Category Archives: EVENTS

Find Your Pod helps students connect

By Sydney Mitchell

Find Your Pod is a student-led conference that helps  introduce students who are on the same academic pathways to each other.

Joy Kumala, a student and the ASWCC director for Academic Success, and adviser Kunbi Ajiboye, the Associate Director for Student Life and Development are the organizers.

This conference encourages academic engagement. It gives students a chance to meet others who have the same majors and academic interests, and could potentially be in the same classes or pathways.

Ajiboye says that if students “feel a connection to other students they become more motivated on their education path.”

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The Olde Fashioned Christmas shines

By Kaila Cove

The Olde Fashioned Christmas, which is held at Pioneer Park, is an event that includes live performances, holiday cookies and refreshments, horse-drawn sleigh rides, games, arts and crafts, baking, and a visit from Santa to kick-start the holiday season for Whatcom County.

This event is held by the Ferndale Heritage Society and attracts visitors from all over.

“Pioneer Park is the world’s largest collection of cedar log-slab cabins,” Linda Harkleroad said, who is coordinator of the Olde Fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Park. These log cabins started arriving in the 70s and contain historic artifacts.

Harkleroad said Pioneer Park was created in 1901. Back then, it was known as a picnic for settlers to gather.

She said that Ferndale owns the park and the log cabins, the Old Settlers own the artifacts, and the Ferndale Heritage society takes care of the park.

One of the parks newest additions is new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant sidewalks.

Dusty Sager, who has been attending the Olde Fashioned Christmas since the 90s says he, “can’t wait to go this year with the new pavement walkway.”

Pioneer Park holds public tours and runs the education program, in the spring, and the Olde Fashioned Christmas, in the fall.


Linda Harkleroad and Dusty Sager at the Olde Fashioned Christmas Festival

Harkleroad said that the Olde Fashioned Christmas is “an annual event. We always do it the first weekend in December. We try to keep it very non-commercial.” Everything is included in the $4 ticket at the door.

During this event, each historic cabin has a theme. “This year’s theme is our ‘favorite collections,’” Harkleroad said.

An example of “favorite collections” are angels, miniature Santas, and toy trains. Each cabin has a separate activity.

Tom Brand, a member of the Ferndale Heritage Society says, “It is nice to have that educational aspect for the younger kids and the reminiscent part for the older folks.”

Last year the park celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Olde Fashioned Christmas, and this year will be the events 26th year.

“It’s the main Christmas event for the community,” Harkleroad said. She says the main goal of this event is to get the holiday season started in a calming manner.

Harkleroad says the Ferndale Christmas tree lighting starts the event.

People come from all over to attend the Olde Fashioned Christmas. The Foresters Association has “pre-ordered 75 tickets already for their group to come in on Saturday,” Harkleroad said.

Brand says, “We get people from Seattle, Everett, Canada that have been here before, and they come back because they say it’s so spectacular. We bring people to town and Whatcom County.”

Harkleroad said that the mayor of Ferndale, Jon Mutchler, is expected to make an appearance and play the piano. At the same time, Ferndale Heritage Society said they hope that this event doesn’t become so large that the Olde Fashioned Christmas loses its intimacy.

The admission price to attend the Olde Fashioned Christmas is $4 for adults and $3 for children. “The cheapest entertainment you’ll ever have,” Harkleroad said.

She says this is an event worth people’s money because it is possible to spend the whole afternoon here.

Brand says, “It’s an easy two-hour amount of time to go through here. You can get as much out of it as you want.” People who attend this event have the option to walk through 12 decorated cabins that each have a holiday activity.

“It’s an outing for four bucks — coming down here and going though these cabins getting some hot coffee or cocoa to drink and cookies while going on a horse drawn ride and enjoying the entertainment,” she said.

Harkleroad said that this year was the last year that the Olde Fashioned Christmas will be able to provide tickets at such a low price.

Harkleroad believes that this event is “as close as you’re going to get” to an old fashioned Christmas. “It is definitely authentic. There is nothing phony about it,” she said.

