Letters to the editor, May 28- June 3

The Editor:

On behalf of Drayton Harbor Maritime (DHM), a maritime heritage 501(c)3 non-profit organization and its board of directors, I want to again say thank you to the Semiahmoo Yacht Club for their recent donation of $1,000.

This money will support DHM’s activities and programs; specifically this year’s carpentry work on the 71-year-old historic Plover ferry’s wheel house and aft cabin’s side that involved repairing several places where dry rot was discovered.

SYC’s continued support of the historic Plover will assure this local historic maritime icon will continue to operate on the waters of Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Bay for years to come providing tourists, town folk and school children a unique experience aboard the former Alaska Packers Association salmon cannery launch that has spent its entire career on these local waters.

Further, some of this year’s club donation will go to the continued restoration work on the 108-year-old DNN 59 Columbia River salmon boat being worked on at the Walsh Boatyard at the Blaine Harbor Marina, where Norm Walsh is providing space for the sailboat’s restoration for free. When we mention restoration, we mean we are not only restoring the diminutive 29-foot double-ended former Alaska Packers Association sailboat back to its original look but taking this effort further, enabling the DNN 59 to be the seaworthy waterborne sister to its twin housed on display in the APA Cannery Museum.

Once back in the water the sailboat will become Blaine’s “tall ship,” teaching traditional sailing to youth and others who will learn and experience what it was like to be aboard sailing and fishing on this unique class of fishing vessel that is wholly original to the west coast. The sailboat will also be taking maritime heritage tourists, Semiahmoo Resort guests and interested people out on interpretive sailing cruises
off Semiahmoo.

Between 1884 and 1952, 8,000 of these sailboats were built for the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery. Many were built at the former APA shipyard here at Semiahmoo. These sailboats were the only type allowed to fish for salmon in the Bay for 58 years and now only a handful are left.

Captain Richard Sturgill


The Editor:

I am thinking about a young woman locked of her own will, locked by her strong spirit, to the anchor chain of a support barge for Shell’s arctic drilling project; thinking of kayaks and canoes splashing the port of Seattle in vibrant confrontation of the Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig.

I am thinking how resistance to the offhand destruction of our planet is manifesting in our local community, swelling in hearts and mortal bodies of those who cannot bear to watch one oil spill longer, one cancer diagnosis more.

I am thinking of years of studies and legal action, letters and meetings, votes and marches, tours and campaigns, rallies and concerts, movies and art exhibits, that investigated, warned, opposed, proposed and fiercely and persistently cried “No.”

Now, when we are faced with a glut of waste, toxins and disastrous deadly error I am thinking about a May 12, 2015 letter from SSA Marine/PIT to the Army Corps of Engineers. In that letter SSA/PIT, in an effort to build the world’s largest coal terminal, here in Whatcom County, here on Lummi sacred land, alleged that they could study enough to potentially promise away the poison coal dust and vessel crashes, the herring extinction and desecration of hallowed ground.

They suggested they would be calling into question Lummi fishing practices and needs. They’d be amassing studies and expert opinions, running numbers, constructing pledged reforms for reducing Lummi objections to nothing to be counted, to become less than anything to care about.

Companies who have no heart and do not understand the meaning of sacred obligations and commitments cannot conceive of the types among us who would lock them down and block them off. Get ready. We are here.

Dena Jensen

Birch Bay

The Editor:

Patric Sheppard’s April 23 letter denigrates Gateway Pacific Terminal opponents such as myself as “fear mongers.” He needs to “take the time to listen to the facts” himself. His main points for supporting the terminal have been convincingly refuted by several others in The Northern Light letters: P. Rotundi, April 30; C. Westland, May 7; N Murphy, May 14.

Mr. Sheppard should take the time to read those comments and better inform himself. Perhaps then he will realize that opponents of the GPT are not fear mongers but informed, concerned citizens who have seen through SSA/PIT’s disingenuous propaganda to sell us a project which, in reality, will be radically different from what they show in their expensive glossy inserts and slick publicity.

