Letters to the Editor -- July 24, 2003

Published on Thu, Jul 24, 2003
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Letters to the Editor

Parade clarification
The Editor:
I am writing in response to David White�s letter in the July 17 edition of The Northern Light regarding the placement of the fire engine with respect to the color guard that was staffed by the American Legion for the parade.
First, let me say that, indeed there was some confusion about where the fire apparatus was to be situated in the parade. Initially, they were placed at the end of the parade; however, they moved to the front. While this did add some stress to the parade organizer�s day, it was in no way intended to displace or upset anyone. It was intended to make it easier to depart the parade should an emergency occur.�
I was approached by the parade organizer to get clarification on where the apparatus should be and after evaluating the situation, the lead fire apparatus was directed by me to remain behind the color guard and the rest of the American Legion�s entourage, with the rest of the fire department units following him. This was out of respect for the color guard and the importance of the nation�s symbol opening the parade.������������
Secondly, I have photographic evidence, as well as many eye witness accounts, that show the color guard did indeed lead off the parade, behind officer Landis, who provided traffic control. This was the situation, and not the great faux pas that Mr. White seems to believe occurred. I do believe that there were one or two individuals, who may have received a part of the information, then became upset, and rather than talking out the problem like adults do, left in a huff, and did not stay around to see the end result. I believe that this is the source of Mr. White�s information.
I am a retired veteran and am acutely aware of the protocols and rites surrounding the display of the American flag, and would in no way purposefully disrespect those protocols. I take great offense to the allegations Mr. White presents in his letter. I am extremely concerned that Mr. White chose to speak his mind without fully investigating the facts. I would hope that, in the future, Mr. White chooses to pick up the phone in an effort to get accurate information, before he uses the fire department, the city of Blaine, the American Legion, the chamber of commerce, or any other agency in his effort to forward his own political agenda. I would gladly receive his call.
Finally, I would like to thank The Northern Light for bringing Mr. White�s concerns to light, and leave this matter to the good citizens of Blaine to draw their own conclusions.
Jim Rutherford
Division chief, Blaine fire station
North Whatcom Fire & Rescue Services

Save the bald eagles
The Editor:

On the very east end of Georgia Street on the city�s uncleared right of way, adjacent to�I-5,�sits a big tree with a huge nest and it is the�home�of�two bald eagles. These eagles have been here for over three years. Each year they have produced two offspring, except for this year, only one made it.
Bald eagles are known to keep the same nest and mate for life. I live at the end of this street and have had the pleasure of watching these beautiful creatures live their day to day life. We have had many visitors from all over, even an elderly couple�from Nova Scotia, who got directions from a waitress in town. They come to take pictures, video, or just simply watch. On Monday, July 14, at the Blaine city council meeting, there was a hearing on a proposed vacation of this street. The gentleman who owns the small�lot next door wants, from the city, the north 30 feet of this road added to his property, then the rest of the road cleared and a cul-de-sac put in. He will gain more property, which will allow him to build multi-family units. As of right now, this lot and the city�s right of way, have not been cleared and this field is possibly the habitat needed for these eagles to remain. Needless to say, there were many property owners who went to this meeting and objected to this street vacation. The council voted to postpone the hearing until the July 28 city council meeting.
There are numerous federal, state, and local laws that protect the bald eagle and its habitat. The city can do its part by not allowing this street vacation and possibly look at applying for federal or state funded grants for conservation of this protected species and its habitat. This week I spoke with a representative from the federal fish and wildlife department who told me these bald eagles are sensitive to their environment. I would hate to see these amazing creatures leave if the land is cleared and built on. This is not prime real estate � this was at one time wetlands!�
This area could become a resource for this city, as I believe visitors would come into our town to see these eagles if they only knew. How many other bald eagles do we have �living� in our town? We will only get one shot at this. Once they leave its too late.
For anyone who cares, come to the city council meeting Monday, or contact state/federal fish and wildlife departments. Help do something, anything. Get involved.
Cindy Smith

