Letters to the editor, June 16 – June 22

The Editor:

Let me begin by saying I am not against personal fireworks, given that they are handled in a safe and reasonable manner. We live at Birch Bay and the 4th of July at Birch Bay is an incredible display for all to see. There are miles of beach to shoot fireworks over the bay. Why is it then that some are too lazy to go to the beach for this activity but would rather do so in the street in front of their homes, back from the beach and among the dry brush and trees, neighbor’s homes and cars parked nearby?

We live less than one block from the beach and yet some so- called “neighbors” on our block do just that. One year a firework landed on the hood of our car, leaving a dent and burn mark, which nobody would admit to or take responsibility.

Last year a nearby neighbor was letting fireworks off in the street and we suffered the consequences of noise, smoke and potential damage to our home and property. When my wife suggested that they consider going down to the beach she was basically told to mind her own business. We feel that this is our business, and we should not have to suffer the inconsideration of others when it comes to protecting our property.

I can only hope that some of those who feel it’s OK, to take such risks with others property will think twice about the potential consequences of their actions and take their “fun” to the beach and have a safe and enjoyable time. And, when done, take their trash home for proper disposal. That’s what, in my opinion, “good neighbors” do.

Pat Jerns


The Editor:

I am hoping to alert people in Blaine about the fabulous Drayton Harbor Music Festival that happens every July in our town. It started 14 years ago, yet many still don’t realize the quality of the free (or by donation) concerts available to them.

When Bruce and Sandy Wolf started the summer jazz camp in Blaine in 2002, the camp instructors chose to put on concerts throughout the week at no extra cost. They just love to play their music together!

Here’s how good these performers are – these musicians come from Boston, Florida, New York City, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. They have variously played in Europe, the Peoples’ Republic of China, Nigeria, Brazil, Moscow, Kiev, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey and more. They have played for and/or with Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horn, Gladys Knight, Martha Reeves, Herbie Hancock, Mel Brown and more.

Our camp’s singer/songwriter has shared the stage with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, and with Smashmouth. Our instructors/performers teach at such places as PLU, Cornish College of the Arts, Berklee School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.

You can see more about them, about the music camp they put on in Blaine for kids ages 12-19 and about this summer’s concerts from July 10–16 on our webpage: draytonharbormusic.org.

It took me several years before I went to one of these concerts. Jazz is not generally the music I listen to and most, though not all, of the music is jazz. When I did finally go, I was blown away by the energy, enthusiasm and quality of what takes place on the stage. Now I’m on the board of directors – the camp and concerts sold me on this incredible festival. I still can’t believe this event happens right here in our Blaine.

I hope you try out one of the concerts this year. See what you think!

Marla Tuski


The Editor:

Woodworkers, novice or professional, are invited to volunteer to build little library boxes similar the Little Free Libraries (littlefreelibrary.org). Some wood is being donated.

The Birch Bay library committee of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce is seeking helpers to build six to eight boxes to place around Birch Bay in phase one of their plan to bring a branch library to Birch Bay. Phase two will be an express library like the one in Yacolt, WA (facebook.com/Yacolt-Library-Express/). Phase three is a full service brick and mortar building.

Contact Ruth Higgins, secretary, at 371-5312 or ruthhiggins7@gmail.com.

Thank you.

Ruth Higgins

The Editor:

I have been asked to write this on behalf of local residents who have come together to ask everyone to help keep Birch Bay’s family friendly tradition of hosting 4th of July fireworks alive and well by keeping the bay clean of fireworks debris and trash.

Last year, people left more than 10,000 pounds of trash and fireworks debris along the road, beach and bay. That was more than five tons of trash that a small group of volunteers had to labor hard for many hours over several miles to pick up, gather together and finally haul away with many trips to the county’s landfill site.

This much garbage being thrown on the ground, the beach and into the bay can give the state cause to shut down the fireworks to protect the bay’s environment, or force the county to shut it down because no budget is set aside to finance a clean-up of that magnitude.

We want to avoid that possibility but to do so, everyone has to do their part by taking personal responsibility to pick up and take away their own litter.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to create a positive example of having a great time outdoors with friends and family while taking care of the environment at the same time. It’s the best way to ensure that Birch Bay’s longstanding tradition of being the family friendly host of fireworks for everyone from near and far will continue uninterrupted for many years and generations to come.

Thanks to all of your readers for their consideration and cooperation in making the 4th of July at Birch Bay a safe, clean, fun and friendly event for all visiting guests and residents.

Bert Taylor

Birch Bay

The Editor:

I am outraged that Whatcom County taxpayers are being charged $155,000 for Donald Trump’s campaign stop in Lynden. I sent the following email to our two state representatives and our state Senator. I asked each for a response. I will submit a follow-up to this letter if any of them actually does respond:

“Why on earth are Whatcom County taxpayers being charged $155,000 for Trump’s campaign stop in Lynden?

The Republicans, not the citizens of Whatcom County, invited him.

His campaign committee has millions to spend on his campaign, not the citizens of Whatcom County.

Whatcom County taxpayers should not be taxed one cent for any individual candidate’s campaign event – Republican or Democrat.

This is clearly taxation without representation! You should know that, and you should be outraged.

On behalf of all Whatcom County’s taxpayers, I am asking you to put aside partisan politics and send the bill to Mr. Trump. He can afford it.

P.S. Yes, I would like a response to this email… and please don’t say “everyone else does it.” Wrong is wrong. Now is the time to make it right.”

John Yirak


  1. Northern Light Reader June 16, 2016, 7:57 pm

    John Yirak:
    It cost the taxpayers of Anacortes and Skagit County $149,000 to handle the anti-fossil fuel demonstration last month (http://www.anacortesnow.com/news/community-news/3471-protests-cost-city-nearly-60-000).

    The environmentalists, not the citizens of Skagit County, invited them to protest.

    Will you be putting aside partisan politics and sending the protestors and environmentalists in Skagit County the bill for exercising their freedom of speech?

    • NL Reader,
      Was your comment directed toward me, or the legislators? Representative Van Werven said the cost to clean up after the protest was $300,000. But to answer your question, YES! I would require that the hosts pay for cleanup. This isn’t a matter of partisan politics or limiting freedom of speech. It’s about accountability. You make a mess, you pay for the clean up.


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