Letters to the Editor -- December 11, 2008

Published on Thu, Dec 11, 2008
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Merry Christmas to The Northern Light staff. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading the police report. Not because I have a mean streak but because of the great writing of the unknown person(s) that pens these wonderful little gems.
Thank him/her/them for me please.
Crystal Berger
Birch Bay

The Editor:
On behalf of the men and women of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to thank members of the Birch Bay Community for working in partnership with us to improve law enforcement services.  While significant accomplishments in reducing crime and enhancing safety have been achieved, more remains to be done.
During the 2009-10 county budget process, several proposals were brought forth to reduce sheriff’s office funding. Implementation of these proposals would result in a giant retreat from the progress that has been achieved.  Although we are facing some tough economic times, our community needs effective law enforcement now more than ever. 
Your communications to elected officials and presence at Council meetings helped set budget priorities and avoid reductions in critical public safety services.  We are pleased to be able to continue the successful neighborhood deputy program.
Please be assured that your sheriff’s office will do all it can to operate the sheriff’s office in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Bill Elfo,
Whatcom County Sheriff
Bellingham

The Editor:
On behalf of the board of the Blaine Boys & Girls Club, our director, Karin Schulhauser, and the staff and kids at the club, I want to thank the Blaine City Council for presenting the Boys & Girls Club with the Blaine Builder Award.
This honor is a reflection of the wonderful growth that the club has enjoyed and the significant positive services that it offers to the kids of Blaine and Birch Bay.
The city of Blaine is an essential partner in the success of our programs. We are grateful for the opportunity to call a portion of the Blaine community center our home, and for the generous annual grant the city awards us that helps us to be able to provide a safe and enriching environment for the kids in our community.
The club serves 100 or more kids every school day afternoon and also offers a full program daily throughout the summer. Additionally, we have started a program at a site in the Loft Lane development in Birch Bay to better meet the needs of kids in that area.
Our enrollment continues to grow at all age levels and the club is taking active steps to provide programs for our teens who have moved through their earlier years with us and look forward to more age-appropriate activities and venues.
It is rewarding to realize that our successes have not gone unrecognized within the community.
Thank you, Blaine, for all of the validation that the Blaine Builder Award represents, and we pledge to continue to offer the kids of Blaine and Birch Bay the best possible programs and environment to help them take their places as positive and productive community members.
Bryan Johnson
Boys & Girls Club
Blaine

The Editor:
During this time of economic downturn and people squeezing the nickel till the buffalo screams, you figure the pinheads that run this city would get it, but they don’t.
The outrageous fees that the people of this city have to pay for service, and other utilities is completely out of line. This city is making all of you pay for the mistakes of previous administrations, after they were sued and lost after the bones were discovered.
It cost roughly $15,000 to hook the services to a new house being constructed, and $70 a month for sewer is what is keeping so many houses and rental units in the city from being sold or rented. When you look at this city’s budget this is just the city’s way of gouging you out of your money to further their useless expenditures.
What they don’t realize is that if they lower the fees to an acceptable level they will also realize that more residents and businesses will locate here if the fees are at a level they can live with.
The more residents and businesses that locate here they will not lose any income but gain income from more people and businesses using the utilities. With all the empty units in this city they are losing money by non-usage in a big way.
Wake up council and pull your heads out of where the sun don’t shine, and use a little common sense when it comes to doing the job you were elected to do, look after the people and their money, not your money.
David White
Blaine

The Editor:
As we get closer to the end of the year 2008, we at Northwest Park and Recreation District 2 (NWPRD2) are reflecting on what has been a pretty amazing year! We have seen the opening of a new office, many successful recreation classes and activities being held in the Blaine and Birch Bay area, and much work being done by the steering committee and community members towards finalizing a master plan for our district.
In the midst of all this activity and excitement, we want to take time to say thank you to everyone what has partnered with us in various ways.
Thank you to our instructors, and to all who provided facilities for our classes. Thank you to all who have worked with us on issues concerning parks and trails. Thank you to everyone who volunteered by spending time helping NWPRD2 with decisions and tasks. Thank you to those who have opened accounts for us and enabled us to set up our office and financial processes. And thank you to all who have either personally promoted the business of our district or been involved in the media advertising of our meetings and activities. We are truly blessed and grateful for having you in our district. We extend our best wishes to you for a blessed holiday season and look forward to working with you in the coming year.
Ted Morris, Betty Robertson, Terry Johnston, Richard Sturgill, commissioners
Linda Roorda
NWPRD2 office manager
Blaine


The Editor:
The Blaine Community Senior Center would like to thank all the volunteers, vendors and the community for supporting our Christmas Homemade Arts & Crafts Bazaar held December 5 and 6.
Special thanks go to Santa Claus Bob Toms and to all the people who so graciously contributed cookies to our “Walk Down Cookie Lane,” which helped make this event a huge success. Heart-felt appreciation goes to the merchants and individuals who contributed to our raffle.
All of the proceeds from the bazaar support your local senior center, which provides activities and programs for seniors, including a daily lunch program, exercise programs, socializing, and hobby and learning experiences.
Sharon Neem
Blaine Senior Center
Blaine

The Editor:
What a gas. I called Cascade Natural Gas last summer to ask why I, a Birch Bay resident, was paying a “Blaine city tax” on my gas bill. A Cascade employee assured me everything was in order and that I owed the amount in question even though I don’t live in Blaine. 
Nonetheless, Cascade called in September to tell me I’d been charged the “city tax” incorrectly and would be receiving a $108.21 refund. According to a Cascade employee to whom I spoke 100 other households received the same phone call. I was also told by the same employee that Cascade is trying to collect the tax money back from Blaine, apparently to elicit my sympathy (this gambit failed). 
My requests for answers both from Cascade and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC), followed by a written complaint to the WUTC as the latter requested, have all been met either with vague answers or the sounds of silence. 
My unanswered questions, at this point unfortunately no more than rhetorical, are as follows: Is Cascade required to report systematic billing errors such as this one to the WUTC? Why does the WUTC not require Cascade to inform customers in writing of billing mistakes and to pay interest on monies collected incorrectly, as is required for customers’ deposits? What, if any, mechanisms does the WUTC have in place to confirm customers are being charged correctly?
I asked this last one hoping for some reassurance after noting the little insert in a recent bill tactfully indicating a vaguely whopping increase could be expected on my future gas bills. To paraphrase the old Latin saying, who guards the gas purveyors? 
I last e-mailed “my” WUTC consumer affairs investigator November 17, telling her I was preparing a letter to the editor and asking if she had any information.
Her reply? “I am walking out the door for the night, but wanted to let you know that I will put you first up next to my coffee mug for priority work tomorrow morning.”  
I’m still waiting and my own coffee is getting really cold.
Brian Warner
Birch Bay

The Editor: 
In its minutes from the Semiahmoo Resort Association (SRA) 2008 Annual Meeting the SRA lauded the results from their “town hall meeting” addressing an ongoing speeding problem within the Semiahmoo gated community with statements like “great success” and “public awareness that resulted from this has actually corrected the problem. Complaints regarding speeding since that time have not occurred.”
The SRA gives the illusion that the problem took care of itself and all is well. NOT SO! For others including me this meeting was a “Great Disaster.”
The SRA turned a fact-finding meeting into a voting contest between speeders, unaffected residents and complainants. As the complainants were greatly out numbered by speeders alone, there really wasn’t a contest at all in the voting for removal of stop signs and determining if they consider speeding to be a problem. From this vote the SRA formed a consensus that speeding is no longer a problem and the issue is closed.
This gave the speeders a green light to resume speeding, which they do morning, noon and night seven days a week at speeds of up to 50 mph in a clearly marked 20 mph zone unimpeded by the unsightly stop signs that were removed.
The SRA does encourage people to voice complaints but to what end? Others including myself have tried to bring about change via the SRA to no avail with my last attempt being after the town hall meeting. It’s like trying to reason with a rock.
To date the efforts of the Blaine police have shown no perceptive effect on reducing this problem.
I don’t expect this letter to directly stop the speeders but it could be of some value to others contemplating paying a premium price for that perfect environment to live in.
Of course if your idea of perfection includes having an interstate in your front yard then this could very well be the right place for you, otherwise caveat emptor.
John Grycel
Blaine

The Editor
I just finished listening to several commentaries on television regarding Sam Zell’s failed attempt to save the Tribune, including the long established Chicago Tribune from bankruptcy. You have to give him credit for pumping several billion dollars into an industry that most business leaders consider a loosing enterprise.
My wife, Sandy, and I are pretty well educated. We have always considered the delivery of our newspapers the lifeline of our news, regardless of what we read on-line or see on television.
What other communication vehicle cares enough to tell about what is occurring in Blaine or surrounding communities? That means a lot to us, and without The Northern Light we would feel lost in this town. You do not just cover local news, you insert special news that no one else carries. That is important to us!
Sometimes I think that a few folks in this area just assume you can publish your newspaper for free. Well, we don’t. We appreciate your efforts and hope you are here forever! Even if we have to pay for your newspaper, be it ever so small, we will do so.
Newspapers were the founding journalistic organizations in this country. Although Sandy and I are extremely computer literate, there is something very special about being able to get out of bed in the morning and lazily walk out to our mail box and pull out our newspaper filled with some national and world news, but, yes, some special news about local values.
The Bellingham Herald also fills this void. That is what keeps America together, not just CNN and FOX. Keep up the good work and never give up! Thanks.
Bob and Sandy Charles
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, fax 360/332-2777 or
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