Letters to the Editor - October 8 - 14, 2009

Published on Wed, Oct 7, 2009
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The Editor:
Just today someone has stolen two flowering plants from my yard, specifically, a Crocosmia and a Sedum. Other neighbors have had things taken, yard ornaments and such.
While this is probably petty theft, what is the next step for our neighborhood? Breaking and entering? So neighbors be aware, and we might see who is doing it.
Bill Eldridge

The Editor:
School, community and countywide pride is alive and well! This is a comment on a letter that was written last week. No parent, fan, coach or community has control over words that reporters choose to write  for any story. With that said, dissecting the words used: “thrash,” to beat; “yammer,” to jabber or chatter. These are merely words describing actions taken at the local football game and were not meant to disrespect a team that indeed is a true county pride.
Healthy competition is what is taught to the athletes as is good sportsmanship and conduct. Our county has nurtured many great athletes and will continue to do so for years to come.
Remember it’s not always about who wins or who loses the game, it’s how they played that counts. Win or lose, the “pride” (pleasure or satisfaction taken in achievement) will remain.
Angela (Morin) Abshere, proud FHS ’86
graduate & prideful Blaine Borderite
mom of two

The Editor:
Blaine’s landscape is littered with closed or demolished gas stations, with gravel or dirt remains reminding us of their once prominent part in Blaine’s socioeconomics. Those gas stations which remain have been marked by the same market forces and will follow those now gone, sooner than we’re able to grasp. This is a part of the larger picture of change facing Blaine, our culture and nation!
On October 1, at Bellingham’s Unitarian Fellowship Green Sanctuary Program, the Transition Whatcom Initiative Group, (TWIG) hosted three county residents addressing our energy crisis.
Speaking were Dan Warner, J.D., Juliet Crider, Ph.d., and John Rawlins, Ph.d. Each speaker outlined the realities of our fossil fueled socioeconomics, and pointed out that oil,  our main source of energy, will very soon be depleted. What is Blaine without gas stations? I’ll let you connect the dots for yourself.
Pull up TWIG’s website and begin the necessary change process in your own lives. Join them at www.transitionwhatcom.ning.com.
Blaine’s already begun this transition with our gardener’s market at H Street boardwalk these past summer months, and in keeping with petroleum geologist Richard Heinberg’s statement: “Our survival task for the decades ahead, as individuals and as a species, must be to transition away from the use of fossil fuels - and to do this as peacefully, equitably and intelligently as possible.”
Bob Hendricks

The Editor:
Sixteen years ago a group of county council candidates got elected who skewed the balance way toward development and away from stewardship. They adopted land use plans that caused loss of farmland, open space, and diminished the rural character of our county. The benefit accrued privately, but the cost is being borne by us all in the form of reduced services, traffic congestion, and degraded water supplies. Besides that, the plans they adopted were challenged and the county has lost a number of legal actions, fallen behind on development of the comprehensive plan, and spent a great deal of money correcting the problems.
In November four progressive, experienced candidates are up for election to the county council: Dan McShane, Ken Mann, Carl Weimer, and Laurie Caskey-Schreiber. If we lose even one, the progress made in the last few years will be in jeopardy. We’ve been where the challengers to these folks would like to take us. Been there: it was not good.
Daniel Warner

The Editor:
Visiting a public library regularly can help foster a child’s love of reading, and strong reading habits may contribute to their success in school. A room lined with books is a magical place filled with music and poetry, villains and heroes, castles and spaceships.
But libraries offer much more than books, videos and music. Librarians can assist patrons with job searches, and there are wonderful programs for children and teens. Most libraries offer free Wi-Fi Internet access.
On November 3, residents will be asked to vote on a measure that would increase the levy that funds the daily operations of libraries throughout Whatcom County. The levy would fund current levels of library services, and the maintenance of library equipment and furnishings. Staff training would also be reinstituted.  
If the levy is not passed, the current directive is that all branches of the Whatcom County Library System will close all day on Fridays, indefinitely. In addition, staffing would be reduced, there would be a delay in computer replacements, and further cuts in staff training would take place. Purchasing will be curtailed as well, and patrons will suffer in more ways than one.
Proposition 1 requests an increase to the current levy rate of 10.2 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, from 33.8 cents to 44 cents. For example, for a home with an assessed value of $250,000, the annual increase for the homeowner would be $25.50.
Ever since my kids were little, we have visited a public library almost every week, where they fell in love with the enchanting stories found on every shelf. If you believe in the importance of public libraries and wish the current levels of services to remain at Whatcom County libraries, vote Yes on Proposition 1, the Library Levy Election on November 3!
Carl Sagan once said, “I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”
Grace Jackson