Harkleroads says, “For those interested in history, this is a gold mine.” Also if you enjoy Christmas lights, Harkleroad said that the park provides a beautiful visual display when the lights brighten up the park at night.

“It’s a treasure to have something like this all in one place,” Brand says.

Harkleroad says she appreciates the heartfelt spirit, the cabins, and the lights.

She also enjoys “the glee in some of these little kids — some of them concentrate so hard on writing that letter to Santa, and they are so cute.”

Brand says his favorite part of this event is seeing the joy of kids and learning about the artifacts. “I just think it’s neat to give back to the community and to keep a focus for people to have in this troubled time,” he said. Both volunteers feel this event is a great way to indulge in the atmosphere holiday spirit.

Harkleroad says live performances from local performers happen throughout the weekend and Rainbow Ranch brings their horses for horse-drawn carriage rides at no extra cost. Refreshments and cookies will be provided at no charge and old-fashioned games will be available. Crafts will be provided in every cabin and Santa Claus will be there to visit. Cookie baking and applesauce will be at the Jenny House and the Shields.

Harkleroad said some people have attended this event since they were children, and now they bring their own children along as a family tradition.

Sager says, “It’s a family tradition to see the park decorated for Christmas.” Sager says he brings his children to visit Santa and enjoys the tastiest applesauce.

“I think it brings the best of our small town together for a few nights,” Sager says. He says some of their favorite parts about the event is singing Christmas songs and going on horse-drawn carriage rides.

Harkleroad says that the “real Santa” visits the Olde Fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Park. “We have the real Santa, just saying,” Harkleroad said. It has also been noted that Santa writes back every single person that writes a letter to him at the Olde Fashioned Christmas.

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Sustainability Club hosts a fall festival

By Apple Parry

In order to recruit new members, the Sustainability Club set up “Fall Fest,” a Halloween themed event in front of Heiner Center on Oct 30.

Fall Fest included games like pumpkin bowling and tic-tac-toe with potatoes.

pumpkin bowling

Sustainability Club members go “pumpkin bowling” in front of Baker Hall

“Through this community we can work together in a fun and creative way to inform others to do better for the environment,” Nano DeOliveira said, a Sustainability Club member.

The Sustainability Club focuses on making Whatcom Community College more environmentally conscious.

Brian Cope, a co-advisor for the club, said, “We always have a project that we’re working on, such as Fall Fest.”

Stephanie Hombroek, another member of the Sustainability Club, said their goal is to “move towards a sustainable future.” Hombroek said they participate community service, go on hikes to pick up litter, and have guest speakers who inform members about the environment.

Mariia Nepuliaera joined the club because of her concerns about the future. She said, “We only have 12-15 years until climate change is inevitable, and you can’t do anything to change it.”

DeOliveira added that the club is, “about creating a community of people that are like-minded in seeing the importance in preserving the natural ecosystem.”

Their goals for the end of the school year, Hombroek says, are to “raise awareness, to be as informed as we can, and take this [experience] with us in the future,” so that they can continue leading more sustainable lives.

They recently contributed to the community by handing out flyers with tips describing how you can recycle your carved pumpkins from Halloween.

The club meets on Wednesday s in Kulshan 224 at 4:00 p.m.

Cope said, “Every year we do something a little bit different.” adding that the president of the club, Justin Claus, “would like to have a conference by the end of the year.”

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Men’s soccer wins North Conference Title

By Kaila Cove

The Whatcom men’s soccer team has won the North Conference title, a competition between regional community college soccer teams.

The team has defended this championship title for the second year in a row.

Bakary Dibba, a forward on the Whatcom men’s soccer team, is satisfied with the way his team played, “We played extremely well, and that’s why we got the win at the end.”

Whatcom soccerLucas Leiberman, number six, keeps control of the ball at Orca Feild during a match

Dibba believes the team could win the conference next year because, “the team will be really strong and the chemistry is already there as well.” He hopes to play for Whatcom again next season.

Dibba gives credit to the team’s head coach, Jason Jorgensen, for the success in the game, “The coach contributes in everything as he’s the one who makes us wake up at 5 a.m. to practice all that is to get us better and prepared for our opponents.”

