Letters to the editor, March 3- March 11

The Editor:

On March 22, a group of us will participate in the 29th annual Big Climb in Seattle. This event raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I will be climbing 69 flights of stairs, or 1,300 steps, as part of Larissa’s Crew. Our goal is to reach $50,000 in donations, and with your help, it can be done.

Climbing those stairs is not an easy task. However, the real challenge is helping fight blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. These cancers target all age groups from infants and toddlers to teens and young adults; individuals in the prime of their lives all the way to those that have worked hard and are waiting for a peaceful retirement. No ages are spared, which means any of us, our friends or neighbors may one day be given the dreadful diagnosis.

This is exactly what happened to Larissa, a healthy, vibrant and active wife, mother, grandmother and leader in our Blaine community. A stem cell transplant saved her life. Great strides are being made everyday though research, and what was once a death sentence is now a reason to fight and remain optimistic. Stem cell transplants and new chemo regimens are continuing to be developed with huge success rates.

Please support me by going to LLSWA.org/goto/crew15, scroll down and click on my name, then click “Donate Now.” It’s that easy and as a bonus, it is 100 percent tax deductible.

Thanks for your support. No donation is too large or small.

Marta Kazymyra, MD

Blaine

The Editor:

The Alaska Packers Association Museum at Semiahmoo Park needs a few volunteers who are interested in local history and enjoy talking to visitors. We are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from Memorial Day Weekend through September. If you can spare five hours every two or three weeks, please apply. The schedule is flexible.

If you are new to the area, it is a good way to become acquainted with local history. If you are an “old timer,” you may be able to share your experience. Basic training is provided.

The guest books show more than 1,000 people sign in every summer. They find their way to “the spit” from all around the world. The beach location, view of the mountains, Point Roberts, Canada and the Strait of Georgia highlight the story of the old APA Cannery and Blaine’s fishing history. We have an interesting story to share.

The APA Museum will be open for Wings Over Water, Saturday and Sunday, March 14–15. If you are interested in a volunteer spot please come in and check it out between 1 and 4 p.m.

Sunny Brown

Birch Bay

The Editor:

As I drive into work every morning, I notice on a regular basis that children are walking to school in the road and wearing mostly dark clothing. At this time of the year it is still dark when the children are going to school. It is extremely worrisome to me that a driver may not see one of these kids in time to stop or swerve around them. If they swerve, they could go into a ditch or hit an oncoming vehicle.

We have recently had some deaths in the area due to people walking or biking that have not been seen by drivers. I would hate to see this happen to someone’s child, simply because they did not use basic safety precautions.

So, please, I ask all of you who would be walking, jogging or biking in the dark to be aware of this. Drivers cannot always see you when you are wearing dark attire. Parents, please talk to your children about being safe while walking or biking in the dark.

Cheryl Fischer

Blaine

The Editor:

In every pro-Gateway Pacific Terminal article or letter to the editor I have ever read where the authors say jobs and the environment can exist together, they never mention any concern they have for the environment.

Meanwhile, these writers talk as if jobs can only ever come from the GPT project and/or other potential heavy (and polluting) industry.

According to the EPA’s facility level information on greenhouse gasses tool, between Whatcom and Skagit counties we already have four out of five of the industries (BP and Intalco in Whatcom, Shell and Tesoro in Skagit) – often referred to as our good neighbors – that are the worst emitters of greenhouse gases (over one million metric tons each for 2013) in the state.

If we ever expect to maintain the focus needed to help these industries reduce their environmentally disastrous emission rates, we cannot continue to rubber stamp additional industries that are just as devastating, or more so, in terms of their adverse effects on our local and severely threatened ecosystem.

In my opinion, Lummi Nation is right to request denial of the permit for GPT by the Army Corps of Engineers. Their culture directly depends on the health of the Salish Sea. With intensive study and education they have worked for years to protect and preserve it. It is astute of Lummi Nation to decline to speak with SSA Marine, which has displayed grave disrespect for both the people and their culture.

