Letters to the Editor -- August 16, 2007

Published on Thu, Aug 16, 2007
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Well, well, well, so Rachel Carson was right.
Your article indicating the drastic decline in the seabird population of Semiahmoo and Drayton Harbor over the last 40 years is scary and is another wake-up call regarding what we are doing to our environment. Are we soiling our own nest?
Are we all terrorists if we allow or perform acts that harm our country and environment?
Public awareness and sensitivity of the issues regarding what we are doing to our county, state and America needs to be address immediately before it is too late.
Let’s start at the local level with the press, city administration and governing bodies. Create a local environmental investigation committee to investigate the issues and recommend appropriate actions to maintain and preserve the environment.
Stan Monks
Blaine

The Editor:
I was in your sweet little village for a week during July 4th for a wedding. I was there to witness your somewhat decadent but impressive fireworks display. I don’t know how much your community spent on fireworks but it was at least $1 million? Maybe 2 or 3? Kind of hard to say but it was a huge display. It is not the fireworks that is distressing me but the carnage left on the beach the next morning.
Thousands of carcasses of dead fireworks and lots of other trash. Half of this carnage had already washed into the bay by the high tide. I helped some good citizens clean up the beach the next morning but you could see where lots had already gone into the bay and there were thousands of multi-colored plastic caps from the rockets already in the bay.
The smoke at the end of the night was so thick you could barely see the other side of the bay and the next morning there was a thick brown cloud of smoky pollution hovering just off shore, more reminiscent of LA than Birch Bay. The noise pollution must have been horrendous for the wildlife in the area. Hours and hours of it.
I felt sorry for the bald eagles in the tree next to where I was staying and wondered if they moved on the next day, as I did not see them the rest of my stay in Birch Bay. Is this how we choose to celebrate our countries freedom and birthday by causing as much pollution as humanly possible in one day.
Not to mention the vast amount of dollars spent on mostly illegal fireworks (so I was told).
It seems to me that there are many ways that money would be better spent. I am wondering if when all the life is dead in the bay if we will look back and say it was worth it to celebrate in such a grand manner.
Michael Gourley
Ashland, Oregon

The Editor:
I want to thank several great folks who saved my daughter’s life on Sunday, August 4 at the Shores Restaurant in Birch Bay. Her food had just been served when these good people at a nearby table recognized the beginning of a grand mal seizure of my daughter.
They immediately administered first responder type medical technical aid, revived her to hand her to fire district EMT personnel from their 911 call. She suffered a second seizure at St. Joseph’s Hospital and has since recovered and is doing well. Thank God those wonderful people were there, all of them.
They are Jason and Keri Anderson from Abbotsford, B.C. She is a sheriff’s deputy and he a firefighter; Randy and Lyla Roose from Birch Bay; Bruce Redmond, a customs agent from Point Roberts and several B.P. employees having lunch. They all acted immediately and worked efficiently together. Obviously all of these folks take their training seriously and know what they are doing. My wife and I express our profound appreciation to them.
Elmo and Margaret Abernathy
Blaine

The Editor:
What would you do if you were walking down the street and heard a baby crying in a pile of trash? This happened in Baghdad, Iraq, to Ghassan Thomas, an Iraqi citizen.
To his horror, he discovered a new born baby boy shrieking as a cat was gnawing flesh off his leg. Ghassan was able to rescue the child, get medical attention and surgery, and finally placed the child with an American woman serving with U.S. forces.
But this experience galvanized Ghassan to start an orphanage in the war torn city of Baghdad to help suffering children. He has secured a large building to house 30 children, but needs funds for repairs and especially for a generator.
I am also aware of another orphanage started by a local man who saw children in great need, only this was in Uganda, East Africa. The dictator Idi Amin devastated this beautiful country with a reign of torture and terror. More recently, widespread AIDS has left many children as orphans. Andrew Namutegere, who suffered under Amin as a teenager, was here in Blaine a few years ago and spoke to several local groups.
He and his wife have an orange grove and raise chickens to support their work with orphaned children in their care. They need funds to help with practical and educational needs of destitute children who depend on them for care.
As a school nurse, I deal with lots of children here in our swell town of Blaine, and I’m grateful for the generous encouragement and support that we give our own local kids.
So when I became aware of this orphanage starting in Iraq and remembered the one in East Africa, I thought there must be something we can do to make a difference for children who suffer in such hard places.
So here’s a little grass roots effort to help. This coming Saturday morning, there’s a small group of us locals who are having a “Community Garage Sale for Orphans” in the parking lot between the Food Bank and Northwood Alliance Church at 6th and C streets. We’re starting at 9 a.m., and all the proceeds will be given to the two orphanages, one in Iraq and the other in East Africa.
Would you like to help? You can give good useful items, or you can come buy something. Or, you could do both! Call me at 332-3830 for information or to give items to help.
P.S. I also want to thank The Northern Light for highlighting the plight of some of the world’s neediest children in Africa and elsewhere.
Margaret Gibson, R.N., B.S.N.
Blaine

