News in Brief

Published on Thu, Nov 20, 2003
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News in Brief

Train delays: Second meeting set for tonight
Following last month�s meeting with government, railroad and state officials, the city of Blaine has scheduled a follow-up meeting with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to further discuss the train delays at the junction of Bell Road and Peace Portal Drive. The meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, November 20 at 7 p.m. at city hall. DHS officials will be joined by additional representatives from Washington D.C. The rail Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) was installed in early September as an added measure of national security following September 11; however, the increased inspection of rail cargo has caused traffic delays and concerns over public safety.

Habitat for Humanity dedication this weekend
The first home built by Habitat for Humanity (HFH) will be dedicated on Saturday, November 22 at 10 a.m. The home, built at 940 Cedar Street, will house the family of Mark and Debbie Heinzer and their three children. Members of the community and city officials will be present, as well as the family. A second plan for a HFH home in Blaine is currently in the works. Any families wishing to apply for a home, or anyone wanting more information, can call the Whatcom County chapter of HFH at 715-9170 or visit online at www.hfhwhatcom.org.

Blaine school student found with 16-inch knife
High school administrators reported finding a student in possession of a knife on campus, according to Blaine police reports. An officer investigated, interviewed the student and impounded a double-edged 16-inch dagger and a used marijuana smoking pipe from the 15-year-old male student. He claimed he had forgotten the items were in his daypack. School officials became aware of the knife when the student started showing it to his friends in the school building and they took immediate action. The student was placed on emergency expulsion and the police department forwarded charges to the juvenile prosecutor.

Puget Sound Basin gets $350,000 for marine study
Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn announced earlier in the week that the U.S. House of Representatives approved a request for $11.1 million for water and habitat conservation projects in Washington state, among them $350,000 for the Puget Sound Nearshore Marine Habitat Restoration Study. The money will be used to identify the most cost effective habitat restoration projects for salmon recovery in the entire Puget Sound Basin � a project administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. �The local projects supported by this funding best illustrate how communities can support critical habitat initiatives while addressing their water management needs,� Dunn said.

Organizations evaluate harbor water quality
The Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) is partnering with the Port of Bellingham and Drayton Harbor Shellfish Advisory Committee (DHSAC) to evaluate the effects of bird and rat populations on water quality in the Blaine Marina. Due to various investigative efforts, the Blaine Marina has been identified as a hot spot for fecal coliform bacteria. The MRC began a project earlier this year, working in conjunction with the port and DHSAC to look at fecal sources in the commercial portion of the marina. The project involved evaluating the impact of fecal material from the bird populations, in particular seagulls, pigeons and cormorants, and the rat populations and implementing a pilot project to help improve water quality.
A variety of management options for the pilot project include stormwater low impact development techniques, integrated pest management for rats, and bird deterrent and bird relocation. The project partners will be working with a consultant and the Blaine community to evaluate the options and have updated community birding groups. One of these options will be selected and implemented as a pilot project in 2004, according to the MRC.

Art submissions beginning for annual exhibition
Artists are invited to submit outdoor sculptures to be featured at the seventh annual Peace Arch park international sculpture exhibition from May 1 - September 30, 2004. A panel of international art experts and international park management will jury the exhibition. The criteria for selecting the art for exhibition includes artistic impression, quality, durability, aesthetic appeal, and park and community appropriateness. All materials must be completely weatherproof and suitable for public viewing. Since 1998, the Peace Arch Park International Sculpture Exhibition has featured over 62 sculptures created by 46 American and Canadian fine artists. The exhibit is presented by the United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association, in cooperation with Washington State Parks. For further information, contact Christina Alexander at 332-7165 or email christina@peacearchpark.org.

Port of Bellingham approves 20-year lease
The Wood Stone Corporation and the Port of Bellingham will embark on a $4.9 million project that will nearly double the size of the company�s manufacturing facility and add 40 new family-wage jobs to the community. The board of commissioners approved a 20-year lease with the local company that manufactures high-end wood and gas fired hearth ovens for restaurants and homes. The expansion will add approximately 52,500 square feet to the facility. The company is located in the former Ice Arena Building in the Airport Industrial Park.