Letters to the editor: October 5-11

The Editor:

Right now, Blaine City Council is probably the most cohesive it’s been in recent memory. It’s not that the members agree all the time, because they don’t. But they talk their differences out. Even if the voting is not unanimous every ballot, the job gets done with a “Blaine first” attitude and without political agendas.

It would be a shame for the complexion of our city council to change much right now. The city is strapped financially and the council needs to be – as it currently is – one that really has a ‘home-grown’ feel for Blaine, who we are and how we got here, if we’re going to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and move on. There are some good things happening, of course; some possibilities on the table that could benefit Blaine big time. But the council has got to have the collective experience to be able to tell a good thing from a bad one and that’s why I am supporting Charlie Hawkins for re-election.

Charlie was born here. He grew up in this town, married and raised his family here. He fished out of Blaine and works in Blaine still. When his kids were young, he helped coach their sports teams. For a while, he was treasurer of the Congregational Church. He served on the board of adjustments. He has been on the Drayton Harbor Shellfish Advisory Committee for many years. When the Friends of the Plover needed a board of directors, Charlie volunteered. When the Port of Bellingham needed fishing delegates to advise them, Charlie volunteered. When a seat became vacant on the Blaine City Council, he stepped up. Now, his term as a councilman is up but he doesn’t figure his job is done.

I don’t figure it is, either. He has my vote.

Ray Wilkett
Blaine

The Editor:

Some of you may know me as the “Plover Guy” the fellow who with a lot of community support brought back the historic ferry which again takes passengers across Drayton Harbor and led to opening up the small pocket beach next to the ferry landing, where so many families enjoy the sand beach and water at Semiahmoo.

During the past 40 years that I have lived here, I have advocated for better access to the water. Blaine has a lot of water but very little access to it. Charlie Hawkins is again running for city council. I am voting for Charlie because besides being a reasoned person who makes good thoughtful decisions regarding the city’s affairs, Charlie is committed to working with the Port of Bellingham to find the funding to open once again “the end of the dock” aka the Blaine Fishing Pier on Marine Drive.

This is a unique public space where folks who don’t have a boat can crab and recreate; others view the water in their cars in inclement weather. Access has been closed for several years because of damage to the roadway that occurred during the Port’s repair of the pier.

Going to the “end of the dock” has been a long standing tradition here in Blaine. Personally, like many others, I would go there every day but not anymore. Again I am voting for Charlie Hawkins because I know where he stands on this important community issue.

Richard Sturgill
Blaine

The Editor:

I just want to take a moment to encourage everyone to vote yes for the Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation Levy. This levy will provide much needed funding for all the great services they provide for our community. The Marine Park Playground never would have happened without their assistance and now it’s time to return the favor. Thank you.

Charles Hawkins
Blaine

The Editor:

I’d like to respond to Cindy Kisska’s letter regarding the “courageous Americans who kneel for the flag.” Although I agree that racial injustice and police brutality are problems that need to be addressed, elite athletes who are being paid millions of dollars to entertain us are not risking a lot by taking a knee. Although I’m glad I live in a country where they have the right to do so, I would like to suggest that their efforts may be more well spent going into their individual communities and seeing how they can make a difference there.

Taking a knee is not a protest against the Trump, it’s a protest against America. It is much more courageous to put on a military or police uniform and go out to serve and protect those who are protesting you. And while it is terrible that some police have shot unarmed black people, I think it is much more heartbreaking that many blacks are shooting black people. Let’s be united against hate and crime by all people, against all people, and see what we can do to improve and uplift our own communities.

Ellie Button
Blaine

The Editor: 

Anyone who has visited Leavenworth knows that it is an enchanting and popular tourist destination. I bought a souvenir mug there recently with a brief history of Leavenworth on the side. It says in part:

When the Great Northern Railroad rerouted its tracks and moved out, Leavenworth almost became a ghost town. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that local leaders had the vision and foresight to transform what was a struggling frontier town into a beautiful Bavarian village. Today, Leavenworth has a population of over 2,000 and is known as “Washington’s Little Bavaria.”

Visitors come each year to experience festivals, food and beer. Leavenworth is well known for its German culture, outdoor activities and Oktoberfest. Town residents always extend a warm Wilkommen to its visitors.

Leavenworth, Washington – where a German passport is never needed.

As I read the mug, I realized that old Leavenworth and modern Blaine have a lot in common. But Blaine has potential! Imagine a souvenir mug in Blaine 20 years from now which might say:

When the interstate highway cut Blaine Harbor in half, leaving travelers only one southbound exit into the city, Blaine Harbor almost became a ghost town. It wasn’t until the late 2010s that local leaders had the vision and foresight to transform what was a struggling border town into a beautiful waterfront village.

Today, Blaine Harbor has a population of 10,000 and is known as “Washington’s Cape Cod.” Visitors come each year to experience festivals, fresh seafood and wine-tasting. Blaine Harbor is known for its seafaring culture, waterfront shops, and Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration.

Town residents always extend a warm Ahoy to its visitors.

Blaine Harbor, Washington – where a boatload of fun and food awaits.

We can learn from Leavenworth. We need vision and foresight and courage! We can do better than pot shops, gas stations and mailbox stores.

