Letters to the Editor -- February 10, 2005

Published on Thu, Feb 10, 2005
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Dan’s in trouble again.
He worked with lots of kids who were in trouble, too. Kids no dedicated educators would bother with, you know. They’d trash those worthless rascals and get on with the important business of the day. They’d trash Dan, too.
I admire those decent people who would trash Dan, too. They’re fine, upstanding Americans who know right from wrong. They are people of integrity and sound judgment. I envy them. Wish I could be just like them. Then I, like them, would also be able to call the shots and determine exactly who is worthy and unworthy. It must be wonderful to have capabilities like that.
What wonderful role models all of us would become if only we could be Americans of integrity, purity and justice – fine Americans who know right from wrong. And now I see that detestable contrast: Just think what an awful role model Dan Newell has been. He’s been hauled in for drunken driving. I get terribly upset just thinking about it! He’s leading vulnerable children astray, you know. He’s been doing it for years.
Dan, you see, took advantage of those kids, gullible darlings that they are. The kids loved him. In fact, they still do. I can’t think of a worse role model than some manipulative principal who cons kids into loving him. That was Dan’s unpardonable sin.
What do kids know about life? Or love? Every decent American knows kids should be seen and not heard. They’re supposed to study their reading, writing and arithmetic and make high WASL scores. They don’t need love. They need discipline.
Someone of integrity wanted the school board members to resign – or trash themselves, so to speak. Then decent people could replace them.
Okay, if I were on the board, I would vote to keep Dan working with the kids just the way he’s done it for years. My faults – and maybe yours, too – are greater than Dan’s. I learned how to hate people. That’s a skill Dan never mastered.
That’s why I love Dan. Just like the kids.
Richard Clark
Blaine

The Editor:
I would like to commend the staff of The Northern Light for the quality of their publication and companion website which provides Blaine “expatriates,” such as myself a way to keep in touch with issues affecting our hometown.
As an alumnus of Blaine high school (class of 1987), it is with disappointment and sadness that I read of the current criminal investigation into the alleged activities of high school principal Dan Newell. It would, of course, be improper to presume guilt on the part of Mr. Newell until such time as he might be found guilty in a court of law. However, there is, as evidenced by past conviction and present admission, a pattern of behavior that is incompatible with what ought to be reasonably expected from someone in his position.
I do not doubt the sincerity of those BHS students and others who write and sign letters on his behalf attesting to his general dedication to his students and otherwise excellent aspects of his character. I would submit rather, that these are things that would be expected of anyone who holds the job of principal of Blaine high school. The recent letter to the editor signed by the 175 students from Blaine high school states that they “know and support him as a respectable man of integrity, honor, compassion and commitment.” Compassion and commitment I do not doubt. But by his own admission, Mr. Newell is not a man of integrity and honor. An honorable man would have already resigned his position.
It is somewhat surprising to myself that I feel as strongly as I do on this subject. I suppose that loyalty and affection for my alma mater are to blame. But I think it is also because as a student at Blaine high school, it was my privilege to observe and be instructed by men and women of integrity and honor, including principals Mr. William Miller and Dr. Gordon Dolman, as well as vice principal Gary Clausen.
I consider it a shame and an insult to the traditions and alumni of Blaine high school that Dan Newell has not, as of the writing of this letter, done the honorable thing and accept the responsibility for his actions by resigning his position. To do so would be the greatest lesson he could ever teach the students currently in his charge.
Ray H. (Buddy) Wilkett Jr.
Nampa, Idaho.

The Editor:
Have you ever met Mr. Newell? Just in case you haven’t, I will gladly inform you about him. Mr. Newell is one of the nicest guys ever, he honestly cares about the students of Blaine high school and is always someone there for you in any way possible. Yeah, maybe he did tip off the parent of a 16-year-old girl about drug-related problems but that shouldn’t make him a criminal. What’s with this world – one mistake and you’re ready to cut him out of your children’s lives. Why?
If you don’t want your children to attend the high school with Mr. Newell as the principal then don’t have your children go to BHS because I know I would rather have Mr. Newell than two students who don’t want to welcome him in their lives.
If Mr. Newell doesn’t come back to Blaine high school than I won’t want to be a Blaine Borderite.
Meghan Schnackenberg
Blaine

The Editor:
Dan Newell began teaching at Nooksack high school when I was a sophomore (1979-80) and he was my teacher. I have experienced Mr. Newell as a teacher to me and as a principal to my kids. 
I like him, and think he has done a good job. However, like most people, he has made some mistakes. Because our kids are involved in many sports activities, I go to many events where other school parents are and I heard many parents say he should have stepped down after the alcohol-related incident, but I disagree. 
I feel a person who made a mistake, who owned up to it, went before the courts and accepted his consequences and fulfilled his obligations has set an example for our young people and maybe some of the parents.
I don’t know or pretend to know what is involved in the current situation and don’t feel the need to know anymore. I am sure the authorities are dealing with it. Whatever happens with this new situation will be dealt with by the superintendent and the school board.
We can’t make a perfect world or perfect school system for our children, even though we would like to. All we can do is deal with problems as they come up and make the best possible decisions at the time.
Mary Kay Phelps
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Once again baseball season is just around the corner, and as usual it takes a lot of volunteers and a lot of community support to make it happen.
If you have just moved into the area, welcome. If your kids will be a part of Blaine youth baseball and you would like to volunteer a little of your time, we will be having an informational meeting Thursday, February 17, at 7 p.m. at the Pizza Factory in Blaine.
If your children are not part of Blaine youth baseball and you would still like to volunteer, please join us for this meeting. The kids of our community need your help.
A registration form will go home with your child from school and our registration days to sign up are March 3, 1 – 5 p.m., March 5, 10 – 2 p.m., and March 8, 1 – 5 p.m. in the elementary school.
If you have any questions, please call Paul Aguirre 332-3912 or Troy Olason 371-3079.
Troy Olason
Blaine

Letters Policy
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.

Please send your letter to:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.
E-mail:editor@thenorthernlight.com

Letters Policy

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.

Please email letters to letters@thenorthernlight.com