Letters to the Editor: September 13 - 19, 2012

Published on Thu, Sep 13, 2012
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The Editor:

With the first week in my new job at the Peninsula Daily News in Port Angeles in the record books, so to speak, I figured now would be a great time to offer a written goodbye to all the thoughtful, smart, funny people I had the pleasure to meet as reporter for The Northern Light.
A goodbye, and thank you, because without the many people who made my job at the newspaper possible, I would most likely not be employed today.
The experience I gained from my two years at The Northern Light is priceless. I learned how to talk with people, write so complex topics were made understandable, and most importantly, I learned how to listen. Listen so that I could understand the issues that were most important to the residents of Blaine and Birch Bay and write about them to the best of my ability.
You’ve made it possible for me to explore new opportunities in my chosen profession and grow as a reporter and a writer. While I’ve moved on to a daily, I’ll always remember the things I learned as the sole reporter at a weekly community newspaper: Write about what is most important to people, and do it with integrity and honesty.
Most generously of all, you let me into your homes each week as you reached into your mailboxes and pulled out the most recent issue of The Northern Light. You allowed me to chronicle the personal victories and the issues that touched every single Blaine and Birch Bay resident.
And for that, above all else, I thank you.
May the most you hope for be the least you get.

Jeremy Schwartz
Port Angeles


The Editor:

Regardless who wins the coal terminal battle, we in Blaine have our own problem with coal trains. Every day, trains loaded with uncovered coal pass through our state, county, and town spreading coal dust in our pristine environment.
Why is it, if any kind of truck on our Washington state highways drops or spreads remnants of their load on our highways and homes, that load has to be covered, or else the driver and company would face a heavy fine? My question is, how can coal trains get away with crossing our state, spreading coal dust, and not cover their loads?
I suspect the answer is spontaneous ignition. You see, if coal is allowed to heat up, as it would under covers, especially in the hotter portions of our state, there is the risk of a spontaneous coal fire on the train.
So my next question is a no-brainer. If you can’t cover the coal cars because of the risk of fire, and you shouldn’t let them travel uncovered spreading coal dust wherever they go, then why are we letting them enter our state in the first place? Especially since we citizens of Washington state are not using the coal that is being shipped by train through our state.
The answer: Some really rich people are making it happen, and you haven’t told them to stop. Please contact our government officials and ask them the same questions. Thank you.

Ron Snyder


The Editor:

As a new Blaine resident and now new follower of The Northern Light I was appalled to see an article brashly promoting homeopathy in the Health and Wellness section. The author of the article is a practitioner of this pseudo-science with no medical training. 
Her statement that scientists do not yet know why or how homeopathy works is simply false. It does not work and the theory of “energetic signatures” is crackpot science. You do a disservice to your subscribers presenting such material, especially if any of them consider this as reliable medical advice that might solve their real medical needs.

B.S. Thomson


The Editor:

Here in Whatcom County we all have access to Puget Sound and the unique diversity of wildlife and islands that it comprises. At one time or another most of us have enjoyed fishing, clamming, boating, whale watching or the islands. Even if all you really like is the view, you have to admit that is spectacular in itself.
I doubt if many of us ever stop to contemplate the profound importance of the ocean in general, for even if you live inland and never see or experience it, the ocean is actually what sustains all life on earth. About 75 percent of the globe is ocean and what happens out there affects everything else on land. For instance, we owe 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe to the microscopic organisms living on the ocean surface; through photosynthesis, oxygen is released and excess carbon is sequestered, making the ocean a living organism that sustains us. 
As we pour larger and larger amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, the oceans become increasingly stressed; what the ocean cannot absorb, remains in the atmosphere for many decades where it continues to warm the planet and/or is converted into carbonic acid, causing the oceans to become ever more acidic. These conditions – acidity and heat – have grave effects on all sea life, especially phytoplankton, which gobble up CO2 and release oxygen. One can easily see the progression here and the vicious cycle created when we upset the balance by overwhelming our atmosphere with fossil fuel residue.
Putting aside all other considerations surrounding the coal shipping terminal, such as toxic dust, noise and accidents from trains, diesel fumes, etc., why would anyone who knows the value of our oceans want a project that clearly increases CO2 emissions? Whether or not the terminal creates jobs or revenue is not the issue. We need industries that support sustainable jobs and climate solutions. What are we doing to our planet?

