Letters to the Editor: February 2 - February 8, 2012

Published on Wed, Feb 1, 2012
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The Editor:

The 15th annual Arts & Jazz auction was a delightful evening of fun, friends and community. In addition to grossing just over $11,000, the Blaine Fine Arts Association started a new tradition by presenting the first Arts & Jazz Friend of the Arts Award to Pam and Bob Christianson. The award is given to the Christiansons for their support of the arts in the Blaine school district and for helping make Blaine a more artful place to live.
The BFAA would like to thank all of the businesses and individuals who donated to make this evening possible and would like to ask you to help us thank them as you patronize their businesses. Their generosity along with the spirited crowd made the evening very special. Next year, sweet 16!

Dorita Gray

The Editor:

On Saturday, January 28, my wife Pam and I attended the Blaine Fine Arts Association’s annual Arts & Jazz fundraiser. Before the start of the live auction, we were asked to come forward and were presented with the first Friend of the Arts Award. Needless to say we were both surprised and humbled by this.
During the presentation Dorita Gray praised us for all we do in our community. We were even more humbled.You see, the fact is, it is we who should be praising our community and not the other way around.
Having a retail business in a small city like Blaine is at best a very fragile thing. Many businesses start but just cannot survive. You can be certain that in more cases people from the larger cities will not come to a small town to purchase that which is available to them closer to home. However, people in a small town will make frequent trips to the larger city, as we all do.
The Blaine community and our neighbors in Birch Bay have supported our small business for the past 15 years. It is because of community support that we have grown and survived. We know it is only through the continuation of your support that we will survive in the future.
So believe us when we say it is our honor and privilege to support this community of ours in any and all ways that we can. In fact, we are merely returning that which you have given us. Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.

Bob and Pam Christianson and family

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to urge Blaine voters to support the capital projects bond and the renewal of the maintenance and operations levy on the February 14 ballot.
The capital projects bond will provide $3 million, $2.4 million of which will go to building new science labs in our high school. This is a serious need on several levels.
The current science labs are severely out of date and only meet 40 percent of current lab facility needs. This is worrisome, but I’d like to address a deeper problem.
A week doesn’t go by when we aren’t assailed by news that the United States is losing its competitive edge in science and technology, rapidly dropping behind countries such as China and Korea. A 2010 article in USA Today reported that the U.S. ranked 17th in science education. Instead of standing by and watching this decline happen, here is an opportunity for us to take the bull by the horns and do something about it!
One should not underestimate the importance of a strong high school program in science to attracting talented students to the field. I’ve been fortunate to have a successful career in chemistry, and it all started for me in a great chemistry class in a public high school in the 1970s. I’d like to think that our young people today will have access to up-to-date lab facilities. The remainder of the bond will go to other important needs such as improvement of lighting, heating and security cameras in our schools.
Passing the maintenance and operations levy is also extremely important. We all know that education funding from the state has been reduced. The current levy will simply replace one currently in place which funds 25 percent of the district budget. To not pass it will be a serious setback for our schools, which I don’t think any of us want. For more information, please visit www.blaine.wednet.edu.
The future is in our hands. Let’s do the right thing!

Mike Abrams

The Editor:

The Blaine Gardener’s Market is about to begin its fourth year of service to the Blaine community. Over the years, the market has gone through several subtle changes, all of which were developed at the market meeting. This year’s market meeting will be held at the Blaine Library on Monday, February 6, at 6 p.m.  The meeting is open to the entire community, and children are always welcome to bring their ideas for the market. This year’s market will open on Saturday, June 2, and the last official market day will be Saturday, October 6.  For more information, please call Carroll at 360/332-4544.

