Letters to the editor: April 18-24, 2013

Published on Wed, Apr 17, 2013
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The Editor:
The early stages of launching a major public building project can be daunting. The process is complicated and includes approval from multiple government entities and citizens, planning experts, permits, land use evaluations, environmental impact studies, etc. Planning is extensive and years can pass before significant progress is made. Such has been the work for a new, much-needed jail, but progress is finally being made.
County council has approved the hiring of DLR Group, a top jail planning consultant in the U.S., and DLR has begun analyzing our needs and potential jail sites.
Many questions remain, but one bit of information needs clarification. The number of beds the jail will house is not determined by one person or a committee, but by DLR Group. They have the expertise to estimated current needs, and will consider future expansion if needed. 
No one wants to spend more money than is necessary to complete this essential public building project, but we must all keep an open mind to the final recommendations of DLR. Jail bed calculations are not a simple process and I am happy that a very qualified company is working to bring us a comprehensive plan that will meet the needs of our county. 
Thanks to all our local governments for their work on this project. We look forward to more information as progress is made for a functional, safe jail.
Joan Dow

The Editor:
Needful Things Consignment was born on February 5, 2011 in Blaine to a rousing grand opening and overwhelming support from the community and
surrounding area.
I have met a large number of wonderful people and made some dear friends. My eight years here in Blaine have been a refreshing and memorable chapter in my life.
I now find it time for me to move on and move closer to my grandchildren in Arizona and family in California. Therefore, I will be closing Needful Things Consignment and moving to Las Vegas in the near future.
Many consignors have voiced their sadness at having the store close, so perhaps someone who reads this letter would like to take on the adventure of running a consignment store and attending exciting estate sales. 
If so, you may contact me at the store for details. Needful Things is a thriving business with 200 consignors on the books and more waiting to get in.
In the meantime, thank you to Blaine for the opportunity. It’s been a great ride!
Brenda K. Graves

The Editor:
What are we thinking?
Due to a ski accident I spent an afternoon nursing a very sore knee. At 2 p.m. I propped myself up in front of the TV and started watching. By 8 p.m. I had counted 32 killings of one kind or another – each more violent and creative. During that time I never saw a wardrobe malfunction but endured uncountable fast food commercials and interestingly many weight loss commercials. Are we really so ignorant as to not see the correlation between constant nationwide mass killings and violence on TV? 
Having spent time in Europe I know that violent programs are shown after 9 p.m. in Germany and Austria, with the idea that the parents can monitor what their little darlings are watching. But nudity is prevalent and acceptable during the day on European networks. Nudity on public TV in America – heaven forbid!
As we speak our fearless leaders are wrestling with a reasonable gun control law and our first lady is trying to change our children’s diet habits. Futile, don’t you think when exactly the opposite is fed to us all day on TV? Try changing TV programming schedules first, since these programs are directed to moldable young minds with mostly no parental control.
Oops, that will interfere with the almighty bottom line, won’t it? Ah yes, corporate greed again. Until we change the type of programming on TV during the afternoon, we will always live with violence and obesity in our society.
Peter Winterfeld
Birch Bay

The Editor:
My son is a percussionist in the 7th grade band and I am a Blaine school bus driver. I had the privilege of driving the 7th and 8th grade bands to a competition in Anacortes and watching both the 7th and 8th grade bands perform. 
As a mom I recognize the strong possibility that I am a little biased about how great they were but what can’t be denied are the compliments I overheard from parents of other schools. 
I heard from several people how professional and well behaved our band kids looked and behaved. I sat next to the mother of an Oak Harbor band member who told me she had waited three hours to see our band play because last year she was blown away by how good they were. She went on and on about how lucky we were to have such a great director (Mr. Gray), and music program. She even went so far as to say they could play at her wedding any day! Some people were also overheard saying how impressed they were with our band’s professionalism and how nice they looked.
Then someone said, “Well, that’s because they have all the money.” Well, we all know that is the furthest thing from the truth. What we have is an amazing leader in Mr. Gray who has the talent to teach them great music, and respect and love from his students who want to make him proud. He is strict and expects a lot from them, but that is why he receives such goodness back.
The sweaters that the kids wear look very nice, but they have been used for many years. They have had very good care and are an example of how a lot can be made of a little. When the kids left my bus almost all of them gave me a smile and said “thank you” to me, and when I checked the bus for garbage and missing items it was as clean as a whistle. 
Our band is all heart and it shows. I had a ton of pride for Blaine today and I just wanted to give a shout out to these fine students and to Mr. Gray who makes it all happen, thank you for all you do for our kids!
Jennifer Robins
Birch Bay

The Editor:
The soil amendments didn’t come through in translation in last week’s article.
As responsible citizens and gardeners, we wanted to advise that soil west of the Cascades needs an initial once only application of an equal mixture of agricultural and dolomite lime at a combined rate of 50 pounds per 1000 square feet. Don’t over-lime.
Then fertilize, mixing in where roots will go. Organic fertilizer sources are eaten by little soil critters, and are slow release. Use four parts seed meal (perhaps cottonseed or canola) a half part lime (the equal mix), a half part phosphate rock or bone meal (steamed or raw) and a half part kelp. 
Testing the soil is not necessary. Mulch provides excellent cover for pill bugs and slugs. Don’t turn over the soil. Stir it up, loosen it, but leave it stacked up the way it’s supposed to be. If you’d like reasons why, get Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, by Steve Solomon.
Happy dirty knees.
Pam and Tavi Arlev

The Editor:
I would like to thank of all the volunteers in Whatcom County for the hard hours they have put in to make our community a better place. It really shows what hard work and determination can do. I would say that we have some of the finest volunteers in the state. I feel that they truly care for the people they serve.
I would also like to thank the people who make it possible. People like Ron Buchinski from Lighthouse Mission and Joan Smith from Blaine Food Bank – I so enjoy my time working with them. I hope that this will go on for many more years and that the good people of Whatcom County will not lose their stamina to help people less fortunate.
Aidan Button

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