Letters to the Editor: November 13 – 19, 2014

The Editor:

I am so grateful the community decided to leave Blaine’s name as is. Blaine Harbor was a pretty poor choice of names. Blaine Harbor sounds like a place where Buffalo Bill would live, or a place Stephen King would write about. Blaine as it stands just sounds boring.

May I make a suggestion as to another name we could call our quaint little town? Might I suggest Los Vegas? A good name like Los Vegas inspires excitement and the bustle of neon lights. We could then construct hotels and theaters around such a name. People could say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” We could have theater productions like Cirque du Soleil.

Big time names like Carrot Top, Tom Jones, Siegfried and Roy, or Penn and Teller would haunt our shops and community. And of course our businesses would thrive, there would be many new job opportunities and if we could legalize gambling in the community more power to us. Plus people could say they went to Los Vegas!

Yes, I misspelled “Las” as “Los,” as I didn’t want any confusion with that place in Nevada that has close to our proposed name.

Pilzer Pilchuck
Blaine

The Editor:

When we moved to Blaine in 1976 I began following the high school wrestling program. By the time my kids were old enough to wrestle, a young coach named Craig Foster moved to town and took over the program. That was in 1991. Since then his teams have placed second and third at the state tournament more times than I can remember; and as most readers know, Blaine won the 2014 Mat Classic 1A division. Coach Foster was recently inducted into Washington’s wrestling hall of fame, an honor he has more than earned.

But what I have come to admire about this man more than the obvious achievements and visible accolades is his perseverance in the face of obstacles and setbacks which would have had lesser men throwing in the towel in defeat.

Craig followed coach Randy Deming, whose teams placed second in the state 1A ranks in 1988 and 1989 before winning the title in 1990 by the widest margin ever up to that point. Craig’s first several years played like the script of “Hoosiers,” with coach Foster in the Gene Hackman role.

In the late ’90s and first several years of the new millennium, when it seemed like nothing could entice kids onto the mat, Craig went through some seasons of drought. I think one year he had only seven kids turn out, and for the only time I can remember, Blaine lost a dual meet to Meridian, and we got skunked something like 70–0 by Mount Baker.

Craig never gave up hope, but got more stubborn and worked tirelessly to rebuild the program to what it now is. That kind of perseverance and tenacity is what epitomizes the heart and soul of the world’s oldest and greatest sport. Those are the qualities I admire most in people. For that reason I am thankful to have had Craig as our coach these years.

When folks peruse the hall of fame site they will read about his achievements as a coach; but those of us who know Craig love and respect him as a man. God broke the mold on you, my friend!

Pete Holdaas
Blaine

The Editor:

GPT proponents claim GPT would reduce our taxes and pay for public services but facts indicate it would likely increase our tax burdens and reduce our health, wealth and shared natural treasures.

Even in Ferndale, the city closest to Cherry Point and largest recipient of GPT tax monies, there would be negligible tax impact. On October 22, 2012, after meeting with GPT’s spokesman, the Ferndale school district superintendent wrote a letter to the school board about GPT’s potential impact on taxes, saying, “Our district will not receive any more money as a result of this project … it isn’t going to cause an influx of money into our school system.”

GPT likely would decrease the value of our property because GPT would make much of Whatcom County an undesirable place to live. There are thousands of homes within 5 miles of Cherry Point that would be coated with toxic coal dust from GPT’s 2.5 miles of six-story high, uncovered coal stockpiles. Coal dust contaminating the Salish Sea, beaches and wildlife would destroy our tourism and fishing industries.

There are thousands of homes where families wouldn’t get a decent night’s sleep because they would be wakened or shaken by GPT coal trains every 80 minutes of the night and day.

Eighteen daily coal trains traveling the GPT Montana/Wyoming route would block every railroad crossing for 2–3 hours a day preventing passengers, businesses and emergency vehicles from getting where they are needed.

BNSF’s announcement that GPT’s nine daily, empty coal trains would travel through Sumas is bad news here. The GPT to Sumas route crosses Birch Bay-Lynden Road and the already badly backed-up Bell Road at Peace Portal, continues through Blaine, crosses the border into White Rock, heads east and then crosses the border into Sumas.

Regardless of how much trouble trains cause us, the law says we taxpayers pay 95 percent of the cost for projects to improve traffic at railroad crossings and the railroad pays 5 percent. A single railroad overpass would cost us $40 million.

We the people of Whatcom County know we can’t afford GPT – it would cost us everything we hold dear.

Paula Rotundi
Blaine

The Editor:

I am one of those Canadians who have been coming to Blaine and Birch Bay since I was 4 years old. Being that my career is in marketing, I have to agree that a city or town name is definitely important but more importantly, it is what the town actually delivers that matters. If the destination brings a lasting memory to those that visit, the name won’t matter. The memory comes from not only what we see while visiting a destination, but also what we do and how we feel while doing it.

You can change the name to Blaine Harbor, but if I was one of those tourists who made the trek down from Canada or across the state to see what a quaint place like Blaine Harbor had to offer, I would not view it as a destination spot to return to.

I live in Everett now but am continually returning to our cabin at Birch Bay. I look forward to gathering my collected copies of The Northern Light from the mailbox, and the first section I go to is the letters to the editor. Recently it was mentioned that Blaine voted down the opening of a Woods Coffee because they didn’t want to approve a drive-through window.

It is just this type of thinking that will keep Blaine from truly growing. Is it because you don’t want the competition for the small espresso stands in town? If this was brought up in your meeting for approval, then you truly are on the wrong track when it comes to growth of businesses. I bet Ferndale didn’t think twice about welcoming Woods Coffee to open up with their drive-up window.

Sharman Burnam
Birch Bay

(Ed. Note: According to Blaine community planner Michael Jones, Woods Coffee company has never applied to the city for a building or business license.)

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