Letters to the Editor
Keeping a promise
Last year Richard Sturgill made a promise to our great niece, seven-year-old Robyn Kirby of Tacoma to take her for a special ride on the Plover this year.
While visiting last year, Robyn was unable to board the Plover due to being pushed aside and she was left in tears on the dock. I informed Richard of this and this nice man sent her a letter of apology, a model of the Plover and pictures, and promised her a ride.
Sunday, August 10, Robyn, along with her mother Jennifer Meyer, her uncles and I were greeted and escorted aboard the Plover by captains Richard Sturgill and Ryan Meyer. Robyn was allowed to sit in the captain�s seat and steer the boat once outside the harbor. What a thrill for this little seven-year-old. She was able to see all kinds of birds and best of all for her, baby seals were basking in the sun.
Robyn was also given a certificate of honorary captain by both captains.
It will be a day Robyn will never forget or the man who made it possible. A man who kept his promise.
Toni & Gene Peller
Something occurred to me as I was looking at the sketches for the new boardwalk in downtown Blaine. I have to assume that a major purpose of this boardwalk is an effort to build this city and its economy up. Then why is it that once built a person will be able to walk the entire length of it and back and then get in their car and drive away without ever being enticed to spend a dime here?
Lately I have had an opportunity to visit a few other small towns that seem to have a thriving downtown and who encourage many tourists and spenders alike. Namely, Lynden, LaConner and Leavenworth. Neither Lynden nor Leavenworth has a boardwalk and yet their towns are beautiful, lined with gift shops, antique stores and restaurants and most importantly people who spend money there.
Now, LaConner does have a boardwalk as well, but interestingly enough the walker is enticed into many little shops and restaurants, which have entrances accessible from the boardwalk itself.
A lot of people have told me how bustling Blaine was �in the day,� i.e., before the freeway bypassed our little town. Lynden is not a thoroughfare to anywhere, neither is LaConner. And while the freeway does go through Leavenworth, that town isn�t filled with people on their way to someplace else. These towns draw the people there because of what they offer and because of the aesthetic beauty each offers with their own unique themes � Dutch, old time fishing village and Bavarian.
A town in upstate New York, which is also bypassed by a freeway, decided they didn�t want to see their town continue its slow death and hired an artist to design colorful storefronts along its main streets. Townspeople volunteered to help with the painting. Now people come just to see this painted town and while there, stop to have lunch or buy a postcard or trinkets from this fun and unique place.
I submit that Blaine could easily be added to those places tourists and townsfolk alike are drawn to with tax incentives and fair rent for potential downtown storefront entrepreneurs and a common theme decided upon for the city of Blaine. Decorate the storefronts in that theme. Advertise in travel magazines (but only after the remodel is complete).
The new Blaine signs are great and a boardwalk may be a fine idea, but let�s not spend $1.5 million just so people who happen to stumble upon Blaine, can take a nice walk.
The roots have it
Jim Jorgensen�s slogan is �Vision with Roots� and that�s exactly what Jim will bring to Whatcom County as a Port of Bellingham commissioner.
As a resident of Blaine I have seen firsthand what Jim�s abilities as a visionary can mean to the community; Blaine Marine park, once a garbage dump, is now a beautiful addition to Blaine�s waterfront and serves locals as well as visitors from across the country and across the border. What was once an eyesore is now a gathering place for walkers, joggers and bird watchers. That�s the kind of vision and outcome that we need in Whatcom County.
When Jim says that he will strive to make Whatcom County cleaner, more beautiful and more prosperous for all of us, that�s just what he means. That, in a nutshell, is his agenda. And he plans to do that by listening before acting. He will be guided by what we, the residents of this county, want to accomplish with our port taxes. What Jim Jorgensen will bring to the port commission is his background as an educator and environmentalist, his ability to listen, his ability to communicate his vision, his desire to seek consensus from us citizens and last, but not least, his integrity.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in Whatcom County have the responsibility to elect the best candidate to our port commission. Your vote can make a difference � a difference in our future. If you�re not yet registered to vote in the primary, do so by August 29.
And once you are registered to vote, I urge you to vote for Jim Jorgensen for district 3 port commissioner. He will serve us well.
In a recent letter to the Blaine city council, local resident Lincoln T. Rutter states that �none of you really understands the purposes and functions of the state environmental policy act� and that �now that you have successfully eliminated SEPA.� These accusations are simply not true. The fact is the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) was not eliminated at all. The SEPA threshold was adjusted, and the changes were very moderate, affecting only the smallest of construction jobs.
Most of Mr. Rutter�s statements are greatly exaggerated or simply inaccurate. For example, Mr. Rutter cites �hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage that you continue to allow to overflow into the bay here each winter.� The city has had absolutely no sewer overflow in over three years.
