Birch Bay author holds workshop and book signing

 Birch Bay Issues, Miscellaneous, Wellness  Comments Off on Birch Bay author holds workshop and book signing
Sep 122013

Our friend and fellow author, Maureen Kelly, is offering a workshop and book signing on Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm at Kula Yoga, 1920 Main Street, Suite 4, Ferndale. Her latest book, Chakra Play – The Magical Vibration of You, upon which this workshop is based, explains how combining sound, affirmation, motions and more can bring balance to your life. She is also offering a drawing for a one hour personal chakra play session. Workshop fee i $20. To preregister, please visit for more information, call 360-920-1125.sageatbeach-web

Flash Forums

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Flash Forums
Sep 022013

County council candidates inaugurated  a new way to meet with voters.


Rud Browne, left, and Barry Buchanan at first Flash Forum

On August 19 and 21, Rud Browne and Barry Buchanan informally chatted with residents at the Birch Bay Public Market and in a homeowner’s driveway.

For upcoming events, see the calendar at

Aug 192013
S&S Excitement on Beach

Skim boarding on Birch Bay beach during the festival.

Mike Button - redo

Don and Mike (shown) Buttons provided kite-building instructions for the 40 kits supplied by NW Park and Recreation District 2.

The 1st International Sea and Sky Festival registered 108 participants on August 17 and 18, 2013. Forty-one of the those registered were from Canada–mostly B.C., with the remainder from the U.S.–mostly Whatcom County.



A small, unscientific survey found that this inaugural event was very popular and should be repeated next year. The two favorite activities were kite building/flying and skim boarding. The only negative comments were the cost of participating, through rental fees, in the paddleboarding and kayaking events and the lack of planned activities while waiting for the tide to come in.




S&S Cherish Ayersof Vernon, BC Won a Skim Board

Grand prize winner Cherish Ayers from Vernon, B.C. with skim board maker and instructor Jeff Blotski of Blain 

Items donated by local businesses valued at nearly $800 were awarded to registered ticket-holders.


 Thanks to the donors of the prizes and for the committee members who donated time and energy to this event.


Dear Mr. President

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Dear Mr. President
Aug 052013

Dear Mr. President:

We were surprised and disappointed with your choice of venue when we heard your speech from Amazon. Chuck and Dee Robinson of Village Books, genuine job creators and strong community supporters, expressed our concerns very well in a message advising readers, excerpted below.

Obama at Amazon

1. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place.

2. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

3. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy:..  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

Please do something to counteract the impression that you care more for predatory large corporations than you do the real job creators–small business.

You may remember us as volunteers with the neighborhood team from the most northwestern county of the most northwestern state when we had our photo taken with you in Bellevue, February 2012. We cherish that experience and photo.

Ruth Higgins and Al Krause

National Bicycle and Pedestrian Count – Phase 2

 Birch Bay Issues  Comments Off on National Bicycle and Pedestrian Count – Phase 2
Jul 072013

As part of a national study, being done in Birch Bay, Washington for the first time in May, we counted six female and two male cyclists; 35 female and 24 male pedestrians; and 18 dogs, gender undetermined.

Post for 7.9.13 - Counting Passers

On July 6, our numbers increased exponentially to 179 cyclists (75 female and 104 male), 369 pedestrians (207 female and 162 male), 21 others (scooters, surreys, skateboards and one elliptical) and 32 dogs (still not gender-specific).


Git Yer Goat

 Birch Bay Issues, Environment  Comments Off on Git Yer Goat
May 182013

We saw an item in Entrepreneur magazine on Rent-A-Goat and thought what a great idea that would be to clear our lot. Since ending our Growing Trees for Salmon efforts, nothing but a raised bed (whole other story), has happened there — except for an explosion of weeds.

Git Yer Goats at work

Git Yer Goats at work

A little local research revealed that Tom Mallahan and Sally Yorkston have a tribe of goats in Everson and they (the goats) are willing and able to clear almost any vegetation from nearly any terrain. Tom says goats will eat anything, but not everything is good for them.

He scopes out the property prior to estimating the length and cost of the job, then trailers the goats (up to 15 of them) to the location, sets up a perimeter electric fence and remains with them — all day and all night if necessary — until the job is done. If they miss or reject any growth, he chops it down to ground level and the place  looks respectable.

This doesn’t come cheap and you don’t get a discount for feeding the goats their lunch, dinner and maybe even breakfast. The mobilization fee is $150 and the 24-hour day charge is $250. But if you have a large area and want to be ecologically attuned, it sure is an option.

Git Yer Goat 1

Tom Millahan and Sally Yorkston
with Git Yer Goat grazers

And, as the Rent-A-Goat Web site goat says, and the Git Yer Goat members would no doubt agree, “We are cute, too!”

