Hospital Controversy, PPE Delivery, More


  Hospital Controversy

  PPE Delivery: New Location

  Confirmed Cases 102 Deaths 3

  Dr Fauci On Coronavirus

  Support Shuksan & Hospital Workers

Columbia Neighborhood



A 17-year veteran Emergency Room doctor in town was fired yesterday and escorted off campus. The situation is being covered regionally and nationally today, including AP and Washington Post.

There seem to be two aspects to this controversy: Whether PeaceHealth has done everything in its power to protect our health care workers, and whether they have leveled with us as a community about the situation at our hospital. Workers’ concerns are being raised, and our community deserves clear, complete answers. The Washington State Nurses Association issued a statement that they are “appalled” and have filed a complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. 

 Today’s Bellingham Herald covered it this way:

  Seattle Times follow-article yesterday 3.27.2020


  NWCitizen article yesterday and today. They originally broke the story.


  An interview with Dr Ming Lin


Home sewn masks, gowns, printed face shields can be delivered to Bellingham MakerSpace 12 – 5 Monday through Friday. (They can also be delivered to the Unified Command out near the airport, from 4 – 6 PM only Monday – Friday.) The Grabow Center asks people now to deliver to these two spaces. They were happily overwhelmed with our community’s generosity, but were unable to keep up with the largess in order to properly sanitize the gifts prior to delivery.  Bellingham Makerspace will now coordinate county efforts for providing medical professionals with the protective equipment they need. Bring them by Bellingham Makerspace which is located at the Bellis Fair Mall.  If you are in the parking lot and driving toward Dick’s Sporting Goods, there is a loading culdesac on the right.  We will have someone available to receive donations between 12 – 5, Mon -Fri. 


Whatcom county now has 102 positive tests. Another Shuksan resident has died, bringing the total there to three. Five deaths in the county. More nursing homes are now involved. Check the Bellingham Herald for more details.



Shuksan health care workers (and likely hospital workers) could use the following:

1. Cases of Gatorade and vitamin water

2. Coffee (starbucks sells cartons of hot coffee with cups, creamer, etc)

3. Also thinking they may like cases of energy drinks


I heard from three different blocks today that they are working on connecting or re-connecting! I could be more delighted!!! Here’s a report from Walnut Street. If you’re trying to figure out how to get started, this is a great description:

  Just want to let you know that I did a round of updates to our MYN 2700-2800 Walnut St. contact list and the Skills/Knowledge & Stuff to Share in an Emergency list as well. I started by emailing everyone I had on the list since our last update 8/18. One of my neighbors I then went door to door reaching out to all the folks who hadn’t updated via email. We left a note at the households who didn’t answer the door asking them to call/email me with any changes to their info. Next step was updating the lists and sending the info out to everyone via email so they could check for accuracy. Gene & I then got copies of the final version made at CopySource, and then Lynne & I left one at each person’s house. Feeling good to have that done and to have met my new neighbors, even if only from a distance. ~Mardi S



My dog finally found tennis balls are fun.

Anyone have a “chuck-it” they no longer want or use?

  Lindsay Hertz

  Kulshan st



Block Buddies, Helpers, Shopping Safety, More


Friday March 27, 4:45 PM

  Block Buddies

  Columbia Helpers

  92 Confirmed Cases

  Bellingham Post Office Open

Neighborhood Specifics

  Visit From A Chicken (Already Home)

  In Search Of Pedal Bike

Fl!p’s Pix For Music

  Robert Sarazin Blake:From The Kitchen Table

  John Miller Guitar Instruction

Lots of Shopping Safety Info

  The Short Form: Infectious Virus Only For 72 Hours On Objects

  Don’t Panic About Deliveries (Wa Post Article)

  Keeping Things Really Clean

  Decontamination: From A Scientist


If we take the long view, centuries long, pandemics are actually normal. They have happened many, many times before. And this time, we know more and have more tools for dealing with it: Healthcare workers giving everything they’ve got to save as many people as possible; Dedicated scientists all over the planet helping us understand the virus, and researching treatments and vaccines; The internet that connects so many of us as we stay home to protect one another. There is one thing that is different in a less helpful way, at least in cities in the USA. We don’t know our neighbors as well as our parents and grandparents knew theirs. Or as well as folks in small towns know their neighbors even now. Neighbors can make a huge difference in how well we get through this next period, from waving out the window to calling for aid if we can’t do it for ourselves. Please begin trading contact information with your next-door neighbors. Try to get a list for your whole block. Anybody who agrees to be on the list gets a copy of the list. And, please, let me know if you’re doing it, and how I can assist you. This is the single thing that I most want to have happen in this next period.


If you have joined the Columbia Helpers Facebook page – or feel free to do so now: , please check it  a couple of times a day to see if there is a Neighbor in Need. If you see a post from someone saying they need help and you are able to help, please jump in and help. You can message that person directly or leave a comment under the person’s request. Here is a hotline number people can call if they are not on Facebook: 360-778-2762 and follow instructions to leave a voicemail. Someone will get back to you.

Thank you for helping out! We’ll get through this together!

Colleen and Erin, your Columbia Neighborhood Co-Captains


Whatcom County now has a total of 92 cases, including four deaths.


The Postal Service is classified as an essential government service, and will remain open wherever possible.

 315 Prospect St, Bellingham, WA 98225


Just left the post office in prospect. Still normal hours and services. ~ Ryan Johnson 



[The owner has already been found, but I couldn’t resist sharing the headline!]

Barred rock chicken. Corner of Park and Jefferson hanging out with my chickens.

