The Editor: This letter is directed specifically to the low-life(s) that vandalized and stole the American flag from my deceased husband’s roadside memorial on Loomis Trail Road over this past weekend. This man died on his way to work as a customs border protection officer who also served 20 years in the U.S. Navy to protect this country from people who commit atrocities against this fine land and its citizens. But who knew that he would be so disrespected by the same people that he fought to protect. Surely you must have noticed as you were cutting the flag away from the cross that there was a large bucket of flowers and a balloon to mark his birthday that would have been on Friday had he lived. When will you celebrate your next birthday alive? Surely you must have thought that someone who cared very deeply for this man had taken the time and effort to mark his death with such a patriotic display that meant so much to him. Surely you must have seen the face of the man on this cross, and that you were now destroying the one tribute left to him for his sacrifices. Shame on you. The flag you stole was flying proudly outside our home the day he was killed, and it has enormous sentimental value to me. I beg of you to restore the flag to the memorial, no questions asked. Meredith Iaci-Gallager Blaine
The Editor: Having viewed the address in which President Barak Obama spoke to you and I, his constituents the American people, regarding health care insurance reform, I’ve a vivid recollection of Wendell Wilkie’s run for president against then President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 where we were soon in WWII. This provides the basis for my opinion that President Obama follows in the footsteps of past presidents who were able to lead us through the most contentious and strife-filled times where we grasped a better future with our best interests in our hearts and minds, evoked by presidential leadership through honesty, compassion and empathy, sorely needed during perilous times. I’ll suggest President Obama’s intelligent, connecting and honest appeal for setting aside special interests that our nation may prosper and enjoy the intentions of our founding fathers. Among those, health in our pursuit of happiness is to be heard and reflected upon now and in years to come, as what our nation’s about; that we as a people must remember we’re Americans first and diversity within that is about intentions of honesty, sincerity and respect for all; with President Obama’s address setting an example for each of us in dialogue with our neighbors about our nation’s needs. Bob Hendricks Blaine
The Editor: Many thanks to our city and the volunteers who put in the path along Peace Portal Drive. It is visually beautiful and a pleasure to walk on. I am looking forward to the next installment. Norma Thomasson Blaine
The Editor: I read the front page (roundabout project) story with keen interest. I was amused by the statement that the roundabout would “improve traffic flow downtown and beautify the entrance to the United States.” Should we compare that to the concrete wall that was erected at the truck crossing as an example of “beautification of the entrance to the United States?” It certainly is nothing like the wall in Bellingham (with fish stamped on it) or the various walls in Bellevue (leaves, trees etc. stamped on them). In Blaine, the scraggly bits of ivy trying to coexist with the textured concrete is not my idea of an ethically pleasing entrance. A roundabout for the cost of $13 million dollars? Seems kind of excessive for a beautification project on a road that leads to a very empty downtown. Nancy Knott Blaine
The Editor: Regarding John Smith’s letter in the August 20 edition of The Northern Light, it’s a shame that John Smith of Vancouver and others of a similar mind, believe that by boycotting Blaine business owners and citizens they can affect the conduct of U.S. Customs staff at the border crossing. (You are not alone in your experience.) The more meaningful and useful approach is to write a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, where the headquarters’ leaders of Homeland Security can read it. Then, threaten to boycott the states. Between Canada and U.S., there are more than 160 border crossings. Why would a Canadian or an American punish a border community for the (inappropriate) behavior of a border agent working for either government? Boycotting Blaine only hurts Blaine’s citizens and Blaine’s tender businesses. Everyone in this locale counts on cross-border traffic for our economic viability. Take your complaint to the top, where it belongs. Call the customer service number and report your experience: Customs and Border Protection customer service center at 877/CBP-5511 or 703/526-4200. Locally, you can report your experience to the CBP Seattle Field Office: 206/553-6944. Together, citizens of border communities can affect an adjustment or send signals to both federal governments about the imperative that border guards treat travelers according to the posted creed. Take action that can make a difference. Please don’t take your offense out on your local neighbors. Elle Tracy Blaine PS: Please read The Northern Light masthead, a note that this newspaper is printed in Canada. We all need cross-border business.
The Editor: I am writing this letter on behalf of the membership at the American Legion Peace Arch Post 86, Blaine. It has come to our attention there is a tax on our nonprofit organization. I called the treasurers office and was redirected to a representative of a water-shed study for Birch Bay. This person said that the Legion has a very valuable piece of property. I agree. My only problem is that I was then informed that this new charge that appears on a tax statement is under taxes and assessments. This fee is a tax due based on value. I also pointed out that we are a nonprofit organization and are exempt from paying property taxes. I was then told that all landowners including churches and schools had to pay this. How can the county council impose a tax that will raise millions of dollars on the backs of citizens, schools, churches, and nonprofits and not allow a public vote? I believe that we here in Whatcom County vote on taxes. Now that the Legion has a $1,800 tax bill my membership has directed me to protest in all ways possible so I will be searching for legal assistance. I also wonder how many people realize that they are being robbed by a sneaky tax. I attended a function at the Ferndale American Legion to honor the young men and women who attended the boys and girls state program. This program is to enlighten our youth about how government works. I had a very enlightening conversation with Pete Kremen. It seems that we now have a branch of government that is not respectful of citizens. They found a legal loophole to tax at will. How can this happen in America? The county council is behind this and Pete told me that if normal procedures had happened he could have vetoed this hidden tax, or at least had the voters involved. This scares me because under what law can an appointed government official levy taxes? John Hawkes, Commander Peace Arch Post #86 Blaine
The Editor: The Blaine Chamber Choir is having a huge, multi-family garage sale and car wash on Saturday, August 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Blaine middle school gym on the corner of H Street and Mitchell Avenue. The funds raised will help pay for their April 2010 trip to New York where they will perform at Carnegie Hall. Dave Berry Blaine
The Editor: I would like to clarify some of the statements Mr. John Smith made in his article in the August 20 edition of The Northern Light. First of all the officers at the border are Customs and Border Protection officers and not border guards. He also implied that the reason the businesses he mentioned are not in Blaine anymore was because of the treatment at the border when in fact those businesses closed because the Canadian dollar went belly-up. And the theater he mentioned was a porno theater, so I do not believe anybody is upset that it isn’t here anymore. Another statement he made was “After a terrifying, manic, verbal and physical attack and a threatening gesture with his gun we received from an out of control border guard recently, we are boycotting Blaine.” Mr. Smith does not say exactly what transpired. Was this CBP officer just doing his job by asking questions or did he attack Mr. Smith or what? I know for a fact that any physical altercation by an officer would be brought to the attention of the supervisor at the time of the incident. So did Mr. Smith go into the office to file a formal complaint or is he just shooting off at the mouth? Does Mr. Smith know how many felony arrest these border bullies (as Mr. Smith refers to them) make in a year? And has anyone forgotten that a customs officer was shot and killed by wanted murderer? I, for one, want to thank all the officers who are there keeping me and my family safe. They have a thankless job. And they may have a bad day just like the rest of us. So I would hope that the people coming across the border who encounter an officer that they do not think is as friendly as they think they should be remembers this. Howard Woods Blaine
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.