Letters to the editor, February 26- March 4

The Editor:

Hmmm. Let’s see if I can predict the findings of a $20,000 study about retail sales in Blaine. I suspect it will take getting more traffic off the freeway in order to cultivate any retail sales in Blaine.

Hundreds of thousands of cars drive by Blaine annually on the freeway, and with nothing to lure them into Blaine, why should they stop?

How many times do we need to study retail sales in Blaine?

How much traffic could Blaine lure off the freeway with an open and operating Amtrak Station?

Would a different selection have solved two problems with the same $20,000?

Elle Tracy


The Editor:

This letter is an expression of gratitude to my community for passing the Blaine school district bond. As a graduate from Blaine High School and a current senior at Stanford University, I know how exceptional the education at Blaine is for being a smaller public school, and how dilapidated the physical facilities currently are.

Besides the pure need for a school that doesn’t leak every time it rains, the passing of this bond shows that the community believes Blaine students are worth the investment. It shows that they are worth more than these leaky roofs and outdated facilities.

It makes my heart swell with joy to see my community believe and invest in the abilities of our students! Passing this bond provides students with the tools and support they need to be successful not only in high school but also in community college, technical school and even universities like Stanford.

Martell Hesketh


The Editor:

I would like to add my voice to those supporting the Lummi Nation in its request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the proposed GPT coal port at Cherry Point. I believe the many negative effects of this project would greatly impact the treaty rights of the tribe, as well as the rest of us living in this beautiful region.

I urge everyone to investigate the probable consequences of transporting, storing and shipping coal in our area. The document “The Proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) Facts and Impacts” compiled by volunteers at Save Birch Bay is available at the library and bookmobile. Please get informed.

Pat Vavrick


The Editor:

Here in Blaine, I see coal trains traveling to Canada. They have been doing this for years without any problems. It seems that using our deep water at Cherry Point to ship coal and other products to Asia is just common sense. We need the export dollars and the traffic comes through here already, so why not have it stop at Cherry Point, the place we have set aside for heavy industry?

I hear some people think we should phase out the businesses at Cherry Point that have been good neighbors and great community citizens for many years. These businesses employ many people and pay taxes to support our schools and our community. New businesses that might think of coming to Whatcom County won’t be interested if we chase away the good ones we have.

Right now people are studying everything under the sun related to this project. I hope the Gateway people don’t get discouraged. More people support this project than not and trust that the process will do what it’s supposed to – look at impacts and find ways to resolve them. It can be done, and it has been all over this country. Jobs and environment can exist together.

I ask people here to stay open-minded and focus on reason, not scare tactics. Let’s find a way to bring this new opportunity to Whatcom County so everyone can benefit, not just the fortunate few.

Linda Roll


The Editor:

Has anyone else in Blaine noticed a change in our local U.S. post office? Over the last six to 12 months it seems as though the quality of customer service has declined and the general atmosphere is not as friendly as in the past.

I have been a customer since the days when the post office was where the police station is located and there were no cluster boxes or two zip codes. Previous USPS staff never lost a package addressed to me. In the past year they have lost two. In both cases the tracking indicated that the packages were received in Blaine (one of them contained medication) and both were finally located. In the past year, I picked up my “hold mail” and did not receive all of it because I did not provide my complete address. I was distressed to receive an item labeled “Do Not Bend” that was ruined by being bent to fit into our PO Box.

When I had a question or request, the response from certain recent employees at the Blaine Post Office was most unpleasant. Since I am not treated this way in other customer/business situations, it seems fair to assume the problem is not mine. Recently I filed a complaint form on uspsoig.gov. Perhaps other residents who have had similar problems would like to do the same.

Larry Van Wanseele


The Editor:

Although The Northern Light is a wonderful newspaper, it is lacking something; something so vital and relevant that it needs to be considered. I believe The Northern Light should include comics. Even if it only includes a few comics it would drastically improve our newspaper. Comics not only bring happiness and laughter to adults but more importantly attract young readers.

I love the fact that our newspaper includes the police reports, which are often very humorous and great for adults, but we need something that children will be attracted to. With today’s use of social media by young people it is crucial that we find ways to attract them to global issues and issues pertaining to the city of Blaine. If more young people were educated on the issues going on around them, the community would run smoother and positive change would happen faster.

Most of us probably remember digging through a newspaper as a young person to find the comics that brightened your day, but you didn’t just read the comics, you also read headlines that made you curious and then you asked questions and learned about current issues. As a community we should be providing this same happiness and education for our young people that we were provided with as children.