Is that old couple waiting for a parade?

 Birch Bay Issues  Comments Off on Is that old couple waiting for a parade?
May 122013

If that’s what you thought when you saw us or any of the other 20 or so people helping out, we assure you we know there is no Birch Bay Parade scheduled until July 20th. (Mark that weekend on your calendars now for the Discovery Days Parade, Arts and Crafts Festival and Ducky Derby.)

What we were doing was counting cyclists and pedestrians (and we added dogs out of  curiosity), for the National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation Project, a function of The Birch Bay Healthy Communities assessment team, a part of the Birch Bay Waterfront Group.

Following a brief orientation on Tuesday, May 7, by Melissa Morin (our photographer) from the Whatcom County Department of Health, we selected a shift and location to staff on Thursday, May 9. Saturday times were also available.

may2013count1 (1)

Our shift was 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in front of the Grand Bay Condominiums. During that time we counted six female and two male cyclists; 35 female and 24 male pedestrians; and 18 dogs, gender undetermined. We were fortunate that the doggy dump container was just across the road from us and concientious dog walkers were depositing their “business” bags and turning around to head back the way they came–we were required to count them each time they crossed our “screenline.”

We enjoyed the couple of hours of watching a sailboat skim across the bay and contributing information for future decision-making in Birch Bay. And if we watched the parade rather than walking in it, we might try to sit about there.



Ten Year Victory

 Birch Bay Issues, Environment  Comments Off on Ten Year Victory
Apr 212013

A long-awaited event took place morning of April 20, 2013 at the Birch Bay State Park. It was ground-breaking, in more than one sense of the word.Heron Center sign

Stacy Enlargxed.

Stacey McDaniels, BP Refinery Manager, was one of many dignitaries present to laud the staff and volunteers for their decade of dedication in conceiving, supporting and promoting the concept of an educational center within the park.


Groundbeakers, from left, Kathy Berg, Secretary of the Friends of Birch Bay State Park; Ted Morris, Manager of Brich Bay State Park, area manager for Washington State Parks, including Birch Bay; Stacey McDaniels, BP Refinery Manager, Scott Walker, President of Friends of Birch Bay State Park; and Darrel Hillaire, Lummi Nation Elder;

Groundbeakers, from left, Kathy Berg, Secretary of the Friends of Birch Bay State Park; Ted Morris, area manager for Washington State Parks, including Birch Bay State Park; Stacey McDaniels, BP Refinery Manager; Scott Walker, President of Friends of Birch Bay State Park; and Darrel Hillaire, Lummi Nation Elder;

Actual construction will begin in mid-September, with a weather-proof space ready for completion by the time the snow falls. By next summer, educational exhibits and programs should be available for visitors who come from across the country and around the world.

Strong Candidate for County Council

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Strong Candidate for County Council
Apr 212013

Last Wednesday evening, April 17, 2013, Rud Browne’s friends opened his campaign for the at-large seat on the Whatcom County Council. They crowded the Walton Theater room of Mt. Baker Theater; if the fire marshal had been there he might have turned purple at the number of people. They were all there because Browne, a popular entrepreneur and environmentalist, represents a splendid opportunity for progressives to take back control of the Council.

In a well-organized talk Browne explained how, as a young man in Australia, he worked in blue-collar jobs before moving to Canada and the U.S. In 1989, in his apartment with $20,000 in capital, he started a business that became The Ryzek Group that has 360 employees, 140 in Whatcom County, with annual revenues of $60 million. The business is described as “providing full life cycle management–repair,  refurbishment, recycling, etc.–of bar-code, mobile, wireless and RFID computer equipment.” In addition to the U.S., operations are in Canada, the U.K. and France. Along the way he has received numerous entrepreneurial and environmental awards. In May he will be a featured speaker at the Economist’s 11th Annual ‘Future in Review Conference on Digitizing the Future.”

Coal trains and the proposed Cherry Point terminal are well understood to be the big issue in this Fall’s Council elections, where the majority of four seats will be decided. The Council is likely to be the prime decider. How could an environmentalist who worked to preserve the Lake Whatcom water supply be for the coal port? In his talk Wednesday evening, Browne was circumspect in explaining that he is for a strong economy with good jobs as well as the environment. He wants to look at all the facts.

Dan Pike, the former Bellingham mayor, in conversation after the talk asked, “What more is there to know?” He said he looked at the facts and decided to be one of the first to state his opposition to the coal terminal.

Browne will be the guest of Richard May at the April 24th Tipple and Talk at 7:00 p.m. in the Via Birch Bay Café and Bistro. May, who will lead the discussion on Wednesday, was a 2008 campaigner for President Obama in several states, and is active with the Whatcom Democratic Central Committee.

This year’s election will be more than about yard signs.