Aroundthe Bays

Published on Thu, May 10, 2007
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Around the Bays

Kindergarten readiness night

Blaine primary school has scheduled a kindergarten readiness meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15 in the school’s multipurpose room. The meeting is for parents who have a child entering kindergarten this fall and will address questions surrounding child readiness, what children will learn in kindergarten and how parents can help get their child ready for school. Childcare is available. For more information, call the Blaine primary school at 332-1300.


Eye in the sky catches accident details

U.S. Border Patrol cameras along the U.S./Canadian border helped find a car accident victim last week after they were ejected from a moving vehicle on Zero Avenue in Canada.

At approximately 10:15 p.m., Border Patrol personnel in Blaine were monitoring one of 32 surveillance cameras located in the area when they noticed a car sliding on its side on Zero Avenue, nearly a mile east of the Lynden border crossing near the intersection of Double Ditch and Boundary roads.

The car then began to roll and flip over, severing a utility pole and downing utility lines before crossing the border and coming to rest on Boundary Road in the United States.

Acting Blaine Border Patrol sector chief Joseph Guiliano said camera operators in Blaine were able to contact aid and law enforcement agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s office before the vehicle stopped moving.

Border Patrol agents arrived within four minutes and began to assist the victims but were initially unable to locate the one of the five passengers.

Blaine camera operators were able to use infrared heat-sensing capabilities to locate a 17-year-old girl who was hidden from plain view after being ejected several yards from the car.

Guiliano said the incident, though unfortunate, is an example of the capabilities made possible by the cooperation of U.S. and Canadian authorities.


Power outage next Saturday

The City of Blaine has rescheduled a planned power outage from May 8 to Saturday, May 19, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the area bounded by 15th Street, D Street, the Canadian Border and Harvey Road, in addition to one small area west of Allan Street and north of Lincoln Lane, and E Street between Allan and Jerome. Public works director Steve Banham said the project will result in greater service reliability.


E-coli tests found negative

Customers of the Bell Bay Jackson Water Association concerned about e-coli contamination can drink their water without taking any unusual precautions, state Department of Health (DOH) officials announced earlier this week in a statement.

Last week, state health officials advised nearly 300 Bell Bay Jackson Water Association customers to boil their tap water after they discovered e-coli bacteria in a routine water sample. The warning was revoked Monday after 10 additional samples returned negative, officials said Monday.

The water association, located between Blaine and Ferndale, serves 272 customers and purchases its water from Blaine.

The Blaine public works department also conducted a series of tests for fecal coliform, all of which were found to be negative.
State health officials said no illnesses associated with the event have been reported.


County conducts clam survey

The Whatcom County public works storm water division worked with volunteers during a clam enhancement study in Birch Bay last Saturday.

The area was seeded with manila clams and will later be studied to check for growth and survival. A non-seeded area will be used as a control sample.

The study was funded by a grant administered by the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee.


Recycle empty nursery containers

Individuals holding on to old, empty nursery containers are invited to recycle them at a free special collection event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12 at Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale.

The collection is scheduled in conjunction with the annual plant sale hosted by the Washington State University (WSU) Whatcom County Master Gardener Foundation and will accept black plastic nursery items as well as drain pipe, truck bed liners, plastic “lumber” for benches, posts and pilings.

Pots should be dry, cleaned of loose dirt and sorted by the number printed on the bottom.

Other recycling opportunities for rinsed pesticide containers, baling twine and film, row covers, pipe, drip tape and business plastics are available by calling the Whatcom County-sponsored recycling hotline at 676-5723.


Mysterious powder shuts down post office

An unidentified powder that caused a three-hour closure of the Blaine Post Office last Thursday was likely caused by a disintegrated rubber roller from a mail-sorting machine, officials announced this week.

At about 8 a.m., postal employees noticed a package containing an unidentified foreign substance and complained about eye irritation.
Jim Vauk, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Everett, said this prompted post office officials to contact the Blaine police department, which contacted an emergency response crew in Bellingham.

The roller was replaced.


Legislature increases traffic fines

Fines for traffic violations have increased to keep pace with inflation, Whatcom County law enforcement officials announced last week.
The new fine schedule starts with fines of $81 for speeding violations between one and five miles over the limit in a 40 mile or less zone, to $399 for violations of 40 miles per hour more over the limit.