Ron Snyder

The Editor:

The upcoming levy/bond election is of utmost importance for maintaining and furthering the educational opportunities for the students of the Blaine school district. Specifically, it is important that the science lab facilities in the high school be replaced. Presently, only one lab area is available for all of the science courses taught. The lab is outdated and needs to be upgraded to provide facilities required for teaching science courses presently being offered and for any additional courses that may become available in the future. There are safety concerns with the present facility, which can be eliminated with the construction of the proposed five laboratory/classrooms.
As a member of the AOE (Ache of Elders) I fully support the proposed levy/bond issue and for my part disagree with those that have indicated publicly that the “old folks” don’t support schools. For your part – vote whether you support or don’t support the proposed levy/bond issue. It is your right and duty to do so.

Dennis M. Olason
Class of ’54

The Editor:

I don’t mind waiting at a railroad crossing for a train to pass, if the train is moving. All too frequently, however, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway trains come to a complete stop while blocking traffic on Birch Bay/Lynden Road in Birch Bay and Bell Road in Blaine.
On Monday, January 30, I was an hour late arriving to work because a stopped train was blocking Bell Road for 50 minutes, holding up the WTA bus that I use to commute to and from my job. I lost an hour of pay because BNSF had the road blocked.
Not only that, but I also had to suffer the cold, wet and windy weather for over an hour, waiting for my bus to arrive. I was not able to open my place of business on time, therefore my employer suffered financially as well as having his reputation tarnished. And an unknown number of my customers were inconvenienced, all because BNSF parked their train across Bell Road for 50 minutes.
I am only one of the many people who use WTA to commute to and from work every day, and the WTA bus was only one of the many vehicles that needed to cross the railroad tracks at Bell Road that morning. If you multiply my experience by the possibly hundreds of others who were delayed by that train, the impact to our community was enormous! I have tried to contact BNSF by telephone to register a complaint, but can get no answer (not even an answering machine) at the numbers listed in the white pages of the current telephone directory.
What do we have to do to get BNSF to stop blocking our roads with their parked trains? Not long ago, I waited for a train that was stopped at the Birch Bay-Lynden Road crossing for over 20 minutes. When it finally moved, there was a fire truck and an ambulance waiting on the other side, both with their lights flashing. Does someone have to die before BNSF stops parking their trains across our roads?
I would consider filing a class action suit against BNSF to recover damages due to lost income, pain and suffering, etc., if enough people expressed an interest in pursuing such a lawsuit. If you are interested, please contact me at bnsfsuit@sterlingphotoart.com. Any lawyers who might be interested in representing us, please contact me at the same address.
If any representatives of BNSF are reading this, I encourage you to contact me also. Let’s get this issue settled, one way or another.

Jeff Sterling

The Editor:

May I introduce you to a biography of Dietrich Bonheoffer (“Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy”) written by Eric Metais. The book has received rave reviews from a host of critics and periodicals. “Captivating,” “Crammed with insight,” “History that reads like a novel,” among many more praises.
Dietrich Bonheoffer, one of eight children, born 1906 in Germany from distinguished parents; at the age of 39 hung by Nazis a few weeks before the end of WWII – at the behest of Hitler!
He was educated in theology at Berlin University, whose distinguished theologians were amazed at the brilliance of his mind. Although subjected to a variety of theological perspectives, he became a devoted follower of his neo-orthodox mentor and friend, Karl Barth, who, according to Metais, was perhaps the greatest theologian of the past five centuries. Barth, a German nationalist, hostile to Hitlerism, fled Germany for Switzerland in the late 1930s.
In the modern age, without a proper context, Neo-Darwinism, “para-science” and secular philosophies are invading many of our especially elite educational institutions. In this biography, there are brilliant positions against insinuating the absence of God. Believers seeking inspiration will experience joy reading this book. Like C.S. Lewis, Bonhoeffer inspires hope!
A few Bonhoeffer quotes: “Where people pray, there is a church, and where there is a church, there is never loneliness.” “Silence in the face of evil, is evil itself.” “Christ alone is the conqueror of death.” Just before his hanging: “This is the end ... for me the beginning of life.”
At this time, may I humbly suggest to the faithful and/or those searching for meaning in life, devour this book. It will enrich your soul.

Ken Knutsen

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