With respect to Mr. Rutter�s attacks on the planning commission, I speak for the entire council when I say that the council has confidence in our planning commission and particularly, the chair, Brad O�Neill. Brad is meticulous in his fair treatment of land use issues and extremely sensitive to potential conflicts of interest. He builds two or three custom homes a year. This hardly puts him in the category of �one of the city�s largest builders,� as Mr. Rutter states. These kinds of attacks are both untrue and unfair.
This city is fortunate to have a responsive staff and a dedicated planning commission that is committed to public participation. Staff, council and the planning commission spent countless hours in research, public meetings, and a work session before the SEPA threshold was unanimously approved by council � which, by the way, is still stricter than most of the cities in Whatcom County. The public was encouraged to attend every public meeting and contribute to the discussion.
This does not mean that I don�t appreciate the concern that he and other local residents expressed to the planning commission and council. I have spent a great deal of time talking with Mr. Rutter and I myself have spent more than 50 years working on environmental issues.
While Mr. Rutter does not live in the city of Blaine, city staff, the planning commission and the city council have spent endless hours addressing the issues he has raised. This is anything but governmental apathy and corruption. I would suggest that the government in Blaine is just the opposite. I invite all of Blaine�s citizens to visit the planning office or attend the many public meetings. I believe that you will be pleased with what you see: a community-based government working for the community and this amazing place in which we live.
Dieter Schugt, mayor
In last week�s letter to the editor the Blaine Boys & Girls Club inadvertently thanked Terry Galvin as our auctioneer for our Dance on the Dockside. We would like to apologize and thank city manager and auctioneer Gary Tomsic for a job well done.
We would again like to thank everyone who had anything to do with this year event for making it our best ever.
Blaine Boys & Girls Club
In your August 14 edition you printed an article concerning Blaine�s city council vote to raise the SEPA thresholds. I am concerned with a comment in this article made by Lincoln Rutter that implied that the new subdivision in Semiahmoo called Drayton Hillside Division 2 was approved without environmental consideration to steep and sensitive slopes. There was also implication by Mr. Rutter that by raising SEPA thresholds, the city has diminished the environmental integrity of subdivision review. Let�s review the facts of that application.
The city of Blaine planning commission, the Blaine planning staff and the Blaine public works department asked for and received from the applicant (Trillium) these numerous documents for preliminary review of this project: � A preliminary plat map indicating the proposed land use layout, a detailed topographical map and a succinct tree survey indicating the exact location of every tree with base diameter of six inches or larger.
� Master land use permit application form describing the intent of the applicant, a SEPA environmental checklist, and a shoreline conditional use application pointing out any deviation from the allowed shoreline use.
� Geotechnical engineering study investigating soils and their associated stabilities, and a limited geotechnical report addressing steep slopes and suggested setbacks from defined critical areas.
� A study performed by Aqua-Terr Systems, Inc. delineating the proposal�s impact upon the wetland areas, waterways and wildlife.
� Clearing and vegetation management plan outlining the clearing of roadways and properties, and a conceptual trail plan assuring that the general public would retain access rights to the property.
� Conceptual electrical system plan, a proposed sewer main map, and a stormwater drainage basins plan indicating how stormwater runoff would be handled in order to protect Drayton Harbor.
� Slope analysis map showing sensitive areas to be preserved throughout development and associated setbacks from these areas.
� City of Blaine staff report concerning the relationship of the city�s comprehensive plan as compared to the Semiahmoo master development plan.
� And lastly, the developer hired archaeologists to monitor all excavations to assure that the cultural interest of this area was protected to the satisfaction of the city and local Native American bands.
To suggest that the city of Blaine�s plat review process is errant in its environmental responsibility is inaccurate and extremely unfair, and particularly by an individual who was not even present during the hearing process.
City of Blaine Planning Commission
Congratulations to The Northern Light for working hard and raising the standard of our local newspaper. You have a small staff and work long hours to efficiently cover the many city meetings, etc. We feel the reporting is good and accurate, and provides the news and information we need.
The paper has grown professionally, we believe, and are pleased to see that this has been recognized by increased advertising. We congratulate the staff at The Northern Light on their efforts to further increase the coverage in our local newspaper and we hope all readers will appreciate their untiring efforts.
In our opinion, we are very fortunate to have Rebecca Schwarz Kopf as editor of The Northern Light. May you and your husband enjoy your time in Blaine, Rebecca, and thanks so much for all that you do.
Judy & Trevor Hoskins
Those of us at the Blackberry House want to thank the community for all of their support. We are going to miss the new friendships that we have made. We invite the community to come in and say goodbye. Our last day of business is August 29, and we invite anyone who has a coffee card with us to come in and receive their free coffee, even if it isn�t full.
My daughter Maria Rodriguez, my sister Kelly Jordan, my niece Katie Jordan, and my daughter Brianna Paris also thank the community for their support and will miss many of you.
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
send your letter to:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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