News in Brief

Published on Wed, Dec 30, 2009
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ConocoPhillips employees set record donations

ConocoPhillips’ Ferndale refinery set a new record for employee donations in the refinery’s recently completed campaign to benefit United Way of Whatcom County.

“We have a generous workforce at the Ferndale refinery and many of our employees are personally involved in a variety of non-profit organizations,” said Dave Abbott, who chaired the refinery’s employee campaign. “Our employees stepped up this fall and responded at a time when the demand for services provided by our local United Way agencies continues to rise.”

Refinery employees surpassed last year’s contributions total by more than 17 percent. Donations from employees, combined with the company’s contribution, totaled $111,612.

The donations also exceeded the refinery’s previous high set in 2006 by nearly 13 percent. As well, participation in the campaign was up 44 percent.

Abbott and his team of nine co-workers employed creativity to rally employee support for this year’s campaign. A refinery bake sale and an online auction for employees and contractors helped generate additional donations for the fall 2009 effort. 

The auction featured nearly 80 items – ranging from trips, electronics, and theater tickets to railroad ties, holiday ornaments and edible treats – donated by individual employees and the company.

Murray includes $3 million for northern border

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that the $3 million she included in a 2010 spending bill for northern border law enforcement has been included in the final version of the bill. This funding will support local governments burdened with border-related prosecutions. The final version of the spending bill came out of a conference committee between the Senate and the House and is expected to pass both bodies shortly before being sent to the President for his signature.

Program offers free and low-cost spay and neutering

The Whatcom Educational Spay and Neuter Impact Program (WeSNIP) has scheduled several spay stations throughout Whatcom County for low-income pet owners.

The Spay Station, a mobile veterinary clinic, provides free spay and neutering for dogs and cats with proof of public assistance and low-cost services to others. Other services are also available at the time of surgery.

Clinics are scheduled through the month of January at various locations. For more information, visit or call 360/733-6549.

Blaine Boy Scouts troop to collect Christmas trees

The Blaine Boy Scouts Troop and Pack 25 are offering to pick up and dispose of Christmas trees. The trees should be placed on the roadside before 8 a.m. on Saturday, January 9.

To request a tree to be picked up or for more information, call 360/656-6949 or email and leave a message with an address.

Donations are welcome and will be used to help pay for awards and other needs for the scouts.

Nooksack salmon group seeking living Christmas trees

The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association will accept living Christmas trees at the end of the holiday season as part of their Living X-Mas Tree Donation program.

Individuals can donate their living tree at the NSEA office at 2445 E. Bakerview Road in Bellingham from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through January 8 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, January 9.

The trees will be used in streamside habitat restoration projects throughout the county. For more information visit NSEA’s website at

Kremen appoints Ward Nelson to county council vacancy

Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen has appointed Ward Nelson to fill the vacancy on the county council created by the resignation of Bob Kelly on November 26.

Kremen stated a primary factor in his decision was that Nelson has represented district 1 since 1994 and has historically received widespread bipartisan support from the voting public. Kremen noted that Nelson ran unopposed four years ago in his last election and received more than 70 percent of the vote in his prior election in 2001.

Kremen pointed out that the incoming council will have three neophytes and that Nelson’s experience will be a valuable asset.

“I look forward to working with the new council to address the critical issues facing the county in a collaborative and cooperative manner, traits that Nelson has demonstrated throughout his tenure on the council,” said Kremen.
Nelson has stated he is uninterested in running for another term and will only fill the position until the outcome of a public election in November 2010.

Kremen was limited to a list of 25 nominees provided by county council on December 8. He commended the nominees for their willingness to serve the community.