During the conference, Whatcom had won 11 games, tied one, and lost three. The team this season has scored 52 goals.

Jorgensen said, “It occurred with the boys having focus, determination, and knowing what was on the line. They played some of the best soccer in all the NWAC and that day displayed why they are one of the best teams in the country.” Jorgensen says that Whatcom men’s soccer is ranked 12th out of all the community colleges in the nation.

Jorgensen hopes that the team is able to reclaim the North Conference title again next year. He says it will “depend on what the players do in the off season and the new group of players coming in for 2019.”

During this game, Whatcom had the help of a guest, 9-year-old Tyson Barksdale. “He gave the pregame and halftime speech that helped propel the team to the win. Barksdale was given this experience as part of Whatcom’s participation in the 2018 Rotary Auction where he was gifted “Coach a Day” for Whatcom men’s soccer team. He kept it simple and said, ‘go out there have fun and do what you do best.’ At half time he said ‘you guys are doing great… keep it up,’” said Jorgenson.

Whatcom beat Shoreline in the title, winning game with a score of 8-0.


Midfielder Bekele Dowtry dribbles the ball down the field while facing an opponent

A midfielder for Shoreline, Babucarr Cham, said, “My team played really bad.” He said that most of the team’s key players were injured.

“Unfortunately Shoreline had not won a game all season up to that point and were playing their last 2018 game,” Jorgensen said.

“My opponents are really good, and they had a complete squad,” Cham said. He felt the title winning game was very intense.

Jorgensen said, “We just try to install our knowledge and give back the lessons we learned in our years. The rest is up to the team come game day.”

“They push themselves daily to be the best, and this in itself helped each player in the program contribute not only to the conference winning game but the entire season,” Jorgensen said. He explained that each player on the Whatcom men’s soccer team has helped contribute to the success of this season by bringing a unique dynamic that makes this team whole.

In the end on Nov. 11, Whatcom ending up losing in the NWCA championship game with a score of 0-2.

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Remembering Fran Hudson

By Catherine Wallace

Fran Hudson, who helped students navigate their network accounts, who calmed faculty when their computers crashed, and who warned the campus community as a whole NOT to click on that email, died Oct. 16, five days after suffering a stroke at her desk at Whatcom Community College. She was 66.

More than 150 people gathered Nov. 10 in Heiner Theater to celebrate Fran, who ran the computer helpdesk at Whatcom for 16 years. Friends and family told stories of their mother, neighbor, wife, and sister-in-law who loved deeply, helped selflessly, and enjoyed a good party.

Memorial screen shot

Noma Hudson, Fran’s sister-in-law; Dayton, a family friend; Kate and Emily, Fran’s daughters; and Mike, Fran’s husband, who spoke at the memorial.

Coworkers remembered Fran’s kindness when they called in crisis and thought they were the only ones who couldn’t figure out their computers. A common theme when people spoke of her was Fran’s helpfulness and patience—extreme patience.

Fran began her career as a part-time employee at the Whatcom help desk in 2002. In her job, she prioritized every service request that came in to the IT department via phone, email, and in-person at her office downstairs in the lab in Heiner Center. She coordinated the help staff to respond to calls from all over campus—often from people “who were downright mad”—and frequently worked 10 to 12 hours a day.

Whatcom President Kathi Hiyane-Brown recalled Fran’s unflappable nature and kind voice at the other end of the phone.

“Fran was always there, and always, always, calm and collected,” Hiyane-Brown said. “She was polite and courteous. Even when we would panic and get frustrated, she would say in her reassuring way, ‘You know, things happen.’”

Every faculty member who was hired at Whatcom met with Fran to be set up in the Whatcom system. “She knew everyone’s name,” Hiyane-Brown said, “and everyone’s password.”

Hiyane-Brown also said it was her honor to present Fran with the Classified Staff Award for Excellence in 2015, commenting that the award came from nominations from staff, coworkers, and students who recognized Fran’s devotion to the Whatcom community.

“She was humble and she was generous. She was sympathetic and she brought grace to whatever she did,” Hiyane-Brown said. “I wish we had many more Frans.”

