Letters to the Editor -- February 17, 2005

Published on Thu, Feb 17, 2005
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Improvements are coming to the truck crossing (State Route 543).
Safety is a priority for the Washington state Department of Transportation. We are aware of the congestion and traffic problems at the truck crossing. As soon as this summer, we will start construction on the truck crossing to relieve congestion, reduce accidents and improve safety.
Currently, SR 543 experiences heavy congestion, resulting in long delays. Trucks back up through Blaine and, at times, onto Interstate 5, causing congestion at D and Boblett streets. There are roughly 3,000 trucks crossing the border each day. There just isn’t enough room for all the trucks.
To relieve congestion and improve safety, we will widen SR 543 from Boblett Street to the border; separate car and truck traffic from one another just north of D Street; install a new signal at Boblett Street; build a new overpass at D Street; and build a noise wall north of H Street on the west side of the highway. We estimate that it will take two years to complete the project.
We invite you to learn more about the improvements by attending an open house in the spring, prior to construction. Engineers will be on hand to answer questions and explain project details. Watch for a notice in The Northern Light, or visit our website for updates and detailed project information: www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/SR543_I5_Canadian/.
Dustin Terpening, WSDOT public
information officer
Burlington, WA

Dear Officer of the Court & The Editor:
I received a traffic citation for failing to obey a road closed sign. I was going to appeal this offense but I work in Bellevue and reside near there during the week. I do not want to take time from work for a hearing. I pay this fine reluctantly, and regret that an offense will be on my driver’s record for the first time in my 20 years in Washington state.
When I came toward the fork from Shintaffer Road to Drayton Harbor Road there appeared, with no prior warning, a white sign on the right edge of the road and an orange cone on the left front of it (Road Closed - Local Access Only.) It was on the curve as the road veers right. On the lower road entrance from Shintaffer to Drayton I saw a road barricade. The access road from the right on which I was traveling had none. I thought that the sign referred to the barrier on the other road entrance to Drayton Harbor Road below. As I was already into the curve on a lane that was open to local access traffic I proceeded about 50 yards. An officer standing on the left side of the road asked me to pull over. He asked me why I went through a road closed sign. I said that I thought the sign referred to the barricaded lane below as this lane appeared open.
After giving me the citation the officer thanked me for my good attitude. He said that I was the first person all that day who didn’t argue. I said that I did not intend to violate a sign. I was confused as to which of the two road entrances was closed.
I returned today to take pictures. An orange sign (Road Closed Ahead) has been added on Shintaffer Road since then about 100 yards before the fork in the road. I can understand why people were upset yesterday. It was both the lack of, as well as, poorly located signage for which drivers were charged instead of the traffic engineers.
Robert J. Norton

The Editor:
I would like to extend a big “thank you” to all those people who signed our petition to protect the spit.
I would also like to thank The Northern Light for continuing to cover what is a very important subject for this community. Through these efforts and the foresight of our former mayor, Dieter Schugt, we now have a committee, with advisory support from the Blaine parks board, which is endeavoring to keep land on the Semiahmoo spit undeveloped and permanent open space.
We recognize that the developer has a right to build on the spit and expect that there will be other portions that will be developed. However, it is our committee’s objective to extend the Whatcom County park to the Beachwalker Villas and to the marina.
We have already had discussions with the Trust for Public Land to raise the funds to purchase this land and we have also had several meetings with the developer.
The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other national places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.
The planning commission public hearing for Sea Grass Cottages will be held at the Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 24. We hope that all those good citizens who signed our petition, as well as others we were unable to reach, will demonstrate their belief in this cause by attending this meeting.
It has been a long two years but we believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you, in advance, for your continued support.
Trevor Hoskins

The Editor:
On February 1, my wife had a nuclear test at the Surrey Memorial Hospital and we received a paper confirming the above and proceeded to visit our daughter and son-in-law in Semiahmoo.
On arriving at the border, we went through the NEXUS lane and we received a sticker and we were directed to go to customs by the agent, who was extremely polite and pleasant. We went to the inspection area and another agent directed us inside, where we learned we were radioactive. We gave them our letter and we were told to have a great day and we could leave. We went outside and found our car was missing. One of the agents said it had been moved closer to the door, so my wife would not have far to walk.
Our experience was most rewarding and pleasant.
Kathleen & Jack Curran
Surrey, B.C.

