the cold winter months. Previously, scientists have primarily attributed to people living and breathing together in enclosed environments. But now, according to a 2015 PBS report, “Scientists Finally Prove Why Cold Weather Makes You Sick,” Yale scientists have the evidence that cold temperatures do indeed make our immune system sluggish and prevent our bodies from fighting off infection. So while we know germs are the actual cause of colds and the flu, we now know cold temperatures prevent our bodies from being able to stave off infection. With these two factors in mind, follow these tips to stay healthy this winter.

KEEP YOUR HOME WARM Maintaining warmth is essential to ward off winter-related illnesses. So, keep your home temperature comfortably warm by setting your thermostat somewhere between 68 and 75 degrees F. Optimum temperatures are 70 to 72 degrees for daytime in your living areas, and then turn the thermostat down just a couple degrees cooler at night in your bedrooms. What’s comfortable can vary from person-to-person. So if you feel cold at 72 degrees, turn it up a notch or two. The idea is that you remain comfortable.

DRESS IN LAYERS Whether you’re hanging around at home or heading out, and about, layer your clothing. Wear a T-shirt or cami, a long-sleeve shirt or blouse, and a sweater over the top. This way you can keep your thermostat set at a moderate


temperature and peel off layers to maintain the perfect comfort level. Layers will also ensure you maintain your comfort if you go somewhere. Also, when you do leave the house, wear warm boots, gloves, and a hat even if you’ll be outside only briefly.

EAT HEALTHY Maintaining a healthy diet is important year round. But during the cool winter months, certain foods are particularly beneficial to our immune systems. Surprisingly, the much-criticized starchy potato is an excellent source of nutrition. It’s high in vitamins B6 and C, both of which boost our immunity. Collards, kale, and chard among other dark leafy greens are high in vitamins A, C, and K. Winter squash, from pumpkin to butternut, spaghetti, and acorn, is high in beta-carotene. There are also several fruits that protect us from winter-related ailments. Citrus fruits are a rich source of vitamin C. But kiwi packs even more of a C “punch” than an orange. Other fruits that’ll help keep your immune system strong include pomegranates, blueberries, cherries, and even bananas.

WASH YOUR HANDS We all know washing our hands is crucial to prevent the spread of germs to others. But regular hand washing also reduces the risk of transferring bacteria to yourself. How is that? When someone with a cold or flu touches a doorknob, handrail, or any other object, they transfer their germs to those objects where the bacteria survive for several hours. Now let’s say you come along and touch the germ-ridden object. The bacteria has now transferred to your hands. Next thing you know, you scratch your nose or grab a cookie to eat, and voilà, you’ve just been infected. So during the winter months make a special effort to wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water. Be sure to rub between your finge rs and underneath your fingernails, then rinse your hands well and dry them thoroughly.

KEEP ACTIVE Maintaining an active lifestyle is crucial to a healthy heart, lungs, and bones.


But exercise does even more than that for our health. In 2010, a study was cited in “Exercise and Respiratory Tract Viral Infections.” It found a moderately active lifestyle may improve our immune systems as well. So the key to improved health is to exercise regularly but in moderation. Unless you’re trying out for the Olympics, a 20-mile run isn’t likely to serve you well. Instead, opt for a brisk walk for 30 – 60 minutes each day.

AVOID PUBLIC PLACES DURING OUTBREAKS When you hear of an outbreak of the flu or a virus in your area, it’s a good time to stay home. Avoid public places as much as possible.

TAKE AN ANTIVIRAL MEDICATION If you’re exposed to the flu, be proactive and nip it in the bud with a prescription for Relenza or Tamiflu. The only catch: There’s a short window of opportunity for these medications to be effective. Treatment medications must begin within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms for the treatments to be effective. So as soon as you feel signs of the flu coming on, call your doctor. If your doctor can’t get you in right away, opt for an urgent care so you can begin the treatment immediately.

GET A MASSAGE According to a 2010 study for CedarsSinai Medical Center, Swedish massage increases lymphocytes, which improve the effectiveness of our immune systems. This means you now have a better excuse to treat yourself to that massage you’ve been reluctant to splurge on. If getting regular massages isn’t in your budget, opt for trading massages with your partner to help fight off illness.

GET YOUR Z’S Studies have found that when we sleep our bodies release cytokines, which help to promote sleep. But certain cytokines also ward off infection. Sleep requirements vary from person to person, but children should get at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Teenagers require nine to ten hours and adults seven to eight hours per night.  January 2018


New options for women’s (and men’s) most intimate concerns An interview with Dr. Tianna Tsitsis, noted expert on sexual wellness and founder of RejuvenationMD, the premier aesthetic and wellness center in the North Sound.

We sat down with Dr. Tsitsis to learn how she and her colleagues (4 physicians as well as a team of aesthetic and wellness professionals) are helping women throughout Washington to feel like their younger, healthier, sexual selves. As she said, “Women are becoming more and more comfortable talking about their most intimate, often embarrassing problems. I couldn’t be happier that we are able to make such a huge difference in people’s lives!”

Q: What are the typical intimate concerns that patients discuss? Dr. T: Women come to us suffering with lack of vaginal lubrication, difficulty having an orgasm, vaginal laxity, dryness, itching, painful sex, or stress urinary incontinence. These changes occur because of two major events in a woman’s life: childbirth and menopause. Q: You say you use a 3-phase approach. What does this mean? Dr Dr. T: Every woman is different, so we are able to personalize a plan to solve a very individual problem. We offer diVa® Vaginal Rejuvenation and diVaTyte™, O-shot® for sexual dysfunction, and a variety of plans to balance hormones. “I had the symptoms diVa helps. No lubrication, painful intercourse, stress incontinence. diVa has painfu fixed them all! I am really enjoying sex a lot more now.” -DEB

Q: RejuvenationMD is the first practice in Washington to offer diVa. Why did you choose it for your practice? Dr. T: diVa is a very popular and successful vaginal rejuvenating treatment that addresses each woman’s unique concerns – aesthetic, functional AND medical. It achieves results that no other treatment can. Q: Is this a surgical procedure? Dr. T: NO, surgery is no longer necessary to address many vaginal concerns. diVa is a 3- to 5-minute treatment with no downtime, no general anesthesia, minimal to no discomfort, and noticeable results that our patients (and their partners) love. Q: How does diVa work? Dr Dr. T: diVa uses precision laser technology to deeply resurface the underlying layers of the vaginal wall. In short, it stimulates the body’s healing response. This process causes the body to create new, healthier tissue, which in-turn, improves many common vaginal concerns.

Q: In addition to diVa, there’s diVaTyte. Tell us about this. Dr T: diVaTyte tightens external vaginal skin without Dr. surgery. It uses infrared light to heat the underlying layers of skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production. Patients notice a more youthful appearance of the treated area. Like diVa, there’s no downtime. The treatment lasts about 10-20 minutes, with little to no discomfort. Q: You also offer O-shot, or “orgasm shot.” Tell us more. Dr T: O-Shot (a form of Platelet-Rich Plasma or PRP Dr. Therapy) treats sexual dysfunction in women. The benefits include greater arousal from clitoral stimulation; younger, smoother vulvar skin; a tighter vaginal opening; stronger more frequent orgasms; increased libido and lubrication; less pain with intercourse, and even decreased urinary incontinence. Q: Do you offer a version of the O-shot for men, too? Dr Dr. T: Yes, we do, and it is very successful. The Priapus Shot® or P-shot can address erectile dysfunction using the same general process as for women. Often, we see both partners who are each dealing with their own issues. When their bodies are performing optimally, relationships become new again. It’s very, very gratifying.

diVa HAS A

“97% Worth It”* RATING ON REALSELF *As of 11/21/17.

Q: Are the O-shot and P-Shot painful, and do they require a lot of downtime? Dr. T: No and no. We use numbing cream so there is only slight discomfort. And, the treatment takes only a few minutes. Q: The third treatment you offer for sexual wellness is hormone replacement therapy. How does this help your patients? Dr. T: At RejuvenationMD, we have developed a progra to bring hormones back into balance. While program symptoms of low or unbalanced hormones can vary greatly, in general, if a patient is experiencing fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, depression, mood swings, low sex drive, painful sex, memory loss and poor concentration, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or digestive issues, they may benefit from evaluation and treatment of their hormones. “The staff is so friendly, welcoming and very personable. I’ve been going for a year now and love the services they provide!” -KRISTA

Contact Dr. Tsitsis’ office for a FREE and confidential consultation:

(360) 685-8408

Aesthetic Skin Treatment and Wellness Center


2219 Rimland Dr., #105 - Bellingham, WA 98226 325 E. George Hopper Rd., #105 - Burlington, WA 98233

WELLBEING Special Advertising

Stress Less


tress is your body’s response to various events in your life. These exciting, frightening, confusing or irritating events can cause a physical, emotional or chemical reaction in your body. Getting married, having a new baby, losing a job or having difficulty with a friend or family member can all be sources of stress.

4. Talk positively to yourself with affirming thoughts and feelings.


7. Learn to slow down.

When in a stressful situation, the body instantly responds with a surge of hormones. These hormones cause your heart to beat faster, elevate blood pressure and blood sugar and quicken breathing. Chronic stress can cause medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, arthritis, migraine headaches and many other ailments.

WHAT CAN I DO? 1. Breathe! Inhale to the count of five and exhale to the count of five. You can do this anywhere — at the grocery store or at a red light. 2. Learn what helps you to relax: take a warm bath, listen to calming music, read a book, do a crossword puzzle. 3. Day dream — picture yourself in a safe and relaxing environment: on a warm beach or in the peaceful mountains.

5. Balance your work and personal life. 6. Build a strong support system of friends.

8. If you have a personal spiritual faith, take time to pray and listen. 9. Shift from being self-centered to others-centered. 10. Keep a sense of humor. Laugh at yourself. Smile at people. Really! When you make a big smile, your body releases chemicals that help you to relax. 11. Release grudges. (The old saying “Holding a grudge is like taking poison yourself in the hopes the other person dies” is so true.) Do you feel like the stress in your life is getting out of control? Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider, they can help.  For more healthy living tips, visit


Get Healthy. Stay Healthy.



January 2018 47


any parents may remember Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug slogan, “Just say ‘No’ to drugs”, or the anti-drug campaign that used a frying pan and eggs to highlight the effect of drugs on the brain. The messages were simple and catchy. Neither slogan, however, gave parents the full scope of tools to address the risks of drug abuse with their kids. And that is because the physical effect of drug abuse on the human brain was not yet fully understood, especially for dangerously addictive opioids.

Underlying these anti-drug messages was the assumption that drug abuse is a matter of “choice” made with full knowledge of how these drugs may affect the brain’s ability to exercise free will and judgment. The result was that, on the whole, society passed moral judgments on drug addicts. A significant segment placed blame, and then shrugged off addicts on the basis that “they deserve their fate.” As a consequence, drug addicts were often shunned by society (similar to the morality judgment passed on gay men during the AIDS/HIV epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s). Those addicts who were incarcerated for drug-related behaviors were treated as criminals, not patients. Those who sought treatment were often treated for the myriad of symptoms of addiction, but not the root causes. If the AIDS/HIV epidemic taught us anything, however, it is that morality and blame have no place in solving the opioid epidemic, or any epidemic for that matter. Human suffering, regardless of cause, should be a call to action. Few amongst us are untouched by the debilitating effects of opioid addiction. The death toll alone is frightening. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), deaths from overdoses of opioids have exploded exponentially — fourfold — since 1999. In 2015, deaths exceeded 33,000, almost half of which resulted from overdose of prescription opioids (e.g., morphine, oxycodone [Oxycontin], hydrocodone [Vicodin] and fentanyl). Opioid overdoses now kill more annually than automobile accidents in the U.S. And why? What’s driving the epidemic?

Opiate overdoses now kill more annually than automobile accidents in the U.S.


History Repeats Itself Today’s opioid crisis is not a new phenomenon. Most opioids, which are technically synthetic chemical compounds, were not in use until more recently (e.g., fentanyl). However, opiates, which are derived directly from the poppy plant, have an extensive history. (Today, the term “opioid” is most often used to include both naturally derived opiates and synthetic opioids.) Opiate abuse in the U.S. dates to pre-Civil War years, which then mushroomed in the post-Civil War era, as veterans sought

By the early 1920s, an estimated 200,000 heroin addicts lived in New York City alone. ways to deal with chronic pain from battlefield injuries. The drug of choice was typically morphine. Like most, if not all, opiates and opioids, morphine is highly addictive. Opium dens soon became an unwanted public scourge, particularly in New York and San Francisco. Eventually, the perceived threat to public morals and safety prompted a government crackdown on dens that ultimately led to the passage of federal regulation and a subsequent ban on morphine use in the early 1900s, except under limited medical circumstances. Like cocaine, heroin use was initially legal — and encouraged by the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies — for many years. It was first introduced by the German pharmaceutical company, Bayer, in the late 1890s as a non-addictive “wonder drug” (a heroic substitute) alternative to morphine and a common treatment for bronchitis and common colds. A hero, it was not, despite being approved and recommended in 1906 by the American Medical Association. Over the ensuing decades, the

human carnage caused by heroin addiction is generally considered to be the first opiate epidemic in U.S. history. By the early 1920s, an estimated 200,000 heroin addicts lived in New York City alone. Opiate use and abuse, particularly heroin, continued to increase in fits and starts in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, often re-fueled by post-war drug use by veterans of WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam War looking for relief from chronic pain and psychological distress. Little was yet known about the triggering mechanism for addiction. No one yet understood how opioids disrupted the brain’s normal functions. Addiction was generally viewed by the public, at least, as a matter of choice, as lack of selfdiscipline. Efforts to control or reduce opioid abuse, therefore, largely centered on anti-drug laws designed to restrict access to and to criminalize use of prohibited drugs. The net result? Our jails and prisons are full of addicts. Moreover, without the benefit of modern medical diagnostic tools of today, treatment options for addiction were limited and had limited effectiveness. Treatment generally focused on programs where patients were administered methadone, naltrexone, or like equivalents under the care of physicians. In other words, if an addict was fortunate to be enrolled in a methadone program, for example, the course of treatment tended to control the symptoms of addiction (e.g., anxiety and physical symptoms), but resulted in the addict simply becoming a perpetual, life-long addict under professional care.

