Letters to the Editor -- June 10, 2004

Published on Thu, Jun 10, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
The family of Elaine Murphy would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who contributed to our gathering in Blaine to celebrate Elaine’s life May 29. The large gathering at the senior center was a true reflection of the positive way that Elaine impacted the lives of her many friends and acquaintances.
The gathering would not have been possible without the organization and contributions of so many. In addition, we know that some of you were unable to attend personally but your cards, phone calls and support were very much appreciated. Everyone’s kindness and prayers have been a source of strength during this most difficult time.
And we also extend a special thanks to the doctors and staff at St. Joseph Hospital who not only cared for Elaine but also helped us through this difficult time.
Bert Murphy & family

The Editor:
One truth about the Afghanistan-Iraq war is that there are any number of retired generals, members of think tanks and politicians who offer their opinions all over the media. The diversity of opinion probably reflects the decades-old divisions in the Pentagon, state department, and the intelligence and police agencies, as well as among Americans generally.
For those of us who are trying to learn more about the state of the world today, I suggest that we might start recommending helpful books and websites. We might start discussion groups or ask The Northern Light to add a book review section. Here are a few books I have found helpful.
1. American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us by Steven Emerson, NBC terror analyst, on terror groups in the U.S.
2. Cold Terror by Stewart Bell, Financial Post writer, on terror groups in Canada.
3. Hating America: The New World Sport by John Gibson, Fox News host, an interesting compilation of current media and political statements about us by Europeans, Canadians and Middle Easterners.
4. Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror by Tom McInerney and Paul Vallely, retired generals and military analysts on Fox and NBC radio.
5. Background books on Central Asia and Middle East include Robert D. Kaplan’s Balkan Ghosts and Eastward to Tartany and books by Bernard Lewis, Princeton University Near East Studies professor emeritus.
6. Websites of interest: www.debka.com, an Israeli site, and www.stratfor.com, an Austin, Texas thinktank.
As we remember the 60th anniversary of D-Day and look back with appreciation, nostalgia, and greater understanding of what was at stake in World War II, and how we won, we should also remember that there were many Americans then too who were against our involvement in old Europe’s wars or were pacifists or disliked PresidentRoose
-velt or were anti-semitic or pro-Russian communism or joined American Nazi party rallies in Madison Square Garden or thought Hitler and Mussolini could make the trains run on time or whatever. We look back now and think we were unified, but really we were not - we just heard a bit less about it, once the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and our troops were in the field.
We heard less about it for many reasons, including patriotism, censorship, slow communications, fewer media outlets and so on, but newspapers still agonized over whether we had the right generals, the right war plans, what if the Axis Powers won, and why Germans and Japanese soldiers were still sniping at us years after the end of the war, endangering the peace.
Lucy Chambers

The Editor:
This letter is in response to Marla Bennett’s letter in The Northern Light, May 13 - 19 edition. I would like to address the issues that the writer has about the fire protection in her area.
First I will respoind to her question about the number of personnel responding to her neighbor’s emergency. Our system in North Whatcom Fire & Rescue is both career and volunteer, as the writer states, but what often happens is that the volunteer system runs into one problem. The system is a volunteer system - meaning that during a daytime or Sunday, Christmas, or vacation incident you may only get one volunteer who will be available to respond.
We also from time to time have patients who may weigh several hundred pounds, be located in a basement or in a second story bedroom. This requires personnel to move the patient.
We also provide BLS transport for our patients (once we have them out of the home). This requires two firefighters to take the patient to the hospital, (total time approximately 1.5 to two hours, including paperwork). This is a huge impact to the volunteer, especially at 2 a.m.
With a daily average of five career firefighters responding this allows two career firefighters to transport the patient and still give the citizens of our area three career firefighters to respond to their emergency. This is only during the day. After 4 p.m., the Blaine (station 10) firefighters go home. This leaves a career engine in Birch Bay (station 7) with two to three firefighters 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It has been this way since June 1999.
As to the low volunteer numbers, this can be any number of reasons: long transports to the hospital, training time required to be a volunteer, summer activities, jobs with long hours, family, church, golf games on Saturday, summer vacation, and the list goes on and on. Hiring more staff won’t allow for better coverage of the area. We send or at least attempt to send the required amount of personnel to handle any emergency. A structure fire can require as many as 25 firefighters.
If Initiative 864 passes, the citizens of our community will suffer. The fire department will have to cut staff. Which could mean longer emergency response times. When you state “we need some answers for safety concerns” I hope you are talking about the “backs” of your firefighters who have to lift heavy patients, pull fire hose, conduct search and rescue and be able to pull our citizens from a burning house.
As to mismanagement, could you please point me to the perfect business as I would like to apply.
Ray Davidson, president,
North Whatcom Professional Firefighters

