The Wild Pioneer Life of William “Blanket Bill” Jarman

One of Ferndale’s more colorful settlers, Blanket Bill Jarman is credited as the first permanent white settler in the area when he first put down roots in Whatcom County in 1852. Jarman caused quite a stir earlier when he was kidnapped by tribal members from Vancouver Island and had to be ransomed with a pile of blankets as tall as he stood, earning him his nickname.

In the 1850s, he officially delivered mail by canoe for Fort Bellingham by canoe, and unofficially served as a smuggler. In the 1860s, he staked out a homestead in the county and worked as a bartender for a saloon in Bellingham. In 1871, a saloon patron insulted Jarman’s sister. A fight broke out and Jarman shot and killed the surly patron. Jarman was jailed for a short time before returning to England for a decade.

He returned to Whatcom and moved to Ferndale to stay with his niece and her husband, William Manning on their farm.  In 1904, the Old Settlers Association recognized Jarman as the oldest living settler and described him as, “Sailor, deserter, trader, hunter and fisherman, fur dealer, Indian slave, tribesman, squawman, homesteader, ship master, telegraph linesman, army courier and mail carrier, interpreter, bar tender, accused murderer, gold digger; there was little he did not find interesting and zestful”. You can find out more about Blanket Bill from the Ferndale Heritage Society at Pioneer Park.

Councilmember Herb Porter Receives Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership

Councilmember Herb Porter

This month, Councilmember Herb Porter received his Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities.

AWC’s Certificate of Municipal Leadership program recognizes city and town elected officials for accomplishing training in four core areas:
• Roles, responsibilities and legal requirements
• Public sector resource management
• Community planning and development
• Effective local leadership

Those who earn the advanced certificate continue to strive for excellence by attending conferences and trainings, serving their community, and further developing leadership skills. To earn the Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership, Porter completed more than 60 hours of training credits and demonstrated community service.

“Cities and towns around the state are continually transforming in light of changing laws and the need to meet new challenges and opportunities,” said AWC Chief Executive Officer Peter B. King.

This would be the second Ferndale Councilmember currently serving to receive their Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership. Councilmember Ali Hawkinson received her certificate in January 2021.

“Our Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership recognizes mayors and councilmembers who continue to enhance the tools they need today to understand the legal landscape, plan for the future, manage their resources, and foster strong relationships. The elected officials who earn this certificate demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning and a desire to bring new ideas back to their community.”

City Hall, Police Station Open for Regular Business Hours starting June 14th

Ferndale City Hall, Police Station Open for Regular Business Hours starting June 14th

With the installation of new COVID safety measures complete, the Ferndale City Hall and Police Station will be open to the public for full business hours, 8:30AM-4:30PM Monday through Friday, starting June 14th.

“We appreciate the public’s patience while we made the modifications necessary, and we are ready to once again assist our community in person,” said Mayor Greg Hansen. The reopening is well in advance of the statewide reopening, currently scheduled for June 30th for all public facilities.

City staff has continued to work throughout the pandemic, accessible via email, phone and video conferencing to meet the needs of the public. The city recently launched a new utility billing portal to allow for more transparency, allowing for even more remote access to city documents.

For more information about city facilities, please contact Communication Officer Riley Sweeney at 360-685-2353 or rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org.

City Hall Open to the Public Tuesday/Thursday 10AM-2PM

City Hall is reopening to the public! We will be open from 10:00AM-2:00PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays going forward, with the goal of being fully reopen for business hours by the end of June.

If you haven’t been fully vaccinated, please wear a face mask for your safety and the safety of our employees. Thank you!

Former Mayor Jensen pays tribute to Ferndale Memorial Stadium

Fmr Mayor Gary Jensen

Recently, former Mayor Gary Jensen wrote a tribute to the Ferndale High School football stadium which is getting demolished and rebuilt as part of the construction of the new Ferndale High School. As it explores a key part of Ferndale’s history, the City has published it here with permission:

Can you write an obituary for a Football Stadium? How about one that has been at the same location for 80 years?

The Ferndale High School football team played it’s last ever game on the grass of Memorial Field. The old stadium will be soon torn down, allowing for a new high school. A new stadium will be constructed in a different location. To some it might be a simple patch of grass. For many others a field of grass with thousands of memories . A place where high school heroes were made.

My neighbor, FHS class of 1951, recalls most of the school getting out of class to spread gravel on the then new track surface. Imagine that happening today. He did not recall if they received shop class credit for the wheelbarrow work or P.E. credit for the rake work. In the 70’s the track surface was red brick cinder. I can still feel and hear the sound of extra long spikes crunching through that cinder as you pounded into a turn on that track. Ferndale’s track was unique in that it had enough room to hold a 220 yard dash on a straightaway. In my era, the football team locker room was located in the basement of the oldest building on the high school campus. As we left that basement on game nights, the sound of hundreds of metal tipped football cleats hitting the cement floor and then thundering up older, wooden steps, seemed to shake that old building up and down the halls. Out the doors and running out onto the field of grass, now a different shade of green because of all those lights , mounted high on wooden poles.

A buddy and I once rode our Harleys to Idaho so we could watch Ferndale play. In typical American male fashion, no maps or directions required. We simply just rode into town looking for the stadium lights. Similar to small towns all across our country, those stadium lights serving as a beacon, calling the high school fan home. Friday Night Lights!

