Letters to the Editor
What is wrong with this picture? More tourists and revenue are desired in Blaine, but the council wants to restrict and limit the visual advertising (signs) that draw them here. Doesnt the council realize the undermining effects of inconsistent and contradictory goals?
As for the proposed increase in electrical rates, I believe there are laws to regulate the percentage a utility may raise the rate for any given 12-month period. Its interesting that the article on Power didnt reflect discussion about federal and state utilities commission guidelines regarding rate increases. Perhaps the rate increases will need to be spread over several years in order to be legal. Because of the suits brought against the city over the past several years, I would think that legal considerations would be of paramount importance in all council discussions.
I believe that those who lead and govern should be servants of the governed. In response to Mr. Hobberlins question about whether the city is responsible for the financial well being of its citizens I would say, of course not! However, no city will be more healthy than its citizens, so it is in the best interest of all of us not to cause undue hardship on many in our community. And yes, Mr. Hobberlin, a business that does not pay attention to what its customers can pay will soon go out of business.
If you have a chance to sign the petition to return to a mayor-council form of government, I urge you to do so. The 3,500 citizens of Blaine need to live within individual budgets and pay attention to the law. I believe we should expect no less from the council.
When it comes to attracting tourists, why waste time and money focusing on the waterfront? To me, the real potential for appeal is lying, sitting and rolling over in Blaines backyards. As revealed in the many letters that have appeared in your paper over the past few weeks, Im referring to the citys growing number of incredibly communicative dogs.
These eloquent and opinionated animals must be a marvel to behold in person, presenting an income-generating opportunity that should be exploited to the fullest. Who wouldnt want to travel to Blaines corner of the world for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to engage in a stirring discussion or debate with these dogs, perhaps over a Seagrams and WaWa or two?
Why bother with a waterfront boardwalk when a dog run would really serve Blaines star attractions better? Or how about building on Blaines determination to become an artsy/crafty mecca and open a Canine Creative Studio, where these prolific pooches could work and interact with other intelligent breeds? Think of the dollars to be collared by offering lectures, seminars and weekend workshops!
As anyone who regularly reads (or fetches) your paper can see, Blaines future as a tourist attraction is clear: its going to the dogs.
Two weeks ago I was privileged to be asked to join the Blaine 7th and 8th grade choirs as a chaperone on a trip to perform in Ferndale with other choirs from Whatcom County.
I am sure that many of you who have children in the choir and band programs at the Blaine middle school have attended concerts at the school in the past. Those performances have been improving steadily over the last several years under the direction of competent and dedicated directors.
The program in Ferndale was judged and coached by three very experienced vocal practitioners from the local area. It was evident that a great deal of work went into each schools performance. Each group was on stage for approximately 30 minutes performing, listening and reworking music with the judge/coach.
The students were encouraged to be vocal, no pun intended, about how important music is in their learning experience. I think we often forget how instructive and motivating being part of a performing group in front of an audience can be. The judges enthusiastically involved themselves with the choirs, bringing out the spirit and heart of each participant. It was a remarkably uplifting and fun experience for everyone.
Blaine had the privilege of putting on the final performance of the day.
And what a performance it was. The 7th and 8th grade choirs sang four songs and each was a work of art. Their performances were better than any I have attended in Blaine and far superior to any of the other groups that attended the competition. Not only was the music superb but every persons deportment was a model. As one judge said to the 8th grade students, You touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It was that good.
I want to thank Andy Harmening as director of the middle school choirs for his contribution to the educational experience of those students. Singing and performing well require discipline as well as talent. Andy has taught respect for others and self in addition to harmonized voice. Everyone who participates in these programs is a positive advertisement for themselves, our schools and community.
My only regret was that there werent more non-participating students and parents in the audience. Pride in the young people who are working to improve themselves and their school is a reward for all of us.
In light of recent events at schools all over the nation and the negative press, whose reports I fear contribute to the culture of disrespect, the evidence of more positive forces at work right here in our back yard are uplifting. Mr. Harmening and the Blaine school administration deserve our attention and support.
As one of my coaches said to me many years ago, Eighty percent of the game is just showing up. I am so happy I did and I encourage more of you to do the same.