  Amber Hixson

  Park Street


My daughter is turning 4 next month. My hope is to get her her first pedal bike. I wanted to check to see if any family in the neighborhood has one they have outgrown that they would be willing to sell me. Size 14″ or 16″ wheels. 

*Also open to receiving tips on how to have a successful quarantine celebration. 

  Helen Hollister

  Williams Street



Sunday March 29th, 4-6pm

 LIVE STEAM http:///


All Viewers Welcome: Digital Tip Jar


Venmo: @RobertSarazinBlake

A weekly broacast concert and song swap

from our kitchen table to yours.

‘Lets sit around the table together’

March 29th Guest: (BBC Award Winning!) Jefferson Hamer


I have fifty years experience as a guitar instructor, teaching privately and offering classes at music camps. I teach Folk, Old-Time, Country Blues fingerpicking, Jazz, Brazilian guitar, chord theory and voicing, and composition. I’ve written five books and have 18 instructional videos released by Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.  I have already done a lot of on-line teaching and am comfortable doing that using Mac FaceTime or Zoom.  Interested parties can check out my website at or contact me at 

[I can’t print this without giving a shout-out. John is an internationally recognized guitar teacher and player. I stand in awe of this man’s musicianship, breadth of knowledge, and scholarship in a wide range of musical styles. He is a musical sage. And he lives here in town! ~Fl!p]




CDC clarifies that live, infectious virus was NOT found 17 days later on the Princess ship. Virus survives on surfaces only up to 72 hours, and only 24 on cardboard. I currently have a front entry “parking lot” for pretty much everything but milk and ice cream. I don’t stack anything but one day’s mail. Much easier than cleaning everything to just wait 3 days. Wash your produce like you wash your hands.


I asked my cousin Alex Breskin, who is an epidemiologist, about this article from the Washington Post, before sharing it. He says wash your hands anyway, but he’s not too concerned in this regard, because the virus decays pretty quickly. It has a “half-life.” (You don’t have to have a subscription to view this article about it. At least one friend was having difficulty, so I have copied and pasted the article here, right after the link:

By Joseph G. Allen 

March 26, 2020 at 5:10 a.m. PDT


The Washington Post is providing this story for free so that all readers have access to this important information about the coronavirus. For more free stories, sign up for our daily Coronavirus Updates newsletter.

Joseph G. Allen is an assistant professor of exposure and assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine is making people think twice about how they might be exposed to covid-19 if they open a box delivered by UPS, touch packages at the grocery store or accept food delivery.

The risk is low. Let me explain.

First, disease transmission from inanimate surfaces is real, so I don’t want to minimize that. It’s something we have known for a long time; as early as the 1500s, infected surfaces were thought of as “seeds of disease,” able to transfer disease from one person to another.

In that new NEJM study, here’s the finding that is grabbing headlines: The coronavirus that causes covid-19 “was detectable . . . up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”

The key word here is “detectable.”

Yes, the virus can be detected on some surfaces for up to a day, but the reality is that the levels drop off quickly. For example, the article shows that the virus’s half-life on stainless steel and plastic was 5.6 hours and 6.8 hours, respectively. (Half-life is how long it takes the viral concentration to decrease by half, then half of that half, and so on until it’s gone.)

Now, let’s examine the full causal chain that would have to exist for you to get sick from a contaminated Amazon package at your door or a gallon of milk from the grocery store.

In the case of the Amazon package, the driver would have to be infected and still working despite limited symptoms. (If they were very ill, they would most likely be home; if they had no symptoms, it’s unlikely they would be coughing or sneezing frequently.) Let’s say they wipe their nose, don’t wash their hands and then transfer some virus to your package.

Even then, there would be a time lag from when they transferred the virus until you picked up the package at your door, with the virus degrading all the while. In the worst-case scenario, a visibly sick driver picks up your package from the truck, walks to your front door and sneezes into their hands or directly on the package immediately before handing it to you.

Even in that highly unlikely scenario, you can break this causal chain.

In the epidemiological world, we have a helpful way to think about it: the “Sufficient-Component Cause model.” Think of this model as pieces of a pie. For disease to happen, all of the pieces of the pie have to be there: sick driver, sneezing/coughing, viral particles transferred to the package, a very short time lapse before delivery, you touching the exact same spot on the package as the sneeze, you then touching your face or mouth before hand-washing.

In this model, the virus on the package is a necessary component, but it alone is not sufficient to get you sick. Many other pieces of the pie would have to be in place.

So this is what you can do to disassemble the pie — to cut the chain.

You can leave that cardboard package at your door for a few hours — or bring it inside and leave it right inside your door, then wash your hands again. If you’re still concerned there was any virus on the package, you could wipe down the exterior with a disinfectant, or open it outdoors and put the packaging in the recycling can. (Then wash your hands again.)

What about going to the grocery store? The same approach applies.

Shop when you need to (keeping six feet from other customers) and load items into your cart or basket. Keep your hands away from your face while shopping, and wash them as soon as you’re home. Put away your groceries, and then wash your hands again. If you wait even a few hours before using anything you just purchased, most of the virus that was on any package will be significantly reduced. If you need to use something immediately, and want to take extra precautions, wipe the package down with a disinfectant. Last, wash all fruits and vegetables as you normally would.

We should all be grateful for those who continue to work in food production, distribution and sales, and for all those delivery drivers. They’re keeping us all safer by allowing us to stay home. And, as I said, the risk of disease transmission from surfaces is real. We can never eliminate all risk; the goal is to minimize it — because we all will occasionally need to go grocery shopping and receive supplies in the mail.

But if you take basic precautions, including washing your hands frequently, the danger from accepting a package from a delivery driver or from takeout from a local restaurant or from buying groceries is de minimis. That’s a scientific way of saying, “The risks are small, and manageable.”


