News in Brief

Published on Thu, Jan 29, 2004
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News in Brief

Democratic precinct caucuses set for Saturday
The Democratic Presidential precinct caucuses throughout the state are scheduled for Saturday, February 7, and local Democrats can participate at the Blaine Senior Center at 10 a.m. All registered voters who consider themselves a Democrat can vote at the caucus. Voting begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends no later than 11 a.m. Non-Democrats can engage in discussion, but cannot vote. The caucuses are meetings of Democrats to discuss issues and vote on candidates for president. At these meetings, Democrats elect delegates to go on to the county and legislative conventions. The goal of candidates is to win as many of these delegates as possible. For more information, contact county chair Barry Buchanan at 734-6639 or visit online at www.wa-democrats.org.

Volunteers needed to clear next Blaine HFH site
Work is under way for a second Habitat for Humanity home to be built within Blaine city limits. The site, located in the 700 block of E Street between 6th and 8th streets, is in need of volunteers to help with clearing trees and brush. If you are an experienced excavator willing to take on the task sometime around the end of February, or are interested in volunteering, call Bruce Burke at 592-5464. The first Habitat for Humanity home was built on Cedar Street and was dedicated in mid-November. For more county-wide information regarding Habitat for Humanity, visit online at www.hfhwhatcom.org.

Disaster preparedness training class cancelled
The CERT Disaster Preparedness Training class scheduled for Blaine has been cancelled due to a lack of interest. The nine-week $50 course was slated to start next week. For those interested in learning more about the course, visit online at www.whatcomcounty.us/dem/educate/cert/cert.jsp or contact Dale Kloes, of Whatcom County Emergency at 676-6681 or dkloes@co.whatcom.wa.us. This is the second time the class has been cancelled in Blaine.

Over $10,000 in equipment stolen in two incidents
Two incidents earlier this week left two people without their computer systems. A man reported his Dell laptop computer and a recording device were stolen from his vehicle while he shopped in the 1700 block of H Street. The theft was alleged to have occurred on January 24, but was reported two days later to the Blaine police department by phone when the man discovered his equipment was gone, according to police reports. The equipment is valued at $9,500 and the incident is under investigation. On January 26, a resident in the 800 block of Alder Street discovered a man had broken into his apartment and removed a computer system and other property, totalling $2,700. The thefts are under investigation.

Blaine school board votes to roll levy back
The Blaine school board voted last night to roll back a levy approved by voters in March of 2000 by $670,475, roughly 17 percent of the original request of just under $4 million. This is not the levy being put before the voters next week, which if passed will be collected in 2005. The roll back was done to bring the levy in line with state law which sets the maximum amounts that school districts may charge based upon property evaluations. The March 2000 levy amount when initially proposed had to be based on estimates of future property value, but state law requires that if the actual figures turn out lower, then the levy must be adjusted downward even if the voters approve the higher amount.

NEXUS appeal process unlikely, officials say
According to the office of U.S. Representative Rick Larsen, it is unlikely an appeals process will be implemented for those NEXUS applicants who were denied and those users whose membership was revoked. There are currently about 37,000 NEXUS users, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) public affairs officer Mike Milne. When NEXUS applicants are denied, �Notice of such denial shall be given to the applicant. There is no appeal from the denial, but denial is without prejudice to reapplying for this or any other service benefit. Re-applications, or applications following revocation of permission to use the lane, will not be considered by the service until 90 days have passed following the date of denial or revocation,� Milne stated. For more information about NEXUS, visit online at www.getnexus.org. The application fee costs $50 and membership is good for five years.

Neighbors for Birch Point petition continues
Neighbors for Birch Point, a local group fighting a proposed 10-acre spa resort on Birch Point, announced this week it is launching an expanded petition campaign. According to Jo Slivinski of Neighbors for Birch Point, the group is launching a sister petition to the one it originally addressed to the Whatcom County Planning Commission. The petition currently has more than 110 names. �We understand that Ellen Shea may appeal the planning commission�s decision,� Slivinski said. �We also understand that the county council has the power to revise recommendations of the planning commission since the commission acts purely in an advisory capacity to the council. If the council decides that they would like to consider the rezone and spa project, we�ve been told they could schedule a hearing on March 9 or later.�
The project, proposed by developer Ellen Shea, was voted down 7-1 by the Whatcom County planning commission following a public hearing early January. One commission member excused himself from the hearing and did not vote on the issue.