Letters: April 25 - May 1, 2013

Published on Wed, Apr 24, 2013
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The Editor:
It’s sad that many of our elected officials in the north part of the county still only know the agenda presented to them by mega corporate billionaires attempting to further line their pockets off the back of our community. Here are real facts they are missing:
1. Basic economics doesn’t just factor in gains, it also includes losses. Factoring in the costs of taxpayer funding to provide rail infrastructure, coal royalties, the burden on water supply and the impact of shipping on the fishing industry, the costs far outweigh the benefits. Ferndale is already experiencing some of these unacknowledged financial losses. Ferndale moved from pristine glacier water to inferior, tainted ground water, allowing space for GPT to snatch up 1.9 billion gallons yearly to wet down coal in the export process. The taxpayers of Ferndale are now funding a multi-million dollar treatment plant and will still have second-rate drinking water requiring $80,000 each year to maintain, a loss on two fronts. These kinds of losses will compound over time and leave us in far worse shape years down the road.
2. The majority of Washington residents are opposed to the project when presented with its impacts, to the tune of 124,000 submitted scoping comments. In fact, the mayor of Lynden was hissed at by the crowd while speaking at the Seattle scoping hearing. By projecting a self-centered message to our neighbors, we are quickly becoming the pariah of the state. Do we really want to be the place where no one, with the exception of mega corporations, wants to live, visit or invest in?
3. Heavy industry pollutes. Most citizens are unaware of the toxins already being emitted from the industrial zone. Just a few short weeks ago, BP released sulfur dioxide, a harmful toxin, into the local environment (alerts.skytruth.org/). Have we so quickly forgotten the recent fire at BP? Also, Intalco discharges more CO2 than the whole county’s vehicles. Without understanding the effects of current poisonous emissions, do we really want to run the risk of dumping 48 million tons of heavy metal laden material on our shoreline each year, not to mention the massive exposure to diesel particulates, which will be necessary for its transport? How much more can our bodies and the local ecosystem take?
Suzanne Ravet

The Editor:
On behalf of Drayton Harbor Maritime, a nonprofit tax-exempt charitable organization whose main focus is the stewardship and operation of the venerable historic former Alaska Packers Association cannery Plover ferry, I would like to say the following.
There is a saying, “It takes a village.” This is true with the Plover ferry – it indeed takes the generosity of the community to keep this icon of our maritime past taking townfolk, kids and tourists across the channel between Blaine Harbor and Semiahmoo to see the resident seals and other wildlife.
Semiahmoo Yacht Club has donated funds toward the replacement of the Plover’s diesel engine for which we are very thankful.
At this time I would like to say thank you to Walsh Marine Shipyard, Blaine Harbor Marina for their recent generous donation. Walsh Marine first hauled out and blocked the ferry on the hard, and then pressure washed the hull. Next, Norm Wash, owner of the shipyard personally assisted in the recent U.S. Coast Guard dry dock inspection by pulling hull fasteners as requested by the USCG marine inspectors, then replacing them with new silicon bronze screws. Norm, who is a qualified shipwright, also corked a length of leaky seams along both sides of keel and the garboard with cotton. Walsh Marine donated all of this effort.
We want to help make sure this boatyard stays in business. Thank you, Norm and your team.
Captain Richard Sturgill
Director, Drayton Harbor Maritime

The Editor:
City manager Gary Tomsic contacted the Whatcom County Humane Society and asked for their assistance in educating the public about the loss of songbirds to cats allowed outdoors during the spring. The humane society said they are happy to help. They also showed concern for outdoor cats because of coyotes, eagles, raccoons and other animals that prey on cats.
Civilization is killing our songbirds and destroying habitat that sustains other wild creatures. A Wall Street Journal article noted that an estimated 2.38 billion birds are killed each year. Cats rank as the number one killers followed by windows, power lines, hunting, pesticides, autos, communication towers, airplanes and wind turbines. This is a tragic situation.
Let me emphasize helpful measures to save the most vulnerable birds, fledglings (baby birds), between the months of May and July. Please keep your cats indoors during these months. However, should you let your cats outdoors, kindly attach a bell collar.
I have a beloved cat who is always kept indoors. It’s too risky to let her roam outdoors. Her diet is cat food – no birds!
Ken Knutzen

The Editor:
On April 22, Girl Scouts in Whatcom County honored their volunteers on Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day during National Volunteer Week. Our dedicated leaders give of their time on a continual basis to plan and lead fun, educational Girl Scout troop meetings and field trips. 
Whether it’s teaching them about health and wellness, taking them on a learning expedition or out to the stables to learn to ride a horse, going to an international fair to experience different cultures, or creating a rocket out of paper, a film canister and Alka-Seltzer, Girl Scout leaders have creative minds and caring hearts to share with the girls. They dedicate themselves year-round to helping girls grow into confident, resourceful young women.
As a Girl Scout volunteer, I have seen first-hand the positive effect of volunteerism in Blaine and how Girl Scouts and their leaders make a difference in our community every day. For those of you who have a daughter in girl scouting, take a moment to think about her leader. 
Think about how, at every meeting, the leader is there to help your daughter experience new challenges and gain new skills for the future. Think about the amount of time the leader devotes to preparing for the meetings while balancing family, work, and other time constraints. Remember your Girl Scout leader with a note of thanks or a personal phone call or greeting. 
In Blaine, we would like to recognize and thank the following leaders: Jenny Funderburg, Dianna Latta, Sam Townson, Michelle Bennett, Cynthia Ridings, Kim Shea, Carla Page, Kristen Swinford, Akeisha Lambe, Lanette Rippa, Kelly Berghammer and countless parent volunteers.
You truly make a difference in the lives of girls. I encourage more people to follow in your footsteps by volunteering with the Girl Scouts. If you are interested in joining the ranks of these incredible leaders, please go to girlscoutsww.org for more information. 
We are Girl Scouts of western Washington, where we build girls of courage, confidence and character that make the world a better place.
Rikki Lazenby

The Editor:
April 16 was Library Workers Day. The Friends of the Blaine Library (FOBL) want to thank the exceptional staff for all their hard work. They are friendly, helpful, efficient, creative and resourceful. The programs they have provided have been educational, interesting and fun. The rooms are always neat and inviting. All the extras the staff provides to the public make our library the best! Thank you to all the wonderful Blaine Library workers. In other words, you rock! If you haven’t visited lately, please check it out – they have so much to offer.
Denise Boyles, president, FOB
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Last weekend was the 15th Annual Semiahmoo Bay International Regatta held at Blaine Harbor. More than 30 sailboats competed each day followed by a barbeque held by the International Yacht Club (IYC). I’d like to recognize the IYC race committee, which continues to provide a high caliber event that draws sailing competitors from around the Salish Sea to Blaine. Race results are available online at www.iycbc.ca/racing.
Andy Peterson
Blaine Harbormaster

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