Fran 1

Fran Hudson.

Fran was also part of the Self Learning Commons design committee and was looking forward to occupying the office at the new student technology center and help desk, Hiyane-Brown said, adding, “We will miss hearing you at the other end of the phone saying, ‘Just reboot.’”

Colleagues and coworkers gathered in the Heiner Theater on a sunny Saturday morning to learn more about who Fran Hudson was when she was not at Whatcom addressing their technology needs.

Family photos cycling through on the big screen in the nearly full auditorium showed a loving mother, a joyous sister, a demure high school graduate, a beautiful bride, and a happy traveler. In many of the photos, Fran was seen laughing and smiling, or hugging and holding loved ones, including pets.

She loved to travel, and for her 40th wedding anniversary in May, she and husband Mike went to Costa Rica with their two daughters, Kate and Emily, and their partners. A photo of Fran with a parrot on her shoulder was a favorite of the family’s.

Fran’s sister-in-law Noma Hudson remembered as a preteen admiring the girlfriend of her older brother for her “glamorous job at the drive-in snack bar” and her “less glamorous job working at a hospital.” Fran was always in the helping professions, and Noma Hudson said she considers, “‘do you want fries with that?’ working in a helping profession.”

She recalled with an open heart Fran’s kindness when, in her early 30s, Noma suffered a trauma. Fran and her family were living in Michigan at the time and Noma, who lives in Longview, said she knew where she wanted to be for Christmas.

“I knew that with Fran, I could begin to heal and that she would welcome me, give me the peace I needed and also that support,” she said.

But with an equal measure of humor, she recounted many more stories of Fran as generous and fun-loving.

When Fran was hired at the help desk at Whatcom, Noma said it was the perfect job for her because, not only did she “have a great attention to detail and a steady personality, but she could ask, ‘Is it plugged in? Is it turned on? Have you rebooted it?’ in such a way that the person on the other end wouldn’t feel like an idiot … unless she needed them to.”

“Fran loved my big brother Mike,” she said. They were friends for years before they began to date and then marry in 1978. Then the girls came and their family was complete, she said. When the girls were young, they moved to the Midwest and lived there for eight years, in Michigan and then Wisconsin for a year, before returning to the Pacific Northwest and settling in Bellingham, she said.

“Fran was very outgoing, but also fairly closed,” Noma said. “I don’t know if she was an ‘extroverted introvert’ or ‘introverted extrovert.’”

Fran loved to entertain, especially with extended family, her daughters, and their friends.

“Fran made her house a home; it was filled with the things she loved—family treasures, plants, and the decorations that she so loved to buy,” she said. Fran was known for her “epic Santa collection,” and in later years, “she started adding snowmen.”

Fran’s laugh was infectious, Noma said. She loved the Food Network and HGTV. She even became enamored with the idea of a tiny house, to which Noma smiled and said, “her Santa collection alone would not fit in a tiny house.”

When Noma got the call that Fran was in the hospital, she made the painful trip to be with the family the next day. However, she said she noted with a smile that “every room in the house was already decorated for Halloween. Every room.”

Noma also recalled how much Fran loved a campfire, and even when it was “raining sideways,” Fran would stay out and enjoy it anyway. She shared Fran’s delight when Noma taught her how to “dip her marshmallows in Grand Marnier before roasting. … And then we spent an entire evening dipping marshmallows in most any other alcohol we could find because we ran out of Grand Marnier.”

Fran's family

She said she loved “Fran’s sense of fun” and firmly believed she would want everyone to celebrate life and party today.

“And guys,” she said, addressing the family, “she is going to haunt us for some of these pictures up there.”

Noma Hudson’s tribute elicited many welcomed bursts of laughter, but also moments of reflection.

“I don’t have a biological sister, but for the past 40-plus years, I felt like I did.”

Ward Naf, Fran’s supervisor and director of Information Technology at Whatcom, was with Fran when she collapsed at her desk on Oct. 11. He remained with her and kept her comfortable until paramedics arrived. He then stayed at the hospital until her family arrived, because he said he felt “he owed it to his great friend” to be there for her. “It was my honor and duty.”