The grass at Ferndale’s field helped to produce a pretty memorable list of stars. One NFL punter (Michael Koenen), Two NFL Quarterbacks (Doug Pederson and Jake Locker), One NFL Tight End (Cody Boyd), One NFL drafted Defensive Lineman (Ross Boice) and probably WWU’s greatest Running Back (Pat Locker) and numerous other college scholarships in football. It helped to produce one Super Bowl winning coach (Doug Pederson), one NCAA Champion football and Seattle Seahawks Coach, probably wandered the sidelines, when his father Pinky was the Head Football Coach for Ferndale (Dennis Erickson). It also aided in producing one Quarterback/Wrestler , who won Three State Championships (Jason Muggy) and another Running Back/Wrestler , who won Two State Championships (Ben Broselle). That grass helped to produce a Washington State AAA Champion Football Team and a State Champion Band and Drill Team.

It even helped to produce two Ferndale Mayors. One who learned how to hit, or be hit, fall down and then get up with a smile and a handshake. Something politicians of today could still use more of. That stadium allowed me to sit in the stands and watch a skinny, all legs, sophomore, don a cheerleader uniform and grow into a great young lady. The love of my life, second only to the other football cheerleader, her mother. In three years she never knew the feeling of her team losing on that grass.

We thank so many families, many multigenerational, who allowed young men to play on that grass. Names such as Hannah, Locker, Brudwick, Pederson, Oxford, Cline, Muggy, Irwin, Finkbonner, Westford, Ebe, Unick, Hoelzle, Perrin and Broselle. We also thank one of the best coaches we have ever seen, Vic Randall, and all those who came before and after him, such as Bill Dawes and State Champion, Jaime Plenkovich. Ferndale Memorial Stadium, “It’s a matter of Pride”, we say goodbye to you! The name and location may change but that patch of grass will not soon be forgotten.

– Gary Jensen, Ferndale High School Class of ’73

Announcing the 2021 Summer of Fun Parks Activities

The City of Ferndale is proud to announce a full slate of summer parks activities this year.  With careful consideration and consultation with our health experts, the city is moving forward with our “2021 Summer of Fun.”

These events will be held outdoors in Ferndale parks and require that all attendees practice social distancing and wear a face covering to ensure everyone can have a safe experience.

“We know everyone is excited to get out of the house and do something fun this summer.  We believe we have a way to come together as a community in a safe and responsible way,” said Mayor Greg Hansen.

Here is the full list of activities:

Food Truck Fridays will be held on the first Friday of each month (June 4th, July 2nd and August 6th) at Star Park.  Food Trucks from around Whatcom County will be selling hot meals starting at 5:30 pm. Participating vendors include the Mobile Mouth Hole, Cicchitti’s Pizza, Outlaws BBW, Simmering Tava, Pete’s Poutine and BareBones BBQ.

Music in the Park will be held on Friday June 18th, and Saturdays July 17th and August 14th on the stage in the historic Pioneer Village. Seattle area rock cover band “3 Trick Pony” will be playing June 18th, and Bellingham R&B/Hip-hop sensation “SpaceBand” will be playing July 17th and “Vaudeville Etiquette” an energetic, psychedelic folk band will be playing August 14th. Gates open at 5:30pm, music starts at 6pm.

WECU presents Flicks in the Park held Friday nights on June 25th, July 9th and July 16th at dusk in the historic Pioneer Village. We will be showing “Coco” “Labyrinth” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. gates open at 9:00pm, movie begins at dusk.

The Great Ferndale Frontier Folly, a citywide scavenger hunt with riddles and prizes. This event will be held throughout the month of July.

Stargazing with the Perseids Meteor Shower will be held on Friday, August 13th after dark at VanderYacht Park. Identify constellations with glow-in-the-dark star charts, observe the moon and other celestial objects through larger telescopes provided by amateur astronomers or just relax and enjoy the peak of the Perseids Meteor Shower.

More food trucks, bands and films will all be announced later this Spring via the City of Ferndale’s social media channels. More information is available at www.cityofferndale.org/parks or by contacting Recreation Coordinator Riley Sweeney at rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org or (360) 685-2353.

Ferndale City Clerk Susan Duncan Elected as President of Washington Municipal Clerks Association

Incoming WMCA President Susan Duncan (right) with outgoing President Debbie Jermann (left)

Ferndale City Clerk Susan Duncan Elected as President of Washington Municipal Clerks Association

Ferndale City Clerk Susan Duncan was recently elected President of the Washington Municipal Clerks Association (WMCA). Founded in 1969, the WMCA is the statewide professional organization for municipal clerks,  facilitating development, support and professional excellence from those who manage the administrative services of our local governments.

Duncan has been the City Clerk of Ferndale since 2015 and is responsible for management of all public records, assembly of council packets, and all human resources responsibilities for the City. In 2016 she received her certification as a Certified Municipal Clerk and in 2020 she received her certification as a Master Municipal Clerk.

“We are so proud of Mrs. Duncan – and we are grateful to have her expertise recognized on a statewide level. It is no secret that we have incredible staff working for the City of Ferndale,” said Mayor Greg Hansen.

Duncan will be sworn in later this month at the Annual Business Meeting of the WMCA.

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