Letters to the Editor: May 31 - June 6, 2012

Published on Wed, May 30, 2012
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The Editor:
I would like to thank all those community members, parents and teachers who came out to support the class of 2012 by sitting on the Senior Boards this past Tuesday and Wednesday. I think I speak for all of our class when I say that we appreciate the enthusiasm you show for our school.
However, I would like to request that in the coming years, the board members make a special effort to support all students, regardless of what their future plans hold. It is not acceptable to tell a graduate that if their immediate future does not include college they are wasting their potential; after knowing someone only 10 minutes, such a harsh judgment cannot be made.
The purpose of the Senior Boards is to get a glimpse into the lives of students and commend them for their achievements, not talk down to them about their futures. I implore you to realize that further schooling is not the only post-high school option, and that many people enjoy great success in life without a college degree.
Once again, thank you to all of the staff, parents and public who gave their time to serve on the boards.
Megan Schmidt
Custer


The Editor:
The Blaine Food Bank and our volunteers would like to give a big “thank you” to both Blaine and Custer post office employees during the USPS’ annual “Stamp Out Hunger” campaign on Saturday, May 12. Equally important, we would like to thank the generous people in the Blaine, Birch Bay and Custer areas who took the time to select, bag and donate food for this cause. Between both post offices we received a total of 5,509 pounds of food.
No one individual knows when they will be hungry, when they will have a financial struggle or when they might have an emergency. Hunger is equal opportunity. Being generous to the food bank is also an equal opportunity. So please accept our gratitude.
Robin Kendall
Blaine Food Bank


The Editor:
Ms. Graham’s commentary in last week’s paper regarding jobs gained by the coal port left me wondering really how many jobs are gained. The actual numbers are fictional. For those who approve, they are high; for the naysayers, they are low. Environmental concerns are a reality with any large industry with a [umm] questionable track record.
Everything else aside, I don’t like the fact of knowing the coal going through is contributing to the loss of more American jobs while polluting and damaging my community. I find that un-American myself.
Patrick Madsen
Blaine


The Editor & Ms. Halsey:
I was under the impression that American people prided themselves on being tolerant, open-minded and welcoming.
First, your comment about Uncle Lee could be mistaken as a racially suggestive slur toward Asian-Canadians, which quite frankly was extremely stereotypical and rude.
I agree that it is frustrating when there are poor drivers on the road, but if you are really so pressed for time that you need to get angry at those driving slowly, leave your house earlier. Personally I would rather have slower drivers on the road than crazy drivers who exceed the speed limit.
This brings me to my next point. I can almost guarantee that a higher percentage of Canadians are able to convert kilometers to miles, than Americans can convert miles to kilometers. After all, the rest of the world uses the metric system and only the U.S. uses miles.
You also talked about how Canadians come here and take “your” parking spots at “your” stores. Canadians have been coming here to shop for decades and, as a member of our community, I would hope that you would appreciate the fact that their patronage creates a lot of jobs and brings a lot of business into our community. We should be thanking them for that.
Some of your remarks are simply inappropriate – I thought America was supposed to be a courteous nation? Where is your courtesy?
Lastly, I just want to thank all the Canadians who come to our city and shop. Thank you for keeping us employed and contributing to our country’s economical growth.
Hania Harezlak
Blaine


The Editor:
In response to Ms. Halsey and her letter about Canadian drivers … I am a Canadian who owns a home in Birch Bay. I was very surprised at the tone of your letter to the editor. What did someone do to you to make you so upset with Canadians driving and shopping in Bellingham?
First of all, I agree we have some bad drivers, as we have a huge population of new Canadians moving to the Vancouver area. When you see an N on the bumper of a car, it means they are a new driver, or someone in the family is. Our population in Vancouver is huge and people love to come to the States to shop. I drive in Bellingham a lot, and if you think it is only Canadian drivers who are rude or ignorant of road rules, you are wrong. Bad drivers are bad drivers and live on both sides of the border. Talking about your roads being flooded with Canadian vehicles – well, read this paragraph below that I found about revenue from us Canadians, eh?
They come by the thousands on weekends, to the crowded Costco and Wal-Mart in Bellingham, and to clothing stores in Bellis Fair shopping mall. The sales taxes they pay supplies 6-12 percent of the city of Bellingham’s $16 million dollar sales tax revenue. Bellingham merchants rely heavily on Canadian trade.
We appreciate you sharing your stores and roads – maybe you should play nicely with your visitors and have some patience. Think of all the stores that are making lots of money and in turn taxes to pay for your roads, etc. Yes, NEXUS is great and more Canadians use it; think about the difference of population who use it or apply for it. We pay for the card as well. We have also bought homes in the area that help the economy in a small way. I think going forward you should be a little appreciative of Canadians and realize that we are friendly people who pay high taxes in our country and find prices more reasonable in yours. Yes, we also have some bad drivers ... just like you!  
Donna Kerr
Birch Bay


The Editor:
During the past several months SSA Marine has put forth many brochures and full-page ads promoting the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) but none mentioned “coal dust.” Apparently SSA Marine doesn’t want us to think about coal dust now. It’s better for SSA Marine if we first think about coal dust when we need to wash GPT’s toxic coal dust off our homes, our vehicles, our patio furniture and everything else we own and wonder if it caused our loved one’s asthma, cancer, heart attack or birth defect. If your zip code is 98230, 98248 or 98240, now is the time to think about coal dust – before GPT’s coal dust is in the air you breathe and covering virtually everything you own.  
The evidence from all coal terminals in North America today shows that GPT’s planned dust control techniques cannot prevent harmful amounts of coal dust from escaping into our air and water. GPT would pile coal in monstrous rows on Cherry Point – a total of two miles of coal piled as high as a six- to eight-story building. All of GPT’s coal would be uncovered and totally exposed to the wind. Every year more than 3,000,000 pounds of toxic coal dust would escape into the air from those monstrous uncovered piles and the wind would spread that poisonous coal dust all over our communities. A 10 mph wind would spread GPT’s coal dust 10 miles in one hour. Whatcom County doctors say there is no safe level of exposure to coal dust because it contains poisons including arsenic, lead and mercury.
We don’t need to poison ourselves and our property with coal dust to add jobs. On May 23, WorkSource Whatcom showed 581 jobs available right now in Whatcom County. On May 24, T-Mobile announced that it will add 350 new jobs this year in Whatcom County. We can continue adding good, safe jobs like these. We don’t need GPT.
Think about GPT’s coal dust now. Prepare to protect yourself (www.protectwhatcom.org). Most importantly, express your concerns about GPT during “scoping,” the public comment period.
Paula Rotondi
Birch Bay

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