The city of Vancouver is renowned for making numerous lists of the world's most livable cities over the past decade. It has ranked among the top five in the Mercer quality-of-life survey for the past five years.
Home to one of the mildest climates in Canada, Vancouver is also its greenest city, with the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America. The city is surrounded by water and snowy mountains, and its government constantly promotes green building, planning and technology, with the ambition of becoming the world's greenest city by 2020.
From the downtown harbor, boats depart regularly for the nearby San Juan Islands. Bellingham Farmers market attracts more than 100 local vendors and thousands of visitors over long summer weekends.
The town has a large retiree community, many of whom are no doubt attracted by the state's lack of income tax. Mild summers (average July high of 73 degrees) and winters (average January low of 32) are another selling point (as long as you don't mind frequent cloudy days).
At the Academy of Lifelong Learning at Western Washington University, faculty or other experts lead 60 multi-session classes and excursions a year. That has drawn about 250 members to the 12-year-old program.
Two family-owned, independent real estate companies are merging into one firm. Snapper Shuler Kenner Real Estate in Lynden, WA has joined The Muljat Group and will take its name. The SSK Real Estate office, which has 22 agents, will be renamed The Muljat Group North, but there will be few other changes, said Jerry Blankers, branch broker.
The merger was partly the result of a contractual obligation. Paul Kenner, one of the partners at SSK Real Estate, was bought out and the company was required to give up the Snapper Shuler Kenner name. The remaining partners decided to align themselves with another company, reaching an agreement with Frank Muljat. The Blankers family will continue to operate the branch as they have for the past 35 years, with Jerry Blankers remaining as branch broker.
Jerry Blankers said the merger will allow the Lynden office to draw on other resources it previously didn't have, including the Muljat Groups appraisal division. For The Muljat Group, it will be the sixth Whatcom County office and the first in the Lynden area. The Muljat Group has three offices in Bellingham and one in Ferndale.
"It's a great benefit for us because we had considered expanding into the north county area," said Frank Muljat. "It's also a chance for two family-owned companies to grow together. (The two families) have known each other for quite some time and have similar ways of operating."