You don’t have to read this next article. But if you have cancer or are otherwise severely immune compromised, this article will give you detailed and precise procedures and ways to think about about dealing with groceries.

My big brother Joe is a scientist, among many other things. This was written by a personal friend of Joe’s, who is also a scientist. She explains in great detail how to clean things and then keep them clean. I believe her to be accurate.

  I had to stop and laugh helplessly half a dozen times as I was reading this. I imagined myself in a Charlie Chaplin routine. I’m glad I’m staying home at this point! We only have to deal with objects coming into the house: mail, packages, groceries. Everything is in a front entry Parking Lot for 3 days, unless it needs to go to the fridge or freezer. So the task isn’t really that overwhelming after all, at least for people who aren’t going out.

  My husband Zeke, who worked in a lab in college, says these procedures get easier pretty quickly. It’s a mind-set, a routine, and a habit of noticing. Ariel also summarizes at the end of this article. The CDC says to date they are not seeing much evidence of transmission from objects. None-the-less, I’ve put Zeke in charge of incoming objects at our house. 

  So take a deep breath and consider reading this long, detailed article. One good way to do it would be to read it aloud over the phone to a friend, with frequent stops to laugh or explode. I’m guessing all of us who never worked in a lab may have a lot of feelings about this!  ~ Love/Fl!p


Ariel Widget

March 22

I’ve had quite a few friends ask how they can reduce their chances of catching the nCOVID-19 virus. It works just as well for the cold and flu viruses.

I’ve spent a huge part of my adult life in various microbiology labs, working with actual and potential pathogens. I’d like to share some of the principles that were drilled into my head from day one. From minute one.

In the lab, assume that every surface is contaminated. Bench tops, door handles, faucet controls, phones, everything. During cold, flu, and COVID-19 season, you may assume that anything other people touch is contaminated. The more people touch it; the greater the likelihood.

We humans are actually pretty pathogen-proof. Our skin is, for the most part, an excellent barrier. Pathogens need a way in, either through our eyes, nose, mouth, mucosal membranes, or from cuts or breaks in our skin. For this reason, DO NOT put your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth. You are inoculating yourself.

If personal items go into the lab, they will be contaminated. Keep them out, if you can. If you can’t (like eyeglasses), be aware that they might be contaminated. Limit their use as much as possible, and make a habit of sterilizing them when you leave. It’s complicated at first – wash your hands thoroughly. Then, disinfect your glasses, or phone, or whatever. Then wash your hands again.

If you use the restroom, wash your hands before and after. Use a paper towel on the exit door. Wash your hands before you leave the building, and the minute you get home.

When you go into the lab, wash your hands, and without touching anything, put on sterile protective equipment. When you leave, remove your gear (gloves last) then wash your hands. Exit the lab, then wash your hands. The point is to keep the germs from getting out.

During cold and flu (and COVID-19) season, we’re trying to keep germs where they are. We’re keeping them from getting IN to our homes, and of course, our bodies.

If you’re exposed to aerosol-spreading organisms in the lab, you wear a mask and eye protection. This doesn’t apply to COVID-19, but it does to the cold and flus. During cold and flu season, I often wear a scarf or muffler over my nose and mouth when I’m in high-risk areas, like crowds and the light rail. It’s usually cold anyway.

Know that most surfaces where people frequent might be contaminated. Infected people are shedding (and spreading) huge quantities of virus. Anything they touch or sneeze on is contaminated. Assume anything people touch is contaminated.

When you go to the supermarket, you disinfect the cart handle, and that’s very good. You open the door to the freezer case, and now your hands are “germy”. They’re contaminated. If you eat a sample, or rub your eye, you’ve inoculated yourself. Now you touch your cart handle, so now it’s contaminated. You pick up a can of tomatoes. If it wasn’t contaminated before, it is now. You take out your glasses to read the label, so now your glasses are contaminated. You put the can back, and pick up a larger one, leaving germs on the first can for someone else.

You pick up a box of pasta that someone with contaminated hands has touched, and put it in your cart. Now you take out your phone and call home. You just contaminated your phone. You use your debit card at the register, and contaminated your fingers, because lots of germy, infected people have used the keypad. You put your debit card back in your wallet or purse – now your debit card and your wallet/purse are contaminated with the virus.

If you’re smart, you grab a disinfecting wipe on your way out, and disinfect your hands and cart. Excellent.

You stop at the gas station, and when you use the keypad and pump handle, you contaminated your hands. Now you use your pen to write down your milage, and get back in the car. Now your car handle and pen are contaminated.

You go to the Chinese takeout. You touch the door handle (contaminated), you give the cashier $40 (contaminated) and she gives $17 in (contaminated) change. Money is frequently very germy. You give her $7 for a tip, then put the ten dollar bill in your pocket. Now everything in your pocket is contaminated – your keys, you package of gum, your chapstick. You use the restroom and wash your hands, then take your keys out. You’ve just contaminated your hands again. If you hadn’t, you would on your car door handle and your steering wheel. You contaminated those at the gas station.

When you get home, you immediately wash your hands, which is good, but remember, your phone, your pen, your wallet, your keys, your debit card, your eyeglasses, everything in your pocket, AND your can of tomatoes and box of pasta are all contaminated. You take a shower before bed. Your hands are clean. You take your money and change out of your pocket and throw your pants in the laundry basket. Now your hands are contaminated again.

It helps to imagine that germs, especially viruses, are invisible, non-drying ink. It helps to understand how it spreads, and how we become infected. How the germs get into our bodies, and our homes. And, understand, it only takes a very small amount to get you sick. Another important thing about viruses: they don’t grow *on* you – they hijack your own cells, and turn them into virus-making factories. One sick person can produce an astonishing number of infectious viral units.