86, 247 did lead the way
The Editor:

In regards to David White�s letter that fire trucks from fire district 13 led the parade on Independence Day for the old-fashioned Fourth of July, I have the following response.
As per our conversation, Mr. White, on Tuesday, July 15, I informed you that I was the commander of American Legion Peace Arch Post 86 and that my post and Post 247 marched in and led the parade on Independence Day. Somehow you have your facts mixed up. Our legions don�t make it a habit of running in the other direction in the face of adversity, we stand up to it! The fire trucks from fire district 13 had asked to go first but the legion family stood its ground.
Thanks to fire chief Rutherford and parade coordinator Laurie Hart, the American Legion Posts 86 and 247, did lead the parade with only a Blaine motorcycle police officer in front of us to make sure the path was clear. It�s hard for me to understand how such inaccurate information about the fire trucks leading the parade has been running through our town. It seems to me that either someone didn�t see the parade or doesn't want to face the real facts, because anyone who did knows that both Blaine Legions led the parade with dignity and honor
Dave A. Pfeifer
Commander, American Legion Peace Arch Post 86

Thanks for the good read
The Editor:

Flash!! The Northern Light is being seen regularly in the south. Now that I have your attention, some clarifying is in order. My daughter, Elizabeth Bell, has been sending me copies of your fine community newspaper for some time now. What a pleasant and uplifting experience it is to read!
I don�t pretend to be an expert on layout or choice of format, but this newsy and attractive bearer of information certainly seems to cover all the bases for the citizens of Blaine and Birch Bay. It also informs us, who remember this summer holiday destination of years past, how caring and community oriented the area has become. Politically savvy, industrious, and this unbiased paper (in my opinion) is an example of what a community paper should be. Calling cities to task and thoughtful opinion at meetings gives all who come the opportunity to be heard.
The front page begs a casual observer to read on. The color, variety of news and pictures sure grab my attention. The letters to the editor are thoughtful and fair-minded. I was touched by the letter from the Dodd family (June 19 - 25 issue).
I particularly enjoy the police report. Your citizens must feel safe with such efficiency. The graphics are terrific attention grabbers. Heading the Coming Up feature is a clock showing 9 o'clock. Now you�ve got me wondering.
Your fine paper encourages and invites opinions from readers. Opinions are valid and can result in discussion and debate. Thus, we move to involvement and attendance at meetings, which promote majority based decisions. As I see it, you at The Northern Light could give �how to� lessons to a few big timers down south of you. But then, I guess, keeping up with the world, in its sad sorry state, sells papers, doesn�t it?
Thank you all and keep up the outstanding work and service you offer. JoAnne Bell

Guard led parade
The Editor:

Another letter from David White and as usual devoid of any fact. Apparently, Mr. White is a man who would review a book he hasn�t read, critique a movie he hasn�t seen, or in this case be offended by a parade he obviously didn�t even attend.
Over 4,000 people lined the streets of Blaine this July 4th, and they all witnessed a great parade put on by a town full of wonderful people. A parade that was led by the Color Guard from American Legion Post #86 of Blaine, not the fire department. The picture I�m looking at shows the Color Guard smiling and happy. I�m not certain what parade Mr. White was reviewing.
Mr. White chastised the Blaine city council at Monday night�s meeting. He demanded apologies from the city of Blaine. The city had no part in organizing the parade or in the alignment of the parade units.
In fact, the city of Blaine helped immensely in traffic control and making the day flow smoothly. Mr. White followed that with a truly ugly letter to The Northern Light full of totally erroneous information. Using the word �stupidity� like he knew what it meant. He may be right about the apologies though, because he owes plenty of them.
How awful it must be to go through life looking only for bad things. To do nothing, and then constantly criticize the efforts of anyone who is at least trying to make the world a better place. What a terrible waste of the precious little time we spend here on earth.
I too am a veteran, Mr. White, and I don�t need you speaking on my behalf and I certainly don�t need you being offended for me. Right now, I�m offended enough by you.
Robert Christianson

