Letters to the Editor -- August 07, 2003

Published on Thu, Aug 7, 2003
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Letters to the Editor

Parade apology

The Editor:

For those of you that love to jump my bones when I am wrong about something the difference between you and me is, that when I am wrong, I will admit it and apologize, which I hereby do now.
This incident was brought to me by a member of the legion who left and would not march in the parade because he was told the honor guard would not lead the parade. I had no reason to doubt this very credible source and he came to me because I do work with a lot of veterans groups from coast to coast. So I was wrong and I admit it.
Being wrong once in the last 12 years is not bad. You all may not like what I say but show me where I was wrong, when I predicted the demise of the retail business in Blaine and where was I wrong when I said that spending all that money for a new main street was wrong, that it would not increase business or tourism.
For all of you that are looking through rose colored glasses at this town, ask yourself this: Is this town better off today than a year ago, or five years ago, or 10 years ago? Don�t try to blame it all on the Canadian dollar because that doesn�t fly anymore. It is because you don�t raise your voices and condemn this government for its lack of bringing in any new business because of high fees and costs and wasteful spending by the government.
You can say I find fault with everything, which is not true. The two things we have to be very proud of and we should support totally is our school system, which I have praised on a number of occasions and Luke Ridnour because of his accomplishment and that he alone will put Blaine on the map, not this council or city manager.
For all of you that want to pick on me, have at it, but let�s see if you have the guts to go after the mismanagement of this city with the same tenacity. What�s your excuse for not running for council?
Dave White

Airport benefits the city
The Editor:

The Blaine Municipal Airport has been the subject of some controversy for at least 25 years. During that time, the citizens of Blaine have been asked on three different occasions to vote on whether or not to move or close the airport. On each of those occasions, the citizens voted to keep the airport in its present position, albeit by very narrow margins.
It appears that a small percentage of the population would like to see the airport disappear, another small percentage strongly supports keeping it and the large majority doesn�t know much about the airport and doesn�t care one way or the other. The purpose of this opinion is to provide some factual information to assist that majority in making an intelligent decision on whether or not they should support our airport, in its present or an improved or expanded form.
In my view, an expansion of the manufacturing sector of our city, with the corresponding increase in family-wage jobs, is essential to the economic growth and well being of Blaine. How do we attract new businesses to our city? When businesses are contemplating the establishment of a new facility, they typically go through a checklist to assist them in deciding where to locate that facility. Along with good schools, available housing, etc. the presence of an airport is a major factor in that decision-making process. While having an airport may not ensure that a prospective business will locate here, the lack of one will almost certainly mean that they won�t.
We have made a conscious decision to keep the fuel prices at our airport among the lowest in the Northwest. This results in many transient flyers coming to Blaine just to purchase fuel. Typically, they will also patronize our local businesses to do some shopping or have a meal before continuing on their way.
We have been advised that when the tree obstructions are removed from the southern end of our runway, a large number of residents of the island communities intend to travel to Blaine to shop for groceries, which are significantly cheaper here than in their own communities. While the businesses that benefit from these factors may not even be aware of it, the benefits are real and, in my view, significant.
The 2010 winter olympics provides an opportunity for us to capitalize on the increased tourism that will be generated. People traveling to the games from the U.S. via private aircraft will likely land at a decent American airport to avoid flying into Canadian airspace, where they would experience different regulations, landing fees, and customs clearance.
In addition to the above, the airport is an important asset to border security, emergency airlift, firefighting and other agencies and could be expanded to provide passenger and airborne express service to our city. For these and many other reasons, our airport is a valuable asset to our community, one which should be cherished and protected by our citizens.
Doug Fenton Chairman,
Blaine Airport Commission

Thanks to Blaine Jazz crew
The Editor:

We would like to express our appreciation to all who were responsible for organizing and operating the Blaine Jazz Camp. This annual event not only enhanced the skills of our young musicians and expanded their appreciation for the arts, but also served to compliment our school district�s great music program.
Making this opportunity available to our youth was no easy task and a special thanks goes to Mrs. Wolf and Mr. Gray. We urge all to step forward to support the continuation of the camp as an annual event.
Bill and Zulma Elfo

James Way needed a light
The Editor:

