Letters to the Editor -- November 16, 2006

Published on Thu, Nov 16, 2006
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
On October 9, 2006 the Blaine city council voted 4-3 in favor of accepting a 16 million dollar airport improvement grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The majority of council did not give much credibility to the $40,000 consultant study on alternate land uses. Also, citizens of Blaine were not allowed to vote on this matter and they are the ones who will end up having to pay the debt if there are problems related to FAA funding. On October 6, I was asked by Bruce Hanson, who a year ago sat on the airport master plan committee to go down to Renton and speak with FAA officials about the grant funding process.

I met with FAA representatives Wade Bryant and Mary Vargas at their office just outside of Tukwila. I had been asked to find out if there was $16 million available for Blaine and also to find out if we received airport improvement grant money would we be stuck with the deal if we wanted to back out. Wade and Mary informed me that there were three airports in southwest Washington that wanted to get out of their commitment to the FAA and they were not told “no,” but “hell no.”

Once an airport receives federal grant money for airport improvement projects, they are literally at the will of the federal government and there is no backing out.

Since this information has been presented to the airport commission they are trying to save face by insisting that other airports throughout the state would be willing to give up their grant money to help save the Blaine airport! The airport failed to notify council and city management of the true financial situation with FAA grant money, and now is the time for our city council to do the responsible thing and let the airport commission know that the withholding of valuable financial information has left them no other choice but to close the airport.

Dennis Hill
Blaine

The Editor:
We would like to say thank you to everyone in our communities of Blaine, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo and Point Roberts who donated money to the Trick or Treat for UNICEF fund raiser on Halloween night. UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Fund, which helps children around the world that don’t have what they need to live. As a class, we raised over $200 in one night of trick-or-treating for UNICEF! This money will help pay for things like blankets, school supplies, immunizations, medical care, clean water, and food. The change that you donated really added up! Way to go everyone!

“I felt great! I knew that the money I raised would help children in need.” - Nina Amende

“It felt great to see how much money we raised for children that are less fortunate then us.” - Michael Antczak

“I was shy to go to houses and ask for money, but I did it and I feel great that I did.” - Ivy Fijal

“It felt great to know that I was helping other kids my age.”
- Catherine Cochran

“It felt fantastic raising money for children all over the world.”
- Luke Zuzarte

“It felt great to know that we saved a lot of lives by collecting money.”
- Chynna Hernandez

It made me feel good when we counted the money and saw that one box of change could add up to so much, to give the children the things that they need.” - Deven Cano

Mrs. Helt and Mrs. Grant’s 5th grade class
Blaine Elementary

The Editor:
Airport organizations continue to throw money at our local paper with large ads thanking Blaine council for their decision to keep the airport. The ads ignore the taxpayers and families who lost land to make the airport possible. They attempt to financially influence our local news source and encourage council to go against the majority in favor of a well-off minority who wouldn’t dream of living near the airport and certainly wouldn’t give up their own land for it. A newcomer to Blaine recently wrote that we nearly lost our airport. Those who have been here for generations know different. Blaine council minutes history is littered with citizen complaints of illegal and unfair actions, not just airport related. When challenged legally, the city’s funds outlast the challenger’s funds. The half of council who overthrew our mayor has direct interest in downtown. The airport’s major leaseholder pays 16 cents per square foot for large parcels of airport land. His leases are renewed with no advertising for competitive bids. He pockets hangar lease profits that should be collected by city built hangars. I like airports, but who’s really running things? Maybe the real question is “Hey wadda ya gonna do about it?”

Caryn Johnson
Blaine

The Editor:
It’s about 3 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I realize that as Veterans Day approaches the desire to once again hold my brother, or hear his laugh intensifies. He was a man, a good man, but more like a boy – yeah, a boy of 23 – not quite ever able to become the man he was meant to be.
Yes, he died “serving our country” or more correctly he died “serving his brotherhood.” Clad in camo hours before his departure he told me in regards to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “There has to be a better way but I will go to watch my guy’s backs, I’ve got their backs because they have mine.” I think when it comes down to it that’s why a lot of them go.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this war is that it is being fought so far away. The general American public cannot grasp the depth of the devastation. The media has great control of what we actually see. All images are filtered and screened and we watch sipping lattes in the warmth of our homes. It is one thing to see the soldier body count on the television, the numbers and images begin to blur, quite another to peer into the coffin of your baby brother. That memory will never blur. He promised me he would be right back; I never imagined it would be like that.
You would think three years out I wouldn’t have nights like these. That I would not still shake and tremble. I don’t like to do this – to publicly grieve. The media has sensationalized my grief and the grief of other gold star families. That does everyone a great disservice. It misses the point. My grief is not sensational. It is quite ordinary. It is what every other family of a fallen, paralyzed, wounded, mentally or emotionally scared soldier feels. It is the same grief the Iraqi’s feel as they bury and remember their dead. Your loved one leaves and comes back quite a different man or he does not come back at all.