It may seem like a hopeless battle, but awareness is a vital tool during the cold, flu and COVID-19 season.

Four principles:
*Limit your exposure to infected people, when possible.
*Wash your hands. All the time. At home; at work; out and about.
*Keep your fingers out of your eyes, nose and mouth, unless you KNOW they’re clean. Do not put a pen, or gum, or anything else in your mouth without consideration.
*Be especially aware of ‘in commune’ fomites, or inanimate objects that we move freely between contaminated area and clean area, like phones, eyeglasses and pens.

Most important – if you’re sick, for the love of God stay home. Keep your kids home. If you’re sick and you MUST go out, be aware that you’re putting a lot of other people at risk.

Stay safe, everybody. Stay well.

We’ll get through this.



Correction: Groceries, Helpers, Cheers, More


Thursday March 26 1:05 PM

Correction: Safe Grocery

Whatcom County Confirmed Cases 


  Facebook Group

  Find Help

Cheers For Essential Workers

Free Batteries 

Still Some Duplicate Emails


In a recent email, a message with a link to a video on “PSA SAFE GROCERY..”  The text in the email said it was a video from the CDC.  This is incorrect.  This video was made and shared by a private individual, Jeffrey VanWingen, who is neither associated with the CDC nor working in epidemiology or infectious diseases. I think the confusion is due to the ad placement in YouTube. Youtube is putting an advertisement banner from the CDC on lots of videos right now.  It’s not an endorsement from the CDC, it’s an advert YouTube has placed there because the content of the video is related to certain included terms such as Coronavirus or COVID-19.

 Gregory Rehm

  Keesling Street

[Thank you Gregory and the other folks who alerted me. Now I know more of what to watch out for, and you do too. I will try to remove that post today. And I appreciate all the potential fact checkers out them. I’ll take all the help I can get! ~ Love/Fl!p


as of Thursday March 26 at 12:30 PM: 86

Deaths: 4


Local Facebook Helpers groups, by neighborhood

FIND HELP is a national site with links to local resources


It’s abundantly clear that our healthcare workers are working under unbelievably stressful conditions and need our love and support at this time. From the lack of protective equipment, to long hours, to uncertainty about testing, this is a very hard time to be a healthcare provider. They are all working under unusually stressful conditions and need as much love and support we can send their way.  In response a group of us have gotten together (not physically obviously) and created signs of support for our healthcare providers. These signs have been placed on people’s lawns as well as at the 2 main entrances at the hospital. So far the feedback we have received has been nothing but positive, and we want to continue sending our love and support in the weeks to come. 

  So here’s what we are asking: Please make up signs of support for healthcare workers and put them in a visible place outside your home. We want our healthcare providers to see signs of support popping up all over town. We are also asking those people who are close to the hospital and can easily make it over there to make up signs and put them on the lawn leading up to the main entrance to the hospital. We currently have a bunch of signs there now, but how awesome would it be to have hundreds more?! 

  Please take photos of your signs and post them on what ever social media site(s) you use… let’s spread this far and wide!

  Finally, there are many other people out there working to support out community right now (police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, grocery personnel)… so if you’re so moved to support them as well, we think that is a fantastic idea!

  Matthew Dowling


We were unable to find replacement batteries for our digital thermometer in town so we ordered some online, but had to order 40 of them. They are 1.5 volt #LR41 which seems to be the same 384 or 392. They fit both thermometers and watches. FREE  to anyone who needs them. I will put them in (sterilized)  bag on a fence post at 2829 Lynn St. 

Or if anyone knows of medical facility that might need them, let me know. 

  Gail MacDonald

  360 733-6867

  Lynn St


Hoping this is the last day for these. Thank you for your forebearence.


Come Together To Help, Fl!p’s Pix For Music, Emails Will Continue, More


3/25/2020  7 PM

  Come Together To Help

  Whatcom Confirmed Cases: 66

  State Launches Web Form To Clarify “Essential” Businesses

  Goods Nursery And Produce And Goods Local Brews

  Handyman For Critical Needs

  Elder Care Co-Op Seeks Workers

Fl!p’s Pix For Music

  Musician’s Internet Jamming Programs?

  Local Musicians Teaching Online

Editor’s Corner

  Emails Will Continue


It’s time to come together block by block to help our neighbors. It will be good if every one of us has someone next door who is checking in with us daily, and that we are checking on them as well. And for every block, someone, or even better, everyone, can make sure that no one gets left out. 

The first step is to safely connect. Internet, text and phone connections first. Figure out who’s missing and leave a sticky note on their gate, window or door. (First before writing and delivering, wash your hands.) You might even get down to knocking on their front door and then immediately moving back 8 feet. We’ll call it 8 feet because many people underestimate 6 feet. Eight feet is standard ceiling height. You can still talk just fine at that distance.

Some folks stick a piece of colored paper that says OK in their window, and then move it to a new location every day so their neighbors can tell they’re still OK.

Get together a list of everybody on your block, and share with everybody on your block, including back door neighbors if you know them. Now you have a tiny phone book! And a big enough circle of support that you can meet many needs. Your next-door neighbor may not have a spare roll of TP, but somebody on your block almost certainly does!

As you do this, I would love to hear from you that you’re working on it, and how it’s going. I really would! 


As of today at 5:30 PM, Wednesday March 25, we have 66 confirmed cases, and 2 deaths.



 This is for now a two-week closure, and state officials will be evaluating the situation as we move through the expected increase in numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19. In response to widely-circulated rumors, state officials also want to be clear that no one needs to be registered on any list, and no one needs a letter or pass of any kind to continue moving about, conducting essential business and activities. Visit the portal’s Spread the facts page.


