News in Brief

Published on Thu, Aug 21, 2003
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News in Brief

ATM stolen from Birch Bay convenience store
A Birch Bay convenience store is missing its automatic teller machine, following an early morning theft, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office. A clerk arrived at approximately 3:30 a.m. at Toads Express Mart, at the junction of Blaine and Birch Bay-Lynden roads, and found a broken plate glass window and the ATM missing. Deputies are investigating the incident.

Custer man dies in early morning crash
Kevin J. Rassett, a 22-year-old Custer man, died last week after his 1977 Chevrolet van crashed into a telephone pole. Around 3 a.m., on Tuesday, August 12, Rassett was driving north on Enterprise Road north of Grandview Road when his van crossed into the southbound lane, went off the road and struck a telephone pole. Rassett was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.
He was declared dead at the scene. He is survived by his parents, Kevin and Tresa Rassett, his brother John and his son Tommy. Donations can be made in the name of Thomas J. Rasset to Whatcom Educational Credit Union.

Dance raises over $12,000 for boys and girls club
The Blaine Boys and Girls Club raised roughly $12,500 at its August 9 Dance on the Dockside fundraiser. Randy Kirk, the director of the club, said the total was an estimate of the net amount the dance raised, and would be used for general maintenance and operations for the club. �It was a fantastic night,� Kirk said. �This is the best we�ve ever done in that (dance).� Kirk said the next fundraiser for the club will be a golf tournament on September 7, at the North Bellingham golf club. The cost to enter is $65 per person and $240 for a group of four; proceeds will go to the Blaine Boys and Girls Club. �It includes green fees, lunch, prizes, and a whole lot of fun,� Kirk said.

Birch Bay resident reports deer find
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was contacted by a Birch Bay resident last week after finding a deer head wrapped in a plastic bag. On Monday August 11, Officer Troy McCormick reported to the scene of a deer head located on Koehn Road. McCormick met the reporting party and was shown the location, where he found a two-point head in a plastic bag behind a cement barrier. Currently there are no deer seasons on and the reporting party felt the deer might have been the same one he had seen earlier in the week near that location. There was little evidence at the scene, but some litter and the plastic bag from the head may help connect the deer with a suspect. WDFW enforcement is asking anyone who may have information regarding this or any wildlife crime to report it to state patrol dispatch at 676-2076 or online at www.wa.gov/wdfw/.�

Investigation under way of �no-fly� individuals
Two Pakistani men are being held on possible immigration violations after they were detained last week at Sea-Tac International Airport, after airline employees found their names on a terrorism-related �no-fly� list�a list of people banned from flying commercial airlines because they may pose a terrorism threat.
Both men, who were not identified by officials, were detained by port of Seattle police and turned over to the FBI. One of the men, 36, had a British Columbia driver�s license and the other man, 29, was carrying a New York driver�s license. Both men apparently paid cash for one-way tickets on different airlines to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
According to Michael Milne, a spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), the two individuals are currently being held on immigration charges and a hearing is still to be scheduled. �The investigation into how they entered the country is under way. We�re looking at how they entered,� he said. When asked if Blaine or another port in Washington is being looked at, he said �If they did come through Washington, we are looking at how and where, whether it�s through one of the ports or on boat or if they flew in. We�re looking at all of it.�

Silver Reef: $11 million expansion under way
Lummi Nation officials have broken ground on an $11 million expansion to the Silver Reef Casino on Haxton Way, and have added a restaurant to their previously announced plans. A 400-seat pavilion for special events will be added, as well as an expansion of the casino�s gaming floor to offer two times the video slot machines and four additional gaming tables. After striking a deal with Chicago-based Merit Management Corporation, Tribal officials decided to expand the casino floor north, bringing the total floor to 49,000 square feet. The latest addition to the plans calls for a 40-seat upscale steak house that will be run by the casino. The expansion will also include a non-smoking gaming area, an indoor terrace and a new cocktail bar.
Merit is funding $9 million of the expansion and the Lummi Nation is paying for $2 million with its casino profits. The casino's current floor will be open during construction, which is expected to be completed by next spring. The total number of slot machines will increase to 550 and the number of table games will increase to 16. Fifty new jobs will be added, increasing the employee roster to about 300.