The Editor:
So which came first, the chicken or the egg, or better said, the town or the tourist? The mayor of economically sleepy Grand Forks, North Dakota knew the answer to that question. The local government invested heavily into the town, its people, and exciting activities for the entire city. The end result was a vibrant and wonderful village style community that tourists flock to.
In fact, a recent Gallup/Knight Foundation study found that communities that had the highest proportion of attached citizens have stronger gross domestic product growth over the past five years compared with places where residents reported lesser attachments.
As most people know, before you can have a successful relationship with another person, you must be self-satisfied with who you are. In other words, before anyone from the outside will love Blaine, we must first love ourselves, and be satisfied with who we are. Perhaps it’s time to set aside the squabbles over development, and focus on the people of Blaine and what would make them happy. Then the development will move along in ways that meet the needs of the people, and a happy town will be its own attractant of tourists. I think the July 4th celebration, the Gardener’s Market, and any number of other town-wide activities more than make the point.
“Think local, plan local, act local, celebrate local, roll out the red carpet and expect company.”
Ron Snyder

The Editor:
The Sweet Road Artisans Alliance, a cooperative group of Blaine artists and craftspeople, will once again hold a Winterfest Art Show and Sale. This year it will be in the former Goff’s Department Store on Peace Portal Way. Dates will be the first three weekends of December. Times will be 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day. Cost per individual will depend on the size of space. A 10 by 10 foot space will be $50. Most artists will demonstrate their techniques on site. The artists themselves run the show so active participation is important. The group is looking for a few more interested artists working in a variety of media. Please call Richard Blackburn at 332-1435.
Catherine Taggett

The Editor:
The Joseph Schiffmacher concert, held in Bellingham Sunday afternoon, was wonderful. No other word can describe it so well.
It was interesting. Unusual. Nobody in the audience had heard Alsatian composer Schiffmacher’s piano compositions; they had been gathering dust in the archives of the Paris Conservatory of Music since he died in 1888. And yet, he had been Chopin’s student, as well as a famous teacher and conservatory professor.
On the one hand it was a booming success. For two hours, eight members of Bellingham chapter’s Washington State Music Teachers Association played 20 Schiffmacher pieces. Mary Walby, Debra Chang, Patricia Jorgensen, Lorraine Earle, Sue Gault, Dan Sabo and Ford Hill were the pianists. Kathleen Ash Barraclough was violinist.
I was amazed at the quality of Schiffmacher’s music, and of the teachers who performed them. Present were Surrey residents Christine, Alexandra and Stephanie Schiffmacher who had also heard Uncle Joseph’s music for the first time. They were enthralled!
As sponsor, I owe the performing artists, the Peace Arch State Park staff and volunteers many thanks for the hard work they devoted toward making the event a success. It was another fundraiser for park playground equipment. I owe heartfelt thanks to Tofer Wade who opened the Amadeus Project free of any charges and setup fees.
On the one hand it was a booming success. On the other hand, the concert was poorly attended. Exactly 50 people came to enjoy it. I had been certain the Bellingham Herald and two weekly papers would publish feature stories on such an extraordinary event. It didn’t happen. Understandably, the omission may have been due to a couple of additional musical events held the same day in Bellingham. 
From the bottom of my heart, I thank The Northern Light for placing notices on the front page and in the Briefs of last week’s issue. Exactly 20 guests arrived from Blaine and Birch Bay. Several had attended previous park fundraisers.
With freewill donations amounting to $495, the audience was generous. Thus far, over $2,000 has been donated, with hopefully more to come.
Richard Clark

The Editor:
On October 4, Blaine’s own Richard (Dick) Clark did it again! He, in collaboration with the Washington State Music Teachers Association (Bellingham Chapter), sponsored a second benefit concert to raise funds for the much needed replacement of the children’s playground at Peace Arch State Park. Assisting them were the staff and volunteers at the park and Tofer Wade and the Board of The Amadeus Project (TAP), who donated TAP’S performance space in Bellingham,
Sunday’s concert was an historical event and truly special at many levels. The inspiration for Sunday’s performance came from Dick Clark, who several years ago learned that two of his piano students were distant relatives of this long-lost, forgotten composer. The discovery led to the search and location in Germany of more than 300 pages of Schiffmacher’s piano works which had been stored away - apparently since the composer’s death in 1888.
It was an afternoon of beautiful music on an exquisite fall day - it couldn’t have been more enjoyable. Thank you, Dick Clark and all of you who made it happen, for giving us  and the children and families who ultimately will enjoy a new children’s playground at Peace Arch Park - this wonderful gift!
We encourage readers to contribute as you can to the Peace Arch Park’s Children’s Playground. Donations, designated for use for the playground project, may be directed to Peace Arch State Park, c/o Jason Snow - Park Manager, P.O. Box 87, Blaine 98231.
Lois Franco

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