The Editor: The Blaine high school Close Up Foundation would like to express our appreciation to the businesses that participated by either sponsoring or donating product to our fundraiser magic show. Blaine high school has been sending juniors to Washington, D.C. for many years and we’re pleased to be continuing that tradition this June. Please consider stopping by the basketball game on Friday, January 15 to participate in our next fundraiser which is a 50/50 draw. It is a pleasure to be a part of a community that is willing to invest in their youth. Jen Freeman, BHS Close Up Foundation Blaine
The Editor: We, the family of Jerry Wolten, would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all who have prayed and supported our family in various ways the past few weeks. The cards, flowers, dinners and generous gifts to the Jerry Wolten Sports Fund are greatly appreciated. There is no way we can thank all the individuals for the overwhelming love that we felt and continue to feel. We have come to realize just how many people in this great community Jerry touched. The attendance at his memorial service was awesome and we are thankful to each of you for your presence. As we move forward we ask for your continued prayers and encouragement. Wolten’s True Value is still open and we appreciate your patronage. We know the sports in our community will continue to excite our Borderite fans because of the example of involvement Jerry poured into student athletes. Our vision is for the Jerry Wolten Sports Fund through Blaine Dollars For Scholars to continue year after year in empowering young athletes. Again, our thanks for your generosity and enduring love. Blaine, is more than a city by the bay. Blaine is home and we thank you for all the sentiment you have shown us. Ann Wolten and family Blaine
The Editor: Whatcom Association of Realtors told County Council more rural land is needed to accommodate demand for housing. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, “home vacancy is the highest since the U.S. Census Bureau started keeping records in 1950s.” In the “third quarter 2009, a record 10.9 percent of all housing units were vacant year-round.” Rental vacancies are a record 11.1 percent. WSJ said: “one in seven American households with a mortgage is behind on payments or in foreclosure.” That 14.4 percent rate compares with 7.3 percent in 2007. Devalued real estate resulted in tax collections “tumbling 11 percent across 44 states” in 2009. Every major source of state tax revenue declined: sales (-8.2 percent), corporate (-19.4 percent) and personal-income (-11.4 percent; -15.3 percent in “the West”). “With tax receipts heavily dependent on wages and spending, state revenues are expected to continue falling for years (3/4 2009 -21.5 percent).” Yet surplus single family residences are not our biggest problem: “government may have run into a problem too tough to bail out: commercial real estate.” Banks with $1 to $10 billion in assets have $450 billion in commercial (read condominium) real-estate exposure, equivalent to 330 percent of capital. More affordable housing is coming... These statistics matter because, for example, if one developer's 1,246-home planned unit development is approved, then local existing home price valuations could fall further than the -40 percent experienced since 2007. Property devaluation caused by over-speculation, and destabilization of supply relative to demand for housing, systematically reduces city, county and state tax revenues. This causes levy lift lids and other tax increases required to balance government budget deficits. I ask why those living near the poverty level in Blaine, currently economically struggling to maintain the basics of food, shelter and clothing, should be forced to pay for public infrastructure impact fees that our state’s growth management act envisioned should be paid for by the generally more wealthy real estate developers whose speculation in the housing market causes the provision of all public services to increase disproportionately, due to the rural location of many projects as compared to development within existing city limits. Lincoln Rutter Blaine
The Editor: On behalf of the Blaine Fine Arts Association, I would like to cordially invite you to a truly bright spot in the winter calendar, the 13th Annual Arts & Jazz Show on Saturday, January 30, at 7 p.m. in the Blaine high school cafeteria, 975 H Street. Admission is $5 and includes refreshments. Arts & Jazz is a community based, family fun celebration of the fine arts programs in the Blaine school district. Hosted by the BFAA, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization of community members who work to encourage and support the efforts of the Blaine art, band, choir, and drama students, Arts & Jazz is brought about by a group of amazingly dedicated parents and community members. A primary fund raising event for the BFAA, Arts & Jazz is an auction lover’s delight with live and silent auctions featuring goods and services from businesses and individuals that believe in our students as much as we do. One hundred percent of funds raised benefit our students by providing scholarships, equipment and funds for art experiences beyond the Blaine school’s curriculum. The BFAA is proud of our students as we have all witnessed the affect our arts education has on them when they are challenged, when they work to meet the challenge and when those efforts are honored. Arts & Jazz is a wonderful way to celebrate their efforts with the greater community. If you or your business would like to donate to the auction or if you have any questions please contact our auction coordinators, Dorita Gray at 380-1634 or Tami Kramme at 332-4218 before January 20. Tax-deductible cash donations can be made to BFAA, P.O. Box 1545, Blaine, WA 98231. I believe Arts & Jazz helps to make Blaine a more artful and vibrant place to live. Hope to see you January 30. Dorita Gray Ferndale
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