Letters to the Editor - January 27-February 2, 2011

Published on Wed, Jan 26, 2011
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The Editor:
This letter is in response to a letter written by Ron Reimer, published January 20.
In the last paragraph, Mr. Reimer encouraged readers to email CBP chief John Bates with our thoughts because, according to Mr. Reimer, the constitutional rights of Americans who live on or near the border are being “obliterated” by the Department of Homeland Security.
Mr. Reimer’s letter focused on defending the actions of a man who has been charged with federal crimes for apparently defending his constitutional rights by wandering around outside his home in his underwear while blinding the pilots of a CBP helicopter with his high-powered flashlight. Blinding pilots with a high-powered flashlight is criminal.
There is no defense for it. (Admittedly, my first inclination was to argue in support of wandering around one’s own property in one’s underwear – assuming that the underwear is gender appropriate. But on second thought, that’s probably not the constitutional right he’s going to jail over.)
According to Mr. Reimer, “constant surveillance, air noise and an over-abundance of federal agents” along the border is “usurping the constitutional rights and civil liberties of border citizens.”
I respectfully disagree.
Constant border surveillance is a good thing. Anything less is unacceptable.
Noise from helicopter operations in support of border patrol agents is annoying, but it’s unavoidable and limited. It does not usurp anyone’s constitutional rights or civil liberty.
An over-abundance of federal agents is a meaningless statement. It would be ill-advised for CBP to make public the number and locations of agents on duty, but if the bad guys have the impression that there is an over-abundance of federal agents on duty, so much the better!
In closing, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to all agents in all branches of CBP. Most Americans understand the magnitude of their responsibility, and we support their efforts.
John Yirak

The Editor:
Wayne Groen was indicted Thursday, January 13, on two counts of interference with an authorized aircraft and incapacitation of an individual during the authorized operation of an aircraft.
These charges carry heavy penalties of up to 40 years in prison.
For the last few weeks, I have been selling aerial photography and discussing real estate along the border. In my conversations with homeowners, I’m finding they too are becoming upset that the helicopters are waking some of them throughout the night and several say they fly as low as 50 to 100 feet above their homes.
With that being said, the spotlight Wayne used was a Vector 12-volt handheld spotlight. This spotlight has a million candlepower, which allows for a beam distance of 164 feet.
The charges filed against Wayne state that the pilot was flying 500 feet above Wayne’s home and that the amplified light temporarily blinded them. (You do the math.)
This letter was signed by homeowners near the border, and it’s intended to shed some light, no pun intended, that people along the border are upset that the Department of Homeland Security has very little respect for property owners. We can only hope that the charges against Wayne will be dropped.
Dennis Hill
(Ed. Note: This letter also contained the names and addresses of 19 co-writers.)

The Editor:
This is in response to Mr. Reimer’s recent letter to The Northern Light regarding violation of rights by the border patrol and homeland security. First of all, I do live on the border with my backyard backing to the international boundary.
I do not feel that any of my rights have been violated whatsoever by the border patrol doing their job in keeping my backyard in Blaine, the state and our country safe from those who mean to harm us. I can’t think of one single right of mine that as a private homeowner they have violated.
When we have had people run through our property or drive a vehicle full of cocaine through our neighbor’s yard, I have always found them to be courteous and ask for permission to enter.
It’s about time someone stands up for these officers. I do not feel stressed by the increased patrols, I feel like I live in the safest neighborhood in the country, similar to the White House. I thank God for these people keeping us safe everyday.
I agree that Mr. Groen should have called the sector chief as opposed to shining a bright light in the cockpit of a helicopter. His actions were not the brightest, but he should be chewed out. I don’t think Groen’s an example.
If police find the genius who is shining lasers into cockpits near SeaTac, I hope they charge them too. Groen’s actions put not only the pilots and chopper in danger, but also anything else below it. I think that is the federal government’s point.
I have no doubt Groen is a fine, patriotic citizen. That’s not the issue. His actions are!
Mr. Reimer cites that we should have been somehow educated on how to deal with post 9-11 protocol on the border. Come on.
For those of us who live adjacent to the border, there is a line, do not cross it.
If you have activity on your property, contact border patrol. End of story. I have followed Reimer’s advice and sent John Bates of the border patrol an e-mail, not of disgust but of support.
David Hax

The Editor:
The Blaine Boys & Girls Club wishes to thank the Blaine Conservatory for its outstanding donation from their Nutcracker Holiday performances.
We are the proud recipients of over $2,000 for all of their hard work and dedication.
Thank you again for your donation. The club would not be possible without community minded people like you!
Thank you, from the over 400 Blaine Boys & Girls Club members!
Tony Clark
Interim branch director
Blaine Boys & Girls Club

The Editor:
Last week’s police report included an incident in which a VW convertible was driven off the front of a car hauler. “The VW was standing on its nose when officers arrived, and tow truck was called to wench the car safely to the ground.”
Cute story, but I assume the writer meant winch.
Why is it that spell checker dictionaries contain such words as wench and manger, never used properly, but often used by accident?
Chris Doutre

The Editor:
I have been a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers since 1998. I wanted to respond to a statement made in “Beyond diets: Program helps people take shape for life” in the January 20 issue of The Northern Light.
Weight Watchers was mentioned in a comparison with the featured plan, and it was pointed out that in their program, “participants aren’t required to attend group meetings.” You can join Weight Watchers at home online if you’re more comfortable doing the program alone. However, I think members have more success with the camaraderie and accountability of attending a weekly meeting. I know checking in every week helped me achieve my goal weight and stay within that goal. The new Points Plus Program encourages you to prepare healthy meals and become more aware of your portion serving size.
One of the more appealing aspects of Weight Watchers for me was the fact I got to eat regular food all the time.
I was able to grocery shop with the information I received at my meetings and that information guided me to making smarter food choices.
 I didn’t reach my desired weight in several months, but I did learn tips and suggestions for a more sustainable weight loss.
I still love the fact that I eat regular food every day and that the Weight Watchers program works for me.
We all have choices in life and that includes how we want to lose weight.
Thank you for allowing me to share another avenue for learning how to eat healthier and in the process, losing weight.
Anne Freeman



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