Read the permit application, (www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2797) [Table of Contents, Chapter 4, Page 4.52], which documents less than 300 permanent jobs, then discover what independent sources predict for tourism, agricultural and fishing jobs lost, then do the math. Can you say “net loss”? To my mind, for SSA to tout wildly inflated job claims as the justification for destroying our area and endangering our future shows a callous disregard for everyone except the few fat cats at the top.

There are those of us who are concerned with the long-term impacts of this terminal. Ask SSA to explain how they will convince later generations that building a terminal of toxins was ethically or morally correct. The facts are undeniably clear. There are no positives, not even the short-term jobs, that outweigh the disastrous long-term impacts of this proposed terminal.

If the public wallows in apathy and indifference to the extent that SSA pushes this through, we have only ourselves to blame. I urge all of us, but especially Birch Bay and Ferndale residents, to wake up and get involved in resisting this proposed terminal.

Harold Roper

Birch Bay

The Editor:

How do you imagine a 100 percent disabled combat veteran? What age do you picture first, and what gender? Do you think only of missing limbs, or a scary homeless person that “just can’t readjust?”

What are your preconceived notions when someone claims to be a disabled veteran? Do you feel gratitude, pity, some tinge of judgment? Do you believe it to be a self-imposed title or one granted via the government for whom the veteran served?

As the wife of a 100 percent disabled combat veteran, I assure you that people think a lot; sadly, most lack compassion. Ironically, the least compassionate claim to have served as well, a generation earlier.

It is heartbreaking how poorly this country treated our returning soldiers after Vietnam, so I can understand and forgive them for their resentments. It was the inexcusable treatment of Vietnam-era veterans that created what progress we have today. No matter how poorly run and mismanaged, as a country, we have progressed for our currently returning soldiers.

Every day I am grateful for this progress, as I am thankful to the many wonderful people of Blaine who have opened their hearts in friendship and support to my family. Too many people to thank here, other than every single delivery person working for UPS and FedEx who smile and laugh as they visit us each day.

Yet, for those who cannot understand how a man in his mid-thirties can receive a full Army retirement along with the unwanted label of 100 percent “disabled,” I challenge you to find what is at the heart of your preconceived notions about veterans and disabilities in general.

But to the federal employee who rudely laughed in my husband’s face last Wednesday and complained about how many deliveries he has to make to our door, you should be ashamed! It is this lazy attitude that is giving the rest of the hardworking people at the post office such a bad reputation right now. Of all people, as a federal employee, immediately benefiting from a guaranteed paid long weekend, ask yourself how you became so entitled to judge another.

Jennifer Rodriguez


The Editor:

It would be presumptuous of me to think that I could do “Marina” justice with a few of my words. What I can say is this musical written by Sandy Wolf with music by Justin Melland that had its world premiere opening on May 22 at the Mount Baker Theatre is a must-experience event.

Its setting is in Blaine, Washington in 1908. “Marina” is a well-balanced play within a play and a musical within a musical. It includes parallel love stories with an interesting twist on a love triangle.

It has great orchestration. From the first opening notes from the live orchestra, the music is a delight and the lyrics, which are not just inserted into the story but are the heart of the story, are wonderful. The melodies and harmonies express the conflicts of the times that are there for everyone to witness. Finally, everything pivots on a tragic shipwreck near the end of the story.

The set was masterfully and simply executed. The stage switches from the Blaine cannery building and dock to Marina’s tavern where you can see three levels of activity at once, one at times being a ship at sea.

“Marina” gets an A-plus. “Marina” is one more good thing about Blaine.

Patrick Alesse

Birch Bay

The Editor:

I have attended the charter review commission meetings, and have been impressed with the quality of its members. Their convictions are divided about 50/50, as you might expect. But all of them want what is best for the county.

When people stand up to testify and accuse them of ulterior motives and financial skulduggery, it shows only that the speakers are uninformed. They can look up the laws governing financial intake and outlay during charter campaigns. And remember this is a local group – interested citizens can email the commissioners or phone them up. They can probably sit down with them if so desired.

At least at the local level, accusing our government representatives of evil motives and financial misdeeds seems simplistic. Are they strongly motivated? Yes. Do we disagree? Yes. But I have not met an elected representative here in the county who is up to no good.

Karen Brown


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