Goods Nursery and Produce is open with all your gardening essentials. We have local honey, Joe’s veggie and strawberry starts, herbs, pansies, compost and more! We are sanitizing all surfaces, enforcing social distancing among shoppers and disinfecting constantly. Cory is there daily from 9-4PM. 

  Goods Local Brews is offering a growler exchange. Bring in your own growler and we will exchange it with a clean, sanitized one with a new cap. Check in with Cory from 9-4PM at the produce stand and he can fill your growler for you. Thank you all for your continued support through this very difficult time. We look forward to when we can open our doors again to the community. Stay safe and healthy!


Zeke and I were scheduled to get a bunch of little projects done around the house in one big burst. The highly skilled handyman we had chosen had to cancel because of the emergency order. We agree that Zeke and I are elders at risk and our projects are non-urgent. Mark is remaining open on a very limited basis, for hire because he still needs his income. He and Ginger wrote me that, “It’s our intent to honor the spirit of the order while also meeting the urgent needs of homeowners whose projects may be essential for emergency, structural, or safety purposes.” So here’s a personal shout-out to 

  Ginger and Mark Falcone


Looking for work? We are currently hiring CNA/HCA ALL shifts available
Join Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative
a worker-owned cooperative respected in Whatcom County for over a decade.
What makes our worker-owned cooperative different:
*Our caregivers have part ownership in our cooperative agency.
*Our caregivers have a strong voice in many business decisions.
*Our caregivers have created a work environment where each member feels valued and respected.
At Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative we offer:
*Flexible scheduling
*Job stability
*A connection within our community of caregivers

*Empowerment of our caregivers through teamwork and ownership of the business
$15.25 hour after 3 months

Become a member of our Co-op family! call 360-647-1537



If you know of effective programs to help musicians jam over the internet, I would love to run those here! I know some friends sent me suggestions last week, but they got buried in the avalanche. If you’d be kind enough to send them again, I would be grateful.


All our local performing musicians lost their income, and it is not yet clear to me if they will be able to claim unemployment. Let me know if you know. Many of them also teach lessons, and are figuring out how to do so over the internet. I’ll be glad to post a list of such music teachers. Send me a very short blurb with contact info. Thanks!



My tech buddies to the rescue! You don’t have to do anything. They are just going to help me shift over to a new platform, and you’ll still get the same emails, except there may be some photos here and there. You will get duplicate emails for just a few more days while we make the transition. For tech-savvy folks, you can just click a link to go to the blog site, where there is a cool map of local businesses, with what’s open, and what hours. We would love your help with a form you can fill in to add businesses or tell everyone about what they have in stock on a particular day. Business owners are also welcome to click on the form and speak for themselves. And there will be another form for creating posting requests that will make it easier for me to edit and format. Everything still comes straight to me (except map stuff, which Carol Brach is taking over for me, bless her heart!). And for the folks who just want email, just email me back like you always have. Simple. And we’ll see if we can’t get an unsubscribe button onto everything if case you want to opt out. I don’t want to annoy anybody ever (except back when I was a kid, my beloved siblings from time to time…)


Bumpy Blog Beginnings


3/24/2020 1:00 PM

Bumpy Blog Beginnings

Latest Confirmed Case Count: 64

Neighborhood Map

Cheers For Essential Workers

Information That Can Ease Fears

Crowded Trails

Distant Socializing


Support For Parents

A Favorite Tune


There are always kinks to work out in a new system. And a new system operator! (That would be me.) If you can’t get on, send me an email and I will try to add you manually. So far I seem to be able to do that for folks. Thank you for your patience while I figure it all out! And hurrah for the tech volunteers who are building it and then mentoring me while I learn to use it!

My goal is to get everyone on the blog and then discontinue my lists. It will me much less time consuming for me to manage. It will be messy for a week or so, till I get everyone moved to the blog. And then I will stop emailing my lists all together. During this transition you will get more than one copy. My apologies! Please bear with me.


Today, Tuesday March 24, I’m finding the Bellingham Herald to be my fastest accurate source so far. They have a bunch of new articles today.


I’d love your help filling in the business map at the upper right in my blog. You can use the little “hand” pointer to click and hold to drag the map around. There are a lot of businesses in the downtown core that have already been entered. This map will let us keep track of what’s open and when, special hours for seniors, and such. Take a look! It’s pretty cool. And if you’re an elder like me, and can’t figure it out, reach out to younger family and friends to guide you through it on over the phone. If I could learn, you can too. It just takes some help.


It’s abundantly clear that our healthcare workers are working under unbelievably stressful conditions and need our love and support at this time. From the lack of protective equipment, to long hours, to uncertainty about testing, this is a very hard time to be a healthcare provider. They are all working under unusually stressful conditions and need as much love and support we can send their way.  In response a group of us have gotten together (not physically obviously) and created signs of support for our healthcare providers. These signs have been placed on people’s lawns as well as at the 2 main entrances at the hospital. So far the feedback we have received has been nothing but positive, and we want to continue sending our love and support in the weeks to come. 

  So here’s what we are asking: Please make up signs of support for healthcare workers and put them in a visible place outside your home. We want our healthcare providers to see signs of support popping up all over town. We are also asking those people who are close to the hospital and can easily make it over there to make up signs and put them on the lawn leading up to the main entrance to the hospital. We currently have a bunch of signs there now, but how awesome would it be to have hundreds more?! 

  Please take photos of your signs and post them on what ever social media site(s) you use… let’s spread this far and wide!

