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Everson-Nooksack News

Lynden Tribune  |  Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Routine for race safety well proven by now Ski to Sea racers come speedily through Nooksack, Everson on Sunday By Calvin Bratt

   EVERSON ­ — Police Chief Dan MacPhee has been through this a few times before, 17 in fact, so he has a fair idea of what is involved in preparing for the Ski to Sea Race through town.    The first racing bicyclist will likely be in the condoned-off bike lane along Main Street around 10 a.m. Sunday, May 27. Then expect up to 400 more in this 46th annual banner event.    Screeching to a halt at the entrance of Riverside Park, the biker will transfer a time-chip wristlet to a waiting canoeist, who will run to join his partner to push off their craft into the Nooksack River for the next competitive leg.    It’s intensity and excitement to the max, but Everson Police, along with their proven partners, are up to the task each year, MacPhee says.    “It’s an all-hands event for us, for sure,” requiring all six regular Everson officers, plus two reserves. See Ski to Sea on C2


Recovering, rebuilding and reinventing Everson man’s journey from workout junkie to ICU patient to motivated advocate    Editor’s Note: This story was provided by the communication department of PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center of Bellingham. It tells of the journey of Everson-area resident Scott Ranahan through acute illness to a new resolve in recovery.    WHATCOM — Prior to January 2017, Everson-area resident Scott Ranahan was a healthy and active 51-year-old. He was a fitness fanatic devoted to lifting weights and staying in shape, and he worked a physically demanding job at a Skagit shipyard. When germs spread amongst colleagues, he usually recovered from any sickness more quickly than others. He rarely missed a day of work. He’d

never been seriously ill. He was hale and hearty.    That all changed on Christmas Eve 2016, when Scott caught the flu. He was soon coughing and feeling crummy. But it didn’t end there. He developed pneumonia.    By New Year’s Day, he was having trouble breathing and he was suffering severe anxiety. His wife, Bobbi, could tell that something was seriously wrong. She insisted on taking him to the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Emergency Department. Live-saving care    Scott’s condition worsened at the hospital. He became delirious and started foaming at the mouth. He was soon intubated. “He began to walk the thin line between life and death,” Bobbi says. It was terrifying and surreal.    In the early morning hours of Jan. 2, 2017, Scott was transferred to the PeaceHealth Intensive Care Unit and placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine. The ECMO device took over for his lungs and heart, keeping him alive.    Scott remained on ECMO therapy for 15 days and in a drug-induced coma for three weeks. Bobbi stayed at Scott’s side, in his hospital room night after night, until he finally opened his eyes on Jan. 22.    Scott was transferred from ICU to the Acute Inpatient Rehab Therapy Unit on Jan. 24. It was a bittersweet time for Bobbi, as it was difficult to leave her community of ICU caregivers behind. “They had become like family to me,” she says. “They are the most compassionate, caring people I’ve ever met. They treat all patients with dignity, even if they don’t know what’s going on.”

Scott and Bobbi Ranahan have gotten through his medical ordeal together. (Courtesy photos)    Scott continued to make improvements in inpatient rehab. He worked with a dedicated team of therapists to help him gain the skills and tools he needed to return to living in the outside community. He was discharged from PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center on Feb. 23. The difficult road to recovery    With the skilled medical care he’d received at the hospital and the support of Bobbi, Scott had fought for his life and won. But his fight continued.    The effects of his medical ordeal were longstanding and mani-

fested in unforeseen ways. Scott’s recovery was long and slow. He spent a full year of going to 3-4 doctor appointments per week. He developed narcolepsy, nerve damage, short-term memory loss and mood swings. His hearing and eyesight deteriorated, and his physical capabilities were far from what they had been.    “People kept telling me that I was lucky to be alive, but that doesn’t make it any easier,” Scott says. He worked hard to regain his abilities and strength, but he ultimately recognized that he wasn’t See Ranahan on C2


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Ski to Sea

Continued from C1

Continued from C1

ever going to be who he was before he caught the flu. He was able to return to work in the shipyard, but he felt as though he’d aged multiple decades.    While Scott and Bobbi were grateful to the many caregivers who had helped them along their journey, including doctors Cristy Smith and Chao-ying Wu, it was clear that they had a lot of processing to do. They had been on a frightening roller-coaster ride that completely blindsided them.    The experience had taken its emotional toll on Bobbi, and Scott struggled coming to terms with his newfound limitations.    Doctors speculate that the ordeal was initiated by an overactive immune system response to the flu, which caused him to get pneumonia as well.    The pair sought out resources and support. They connected with support groups for ECMO survivors and their spouses, and they read about post-ICU syndrome. They realized that they were not alone.