Alicia Allison


The Editor:

They let the newscaster Brian Williams go because he lied in a news broadcast. How hypocritical can everyone be? As if people in general don’t lie about one thing or another. The people who lie are the busiest pointing fingers at everyone else.

I remember when President Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinski and the government and news went crazy focusing on Clinton’s affair. As if people in the federal government (and elsewhere) weren’t having affairs themselves. At the time, there were so many major issues facing the government that needed to be addressed. But no, they made Clinton’s affair the most important. It’s like everyone focusing on a freckle on someone’s face, while the rest of his or her face is decaying with cancer.

Parents teach their children how to lie. This may sound insulting to parents, but hear me out. Children lie in order to avoid punishment, because they are afraid of being hurt. Who can blame them? Who wants to endure physical or emotional abuse? What is needed is for a child to feel compassion for others and have a natural feeling of guilt and hurt inside if they hurt someone else.

Guilt is enough punishment. Take punishment out of equation of raising your children and foster trust and communication based on mutual respect and dignity, and the child will have no need to lie.

Sandra Kisska 

Birch Bay

The Editor:

It seems reasonable to me that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declined to stop the review process for the Gateway shipping terminal. As leaders in our community, the Lummis should be willing to talk with the Gateway people and work together to find ways for the project to benefit everyone, including members of the Lummi Nation who need work. Whatcom County supports the casino and other tribal business ventures, and it seems only fair that they do the same for new businesses that want to come here.

I’d like to add that the employment this terminal will provide goes far beyond jobs at Gateway. Hundreds of new spin-off jobs (food, transportation, entertainment and housing) will be added as a result. New jobs mean more disposable income for families and more taxes to support our schools, police, fire and roads. Just like the industries now at Cherry Point, Gateway will lift up Whatcom County and secure family-wage jobs for decades to come.

One more thing to consider is, instead of buying products made in China and other countries, let’s support American jobs right here in Whatcom County. This terminal will ship American products overseas, employing our own people who grow or manufacture our own products. Our county, state and country will all benefit as a result. It’s time to get this project moving.

Bob Jones


The Editor:

Oil companies and carriers who ship oil by rail through our community are willing to take risks with our property, health, economy and lives just to make a big profit. With an increase in oil by rail traffic, we’ve seen an increase in oil train accidents – three in February alone. The resulting explosions would be devastating in a populated area.

As chair of the Senate energy and environment committee, Doug Ericksen should be looking after our best interest, but instead he is in big oil’s back pocket. Ericksen’s bill (SB 5057) is weak at best on the issue of financial responsibility, full disclosure of risks, proactive preventative measures and a solid accident response. Meanwhile, he is refusing to give a stronger bill a public hearing.

When Doug Ericksen needed our votes last November, he promised to take a stronger leadership role on this issue and get it done. Just a few months later Ericksen is playing politics with our safety again.

Nancy Orlowski


The Editor:

How do you feel about the possibility of having North America’s largest coal terminal in Ferndale? There is something you can do if you find this prospect offensive. The Lummi Nation has sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stating their objections and asking them to deny a permit. The Lummis have asked for support in their stand.

What can you do? You can write to our elected officials and ask them to support the Lummis. Contact information for U.S. senators Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell and U.S. representatives Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen can be found at re-sources.org (on left side of page, click on “Clean Energy” then “Take Action”) or you can search each official’s website.

The Lummi Nation is fighting for clean waters, sustainable fisheries and an environmentally sound community. Ask our elected officials to support their efforts. It would protect the Lummi way of life and strengthen our environment.

It is the right thing to do.

Naomi Murphy


  1. Mr. Van Wanseele, YES! I agree with you completely. I hear the same complaint from people all over Blaine. It’s definitely an on-going and wide-spread problem. I have complained repeatedly (first locally, then nationally) about mail delivered to the wrong address, never delivered, or returned to sender for no reason. The USPS excuses range from, “Your regular carrier has been sick”, to “Morale is low”, to “New hires don’t have a descent work ethic.” In other words, THEY KNOW that service is lousy but they aren’t doing anything about it. In my opinion, the USPS is violating a solemn trust by carelessly mishandling mail. The on-going problems with the Blaine Post Office should be investigated by the Inspector General’s office and decisive action taken to make improvements. Until then, keep your fingers crossed and hope that whoever gets your mail is honest enough to return it to you.


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