Category Archives: NEWS

Bellingham gets an arcade upgrade

By Ken Johnson

Over the past year, three gaming lounges have sprung up around downtown Bellingham, which is a little weird, because “gaming lounges” didn’t seem to exist five years ago.

College towns are magnets for odd business ideas. Some of these ideas, like Hops N Headz, a taproom with a family-fun vibe, are nice, but others, like Gather Bellingham, a new student-apartment complex, are built to suck money from your fanny pack.

So, are these gaming lounges fun activities? Or another scheme to take your money?

Rook and Rogue:

With all of the drunken Dungeons and Dragons players, the Rook and Rogue would be the most entertaining place to see a barroom brawl.

The Rook and Rogue is a board-game pub, and it lives up to the name: shelves of board games dominate the middle of the room. Most games are free to play, but if you want access to the role-playing games, you have to pay a premium price.

The service is a roller coaster ride. It might be 30 minutes until someone takes your order, but, once they do, they’re really sorry you had to wait so long.

A board-game pub seems like a fun idea, and the Rook and Rogue executes it well. It is all ages, which gives the place a comfortable atmosphere.

The aesthetic was mismatched. The vibe is a mix between Hogwarts and an old west saloon, with its impressive line of whiskey bottles.

It could be a good hangout spot for college students, except for the cost. A burger is around $11 and a drink is about $9.

Pro tip: If you’re going there to play board games, just order appetizers.

rooknrogue

  • 206 W Magnolia St, Bellingham, WA
  • 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., most nights.

Heady VR

If you have never used a virtual reality headset before, and you don’t know anyone who owns one, Heady VR might be a good option.

A virtual-reality headset creates a digital and immersive world- it feels like you’re really there.

The phrase “virtual reality arcade” conjures up images of marvelous machines, like if the International Space Station had video games.

That is not the case with Heady VR. The experience of going to Heady VR is kind of like if a couple of guys you know invited you over to try out their halfway-working VR headsets and charged you $20 for their trouble.

Also, you can’t wear glasses with their headsets.

That being said, it is a locally owned business and, potentially, an interesting idea, if they hone in their equipment.

heady

  • 215 W Holly St suite b-28, Bellingham, WA
  • 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., most days

Ruckus Room Arcade

Out of these three places, the Ruckus Room Arcade seems like the best option for college students. It’s lowkey and cheap.

The Ruckus Room is an arcade/bar, but it is more of an arcade than a bar. It is all ages and never open past midnight, which can be a downside for any night owls. The games are classic arcade games: Skee-Ball, pinball, and Mortal Kombat.

The alcohol is modest, think PBR, and all of the drinking is confined to a couple of tables in the middle of the room.

It may not be a great place to drink, but the Ruckus Room is entertaining and easy on the wallet. What more can you ask for?

  • 1423 Railroad Ave, Bellingham, WA
  • 2 p.m. to 12 p.m., most days.

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Smaller construction plans near end

By Joe Zimmerman

Many general repairs were done on Whatcom’s campus over the summer, but there were two major capital projects started that won’t be done for quite a while.

General repairs include upgrading an engineering classroom in Kulshan Hall, exterior LED light fixtures on Cascade Hall and crosswalk improvements on Kellogg Road.

At the beginning of the summer, a memo was sent to the campus community from Brian Keeley, Senior Director for Facilities and Operations, outlining the projects that took place over the summer and the two major capital projects: the Phyllis & Charles Self-Learning Commons and Residence Hall On-Campus housing.

The Self-Learning Commons is a 65,328 sq. ft. facility that will transition into the new campus library and learning center, supporting students in English and Math, as well as individualized tutoring. Food services, study areas, and a multi-media center will be available on the ground level, as well as expanded tutoring centers on the third floor.

Construction on the learning commons, designed by Schreiber Starling & Whitehead Architects, began in February east of Kulshan hall. Colacurcio Brothers Construction Inc. will be conducting the build until February 2020.

The other major capital project is the construction of Residences Hall, an on-campus housing complex located on Kellogg Road adjacent to Heiner Center.

Construction of Residences Hall will begin in September east of campus on Kellogg Road, expected to be finished in May 2020.

There will be apartment style-rooms, as well as outdoor recreation and social areas. The complex will house approximately 230 beds in four-bedroom, two-bedroom, and studio units complete with kitchenettes and small living rooms.

In the article “Student housing in the works” by Ken Johnson published in the May 22nd, 2018 issue, Nathan Langstraat, the vice president of administrative services, said the outdoor area surrounding the housing complex “will have gardens, a hammock area, and barbecues for residents.”

Smaller projects have been completed over the summer by the maintenance staff and Colacurcio Brothers Construction.

Pedestrian safety has always been an issue on a campus split by Kellogg road, a well-traveled route. Addressing those concerns, Whatcom has hired Zervas Group Architects, K-Engineers, and Wilson Engineering to improve the crosswalks going from Kulshan Hall to Heiner and from Cascade to Laidlaw. Improvements will include overhead lighting, a signal light, and additional signs.

A smaller project, taken on by the Whatcom maintenance staff over the summer, included upgrading the engineering classroom Room 205 in Kulshan Hall to support lab and lecture-intensive courses. Both Whatcom Engineering and Facilities Departments consulted in the room’s design.

The maintenance staff also replaced outdated light fixtures with low-wattage LED fixtures in an effort to improve lighting around campus and reduce Whatcom’s energy usage.


