Newsin Brief

Published on Thu, Mar 18, 2004
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News in Brief

WA-CERT projects up for consideration
Whatcom County Council is now accepting applications for projects that could help energize the economy, create new jobs and help communities in Whatcom County grow.

In June county council will rank applications for the annual county WA-CERT priority list. As part of the state’s community and economic development program, the list guides state and federal grant dollars to projects that local government thinks would be most valuable to communities. The program is open, in general terms, to local governments, public ports, economic development councils, special districts, not-for-profit groups, tribes and other associations whose activities enhance local economies.

Applications are due by April 12, 2004 and more information is available through the county executive’s office at 360/676-6717 or at

City asked for helping hand
Bob Hines of the International Peace Arch Association, sponsors of the annual Hands Across the Border celebration, has asked Blaine City Council to limit vendors outside the event in order to maximize the group’s profits from sales of souvenirs. “We figure they’re hurting us between four and five thousand dollars,” he told council members March 8. Hines explained the annual event, which attract thousands of scouts, veterans and spectators to Peace Arch State Park, is funded primarily through the sale of t-shirts, hats and pins from their stands in the park. However, souvenir vendors outside the park gates working with city permits, are cutting into their sales. “We’re asking for a city ordinance that on that one day would keep outside vendors away from the park,” Hines said.

Council members expressed support for the event and directed staff to look into a feasible solution but city manager Gary Tomsic said they were unlikely to find one. “Whenever you start changing the law for one event you’re on thin ice,” he said, explaining the city could be putting itself in an untenable legal position if accused of arbitrary and capricious legislation.

Know a volunteer?
The Whatcom Volunteer Center is looking for nominees for their annual Heart and Hands Awards, recognizing those who give their time and talent to building stronger communities. From a carpenter who helps build sets for the community theater to a friend who creates websites for non-profit groups, community members are encouraged to put their favorite volunteer in the running. Nominations need to be mailed to the Whatcom Volunteer Center, 411 York St., Bellingham 98225 or emailed to by April 1. Awards will be handed out at an ice cream social at Bellingham high school on April 25.

It’s whose phone number you know...
The Washington League of Women Voters has unveiled their annual guide to the state legislature to help voters stay in touch with their elected representatives in Olympia. “Representatives and senators do listen to their constituents,” said Seattle chapter president Nancy Eitreim. “If you go to Olympia you’re likely to be able to make an appointment and you can certainly write a letter at any time. If a lot of people do it you’re going to have a significant effect.” The guide is available online at or by calling the league offices at 206/329-4848.

Poster contest for kids
Whatcom County kids are being asked to illustrate how they are kind to animals in a poster contest sponsored by the humane society. Posters should be the size of a piece of construction paper and any medium goes – paint, pencil, crayon, pastel, photos, collage or a mixture of those and other media. The contest is open to kids in kindergarten through fifth grade and posters will be judged in two age categories. First place winners will have a chance to be on TV on the humane society PetWatch program. First, second and third grade winners will have their posters displayed at the humane society for one year.

Submissions should be dropped off or mailed to the Whatcom Humane Society at 3710 Williamson Way, Bellingham 98226. Each poster should have the artist’s full name, grade, age, mailing address and telephone number. For more information go to

New Habitat house due to start
Two hundred community members traded bids at the Habitat for Humanity Raise the Roof auction at Semiahmoo last weekend, which raised over $40,000 to help families build their own homes. City manager Gary Tomsic was the auctioneer for the March 13 event, which had weekend getaways, air tours, kayak lessons and a week in Hawaii on the block. Birch Bay realtor Mike Kent served as master of ceremonies. “We’ve seen a tremendous response from the community,” said local Habitat director Terry Mattson.

Habitat is getting rolling on its 2004 building season, pouring the foundation for its next Blaine house on E Street next week. Community members are encouraged to sign up for the April 16 and 17 building blitz, where 40 people a day are needed to help raise the walls. Call 715-9170 to volunteer.