The Editor:
I have an idea – what if Washington passes a law that says, “Really good and really kind people will be allowed to commit crimes, as long as they are committed with good intentions, and the state of Washington will be completely understanding and not punish them.” Then Washington’s new motto could be, “The state where crimes lends a helping hand.”
“Oh, look, that family doesn’t have a quality DVD player. I’ll go nab the one from my neighbor and give it cheerfully to them. Since I have their interest and well-being at heart, I won’t see a day in court.”
“Yes, officer … officer, I was drunk driving, placing other people’s lives at stake, (hic-cup), but I have a good excuse. I’m taking my to … or rather my grandpa (hic) some slippers so his feet will stay warm. I actually stole the slippers and the car I’m in, but it was for a worthy cause, (hic) so you can’t arrest me for either that … that ei ei … for anything (hic-cup).”
Here’s one for you: “The police entrusted me with information about a drug smuggling bust on our school bus system, yet the mother of one of the suspects is a friend of mine. I better tip the mother off so she can save her $1,000 paid per smuggle wuggle, misguided teenager from the consequences of aiding drug dealers in selling their dope to our children on the playgrounds. And the policemen (who are the real bad guys for trying to do their job in catching the sweet, innocent, druggy, wuggly smugglies) must let me go because I am doing this with good intentions. I’m glad this is legal, otherwise I would have to call anonymously from a pay phone (for I would know what I was doing was illegal) and, I, therefore wouldn’t want to be caught because that would put my job (a position of leadership with young people) at stake.”
Forgive Mr. Newell in your hearts for breaking the law because he did have good intentions and is a kind person. Yet he must face the consequences to his knowingly bad judgment otherwise, why should we bother to teach our children to obey the laws of the land?
Carol Ellingson

The Editor:
The need to get involved! When I mentioned to my brother-in-law that I was considering giving up spending time and energy attending city of Blaine council meetings having been frustrated by some of the decisions made by council members, his reply to me was, “Since you have chosen this community, it is your responsibility to be involved.”
So, I want to say to all of you who have chosen Blaine or Semiahmoo and/or Whatcom County as your community that it is all of our responsibility to be involved in shaping the future of our communities, be it the protection of the shoreline, the wildlife, the serenity and beauty of the spit at Semiahmoo or the proper management of our property taxes, etc.
You now have a great opportunity to be involved by attending the planning commission public hearing with regards to the proposed development on the spit at Semiahmoo, to be held on Thursday, February 24 at 7 p.m. at the performing arts center in Blaine.
Nicole McCaig

The Editor:
Thank you very much for including an on-line web version of The Northern Light. I have been a Blaine native for over 30 years; however, I now reside in Renton, WA. I read the on-line version of The Northern Light, and it’s very nice to be able to keep abreast of local community events and news stories. I found a real treat during today’s weekly reading.  
Your new monthly feature listing recent real estate transactions is absolutely wonderful. Thank you again for your commitment to reporting news and events in northern Whatcom County. Keep up the great work!
Don Nelson
Renton, WA  

The Editor:
I do not know the Blaine high school principal, only what I have read and seen on TV. I’ve read he is a nice man. But as a society, we have set up rules and laws for our protection.
Every rule and law is put in place because of the lack of respect by members of our society. For instance: Why is there a rule about no running in the hall? If we are good members of society, we try to obey these rules and laws.
So this nice man has chosen to try to get around the rules and laws. He knows the law came to him, as a high school principal and told him drug sellers were paying children to bring drugs into the U.S., in their backpacks, on the school bus through the international border. They also told him what and how they wanted to stop this and that it was important for him not to tell a soul.
They trusted him. How many hours went into this investigation? Would you want this drug practice stopped? What would you have done? This nice man had to make a choice. He knew what would happen if he were caught. So why did he take so many clandestine actions to break the law and call this school board member about her daughter? If this were a TV crime show, what would you guess?
So we have a nice man who cannot be trusted. Who uses bad judgment. Does not show wisdom. Who circumvents the rules and laws of our society. I think when you choose knowingly to break a rule or law you should, when caught, expect to pay your debt to the society in which you live. I do not think he deserves to be a principal. He is a poor example. He lacks all the qualities that make a good administrator. We deserve better for our children.
M. Arrington
Birch Bay

