Letters to the Editor -- February 03, 2005

Published on Thu, Feb 3, 2005
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
My son will be a freshman at Blaine high school next fall and my hope is that this latest, and frankly, despicable fiasco with principal Dan Newell will result in his termination, once and for all. Superintendent Mary Lynne Derrington has an opportunity to set a standard for our kids. However, her open letter to parents about this matter, portends that she may not seize it.
Mr. Newell should be terminated for the sake of propriety. His previous arrest for DUI is significant enough reason to terminate him whether he is innocent or guilty of obstructing an officer and rendering criminal assistance. Appearances are important for our kids. The hypocrisy of teaching high ideals and then tolerating this alleged incident or his previous arrest does not “provide a quality education in an atmosphere conducive to learning,” as Dr. Derrington’s letter stated. Mr. Newell’s termination will not assuage my concerns, however.
The Blaine school board bears a large burden of responsibility in this and is saddled with the same expectations of being role models to students as, I hope, we expect of our principals, teachers and staff.
How grave is the situation then, when a member of that board is named indirectly in this tawdry incident. Mr. Newell allegedly tipped off a school board member that her 16-year-old daughter was going to be arrested the next day for smuggling as much as 25 pounds of pot on the Point Roberts school bus the next day. The girl was allegedly smuggling for her live-in boyfriend.
Why do we have a school board member who has a minor child with a live-in boyfriend? This person should have excused herself from the board the moment her house became ‘out of order.’ That is, when it was no longer a role model for our students. There is no judgment in stepping down for the sake of propriety. Indeed, it is a most laudable act.
In like manner, the entire board’s inaction over Dan Newell’s previous arrest reflects the same disdain for propriety. Had he been terminated then, the district would not be in the humiliating position they are in now. Their house is ‘out of order.’
I call on the Blaine school board to voluntarily step down for allowing this to go on. I don’t require that board members live impeccable lives or that they not have family issues that are inherent in all families. Yet, they should strive to exemplify the ideals they endeavor to teach our children. With the statewide notoriety this affair has received, this board can only be ashamed.
Blaine school board members – please step down.
Jerry Huls
Blaine

Principal Dan Newell & the Editor:
Thank you for being such a great principal. You are a person who everyone counts on as having the student’s best interest in mind. After all, that is what a principal is supposed to do and there is no one who could do a better job.
Speaking as a former student at Blaine high, and now a university student, I know what a good teacher is and there is no better one than you. Your dedication to the kids at Blaine stands out; however, many take it for granted. I hope the recent trouble you are facing doesn’t discourage you from continuing as a principal and a person in the exact manner as you have for years. Everyone has benefited from having you as a principal.
People who know you personally realize that you always have good intentions in mind. Your support inside and outside the classroom is greatly appreciated. I am on your side completely.
Tyler Glahn
Ellensburg, WA

The Editor:
The Blaine senior center’s trusty van has just died completely! After carrying volunteers through the streets and byways, delivering meals to the homebound in Blaine and Birch Bay, checking on seniors welfare, spreading cheer, picking up donated produce to be distributed to the seniors, etc., it is no longer able to carry on.
As we must, after all losses, we must carry on. We need to continue helping those who have difficulty helping themselves, and to keep people in their own homes as long as possible. We must have either a small pick-up with a canopy or a small van to do this job.
We are appealing to anyone with a vehicle to donate or who wishes to help with buying one to contact the Blaine senior center at 332-8040. We really appreciate any consideration.
Evelyn Yarbrough, past president, Blaine seniors board of directors
Blaine

The Editor:
With the recent events currently surrounding Mr. Newell, an ill informed person would immediately label or stereotype him as a certain type of individual. We, the students of Blaine high school, know and support him as a respectable man of integrity, honor, compassion and commitment.
Mr. Newell has our unwavering support and although we may not know the law “in depth” or the exact details surrounding these events, we confidently stand by our principal because of who he is and what he has done for us.
Mr. Newell is a principal who constantly strives to improve Blaine high school and our high school experience, a principal who gladly takes time out of his day to listen to and support his students and a principal who is liked by all. Blaine high school is not the same without him and we want him back.
Mr. Newell, you have always supported us and we are committed to supporting you.
Students of Blaine high school
Blaine
(Ed. Note: The letter was signed by 175 high school students.)

The Editor:
As the parent of two high school students, I am outraged at the conduct of principal Dan Newell. Our children need role models and individuals who conduct themselves in a lawful manner with the best interests of the students in mind.
Dan Newell’s constant violation of laws and conduct are appalling. Now he is under investigation for interfering with a police investigation involving drug smuggling by contacting the parent of the alleged school drug smuggler. What was he thinking? Isn’t part of his job as principal to assist in keeping drugs out of our schools and away from our students?
Isn’t it interesting to know that Dan Newell was covering for a student of his whose parent is a member of the school board. A school board member, maybe the same one who saved him from rightful termination after his drunk driving charge.
It’s all relevant. And it’s all sickening. As if the police don’t have enough to worry about without having to worry about internal interference from high ranking school officials.
It’s time for a responsible adult to be in charge of our young adults in the high school, and it isn’t Dan Newell.
Patty Orozco
Blaine

The Editor:
County officials are allowing Medic 3 to be eliminated in April. Medic 3 is one of only two paramedic staffed ambulances stationed in rural Whatcom County. When Medic 3 is eliminated, people in Medic 3’s response areas – Ferndale, Birch Bay, Blaine and Lynden – will wait extra minutes for Whatcom Medic One paramedics to travel from much further to administer IVs, life saving drugs, etc. Local volunteer EMTs will still respond, but the life saving capabilities of Whatcom Medic One paramedics are far greater.
With 911 calls increasing seven percent per year the current emergency medical system already needs another Whatcom Medic One paramedic staffed ambulance to serve county residents, yet county officials have agreed to eliminate Medic 3. Eliminating Medic 3 in our aging, growing population shows poor prioritizing.
We’re told this is a financial decision. It is. But much more than that, it’s an ethical decision and county officials are making a wrong choice if Medic 3 is eliminated. The consequence of this action will be the loss of life of the very citizens county officials are to protect – what could have greater priority?
Please contact county executive Pete Kremen (pkremen@co.whatcom.wa.us; 676-6717) and Whatcom County Council (council@ co.whatcom.wa.us; 676-6690) asking them to save Medic 3.
Jon Denham
Ferndale

The Editor:
While I don’t pretend to fully understand either the circumstances leading to the charges against Dan Newell or the wisdom of his behavior, I will offer that Dan is one of the most genuinely caring educators with whom I have had the good fortune to work in my 18 years with Blaine schools.
I suspect many in our community, particularly students, feel similarly. My hope would be that the public remain mindful of that fact as they struggle to make sense out of this difficult situation.
Leaf Schumann
Blaine

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.
E-mail:editor@thenorthernlight.com

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