Naf said Fran was the IT department’s connection to the campus. She often came in early to open the student computer lab and stayed late to make sure faculty had what they needed.

“She was the great, grand multitasker, therapist, and problem-solver,” he said. “She triaged support for the 12 of us in the IT office along with six to eight employees who worked for her at the student help desk.”

Whenever she found a problem, she would just solve it, which he said is making updating her job description difficult.

Personally, Naf said, Fran was someone who could calm him and “talk him off the proverbial ledge.”

“Our families were intertwined for over a decade,” Naf said, wiping away tears. “Her husband and my wife worked together and her daughter Emily would babysit our kids.”

The day she had her stroke, Naf was by her side. He said he has no doubt that Fran would have done the same “for many of us here today in this room.”

“We are all hurting, feeling pain and anguish,” he said. “She was a special person who will be missed by all of us.”

Fran and Mike’s neighbor of 20 years, Brian Lydiard, who also coordinated the service, recalled that Fran was easy to be around and remembered how much she enjoyed being at home sitting on the back deck with its propane fire pit.

“A bottle of white wine, or some limoncello, a few snacks, and a friend or two made for a good time for Fran,” he said. On that same deck, he added, she would have dinner with Mike and they would just enjoy each other’s company nearly every summer night.

Fran’s oldest daughter Kate fondly recalled coming to visit from Seattle, her mother’s house perfectly decorated, warm, and with pizza cooking in the oven, as was their Friday tradition.

“She meets me with a hug and a kiss and I know I’m home,” she said. “She would then ask, ‘How was your drive? Wanna drink?’”

Their connection was close, which, Kate said, is why she never moved too far away.

“Mom was where I felt the safest. Her voice would calm me down and her hugs protected me,” Kate said, promising to continue to keep the family close and connected.

“I know Mom would want us to be strong and continue on with our family traditions like holiday decorating,” and every day “we will bring mom’s spirit with us with everything we do.”

Daughter Emily, who is five years younger than Kate, said, “true to form, I have not prepared anything.” However, through tears, she said she couldn’t add much more to what others had said, except that “Mom had the biggest heart for everyone she ever met.”

Emily’s best friend Dayton called Fran “Mom No. 2” and wept for the woman who always welcomed her as part of the family, even when she and Emily “snuck out of the house and she threatened to send me back to Wisconsin.”

Fran’s husband Mike, who clarified that Fran was born “Fran, not Frances or Francine,” added levity to the tributes by remarking that their “grandchildren” were of the furry, four-legged variety, because “some people weren’t doing their jobs.”

He said he and Fran watched “an inordinate amount” of home and garden shows together, because, after a long day of solving people’s problems, she just wanted to relax with some of her favorite characters “like the Pioneer Woman and the Property Brothers, who did not seem to have any problems.”

He said Fran did not tolerate problems.

“She either found a way around to a solution, or ‘rebooted’—which is how she solved a lot of problems,” he said. “I don’t know how I lasted so long, she had several opportunities to ‘reboot’ that. Fortunately for me, she didn’t.”

Fran and husband

Fran and her husband, Mike.

Fran Hudson was born Fran Kaiser in Longview, Washington, on March 31, 1952. She graduated from Mark Morris High School and attended Lower Columbia Community College where she got a certificate in the school’s hospital ward clerk program. After graduation, she worked as a ward clerk in the emergency department at St. John’s hospital in Longview.

In 1971, she met Mike through a mutual friend, and after seven years of friendship and courtship, they married in 1978. Kate was born in 1979 and Emily in 1985.

When the family lived in Michigan in the early 1990s, Fran worked as a marketing representative for a local company and also helped design an information referral service for the United Way of Southwest Michigan.

The family then lived in Wisconsin for a year before returning to Bellingham, where Fran called home for the past 22 years.

Fran is survived by her husband of 40 years, Mike; daughter Kate and her partner Brian Hale; daughter Emily and her partner Dan Derr; and her younger sister, Sheri Barr.

Remembrances may be sent to the Whatcom Hospice Foundation or Whatcom Community College Foundation.

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