  Finally, there are many other people out there working to support out community right now (police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, grocery personnel)… so if you’re so moved to support them as well, we think that is a fantastic idea!

  Matthew Dowling


From Atul Gawande. It has excellent information and statistics on the disease, allays some fears, describes what we as health care workers (and everyone, actually) need and don’t need to do to avoid catching and/or transmitting it. And while I’m at it, everyone (and I mean everyone) should also read his book “Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters in the End”.


Today Lake Padden trails were packed when the sun came out. More people are out of work and school and voila. Point: The next week calls for rain everyday but this Wednesday. People will flock outdoors with rain breaks, and unless people spread out away from public trails, congestion will occur. Suggestion: pick unique walks and dodge popular places.  Thanks,  ~John Egbert


How about swapping Social Distancing to Distant Socializing! Clyde says: You can quote me on relaying the idea to you, but I didn’t come up with it. Think it’s been floating around cyberspace but we should be pushing it so that our friends and family can reframe what they are going through.

~ Clyde Ford


Essential or non-essential? What kind of question is that? I hear it at work where the non-essential providers (doctors!) are given other jobs to do, despite their excellence at their craft. I hear it in describing what type of visits we can see. An annual physical is not essential, fortunately preventing pregnancies by inserting IUD’s is essential. Prenatal care: essential. What about talking with someone about their grief and anxiety? Isn’t that essential? And now the governor (not soon enough according to many) has mandated that people stay home except for essential activities. I am lucky because I have an essential job, pharmacists and grocery store checkers are essential. But would I ever really say that my musician friends, who bring joy and healing with their music, be non-essential? Never, but I do want them to stay safe and healthy. So stay home, they must, but not because they are non-essential. And there is other work that people do that may not be essential to the great State of Washington, but are essential to me. My friends are essential to me. And that is why I want them all to stay home and be safe.

~ BetsyBrownMD


Here is a pair of articles by my beloved Patty Wipfler. Her wisdom reaches beyond parents and children, and goes to the heart of well-connected relationships. The second link has a video attached. If you are not actively parenting during this time, you could reach out to parents you know and give them a good listening to!


State Order: Stay At Home, Stay Healthy, Essential Workers List, More


3/23/2020 8:15

Distant Socializing

State Order: Stay At Home, Stay Healthy

Essential Workers List

Camping On State Lands

More Health Care Worker Refuge Housing

Face Shields Action


Clyde Ford says we should be flipping idea of social distancing and call it distant socializing. 


Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a Stay at Home, Stay Healthy order in Washington state which will be effective for a minimum of two weeks. The order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home, except for people:

  • Pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries or going to a medical appointment.
  • Getting takeout food. (Food deliveries also are permitted).
  • Going to work at an essential business.
  • Going outside for walks and exercise, as long as social distancing of six feet is maintained.

What’s open:

  • All grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, food supply chains and other things necessary for continued operations will remain open.

What’s prohibited:

  • Effective immediately: All gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes are prohibited. This applies to both private and public gatherings which include everything for sleepovers for children to weddings and funerals. All of these type of events must be postponed for public health and safety.
  • Effective in 48 hours: All businesses, except for essential businesses. Businesses that can operate using telework should continue to do so. For businesses where individuals cannot work from home, the governor’s office will provide guidance on what businesses are essential, building on the federal government’s and California’s definition of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. If a business believes that it is essential, or if it is an entity providing essential services or functions, they will be able to request designation as an essential business. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.


Definitions here:


To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, all campsites, roofed accommodations (such as cabins, yurts, and vacation houses), group camps, and day use facilities are closed through April 30, 2020. If you have an existing reservation, you will be contacted for a refund. Learn more at the Washington State Parks reservations website


Several more friends and neighbors have stepped forward to offer housing. Thank you one and all! There is a group working on sorting it all out.

Face Shields Action


This evening, through the fast response of neighbors & friends, a large shipment of re-usable face shields was found, purchased, picked up and delivered for the use of First Responders, within an hour. It happened because people trusted each other. Thank you!


Blog Move, Neighborhood Helpers List, End Of Life Planning, Census Online, More

3/23/2020 6:05 PM
Blog Move
Neighborhood Helpers List
End Of Life Planning (Lots Here)
Census Online
Another Trusted Source

Please shift to the new blog site as soon as possible. I’ll keep posting through this week to try to catch as many of you as I can.

[Please go sign up, or re-sign up! ~Fl!p]
Hello Columbia Neighborhood,
Some wonderful Bellingham folks have stepped up and created an amazing web of connection on Facebook called “Look for the Helpers.” Each of the neighborhoods in Bellingham has a dedicated Facebook page. The purpose of these groups is to connect Neighbors in Need with Healthy Helpers in each of the neighborhoods as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleen Haggerty and Erin Campbell are the Columbia neighborhood Co-Captains and will moderating the Columbia page.
  Go here to join the Columbia group:
  Here is how it works:
Once you have joined the group, please ONLY leave a post when you have a specific need that needs to be met. Be sure to start your message with “NEIGHBOR IN NEED” then specify what you need and when you need it done.
If you are a neighbor who can meet that need, please post in the Comments and coordinate with the neighbor in need.
Please do share posts where local businesses and organizations are asking for specific needs! We are all about helping in this group!

Colleen and Erin will moderate the posts and reach out to people if their needs are not being met. The Admin team is also working on a Hotline phone number for those folks not comfortable with Facebook. This group may lighten Fl!p’s load for the new blog. In that hope, please encourage your neighbors to join this group.