The Editor:
As most of you know, our son, Seth Robbins, is in Japan to study. He is having a wonderful time. He is being home schooled at the moment while awaiting enrollment into his chosen school. And to all who know him with his long hair, I just wanted to let you know he got a hair cut since the temperature ranges between 90-100 degrees right now!
Seth is turning 18 on August 15 and we would love to send him a box full of cards, gifts and money if possible for his birthday.
We told him we will be sending him a box full of clothes next week, but we want to surprise him instead, with many cards from all his friends, teachers, counselors and other community members from Blaine who know him, and we know he would truly enjoy this sentiment as he is a bit home sick.
If anyone wishes to send a card (and if you want to include checks or money we will take it to the bank and exchange it into Japanese money), we would love to include yours in the birthday package to him. Mail to: Seth Robbins, 8407 Lillian Way, Blaine, WA 98230.
Liliana Robbins
Blaine

The Editor:
To everyone who came to listen at the One Oar Music Of The Sea Festival Saturday, August 4, I thank you. And so do the performers. They, and I, had a wonderful time. They, and I, would love to do it again.
For over 10 years I have wanted to start such a festival. Finding the place, starting small, bringing in some of the best regional and local performers, paying them for their talent to offer sea music, lore and art to an appreciative audience has been a goal to be achieved.
Blaine, with Peace Arch Park, was the right setting, no question. The performers were great in my estimation.
But having chosen them, perhaps I am a bit biased. The sponsors who stepped up to provide the dollars for the performers talent were sincere and generous, as they also believe that talent should be rewarded.
And the audience was absolutely superb. I say that because, although the crowd was not huge at the Peace Arch Park concert, the listeners applauded the performers warmly and stayed until the concert ended. To me, that says more than mere words can express.
To those of you who saw the vision put forth over a year ago, and those of you who volunteered your time, counsel, energy and support, I am sincerely grateful.
In an initial undertaking such as this One Oar Music Of The Sea Festival was, in a community I knew but slightly, the devil is always in the details.
But other than the very long freight train stopping at the border and blocking access to the marina stage for more than a half hour, the details never made it to the devilish stage.
If global warming does not inundate the West Coast (grin), the performers, volunteers, supporters, sponsors and I would all love to return next year with a slightly expanded festival. Cheers.
Jon Pfaff, producer, One Oar
Music Of The Sea Festival
Seattle

The Editor:
I was very encouraged to read that a member of the Birch Bay Watershed Resource Management (BBWARM) committee believes that, “we have to look at what we’re doing-even the small things” when it comes to cleaning up the watershed.
 The BBWARM committee has been pushing hard to institute fees to protect the watershed. So far there has been little talk of ensuring the fees are based on individual property owners’ contributions to the problems.
I have requested numerous times that any fees come with offsets including exemptions for those who do lot sized reductions/eliminations of storm water runoff.
There are many things property owners can do, from planting trees to planting rain gardens; from using porous concrete and asphalt to having green roofs (vegetated roofs) and small footprints to limit or eliminate storm water runoff. Cisterns and rain barrels are low impact development tools that help slow storm water movement.
The county is in the process of instituting more stringent septic system regulations that will effectively eliminate contaminated discharges once they are up and running for a few years.
So septic systems (mentioned by the BBWARM committee member as a culprit) will be solved without fees.
Other legitimate problems need fixing but if the BBWARM committee member really believes that the “small things” add up in the watershed, then I expect he will support the idea of using a carrot with the stick-fees offset by credits/exemptions for individual property owners doing lot size storm water run off fixes.
Unlike large, expensive engineered fixes, individual lot-sized storm water run off reductions/eliminations are proven to reduce problems.
I look forward to working with BBWARM and others to find incentive-based solutions to involve each of us and encourage us to do as much as we can on our individual properties to be part of the answer.
Imagine how much good we can all do cumulatively by doing as much good as we can individually! 
Barbara Brenner, Whatcom
County Councilmember
Bellingham

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:
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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