News in Brief

Published on Thu, Jun 5, 2003
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News in Brief

Volunteers needed for Birch Bay Discovery Days
Volunteers and vendors are needed for the annual Discovery Days in Birch Bay. The event, complete with a parade, games, and arts and crafts, will be held on July 19 and 20. The deadline to apply for vendor space is July 1. Anyone interested in volunteering or vendoring should contact Cheryll Ryan at 332-9415. Last year, there were over 100 booths set up.

Blaine Food Bank receives $560 donation
The Blaine Food Bank recently received a $560 cash donation from two groups at Western Washington University in Bellingham. University dining services ran a week long campaign at WWU to raise awareness on hunger and employees held a bake sale to help raise money. They also received cash donations at their various food outlets on campus. Circle K, a student community service organization on campus, held a canned food drive. Students were able to donate money from their various meal plans, which was used to purchase more canned goods for the Bellingham Food Bank. Blaine was the recipient of the cash raised.

Officials visit border, discuss transportation issues
U.S. House Highway and Transit Chair Tom Petri, Rep. Rick Larsen and Washington State Secretary Doug MacDonald toured Blaine�s Pacific Highway truck crossing at the border last week. Following the visit to Blaine, they hosted a transportation round-table in Bellingham with other officials including mayor Mark Asmundson, county executive Pete Kremen, Jim Miller from Whatcom Council of Governments, and transportation workers. �My number one goal is to help local communities create good paying jobs,� Larsen said. �Investments in transportation are investments in jobs and our economy. Transportation is part of job growth.� Larsen represents the second congressional district in the northwest corner of Washington state and is a member of the U.S. House Transportation Committee, which is responsible for re-writing the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.

DOE, city perform creosote removal along shores
The Department of Ecology, city of Blaine public works and the Washington Conservation Corps worked together last week to remove creotone from marine pilings in the area. Creotone, a manmade preservative, could have an affect on marine life and water if left on the pilings. The cleanup took place at various areas, including Birch Bay Village, Semiahmoo Spit county park, and Semiahmoo Bay to the border. The city of Blaine contributed a boom truck and excavator to the cleanup, which took more than 40 hours of work to complete.

Cause of Birch Bay fires unknown
The cause of the fire that took three Birch Bay homes and damaged one, is likely to remain unknown, according to fire chief Jim Rutherford. The fire, which started in one home in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 24 quickly spread to three other homes on Morrison and Terrell Creek roads. About 40 firefighters came from districts 13, 3 (Lynden) and 7 (Ferndale) to fight the fire. Two firefighters were injured in the blaze � one twisted his knee, the other cut his hand. Both were treated and released from St. Joseph�s Hospital in Bellingham. All affected residents found a place to stay and were not in need of Red Cross emergency services.

First gateway sign to be posted by first of July
Coming to the conclusion that many people don�t know they�re in Blaine, the city approved gateway signs to be posted this summer - the first to be posted the beginning of July. A citizens committee formed last year and worked with architect David Christensen to come up with a sign design scheme, which was unanimously approved by city council. The final design scheme consists of the word �Blaine� and a fishing boat at the top. The incorporation date of 1890 is inscribed with the words �Peace Arch City.� In addition, there will be room to place smaller signs for event announcements at the bottom of the sign. One sign will stand on the corner of H Street and the truck route and two smaller ones will be posted on I-5 exits 274 and 276. The signs are being funded through the hotel/motel tax.

ICE agents seize over 65 pounds of cocaine
Immigration and customs enforcement agents (ICE) seized 65.6 lbs. of cocaine headed to Canada last week. Agents discovered the cocaine concealed in two suitcases inside the trunk of a vehicle. The driver, Barjinder Singh Randhawa, from British Columbia, was arrested on federal drug smuggling and conspiracy charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and was booked into Whatcom County Jail prior to appearing before U.S. magistrate in Seattle.
Three other individuals were also arrested as part of the investigation. Sukhwinder Singh Dhaliwal was a passenger in the vehicle and ICE agents later apprehended Ravinder Singh at his residence after an investigation connected him with Randhawa and Sukwinder. Singh has been on bond related to another incident earlier this year when he attempted to smuggle more than 400 pounds of B.C. bud. Another individual at Singh�s residence was found to have an open immigration warrant and was turned over to the Blaine border patrol. The cocaine has an estimated local street value of more than $5,500,000.