Letters to the editor: May 23 - 29, 2013

Published on Wed, May 22, 2013
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The Editor:
On behalf of the 40 artists who welcomed you to the Mothers Day Art Studio Tour, we wish to thank our many guests who viewed and purchased art. 
Space limits us from naming and thanking all the sponsors listed on our brochure, but it was their generosity that allowed us to continue with this event, which promotes and supports the many artists and artisans who make northwest Whatcom County their home. We are so grateful!
If you are an artist who would be interested in showing in the studio tour next year or want information about joining the online gallery, you can go to the website at blaineharborartgallery.com.
Georgia Donovan for Blaine 
Harbor Art Gallery
Blaine

The Editor:
Drayton Harbor Maritime Community Sailing School has operated successfully for five years; however, it will not offer classes this summer. All of the instructors are U.S. Sailing Association-certified sailing teachers, and this summer they are all going sailing, and will not be available to teach classes. 
The school would love to have more instructors so this wonderful community asset can be offered to our youth and others into the future. If you are a sailor and would love to help keep this sport alive in Blaine by teaching what you have a passion for, or would like to take over this program as a business venture, please contact Ron at 360/332-8082, or Andy at 360/647-6176.
Ron Snyder
Blaine

The Editor:
It has been interesting, but disheartening, to see how Whatcom County Council has managed the county’s economic development investment fund. The fund accrues about $3.2 million each year from the entire county, and last year the council voted to spend $6 million of the EDI funds to help one city, Lynden, expand its sewage treatment plant.
Lynden contributes less than 10 percent of the county’s EDI funds, yet received nearly two full years’ worth of its revenue. The plant will enable Lynden to consume more water, but even its current water rights are dubious. Farmers with their own uncertain water rights should be wary of Lynden’s growing demands – and of the impact Lynden’s growth could have on adjacent farmlands. After all, the county is supposed to protect those farmlands, not encourage urban encroachment into them.
The Lynden project was promoted as a jobs creator, but it looks more like favoritism for one small city at the expense of the rest of the county. And where is the economic development? I understand Everson has already shown interest in going after some of that easy county EDI money for itself.
Who voted for the EDI fund’s splurge on the Lynden expansion project? Kathy Kershner and Bill Knutzen, among others. Who opposed it? Only Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and they should be commended for defending the entire county’s interests.
Ken Kaliher
Bellingham

The Editor:
On Saturday, June 1 at noon, when the crowds are gathering, the band is playing and the slime is running, it can mean but one thing:
The running of the fourth annual International Slug Races and the opening day of Blaine Gardener’s Market. The market opens at 8:30 a.m. for vendor set-up, and official sales begin at 10 a.m. every Saturday through October. On opening day, the “Hot Flash” Accordion Jug Band begins at 11 a.m. and the first race starts at noon.
Races are open to all ages, and you can bring your own slug or choose a fine racer from our stable of slippery slugs. 
Many thanks to Totally Chocolate which provides sweet prizes and to Blaine Chamber of Commerce, Circle of Trees Homestead, The Northern Light, vendors and, of course, the good people of Blaine who support their Gardener’s Market. Keep it fresh and local, shop at the 
market. 
Cathy Taggett
Blaine

The Editor:
I would like to comment on the proposed changes to WTA’s Route 55 and to suggest some alternate solutions to WTA’s plan to eliminate the flex area beyond Shintaffer Road.
I utilize this leg of the flex service twice a day, five days a week but WTA lumps me in with the “few others (who ride) sporadically” rather than with their “one regular rider,” as Rick Nicholson of the WTA said. I certainly don’t ride as often as my friend Marv, who gets on the bus a mile farther down the road from me. He rides twice a day, six days a week.
Marv and I have identified about 10 riders who use this leg of the flex service on a regular basis. There’s Janet, who cannot walk the additional mile and a half to WTA’s proposed new flex boundary because of physical limitations. Janet cannot drive, has no relatives in the area and has no one to carpool with. Janet says she will lose her job if WTA’s proposed changes go into effect. Greg and Mikala, students at Whatcom Community College, also ride (I guess college classes are not held often enough to be considered “regular” by WTA officials).
Linda and her elderly mother are two more regular riders who have expressed concern about adding an additional 1.5 miles to their already long walk to the bus stop, especially in inclement weather and in the dark without streetlights or sidewalks during winter. 
It is clear that many more than just “that one person” will be affected if WTA makes changes to Route 55, and in some cases those effects could be life-changing, perhaps even life-threatening. All for the dubious “benefit (to) the ridership as a whole” of shaving five minutes off the bus route.
Since WTA’s proposed changes are meant only to shorten the “longer and meandering” route to and from the Cordata station during working hours, why not eliminate the flex route beyond Shintaffer Road for that route only, not for the express connection to the 70X at Birch Bay Square? 
While this change would still affect the many riders who utilize that leg of the route, the effects would be less severe. Affected riders would have the option of catching an earlier or later flex bus. It might require a change in their schedule, but it would not eliminate their option of using the flex service.
WTA might consider eliminating flex service between Birch Bay Drive and Anderson Road. The few regular riders in this area would only have to walk a few additional blocks if a regular bus stop were created at Cottonwood Beach north access. If the Waterslides stop were moved one block to Birch Bay Drive at the Bay Center Market, the bus wouldn’t have to travel down Anderson Road at all. It could take Lincoln Road from Harborview Drive to Shintaffer Road, and pick up everyone from the Cottonwood neighborhood on its return leg along Birch Bay Drive. Riders who now use the Waterslides stop would only have to walk one additional block, and the bus would save at least five minutes by not traveling down Anderson Road.
In short, I think WTA could come up with a better plan for streamlining their Route 55 than one that will adversely impact the lives of many (not “one”) loyal riders, some drastically, merely to save five minutes.
Jeff Sterling
Birch Bay
(Ed note: Due to the public interest, this letter is being published despite exceeding the word limit.)

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