Cigarette smokers today, for instance, know the risks associated with smoking and yet they make the “devil’s bargain.” This aspect of human nature may never change. Human nature, being what it is, if the consequences aren’t absolutely certain and severe, or if the payback may be decades in the future, many individuals choose immediate gratification and pleasure. Today’s opioid epidemic, however, is different. Natural and synthetic opioids are now being prescribed to the general public for pain relief at frequencies and levels never before experienced in U.S. history. The risk of addiction, therefore, is now global, or at least much more pervasive, where in past history the risk was typically limited to a more discrete percentage of the population. Is there anything inherently wrong with broader use of opioids for medical purposes? No, not necessarily, if used properly. Today’s risk exposure is simply the dangerous downside to the legitimate pain management concerns of treating physicians. Let’s face reality — most of us prefer pleasure over pain, and if pleasure isn’t an option, such as in post-op recovery from hip or knee surgery, we opt for Door No. 2, pain avoidance.

That was then, this is now.

But what if the risk of opioid addiction is significantly greater than generally understood by the common person on the street, or even the medical profession? Not everyone is a historian, or a student of past drug epidemics, or a researcher on the cutting edge of brain chemistry. Nor should they be. As a society, we only know what we know, and we defer to and trust science and the pharmaceutical and medical industries to fill in the knowledge gaps for us. In short, we trust but don’t have the knowledge or ability to verify.

Recreational use of opioids continues to play, and will always play, a part in any drug-abuse related epidemic. No matter the severity of warning signs, a certain percentage of our population inevitably disregards the risks in search of the euphoric feeling from an opioid high. For them, knowledge of risk does not necessarily cause changes in their behavior or decision-making.

Have the trustees of this knowledge breached our trust? This remains an open question. No doubt that operator error explains the launch point for many addictions. When in pain, patients don’t always follow instructions or heed warnings. However, rightly or wrongly, parallels between pharmaceutical companies and the decades-long tobacco industry cover-up are also being drawn, and

Why now?

January 2018 49

“bad apple” physicians are under fire. Certainly, the ugly head of the greed of a few may have surfaced yet again to potentially taint the medical industry, one of the noblest of professions.

Advances in Medicine: Understanding the Human Brain Whatever the explanation and regardless of blame, social attitudes have been slow to change. And again, the reason often comes back to the issue of free will, choice and public perception. An addict doesn’t deserve empathy or sympathy because, even once addicted, they can choose to say “No.” They can choose not to lie, they can choose not to steal. And therein lies the ethical rub, the most fundamental of moral judgments underlying why resources haven’t been redirected as quickly or in amounts that the seriousness of the epidemic demands. Why help someone, even someone worthy of saving, if that person is responsible for his or her plight? Fortunately, thanks to advancements in medical research, and in particular through the advent of neuro-imaging of the brain, researchers now know that the underlying premise for the question is fundamentally flawed.

The medical literature tends to be dry, technical, and complicated. If you want quick answers in simple layman terms, the Sundown M Ranch in Yakima, which is one of the state’s most successful drug and alcohol treatment centers, uses a short informational video, “Pleasure Unwoven,” (available at or www.pleasureunwoven. com) to explain the brain chemistry behind addiction of any type. The video should be required watching for every doubting parent or educator, and every doubting person before applying their moral yardstick to addicts. Cost is $30. What is it, then, that makes saying “no” so hard? In a healthy, functioning brain, the frontal lobe is where rational thought occurs and “choices” are made. This lobe serves as a governor of sorts, a moral and logic check valve, regulating our behavior by controlling, amongst other things, our primal impulses to eat, sleep, and procreate. For non-addicts with no genetic predisposition to addiction, the frontal lobe (more accurately, the prefrontal cortex) essentially enables us to discipline the brain’s hedonic pleasure system. Most non-addicts, therefore, have the self-control to say “no” to drugs. Not so with addicts. Research reveals that opioids quickly and radically rewire the brain — in particular, the frontal lobe and the brain’s hedonic pleasure system — to the point where the frontal

Why help someone, even someone worthy of saving, if that person is responsible for his or her plight?

The truth is that addiction is a treatable disease, not a simple binary exercise of free will, and the time has come for all of society to hit the “refresh” button on our knowledge and use some common sense. If decisions to use or not use opioids were simply a matter of “choice,” why don’t more addicts choose to stop? Who wants to be an addict? Consider this: No instinct in life may be stronger than the protective instincts of a mother or father, and yet, addicts put their children at risk every day with their addictive behavior, even at the risk of having their parental rights terminated. That’s how strong the compulsion is — so incredibly strong, in fact, that the need for a “fix” literally overcomes the brain’s “choice” check valve, the prefrontal cortex, and becomes the addict’s only priority, even above primal needs for food and sleep.

lobe has little or no control. This defect is no different, in principle, to when the pancreas malfunctions and can’t regulate sugar levels through the release of insulin. With opioids, the frontal lobe is essentially the pancreas of the brain. Damage it, disable it, or exceed its capacity to exert control, and the brain’s hedonic pleasure system completely drives the addict’s behavior.

Before passing judgment, we all owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves anew, to bring ourselves current in our knowledge of the root causes of addiction. For skeptics, challenge yourself to learn. Do some homework. And as you search for answers, ask yourself a few simple questions: What is the brain chemistry behind extreme compulsive behavior? And how does the human brain function under the influence of opioids, even when used for short durations?

In layman’s terms, the euphoric high from opioid use causes an extreme positive reaction from the brain’s pleasure center, then pleasure-causing dopamine is released in heightened quantities, which, in time and with sustained use, the brain eventually craves on the same or higher level as the basic life functions. Once addicted, the addict’s need for an opioid high essentially becomes an uncontrollable compulsion, a near primal instinct, that overwhelms and neutralizes the frontal lobe’s control panel.


And when it ceases to function properly, the drug’s grip on the addict is brutal. For the full-blown addict, everyday pleasures do not even register. The addict goes numb to ordinary life. The brain’s new baseline for registering and recognizing pleasure is fed by opioids, and only opiates, and the pleasure-inducing dopamine spikes that they cause. If the addict tries to stop, withdrawal symptoms start, symptoms so severe and painful that they can cause death. Ultimately, the addict becomes frantic, unable to focus or to hold employment, and will move heaven and earth in search of pleasure and/or to avoid pain regardless of the legal or societal consequences. In the extreme, fear of shame and loss of self-respect have no impact. The addict’s compulsion causes him or her to lie, cheat, and steal, especially from trusting targets like family and friends. And why? Because the rewired brain is in control, not the person that you knew. The primal need to survive by feeding dopamine spikes to the brain has priority over even food, which, in turn, often leads to extreme weight loss. Is there any wonder, therefore, why just saying “no” is an “ask” too far? If the compulsion is so severe that the addict will break the sacred trust between parent and child and the bonds of longstanding friendship, the addict is beyond self-help, beyond “choice.”

Call to Action We need, as a society, to retool our thinking and our moralistic attitudes. Like it or not, all of us are stakeholders in this national emergency. Whether the addiction started by recreational use or by use of prescriptive painkillers, the full risks associated with opioid use were underappreciated by the public. The majority of addicts unknowingly became addicts in weeks or months — teenagers, college students, blue-collar workers, and professionals alike. Opioid addiction does not discriminate.

and out-patient support, have healed deep wounds and launched countless “graduates” into productive, healthy, drug-free lives. But they are just the tip of the spear in the fight with too few soldiers to win the war. Like the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae against the Persian empire, the Sundown M Ranches of the world

Research reveals that opiates radically rewire the brain… to the point where the frontal lobe has little or no control.

need help. For every patient who is fortunate to receive treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, current estimates are that as many as five addicts are untreated for their addiction. This is unacceptable for the richest country in the world. We need emergency funding for increased age-appropriate drug educational programs in our schools, more specialized treatment centers and counseling resources, longer in-patient stay periods, and lower costs or government subsidization of costs. The crisis is a systemic problem that requires a systemic response by our federal, state and local governments. Please, call or write your state and federal representatives. And when you do, make it personal because “there but for the grace of God” go any one of us.

One thing is clear, however. Blame and stigmatization are not the answer. Treatment is — for the addict and the addict’s family. Drug addiction is a family disease, often pitting parent against child, father against mother, and siblings against siblings. Parents of addicts live in mortal fear of suicide, overdose, or perhaps just as gut-wrenching — when to stop caring and disown a child in the crushing grip of opiates. No parents should be forced to face or fear these thoughts, even fleetingly, or to drain their family savings without a safety net to save themselves if they do. In-patient treatment clinics like Sundown M Ranch offer hope. Their successes, through detoxification, aggressive counseling

January 2018 51

Medical Advances 52

From 3-D printers to gene therapies, medicine is changing like never before


wo years ago this month, in a sweeping farewell State of the Union address, President Obama made the startling announcement that the U.S. would drastically ramp up efforts to cure cancer. He compared it to John F. Kennedy’s 1962 “moonshot” challenge — the audacious pledge, spurred by the space race with the Soviet Union, to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Kennedy didn’t live to see it, but Neil Armstrong, indeed, stepped on the moon in 1969. Obama put Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son to brain cancer in 2015, in charge of the “Cancer Moonshot” — the mission to make a decade of progress in cancer research in half the time — five years. That effort is continuing, despite the Trump administration’s specter of slashed funding for the National Institutes of Health and other research institutions. But while bold, Obama’s challenge isn’t as pie-in-the-sky as it would’ve been 20 or even 10 years ago. It comes at a time when medical advancements and discoveries are happening at a dizzying pace — faster than most of us

by Meri-Jo Borzilleri

can keep up with or even understand. Science and technology are combining to accelerate changes in the medical field — from creating body-part replacements to gene therapy — like never before. It’s no longer theoretical. The future has arrived. Progress is only going to get faster. One scientist likened today’s gene therapy developments to clunky, firstgeneration personal computers. We’re only at the cusp of where we can go. Eradicating diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis, and reversing lifealtering conditions like blindness and paralysis seem almost inevitable — our destiny as an evolving civilization. (Reality check: We’ve all seen the futuristic movies where advancements go haywire and prompt the question: Ultimately, will science serve humankind, or the other way around?) For now, we may be entering a golden age of medical achievement. In the following pages, you’ll read about promising — breathtaking, even — medical advances that are happening, some affecting the lives of people here in the North Sound. As for Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, I wouldn’t bet against it.

Smartphone app expected to help screen for disease


magine snapping a selfie to find out if you have a disease like hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, or even pancreatic cancer. Researchers at the University of Washington are developing a smartphone app that makes it easy for people to screen themselves by taking a picture of the whites of their eyes to check for increased levels of bilirubin, an indicator of jaundice, an early symptom of these diseases. The Biliscreen app focuses on detecting yellowing before it can be seen by the naked eye. The app uses a smartphone camera, computer algorithms and 3-D-printed box to block out the exterior light that might affect the eye. Colorful glasses, looking like leftovers from the psychedelic 1960s, provide reference for color calibration. It is the app’s potential for earlier detection of pancreatic cancer that has caused the biggest stir in medical and public circles. The disease is diagnosed with much less frequency than lung and breast cancers, but it is devastating — the five-year survival rate is 8 to 10 percent. The symptoms are often caught very late, said UW doctoral student Alex Mariakakis, 26, of the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. “Jaundice is one of the ones visible from the outside.” A clinical study showed the app able to detect jaundice before it was visible to the naked eye, and compared favorably to blood screenings that test for the same condition. Approval of the app isn’t likely for a few years — Mariakakis said follow-up studies continue and they have not even entered discussions with the Federal Drug Administration, which must approve it. Mariakakis said caution is needed. “It’s a murky world. Giving people the power to diagnose themselves…we don’t necessarily want them to jump to their own conclusions” but allow a medical professional to interpret results. Still, it’s exciting. Mariakakis has been flooded with emails from people eager to use it for themselves or a relative. Just about everyone has a smartphone and want to know more about their health. “To be able to give someone a tool to do that…it gives you empowerment. It gives people more control over their health.” –

January 2018


Knee replacement shaped by 3-D printer


or Bellingham’s Robin Robertson, hope for a new life arrived via FedEx, delivered to the Pacific Rim Outpatient Surgery Center and packed in a black container the size of four stacked pizza boxes. In the box, among surgical tools and templates built for one-time use, was her knee-replacement implant, a fist-sized joint made of shiny cobalt chrome and polyethylene. How it came to be is something that, not so long ago, would have seemed straight out of science fiction, a futuristic creation of the wildest dreams of scientists, doctors and engineers — more Star Trek than real life. Unlike most knee replacements — about 800,000 are done annually in the U.S. alone — Robertson’s was engineered precisely to fit her and no one else on earth. Only one company, Boston-areabased Conformis, does these kinds of custom knee replacements, and they are using a 3-D printer to do it. Robertson’s knee was built virtually, using the printer, computer-assisted design and specialized software. The process started with a CT scan measuring her leg’s mechanical alignment from hip to ankle. Here’s what’s mind-blowing: From the scan, the software is able to extract the shape of the damaged knee and actually correct it when her artificial knee is built, layer upon layer, with the 3-D printer. “We’re undoing her disease to the shape of the implant,” says John Slamin, Conformis engineer and senior vice president. 54

This differs from the traditional knee replacement because the knee is built to each patient’s specific alignment and joint structure. Typical “off-theshelf” knees come in a few dozen sizes and are, for the most part, successful. Still, those “off-the-shelf” odds for a better life weren’t good enough for Robertson, who agonized over the decision. “My biggest stumbling block was the fear that it wouldn’t be better after the surgery, and that would crush me…I just don’t want to be in that small percentage of people that have had trouble.” Robertson, 56, was born with discoid meniscus, a malformation of the cartilage that provides cushioning and stability for the knee. She owns Bellingham Tennis and Fitness with her husband, Doug, a Bellingham attorney, and has undergone 10 knee surgeries — her first at age 13. She spent a lifetime pushing through

pain to maintain an active lifestyle: gymnastics as a kid, track and crosscountry at Western Washington University. But arthritis made doing most things painful, even torturous. When she was 24, after her second surgery, Robertson’s doctor said she had the arthritic knees of an 85-yearold. She had to give up running, so she made cycling her thing, in a big way, competing and now coaching and training others. She does not remember a time when her knees did not hurt. Over the years, her knees deteriorated further, keeping her from doing the things she loves: hiking, soccer, skiing, even dancing. But still, she waited, painfully, for better technology. Robertson has a thorough knowledge of knee mechanics. A Western Washington graduate with a degree in environmental science, she is doggedly upbeat and a sponge for learning how things work.