   The partner agencies are Eversonbased Fire District 1, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department, the Washington State Patrol and the public works crews of both Everson and Nooksack.    Traffic control and diversion, in safety, are task number one, although the officers do manage to keep Main Street (also State Route 544) open to traffic in both directions. Over in Nooksack, north-south State Route 9 is also kept open, with careful and close monitoring of the interplay of bikes and cars.   “We have to constantly watch,” MacPhee summarizes.    All involved will go over their game plan a few days before, the chief says, even though a final call on whether the Nooksack is truly suitable for canoists could be made on the morning of the Sunday race. That would mean boaters would not get in the water for the Everson-to-Ferndale leg, and teams’ times would be directly transferred forward to the rough-terrain bikers.    MacPhee said on Monday that he considers the river to be “fairly high right now” and the call on it being safe enough for paddlers at about 50/50.

Turning frustration into passion    Scott and Bobbi’s experiences fueled their desire to make a difference for others. They hope to one day be able to volunteer with ICU patients and their families, coaching them through returning home, helping them recognize that their lives will never be the same.    Scott also envisions a gym for ICU survivors. He dreams of creating a modest space with simple weight and workout equipment for post-ICU patients to gradually increase their physical activity.    “People can push one another and help each other get back on their feet,” he says.    Scott’s unexpected medical journey has not been easy, and it’s far from over.    It’s unclear what the future will hold, but it’s clear that his determination will help guide him to many fortuitous developments, especially with Bobbi at his side.    Reached directly this week, Scott said he remains passionate about helping anyone else get through what he experienced. “I’m still fighting this rap,” he said, but he also is carried by the astonished claim of the ICU folks that “you are a miracle.” At least 80 percent of those who went through what he did are either dead or totally non-functional while he is back to work and lifting weights again, Scott said.    If you have the skills, tools and/or interest to support Scott’s vision of creating a post-ICU recovery gym, please contact him at or 360-305-5281.


The exertion and excitement of the Ski to Sea Race return Sunday to Everson, where the road biking leg gives way to river canoeing. (File photos)


Everson-based CSA operation is the best by aiming for best

56th Annual June 9 & 10, 2018

Growing Washington is region’s largest and longest-running model    EVERSON ­— The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program of Everson-based Growing Washington is the largest and longest-running 100 percent local one in the Pacific Northwest, the company declares.    The ongoing mission of the projectbased, on-the-ground organization is “to raise, move, represent and grow food and farmers in Washington State.”    June 1 is coming up as the registration deadline to get onto summer 2018 CSA. Check out prices and get more details at    Last fall, Growing Washington moved into one of Pike Place Market’s historic highstalls to bring its customers in Seattle fresh, seasonal produce and specialty farm products year-round.    Growing Washington started as a deeply held dream of Clayton Burrows and Jay Dennison. Ben Craft and Gretchen Hoyt had been growing at Alm Hill Gardens on Alm Hill Road since 1974, pioneers of organic farming in Whatcom County and leaders amongst vendors of the Seattle farmers markets. In 2007, Clayton was hired as production manager for vegetables and berries, as Ben and Gretchen sought to slow down and gradually retire.    Clayton assumed the reins of Alm Hill Gardens, expanded the vegetable and berry production, increased the number of farmers markets attended, and in the process created one of the most innovative and popular CSAs in the country as well as one of the largest and most diverse organic fruit and vegetable farms in Washington State.    The program is successful on these principles:      1) Choice. Members enjoy the benefit of choosing exactly what they want each week. That translates to: We list what is available. You choose. We deliver.    2) Community. Every single item in food boxes is either grown by Washington farmers or handmade by small Washington food businesses. By purchasing a share, you are directly supporting more than 40 local food businesses, owned and operated by folks who live and work in local communities.