Many thanks, Becca, to you and Shanna Green for shining your beam on the issue of James Way.
First, our disclosure: Having moved here to a rental in March before a possible move to Canada, by April we decided we wanted to stay in Birch Bay. We are buying a cottage on Morrison Road, across from the disputed area. If the passage to the beach is vacated and a large house is built on the Evelyn Christensen property, our view of the water and sunsets will be diminished.
And there are many residents who will be affected, including Canadian citizens who own holiday properties and have no vote. We believe the county council is faced with a policy decision rather than simply a dispute resolution. As small buildings in the area are replaced by larger homes and condos there will be even more people walking in the area. Moreover, the new Bay Crest housing development on Jackson Road will increase the number of people coming down the hill. Keeping James Way open and restoring the original footbridge across the creek would enhance the ambience.
Hansen, Anthony and other owners of beach property may be technically correct about their rights; however, is not their proprietorship the result of past enforcement debacles? The 1912 development map issued by the Morrison family shows a �beach reserve.�
If the operations manager of the parks believes the county owns �219 acres of tidelands and beach area in Birch Bay, but that where those areas are located is very confusing,� what is available to the public is open to question. No one can ask the property owners to give up their deeded rights but they shouldn�t be cavalier, either. To keep James Way public is reasonable.
The council members, who we are told are a fair-minded, insightful and progressive group, are in the proverbial hard place that was none of their personal doing. Yet they should be encouraged to generate a policy that will attempt to benefit all concerned to the extent possible. No one can expect their decision will be perfect.
Al Krause & Ruth Higgins
Birch Bay

Another airport perspective
The Editor:

Controversial? Yes it is. Discussions over backyard fences, on the streets and in city hall have gone on for years about the viability of the Blaine Municipal Airport.

We need to take a serious look at the best use of our very vulnerable 40 acres that comprise the airport. This is very valuable real estate and many citizens have questioned the city airport, and think it�s a private one for a few pilots.

Are there better uses for the acreage that has direct access from the truck route? What other direction can Blaine expand as growth occurs? The truck route has been redesigned to accommodate more trucks and allow traffic to move at a smoother pace.

This in turn makes the proximity and easy access of the acreage extremely valuable. It has the potential to be an area to develop light industry, motels, truck stops and other economic assets for Blaine, assets that would provide jobs and enhance our tax base - we all know how much we need money in the city treasury.

Development along the truck route would not take away from Blaine�s downtown. It would provide revenues to continue our beautification of the downtown and harbor area.

Keep in mind there is a major airport in Bellingham, a mere 20 minutes away. I know there are government agencies that would be extremely interested in making serious proposals and I�m sure private entities as well if they were asked! And last but not least, the Blaine school campus is in close proximity to the flight paths of incoming planes.

The city of Blaine has formed a stormwater committee called the citizen wastewater action committee (CWAC) comprised of interested citizens to study our sewage treatment problems. A similar committee should be formulated to recommend the best use of the airport property. Best airport land use committee (BALUC) could be a step in the right direction�a step forward in Blaine�s future.
Jim Jorgensen

Thanks for the help
The Editor:

The Blaine senior center wishes to thank Figaro�s Pizza, Little Caesar�s Pizza, Pizza Factory and Domino�s Pizza for their very generous donation of pizza for our fundraiser to send the wellness committee to the annual Senior Wellness Conference in Seaside, Oregon in October 2003.
This conference is important to our center as the committee returns with new ideas and information regarding senior health and welfare.
Judy VanBrocklin,
team leader Blaine Senior Wellness Group

Luke: Blaine's best
The Editor:

What do you suppose happened to that multi-story poster of Luke Ridnour displayed in New York City�s Times Square in December 2002? Do you suppose it�s rolled up and sitting in some warehouse, an amusing reminder of how highly regarded Luke was by the University of Oregon, while he studied and excelled on their campus?
How many Blaine citizens (who for years cheered him as a Blaine Borderite) later trekked to watch him play as an Oregon Duck in Eugene and were tickled to see multiple billboards sporting the shyly grinning visage of our own hometown hero? How many Blaine televisions were tuned to ESPN on June 26 and how many local dinners were interrupted by shouts of joy when Luke�s name was called by the Seattle Supersonics? Do you think the Sonic�s season-ticket sales have soared with Blaine residents buying in?
Yet, if you ask Luke directly, he would be uncomfortable with all this attention that has absolutely nothing to do with his passion - which is to play basketball, not to be some celebrity. These antics about speculating on his decision to leave college one year early and enter the grueling demands of the NBA world are probably more embarrassing to him than anything else. Luke never wanted to take the glory for his achievements in basketball, neither as a Borderite nor as a Duck.
Rob and Muriel, we�re proud of your son. You did a fine job as parents and teachers and he is God�s gift to you. May God bless him and continue to help him be the great player he already is. Perhaps, when his NBA career is over, Luke will consider returning to Blaine to coach our kids, just like his dad.
These new Blaine city signs are nice, but they should have something about Luke, of whom most of us are proud and delighted to see his hard work finally paying off. Maybe we should see if whoever has or owns that Times Square poster would be willing to give, loan or sell it to Blaine, and then we could mount it as a tribute to Luke Ridnour, whom we happily claim as one of us, the people of Blaine, Washington.
Jeanne Halsey

