Letters to the Editor July 9 - 15, 2009

Published on Wed, Jul 8, 2009
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The Editor:
I recently arrived at the Pacific Highway border crossing from Canada to the United States. I am a Canadian citizen with a valid passport.
I approached the border guard and handed over my passport. The guard asked the purpose of my trip and I advised I was going to our Beachwood property. He asked where I was going for the day and replied I was staying until Monday or Tuesday. He again asked my purpose and I said to go to our place.
The questions kept coming about the purpose of my trip as he said (paraphrased) it was the U.S. celebration weekend for the birth of their nation, I was not an American, and why was I coming to the U.S.? As time passed, I told him we would be going to the fireworks.
He said I would be taking a parking space from an American citizen. He said I was not an American citizen, I was a Canadian citizen, and basically I didn’t have the right to come to the U.S. for this specific weekend when the Americans were celebrating. I am sure his tirade against myself and Canadians lasted at least five minutes.
“Sun, fun and fireworks for the Fourth of July” was on the front page of last week’s issue of The Northern Light. The article states “the annual parade drew an estimated 15,000 people last year, roughly three times Blaine’s population.” Where does the border guard think these people come from? Maybe Canada.
Where in the article does it say Canadians are not invited to the celebrations? We’ll be attending the parade and the fireworks spending our Canadian dollars supporting local retailers for their fair pricing and customer service.
Why do we have to experience a “Canadian-hating” border guard to do so? I thought this was unacceptable behavior towards a Canadian entering the United States.
We have owned property in Blaine for 15 years and have crossed the border many times. I have never been so embarrassed and saddened for the people of the U.S., particularly for those in the Blaine/Birch Bay area.
Carol Graham
Surrey, B.C.

The Editor:
Victoria Ebel-Sabo’s benefit concert of June 21 was a marvelous event. She dedicated “The Legend of Silverheels” to my favorite piano teacher, Ford Hill, piano professor emeritus, WWU. Happily, pianist Rudolph Hokanson was also present, a day before his 94th birthday. An audience of 119 adults and children donated over $1,400 toward playground equipment for Peace Arch State Park. I was a happy old man.
A couple of concert guests expressed concern for my cancer. On April 27, 1999 I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer based upon a PSA of 83 and four of ten biopsies that revealed cancer cells. For the next four years I was injected with Lupron Depot, a medical marvel that destroys cancer-feeding testosterone. I grew alarmingly weaker with the passing months until August 11, 2003 when I, believing Lupron would kill me before cancer, terminated treatment.
I’d read many obituaries that reported so and so died “after a brave battle with cancer.” That approach, I decided, didn’t work well.
So for the next six years I chose simply to address my cancer cells with, “Hey you guys, I’m not going to fight you any longer. I don’t believe in war, so do whatever pleases you.”
And then I would laugh. After UW School of Medicine suggested it was time to see how aggressive my metastasis had become with a PSA running at 140-plus, I was asked to undergo CAT and bone scans.
It was last March 27 when my urologist said both scans revealed no signs of cancer. I was surprised at his news, but my friend Don Hrutfiord explained, “You wouldn’t fight. So your cancer cells lost interest.”
Finally, my students made me a happy old man last month. My three-year humanities student graduated as a valedictorian, and all of my piano students, two girls aged 10 and 12, passed their grade six Royal Conservatory of Music exams with first class honors.
Life begins at 79; I can hardly wait till 80!
Richard Clark

The Editor:
On July 5 the Birch Bay beach cleanup netted 4,340 lbs. and 2.17 tons was hauled away for proper disposal. Presumably a good time was had by all with that much party and fire works debris!
Big thank yous go to Paul and John at SSC for the disposal; Mike Inabnitt, the Guthries, Booths and Bergs, aka the BB TLC crew, for the hauling; the Pats at the C Shop for their hospitality; and the 50 or so loyal friends and neighbors of Birch Bay for scouring the beach and bagging up the stuff.
We also thank the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department and the North Whatcom Fire & Rescue folks for their hard work to keep everyone safe and treat their ills.
Kathy Berg
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Many thanks to The Northern Light newspaper and the Blaine Chamber of Commerce for their ongoing support of the Blaine Gardener’s Market.
The second week of the Blaine Gardener’s Market was a real hit with 18 sellers, and at least 300 shoppers were counted. That’s a 100% growth over the previous market day.
The market has brought Blaine to life on Saturdays twice a month with music, unicyclists, artists, crafters and, of course, local gardeners.
It’s a gathering of friends and neighbors, not to mention that local produce and berries are about to explode on the scene. It’s a great excuse to meet your friends and neighbors on a beautiful Saturday morning in sunny downtown Blaine.
The market gathers the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, June through September. The market is free, and all products must be grown or produced by the seller or sold through their representative. No imports, garage sales, or wholesale items are permitted.
The next market is Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Set-up and sign-in starts at 8:30 a.m. For more information, please call Ron Snyder at 332-8082, or Carroll Solomon at 332-6484.
Cathy Taggett

The Editor:
I will start with what transpired when a Blaine police officer came to see an injured cat I called 911 about.
The humane society answering machine indicated that is what I should do. It was a Sunday. I did not get the officer’s name; I felt there was no need to do that. I had seen the cat around my apartment complex for a long time. On Sunday, I got close to it while looking for my cat.
The cat’s nose looked injured (apparently from a cat fight?). One eye did not look very well either. Obviously, it was a stray or neglected cat, if owned. I cried Sunday about its appearance. The police officer came out and, unfortunately, the cat was under a truck. The officer spent I would say 20 minutes on scene. He took out night goggles, I assume, to see the injuries while the cat was under the truck. I explained the injuries, and that I thought it might fit the criteria of the humane society’s instructions to call 911. The officer acted as if he was calling and speaking to someone about the cat. He ultimately told me that animal control would be out the next morning as the cat did not have acute injuries. I accepted that.
Monday morning there was no response. I called the humane society again, which was closed. I finally called 911 again near 5 p.m. They were going to send another officer. I said I wanted a response from the humane society. A man from Whatcom County Humane Society showed up. He was very, very nice. He informed me that there was no report made about the prior day regarding this cat.
The cat was transported by this very nice man to a veterinarian (on call 24/7). He said they could have come out Sunday. Why this occurred baffles me. I would advise Blaine residents to ask 911 dispatch for humane society response not Blaine police. The Blaine police department did nothing to help me or the poor cat that was injured. I hope it will survive.
Cheryl Ramirez

The Editor:
Once again, the Blaine Jazz Camp/Festival is set to bring 20 professional musicians from all over the country to work with and teach nearly 100 students. Our own Bob Gray, with his trombone, and Glenn Tuski, doing lighting and sound systems will be their hosts at the Blaine middle school and Performing Arts Center.
This year, nearly 20 of the student body will be from Blaine’s own outstanding instrumental and vocal music programs. We hope the citizens of Blaine and the surrounding areas will feel proud to play a part in this year’s camp and festival.
We’d especially like to point out the opening concert by MaD Fusion on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC. This group was nominated for a Grammy when they played with Barry Manilow. We know you’ll love their take on Gershwin. There’s also going to be a Big Band Swing Dance on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Dakota Creek Center.
This big band will be composed of at least 15 of our fabulous faculty with vocals by Greta Matassa. Please look for our ad elsewhere in this paper to see all of the wonderful concerts (many of them free) for you to enjoy next week. We think you will be proud of Blaine Jazz Camp/Festival ‘09 as well as this year’s concert series. They belong to you.
Larry and Suzanne Conrad
Pacific Arts Board of Directors

The Editor:
I want to express my appreciation and thank everyone who donated time, money, gifts and gift certificates to the July 4th car show. It was much appreciated and enhanced the show tremendously. We had 223 cars that signed up. This is the largest number of cars that we have had so far. The whole day was a great success. I am looking forward to another terrific show next year.
Cheryl Fischer

The Editor:
A warmhearted thanks to our northwest Whatcom County community.
The free 4th of July Old Fashioned Family Picnic put on by The Sons of the American Legion Squadron 86 at the American Legion Peace Arch Post in Blaine/Birch Bay was a wonderful success, largely in part to the donations from local businesses and residents who regularly help out their community in one way or another. The contributors helped make the day with free food, drinks, games and prizes for all, a superb celebration.
The Squadron 86 Sons, part of the American Legion Post 86 family wish to thank Sound Beverage, Lynden Ice, Cost Cutter, Chuck and Lelonni Muggy, Associated Asphalt Inc, Hempler Foods Group, Whatcom County Farmers Co-op Lynden Country Store, and Youngstocks Country Farms.
We at the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 86 wish all of you out there could feel the pride of being part of this kind of community service because we measure our success by the smiles and laughter of the children playing games and having so much fun.
If you think you would like to volunteer an hour or more of your time at any of our functions, or contribute in any way, please call and leave your contact information with us at 360/371-7311 and we will get back to you with a list of upcoming of events you can choose from.
Rob McIsaac
Sons of The American Legion    
Squadron 86

The Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few of our local merchants here in Blaine. I feel fortunate to live in a community of giving and supportive people. At the recent 4th of July celebration Blaine youth baseball set up a space to collect donations for our upcoming season.
With very short notice we were able to collect several raffle prizes from area businesses. Semiahmoo Resort donated a waterview room for one night.
Miguel at Paso del Norte donated a $20 gift card. Britton and Gail from Paddle & Pedal Adventures behind Semiahmoo donated a pass worth 10 paddles. George from Our Place Cafe donated a meal of two burgers & two fries.
Rich from Alley Auto donated a free oil change, and last but certainly not least the driving force behind this was my wife Amy who spends countless hours thinking of ways of helping the kids of our community.
The raffle will be held on Sunday, July 12 at which time we will call the winners and either hand deliver or mail out your prizes. Thank you to the city of Blaine for allowing us the opportunity of a booth with almost no notice.
Sean Miller

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