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The fall veggie crop is stunning in beauty and quality. (Courtesy photo)    3) Quality. The Everson farm has been honored by peers as Washington State Farm of the Year. Standards must be high for the people worked with.    4) Customer Service. Every single item in every single box is backed with a 100 percent guarantee. When you call, an actual person who works on the farm will answer the phone. If you get something that’s past its prime, we’ll replace it, easy as that.    5) Reach. Each week, Growing Washington brings an average of 200 locally grown and produced food items to more than 125 locations from King County to the Canadian border.    6) Reputation. Respect and reputation are earned, and despite the proliferation of meal-kit companies and home delivery options, members continue to help Growing Washington sell hundreds and hundreds of shares each and every year. All products are backed by this type of relationship: “Call up the person who grew or made this thing that you are eating and ask them questions.” Our business model is based loosely off a lemonade stand.    7) Passion. Coordinating a CSA like this can sometimes feel a little like herding cats. Every year we ask ourselves, “Why do we do it?” And every year the answer is the same: "If we don’t do it, who will?"

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 23, 2018



Projects afoot in both cities In Everson, big project creates new downtown Lincoln Street bypass from SR 544 to Blair By Calvin Bratt

  EVERSON/NOOKSACK ­ — Both towns have public works and building projects either visible already or planned for later in 2018. • The City of Everson is happy to have completed the Kirsch Drive improvements on time and under budget, says Dave Schoonover, public works director.    Now the next big street project is something that has been sought since 2012, creating a new Lincoln Street in two phases all the way through from State Route 544 to Blair Drive near the Post Office.    This will provide an alternate route for traffic around downtown off Main Street, which is also the state highway.    The nearly $3 million project has been awarded to Stremler Gravel, which did Kirsch, and work is expected to start within a month in order to be completed this year, Schoonover said.    A variety of funding sources including federal, state, city and Port of Bellingham together make it possible, he said.    Laying a new 24-inch stormwater pipe from Lincoln toward the Nooksack River is a related project.

Many subcontractors are busy on duplexes along Nooksack Avenue, while the Whispering Meadows plat is taking shape off Gillies Road. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)    • In Nooksack, four multi-unit buildings are going up rapidly in the 800 block of Nooksack Avenue in front of the railroad tracks.    Two different builders are involved. Jason Heutink has the four-plex and duplex to the south, while Heppner Construction has the two duplexes to the

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north, City Hall reported.    All the structures were in full swing of framing, electrical installation, roofing and more last week.    • Also in Nooksack, first stages of the Whispering Meadows LLC development along East 4th Street/Gillies Road are happening.

   A rezone of 39 acres and then preliminary plat approval for 29 lots were items before the Nooksack City Council last fall.    Now the road layout, curbs, sidewalks and utilities are progressing, and the developer hopes to start building homes within the next few months.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 23, 2018


These last two are for a somewhat reconfigured photo layout, trying to lead with that Everson future-street shot. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 23, 2018



The Good, the Bad and the Lovely Following a business journey into the unknown By Elisa Claassen for the Lynden Tribune

'Start over, my darling. Be brave enough to find the life you want and courageous enough to chase it. Then start over and love yourself the way you were always meant to.” — Madalyn Beck

Jessica Wright stays energetically engaged in her My Anchored Grace business in spite of thyroid cancer she is dealing with. (Courtesy photo)

   EVERSON — Two years ago, My Anchored Grace was “born” to now-Everson resident Jessica Wright. The business, like the owner, is changing fast and furious. Her storefront is a wave of the future: in a few places that belong to others, her merchandise joins theirs. Facebook sells events to VIP groups, and now she has a glamped-out cargo trailer to take all over.    “I will take it wherever I can,” Wright says.    After living in many places during her growing-up years, she beautified clients at Radiance Hair & Beauty in Port Townsend. She moved back to Whatcom County to be closer to her aging father. In the process, she left her salon days behind — “God had another Continued on the next page

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plan” — and started what was initially an online clothing boutique. The first focus was her hand-made jewelry full of charms and fun sayings. That was in May 2016. By January 2017, she had added the clothing online after she had received a cancer diagnosis and wanted to ensure an additional income stream, she said.    At first a bit intimidated by doing her own website, she turned to a Shopify platform and then jumped in. “It was easier than I had thought.”    While many would picture the life of a self-employed single mom in fashion as being “fun,” it is also a lot of work and many hours — close to 90 a week, starting early in the morning with invoicing. Some could misjudge her as simply working weekends at pop-up locations, not realizing she had to order and receive all that product, make the jewelry, load up cars and trucks, and drive to the places as well as develop new marketing strategies — without prior experience in any of it, but plenty willing to try.    Her jewelry is in 60 to 70 shops nationwide. With a goal of getting her business name out there for online orders, she went to 48 weekend shows in 2017. Occasionally she had helpers, and now

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 23, 2018


she is getting help with social media and processing orders.    She would like to soon have one part-time and one full-time person.    During those early shows she was reinventing her approach and finally brought it down to a science and simplified it. Her boys help and ride along.    Wright was a young mom when she had the twin boys almost 11 years ago. At the time, she was inexperienced even being around children in general. God helped with that. Likewise, she credits God with giving her her business plans and ideas, which she wrote down page after page — coinciding with the cancer diagnosis. She has had no business mentors nor coaching, and she attributes her “stubbornness” to being a bit of a “rebel” and finding it hard to do things someone else’s way.    “I’m grateful I’m the way I am. … I believe in myself.”    Selections include printed T-shirts and pendant necklaces such as “#Jesus because Adulting is Hard,” “She’s more precious than rubies,” and “Adventure Awaits.” The clothing, for women from regular to plus sizing, is “fun, feminine, affordable, and modest ... and unique.”    For business she has traveled

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throughout Washington as well as to Idaho and Texas. She took a red-eye flight to the Dallas Apparel and Accessories Market in March 2018 with very little time to prepare. A simple inquiry, intended for 2019, resulted in a late invitation to have a booth right away. So she did.    “It’s more than selling clothes,” she said.    Facebook posts chronicle her personal and business journey, giving much credit to her faith. In the meantime, her posts display her spirit, spunk and smile framed by nicely coifed hair and cute apparel.    On the journey she has had her old truck break down on the way to a show in Idaho, managed to deal with it and get to her show anyway to set up. She also faces harder things, most of which relate to dealing with her thyroid cancer.    This was in a Facebook post of Oct. 2, 2017: “In the beginning of August I had my first official follow-up ultrasound to make sure I was all good. Well, I’m not all good. There’s another tumor in the left side of my thyroid. After five biopsies, we still don’t know what type of cancer it is, but it has grown much faster than the previous one did, and looks very different on imaging. This is really annoying.

And pretty scary.”    “My first response was to remove it. Schedule me for surgery, get it out of there. Two of my three doctors agreed. I planned to wait until mid-December for surgery because that’s when my show schedule takes a break, and I’d have time to recover. I’m grateful that I couldn’t have done it immediately, because it’s given me time to allow God to speak to my heart, calm my fears and anxieties, and give me some perspective. He’s also reminded me that I’ve asked Him several times to use my life to bring Him glory, and that I made the decision a long time ago that my life is not my own."    My Anchored Grace is located at    Her clothing is available for purchase locally at Rustic Cottage in Lynden and Experience Salon in Mount Vernon. Those who follow her on Facebook get first dibs on her clothing, ordered in few-piece lots, on Sunday and Wednesday nights before she posts to her site. In April, she started a monthly non-subscription mystery box service for clothing and jewelry.    “Every day, every moment … I’m thinking, getting ideas, tweaking. Constantly working.”

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The skill and equipment of outdoor recreation are on full display in the annual Ski to Sea Race each Memorial Day. (File photos)

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday


July 13, 14 & 15 Hope to see you there!


Participants & Spectators!

Everson-Nooksack News, May 2018  
Everson-Nooksack News, May 2018