“We’re undoing her disease to the shape of the implant.” Finally, in recent months with her quality of life diminished to the point where even a short walk with her husband was too painful, she decided to have her knee replaced — with a custom implant. Her insurance covered it. Conformis has done about 75,000 custom knee replacements over 10 years, said Slamin, so it’s not experimental. Robertson had the surgery November 9, conducted by Bellingham surgeon Dr. Michael Thorpe, the only surgeon north of Seattle performing these custom knee implant surgeries (Robertson’ knee was his third implant). Thorpe knows Robertson’s knee, having performed seven of her surgeries. Conformis flew her to Boston to visit the plant to see where her knee was made. As of this writing, Robertson’s recovery is going well overall. In January, her goal is to be riding a stationary bike for at least an hour. She hopes that with her new knee,

created by cutting-edge science, she no longer has to feel like she’s living on borrowed time. She wants to be able to go on a three- or four-day hike with her husband, walk without a hitch, do other low-impact activities. She misses dancing, and other things too. “I want to wear high heels again!” As in the case of Robertson’s knee, 3-D printers are revolutionizing engineering and manufacturing. They are only just getting started. In general, the printers are machines that can build a 3-D object by turning a computer design into thousands of tiny slices, then layering them from the bottom up. It can build in various materials, from ceramic vases to plastic toys to a metal and polyethylene replacement knee. When asked about 3-D printers and the future, Slamin’s excitement, even over the phone, is palpable. “The Star Trek replicator where it'll print food is not far away,” he said. (Take-out

— John Slamin

pizzerias, beware.) In Europe, engineers are printing plates to replace fractured skulls. The most exciting development in research labs: Printed cartilage, conceivably leading to medical engineering’s holy grail — printing replacement organs. “A brain? You’ll never do that,” says Slamin. “But maybe print a kidney, 50 or 100 years from now? I can see that. “At some point in time, you’ll be able to basically cure the disease by replacing an organ with a healthy, new organ. It’s out in the future, but it will happen.” The caveat? “Assuming that we survive the next 100 years, as a race.” – January 2018


Cannabis helping in more ways than before


hances are good that you, or someone you know, is using cannabis or its extracts for something other than a recreational high. Maybe it’s for insomnia or joint pain or to deal with anxiety or migraines. Only now, when more and more states (29 and counting) are legalizing pot, is cannabis entering the mainstream as medicine. Balm or edible or bud, pot’s ability to free people from pain is chipping away at old taboos and stigmas. Some medical advances have occurred despite the federal government’s classification of pot as a Schedule 1 controlled substance (the same category as heroin) — restricting access by certain groups, like military veterans, and disqualifying it for most major research funding. Those advances have been spelled out recently by reputable government

groups like the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse. In a 2015 report, the NIDA told of cannabis’s promising results obtained in treating epileptic seizures in adults and children. Studies are being done on its possible use in treatment of substance abuse, like opioid addiction; cancer; psychiatric and neurological disorders and disorders of the immune system. Harvard Medical School doctor Kevin Hill, who has done groundbreaking work in a study showing marijuana can help with pain in multiple sclerosis patients, told that it is too soon to recommend cannabis as a replacement for pain-killing opioids or treatment of opioid addiction. While most people know pot for its chemical, THC, that causes the high, most medical studies focus on CBD, cannabidiol, which does not get you high. (See chart on page 56.) –

Uses of Cannabinoids



Relieves pain

Suppresses muscle spasms

Reduces vomiting and nausea

Reduces seizures and convulsions

Reduces inflammation

• •

Tranquilizing and antipsychotic Aids sleep

Inhibits tumor growth/cancer cells

Stimulates appetite

Relieves anxiety

Gene therapy the new frontier


t’s not often you hear medical officials and scientists, usually a conservative bunch, use terms like “new frontier,” and “utterly transformative.” But that’s what they’re saying about gene therapy. Of all medical advances, gene therapy is the most revolutionary. It is poised to change medicine as we know it. In 2015, a 7-year-old German boy got a new lease on life after Italian doctors


fixed a faulty gene the caused a rare skin disorder. The boy, dying from a disease that prevented his outer skin from attaching to his inner layer, received a skin graft — made after Italian doctors harvested his own skin cells and corrected an abnormal gene. The boy’s graft not only took, but regrew his own skin. The boy is back at school, and playing soccer like he always had dreamed.

Surgical table makes hip replacements easier


ith mechanized arm and leg extensions and ski-boot footholds, the Hana operating table looks like something you’d find at your local gym. But it’s the latest high-tech equipment in hip-replacement surgery, allowing surgeons to operate from the front of the hip (anterior), rather than the traditional posterior or side, making for shorter, less invasive surgery with less recovery time. “I feel like this is probably the new standard of care across the country,” said Dr. Christopher Sheu of Skagit Regional Clinics Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. The key to the Hana table (from the acronym for Hip And Knee Arthroplasty), is its many movable parts, attachments and features that make it versatile, while freeing up assistants from having to maneuver or hold patients during surgery.

Late last year, a study presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology told of patients, blind from a hereditary retinal disease, regaining their sight — enough to navigate through a maze in low light — following gene therapy. This isn’t limited to one disease. A story in Science Daily said this could be the first step in approval for other therapies that could treat the more than

It’s not for hip replacements only. Sheu uses the table to operate on femur (thighbone) fractures and hip arthroscopies. Sheu estimates has done 30 or 40 anterior hip replacements, two or three per week, since getting the Hana table in the fall of 2017. Going in from the front, versus typical surgery from the back or the side, means cutting through less muscle and tissue and means a dramatic differences in recovery. With the new table, patients go home the same day or the next day and have a lower risk of hip dislocation. The traditional method requires a typical hospital stay of two or three days, said Sheu, and has a longer rehab time. –

200 genetic mutations that cause blindness, including age-related macular degeneration. There is currently no cure for inherited retinal diseases. In August of 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the first U.S. gene therapy approval for a new leukemia treatment. It’s part of a new class of gene therapies that fortifies a patient’s own immune cells to attack

cancer cells. Researchers are hoping the new therapies, called “living drugs,” can be used to fight cancers of various types, and a study on glioblastomas — the aggressive brain cancer recently diagnosed in U.S. Sen. John McCain — shows mixed, but promising, results, said the N.Y. Times last summer. The new leukemia treatment “has been utterly transformative in blood

cancers,” Dr. Stephan Grupp, director of a Philadelphia cancer immunotherapy program, told the Times. “If it can start to work in solid tumors, it will be utterly transformative for the whole field.” Grupp cautioned it would take at least five years for anything conclusive. Five years — enough time for the “Cancer Moonshot” to hit its mark. –

January 2018


Advances in breast cancer diagnostics


n recent years, breakthroughs in genetic testing for breast cancer, like the one that spurred actress Angelina Jolie to get a preventative double mastectomy after she found she had a gene mutation that often leads to breast cancer — received lots of attention. More common have been advances in mammographies — if you’ve had your breasts checked lately, your physician might have asked if your insurance covers a 3D mammography, the latest in advanced diagnostics, which gives a much more detailed picture that can help with early diagnosis. But what few women know is that breast cancer comes in different forms. Knowing this, and the questions to ask if you’ve been diagnosed, can help save your life. Just ask Birch Bay’s Elizabeth Vines. Her hometown doctor in Canada (she is a dual citizen) misdiagnosed her lump, which she first found as a peasized bump in February 2014. Six months later, it grew rapidly to the size of half a lemon. As a 35-year-old, relatively young for breast cancer and having no family history, her doctor told her not to worry. In late November, as

part of her pre-op testing to remove what he had diagnosed as a cyst, she was horrified to learn the lump was advanced-stage (Stage 4) cancer that included a lesion on her liver. Shortly after, she was told she had two years to live, Vines said. Reeling from the news, she took action when her Canadian cancer center could not get see her until after Christmas. She started calling around for anyone who could help. One agency was the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, near friends who wintered there. She started chemotherapy at Mayo Dec. 3. In Vines’ case, getting a second opinion likely saved her life. Her Mayo Clinic doctors, led by Dr. Robert Northfelt, diagnosed her as Stage 3B — the liver lesion was not cancer — and HER-2 positive, an aggressive form of breast cancer best treated with specific cancer-fighting drugs that block hormone receptors. Most people are unaware that different, specific types of breast cancer exist and can respond to targeted treatment. A determined Vines sought a second opinion, asked questions, and learned about her disease.

QUIZ: BREAST CANCER be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year? 50,000 200,000 100,000 More than 250,000

2 In what age range is a woman most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer? 30–40 Years old 40–50 Years old 50–60 Years old

60–70 Years old 70–80 Years old

Source: Genentech


3 True or false? Breast cancer can be classified into subtypes based on the proteins on or in the cancer cells, which can help determine the appropriate treatment. True False

4 Which of the following is a breast cancer subtype based on the proteins found in or on cancer cells? Metastatic HER2-positive Stage 1

5 True or false: Only tumors larger than 2cm in diameter can spread to other parts of the body. True False

6 Where is the first place breast cancer is likely to spread? Chest Lymph nodes Ovaries Ribs

7 True or false: Stages 0–1 are known as early breast cancer and stages 2–4 are known as advanced breast cancer. True False

Answers 1. More than 250,000  2. 70–80 Years old  3. True  4. HER2-positive  5. False  6. Lymph nodes  7. False

1 Approximately how many women will

“This company changed my life and saved my life in the process." — Elizabeth Vines

Breast Cancer Subtypes




Hormone receptor-negative


Hormone receptor-positive

Breast cancer can also be classified into certain subtypes based on their proteins on or in the cancer cells

HER2-positive/hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells have excess HER2 protein or extra copies of the HER2 gene and contain estrogen or progesterone receptors



Vines was lucky — one of the drugs, Herceptin, had been around since 2006. The other, Perjeta, had just came out in early 2014 after use in clinical trials. The two drugs were the major players in a chemo cocktail that proved remarkably effective — after the first two treatments, her tumor had shrunk noticeably. Eventually, the 12-centimeter mass had shrunk to 4 millimeters, and doctors told her less than 1 percent of living cancer remained. Even her doctors were surprised. After chemo, Vines still had to undergo a mastectomy and 28 rounds of radiation. But the cancer was gone. She was lucky in another way too. The drugs are expensive and Vines’ family, which included her son, then 4, prepared to sell their house to pay for medical bills. But pharmaceutical company Genentech, which developed Perjeta, had a foundation that offered Vines financial help, paying 75 percent of her treatment and surgery. It allowed the family to keep their house. “This company changed my life and saved my life in the process.” On Nov. 19, Vines celebrated her two-year anniversary of completing cancer treatment. She is grateful to return to normal life. “I am happy to have hair again and be more myself again.” She still has to take drugs to keep the cancer from returning. But that’s a small price in exchange for being able to help at her son’s school, where she reads to his classes and goes on field trips. She has even started running again. She regrets not getting an earlier diagnosis, which could have avoided much agony. But seeking a second opinion and a more specific diagnosis “made all the difference in the world to me. I felt like I was looking for a miracle and found it. It was completely life-changing. I had lost all hope. I found there were new drugs and they hoped they would work well for me, and they did.” –

HER2-positive/hormone receptornegative breast cancer cells have excess HER2 protein or extra copies of the HER2 gene

HER2-negative/hormone receptorpositive breast cancer cells contain estrogen or progesterone receptors


HER2-negative/hormone receptornegative (also known as triple-negative) breast cancer cells lack estrogen and progesterone receptors and don’t have excess HER2 protein or extra copies of the HER2 gene

Source: Genentech

January 2018


Eric Subong, MD is a board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained retina specialist. Hailing from Baltimore, MD, he received both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland. Amador Subong, MD is a boardcertified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained retina specialist. He received his BS in Chemistry from Villanova University and MD from Howard University College of Medicine, completing his internship in Medicine at Sinai Hospital/Johns Hopkins.

Specializing in: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Wet & Dry Macular Degeneration Diabetic Retinopathy Macular Edema Macular Holes Macular Pucker Retinal Vascular Occlusion Retinal Detachments & Tears Flashes & Floaters Intraocular Inflammation (Uveitis) Intraocular Infection Congenital Vitreo-Retinal Diseases Ocular Trauma


200 Westerly Rd, Suite 101 Bellingham, WA 98226 BELLINGHAM RETINA SPECIALISTS 200 Westerly Road, Suite 101




Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties are fortunate to have a medical community dedicated to excellence. The men and women in these pages offer personal care and attention. Whether you’re seeking a holistic approach to medicine or cutting-edge surgery, we are pleased to introduce you to these select medical professionals.