The Realities Of Advanced Medical Interventions
Adapting To Changing Circumstances In Covid-19 Pandemic
Each dawn brings new challenges as events unfold during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  As many of Fl!p’s readers know, The Realities Of Advanced Medical Interventions supports good healthcare decision-making before an accident or illness occurs. Our Realities’ presentations and our follow up Advance Care Planning workshops have all been canceled for the foreseeable future. But, our ALL volunteer team would like to help you in the interim.
  While attending a presentation in person is optimum, these are different times! Take a look at Dr. Bill Lombard’s PowerPoint slides at the link below — they give a clear sense of the presentation’s content.  Also, get familiar with the glossary that is included in the Realities schedule link below.



After reviewing both, if you need clarification on an aspect of a medical intervention before you tackle completing your Advance Directive, email me: and I will check with Dr. Lombard to get answers to your questions. Please DO NOT ask for personal medical advice.
  Our certified volunteer Advance Care Planning facilitators will help, too, if you have questions about the Honoring Choices PNW advance directive document, referenced further down. Contact me:
  Now is an ideal time, while you’re self-isolating, to take stock and face the reality of your mortality.   
  April 16 marks National Healthcare Decisions Day. NHDD exists to inspire, education and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. Check it out!

  But, back to those challenges we face each day…as the New York Times’ article (below) states, Washington hospitals may be entering a phase where they will shift from individually focused care to care that will provide the greatest good to the greatest number of people.
   The shift in the standard of care would be horrendously challenging. I am confident, if this shift in care becomes necessary, there would be consistency wherever humanly possible. No one making these decisions would like making them. Care would be triaged: Who requires no intervention immediately, who requires urgent treatment to survive, and who will die regardless of intervention. Folks, that’s the Reality.
  Please reach out (virtually where required) to your family, friends, colleagues, healthcare providers and let them know that you are ready to “Have the Conversation.” It is a shared responsibility. When you complete your Advance Directive (and file with your healthcare providers and our hospital), you have not only taken a great burden off of yourself and your loved ones, you potentially help healthcare providers if healthcare is triaged during an anticipated surge in hospital admissions due to COVID-19.
  Take a look at this 7-minute video titled, “Have the Conversation,” which features three people, three experiences, three perspectives on the importance to discuss your healthcare wishes with your family and friends. By taking responsibility to face your mortality and accept death as a part of life, and completing your Advance Directive, you’ve created a beautiful gift.. “a love letter to those you adore.” 

THE CONVERSATION PROJECT provides a treasure trove of info on how to get started:
There are many acceptable advance directive documents, but currently the Washington State Hospital and Washington State Medical Associations recommend the Honoring Choice PNW document.  
  Access it here:   Go to upper right corner to download document.  The AD can be filled in online if you choose (for legibility!) and printed.
  All that said, our uncharted waters will become more turbulent before this is over. We have an opportunity to develop habits of grace in this time of social distancing.  I love Italy’s example of closing the distance by applauding and singing from their balconies as a way to say thank you to family, friends, medical folk, first responders, to neighbors near and far.
  As we muddle through this pandemic, its fate rests on us, how responsible we are for others. Big-hearted “habits of grace” can be little things. Tell someone right now how much they mean to you. Love, beauty, helping hands, and self-sacrifice will prevail.
  NOTE: Dr. Lombard’s REALITIES’ presentation on March 10 at Western Washington University was video recorded. When the raw video is edited (by a WWU Communications’ student), we’ll determine how/where to distribute it.
  Peace, in good health.
  Micki Jackson

Why should you fill out the Census form?  Well, let’s see.
* It’s the method used to determine how many members our state gets in the House of Representatives.  Some states will gain and some will lose seats depending on how many people choose NOT to be counted.
* It’s the way we distribute much of the federal funds.  For every person who is not counted the state will lose almost $20,000 in funding.
* It’s not nearly as intrusive as a lot of people think.  Here is the complete questionnaire:  No questions about citizenship or income or language.  It does ask about race but you get to decide what to answer (and can include multiple races) if you want.
* It’s secure.  Every Census worker takes an oath to keep the data confidential and can go to jail for breaking it.  There was some violation during World War II.  As far as I know, that’s the only time it happened.
* It helps shape what we think our country is.  Researchers, businesses, and government officials will use this data for decades to try to figure out trends and changes.  The more accurate the input, the more likely the conclusions are to be – and those conclusions help decide where businesses, schools, parks, etc. are placed.
* It’s part of history.  The Census has been happening every decade for 240 years.
* It’s part of the future.  In 72 years your descendants (and everyone else) will be able to read what’s on your form.  Genealogists and historians as yet unborn are counting on you.
  -Robert Lopresti
[Rob is one of my dearest friends, and a retired Government Documents Librarian. He loves the census, so I reached out and asked for his help. He’s a mensch! (And a fine songwriter too…) ~Fl!p]

I have known Dr Frank James since college days. He was Whatcom County Public Health Officer, and got in trouble with the powers that be for publicly calling out a cancer hot-spot and insisting that the pollution be dealt with. I have the highest regard for both his integrity and his intelligence. I have just learned he’s started his own public posts.

When I have a friend or neighbor going anyway, I am willing to ask for stuff. I hate exposing anyone, including vulnerable and underpaid delivery people. If you can make it through a while longer before you go shopping again, please wait. Consolidating trips to the market or pharmacy reduces the number of people in these locations and the number of people out and about. With relationships, the “helpers” who do the shopping can leave the goods at the front door and avoid face to face interactions.


