Letters to the Editor - February 24-March 2, 2011

Published on Wed, Feb 23, 2011
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The Editor:
I would like to extend thanks to the each division of the U.S. Border Patrol and sheriff’s department for presenting the town hall meeting with residents at the PAC on February 16. I was impressed with the turn out yet somewhat shocked with residents’ variety of concerns.
One gentleman voiced dismay his friend in Lynden was facing 40 years in prison for shining a spot light into a moving helicopter. My response is: Really? Your beef is with the federal judge, border patrol does not set criminal penalties. Had that helicopter crashed, he would be facing murder charges. What’s the difference between his actions and those who shine lasers into aircraft approaching Sea-Tac Airport?
Others complained of non-sensitive agents. News flash: Their job is to protect you and me and prevent another 9-11. Agents can drive, fly or walk onto my property if it prevents smuggling, trafficking and terrorist cells from crossing.
Others commented on wasteful spending of tax dollars while agents are parked geographically to respond. Really? Fourteen-trillion dollars in the hole and your concerned about a tank of gas? Terrorism and smuggling are a 24/7 threat.
Others asked why they were never told anything about activity in their neighborhood. Again, the missions these men and women do every day are sensitive and may be part of a bigger picture to apprehend a bigger fish. I would expect my Border Patrol not to share sensitive issues with me.
Some people have lived on the border for a long time, others have not. I question those who have not, why they moved to this area using the same analogy of complaining of noise after having moved next to the airport. The air division is vital.
They may have no prosecutions under their belt but the hours they fly are worth their weight in gold. If they prevent those that mean harm to us, then they are doing their job, and I frankly thank each and everyone of them for their courtesy and willingness to put their lives on the line each day for our safety.  
David Hax

The Editor:
To David Hax, kudos on your letter, and your points are very valid. It’s unfortunate you left before the meeting was over because there were many who shared your attitude and concerns.
I felt like a fish out of water for getting up and speaking in what seemed a hostile environment, sharing my views on the service and interaction we enjoy with Border Patrol as we also live right on the border.
My praises were evident of this, for after the meeting many citizens came up and thanked me for what I said as they shared the same views. The positive folks were there, they just remained silent. One could hardly blame them.
In The Bellingham Herald article on February 17, they talked about the border agencies heard gripes but they didn’t talk about those who were positive with the results of the border patrol. It’s a shame that all that’s reported is the negative and not the positive.
Though I understand that their “mission” last night was to address those who are concerned and upset. As I said last night, the border patrol has always been here when we’ve needed them, and we appreciate their 24/7 presence in our area. They do their job in a friendly, outgoing manner and go out of their way to make my wife and I feel good about what they do. They are always welcome at our house and on our property, and as a result, we do sleep well at night.
I feel fortunate to have such a good relationship with our border patrol agents and appreciate last Wednesday’s effort to create a better rapport with all who live on the border. Hopefully most people at the meeting got the message to call and communicate with our agencies - good or bad.  
Positive work and good community support deserves praise. They have it from us.
Mike and Laura Lucas


The Editor:

It was great to see a packed house of citizens at the recent meeting for the new $150-million jail. But for me, what I learned just raised more questions.

How will we pay for the new jail? The county said they wouldn’t raise taxes. Is there a magic source of money?
Where did the sales tax money for the new jail go? In 2004 I voted to help pay for the new jail because that’s where they said the money would go. We’re still paying that tax, but they haven’t been saving the money for the new jail? That doesn’t seem right.
Why is the county planning to buy a swampy parcel off Slater road for the jail? It will cost an extra $9-million just to deal with the swamp and bring in sewer, water, power, etc. There are other, cheaper places. Why this land?
These things don’t add up:  They spent the money, don’t plan to get more and are burning cash we don’t have on a piece of rural swampland when there are other buildable parcels with infrastructure in place. Do they really plan to build a new jail? I’d like some answers.
Marian Henderson


The Editor:

Recent letters to the editor have complained about potential Canadian customers being harassed by Blaine police department traffic enforcement. Well I’m a Blaine resident complaining about aggressive Canadian drivers.
An SUV bearing Canadian plates tailgated me as I crawled up D Street at 28 mph. As I came to a complete stop at the SR543 and D Street stop sign, the driver impatiently honked at me to move through the intersection. Please maintain the traffic enforcement and raise the fines.
Richard Warsofsky

The Editor:
Our family would like to thank the community of Blaine for the crab feed fundraiser for our daughter Shyanne Deming. Without the following people organizing the crab feed it wouldn’t have came together: Rob and Julie Adams and family, Steve Dodd and family with Blaine Marina, the Blaine school district, Kathy Mills, Jennifer Wheeler and Cindy Freeman. Also, thank you to everyone who came out to the dinner in support of our daughter!  
We would also like to thank my employer Matrix Services, BP Refinery and all of the employees for the fundraiser held at the refinery. Without the help from Matrix services, I would not have been able to be in Seattle with my daughter during her most difficult time of treatment and recovery. Matrix and BP have helped, or have been a part of helping, many families that been through extreme hardships in the past, through charity fundraising, and we are truly thankful to be one of those families.  
The Bellingham Yacht Club also chose Shyanne for their Sink the Dingy fundraiser this winter. A big thanks to the yacht club, Allegiant Airlines and all the club members for their generous donations that contributed to the fundraiser. We are now able to set up a tutoring fund to help Shyanne catch up in all the schooling she has missed out on this school year.  
When our daughter was diagnosed with myleodysplatic syndrome in October, we figured we would have to start and get through this journey as a family. Since her diagnosis we have had not only our family and friends support, but the communities as well. We are so appreciative of anything and everything everyone has done to help get us though this tough time. All the outpourings of kind words, prayers, and generosity have been so overwhelmingly uplifting. It really has helped keep our heads up and stay strong.  
Shyanne continues to on her path of recovery here in Seattle. She is nearing her day 80, so hopefully in a month or two she will be able to come home to Blaine. Thank you again for everyone’s continued prayers and support.

Lathen Deming and family




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