January 2018


Warm up this winter with

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Practice Name / / Practice address / / City, State Zip Urology Group / / 340 Birchwood Ave., Bellingham (xxx) xxx-xxxx Bellingham / / 360-714-3400 / /

Š2017 Hologic, Inc. Cynosure is a registered trademarks of Hologic, Inc. MonaLisa Touch is a trademark owned by Deka in the U.S. and other countries and Cynosure distributes these products in various territories. AMP-2068

the Health & Medical Profiles Providing the Most Effective Women’s Health Treatment


Innovative Laser Procedure MonaLisa Touch® Restores Gynecologic Health For more than a year, Bellingham Urology Group has offered a leading-edge treatment in their practice to resolve gynecologic health issues often caused by menopause. The MonaLisa Touch, an in-office procedure that is virtually painless and requires no anesthesia, received FDA clearance in 2014. Bellingham Urology Group has been a leader in providing this special fractional CO2 laser designed to help postmenopausal women as well as offering a hormone free treatment for breast cancer survivors. More than 50% of postmenopausal women experience changes in their vaginal health which can cause difficulty and discomfort with intimacy. Other treatments have proven inconvenient, messy, or ineffective for many, and hormone therapy is specifically contraindicated for those with a history of cancer. The MonaLisa treatment causes the vaginal tissue to generate more collagen, thereby restoring natural elasticity and lubrication. Patients undergo three brief treatments spaced six weeks apart. “My patients treated with the MonaLisa Touch laser have significant improvement in the vaginal tissue after the first treatment.” says Dr. John Pettit, a leading Urologist with Bellingham Urology Group in Bellingham. “Patients experienced minimal to no side effects or adverse reactions and reported an escalation of progress with each subsequent treatment. With these kinds of outcomes, the MonaLisa Touch is a game-changing procedure for my postmenopausal patients.

real ego boost. Anyway, she mentioned hormone creams I could try topically. However, I was truly reluctant as my family had a profound history of breast and ovarian cancer. But she gave me a prescription which I briefly tried; however, a few short weeks later I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself, so I discontinued treatment. The whole idea of permanently giving up my sexuality seemed sad and unacceptable. I felt ashamed somehow that I was no longer a sexual being. My sister helped me do some research and after reading tons of information about how seniors generally had to have “alternative” sexual methods because so many women found sex painful, I was stunned. Men after all can pop a little pill and all is good. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything offered for women. Finally, we discovered the Mona Lisa Touch. The effects are life changing. I’ve only had two treatments, but my husband and I are able to finally resume intercourse. I have increased sensation and finally feel like myself again. Now I know why she’s smiling!” — Denise Miller, BUG patient

Denise’s story: “When I turned fifty, intercourse became intolerably painful. I had absolutely no idea why. It wasn’t something I really wanted to discuss with anyone, but I did finally consult my doctor. She casually threw out terms like vaginal atrophy - not a

For more information on the MonaLisa Touch treatment, or to schedule an appointment, please call Bellingham Urology Group at 360-714-3400.

“MonaLisa Touch is a real breakthrough for feminine health,” said Dr. Pettit. “It offers a quick and virtually painless remedy for a medical condition with a large unmet need for an effective treatment option. I am grateful I am able to offer my patients this treatment.”

MonaLisa Touch is a registered trademark of DEKA M.E.L.A. SRL – Calenzano - Italy

Mackenzie Epler, PA-C comes to Bellingham Urology Group from Providence Medical Group, in Missoula, MT where she provided excellent care in their Neurology Clinic. She comes highly recommended and increases our capacity to serve patients from Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties. Mackenzie completed her undergraduate studies in Community Health at the University of Illinois Urbana — Champaign, and her Master of Clinical Medical Science in Physician Assistant at Barry University, in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Ms. Epler has a keen interest in women’s health issues and a passion for quality patient oriented care. She will be a welcome addition to our practice. Bellingham Urology Group is pleased to offer her services to those preferring a female provider. When she is not providing high quality personalized healthcare, Mackenzie enjoys running, skiing, camping, hiking, and yoga. Sounds like a perfect fit for our little corner of the Northwest!

Bellingham Urology Group, PLLC, 340 Birchwood Ave., Bellingham 360-714-3400 |

January 2018


the Health & Medical Profiles North Sound Root Canal Specialists North Sound Root Canal Specialists would like to welcome you to our office. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality and most technologically advanced care and service in endodontic treatment. As a practice devoted solely to endodontic therapy, we have advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the dental pulp, also known as the nerve space within the tooth. We are skilled in treating complicated root canal cases, traumatic injuries to teeth and relieving oral pain. In many cases, we can save teeth which might have otherwise been lost. Endodontists may use advanced technology, such as operating microscopes, ultrasound and digital imaging, including cone beam computed tomography 3D machine, which is a type of X-ray machine used in situations where regular dental or facial X-rays are not sufficient. Our expert team, led by respected endodontic specialists Dr. Simcock, Dr. Carlson

and Dr. Amber Severin, includes an experienced endodontic staff. We provide the highest standards of professional care in a friendly, comfortable environment.

Dr. Carlson

130 S. 15th Street #101 Mount Vernon 360.428.4393 2219 Rimland Dr. #403 Bellingham 360.966.8354

Dr. Simcock

Dr. Severin

Northwest Life Medicine Clinic Dr. Jenna Jorgensen at Northwest Life Medicine Clinic takes a fresh, individualized approach to medicine. She focuses on thorough investigation to determine the underlying cause of her patient’s symptoms and/or disease. Dr. Jenna is trained as a primary care physician which makes no complaint to big or too small and she has experience working with all ages. The most commonly treated symptoms include: ■■ Anxiety

■■ Brain Fog or Memory Issues

■■ Depression

■■ High Blood Pressure

■■ Fatigue

■■ Digestive Issues

■■ Hypothyroidism

■■ Hormone Imbalances & Infertility

■■ Autoimmune Disorders

Her Treatment plans are completely individualized and commonly include: ■■ Comprehensive conventional &

■■ Vitamin injection therapy

specialty lab testing ■■ Nutritional programs ■■ Detox programs

■■ Therapeutic bodywork ■■ Professional-grade supplements ■■ Lifestyle counseling

“Life is medicine, live life well.” –Dr. Jenna Jorgensen, ND


1050 Larrabee Ave., Suite 202 Bellingham 360.746.6923 |

the Health & Medical Profiles Natural Way Chiropractic and Massage

Celebrating 23 Years!

Natural Way Chiropractic has been serving Bellingham and the surrounding areas for 23 years, and is now looking to open a 7th location in Vancouver, WA in 2018. The patient base ranges from infants to persons who have had symptoms their entire lives. If there is a spine and nervous system, it can be helped — and their focus is to create the environment to support that endeavor.

Dr. Eddie Hansen is a native of Bellingham and a 1995 graduate of Western States Chiropractic College. After years of study and refinement, Dr. Hansen shares his epertise and knowledge though lectures both in the community and in local companies. In December 2010 he was voted “Top Doc” by Northwest Business Monthly, and has been voted Best Chiropractor for 5 consecutive years in Best of the Northwest by Bellingham Alive readers.

Our primary focus is to raise the standard of the chiropratic and massage professions. We are committed to providing a level of excellence in your care that is unmatched in its attention to detail and compassion. We began as a small family chiropractic center, and have now grown to 6 offices that provide massage therapy, nutritional counseling, ergonomic and job safety workshops, and health and wellness classes in addition to chiropractic care. We want to educate the public to understand the incredible difference a chiropractic lifestyle can have in regards to enjoying better health. The state of the art facilities we have at Natural Way are unparalleled in the area. We continue to grow and develop other avenues to improve our service to our patients.

Our mission is to enhance the inherent greatness

Community outreach has extended to include many different varieties including bi-annual patient appreciation days, collecting donations for the Salvation Army’s Giving Tree program, health fairs, ergonomic and back safety training for over one hundred local business; and even free weekly health and wellness classes at all locations throughout the year.

Spinal Decompression

Computerized Foot Scans

Customized Orthotics


Everett 5201 Evergreen Way, Ste. A 425.257.1000

Unbelievable Customer Service

Vancouver, WA  Coming 2018

of each person thereby bringing out the best in everyone. Our vision is a world that is better today than it was yesterday, because we made a difference in the lives of many people.

Other Services

Bellingham 2000 N. State St. 360.671.1710 Ferndale 1943 Main St., Ste 101 360.384.1396

On-Premise X-Ray Unit

sEMG (Surface EMG) and Thermal Scan

Free weekly health and wellness classes

Massage Therapy

Ideal Protein Diet Program and Nutritional Counseling

Lynden 102 Grover St., Ste. 100 360.354.9900 Mount Vernon 1825 Riverside Dr., Ste. A 360.424.9600 Anacortes 1015 14th St., Ste. A 360.293.3223

January 2018


the Health & Medical Profiles Whatcom Eye Surgeons Whatcom Eye Surgeons works with your family eye care provider to deliver personalized patient care. We encourage you to consult first with your eye doctor, who can provide information, discuss options and recommend a medical or surgical consultation with us, if appropriate. Our experienced, local team practices comprehensive ophthalmology, and includes:

Kristi Bailey, MD

Aaron Kuzin, MD

A graduate of Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Bailey engages patients with her bright energy and expertise in cataract surgery and medical retinal disease. She completed her ophthalmology training at Casey Eye Institute.

Dr. Kuzin practices cataract, glaucoma and anterior segment surgery. With warmth and caring, he encourages patients’ understanding and participation in their treatment. Dr. Kuzin completed his medical training at Harvard Medical School and the University of Southern California/Doheny Eye Institute.

Brett Bence, OD Dr. Bence reveals his extensive knowledge and dedication to medical eye care in his compassion for patients. He is a partner in helping them understand their vision problems. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and a graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry.

Justin Wright, OD Dr. Wright provides medical eye care with specific interests in ocular disease and strabismus. Patients find comfort in his thoroughness and easy-going style. He graduated from Pacific University College of Optometry, with additional training at The Eye Institute of Utah and Moran Eye Center.

Ingrid Carlson, MD Dr. Carlson specializes in pediatric ophthalmology and surgery, including strabismus treatment for adults and kids. She delights in helping people see and her enthusiasm energizes staff and patients alike. She is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine.


Local Doctors Serving Whatcom County since 2007

Medical and Surgical Eye Care: ■■





Medical Retina





Whatcom Eye Surgeons 2075 Barkley Blvd., #205, Bellingham 360.676.6233 Hours: 8–5, Monday–Friday

the Health & Medical Profiles Pacific Rim Orthopaedic Surgeons Our mission is to provide exceptional, personalized, and compassionate care to patients with all types of orthopaedic injuries and conditions. We are committed to improving your quality of life. We are a local small group practice, independently owned and operated by five board-certified physicians. Three of our surgeons are fellowship trained in sports medicine, hand surgery, and spine surgery. We also have two Physician Assistants who partner with us to care for our patients.

Gary D. Bergman, MD Fellowship in Hand Surgery Dr. Gary Bergman moved to Bellingham and began practice at Pacific Rim Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1992. He specializes in hand surgery, but enjoys providing care for all types of orthopaedic conditions. Dr. Bergman is married and has three grown sons and eight grandchildren.

Michael K. Gannon, MD Dr. Michael Gannon has been in practice in Bellingham since 1993 and the focus of his practice is general orthopaedics. He has served in the military and in Operation Desert Storm as a physician. Dr. Gannon is married and has two sons, who attended Sehome High School. He has been involved in a variety of athletic programs in local schools and the boy scouts.

Joel R. Hoekema, MD Fellowship in Spine Surgery Dr. Joel Hoekema began practice at Pacific Rim Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2001. The focus of his practice is spinal and joint replacement surgery. Dr. Hoekema currently does the most joint replacement surgeries than any other physician in Whatcom County. Dr. Hoekema is a Lynden native, and is an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He is married with three children.

Christopher J. Van Hofwegen, MD Fellowship in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Dr. Van Hofwegen has been in practice since 2010 and the focus of his practice is Sports Medicine, but he also cares for all other general orthopaedic conditions. Dr. Van Hofwegen also offers Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections. He and his wife, who is from Nooksack, and their three children enjoy living in the northwest and lead a family-focused, active lifestyle.

Orthopaedic Care for the Whole Family!

Michael A. Thorpe, MD Dr. Michael Thorpe has been in practice in Bellingham since 1988. The focus of his practice is in outpatient surgery and sports medicine, and he is the only doctor doing outpatient joint replacements in Whatcom County. He has been the Team Orthopaedic Surgeon for Western Washington University since 1988. In 2010 and 2013, Dr. Thorpe received the Washington State’s Best Doctors Award and in 2011 he received the Patient’s Choice Award. He and his wife have five children, who all attended Bellingham high schools and WWU; and six grandchildren so far.

Physician Assistants: ■■

Frazier Coe, PA-C


Cindy Macklin PA-C


Sports Medicine


General Orthopedics


PRP Injections


Arthritis Treatment


Joint Replacements


Spine Surgery

Pacific Rim Orthopaedic Surgeons 2979 Squalicum Parkway #203, Bellingham 360.733.7670 Facebook @pacficrimorthopedic

January 2018


the Health & Medical Profiles Fourth Corner Neurosurgical Associates Fourth Corner Neurosurgical Associates is dedicated to providing the highest quality care to meet the specific needs of each patient. We strive to educate patients about their spine condition and the many treatment options available so that each patient (and their family) is able to make an informed decision about their care. We believe that thoughtful care based on informed decision making is vital to achieving the best possible outcome. Located at the Cascade Brain & Spine Center in Bellingham, our physicians provide a comprehensive range of minimally invasive surgical and non-surgical options for the treatment of the brain, neck, and back. Our specialists may perform surgical and pain management procedures at the Cascade Outpatient Spine Center (COSC). COSC is a WA DOH licensed, AAAHC accredited and Medicare certified ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Our ASC is dedicated to spine care and pain management and reduces the cost of care to our patients. All Fourth Corner Neurosurgical Associates doctors are board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery or the American Board of Anesthesiology.

David Baker, M.D. Dr. David Baker has expertise in both minimally invasive spinal surgery and Sacro-iliac joint fusion (SI joint fusion).

Tung Ha, D.O. Dr. Tung Ha is a leader in cervical disk replacement surgery and minimally invasive spinal surgery. As an osteopath he embraces a holistic approach to neurosurgical problems and patient care.


Barry Landau, M.D.

Carlton McQueen, M.D.

Dr. Barry Landau has special interest and expertise in minimally invasive spinal surgery and is currently the director of the spine program at St. Joseph Medical Center.

Dr. Carlton (Kit) McQueen offers a full range of pain management options including opioid consultations, neck, lumbar and joint injections, radiofrequency lesioning, and spinal cord stimulation. He also has expertise in regenerative medicine using stem cell and platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy.

Christopher Meredith, M.D. Dr. Christopher Meredith is an expert in the areas of adult spinal deformity and adult degenerative spinal disease. He actively works with the state health departments of several states to help improve health care policy and review quality of care issues.

Visit for more information about our physicians & the services they offer.








1213 24TH ST. #100 ANACORTES, WA 360.293.3101



2940 SQUALICUM PKWY #101 BELLINGHAM, WA 360.671.9877





2511 M AVE. #A ANACORTES, WA 360.299.4212

ISLAND SURGEONS INC 1213 24TH ST. #700 ANACORTES, WA 360.293.5142



307 S 13TH ST. #200 MT VERNON, WA 360.419.3664



1400 E KINCAID ST. MT VERNON, WA 360.428.2586




4280 MERIDIAN ST. #120 BELLINGHAM, WA 360.734.4300


1415 E KINCAID ST. MT VERNON, WA 360.675.8229




3015 SQUALICUM PKWY #100 BELLINGHAM, WA 360.715.4186

1815 MAIN ST. FERNDALE, WA 360.746.2314



2220 CORNWALL AVE. BELLINGHAM, WA 360.756.2190







PO BOX 1376 MT VERNON, WA 360.428.2160

550 SPRING ST. FRIDAY HARBOR, WA 360.378.2142



2061 HOSPITAL DR. SEDRO WOOLLEY, WA 360.856.7230



1415 E KINCAID ST. MT VERNON, WA 360.428.2273

January 2018


Cerise Noah


Realtor® | Windermere-Whatcom 360.393.5826

Your Relocation Sp ecialist Realtor of the Year 2016 Whatcom County Association of Realtors – 2015 President

Jack & Michelle Johnson

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202 Ohio St., Bellingham, WA | (360) 734-5960 |

HABITAT Home Remodel Tips and Tricks · Featured Home



here’s warmth just looking at this yellow cedar home, originally built in 1927 as a single-story, working-class Craftsman. But in addition to adding a second story and master bedroom to their now two-bedroom, three-bath home (plus basement apartment), the client wanted a house with a healthy addition of another kind. Builders and designers avoided using materials like toxic paints, and installed wood flooring and tile to keep mold and pet dander at bay. A heat recovery ventilator frequently circulates fresh air throughout the home, which makes for a healthier environment, especially in winter. Our wet climate calls for a tight building envelope to keep water from creeping through doorways and windows. A layer of outside insulation keeps things cozy. Besides that, this home is destined to wear well — its unfinished exterior of yellow cedar means the home will weather to a silvery shade, same as the winter sky.  Architect  Greg Robinson Architect Builder  Bellingham Bay Builders Interior designer  Angela Harasser Design Studio Photographer  C9 Photography & Design … continued on next page

HABITAT Featured Home

Salvaged white oak strip flooring is attractive and makes for a healthier environment. Edwin Lutyensdesigned benches (circa 1902) provide a rustic look.

Well-crafted, period-relevant furnishings like these bathroom cabinets add to the character of the home, built in 1927, and contrast with the modern shower.

Tile flooring helps limit trapped moisture and mold, and the use of traditional wood and divided-light windows brings an airy, open feel to this bathroom.

Highlighting the new second story is a large master bedroom with views of Bellingham Bay.

A secondary fireplace and creamy, textured finishes add light and warmth to a bedroom. January 2018 73


BEST PROPERTIES ON THE MARKET This month: Start the New Year right! Now is the time to live on the course! Check out these two lovely homes, both custom and elegant in their design. Boasting plenty of space, incredible features, and attention to detail. These homes are a perfect way to start the New Year right!

1.  SEMIAHMOO  Gorgeous home — ideal 18th fairway location — has a fabulous floor plan — true gourmet kitchen — custom detail craftsmanship, exceptional mill work, crown molding and furniture grade cabinets. Space for the whole family and easy to purchase with an owner contract. Three private guest quarters and a viewing deck that captures tee to green beauty! Luxury and value at this great price! $799,500, 8790 Goshawk Rd., Semiahmoo 4 Beds, 3 Baths, 3,755 SqFt, MLS# 1115416

Vancouver Blaine | Semiahmoo


2.  SEMIAHMOO  Open and inviting home with great living space on the main floor. Brand new roof and freshly painted kitchen this well built home has a double wide fairway view that can’t be beat. Large spacious rooms with Pella windows and doors to capture the view! Master suite has sitting area to deck, seriously large walk-in shower and separate vanity. Lots of light with high ceilings and a cost per square foot price that we haven’t seen since 1990! $649,000, 8745 Wood Duck Way, Semiahmoo 3 Beds, 3.75 Baths, 3,768 SqFt, MLS# 1153458


Whatcom County...Even when it rains, I shine! Managing Broker 360-815-4718 74

Courtesy of Island Optometry

Courtesy of Tanna By Design




f first impressions are everything, then a waiting room is crucial to a patient’s experience. A waiting room sets the tone for what comes next, be it a massage or a root canal. At the same time, patients ideally wait in a waiting room for only a few minutes before being whisked away, so the room’s aesthetics must work quickly to accomplish their mission. Two waiting rooms that have nailed their designs while maintaining functionality are Still Life Massage and Float in Bellingham and Island Optometry in Anacortes. Both are beautifully designed with patients in mind, but with slightly different approaches. When designing the waiting rooms, Shannon Fuller, co-owner of Still Life Massage and Float, set out to “create different spaces for people” because people relax differently. Most patients visit Still Life for a break from their overstimulated lives, so keeping the decor uncluttered is important to setting the experience off on the right foot. One area is lined with evenly spaced, clean-lined white chairs while another has generously stuffed arm chairs. Even with the different furniture selections, Fuller wanted to keep everything as “simple as possible.” A handful of current magazines are neatly stacked on a sleek coffee table, unlike the stacks of messy, torn periodicals that waiting rooms have become known for. Oversized windows face the marina so patients can watch boats gently lapping on the water, and Fuller tucked plants in every corner for natural greenery. Fuller paid careful attention to the layout of the waiting rooms. She recognized patients spend only a few minutes in the areas before their appointments, so entertainment isn’t


necessary, nor even sought out since Still Life specializes in relaxation, but comfort is key. As such, the chairs in Still Life are spaced with personal bubbles in mind. “People feel more comfortable in their own spaces,” she said. With all the components, you can’t help feeling and breathing just a bit better from the moment you step into Still Life. While some waiting rooms are dedicated to creating calm, others strive to be aesthetically pleasing and functional. Island Optometry in Anacortes has been operating since 1902. For years, the practice has been overseen by three doctors before being taken over by Dr. Mel Farnsworth in 1983 and his daughter, Dr. Ashley Ayers in 2014. When Dr. Ayers and her graphic designer husband designed the waiting area, they “wanted a really clean, modern-looking office with a Pacific Northwest feel.” They achieved their goals. The cool concrete floor is both durable and trendy. High ceilings make the space feel open, while a collection of beams and a dark grey wall behind the front desk anchor the eye. Crisp white walls don’t detract from the displays of colorful frames — after all, this is still an optometrist’s office. Going beyond the design and what often makes a space special is its execution. Dr. Ayers called on family and friends to help in the labor of love. Her grandmother painted. Her father, Dr. Farnsworth, built the unique front desk after Dr. Ayers was inspired by a similar-looking wall. She likes the look of the “raw wood that will change over time” and admires that “it’s become its own art piece.” When the time comes to update the office, the “art piece” can be relocated and repurposed. Dr. Ayers made sure every design component can be easily updated, because the one thing that is certain in design is it’s always evolving. In the works is a nod to Island Optometry’s rich history. Dr. Ayers plans to create a timeline-style mural featuring milestones in optometry and Island Optometry’s history. She’ll hang photographs of Island Optometry’s former doctors and shadow boxes of vintage optometry tools and glasses. The goal is to “mix modern and historic” while highlighting Island Optometry’s heritage. It’ll give patients something interesting to look at while awaiting their appointments. One family medical practice in Yakima uses a whimsical “Hobbit-like” entrance to the kids’ playroom to put a smile on everyone’s face, while the glamorous wallpaper and lighting sets the room aglow. An open floor plan enhances the room-to-room space. Interior designer Tanna By Design revamped the lobby with eye-catching, functional pieces. Vinylplanked flooring, performance fabric-covered furnishings and sturdy, long-wearing wood and metal accents are just what the doctor (and waiting patients) ordered. Modern and rustic combines for a balanced design concept that provides a comforting experience for patients and families. When it comes down to it, there’s nothing more pleasing than spending time in a comfortable, beautiful space before an appointment, even if only for a few minutes. It may even encourage us to arrive extra early.  January 2018 75

WEEKEND Vibrations Need help planning your weekend?

Happiness, Hospitality, Home, Holiday Inn

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Fly in to Bellingham International Airport and walk to your suite! Holiday Inn & Suites - Bellingham 4260 Mitchell Way, Exit 258, Follow the airport signs • 360.746.6844



360.398.6191 • Open daily 6:30am to 11pm Locally sourced and sustainable fare highlighting the best of the Pacific Northwest



714 LAKEWAY DRIVE BELLINGHAM, WA, 98229 PHONE: (360) 671-1011

DINE 8 Great Tastes · Dining Guide · Mixing Tin · Sip



he Vault Wine Bar, in Blaine, is a restaurant in a unique venue: a former bank building. Teller cages and desks have been replaced with a sleek marble bar top and custom made tables. One wouldn’t exaggerate to say that no expense was spared to create this chic urban bistro. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow ample natural light and an enclosed deck invites diners to enjoy their visit alfresco. The only artifact that would indicate the building’s original purpose is the vault, used for wine storage for wine club members. Shanna Manning, The Vault’s general manager, oversees the wine list, “Our goal is to have a wine collection representative of every wine producing country,” she says. The nine-page wine list is a great start. Don’t be intimidated by this mega menu. Manning, who is studying for her sommelier exams, will help you select the exact … continued on next page

wine to satisfy your expectations. Not in the mood for wine? Then select from among the six tap beers. The marvel of this little wine-centric restaurant is the attention-to-detail adult beverage choices to assure guests enjoy a delightful visit. It isn’t merely the incredibly fresh ingredients, but the skill with which Chef Tyler HiIls combines flavors and textures that makes this restaurant’s food menu extraordinary. For starters try the Charcuterie Platter ($20), the Chef’s selection of items that pair with either red or white wine. French Champagne goes especially well with a platter of bresaola, salumi, white and black truffle salami, sotto aceti Italian pickles, Gothberg Farms Cinco de Mayo cheese, and fresh honey still in the comb! For the second course consider the Caprese salad ($10), a unique interpretation that may be the new standard of Caprese salad excellence. Charred and raw fresh cherry tomatoes are served with fresh Ferndale Farmstead mozzarella balls dressed with smoked lemon olive oil and champagne balsamic vinaigrette. The mozzarella was so incredibly fresh it sliced open under the weight of the fork alone. The seafood chowder ($6) is a sensually smooth and creamy rich soup that arouses one’s desire for more. This cream and butter soup is a mélange of potatoes, carrots, clams, bay shrimp and fresh Dungeness crab, with roasted corn kernels that provide the most satisfying crunch. This is the type of exceptional restaurant that Julia Child would arrive for late lunch and stay through dinner, and then remain for a night cap. The Abeja 2015 Chardonnay is a rich wine that complements this decadent chowder. Just as sinfully delicious is the Washington Mac & Cheese ($13). Béchamel bourbon cheese sauce that includes local cheeses from Gothberg, Ferndale Farmstead and Twin Sisters,


is topped with bourbon and truffle oil. Hills adds stoneground mustard to his béchamel which lends it a subtle acidic finish that enhances the overall flavors of this remarkable cassoulet. Hills’ kitchen produces flatbread style pizza that is served on thick, hand-crafted wooden trays, which helps keep the pie hot. The Hot Coppa ($13) consists of garlic parm sauce, hot coppa, shredded cheese blend, charred tomatoes, red onion, fig slices, and Gothberg chèvre dressed with chili oil. One pizza is never enough, so order the pesto ($12), too. Generous portions of house-made arugula, spinach, basil and candied pine nut pesto, support charred tomatoes, and ooze with a secret cheese blend and drizzled with smoked lemon olive oil. And then there is dessert; each so delicious there is no reason to settle for just one! Start with the apple tart ($8) and sink into the most impossibly light and delicate pate brisee crust that is filled with lightly blanched diced apples, folded in a delicious house-made pastry cream. Brilliant served a la carte, phenomenal when served with house-made ice cream. For the second dessert, crack your way into the crème brûlée ($8), an amazingly light but rich strawberry and rosemary custard, with perfectly caramelized sugar crowning this regal dessert. Whatcom County has been without a restaurant of this caliber for quite some time. Take the drive to downtown Blaine, enjoy the quaint shops and small-town milieu of Peace Portal Drive, and then settle in to The Vault for a world-class food and wine experience. You’ll come away sated, relaxed, and contented from the visit.  277 G St. Blaine 360.392.0955 |

DINING KEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . up to $9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10–19 . . . . . . . . . . . . $20–29 . . . . . . . . $30 or greater . . . . . . . . . . . . Breakfast . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dinner . . . . . . . . . Family-Friendly . . . . . . . . . . . . . Takeout . . . . . . . . Outdoor Seating   . . . . . . . . . . Reservations   . . . . . . . . . . Happy Hour . . . . . . . . . New Review

and syrup are made in house and the creative cocktails are composed by staff or sourced from a collection of vintage bartending books.  –

COA MEXICAN EATERY Mexican 102 S. 10th St., Mount Vernon, 360.840.1938 214 Maple Ave., La Conner, 360.466.0267 One way to reel customers in is to offer dollar tacos on Tuesdays and $5 margaritas on Fridays. That’s just the start. One bite of a taco or one sip of a margarita and you’re hooked. Even on a different night, with the choice of fajitas, burritos, chimichangas, or flan, you won’t be disappointed. Fan favorites include the fish tacos with local grilled fish and spicy mango Pico de Gallo, carne asada burrito seasoned to perfection, and tres enchiladas with an addictive green crema sauce. COA Mexican Eatery also offers the last Monday of every month as customer appreciation day, where customers get 50 percent off food. Deals and good food — what more could you want?

See all our restaurant reviews on our Eat and Drink tab at


SAN JUAN TOBY’S TAVERN Seafood 8 Front St., Coupeville 360.678.4222, Overlooking the scenic Penn Cove in the center of old Coupeville, Toby’s Tavern offers diners a dive bar ambience with a delicious menu of seafood favorites. Their famous bowls of Penn Cove mussels — served by the pound! — come fresh from the adjacent cove, and keep shellfish connoisseurs clamoring for a regular fix. Steamed and soaked in a scrumptious mix of simple seasonings, wine, and juices, Toby’s robust offering of mussels makes for a memorable visit. Fish and chips arrive hot, deliciously flaky, and generous in size, with sides of sweet coleslaw and fries deserving mention for their merit. For those waiting among the weekend crowd of regulars, a giant chocolaty brownie will drive your mind insane, and keep your appetite satisfied before the main course earns its way into the dining room.

