Firefighters with South Whatcom Fire Authority’s water rescue team conducted ice rescue drills on Lake Louise in Sudden Valley Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. The participants were Capt Chris Ellis, firefighter Dustin Michaelis and firefighter Nick Van Maren.
Herald reader Scott Logan sent us this photo of what he called a dead “manta ray” he found Jan. 1 on the west shore at Sandy Point.
He said the critter measured “3 to 4 feet across from wingtip to wingtip.”
We contacted the Marine Mammal Rescue Network in Friday Harbor for clarification and got this response from Pema Kitaeff, a marine technician with the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs:
“As far as I know, manta rays don’t ever stray north past the 30th parallel … plus, if you Google an image of a manta ray, you’ll see it has two very distinctive ‘lobes’ on either side of its mouth, making the front of its ‘face’ look more blunt than other rays (like sting rays, etc.) that have a more distinctive triangular shape, like the one in this picture here.”
Kitaeff said the creature pictures is more likely a skate (Raja binoculata), not that uncommon in the Northwest and closely related taxonomically to the ratfish or dogfish. “I’ve never seen one of these diving, unfortunately, but I caught one fishing once!” Kitaeff said.
Here is part of the email we received from Bellingham High School senior April Benson.
My name is April Benson and I am a senior at Bellingham High School. My leadership teacher, Mrs. O’Brien, came to us a couple weeks ago with an immense challenge: Bring Oprah Winfrey to Bellingham High School. Mrs. O’Brien has pictures of Oprah around her classroom, talks about O magazine articles, and idolizes her. Oprah is making an appearance in Vancouver BC on January 24th and Mrs. O’Brien (who already bought tickets to see her) had the crazy idea that maybe we could get her to stop at our school en route for a visit. We, at Bellingham High, are very proud of our values, diverse student body, and staff. Bellingham High School lives by three rules, The Collective Commitments; Respect our beautiful school, respect one another, and produce quality work. There isn’t a day that goes by where we aren’t reminded of these rules. Another thing we Bellingham Raiders live by is our school spirit. We bleed white, red, and black and we are proud of it, so it s eemed only fitting that we went on this mission! We admire Oprah’s success and commitment to education, and we think she would admire ours.
My leadership class is ambitious to say the least! With no questions asked, we immediately sunk our teeth into the idea. By the first day we made a Facebook page called “Bring Oprah to Bellingham High School” and got our hashtag #BringOprahToBellinghamHighSchool #WA trending on twitter and instagram. We then began brainstorming what type of tools we would use to get her to stop in our neighborhood. We ultimately settled on the idea of filming a “lip dub” which is a video that you shoot entirely backwards, but then when you actually watch the video, it plays forward (yes, it’s very confusing, we still struggle with the idea of how it works!). On Wednesday, Dec. 5th we embarked on Operation Oprah and in only 7 days, we planned, organized, spent hours running and re-running the routes around our school, dealt with the concerns from our faculty, doubt from a few of our peers, and finally on 12/12/12 we completed and launched our “lip dub” video, getting nearly 700 views by 9 PM that same day.
You can follow more of this project on Facebook at: