Letters to the Editor
This note is to thank everyone for a fabulous Discovery Days in Birch Bay last weekend. The weather was perfect and the event was enjoyed by thousands. More than 40 parade entries made their way down Birch Bay Drive and treats were had by all.
Special thanks to Tammy Pearce, Pat Allese, Jeff Elder and Tarrin Nixon from the Bank of the Pacific, Lyn Rose and Friend Tanya, and Scott Peterson for their help staging and starting the parade and manning (and woman-ing) the barricades, and Ruth Higgins for helping me round up parade participants. I don’t believe we have ever had so much variety in the parade – from belly dancers, to boats, so many golf carts, and a special thanks to the Color Guards from the VFW Custer Post, American Legion Peace Arch Post, and the Lower Mainland Colour Party (who made it despite a 2-1/2 hour delay and interrogation at the border). Thanks to Mike Kent and KGMI for broadcasting the parade on the radio.
More than 60 vendors made the Arts, Crafts and Family Fun Festival just that – lots of FUN! Yummy treats and all sorts of products and information were available from the fair site at Sealinks Golf Course. Thanks to my employers, the Wynstra family at Homestead, for use of the space again this year, not to mention supporting my time in preparation of the event!
More thanks to Marty Stauffer, Carol Dean, Erin Carampot, Jacque Peterson, Ruth Lauman, Ruth Higgins, Susan Brush and Sandra Schoenherr for helping to staff the Chamber Booth and make sure everyone knew where they were going – and where they could park! Thanks to Bob Aitken and Jim Calhoon for the set-up of the Chamber Booth. Also – thanks to the Bay Center Market for sponsoring the horse carriage rides, what an unexpected treat that hundreds of folks enjoyed both days.
Estimates from the parade are from 3-5,000 folks, who then made their way to the Fair site. Sunday was busy as well, and we plan to add some activities on Sunday to make it even better next year so mark your calendars for the 30th Annual Discovery Days Arts, Crafts and Family Fun Festival July 18 & 19, 2009!
See you at the Bay!
Discovery Days Chair
The Lower Mainland Colour Party of the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), 50 volunteers who have participated in the annual Birch Bay parade several years, were detained at the border for over two hours while everything was scanned and each person had to go through the I.D. routine before they could proceed to participate in this year’s parade. Their late arrival delayed the start, again, just as it did several years ago.
Does anyone at the border seriously think these dedicated volunteers wearing heavy uniforms, carrying heavy instruments and marching one mile in the sun have some other purpose, or that the RCL would risk its standing in the community or with law enforcement agencies by allowing a criminal to board their bus?
One would think this honorable, established group would warrant handling by an agent trained in public relations. This unit has come through the border before, and the agents were advised beforehand.
The clearing agent could have done a cursory check to verify that everyone was a member of the organization and sent them on their way. This oft-repeated behavior demonstrates a profound lack of common sense.
This has happened several times when Japanese students making a one-time appearance in Blaine were delayed at the border, having to be photographed and pay for a visa (a total of $600) just to perform in Blaine.
This kind of treatment by Homeland Security agents is embarrassing. No wonder Americans are held in such low esteem around the world. Our country is becoming more and more like that of Hitler’s homeland. Ah, so many people, so much power to hassle.
This is my opinion and has nothing to do with The Northern Light, as I am an independent freelance photographer.
The Friends of the Blaine Library held their semi-annual used book sale in July and raised $1,700 to be used to purchase items for the library that its budget does not cover.
Our most recent purchases were the DVD/video storage shelves and children’s area carpet.
We would like to thank the volunteers who helped with the sale, Cost Cutter market for the use of their price gun and Pacific Building Center for advertising space on their reader board.
And of course, we thank all of you who donated books and all who bought them!
Friends of the Blaine Library
Did everyone have a blast at our Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration? We’d like to thank our sponsors for making it all possible: Pacific Building Center, city of Blaine, Semiahmoo Resort and BP America, Inc.
Our thanks also goes out to those who made fireworks donations, and the great volunteers and city staff who are so dedicated to making all our community events successful.
Blaine Chamber of Commerce
We are organizing an event to raise funds and awareness for Old Dog Haven, a charitable organization that provides care for senior dogs who are abandoned at this stage in their lives.
The Birch Bay Dog Walk will be September 27 at 10 a.m. at Birch Bay State Park. Details and registration forms for the event are at www.birchbaydogwalk.com.
Old Dog Haven helps older dogs from Tacoma to Blaine. There is a need for foster homes and final refuge (like hospice) homes as well as adoption homes because of the number of old dogs in need. The funds are used to care for these dogs, as many are in bad shape when rescued. Old Dog Haven received an award from Whatcom Humane Society this year for the human work they do in Whatcom County. More information is available at www.olddoghaven.org.
In the Birch Bay incorporation feasibility study by Berk & Associates (Berk) states: “If a City of Birch Bay was fully operational in 2009 … the city would generate $3.2 million in “core” operating revenues” (Page ES-2). Berk goes on to say: “…under a tax structure that would hold Birch Bay residents’ tax burdens equal to what they pay as residents of Whatcom County…” the city would need to: 1) experience $150M in additional new urban sprawl to generate enough building permit revenue over five years, 2) experience an average rate of existing property appreciation of 5.5 percent each and every year, and 3) actually have an “assessed value per resident” that is 286 percent greater than the median value of all Washington cities.
I argue that none of these three conditions are likely to be true for Birch Bay in 2009, nor anytime soon. On the contrary, residential housing prices in the “most overheated” markets, like Bellingham ranked 5th nationally, are predicted to decline by as much as 45 percent according to the S&P Case/Shiller Index.
The problem is that our city and county’s tax codes are not structured to accommodate property devaluations of such magnitude. Nor are our local banks capitalized to withstand the historically unprecedented foreclosure and default rates currently being experienced in both the residential and commercial real estate sectors, which have caused this devaluation.
If these three Berk projections are false, as I assert, then Berk concludes: “the new city of Birch Bay would have taxing authority that Whatcom County does not have.” I ask readers to drive through empty subdivisions and count existing home “for sale” signs throughout Whatcom County, then conclude for yourselves if the Berk projections ring true.
Please vote to have Birch Bay remain an unincorporated area of the county and also demand that Whatcom County establish “impact fees” to assess real estate developers for their fair share of the infrastructure costs of their speculative projects. The reason the county wants out of its financial obligations to Birch Bay is because more unfunded infrastructure has been incurred by urban sprawl than funds have been accrued.
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.
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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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