SKAGIT A’TOWN BISTRO Regional NW 418 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, 360.899.4001, A’Town Bistro’s careful sourcing of ingredients, creative approach to food and drinks, and comfortable atmosphere is why it’s about to become your new go-to restaurant. Try the made-to-order clam chowder which features fresh clams served in a house made fume (fish stock), house-smoked bacon, and crusty bread. Pair your meal with something off the seasonally changing cocktail menu. Bitters, shrubs,

1617 Freeway Dr., Mount Vernon 360.428.1819, Tea warmed over a candle, delicious drinks with a slight exotic twist, tender and flavorful almond chicken, and warm and mildly spicy Mandarin shrimp with broccoli are expected at this peaceful bar and restaurant with Chinese decor. Try the to-die-for meals such as the Szechwan chicken with varying vegetables cooked to perfection, the orange chicken with real orange pieces accentuating the dish, and the egg rolls with the right amount of crunch. The owner and staff remember regular patrons, creating a sense of community with their hospitality and mouthwatering food.

NELL THORN Seafood 116 1st St., La Conner 360.466.4261, Nell Thorn is seafood-heavy, so trying one of their seafood dishes is a must. Usually their daily specials take into account the freshest catches, but on the menu you’ll usually find some kind of seafood pasta, filet topped salad, and oysters. If you can’t settle on a starter, choose the crispy polenta cakes. The quiche is executed well with fluffy eggs and a flaky, light crust, while the no-fuss Nell Burger has simple toppings that don’t overburden the perfectly cooked, juicy meat patty.   THE OYSTER BAR Seafood 2578 Chuckanut Dr., Bow 360.766.6185, The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive is perched among towering conifers above the oyster beds. The cozy restaurant is housed in


Dining Guide

a structure dating from the 1920s that has survived many incarnations. The restaurant owes its reputation to its remote, quintessentially Pacific Northwest setting. But people don’t dine at The Oyster Bar for its location alone. The restaurant’s namesake is the draw, and its chef, Justin Gordon, has an abundance of knowledge about oysters — both local and imported — and reveals a passion for working with this native shellfish. While oysters are the signature offering, The Oyster Bar offers a variety of other fine-dining choices and is known in the Pacific Northwest for its extensive wine cellar.   SALT & VINE French 913 6th St., Anacortes 360.293.2222, An international cheese, wine and charcuterie shop, Salt & Vine offers the best of both worlds. It’s a boutique artisan grocery where you can sit down and enjoy the offerings, and then, if anything tickles your fancy, you can take some home with you to enjoy later. Salt & Vine is a prime location for a midday snack, or a stop after an evening stroll on the docks. While some choose to grab-n-go, others choose to stay a while. Salt & Vine offers a cozy, intimate environment for enjoying a date night or a happy hour with friends.   TRUMPETER PUBLIC HOUSE Gastropub 416 Myrtle St., Mount Vernon 360.588.4515, The Trumpeter is an ideal combination of high-end, fine dining, and English pub fare. Try traditional pub selections like shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, or more unique choices like pork tenderloin complimented with an apricot-honey glaze or crab mac & cheese with a creamy Gruyere sauce and wild-caught crab. Additionally, the Trumpeter looks to accommodate all tastes with our gluten free dishes, and option to make any dish gluten free. Of course, a gastro pub isn’t complete without beer and Trumpeter completes the dining experience with 18 taps of local and European brews. There’s also a fine selection of wines and other drink choices.   WILLOWS ARTISAN CAFE American 18923 Johnson Rd., Mount Vernon 360.848.9189, Inside the Skagit Valley’s greenhouse is a quaint cafe with wooden chairs, faux windows, outdoor fences, fairy lights, hanging greenery, and natural light streaming in. Order the BLTO (bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion) — a slightly different classic with a twist that will change all BLT sandwiches for you. Or maybe your taste buds crave a little spiciness — then try the Reuben. If it’s a cold, cloudy day, go for a warm, soothing soup that is always served with a side of soft-baked

January 2018 79

bread. To end the meal, try the key lime pie that perfectly matches its creamy sweet filling with the smooth graham cracker crust. The Willows Artisan Cafe counts on its fresh ingredients and proves its worth with taste.



Tuesday Special

Buy 1 – Get 1 Half Price! Buy one entree and receive your second entree for half price all winter long! This offer is only valid from 4-9pm on Tuesdays. DINNER 4pm-9pm, HAPPY HOUR 4pm-6pm and after 9pm daily LIVE JAZZ MUSIC, Thurs.-Sat. 7pm-9:30pm

1200 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham | | 360.306.3917

WHATCOM ARTIFACTS WINE BAR Eclectic 202 Grand Ave., Bellingham 360.778.2101, Artifacts’ goal is to create an experience with wine tastings and light nibbles. Inside, tall shelves of wine bottles overlook intimate tables. The covered outdoor patio allows for large groups to settle in, or a couple to snuggle in the corner. Space heaters keep the area comfortable even in the cooler months. Artifacts cares a great deal about the products they pour into every glass. Artifacts isn’t just about wine. They have an espresso machine and offer small breakfast options like scones, yogurt, and waffles.   AVENUE BREAD Deli Downtown Cafe: 1313 Railroad Ave., Bellingham, 1135 11th St., Bellingham 2301 James St., Bellingham 444 Front St., Lynden 360.715.3354, With several convenient locations in Bellingham and a location in Lynden, Avenue is one of Bellingham’s favorite lunch spots. Fresh ingredients make these sandwiches unusually good — the bread is made in-house, and the vegetables and meat are all of the highest quality. Avenue also offers one of the freshest, best breakfast sandwiches around — the Eggenue.

Thursdays only!

BRANDYWINE KITCHEN Regional NW 1317 Commercial St., Bellingham 360.734.1071, Named for the decadent heirloom tomatoes grown on their farm, the owners source much of their ingredients locally and hold the “from seed to plate” philosophy. The menu offers vegetarian and gluten-free options (like ricePanko Fish and Chips), and includes beer from both Boundary Bay and Chuckanut breweries. Try the Quinoa-Salmon Cakes with red pepper aioli or a BLT with Hempler’s bacon and maple-tomato relish. Don’t miss the Hibiscus Iced Tea for a refreshing sip or treat yourself to a Raspberry Champagne Cocktail.   HOMESKILLET American 521 Kentucky St., Bellingham 360.676.6218, Owners Tina and Kirby named their restaurant after one of their favorite lines in the movie


Dining Guide



Juno, when the main character calls a store clerk “homeskillet.” The skillets on their menu came afterward, but are now one of the eatery’s most popular items. A small skillet is filled with perfectly-fried potatoes, eggs, and toppings you choose. Try Tina and Kirby’s personal favorite: the poutine, home fries smothered in traditional gravy, topped with fried eggs, and cheese. Homeskillet can’t be beat with its friendly service, colorful atmosphere and ultimate comfort food.   KURUKURU SUSHI Japanese/Sushi 11 Bellwether Way, Bellingham 360.392.8224, KuruKuru Sushi, which translates to “go around Sushi,” offers not only a good meal, but a good experience. Some of the offerings, like the Dynamite roll, are lightly tempura fried before being put on the conveyor belt to travel around the restaurant to hungry patrons. More traditional, classic sushi, like the raw salmon (which is buttery and delicious) also travels on the belt. A variety of non-fish related faire, like gyoza, egg rolls, and desserts are also offered. If you don’t see something you like, the chefs behind the counter will gladly make something for you.

Vintner Dinner Series: Dynasty Cellars January 19, 5:30–9 p.m. Enjoy a different winery each month for this Vintner Dinner Series. You’ll get up to five courses of seasonally inspired dishes, and a perfectly paired wine from Dynasty Cellars. Plus, you will be greeted with champagne and appetizers at the door. What a great way to start the new year off right. Semiahmoo Resort 9565 Semiahmoo Parkway, Blaine |

Be Fruitful: Winter Pies and Tarts

LOVITT American 1114 Harris Ave. Bellingham 360.671.7143, The folks at the newly opened Lovitt restaurant in Fairhaven are giving fair warning: Be prepared to wait a little longer for your food. These things — Lovitt’s “relaxed” farm-to-table eating — take time. Owners Norman and Kristen Six say they believe in cooking from scratch: bread, ice cream, and even ketchup and salad dressings are made in-house. An ever-changing menu reflects their adherence to what’s local and what’s in season. Appealing dinner entrees may include Four Mushroom Stroganoff, with morel, oyster, pioppino and shitake mushrooms with a red wine sour cream sauce spilling over handmade egg noodles and topped with crispy kale ($19), and red wine maple-glazed salmon with roasted vegetables ($22). Lunch offers the local, grass-fed beef burger, served on a homemade bun. They’ve got local brews and wine, and a 3–6 p.m. happy hour, with drink and appetizer specials each day they’re open (Tuesday–Saturday). Bring the kids — there’s even a play area.   MAGDALENAS Crêperie, European 1200 10th St., Ste. 103, Bellingham 360.483.8569, Paris, London, New York, Vancouver, and Bellingham have them. Little shops where the aromas of sweet and savory crêpes, custom sandwiches, and hot soup du jour fill the air. With a formidable selection of crêpes, it’ll take more than one trip to decide which is better, sweet or savory. But at this eatery, it is criminal to pass up the sweet little numbers filled with velvety smooth vanilla-flavored cream cheese, white chocolate, and your choice of fresh fruit. A crêpe option for every crêpe crave.   NORTHWATER Regional NW 4260 Mitchell Way, Bellingham 360.398.6191, From breakfast to late night dinner, Northwater’s 185-seat restaurant features Pacific Northwest dishes made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. We found the restaurant’s wait staff to be personable and enthusiastic, and eager to answer our queries about ingredient sources and what desserts they’d recommend. Executive Chef Christy Fox has created a diverse menu of classic dishes with a twist, like the Seafood Sausage Corn Dogs with blueberry mustard ($9) — sweet-from-the-citrus cornbread and spicy from the mustard. Try the Fried Chicken and Waffle ($5), featuring savory flavors of garlic and herbs drizzled with a pepper

January 20, 1–5 p.m. Brought to you by King Arthur Flour, this class will teach you how to mix and roll your own pastry from scratch to make the perfect flaky crusts, and use seasonal fruit to create deliciously sweet fillings. Bake both a pie and tart to take home and impress your family. The Bread Lab 11768 Westar Lane, Burlington |

Incognito Fresh Start! January 25, 6 p.m. The theme for this month’s “Incognito,” Ciao Thyme’s dinner series with a mystery multi-course menu, is “New Year, Healthier You.” Enjoy a minimum of six delicious courses inspired by the diets of the healthiest communities around the world, featuring registered dietician Lisa Samuel. Ciao Thyme 207 Unity Street, Bellingham |

Visiting Chef’s Dinner Series January 29, 7 p.m. Herb Niemann’s Steak House, Infusion Cuisine, and The Mill are partnering to present the first dinner in a series of chef’s dinners rotating between their three locations. The menu will feature three cheeses paired with three wines, a poached pear salad, roasted herb-crusted lamb, and an almond espresso tart for dessert. Herb Niemann’s Steak House 203 W. Main Street, Everson

January 2018 81

Uisce Irish Pub The Sidecar INGREDIENTS Christian Brothers Brandy, Orange Cointreau, house made sours mix, lemon twist, sugar on the rim, $10


alking in, first impressions bring me back to an Ireland trip in the 1990s. Bartenders in smart ties, watching over a wall of near-perfect selections of gins, whiskeys, and scotch. Uisce (pronounced Ish-Kah, meaning “water” in Gaelic) has been a Bellingham favorite now for 11 years. As the wintertime weather turns afoul, a retreat to Uisca’s is the call. Today I order the Sidecar, a classic 1920s-era standard. The bartender tells me about the grand New Year’s parties and the pipe bands that roll through, and in almost the same sentence, details about small-batch distilling, and how a great Irish whiskey is made. As the alchemy of the Sidecar takes hold, I note the skilled balance the brandy pairs with the sours and the Cointreau, a nod to the skill of these bartenders. Wow. Owner Molly McGarry has set the perfect tone with this classic Irish atmosphere. Looking for a warm retreat, Uisce’s is open seven days a week. Friday and Saturday nights turn festive with live music. — Pat McDonnell 1319 Commercial St., Bellingham 360.738.7939 |


syrup. Fox’s 25 years’ experience as a chef have been rich. She has a thorough knowledge of regional cuisine and is co-owner of gourmet local chocolatier Evolve Truffles, famed for its a pop-up chocolate lounge
   SCOTTY BROWNS North American Cuisine 3101 Newmarket St., Bellingham 360.306.8823 Scotty Browns offers an edgy, energetic ambiance, a varied menu of mainstream and upscale creations, and excellent drink options for all ages. Outdoor dining is a popular alternative during warmer weather. The selection of beer, wine, and cocktails is broad enough to accommodate most any mood. If you are into martinis or cosmos, try the Mr. Pink. The name is a little unnerving to order if you are male, but worth the leap of faith. Some items on the menu, like appetizers, change seasonally, so you know you’ll never get bored. Casual to upscale dining options range from hamburgers, rice bowls, and pastas to higher-end seafood and steaks.   SKYLARK’S HIDDEN CAFÉ Eclectic 1308 11th St., Fairhaven 360.715.3642, Syklark’s Hidden Café in Fairhaven is worth seeking out. From decadent breakfast items such as eggs benedict and house specialty, banana bread French toast with maple ­walnut topping to hearty dinner entrees such as ­Halibut and Lobster Thermidor and New York Steak with Jack Daniels Herb Butter, the menu at Skylark’s is varied and every bite delicious. Come for the food and stay for the jazz on select evenings.   SUPER MARIO’S Salvadorian 3008 Northwest Ave., Bellingham 360.393.4637 Serving fresh, healthy meals with the customer in mind is what Super Mario’s is all about, and it’s the consistent flavor and quality of the food that keeps bringing people back. The veggies are chopped fresh daily, nothing is frozen, and nothing is cooked until it’s ordered. In addition, nothing is deep fried.   THE STEAK HOUSE AT SILVER REEF HOTEL C ­ ASINO SPA Steak/Seafood 4876 Haxton Way, Ferndale 360.383.0777, This award-winning restaurant offers elegant dining and an intimate atmosphere. Primegrade steaks are broiled at 1,800 degrees to lock in the natural juices and finished with a special steak butter. The wine list is ample and recognized for its quality by Wine Spectator. This dining experience rivals any of the