John Yirak
Blaine

The Editor:

How many were insured?

The Las Vegas massacre will yield questions asked and fingers pointed. Will it occur to more than a few people to ask: of the more than 500 wounded and injured how many people have health insurance? A single wound injury in the ER might cost $5,000, but once a patient is admitted to the hospital, it could be as much as $50,000 a day, depending on the injury. And what about follow up physical and emotional therapy and support?

How many of the wounded will lose their homes because of medical bills they cannot pay and/or because they couldn’t work while healing? How many will not receive the counseling they or their family members may need because therapy is not covered?

The last few months have been full of unplanned injury, disease and death; demonstrating the need for universal health care. Why should tragedy enrich or profit medical care? In the United States, why should innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time carry their individual burdens themselves or appeal to GoFundMe for help? Will the stock market go up because medical care was needed, or go way down because those who are insured will be a financial drain on companies? Should we really think, “You are making a mess of our economy?”

Donna Starr
Blaine

The Editor:

Please consider writing in Rachel Hrutfiord on your ballot for Blaine City Council Ward 2, Position 4 in the upcoming election. As somebody who has spent countless hours discussing with Rachel what kind of things would make our beautiful town “better” and more family friendly, I have no doubt that she is the right choice! Rachel has already proven herself to be invested and interested in the needs of our community and is ready to take that passion to the next level. Simply put– she was born to do this!

Jen Freeman
Blaine

The Editor:

Local park and recreations are associated with a sense of family and community. Once again, the Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District (B-BBPRD) has spent the taxpayer’s money wisely. Last weekend was the ribbon cutting and opening of a brand new playground in Birch Bay State Park. B-BBPRD joined in a partnership with the Friends of Birch Bay State Park, BP Cherry Point Refinery and Washington State Parks to help fund the new playground for families in the community and visitors to the Blaine-Birch Bay area.

A recent park study found that the vast majority of Americans use local park and recreation services. Park and playground use is the most important use. It was great to see the excitement of the kids waiting for the ribbon to be cut and then to watch them climb all over the new play equipment! The parents were thrilled as well to have this new playground for their children to enjoy.

Some 60,000 campers enjoy Birch Bay State Park each year. Tourists and visitors to our community provide economic benefits from consumer expenditures. It is hard to believe, but the total economic contribution of the state parks in Whatcom County is over $38 million. State and local taxes collected are approximately $2.4 million. We are so fortunate to have the beautiful 194-acre state park along the shoreline of Birch Bay for our community to enjoy.

B-BBPRD partnered with the city of Blaine by providing significant funds for the destination playground at Marine Park. The families of Blaine and Birch Bay are fortunate to have these destination playgrounds. Thank you to the B-BBPRD.

Vote yes for the park and recreation district levy on November 7. It’s the best bargain and way to support your community and family costing about $25 per year for an average $250,000 home!

Pat Jerns
Blaine

The Editor:

The District 2 race for port commissioner between Barry Wenger and Ken Bell is important for us all. I support Barry Wenger as the best qualified candidate. Barry has helped secure funds for successful waterfront redevelopment, including construction of Taylor Street Dock and removal of damaging creosote pilings, a chemical debris caused from the wood preservative used on docks, from Bellingham Bay. He has worked successfully with stakeholders in communities across the state, facilitating sound decisions supporting economic and environmental health.

His opponent has a history of serving narrow interests including support for actions harmful to the environment in Whatcom County. That is why I am supporting Barry Wenger for port commissioner, district 2. He possesses the skills and experience to do the job and represent our community values for a healthy waterfront economy and environment.

Patricia Decker
Bellingham

The Editor:

We recently had the pleasure of meeting Barry Wenger at a political function in order to hear more about his reasons for running for the port commissioner district 2 position. We were extremely impressed with both his 26 years’ of knowledge and leadership working on the redevelopment of the waterfront plus his understanding of applicable laws, planning polices and regulations.

We were equally impressed with his practical and common sense approach in his ideas of moving forward as well as his strong desire to bring all related parties together to create a usable space for both the working and public sectors. Based on what we have heard and learned about this candidate, we feel confident in offering our support to Barry Wenger for this position. We believe that he has the experience and practical knowledge to get the job done and will represent all our interests at the port.

Steve and Michelle Hartz
Bellingham

The Editor:

I have 25 very good reasons why I’m supporting Barry Wenger for port commissioner in the upcoming election. They are: Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Ilwaco, Westport, Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Olympia, Shelton, Tacoma, Seattle, Redmond, Everett, Winslow, Kingston, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Friday Harbor, Blaine, Spokane and Bellingham. These are all places where Wenger, as a senior waterfront redevelopment planner with the state of Washington, was involved in waterfront projects.

It’s critical that our elected commissioner have a proven track record for working with government entities, private industry, unions, tribal nations and environmentalists to create jobs while preserving and protecting our natural resources. When it comes to experience, Wenger has the track record to show that he can handle the job to bring both a thriving economy and environmentally sound solutions to Whatcom County’s waterfront. Before casting your vote, I urge you to compare his qualifications with that of his opponent and ask yourself: “Who do I want making the decisions for our Port’s future?”

Cheryl Crooks
Bellingham

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