Category Archives: FEATURES

Visions and Voices highlights women in film

By Eva Mo

Film is indispensable in this visual media society, no matter in this generation or in the past. However, in the ever-augmenting filmmaker’s world, women haven’t been seen during the age of silent film, and not many people are aware of women filmmakers.

The CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival is a local platform for women filmmakers to show their works to the public. They are currently holding Visions & Voices: Forgotten Films from Cinema’s Women Directors in Bellingham through March.

The organization has also been holding the Women’s Film Festival since 2015. This year it will be held on April 11-14, at the Pickford Film Center and the Mt. Baker Theatre.

Dr. Susan Lonac is an advisory member of CASCADIA and English and Film professor at Whatcom Community College. As a professor, she specializes in American women filmmakers, American LGBTQ+ filmmakers, and film adaptation. Lonac is helping to organize the Visions and Voices event this year.

“Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers” is a collection of historical films, produced by the Kino Lorber distribution company and the Library of Congress, released last November. The films are directed by seven different early women filmmakers: Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Helen Holmes, Mabel Normand, Grace Cunard and Dorothy Davenport Reid.

“The inspiration of this event was the release of a six-disc set of early women filmmakers’ movies,” Lonac said. “On that set are some films that have not been seen by the public since they were first released, during the age of silent film.”

According to the CASCADIA website, the four-part series includes a variety of features and short films ranging from slapstick comedies to melodramas and thrillers from female directors.

The first two events have already been shown Dec. 2, and Jan. 6. For these events, they showed influential director Lois Weber’s “The Blot” (1921), and “Salome” (1923), starring Alla Nazimova, a pioneering lesbian actress.

Lonac mentioned many of the films were over 100 years old, but that not many people are aware of those films or other work from early women filmmakers. Also, it is too often that women in history are erased, she said.

“The purpose of the event is to help people discover the work of early women directors in America,” Lonac said.

The remaining shows will be held Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at Mt. Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., and Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at Firehouse Café, 1315 Harris Ave.

Tickets are available through More information about the festival is available at

Follow us:

ASWCC Senate gives students a voice

By Madison Roper

The Associated Students of Whatcom Community College has a student senate, but what are they here for and who is behind it? The student senate is the primary body that represents students’ voices on campus.

For Running Start student and senator, Elliot Saldivar, the senate is a “great opportunity to get involved.” The senate meets biweekly on Mondays, to discuss and vote on funding, programming, events, and opportunities on campus.

The ASWCC’s mission is “to serve students by providing diverse opportunities for campus involvement, to build campus community, and represent student concerns in college decision-making.” The senators are a diverse group of multiple races and genders, made to represent the various demographics on campus.

The senate is made up of 12 student senators, along with the ASWCC Executive Board and has ASWCC Executive Vice President, Rayo Suseno, leading the meetings. Suseno was a senator during the spring 2018 quarter, and was elected ASWCC Executive Vice President, as well as Chair of the Student Senate program, in the fall quarter of the same year.

Rayo Suseno is the current Executive Vice President of the Whatcom student senate. He enjoys the support and community the ASWCC provides for students.
Rayo Suseno is the current Executive Vice President of the Whatcom student senate. He enjoys the support and community the ASWCC provides for students.

He had applied for senator before the spring 2018 quarter, but his application was put on hold due to a full senate. “Ever since high school, I’ve been involved in this kind of stuff. I’m really craving for something like this again.”

Suseno is an international student that moved to Bellingham from Indonesia in fall 2017. “I think that I’m kind of longing for home. Back in my home country, my routine was to go to school and work on some projects with some of the other student leaders and it’s been a habit ever since.”

Suseno mentioned events coming up that he wants students to be aware of.

To him, the community between students and ASWCC matters.

“The most exciting part is meeting different people for every meeting. Seeing new faces and talking to different people every meeting has definitely refreshed my vision. There’s new students or new faculty members coming to us and saying ‘hey, we need something, can you support us?’ It’s really relieving to see them coming to us. And it’s also exciting that our work in the student senate is making someone else’s life better.”

On Jan. 24, the ASWCC Executive Board will be going to Olympia to talk with state legislatures. The board is looking for students to submit ASWCC postcards with their stories of what issues they are struggling with on campus.

The four issues the board will be discussing are the affordability of college, textbook resources/expenses, food security/student hunger, and previously incarcerated students.

When filling out the postcard, there will be stickers to put on the cards to represent what students care about most.

The board is going to meet four representatives, but is waiting on Senator Doug Ericksen. Ericksen is on the Washington State Committee for Higher Education and Workforce Development, and the Senate representative for Whatcom County.

The stories can help influence the representatives, and the postcards will work for data to represent what matters most to Whatcom Community College students.

On Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. an event called Find Your Pod is being held in the Heiner Theater. Students who have the same academic interests will be grouped together, so they can have a conversation with someone that can help guide them in their chosen field of study. For anyone that wishes to attend the event, they must register beforehand. The event runs until 2 p.m., and free lunch will be served.

The ASWCC Student Senate’s next meeting will be held on Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. in Syre 108.

Follow us:

Whatcom receives new grants

By Jeremy Clopton

Whatcom Community College received $2.25 million from the Title III grant awarded by the United States Department of Education to be dispersed over a five-year period and is aimed at developing a student welcoming program as well faculty facilities, funding began Oct. 1, 2018 and ends Sept. 30, 2023.

Title III, known as the Strengthening Institutions grant, has an extremely competitive application process and this is the first time WCC has received the grant in almost 30 years.
The grant was developed based on institutional needs, and helps bring to life Whatcom’s strategic plan, which prioritizes students and their success.

One of the main determining factors for this grant is the percentage of low-income students who are enrolled at the college.

Only applications with perfect reviews are accepted with only the top several institutions receiving funding that will be dispersed through a five-year period.
The grant will help the college become self-sufficient while expanding their ability to better serve low-income students by providing funding to improve academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

The main purpose for the Title III grant is to greatly improve student outcomes. The primary areas of focus are Guided Pathway, funding teaching and learning centers for faculty and staff, and a student welcome experience.

Guided Pathway is a program funded from the grant and is aimed at helping low-income students.

“Guided Pathway will provide a pathway to success and give students a sense of belonging since the beginning of the year,” said Whatcom Director of Finances Alison Scherer.
The grant funds salaries for faculty and staff, technology, equipment, and more to make this vision a reality.

The completion of the Learning Commons in the future will open new opportunities, courtesy of the grant.

This grant provides an unprecedented opportunity to create a teaching and learning center that will provide training to faculty and staff on guided pathways advising and inclusive, active learning classrooms that include the furniture, layout, and technology to help students collaborate and engage in new and exciting ways.

Among the funding for Guided Pathway is funding for new faculty and staff facilities, which will be designed to better serve teachers and staff at Whatcom.

Many details on how and when the grants funds will be utilized are still being ironed out, but Scherer is excited about the “new opportunities” that will be arising.

Whatcom also received another grant from the DOE, as the cybersecurity program was awarded $100,000 through the Cyber Pilot grant. That grant is the first of its kind to be awarded from the DOE, and will fund upgrades to the curriculum, software, and equipment.

Follow us:

New trustee appointed to board

By Kaila Cove

Teresa Taylor was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve a five-year term as a member on the board of trustees at Whatcom Community College in October.

“Trustees face the exciting challenge to seek out, consider, and balance many diverse values and interests as they engage in the policy-making process that guides the colleges to excellence and success,” Kloke said.

Taylor says that she has been living in Ferndale for 25 years where she is a member on the Ferndale City Council.

Teresa Taylor

Teresa Taylor accepted for position in October

Taylor moved to Whatcom County at the age of 3 after previously living in Chicago.

“I grew up in Bellingham where I attended Roosevelt Elementary, Assumption Catholic School, and Bellingham High School,” Taylor said by email.

Whatcom Community College is familiar grounds to Taylor.

“I am a graduate of Whatcom Community College where I received my AAS [Associate of Applied Science] degree.”

Taylor also was a student of Western Washington University. “I studied accounting and more recently project management,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s educational background also includes attending Washington State University.

“I completed the Master Gardener, Master Composter & Recycler, and Carbon Master programs from Washington State University and the Patient Navigation program at WCC,” she said in her email.

Taylor replaces board member Tim Douglas whom Taylor says she admires. Douglas served for 10 years on the board, Taylor said, but he decided to not continue for another term.

“I filled his position, and he’s a tough act to follow,” she said.

The board consists of five members from the community: John Pedlow, Steve Adelstein, Wendy Bohlke, Rebecca Johnson, and Teresa Taylor.

In addition to the Ferndale City Council, Taylor is an active member in various community groups, including Ferndale Downtown Association and Bellingham International Airport Advisory.

“Involvement with your community is both priceless and invaluable, and the feeling of fulfillment can be endless,” Taylor said.

As a member of the board of trustees, Taylor explained that her job, along with all the members on the board as “setting the college’s strategic direction, establishing policy for the college, awarding tenure, approving the operating budget and hiring the college president.”

Taylor, who is a registered member of the Lummi Nation and active on the Lummi Indian Business council, said she hopes to help contribute to making Whatcom inclusive and diverse by providing “a cultural and environmental feeling of belonging.”

Rafeeka Kloke, who is the special assistant to the president of Whatcom, said that trustees such as Taylor have an essential link with the community.

“They both represent the community to the college and advocate for the college in the community and state,” she said.

Part of Taylor’s role in this process is to establish partnerships with various agencies and organizations.

Follow us:

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.

Follow us: