Meeting My Neighbors: Sara Fassett

Name: Sara Fassett Family Member Names: Jordyn Fassett (daughter) 19; Taylor Fassett (son) 17 Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” This is such a big question!  As I would imagine it is for many people, I feel like my life has gone through so many transformations that have brought me here today.  I would like to talk about what has brought me to where I am right now and why I am so excited about it. When our family moved to Ferndale, we bought our house right up the street from Mountain View Elementary where both kids would go. What an amazing school and I am still sad it is gone.  However, back then it was a fabulous place for my kids to be.  I started volunteering right away and came to know other parents, the teachers, staff, and other volunteers.  A few years in, I got involved in the volunteer Art program.  Funny because I am not artistic at all. Seven sets of portfolios with 5 different artists would travel throughout the Ferndale elementary schools.  Art docents (parent volunteers) would teach about each of the artists in the classrooms with projects for each.  By the time a child left 6th grade, they would have been exposed to 35 different artists!  All shared by volunteers.  At Mountain View, our program would end with the Art Fair where we showcased the art the kids had created throughout the halls and at the Fair itself.  I so wish this program was still in happening…I took over the program for the last 3 years before Mountain View closed and it was through this that I met and got to know Bertella Hanson who was the backbone of the program in the school district. Flash forward to 2016 – I was just getting back into real estate and working at Rockwood Realty on Main Street.  One day, Bertella walks in!  It had been years since I had seen her and she was inviting us to be a member of the Ferndale Downtown Association  (FDA).  I was happy to see her and of course we joined.  Through this and my association with her, I started becoming more interested in what was happening in our Downtown Ferndale where I now worked.  I got more involved and then met Kelsey Rowlson with the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.  We partnered up to go around visiting the business around town on behalf of our different organizations.  It was so eye opening to chat with local business owners and hear their thoughts, both positive and negative.  I love to talk with people and I felt like this was a way I could make a difference and help bridge a gap I saw.  I was invited to be a Chamber Ambassador and then approached as a potential Board member and was elected in 2018.  In the meantime, I was appointed to the City of Ferndale’s Parks, Recreation, & Trails Advisory Board (PRTAB). I feel so fortunate to be a part of the all 3 organizations that are working together to make sure Ferndale is a thriving, vibrant part of the greater Whatcom County community where people want to come live and do their business.  We have a truly wonderful group of folks throughout our city organizations who only want the best for Ferndale and I am so grateful to be a small part of it;) What brought you to Ferndale? When my daughter Jordyn was approaching Kindergarten in 2005, we were living in Bellingham.  I remember driving around one day and seeing a group of high school aged kids wandering downtown when school was in session.  I had this epiphany that I wanted to raise my kids in a smaller town and started asking everyone I knew where they went to school and what they liked about it.  I had so many people tell me how much they loved going to Ferndale.  Not one negative opinion!  This was the telltale sign for me that this was where I wanted to raise my family.  And although my superficial reasons for wanting to move make me laugh now (Bellingham is a great town as well ) I am so grateful we made the decision to move our family to the Ferndale community.  Right from our first days here, we felt welcomed. I have always told people one of the greatest things about this town is the sense of community.  I know that if I ever needed anything, there is somebody I know who would be there or point me in the right direction.  I am blessed to be here and so happy to involve myself and my family in the process of building up our city.  I am so excited to see how we will proper and evolveJ How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? Our family moved to Ferndale in 2005. Best Ferndale landmark? My favorite landmark in Ferndale is the fountain at Riverwalk Park!  What a joy it is to drive over that bridge and see the water dancingJ Often times with the kiddos of Ferndale splashing and playing.  Parents get to sit and chat while watching their children play and the town pass by. The moving water feels like something alive greeting people as they come to town…a little cheesy but think about it next time you see it crossing the bridge, lol;) What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? I have a number of them!  Art Fairs at Mountain View, camping out at the ball fields for my son Taylor’s baseball tournaments, having the community come out for our Ragnar team (Van-Go!) as we ran through town, Ye Old Fashioned Christmas every year with the kids even when they were too old for Santa…my favorite for myself was helping set up and work with the vendors at the Chamber of Commerce Ferndale Street Festival last year.  It was such a joy to get to know new people, help answer their questions, and make sure their Ferndale experience was the best it could be while contributing to the biggest event Ferndale puts on every year.  I really felt like I was a true member of the communityJ  I am looking forward to another great event this summer! Who should we meet next? I am sure I am not the first person to suggest her but Anya Milton is an incredible woman and I would love to hear more of her story!

This is Ferndale: Cedars Restaurant

The last in our little series highlighting local landmarks, today we are sharing Elise King’s favorite- Cedars in downtown Ferndale. According to the Cedars website, the restaurant has been around since 1909. This spot is a hometown favorite featuring all the comforts diner food offers with friendly staff who treat every customer like a “regular.”

To see menus, hours and more information:

Who visited Cedars over the three-day weekend?

This is Ferndale: The Big Red Barn

A structure lovingly referred to as the “Big Red Barn,” was built in 1911 and still stands today. Beautiful and full of history. When I looked up into the wooden eaves I couldn’t help but think that this building is every bit as magnificent as the churches that grace towns throughout our country.

As we meet our neighbors, we’ll also visit their favorite landmarks whenever possible. The visit to the “Big Red Barn,” was inspired by Anya Milton who said it is her favorite landmark in Ferndale. Thanks, Anya!

Meeting My Neighbors: Todd McKernan

Name: Todd McKernan

Family Member Names: Rowena (wife of almost 21 years) and Aidan (18, student at Whatcom Community College)

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” For some reason which I still don’t fully understand, I started running one day in 2014, sort of like Forest Gump. I had never been a runner before, I wasn’t that good at it and didn’t really know what I was doing, but something strange happened…. I got better at it, and people started running with me. My friend Dan Kenoyer and I started The Northwest Renegade Running group which now includes over 170 members, we have fun encouraging, and supporting each other while exploring new places giving everyone opportunity for success through training.

What brought you to Ferndale? We had outgrown our condo in Bellingham and were looking to upgrade to a bigger, newer, house. It was a good time to buy because of historically low interest rates but we were surprised to find how much more house we could afford in Ferndale compared to Bellingham so over the course of most of 2012 we had our house built and figured that a comparable house in Bellingham would have cost us around $100,000 more, that plus a similar commute time for Rowena and a substantially shorter one for me the choice was a no-brainer.

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? Moved to Ferndale on Thanksgiving Day 2012, my favorite holiday because of the 4F’s family, friends, food and most importantly football 🏈😊. <<bg>Best Ferndale landmark? The Metallica Bridge, it always makes the city so happy when Metallica is on that bridge.

What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? So many great memories of Ferndale but my favorite would have to be this last Thanksgiving. Melinda Cool has been organizing a local neighborhood Thanksgiving 5K Turkey Trot for the past several years and I have run several of them with my son and other running

friends. The last couple of years Melinda has even asked me to collect
donations which I was happy to do. This last year however I was finally able to
talk Rowena (my wife) to participate in it as well under the conditions that we
would walk (not run) and that we would only do the 1-mile course. Of course we
missed a sign and ended up doing around 2 ½ miles, much to her chagrin.
Melinda’s Turkey Trot raised a substantial about of money that year for local
charities including the food bank.

Who should we meet next? Ryan and Chelsea O’Larey, also Sean and Melinda Cool

Meeting My Neighbors: Anya Milton

Name: Anya Milton 

Family Member Names: Steve, Elka and Birgit

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” I’m an advocate and an activist. I suppose I always was, but I really began to believe it when our first child was diagnosed with Autism. I knew I had to advocate for her… And then I realized that her peers needed advocacy and then people on the margins did too. I fight for what’s right. I listen to those who need to be heard and speak for those who can’t. I work to instill change and I walk with those who struggle with it. I sit in awkward space with people and I cheer them on. More than anything, I’m welcoming and invite all in. There’s nothing worse than when someone feels so disconnected and disenfranchised that they feel like the don’t matter. 

What brought you to Ferndale? My spouse, Steve was hired on at Samson Rope and we chose to live in Ferndale because of housing affordability and the School District. 

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? Since 2005

Best Ferndale landmark? The Big Red Barn! (Hovander Homestead Park)

Your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale. Walking my 14 year old daughter into the FHS gym on the first day of high school in 2017. I fully anticipated her being completely overwhelmed and instead, she was welcome by a group of sophomores who knew her by name. They were cheering her on and high-fiving her on the way in. I could not help but burst into tears when I experienced just how inclusive and welcoming these students were. By far one of my favorite moments where I felt that Ferndale Pride!