Christine Westland
Birch Bay


The Editor:

Sandy Robson seems to be changing her story. Her June letter did not mention “expected” and also stated annually, implying that 48 million tons would be shipped from the beginning. She does not understand that there is a difference between what is known (current contract is for 24 million tons) and what is expected. I did not see any reference to 48 million tons in the application and will check it again.
I can assure Sandy I am as educated on the issue as much or more than she or other opponents. The facts stated by her and others are not facts or are distorted facts. For example, the total jobs expected to be created as stated in the application is 430, not the 213 that they keep stating. Whether that is significant is another issue.
I do not believe I have been offering opinions; rather, my letters are stating facts as read and as I have known from personal experience.
Peter Winterfeld writes about the coal problem at the Long Beach, California, coal terminal. I lived in that area (South Bay) for more than 25 years and do not recall this being an area of concern. What these opponents need to understand is problems in other locations do not necessarily carry over to this proposed terminal. I do not disagree with them pointing out problems in other locations, but focus should be on whether the application properly addresses your concerns.
What is important to note is that these opponents keep referring to China when more coal is shipped to other countries in Asia than to China from the U.S. Do you know that the U.S. produces more carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuel burning than China, India and Japan combined?
Again, I am not in favor of the terminal. I am concerned about false and misleading statements being included in these letters.
I would rather devote my energy to incorporation issues and getting a local person to be president of our chamber of commerce and replace the current one who is not addressing the needs of local businesses.

Mickey Masdeo
Birch Bay


The Editor:

The Blaine Food Bank (BFB) announced a challenge last month. Will Birch Bay, Blaine and Custer communities help BFB reach our goal of $25,000 by December 15, which will then be matched by a generous local donor? The BFB volunteers are hoping our local businesses, churches, schools and residents can help us achieve this goal.
BFB needs help. The volunteers worry from week to week about whether we will receive enough donated produce, protein and bread to fill our bags and boxes. During August, the BFB helped more than 1,500 families equaling 5,655 individuals seeking food. BFB registers 20 to 30 new families a month; however, BFB enrolled 69 new families in August.
BFB receives product donations to help our families. Our drivers pick up donated food daily from local grocery stores. BFB usually receives from 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of food weekly from Food Lifeline and from 4,000 to 5,000 pounds every other week from Northwest Harvest to help provide for our families. These donations are simply not enough. The BFB budget pays for the canned goods, milk, eggs and the “Farm to Food Bank” produce we distribute. If you have extra homegrown produce, we would love to give this to our families. It is always a special treat to get fresh produce from your plants and trees.
Did you know? BFB is entirely staffed by volunteers! From drivers to warehouse workers, from preparation workers to distribution workers, even management and janitorial workers are volunteers at the food bank. Volunteers work when they are available with some working more than 40 hours a week. All BFB volunteers agree, we would rather spend our money on food for the families instead of paying employees.
The BFB’s mailing address is P.O. Box 472, Blaine, WA 98231. We are located at 500 C Street. BFB’s phone number is 332-6350. If you are curious about where your donations are going, please visit. BFB distributes food every week on Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. We also distribute on Wednesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. 
Please help us meet our goal.

Robin G. Kendall
Blaine Food Bank manager


The Editor:

As strong supporters of District Court Judge Dave Grant, we are very excited about Dave’s primary election victory. Voters understood the importance of Dave’s judicial experience. Dave received over 41 percent of the countywide vote in a three-person race.
Judge Dave Grant has presided over hundreds of criminal and civil trials. Every day he brings to court fairness, common sense and respect for the rule of law and for all people. Judge Grant is a proven, hardworking and impartial judge. As current presiding judge, Judge Grant is responsible for managing and administering District Court operations, personnel and budget. The District Court has operated within budget during Judge Grant’s tenure.
Our Superior Court is facing daunting administrative and budgetary challenges. With his experience, background and knowledge, Judge Grant is uniquely qualified to meet these challenges and preside over Superior Court cases from day one.
Community safety is a high priority for us. We know Dave Grant well and we know he is committed to keeping our community safe.
Please join us in voting for Judge Dave Grant for Whatcom County Superior Court.

Tom Barrett
Kenni B. Merritt


The Editor:

I would like to express my support of Matt Krogh for the position of 42nd District State Representative.  
Mr. Krogh has distinguished himself as a candidate in his vigorous backing of public education. Mr. Krogh is clear about his support of educators and students. He believes in sufficiently funding schools and has an understanding of what it takes to retain the best teachers. As such, he has received an endorsement from the Washington Education Association as well as many education-focused parents.
The incumbent has cast votes in favor of downgrading public employees’ insurance programs, as well as supporting a 'merit-pay' system that has been shown to be to be largely inaccurate and unfair. He has simply not delivered in the area of education.
Please consider voting for Matt Krogh for 42nd District State Representative this coming election.

Colin Lowin

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