The Editor:
In the February 10 – 16 edition of The Northern Light, on the first page, the picture shown marked Dakota Creek is not.
The picture shown is California Creek, three-quarters of a mile south of Dakota Creek. It’s a good picture. You can see Drayton Harbor Road and bridge in the picture.
Russ Karns

The Editor:
This is in response to the letter written by Jon Denham in the February 3 – 9 issue of The Northern Light about Medic 3 being taken away from Blaine, Birch Bay, Lynden and Ferndale areas.
I did what he suggested and sent an email to Pete Kremen and the Whatcom County council. I’m wondering if Mr. Denham did or even bothered to really check his facts.
Mr. Kremen called me the evening I sent the email. Yes, I said, he called to talk to me. (I thought that was very nice of a very busy man.) We had a very informative conversation. He wanted me, a plain ol’ citizen of Whatcom County to know that he too was very worried about our safety and was doing all he could to keep the quick response team right where it is now.
Just so we get the facts straight, it is not Whatcom County Council or Mr. Kremen who are, as Mr. Denham put it, letting Medic 3 be eliminated. The city of Bellingham is pulling Medic 3 out of the Grandview area – it is Bellingham that has the final say-so. It is against council’s and Mr. Kremen’s wishes that Medic 3 be pulled from our area. They (the council and Mr. Kremen) are trying to get the city of Bellingham to leave the service as it is now or make some kind of arrangements that would not leave us waiting for the medics to come from Bellingham, when in many cases time is of the essence - to better serve those areas that I have mentioned. It’s about money, folks!
We need to back their (Mr. Kremen and the council) efforts, speak up and not lay blame on the very people who are trying to help us with this dangerous problem we face.
I did also find out that Mr. Denham is a medic himself – not that it matters. It’s just kind of odd that he would be so misleading or misinformed about the facts when he should know who it is that is planning this change.
This is one of those things that makes a person say – hmm. Why would he do that?
Let’s put some pressure on Bellingham to do the right thing. County people deserve the same good medical care that the city of Bellingham gets. Don’t you think?
Eileen Ornelaz
Birch Bay

The Editor & Blaine city
council members:

Design reviews seldom, if ever, work to promote business growth. In fact, just the opposite occurs. New business is discouraged. New business needs to have traffic, affordable space and parking. The central business area of Blaine (Portal Shopping Center) contains roughly 65 empty retail and about 50 vacant tracts for development. Within the eight-mile radius of downtown Blaine, 108 businesses have been lost in the past 60 months. These facts denote that we need aggressive retail growth. Blaine is now a symbol of economic disaster – but not for long, we hope!
You do not attract new businesses – nor recover from disaster – by stacking on new regulations similar to the Semiahmoo community covenants. Whose idea was it to have a majority of architects and planners on the design committee – even out-of-town experts? If you want Blaine’s future in the hands of planners and architects, you will only be compounding the disaster!
Most ethnic and cultural communities evolve because the designers are a part of these communities. Communities like Lynden, Leavenworth, Solvang, California or Coos Bay, Oregon function by assisting, suggesting and supporting design diversity measures of their populace – not by fiat or mandate! Few businesspersons will take the risk – whether it is to move to a location proscribed for them or construct an entirely new building – with someone or some committee telling him what to do and how to do it!
Please do not be fooled into thinking we need to revise the downtown ordinances. Explicit design standards are an unfortunate trap that will provide no effective nor positive result and may set Blaine back economically another 20 years!
Joel Douglas

The Editor:
Concerning the recent alleged incident regarding high school principal Dan Newell, an episode that brought unwanted national attention to Blaine – his supporters might need a lesson in semantics/logic.
There is a difference between a mistake and making a purposeful decision. A mistake is putting a dent in your car, spilling your drink, etc.
Making an anonymous call from a pay phone to alert a mother that her daughter is to be arrested for drug smuggling is not a mistake but it is aiding and abetting criminal activity!
If this is an indication of Mr. Newell’s reasoning I would question his cognitive thinking as a leader and role model for our high school students entrusted to his care. Is anyone surprised that we continue to have a problem of drug use?
If the alleged incident is true, Mr. Newell should spare Blaine any further embarrassment and resign. If not, the school board should do it for him.
Marie Corrigan

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