Let’s stop thinking in disposable terms: disposable income, disposable water, disposable wildlife, disposable planet. We are at a critical juncture where we have to seek, invite, create and continue to support jobs that add to the health and wellbeing of all the prized and critical lands, waters, and life in our area.

Dena Jensen

Birch Bay

The Editor:

I would like to respond to a couple of letters I read in The Northern Light. Linda Roll claims there are no problems with the coal being shipped to Canada. I guess she hasn’t talked to people in Point Roberts whose houses and property are coated with coal dust blowing off the uncovered piles at the Canadian terminal. She must not have heard about the ore carrier smashing into the terminal dock resulting in tons of coal being dumped into the ocean.

Bob Jones complains about the Lummi Nation not being “fair” by not talking to SSA Marine. They don’t have to. Their treaty rights protect their fishing. The recently released vessel traffic study, which was financed by SSA Marine, stated Lummi fishing would be adversely affected. Game over.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can drag this out but they can’t change the facts. Lummi Nation’s sovereign treaty rights are the law of the land and trump the need for jobs and the greed of the extractive industries and their bought and paid for politicians.

Who or what do Wyoming and Montana think they are, threatening to sue my state because we are “holding up” the terminals? The corporate plunderers have bought the services of turncoat former Washington state public officials whose salaries we taxpayers shelled out for. Now they are stabbing us in the back working for other states that care nothing for our state, our concerns or our processes.

That makes me as mad as the fact these coal companies are ripping up public land and taking our national natural resources to ship to Asian countries that restrain imports of our goods by tariffs and currency manipulation while we bend over and let all their products in while piling up enormous trade imbalances.

Letting multi-national companies destroy the northern plains and pay next to nothing for our coal for export won’t answer that problem. This rip-off coal play is coming to a well-deserved end and the sooner the better.

Mike Sennett

Bellingham

The Editor:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will exist until the people (and their leaders) discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.

From that moment on the majority votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury. The democracy collapses over loose fiscal policy. Even more frightening is what follows: dictatorship.

How close are we to collapse in our country?

Susan Blondell Kaplan

Bellingham

The Editor:

A very important special election is happening next Tuesday, March 10. In it, incumbent Larry Helm, a Whatcom County small farmer is running for re-election to the conservation board within the Whatcom Conservation District.

Many people are unaware of this election. But it is extremely important, not only because of the mass of Whatcom Conservation District expenditures from our governor’s $700 million conservation budget that are being deliberated, but also because of the barrage of conservation regulations currently threatening our farms, small ones especially.

I’m a former Alaska fish cop and I know this guy. His own pollution sensors monitor the stream adjacent to his property. No one’s more qualified in such a position to protect both fish and farms countywide than Larry Helm.

By all means, if at all possible, please drive to the Whatcom Conservation District Office at 6975 Hannegan Road between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 and give him your vote.

Terry Montonye

Bellingham

The Editor:

Please contact your state congressman and tell them to keep medical marijuana (MMJ) separate from recreational marijuana. As a mental health therapist, I strongly believe that the use of MMJ is far more beneficial and less dangerous than many drugs and should be available exclusively at MMJ dispensaries for the following reasons:

Appointments can be made at MMJ dispensaries. MMJ “budtenders” are professional and knowledgeable about which products are best for each patient’s specific medical needs.
MMJ dispensaries have private rooms to provide confidentiality and time to talk about medical issues and products, essential for many patients who require anonymity due to their jobs or positions in the community.

MMJ products are high quality and clearly labeled for use on different types of illnesses. MMJ will be too expensive for many lower income patients if it is taxed at the same rate as recreational marijuana. Medication should be as affordable as possible, not a moneymaker for the state.

MMJ patients should be able to grow their own medication to control their own quality and strains. Studies about using MMJ for cancer, epilepsy, wasting diseases and PTSD are showing the quality of life someone can have without the side effects of traditional medications.

Don’t let the state devalue this useful medicine by selling it recreationally to patients. Call now or they will be combined.

Amy Glasser

Bellingham

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