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Another Ski to Sea in the books

IMG_5023By Ken Johnson

Ski to Sea happened May 27, engulfing Bellingham in a festive and intense atmosphere.

The Ski to Sea race has seven different events: cross country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding, running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross biking and sea kayaking.

There is a method to this athletic madness; these events show the range of outdoor activity in Bellingham.

Boomer’s Drive-In won this year with a time of 6 hours, 6 minutes and 42 seconds.

Race day was sunny and hot, and for most of the events this spelled out perfect conditions- but not for cyclocross.

According to Jeff Cummings, who helped design the cyclocross track, the ideal conditions are for it to rain two days before the race, that way there aren’t clods of dirt blocking the racers’ path.

Cyclocross is a form of bike racing wherein competitors deal with a variety of different terrain, as well as lift their bikes over small obstacles.

Mark Gallatin, a Ski to Sea volunteer at the canoe leg, said that canoers regularly flip over.

Gallatin added, pointing at a bend in the river treacherous with sticks and logs, some people get holes poked in their canoes.

Not everyone who races in Ski to Sea is competitive, for some it is an opportunity to have fun and get together with friends.

The “Sheroes,” an all-women team from the United States and Canada, said Ski to Sea gives them a chance to reconnect every year.

Lana Mitchel and Eric Booth were part of another team from out of town. They drove from Seattle to compete.

Booth said he “gets that tingly feeling associated with skiing” whenever he comes to Bellingham.

Ski to Sea draws large crowds of people, and this, coupled with the road closures that allow bikers and runners to race, creates a traffic issue. Closures made it borderline impossible to travel through downtown Fairhaven, as well as into many parks from Lynden to downtown Bellingham.

According to “Adventures NW” Ski to Sea was originally created as a tourist attraction to stimulate the local economy.

Ski to Sea still provides a boost to Bellingham’s economy.

Pete Madden, an employee at Backcountry Essentials, a sporting goods store in downtown Bellingham, said that traffic through their store increased around 15 percent.

“Good weather and more people in town increased traffic through the store,” Madden said.

Booths, set up to advertise different businesses, populated Ski to Sea. In downtown Fairhaven, near the finish line, the streets were packed with flamboyant stands giving out prizes. Mercedes’ cars lined one of the streets, acting as a make-shift car dealership.

Like Christmas or Easter, Ski to Sea brings gobs of money into Bellingham while managing to be a fun and engaging tradition.


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Whatcom signs new athletes

By Felix Zavisubin

Fourteen student athletes have signed a letter of intent to join Whatcom Community College sports teams in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The signees include seven for women’s soccer, three for women’s basketball and four for men’s basketball. Twelve of the 14 commits attended Washington high schools, two athletes are coming from Alaska.

“We start internally and work outward,” said Chris Scrimsher, Whatcom Athletic Director. “[Whatcom County] is our first target area.” 

According to Scrimsher, the recruiting process relies on the work of the Whatcom coaches who attend high school games and build relationships with local coaches and athletes.

“I was recruited by the [head coach] for soccer at the end of my senior year,” said Lyla Pagnotta a women’s soccer player at Whatcom. “[She] had been my coach for club soccer during my first couple years of high school so we knew each other pretty well.”

The Northwest Athletic Conference determines a geographical area where schools in the conference are able to actively recruit student athletes and offer scholarships.

According to Scrimsher, schools are not allowed to offer scholarship dollars to athletes from high schools outside of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Hawaii, Utah and Wyoming.

“We can offer up to 65% of tuition,” Scrimsher said. “Each coach has a discretion of how they want to split that up.”

According to Scrimsher, each sport is given an NWAC mandated number of monetary awards to give out. Each of the awards can be split between multiple athletes or given entirely to one.

Whatcom competes with all other NWAC schools when recruiting athletes. In addition to the monetary aspect, there are a variety of other factors athletes must consider when deciding what school to attend.

“I chose Whatcom because I was really impressed by their commitment to their players,” said women’s soccer signee Peyton Schwinger in a Whatcom press release.

Whatcom’s commitment to student athletes manifests itself in a variety of ways. According to Scrimsher, Whatcom is one of the premier community colleges in the NWAC because of it “state of the art” facilities and quality educators.

“The facilities at Whatcom are definitely better than any other school in the conference that we visited to play against,” Pagnotta said.

According to Pagnotta, the gym and turf field at Whatcom are unique, as most schools in the conference had muddy grass fields and old dark weight rooms.

“Whatcom sets the bar pretty high both athletically and educationally,” Schwinger said.

Schwinger will join a women’s soccer team that went 9-5-1 in conference and advanced to postseason play in 2017.

According to Scrimsher, Whatcom judges the success of the athletic programs by looking at individual athletes graduating and moving to the next level, as well as team records.

“If we’re successful and we place them at the next level, then that was a good decision for them to come to Whatcom,” said Scrimsher.

Whatcom had a number of athletes from the past year go on to continue their careers at universities, and sent men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams to postseason play.

“I would definitely recommend playing sports at Whatcom to a high school athlete because it gave me opportunities to meet lots of new friends and people and continue to play at a high level and get better,” Pagnotta said.

 

 


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New direction for student senate

 

By: Joe Zimmermann

Whatcom’s Campus is a microcosm of democracy, and as such, it has a governing body of students through which the administration hears the concerns of the students through representatives in student government.

The Associated Students of Whatcom Community College is composed of the Executive Board, the student Senators, the Programming and Diversity Board, and the college community at large. Continue reading New direction for student senate


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