The Editor:
We need representatives in D.C. who can deliver Washington jobs. The government is supposed to help Americans be competitive in the job market, and Washington state needs to be a part of that.
I saw that Rick Larsen fought to support the Manufacture Extension Program and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). Rick saw the opportunity that both programs could bring to our state. The Small Business Development Centers help local small businesses make better decisions about their money and to improve their businesses. The SBDC serves as a community resource for local businesses and entrepreneurs to help them make strategic investment decisions and improve their businesses. We need more programs like that here in Washington. As opportunities arise, Rick will work to increase federal support for resources and tools to help our businesses and increase economic growth.
Rick Larsen understands that the best way to protect jobs in Washington is to help our businesses become more competitive. Rick has been working to save 600 jobs in Ferndale by fighting the proposed power rate increase that threatens Intalco Aluminum. Rick understands red raspberries are one of our region’s largest crops and he has worked with local growers and the U.S. trade representative to ensure that our growers can compete fairly with foreign competitors.
Rick also understands how many of our residents commute to Boeing in Everett and he has worked to preserve these good-paying jobs through his support of the 767 tanker lease program and the 7E7.
Whether it’s jobs, businesses, border issues, or whatever we’ve asked of him, Rick Larsen has supported us and now it is time for us to ensure his reelection. We need him on the job in D.C. for us.
Georgia Gardener

The Editor:
It saddens me to see the Semiahmoo spit become an urban sprawl. Blaine will lose its crown jewel. It will lose its unique natural vista. I do not fault the Syres. They hold true to their sole motivation of making as much money as possible. Their lip service proclaiming their deep concerns for the environment and the quality of life for the people of this community is just that, good P.R. Few people would accept greed as a motivator. Their huge wealth is a testament to their business skills.
I personally have trouble with the Syres’ motivation. I devote my life to caring for others. The legacy I am proud of includes my family, patients, community service and the preservation of the environment. I have been able to accumulate wealth but not at the expense of others or the environment. The destruction of Semiahmoo spit to add a few more millions to my bank account is not a legacy I would be proud of.
I am disappointed in the citizens of Blaine who have elected officials who have no concern for the unique natural wonders that make this community without equal. In earlier letters I expressed my desire for good stewardship.
Unfortunately this has not occurred. From Mr. Tomsic’s comments it appears the city has no intention of preserving the spit. Planning that was appropriate two decades ago is not necessarily appropriate today. The city’s failure to update their plan to ensure the preservation of the quality of life for its people represents a serious lapse of good stewardship.
Dr. Ed Schellinck
Turlock, CA

The Editor:
Thanks to the generosity of a number of people, the USCPAA has received nearly 45 percent of the money needed to make my trip to Barcelona, Spain possible. I’m overwhelmed and humbled that so many have encouraged me to make this presentation about the Peace Arch and its history. I was invited largely because many in Europe and Asia have no idea that such a monument - dedicated to the unity of two formerly warring nations - even existed. They know of the Statue of Liberty, but not of the arch dedicated to peace.
Taking the message of Samuel Hill and the legacy of his pursuit of international unity of human-kind to an audience from around the world is an honor I could only dream about. It now appears that, with the help of additional contributions, I may actually be able to go.
The conference will feature presentations focused on the message “For a World Without Violence.” Noted speakers from many nations will be addressing issues that were resolved right here over 100 years ago - two nations, once enemies, now living together in unity. The Peace Arch commemorates that fact. My participation in the conference will not only be a great opportunity to share the Peace Arch’s special message, it will be an opportunity for me to learn how other groups from around the world are promoting peace through their culture.
I can only hope that others will continue to show the generosity that many have already shown. Only that will enable me to reach the audience who really need to know about what we have here in Blaine, Whatcom County, Washington, U.S.A. and White Rock - South Surrey, B.C.
If you are interested in learning more about the conference, information is available at the Blaine public library or visit the USCPAA’s website at www.peacearchpark.org. Contributions can be sent to USCPAA attn: Billie Squires, P.O. Box 4564, Blaine, WA 98231-4564. Donations are tax deductible.
Christina Alexander

The Editor:
Four years ago, our son began his high school journey in Blaine with an enthusiasm generally reserved for a malignant foot fungus. Nonetheless, Mr. Freal returned a young man with developed instincts and a passion for math.
Four years ago, we sent a boy to high school who considered a mere paragraph of writing torture falling outside of the boundaries of the Geneva Convention. Mr. Nix and Mr. Worthy returned a young man more literate, proficient in speech, and polished in his prose. Additional kudos to Mr. Worthy for helping him find a voice in his writing.
Four years ago, we sent a boy to high school who loathed physical movement. Coach Ridnour re-turned a young man twice recognized as physical education student of the year. Please accept our warm and personal thanks, coach, for your patience and recognition of his unique talent.
Sending a child to Washington D.C. for a full week in their junior year of high school can test a parent’s mettle. With Mr. Fakkema in charge of the group, our resolve was of the Australian order, no worries.
Sra. Balfour - who would have thought that the words conversational Spanish and fun could share the same sentence, nevertheless, you made it happen! Muchas
Mr. Sayegh - you wasted no time in cultivating a young mind hungry for the sciences. Your mentoring skills reached beyond the classroom, introducing him into the chess club, and providing an alternative to cafeteria lunches - the lab. Your kindness has left an indelible impression on all of us.
You, who I have mentioned, are amongst a crowd of superheroes dedicating their lives to the education and development of young people. The capes and large S’s may not be visible because you are ordinary people, carrying out extraordinary duties. For that, this parent is exceedingly grateful.
Thank you and God bless.
Eric Foster

The Editor:
Here is a little free verse to celebrate the excesses of unfettered growth.
Roofs, roofs, roofs,
Once green fields
Roofs, roofs, roofs
Cul de Sacrilege.
George Tranberg


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