Many helped out
The Editor:

Hundreds of people deserve credit for the success of the Blaine Jazz Festival for Teens 2003. I regret editing requirements do not allow me to name each of you.
Several of our 61 students would have been unable to attend without the scholarship donations made by Bob Brunkow, George and Crystal Mills, Doug and Gail Todoroff, Donna and Bob Miller, Donna Lee Elke and Ken Raithel, and Bill and Diane Flaherty.
Semiahmoo Resort�s underwriting was essential to the festival. Don Guglielmino, Marcus Ruyle, Jamie Barrow, and Michelle Vandermay deserve a warm shake of the hand.
Thanks to Donna Lee Elke and Ken Raithel, Gary and Renate Tomsic, Mike and Carol Myers, Dard and Terry Price, Bob Boule, and Bruce Wolf, cook and gardener extraordinaire who housed faculty. Thanks for the use of Packers Lounge, Stars Restaurant, the Blue Heron Restaurant, Marine Park and the Village Green in Fairhaven for new performance spaces. Extraordinary kudos to Birch Bay Discovery Days, especially Ruth Lauman, Nick Jerns, and Karl King for assisting us with the student jazz concert at Birch Bay.
Media coverage gave our registration numbers a boost. Special thanks to Rebecca Schwarz Kopf, Margaret Bikman, and Jack Kintner. Also special thanks to Jack Kintner, Karl King and Bill Tice for capturing the magic on film. Crystal Mills, Terry Price, and Donelle Green proved invaluable in the registration process and Peg Cutting, Joyce Jansen, and Pat Gilson cooked or arranged some great food.
Next year we plan to expand the festival to seven days, beginning July 11 and running through July 17. If you have airmiles, scholarship funds, or time to contribute, please contact me at 371-0141.
Again, thanks Blaine and Birch Bay for the wonderful support of this great project.
Sandy Wolf President, Pacific Arts Assoc.
Producer, Blaine Jazz Festival

He has my support
The Editor:

I am writing in support of Jim Jorgensen for Port of Bellingham District 3 commissioner.
I have known Jim for over 20 years and have found him to be honest and forthright in his dealings with other people. He has been active in the community with Marine Park, salmon enhancement projects and teaching our children about the earth. Jim has been the owner and operator of Jim�s Charter Service and is very familiar with the port and its activities from a consumer point of view. He knows the users and will listen to what you have to say. In my talks with Jim, I find that he very much supports the creation and maintaining of jobs through the port, but he will not do so at the cost of our environment. This is something that should be important to all of us who live in this beautiful area.
Jim works hard at whatever endeavor he undertakes and will serve us well as Port of Bellingham District 3 commissioner.
James V. Butch Hinchey

Elfo for Sheriff
The Editor:

It is my distinct pleasure to have this opportunity to submit a letter of recommendation supporting Sheriff Bill Elfo for reelection to the position of Whatcom County Sheriff.
I have known Sheriff Elfo, professionally for a period of eight and half years. During my tenure as mayor of Blaine, the city was extremely fortunate to hire Bill as our chief of police. He was selected to the position for his superior ability to plan, organize, direct, control, and coordinate every element of the assignment and for possessing broad, diverse and successful experience in all facets of law enforcement.
Sheriff Elfo�s record of success reflects an outstanding level of professionalism in building and maintaining a law enforcement department that exhibits an exceptionally high degree of morale and a work ethic that is recognized and applauded by the citizens of Blaine.
Bill has an exceptional ability to function both as a leader and a team member with city, county, state and federal agencies, and to execute all missions in a superior manner. His verbal and written abilities are concise and skillful: no complaint or concern is too small for his attention.
Sheriff Elfo is highly motivated, displays enthusiasm, initiative and sets a standard of achievement that should be emulated by his peers. As a licensed attorney in Washington state, Bill adds even greater depth and value to his resume.
I consider Sheriff Elfo to be in the top five percent of all individuals who I have been associated with in my military, civilian and governmental positions. Bill brings integrity, experience and a superior track record to this position. He has my complete trust and I am certain he will continue to reflect honor to all the citizens of this county.
I sincerely encourage your support for sheriff Bill Elfo in his reelection. John W. Hobberlin

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