Too much Luke
The Editor:

Enough of Luke Ridnour! I agree he is a nice kid, met him when he was a student at Blaine high school. No doubt he is a homeboy done good. However, it seems that he is being idolized when he certainly is not an idol. He quit school to play pro basketball. What does that tell our young people who look up to him?
It appears that it says school is not as important as sports. What a wrong message to bring to the youth of this city. He had one year left in college and he quit; either he was flunking or the dollars were speaking too loudly for him. Whatever the case, he does not deserve the hero-like page fill you have in your paper.
His new Sonic number - zero.
Susan St. James

And the facts are..
The Editor:

Just a little word of advice for David White.
Perhaps the next time you decide to publicly lambast a certain person or organization you should make sure that you get your facts straight. In your most recent diatribe you charge that the city of Blaine did not allow the American Legion�s color guard to lead the 4th of July parade.

I think that a few things ought to be cleared up in this situation. Number one, the city of Blaine does not have anything to do with the planning or running of the parade. It is organized by a number of volunteers from the Blaine chamber of commerce (who did an outstanding job). Number two, the color guard was in fact leading the parade followed by the fire district�s trucks. All of the thousands of people who attended the event saw it. There are pictures from the parade showing it. You must have been looking in the other direction when the color guard passed by.
I, for one, am tired of listening to people like you trying to provoke and instigate problems where there are none. A lot of people worked very hard on that parade and instead of letting them feel good about their work you had to make up some farce and try to stir up the pot once again. You called for apologies Mr. White and I agree that apologies are necessary in this situation. Unfortunately I can�t imagine that you are going to apologize for your behavior so I won�t hold my breath.
Kimberly Akre

Potty problems
The Editor:

This is in response to last week�s letter from Cindy Gray of Vancouver, B.C. and Birch Bay, bemoaning the loss of her favorite Birch Bay outhouse.
Contrary to her airy assertion that reports of drug use and sales in the facility are insane, photographs and eyewitness evidence and the sheriff�s office all confirm this particular portable toilet as a center of the teenage drug trade along Birch Bay Drive. Its young patrons referred to it as �the s*** box,� as in, �not here, man, let�s do it (shoot up or make an exchange) in the s*** box.�
The facility with its boom box favoring clientele, was also central to the living rooms and bedrooms of the 51 families residing directly across the street in Mariner�s Cove, until it was discovered that it was illegally placed without benefit of a permit and in violation of the Shorelines Act restrictions. (We particularly thank county executive Pete Kremen and the Whatcom County parks department for their resolution of the problem. Their intercession has largely restored our quality of life.)
And again contrary to Ms. Gray�s claims, beach users need not drive to the state park to find a relief station. Other portable outhouses remain just a short walk north of the missing facility. Although regularly vandalized, sometimes with their reeking contents tipped onto the beach, at least these remaining eyesores and health hazards are placed where they will not so disastrously affect the lives and home values of so many Birch Bay residents. Anecdotally, chats with females using the beach found no females who would use them because the seats are so often smeared with feces and urine.
At any rate, Ms. Gray�s plea to the Birch Bay chamber of commerce to have her outhouse restored may have been misdirected. The porta-let just south of there has also been removed, ostensibly at the demand of the chamber merchants who occupy the opposite side of the street. This despite the fact that the facility was placed there solely to serve their own out of the area customers.
Further, at last report, every chamber member who was asked to allow one of these outhouses to be stationed within sight of their business declined the privilege. Instead, the Birch Bay chamber of commerce, under its present less than visionary leadership, has foisted these disease breeding drug kiosks on equally unwilling Birch Bay homeowners.
All of which makes us wonder - what, or who, motivated Ms. Gray�s misleading letter to The Northern Light?
George & JoAnne Emmett

Student show
The Editor:

Five golden tickets. Oompa Loompas. A river of chocolate. And of course, the most amazing, most extraordinary Mr. Willy Wonka! It�s all there at the Blaine Performing Arts Center on July 25, 26 and 27 as the Rising Tide student summer theater in cooperation with the Blaine school district presents Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
This sweet summer confection, based on Roald Dahl�s charming classic, comes to life on the Blaine stage under the direction of Erin Walcon. Following Charlie Bucket, Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregard, Veruca Salt and Mike Teavee as they meet with adventure and surprises in Willy Wonka�s chocolate factory.
Thirty-five Blaine students, ranging in age from five to 18 have been working diligently for six weeks preparing for this year�s play. Don�t miss the opportunity to enjoy this delightful family treat in Blaine�s beautiful PAC.
Show times are 7 p.m. on Friday, July 25, and Saturday, July 26, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 27. Suggested donation is $3 at the door.
Brenda Olason

Another response
The Editor:

I've spent a lot of time pondering whether or not to acknowledge David White�s letter to the editor. I have spent several hours of my time planning the old-fashioned 4th of July parade and I took his criticism very personally and felt I had to respond.
Mr. White was apparently misinformed regarding the parade line-up and decided to attack the city before checking his facts. The city council participated in the parade but had nothing to do with the staging or line up of the parade. I volunteered to do this on behalf of the chamber of commerce.
If Mr. White had attended the parade he would have had first hand knowledge and know that American Legion Posts 86 and 247 did indeed open the parade with their color guard. They were followed by their post members and a bus load of legionaries. The VFW chose to close the parade and have requested to do so again next year.
The city does not owe anyone an apology but I believe that Mr. White does! Please get all the facts before you write such hurtful things.
Maybe your time would be better spent volunteering instead of constantly criticizing the people who do.
Laurie Hart
Parade coordinator

Two nice parades
The Editor:

In response to David White�s insulting letter regarding the Blaine parade, I have this to say: I was in the middle of the parade route taking photographs of the entire event. Three of the first four photographs I took were of the American Legion (Posts #247 and #86) leading the parade. Then the fire trucks followed.
I called Mr. White and asked him where he got his information. It was secondhand, evidently from an American Legion member who got upset because he thought the fire trucks were going to go first, and he packed up and went home. Too bad, because he missed a very nice parade.
So, he then gave David White a false report and David wrote an insulting letter. I informed David that I have photographs proving the order of the parade and that he owes the city, the chamber and Pam an apology. His rudeness is uncalled for.
David, if you had actually seen the parade, you would also notice that there are a number of tractors around the area all perfectly capable of helping you to pull your foot out of your mouth, or as we used to say in the military - to pull your head out of your A...
On another note; I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the participants of the Birch Bay parade.
There were many positive comments from those who saw it and we will continue working to improve it. There were not as many kids in the parade this year and not sure why. However, there were some really good costumes and trophy winners. I would appreciate it if those who did win would contact me. I have pictures to send you and would like to publish your name in our newsletter. I can be reached at 371-7153 or via e-mail at karl@alphahunt.com.
Thanks to everyone who participated and helped: David William�s Blaine boy scout troop came through and was a tremendous help. Thanks also to Officer John Landis, Joe and Dora Astler, Earl Ball and the other volunteers. Special hugs to Bea Ball.
Much appreciation to the county road and sign shop for the pre-closure signs and barricades delivered on time despite the late notice.
Karl King
Parade coordinator
Birch Bay

Thanks for support
The Editor:

The friends of the Blaine library wish to thank the Miniature World Family Fun Center and the Birch Bay Waterslides for their generous donation of go-cart and waterslides tickets. These tickets are used as prizes for the children and teen�s summer reading program at the Blaine library. This program is very popular and growing every year, and the go-cart and waterslides tickets are a great motivation tool to keep our youths reading. We appreciate these merchants for their kindness and generosity, and for providing wholesome, clean family entertainment in our area.
Elisabeth Angell,
Friends of the Blaine Library

Letters Policy
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.

Please send your letter to:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.

Letters Policy

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.

Please email letters to letters@thenorthernlight.com