Year in Review 2007
• Downtown Blaine business owner Steve Lawrenson was awarded a contract to operate Blaine’s liquor store in the International Center by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB).
• Federal officials acknowledge that construction of the new Peace Arch U.S. port of entry will signal the beginning of up to two years of a strangled border. “It’s going to be painful for everybody,” said James Rector, assistant port director for the Blaine area.
• Whatcom County auditor Shirley Forslof dropped a bombshell on two-term council member John Liebert’s re-election campaign in the last week when she announced that he may be ineligible to run because his residence is not in the ward he’s running for.
• Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire called the looming traffic congestion as a result of the General Services Administration’s planned Peace Arch Port of Entry reconstruction “unacceptable” during a visit to Ferndale for a tour of the city’s waterfront.
• After being worth just a little over 60 cents U.S. a few years ago the Canadian dollar has passed the U.S. dollar in value for the first time since 1976.
• After an overwhelming display of public opposition, Blaine City Council narrowly voted Monday to deny an amendment that would streamline the city’s planning process.
• Local control over taxes and land use decisions were the most important issues to Birch Bay residents, according to a survey distributed by the Birch Bay Steering Committee.
• After working with the city of Blaine for only six months, Tom Black, the development manager of the city’s community development department has resigned.
• U.S. Representative Rick Larsen is calling for the House Homeland Security Committee to hold a hearing addressing the growing number of complaints about the NEXUS trusted traveler program.
• Incumbent Jason Overstreet beat his opponent David Gallion in the bid for Blaine City Council, Ward 3, Position 5. Other candidates who won the election were: Blaine Planning Commission member Harry Robinson, who was running uncontested for the council’s Ward 2, Position 4, and Scott Dodd, who was running uncontested for the council’s Ward 2, Position 3 and incumbent John Liebert, who was running uncontested for Ward 1, Position 1.
• Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo pulled the plug on a private contractor that has been operating a minimum security jail for the county when he learned of possible sexual misconduct on the part of one of their employees.
• Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) finished most of the Highway 543 improvements from H Street north to the border and has reopened lanes.
• City of Blaine finance manager Meredith Riley announced she would not recommend raising the city’s property tax rate more than 1 percent in 2008, even after a state supreme court ruling that determined otherwise.
• Whatcom County public works crews began long-awaited road repairs on Drayton Harbor Road between Shintaffer and Harborview roads.
• Birch Bay resident Yvonne Schaff, 56, was killed when a Ferndale woman driving her Chevy Lumina southbound on Blaine Road tried to illegally pass a pick-up. Officials suspect drugs were a contributing factor in the accident and arrested Elyssa Birman, 28, on suspicion of vehicular homicide.
• Blaine resident Mel Hollinger received the 2007 “Man of the Year/Lifetime Achievement” award from the Bellingham/ Whatcom Chamber of Commerce.