The increases correspond with fine increases for violations within school zones with a scale beginning at $177 for speeds between one and five miles over the limit and capping at $772 for speeds of 36 to 40 miles over the limit.


Blaine City hall to receive facelift

Blaine City Hall is slated to receive a facelift, city officials say.
In a regular meeting of Blaine City Council April 30, Blaine community development staffer Debbie Harger presented council members with a slideshow exploring different options for upgrades to the aging cement building.

Preliminary design concepts feature an enlarged entry way, new front windows, removal of the current marquee, painting the city hall portion of the building a medium beige color with forest green “trim” painted around windows, painting the fire station section of the building a muted yellow with pale green and bright gold accents, and adding new fire station doors.

“When we combine those colors you can see the huge difference in the scale of the buildings,” Harger said.

Council member John Leibert said the change was desperately needed. “We need something that is at least palatable,” he said. “This thing is just butt-ugly.

Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic agreed. “It’s been likened to putting lipstick on a pig,” he said. “But it really is a distraction downtown.”
In the meantime, Tomsic said he is looking into working with an architectural consultant to determine if the facility can meet current and future space requirements as an alternative to tearing the building down.


‘Comfort Queen’ visits Blaine Friday

Best-selling author Jennifer Louden known to some as the “Comfort Queen” will speak at an annual St. Joseph Hospital’s Women’s Expo and luncheon at 12:15 p.m. Friday, May 11 at Semiahmoo Resort.
Louden is the author of several books including “The Woman’s Comfort Book,” “The Couple’s Comfort Book,” and “Comfort Secrets for Busy Women” and has appeared on the Oprah Show, Later Today and MSNBC, CNN and Fit TV.

She is also a personal coach, social commentator who sees women’s comfort as both a fundamental need and an innate desire. Her columns have appeared in Glamour, Shape, People, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Self, New Woman, and Yoga Journal.

The event will also include more than 20 exhibitors sharing health information and giveaways. Cost is $12.95 and includes lunch. Registration is required. For more information, call 738-6720.


Watch out for bats!

The Whatcom County Health Department is conducting a county-wide reminder to avoid rabies by steering clear of bats. Health department officials warn that as bats wake up from their winter hibernation, the chance of human-bat contacts increases.

In Washington state, bats are primary carriers of the rabies virus. Rabies infection can occur when people or animals are bitten by a rabid animal or have contact with the infected animal’s saliva. The rabies virus attacks the nervous system, and once symptoms appear, the disease is nearly always fatal. Individuals exposed to a rabid animal must receive rabies vaccines and immune globulin to prevent the disease.

If you have been bitten or scratched by a bat, isolate the bat if possible, wash the wound well, and call your doctor right away.

If you find a bat in the house, isolate the bat in a room by closing the doors and windows. Call the health department and they will determine if anyone may have been exposed and if the bat should be tested for rabies.

You should also make sure that your pets have up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Unvaccinated pets are at risk for rabies. Call animal control or a veterinarian if your pet has had contact with a bat.

Bats are very important to our environment. They control pests by eating twice their weight in insects each day. However, they are wild animals and should always be left alone. Here are some tips for avoiding them:

• Never handle, feed or play with bats.

• Teach children to avoid bats and to tell an adult if they have contact with a bat.

• Keep pets away from bats and make sure your pet has a current rabies vaccination.

• Prevent bats from entering your home by making sure that windows and doors are properly screened.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov or call the Whatcom County Health Department at 360/676-6724.


Community garden takes root

The Blaine Community Garden is getting under way this week. Coordinator Maxine Thompson said the city will till the 600-square-foot garden patch early in the week of May 14. The garden occupies the Seventh Street right-of-way on the south side of G Street immediately west of the Blaine Senior Center.

“We usually have room for 20 gardeners, and this week the soil will be warm enough for both cold and warm soil crops,” Thompson said, adding that the project began six years ago under the leadership of Blaine resident Dick Clark.

For $15 for the season subscribers get to plant, nurture (water and aged horse manure compost are included) and harvest a 10 by 20 foot plot. Two plots may be rented for $25.

Gardeners must bring their own tools and non-organic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides are prohibited. For more information or to sign up, call 360/312-4153.

By Tara Nelson