This years 4-H super Saturday on March 10 was very successful. There were several new classes and many more attendees. If you have any ideas for classes for next year, or any suggestions on ways that we can improve the program, please pass them on to the 4-H extension office at 676-6736.
On March 11, the Whatcom County 4-H Horse Leaders held their annual fundraising Leaders Horse Show. It went well, and congratulations are extended to all the participants.
The club ride on March 18 was held at Hendersons Winning Circle. Heres a big thank you to the Hendersons for letting us use their facilities!
In preparation for the 2001 fairs, there was a horse judging contest on March 24 at the Kelley Park Stables. This was the first of two contests designed for 4-Hers to learn and practice how to judge horses. The second contest will be in April.
The Herman Miller Park auction was also held on March 24. Thanks to everyone who donated items, helped to support 4-H or came to the auction for the fun of it we really appreciate your support.
On April 28 Whatcom County 4-H will hold its first county jumping and dressage show. Since the project is new this year, we are really looking forward to this event. Everyone has been working hard to prepare for this show. You can pick up entry forms for all shows at your local feed store. Hope to see you there!
When I recently heard a bit of scuttlebutt concerning a request for two Mormon missionaries to remove their name tags while working at the Blaine food bank, curiosity moved me to investigate. I had heard the request came from Northwood Alliance Church, so I phoned Reverend Charles Gibson and Bishop Lloyd Ford to discuss it. Heres the scoop:
The food bank rests on property donated by the church and loaned by the nursing home. Although name tags per se were not a problem for the church, there were parishioners who felt the volunteers wearing them were creating an impression that the food bank facility serving the community was promoting a certain religion. Moreover, they were parking their cars on the church lot. It was a problem of mixed signals.
So the missionaries transferred their services to Stafholt Good Samaritan Center. The problem resolved by a simple move, everybodys happy. I consider this drama little more than a tempest in a teapot; but the rest of the story fascinates me.
Who are the Samaritans? Only a few hundred remain, but the Pharisees considered them unclean mongrels ever since their deportation from Israel in 722 B.C. They lost their fear of Yahweh, so he ordered lions to attack them. They were heretics who built a temple on Mount Gerazim, thereby having nothing to do with the one in Jerusalem. Jesus discussed worship with a Samaritan woman, telling her its not a matter of here or there, but one of spirit and truth. He also spoke of the Good Samaritan who rescued a man beaten by robbers.
For orthodox Christians, Mormons are akin to Samaritans. Although the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a temple in Utah, it seems there are Good Mormons who, like the Good Samaritan, serve the cause of human need. I consider this religion, pure and undefiled, as James defined it. When I issued a plea for volunteers to clean up Peace Arch park grounds, it was Mormons who came running. Anne Walter, director of Stafholt Good Samaritan Center, said the Mormon volunteers are a godsend.
The Christian Missionary and Alliance movement became a denomination by default - a Protestant body that emerged from the 19th century Holiness movement, like the Nazarenes and Salvation Army. A.B. Simpson, a former Presbyterian, was a prime motivator whose credo was Christ our savior, sanctifier, healer and coming king. Like all denominations, this one also has its standards of orthodoxy. There are no doubt good Northwood folk in Blaine, and Im sure Bishop Lloyd Ford agrees with me.
When I was a priest who wore a clerical collar, I also had to practice orthodoxy. It was the Apostles or Nicene Creed. Today Ive reduced my creed to six words: Jesus wants us to be nice. For me, thats a big challenge.
I think it would be nice if mainline Protestants and Catholics could one day overlook the heresies of Mormons, accept them unconditionally and invite them to join their local ministerial associations. Read Luke 10:29-37 and John 4:7-24. One gathers the distinct feeling that compassion overrules creeds, true worship is neither here nor there and acts of love express it in spirit and truth.
I would like to encourage the people of Blaine to vote yes on the upcoming bond issue for our school district. The Blaine school system has always provided excellence in education for our youth and in order for them to maintain that tradition they need our help. This bond will insure that our children continue to receive the best schooling possible.
Please vote yes for our schools on May 15. Thank you.
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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