everal years ago, shortly after the onset of my craft beer fanaticism, I made a New Year’s resolution: this year, I vowed, I would drink more beer. That resolution is one of a very small handful of resolutions that I have actually kept. Of course, I can’t pat myself on the back too much; it wasn’t a terribly challenging resolution to begin with. But I have also come to realize that it was the wrong resolution to make. If the goal is to learn more about the beauty of craft beer, then the right method isn’t to drink more; it’s to drink smarter. Here are three ways to drink smarter in 2018. THINK OUTSIDE THE HOP Despite the fact that it would make our evolutionary ancestors roll over in their graves, many beer lovers actively pursue extreme bitterness. (It’s not for nothing that Bells Two-Hearted Ale and Russian River Pliny the Elder have, for a long time running, been at the top of various lists of the most-loved beers in the country.) And don’t get me wrong: I love me some Aslan Batch 15 and Melvin 2x4. But this year, resolve to expand your vision. At its heart, beer is water, malt, hops, and yeast, and its non-hop ingredients are well worthy of your attention, too. So as not to shock your taste buds, you

might start with a pint of Menace Best Bitter, which (despite its name) throws a delicious dose of breadiness alongside its hops. Then you might head over to Structures to get acquainted with the spiciness in one of their yeasty saisons, before trying to figure out exactly how Chuckanut manages to get the taste of brown bread crusts so prominently into their award-winning Dunkel Lager. INTEGRATE THE MEAL I suspect that the popularity of intensely flavored beers is due in part to the fact that they are an experience unto themselves. It’s harder for less intensely flavored beers to shine in isolation, but this isn’t a reason not to drink them; it’s a reason to pair them with food. Finding the right combo of beer and food can seem intimidating, but the basics are really pretty straightforward: (1) match intensity, and (2) look for resonances and contrasts. As for intensity: you probably don’t want to drink a brown ale with sushi, because the chocolatey sweetness will drown the fish (no pun intended). Likewise, skip the pilsner if you are having barbecue, because the virtues of the pilsner will be completely overpowered by the barbecue sauce. But flip those choices around – pilsner with sushi and brown ale with barbecue – and you’ve got a couple of winning combos.

As for resonances: Main dishes with lots of herbs typically play very nicely with herbal or spice-forward beers, such as saisons or witbiers. And, of course, stouts go notoriously well with chocolate. But contrast is an equally important consideration. The sweetness of an amber ale is what you’ll want with your five star pad Thai, and the effervescence of a Belgian Golden Strong Ale is going to help keep that pesto pasta from weighing those taste buds down. BE PATIENT Just as Halloween candy demands to be eaten immediately upon returning from trick-or-treating, your beer might sound like it’s demanding to be drunk immediately upon removing it from the fridge. But don’t be deceived: the flavor of most craft beers improves as the temperature rises above the mid-30s Fahrenheit. As a general rule: the darker the beer, the warmer you want to drink it (within limits, of course – it’s beer, not coffee). So, the next time you crack open a bottle, go ahead and take a sip – it would be cruel for me to recommend against that first refreshing sip – but then let it sit for 10 minutes or so before picking it up again. You’ll probably start discovering a side to your beer that you didn’t know existed. 

January 2018 83

DINE Restaurant Review



wner of A’Town Bistro in Anacortes, Timothy Moffitt, spent most of his life working in restaurants so he knew what he’d do differently when he got the chance to run things. For starters, A’Town Bistro sources ingredients from local food purveyors. About 85-90 percent of their summertime produce gets picked up from the Anacortes Farmers Market, he picks up shellfish twice a week, and local rabbit makes an appearance in several dishes. Moffitt goes beyond keeping his customers happy though. He strives for an ideal work-life balance for his staff. It’s achieved by keeping the restaurant closed on Sundays and asking for menu inputs, especially for cocktails. The concept is working: Staffers are friendly, knowledgeable, and seem happy. Moffitt ensures his head chef, John Blanton, enjoys creative freedom to push the envelope, which translates into an exceptional menu of dishes that hit the mark in taste and presentation, 84

making the come-as-you are restaurant feel like a fine dining experience. The menu switches up twice a week in summer and about weekly in winter, depending on what’s available. There are no daily specials, allowing Blanton and his kitchen staff to spend more time with each dish; Blanton says this menu method “allows for a little more control,” with enough changes to keep regular customers coming back for more. There are mainstays that get ingredient swaps. For example, the smoked scallops served with tender fingerling potatoes, lemon segments, and blistered peppers will be served with shishito peppers one week, then Fresno chile peppers the next, whichever one is in season. Blanton is up for trying anything — “We don’t have big egos, if it doesn’t work, let’s fix it.” In the culinary world, that attitude and open imagination is key to a memorable menu. His creativity shines in A’Town Bistro’s elevated comfort dish, the sweet potato ravioli.

Creamy sweet potato and ricotta-filled raviolis are cooked to order, then served with succulent braised rabbit, sweet nuggets of roasted golden beets while ribbons of chipotle nectarine jam melt through the dish. It’s topped with crisp sage leaves and a wedge of brie that melts into it all. You didn’t even think to add the brie, but once you taste it you’ll understand why Blanton did. For menu mainstays, try the madeto-order clam chowder, which features fresh clams served in a house-made fume (fish stock), house-smoked bacon, and crusty bread. Rich, buttery old-fashioned pate is always on the menu, as are the moules et frites, and the Scotch egg — a soft poached egg wrapped in sausage, breaded, then fried. Pair your meal with something off the seasonally changing cocktail menu. Bitters, shrubs, and syrup are made in house and the creative cocktails are composed by staff or sourced from Moffitt’s collection of vintage bartending books. A’Town Bistro’s careful sourcing of ingredients, creative approach to food and drinks, and comfortable atmosphere is why it’s about to become your new go-to restaurant.  418 Commercial Ave., Anacortes 360.899.4001 |

Dining Guide



big-town steak houses in quality and service without the big-city price tag.



TASTE OF INDIA Indian 3930 Meridian St., Ste. 107, Bellingham 360.778.1262 At Taste of India all the dishes are rich, delicious, and truly feel authentic. Dishes come with your choice of pulao rice or the classic Indian bread naan. Taste of India offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, all with exquisite and well-developed flavors. There’s also a variety of flavors of naan, including garlic or spinach. For those unsure of what to order, or those who want to try multiple dishes at once, try the lunch buffet.

The following selections have made it past our taste bud test and into our top eight this issue. Step out and give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.

TEMPLE BAR Bistro 306 W. Champion St.,Bellingham, 360.676.8660, Continually recognized for their craft cocktails and small plates, Temple Bar aims to please. Begin with the classic Temple Bar cheese plate, a collection of three rotating cheeses varying in texture and flavor. They are often paired with fruit, honey, toasted nuts, and bread. Next, dive into a piping hot gratin, which varies based on what is in season. In between bites of a salad made with locally sourced ingredients, sip on a unique cocktail with house made infusions and bitters. Finally nibble on the chocolate chili muffins: the perfect end to a charming experience.

1 2

THE VAULT Bistro 277 G St., Blaine 360.392.0955, This is the type of exceptional restaurant that Julia Child would arrive for late lunch and stay through dinner, and then remain for a night cap. It isn’t merely the incredibly fresh ingredients, but the skill with which Chef Tyler Hills combines flavors and textures that makes this restaurant’s food menu extraordinary. This wine-centric restaurant is located in a former bank building. Teller cages and desks have been replaced with a sleek marble bar top and custom-made tables. Sinfully delicious is the Washington Mac & Cheese ($13). Béchamel bourbon cheese sauce that includes local cheeses from Gothberg, Ferndale Farmstead and Twin Sisters, is topped with bourbon and truffle oil. The Seafood Chowder ($6), made with bay shrimp and fresh Dungeness crab, is a sensually smooth and creamy rich soup that arouses one’s desire for more. Chef Tyler’s kitchen also produces flatbread style pizza that is served on thick, hand-crafted wooden trays, which helps keep the pie hot.

3 4

The best burrito in Bellingham. Lettuce, tomatoes, rice, beans, steak, onions and generous slices of avocado comprise Tule Taco’s torpedo-like Tule Burrito. It’s all you’ll need. The Black Cat’s wonderful morning view of the bay can only be complemented by its Dungeness Crab Cake Benedict. Drop by for brunch to catch delicious crab and two poached eggs covered in hollandaise sauce and sidelined by hash browns. Talk about starting your day. If you can get your hands dirty, you’re ready to contend with Cafe Rumba’s Rumba Pulled Pork. For a little more than $10, you can have the privilege of munching a sandwich filled with slow roasted pork, apple slaw, salsa criolla, aji limo and shoestring potatoes. You can’t really go wrong with The Rhododendron’s menu. But the Fresh Dungeness Crab Alfredo with House Made Fettuccini is a must-have, topped with fresh basil, tomato and toasted pine nuts for a filling end to your day.

5 6 7 8

Need something sweet to warm the cold? AB Crepes’ dessert leaves all campfire snacks obsolete. Their S’more is Nutella and melted marshmallow covered in ABC’ause and sprinkled with a thick layer of graham cracker crumbs. Oh, and it’s all in a crepe. Who said cake is just for birthdays? Swing by Pure Bliss and pick up their Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Its peanut butter frosting and dark chocolate ganache surround a moist and tasty chocolate interior. Be it a slice or a whole cake, you won’t be disappointed. Seafood Puttanesca, Mambo Italiano’s signature dish, deserves the accolade. Clams, prawns, mussels and various other seafood of the day are tossed into a lightlyspicy red sauce with capers, artichokes, peppers, Kalamata olives and fettuccini. Brotha Dudes has made a Brotha Reuben, and it’s almost too delicious. Imagine corned beef and havarti blanketed in sauerkraut and drizzled in spicy sauce and mustard. Then throw it between toasted rye. It truly is the “best Reuben in town.” — Nick Jenner

January 2018 85


MARCH 2017 DISPLAY UNTIL MARCH 31 $3.99 US • $4.99 CAN

Best Dishes

Featured Homes It’s In The Details Lake Samish Garden



Drink up

Wonder Woman

Fixing up a farmhouse

Distillery with a Prohibition history

Mt. Vernon mayor Jill Boudreau

ANYWHERE. Farmers Markets APRIL 2017


Be A Tourist In Culinary Kombucha Your Own Town Events Home Brewing



Featured Events · Listings · The Scene · Final Word

Five for Fighting, With String Quartet JANUARY 19, 8 P.M.


alifornian John Ondrasik has written songs many listeners won’t soon forget. Also known by his hockey-inspired stage name, Five for Fighting, Ondrasik has written many acclaimed songs known around the world. “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” is one of the tracks that’s still common on radios today, having captured a feeling that still resonates with its listeners. Other songs such as “100 Years,” “The Riddle,” and “Chances” blew listeners away. This time, he will be accompanied by a string quartet, an intriguing change for the piano-style rocker.  Mount Baker Theatre 104 North Commercial St., Bellingham 360.734.6080 |









Join friends and strangers wishing to take their shower singing to the next level: “Chrissyokee.” Entertainer Chrissy Williams brings fun to the whole audience with her own style of classic karaoke, flashing her crazy costumes, sharp wit and comedy.

Bob Lau’s class focuses on alert relaxation, stable body-posture and the flow of energy, or Qi, throughout the body. Lau has practiced the art of Tai Chi since 1978 and is certified to teach Yang Style Tai Chi.

For those in need of tension release, stress relief and improved flexibility, Patsy Stevens leads a yoga class on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Madrona room of the Orcas Center. Join her and others to strengthen both body and mind.

Tulalip Resort Casino 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip 888.272.1111

Inspire Studio 1411 Cornwall Ave. #201, Bellingham 360.447.8778 VINYASA YOGA WITH BIANCA CALAGIU


JANUARY 4, 7:30 P.M.

Based out of Las Vegas, Petty and the Heartshakers pay tribute to one of the greatest names in rock. Any fan of Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers must see the band that looks like, sounds like and admirably salutes the man and his music.

Bianca Calagiu leads her classes through the vinyasa style of yoga. The simultaneous flow of breath and body movement characterize this style, granting a sense of harmony and release. The class is then ended with brief meditation to the sounds of Tibetan singing bowls.

Silver Reef Casino Haxton Way at Slater Rd., Ferndale 866.383.0777 |

Inspire Studio 1411 Cornwall Ave. #201, Bellingham 360.447.8778 |

JANUARY 24, 8:30 AM.

The Orcas Center 917 Mt. Baker Rd., Eastsound 376.2599 | MORNING MEDITATION WEEKDAYS, 6:30 A.M.

Every weekday morning at 6:30 a.m. the Bellingham Insight Meditation Society meets for a silent, group meditation. The meditation lasts for 45 minutes and ends with two chants. Red Cedar Dharma Hall 1021 N. Forest St., Bellingham 360.305.2595 | NEW YEAR’S DAY RIDE JANUARY 1, 10 A.M.

Bundle up, brush off the cobwebs, pump up the tires and grab your bicycle helmet:

Lindy Hop Back to Basics


It’s time to ride. Join the Mount Baker Bike Club for their inaugural ride of 2018. Weather pending, riders will gather at Fairhaven Park for a 13.8-mile group ride down the Chuckanuts for lunch at The Old Edison Inn. Socialize, exercise and start the new year moving in the right direction. Just bundle up because it’ll likely be chilly!


Fairhaven Park 107 N. Chuckanut Dr., Bellingham 360.961.6684 |





Tap, tap, tap…it is a rhythmic sound we all know. We often do it subconsciously when we are impatient. Put that energy to good use: Try your hand, or foot, at adult tap dancing classes at ABCDance. ABCDance offers five different classes, ranging from beginners to advanced skill levels and is specially catered to adults. ABCDance, Bellingham 1844 N. State St., Bellingham 360.386.5891 ONCORE JANUARY 27, 9:30 P.M.