Move To Blog Today, Medical Worker Housing Help, Masks, More

Move to Blog Today
Medical Worker Safe Housing
Mask Donation
2020 Ski to Sea Race Canceled
Giant Asian Hornets

Here’s the website address:
Surfing The Tsunami
  I’m doing fine emotionally. After all, I have all of you to support me! But my inbox this week has been overwhelmed! It’s been so full I haven’t managed to read everything, let alone respond to each of you. Nor have I managed to add all the new folks requesting to subscribe. But now I have tech help (shout out to my new team!!!). The blog website they’ve built for me is now up and mostly running. My posts are there back to March 4th. We’ll get more of the bugs out as we go along.
  I would love it if you would subscribe to the blog. Subscriptions will be encrypted to protect your info. If you subscribe you will get a short email notice each time I post. And I won’t have to manage your subscriptions and un-subscriptions. If you’re not comfortable subscribing, just check it whenever you want to see what’s new. I will be able to shift from managing two lists, to just one blog that’s “Automagic.” Probably within this week I will stop sending emails to the lists.
  The biggest reason for the move was my list emails were getting tagged as spam for having too many links. Large numbers of subscribers suddenly couldn’t get my postings. And I couldn’t even email them one at a time. Blogging fixes that. You are welcome to share the blog with anyone you want, and I’d particularly love it if you’d reach out to neighbors, friends, and to whoever you heard about my list from, to reconnect the folks who lost me. Please also contact the folks who asked to subscribe in the last couple weeks. I didn’t get them all.
  Comments will come to me privately. New information, requests, suggestions, concerns… Disagreements are important information but I will block mean people. As always I will edit. I don’t post everything. We may be able to figure out a Post Request form for folks to fill out, to get everything formatted for me. If there isn’t a place to do this yet, go ahead and send me email till we get that part running. Make sure the subject line says what your email is about specifically instead of something general, ok?
  (Alert: All my life I’ve figured things out as I went along. Decisions may change.)
  I have had two lists for many years, Columbia Neighborhood Updates (to a couple thousand neighbors until lately) and Fl!p’s Pix For Music (around 1000 subscribers from all over the county). I’ve combined the two for now. Music lovers will see some neighborhood posts, and neighbors will hear about some live-streamed concerts. Eventually I’ll find a way to post those in their own areas.
  This website is a work in progress. I’d love any useful feedback.
Thank you!

We got four offers! And a bunch of people with thinking caps on. I’ve distilled them and got them to Nate. Thank you all!!! We’re going to need every one. Other neighbors suggested that there may be people with motor homes or campers that would be willing it let nurses use them. Others wondered if local motels and hotels can help. Keep those offers coming. There are many medical workers who will need this help. And we are making a difference!

[From the hospital]
We’ve finalized a process to accept community donations of supplies, including hand-sewn masks, which we will actively promote to the public beginning this week. Beginning Tuesday, March 24, we are accepting donations in person of N-95 masks, eye shields, goggles and gloves at the 
    ▪    Grabow Therapy and Wellness Center, 3217 Squalicum Parkway in Bellingham.
    ▪    If dropping off in person, place your items to be donated in the trunk/back hatch of your vehicle. Do not exit your vehicle. A PeaceHealth caregiver will remove the items and place them in our donation bins. If you have more than 100 of any item, please take your items to the drop-off location for the Whatcom County Unified Command Center, 4233 Guide Meridian, Suite 101.
    ▪    For those people offering to help by hand-sewing masks, we now have instructions and a how-to video. Once completed the masks can be delivered as per above.

Place a stuffed animal, statue of animal, or plastic animal somewhere in your front yard. Or draw an animal and tape it to a window. When families are walking or biking they can try and find as many animals as possible. You might use binoculars!
  Doreen Standish

Check their website later for more info.

As if COVID wasn’t bad enough, these are just what we need! Four reported sightings of Giant Asian Hornets near Blaine and Bellingham. The stinger of the Asian giant hornet is longer than that of a honeybee and the venom is more toxic than any local bee or wasp. Typical beekeeping protective clothing is not sufficient to protect you from stings. If you find a colony, do not attempt to remove or eradicate it. Report it to WSDA immediately.
There are several ways to report: 
    •    Report using the Hornet Watch Report Form
    •    Email
    •    Call 1-800-443-6684
Here is what to include with your report, if possible: 
    •    Your name and contact information
    •    The location of the sighting/attack
    •    Date of sighting/attack
    •    Photograph of the hornet or damage
    •    Description of the hive loss/damage (if no photo is available) 
    •    Direction the hornet(s) flew when flying away  
  Dan Dunne


March 22 Update

3/22/20 11:00 AM
 U.S. Orders Up To A Yearlong Break On Mortgage Payments
 Bellingham Business Map
 Organic Chemists?
 Sewing Machines
 Donate Pet Food
 New Subscribers

March 19, 20202:03 PM ET
 Homeowners who have lost income or their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak are getting some relief. Depending on their situation, they should be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months.
 Federal regulators, through the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility. The move covers about half of all home loans in the U.S. — those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie. But regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy. Homeowners can’t just stop paying their mortgage. “They need to contact their servicer — that is the lender that they send the check to every month,” he says. “That lender will work with them to be able to work out a payment plan.

What’s open.

Are there any organic chemists on this list, or that you can send to me? I’ve got a hand sanitizer question I’d love help with.

I have a sewing machine here, and a serger, to loan to anyone who has the skills and wants to make masks. Ragfinery is coordinating the local effort. Fabric masks are not actually safe for home use by healthy people for prevention. But our hospitals need and can effectively sanitize them. ~Fl!p

People who are broke are surrendering their pets. The shelter could use food to help people keep their pets. They offer free food to anyone who is in need. Food would be better than surrendering your pet. Any type if food is accepted.
 Deidre Kane

I have a blog site almost ready to send links to. If new folks could hold off till my glorious new team finishes debugging the site, everyone will be able to sign up there. With luck, later today!