I believe that America wants its troops home, safe and accounted for. But, we sit waiting with magnets on our cars. It’s not going to just happen. Troops sign away rights when they join the military, free speech being one of them. It is up to us, the ones they risk dying for, to advocate for their rights. Call your senator, write a congressman, visit your elected officials – democracies only work when the people are active. They have to listen to us or we will cease to be a democracy. The Iraq war is our business. Bringing them home alive and taking care of them when they get here is our duty and the only true way to “support the troops.” 2nd star to the right and straight on till morning
– I miss you so much!

Susan Livingston, proud sister
of SPC Joe Blickenstaff Blaine

The Editor:
A Casualty of War
You are the victim of fell war
Who once sought fame and glory
Now you lie halt and lame with
none to tell your story
Expecting God’s and generals to
tell you naught but truth
You went out to fight our war
Exalting in your youth
What you found when you got there
Was lack of direction, blood, despair
Friends by day and foes by night
To be killed or captured was your plight
Humping a “ruck” of a hundred pounds
In stifling heat you hear strange sounds
The whistle of an RPG coming
from where you cannot see
Sweat pours down your aching back
As you wait for the attack
Stepping on a wire you do not see
You ignite an I.E.D.
Tossed around like a discarded rag
You know you’ve lost an arm, a leg
Medics strive to save your life
Even though you’re turning white
Bandages, blood and saline too
They’re giving their all for you
A chopper comes a whomping in
To carry you off safe within
Off to Ramstein in record time
For they know your life’s on the line
Surgeons skilled and nurses fair
On your body make repair
Soon you’re headed back to the states
To see others who’ve shared your fate
So now you lie halt and lame
In bandages clean, but gory
No one speaks
But with this pen
I shall tell your story

George G. Tranberg
Blaine

The Editor:
We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Patrick Rooney and his staff, Kim, Caryn, and Jennifer at Blaine Harbor Dental. Dr. Rooney and his wonderful staff, in partnership with the Blaine Family Service Center and the Blaine school district, provide oral health exams to kindergarten through fifth grade students every year. All staff time and supplies are donated by Dr. Rooney and the dental screens are provided free of charge to the participating children. Each student also takes home an oral health assessment form for their parent/guardian and a dental goodie bag. This fall, 193 students took advantage of this great opportunity. The city of Blaine and the Blaine school district are quite fortunate to have such an extraordinary group of folks so committed to the health and welfare of our most precious resource, our children.

Andrée Marcus & Larissa Dhanani
Blaine Family Service Center
Blaine School District

The Editor:
On behalf of the Blaine middle school PTSO, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to all involved in “monster mash” Saturday, October 28. The dance was a huge success and everyone who attended had fun. Special thanks to Blaine Little Caesar’s Pizza for donating prizes, and Yary Photography for taking the pictures, which by the way are now up on their website, so see www.yaryphoto.net and check the online events.

Thanks again to all the parents who donated candy and helped chaperone the dance. The Blaine middle school PTSO continues to grow and we always have room for you.

Teri Price
Birch Bay

The Editor:
I am trying to locate a man I served with in Vietnam in 1967-68. His name is John Yirak. I Googled for him and found a letter to your paper in January 2006 from someone with that name. The man I knew was from your part of the country so I expect he may be the one I am seeking. Can you put a short note in the editorial section for me in hopes that he might see it and respond? I can be reached at johnback@comcast.net.

John Back
Middletown, New Jersey

The Editor:
I am a working mom of seven kids. I work really hard and I don’t make much money. I visit the Blaine Food Bank weekly because sometimes I do not have enough money to buy food. Every week the Blaine Food Bank gives me junk. There is nothing in there that I, or my kids, could eat; maybe some canned veggies or fruit and that’s about all.

They give us weekly a box of rotting veggies and fruits. Who eats this? This must be some sort of health hazard. They give you this drink of some sort that is in Asian language and they give you expired food that is almost moldy. Do they think that poor people are desperate and that we will eat anything? Every year our kids at school have a drive for the food bank, is this what is coming out of people’s houses? Who donates this stuff to the food bank? There has to be someone who we could call to complain because a box of moldy food is not healthy for us or for our kids. Please people donate good quality non-expired food to the food bank – they need your help.

Thanks.
Jessica O’Donnell
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