Talented musicians and vocalists gathered from around the nation will put on an invigorating, Vegas-like show. From 60s music to hip-hop, quality music will stream from the stage, inspiring audience members to dance and feet to tap. Canoes Cabaret 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip 360.502.1155 |


In this devilish, yet charming comedy fit for the whole family, three fugitives take to French Guiana, where the temperature is 104 degrees, even on Christmas. The convicts, two of whom are murderers, come upon a family struggling to make ends meet while being subject to




ON STAGE JAN 5 – FEB 4, 2018




WANT YOUR EVENT POSTED? Events are posted on a first-come first-serve basis. Submissions must be received four weeks prior to the event with all the necessary information. Please submit event name, dates, times, short 40-word description, cover charge or ticket price, event venue including street address, a phone number, and a website. Any event from Seattle to Vancouver will be considered with priority placed on listings from Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties. Bellingham Alive is not responsible for errors in submissions. Please email all submissions to

January 2018 89


The Good Lovelies

the immoral harassment of surrounding relatives. The benevolent three decide to perform their deviance ethically, helping the family live in peace during the holidays. Bellingham Theatre Guild 1600 H St., Bellingham 360.733.1811

the learned skills of students attending The Upfront’s School of Improv. Audience inspired games and scenes are the playing field in this comedy face off. The Upfront Theatre 1208 Bay St., Bellingham 360.733.8855 |

JANUARY 26, 7:30 P.M.

Based on the novel written by Matthew Barber, “Enchanted April” follows the life of Lotty Wilton, a woman drawn to depression by the London winter and her abrasive husband. Seeing an ad to rent an Italian castle in the month of April, Wilton sets off in the company of three other women to get away for a month. The stay slowly lifts their downtrodden hearts, opening them up to love once again. Anacortes Community Theatre 918 M Ave., Anacortes 360.293.6829 | THE G.B.U. JANUARY 4, 8 P.M.

Short for “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” The G.B.U. is an event showcasing 90

Pickford Film Center 1318 Bay St., Bellingham 360.738.0735 | FOLLIES

WINTER DANCES 2018 JANUARY 25–28, 7:30 P.M.


friend and poet to keep his wife company. Though as they bond over their love for art, another love brews.

The various dance performances at Winter Dances 2018 take a new and mixed approach to movement. Without conforming to well-defined genres of dance, the student performers will demonstrate a blurring of styles meant to “wash over” the audience. Performing Arts Center 516 High St., Bellingham 360.650.3876 |


The scene is 1970s New York, and there’s a party at the Weismann Theatre, which is soon to be demolished. The Follies gather for drinks, 30 years after their last and final performance, to laugh, lie and sing about their lives. Pickford Film Center 1318 Bay St., Bellingham 360.738.0735 | THE PIANO JANUARY 13, 7:30 P.M.


In 19th century India, a woman named Charulata struggles with happiness as her husband spends copious time away as a journalist. Aware of his wife’s loneliness and unhappiness, the husband enlists his

Pianist Ada McGrath and her daughter are left on a New Zealand beach with all their belongings (piano included) after a long journey from Scotland. McGrath, mute since birth, resents her husband, but develops an interest in one of his acquaintances. Lincoln Theatre 712 S. First St., Mount Vernon 360.419.7129 |




JANUARY 6, 10 A.M.

Go for a stroll in downtown Anacortes and see various pieces of art from the surrounding community. Glass blowing, painting and more art is shown through events and exhibitions open to all. Downtown Anacortes 360.293.3832 |


Formed in 2006, The Good Lovelies have since released four studio albums in addition to having won the 2010 Juno Award for Roots Album of the Year and four Canadian Folk Music Awards. Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore join their voices in succinct musical harmonies and comedic banter. Orcas Center 917 Mt. Baker Rd., Eastsound 360.376.2281 | BAM! PERCUSSION-EXPLOSION JANUARY 31, 10 A.M.

Enjoy Magical Music AT

Join friends, farmers and families as they crowd the island farmer’s market, supporting local growers and artisans. There’s tasty foods like grilled oysters and baked goods as well as various crafts, not to mention the vast assortment of fresh produce. Brickworks 150 Nichols St., Friday Harbor





Northwest Washington Fair and Events Center 1775 Front St., Lynden 360.354.4111 | SPONSOR


Thur, Feb 15

JANUARY 1, 9:30 A.M.

Shake off last year’s energy and kick your new year off with a morning plunge into ice-cold Cascade Lake. Nothing’s more revitalizing than a polar bear plunge. Especially when followed by a bloodwarming hike.

Mount Baker Theatre 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham 360.734.6080 |

Cascade Lake Cascade Lake Day Use Area, Orcas Island 360.376.2326 |



JANUARY 18, 8 P.M.

JANUARY 27, 9 A.M.

The Green Frog 1015 N. State St., Bellingham

Sat, Feb 10

Purebred dogs of all shapes, sizes and fur types will compete to be the best in their class. Whether you’re a connoisseur, or simply a dog-lover, the IABCA Dog Show is the place for you.

Drum beats and laughter should be expected at BAM’s upcoming show at Mount Baker Theatre. The three members of the group and their drums electrify the air around them, sending wordless messages and tickling the audience with wild, intermittent sketches.

On Thursday night, Kat Bula, a fiddler and vocalist, teams up with guitarist and vocalist Cory D. Ward to deliver local folk music to the patrons of The Green Frog.



Sat, Feb 24

Book an Exceptional Outing Today!

Think you can handle 25 kilometers? Sign up for the Orcas Island race and see if you’ve got what it takes as you traverse terrain of varying elevations. A benefit to running around a wooded island: fellow runners to accompany you. Camp Moran State Park 3572 Olga Rd., Orcas Island


360.734.6080 Mount Baker Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the performing arts.

January 2018 91

AGENDA Top Picks




I am Not Your Negro Pickford Theatre, Bellingham

CascadeCon Bellingham Cruise Terminal

19 – 21 JANUARY

LeAnn Rimes Pacific Show Room, Skagit Valley Casino

Hosea Williams and John Lewis confront troopers on Bloody Sunday, in Selma, Montgomery in 1965 © Spider Martin

19 – 20 JANUARY

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea McIntyre Hall, Mount Vernon




Chuckanut Radio Hour 11th Anniversary Celebration Heiner Theatre, Whatcom CC, Bellingham



Lake Samish Runs Lake Samish, Bellingham


Ladies of Laughter: Funny & Fabulous Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham

Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham


© Sam Etsy Rayner







Drop by the Skagit Valley Co-op to explore the medicinal uses of Black Cottonwood and Alder. Natasha Clarke will lead the class in identifying, storing and using these trees to benefit your body.

January Specials

Eminence Marine Flower Facial

Skagit Valley Co-op 202 S. First St., Mount Vernon 360.336.9777 |

By using the marine flower peptide serum and eye cream with its innovative algae extracts. This facial will visibly lift and fill wrinkles, by doubling the collagen density with high-quality collagen. $117.00


The ATUS Opera Club is ready to perform beautifully composed pieces of opera and operetta. The scenes are selected from classic operas and provide a mixture of comedy, romance and drama. Performing Arts Center 516 High St., Bellingham 360.650.6146 | BEETHOVEN, CHOPIN AND KEYPER JANUARY 21, 3 P.M.

Offer valid January 1-31, 2018. Check our website for the rest of our specials! 804 10th St Bellingham WA


The legacies of classical musicians Chopin, Beethoven and Keyper will fill the First Congregational Church back to back in the form of the beautiful music left behind them.


• Heat pump w/AC • 50 year roof & siding • Jenn-air appliances


• Quartz counters

JANUARY 28, 1:30 P.M.

McIntyre Hall 2501 E. College Way, Mount Vernon 360.416.7727 |



First Congregational Church 2401 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham 360.303.4014

Before the Skagit Symphony moves to the stage for their 45-minute performance, its musicians and their instruments will introduce themselves personally to attending families, aiming to inspire and promote music to the young and old.


• Radiant floor heat Cole Markusen 360.389.3696

Kathy Stauffer 360.815.4717

Brandi Coplen 360.201.3951

• And much more!

TEAM STAUFFER 360.305.3690

January 2018 93

Out of Town



Over the course of 17 days, Vancouver and its community of diverse and tasty restaurants will host a series of events to celebrate their culinary culture. Brunch crawls and wine debates are but a few of the many events leading attendees through Vancouver’s adventure of food. Tourism Vancouver Suite 210-200 Burrard St., Vancouver BC 604.682.2222 | CANADIAN TIRE NATIONAL SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS JANUARY 8–14, VARYING TIMES

Come watch as 250 of the best figure skaters in Canada take to the rink in competition. The championships are divided by age groups and will take place in Vancouver for the sixth time. The top skaters will be competing to land a spot on the national team for the 2018 Olympics that begin in February. Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre 6066 Thunderbird Blvd., Vancouver, BC 855.985.5000 | The Book of Mormon


Written by the creators of South Park and cherished on Broadway, The Book of Mormon follows a Mormon missionary on his trip to Africa. Elder Price, the idealistic, sheltered, glowing role model of his church, slowly realizes the harsh realities of the world, opening up his interpretation of his faith and his life. Paramount Theatre 911 Pine St., Seattle 206.682.1414 | STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW JANUARY 15, 8 P.M.

This award-winning podcast and video series has come to the stage. Hosted by Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark, Stuff You Should Know covers, well, just that. The two will explore a wide range of topics ranging from ouija boards to medicinal MDMA, revealing and discussing information you might not know, but should. Dine Out Vancouver Festival


Moore Theatre 1932 Second Ave., Seattle 206.682.1414 |

The Scene


Chamber Award Dinner Skookum Kids, which cares for foster children, was named Nonprofit Organization of the Year at the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 13th annual Awards Dinner, held Nov. 30 at Four Points by Sheraton. The Inn at Lynden was named Tourism Business of the Year. Other winners at the dinner, attended by 440 people with ties to local business and industry, were: Woman of the Year — longtime community volunteer Susan Trimingham; Man of the Year — Bob Morse of Morse Steel Service; CEO of the Year — Wes Herman of Woods Coffee; Chamber Ambassador of the Year; Danielle Rosellison of Trail Blazin’ Productions; Young Professional of the Year — Shultzie Willows of Lydia Place; Small Business of the Year — educational toy store Launching Success; Large Business of the Year — Hempler Foods Group; Green Business of the Year — Andgar Corporation. Photographed by Radley Muller

January 2018 95

NOTES Final Word

Fifty Shades of Purple Loretta calls on Big Pharma to re-direct their R & D budget WRITTEN BY LORETTA W. CLEESE


grew up with two brothers in rural upstate New York, so I get that the opposite sex often considers their bodies to be toys or musical instruments to be played. Apparently, male infatuation with flatulation is genetic. My young son, Tyler, is a candidate for first chair in the Mt. Baker Youth Symphony’s horn section, and yet I debarked his father, my ex-husband, years ago before Tyler was born. How is that possible? Where am I going wrong? Tyler learned the difference between his inside and outside voice by age 3. The parallel teachable moment should be obvious, shouldn’t it? Help me, someone, anyone. As a mother, I don’t want to be a complete killjoy — there is a time and place for experimentation, for pushing the limits. Mankind will survive. So, by all means, son, have fun — burp the ABCs. Or better yet, strain to hit whatever decibel levels that you can safely hit without having to excuse yourself. But three notes do not a symphony make. For the sake of all womankind, you need to learn to keep it to yourself, or at least within your gender. Once you reach age 10, your body is no longer a science experiment. There, my public service announcement is done. Now, if I may, I want to address a more important bodily function or behavior that is seldom discussed in polite or mixed company. No, I am not talking about the public restroom “hover” that women perfected to avoid sitting on the seat while shopping in the mall. That secret was out when malls had to repeatedly replace the handicap bars/handles in women’s restrooms from overuse. No, I am talking about a serious universal life mystery that applies to both sexes — the invisible, odorless, silent, but often deadly, brain fart. Stop laughing; admit it. The phenomenon happens to all us without warning and seldom is detected, if ever, until after the damage is done. No one is immune. When it happens, we need not be ashamed. Busy lives, motherhood, and aging has inevitable consequences. But Big Pharma, I’ll say it straight up. If brain farts can’t be cured, then at the very least we need a post-brain fart warning system notifying us that a brain fart just occurred. The humanitarian need is obvious and urgent. Please, please, please redirect at least a portion of your R & D budget to this worthy cause. You gave us wonder drugs to alleviate 96

headaches, colds, the flu, menstrual cycles, and hemorrhoids. Why not take on a real challenge? World peace can wait. I would suggest the warning system be a bad smell, but the entire male gender would be confused and Lynden’s dairy farmers would be constantly second-guessing their day. A loud sound wouldn’t work, either, for precisely the same reasons. The risk of confusion is just too great. Males can hit any note imaginable to the point where we women are tone deaf. No, we need something unique, something distinctive. I think the warning needs, instead, to be visual, like a cloud around the brain-farter, and colored, perhaps purple, to warn the brain farter and the surrounding brain fartees that an unknown danger is lurking. In an ideal world, the severity of the brain fart would be reflected by different shades of purple — the worst being magenta. Then, we could prioritize. Lavender or periwinkle would signify, for instance, less consequential brain farts, like I left the oven on after preparing dinner, or for males, the lid was left up. But a magenta brain fart, on the other hand, is potentially life-threatening, such as forgetting to tell your husband that your mother is coming to dinner, or forgetting to pay the mortgage. Any of these shades would allow me, and others, to instantly recognize that a brain fart occurred, how severe it was, and then we can reverse-engineer our day to figure out when and where it happened — kind of like a modern version of Find Waldo. Big Pharma, you would be rich beyond your dreams. Just think about the potential benefits to mankind. Men would remember their wives’ birthday or their wedding anniversary within hours, and certainly days, of a magenta episode. Or when out drinking with their buddies, an eggplant-colored mushroom cloud would, in theory, remind them to phone their wives. Improbably perhaps, but the possibilities are endless. I say “dream big.” And just think, the opposite would be true, too. The lack of any shade of purple could be a diagnostic tool, a virtual liedetector test. If my son or daughter comes home from school and says, “Ah, Mom, I forgot to bring my homework home,” there damn well better be a mauve cloud close by. So, go for it, Big Pharma. My $50 check to your R & D fund is in the mail. Well, maybe. The envelope is certainly gone. 

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