Year in Review 2004
January 8: A winter storm rolled into Blaine and Birch Bay, dropping several inches of snow onto icy roads leading to two days of school closures.
January 15: After nearly three hours of public comment and discussion, the Whatcom County planning commission voted 7-1 against approving a Birch Point rezone that would have allowed a 10-acre spa/retreat to be built.
January 22: The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce announced the inception of a new scholarship and outreach program to benefit local high school students.
January 29: Construction plans were being prepared for a new 22,000 square foot Border Patrol sector headquarters facility to be built on 11.5 acres south of Sweet and Odell roads.
February 5: Voters approved both the Blaine school district maintenance and operations levy and the annexation of the city of Blaine into fire district 13 at a special election held the first week of February.
February 12: The city of Blaine decided to place its proposed new sewage treatment plant on land it owns near the foot of Marine Drive after a two-day informational work session between city and Port of Bellingham staff, city council and members of the citizens wastewater advisory committee.
February 19: The U.S. and Canadian border was closed in both directions for an hour after Canadian authorities discovered a lost driver to be in possession of a deactivated grenade. The 28-year-old Texan woman was unaware that the vehicle contained the grenade.
February 26: A Point Roberts high school student was arrested after border inspectors boarded the school bus and discovered eight pounds of marijuana in a duffle bag.
March 4: Both the boys and the girls basketball teams clinched a berth at the state tournament after memorable nail-biting screamers of games.
March 11: Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies and immigration and customs enforcement special agents arrested a 16-year-old boy on the Point Roberts school bus, less than a week after one of his classmates was formally charged with smuggling marijuana on the bus. No drugs were seized in the second arrest.
March 18: Both of Blaine’s varsity teams finished in fifth place at the state tournament held in Yakima after coming back from first round losses to win three straight loser-out games.
March 25: State representative Kelli Linville met with a dozen Adelia Street neighbors to hear their allegations the city botched the zoning for their neighborhood and should be held responsible for the potential impacts a planned multi-family project would have on their neighborhood.
April 1: After years of economic doldrums, several downtown Blaine business owners were painting a picture of the local economy that was much more positive than it has been for several years.
April 8: Habitat for Humanity director Terry Mattson kicked off his second housing project in Blaine and said he could do more if only he were given more land on which to build.
April 15: City officials agreed to site a wastewater plant on or near Marine Park, in the face of opposition from the Port of Bellingham against a proposal to site it on port land.
April 22: A six-year-old boy from Nakuru, Kenya was getting ready to go home after he was operated on for two separate hernias in a pro bono project coordinated by local physician Marta Kazymyra.
April 29: Former Blaine mayor John Hobberlin re-entered politics after announcing he intended to run against state representative Kelli Linville in the November election.
May 6: Blaine city council and staff wrangled over competing priorities in the city’s road improvement plans for the six-year (2005-2010) transportation plan.
May 13: Christ Episcopal Church turned 100 years old and the congregation planned ceremonies to celebrate the centenary.
May 20: Whatcom County Council’s planning and development committee continued to work its way through Birch Bay’s proposed community plan in anticipation of making recommendations to the full council later in the month.
May 27: The arguments came fast and furious after management at local ports of entry decided to phase out some inspectors who had been on the job for years and replace them with newly trained staff.
June 3: A bumper crop of seniors prepare to graduate from Blaine high school.
June 10: The Harbor Café, a city landmark for 21 years, closed its doors due to a decline in patronage following 9/11, the depressed Canadian dollar and increased costs.
June 17: City of Blaine engineering consultants advised council that Blaine would need to raise its sewer rates 28 percent over the next four years to pay for a new sewage treatment plant as well as an overhaul of the existing system.
June 24: Whatcom County delayed a public hearing on the proposed Birch Bay community plan for a month after additional amendments dealing with population densities were proposed.
July 1: Blaine city council was sharply divided over a proposed moratorium in multi-family housing projects in the heart of Blaine, a proposal put forward by Dennis and Ann Olason who expressed concern about a recently approved Adelia Commons project.
July 8: The Trillium Corporation resubmitted its 22-acre Seagrass Cottages project to the city of Blaine, a development that includes 36 duplex cottages to situated next to the existing Semiahmoo Resort.
July 15: Blaine Jazz Festival got off to a rousing start with free noontime concerts at Marine Park.
July 22: Whatcom County Council scheduled the last public hearing of Birch Bay’s community plan, intended to define development for the next 20 years.
July 29: People on the eastern outskirts of Blaine reported seeing both a cougar and a black bear roaming the upper reaches of the Dakota Creek watershed with one family losing a small dog, they suspect, to the cougar.
August 5: The Blaine airport commission reached a deal with the Federal Aviation Administration that brought in $112,000 in federal funds for an airport master plan.
August 12: After reportedly imbibing a little too much, a 22-year-old Blaine man drove his 1969 Ford LTD into the side of a Birch Bay real estate office on Birch Bay Drive.
August 19: The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce hit a rough patch with the resignation of president Nick Jerns and director Ruth Lauman, the latest in an exodus of leadership totaling six directors since the previous fall.
August 26: The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce decided to increase awareness of its sand castle contest and announced a top prize award of $500 would be given out following the August 28 competition.
September 2: The Blaine school district snagged a state 21st Century grant worth $620,000 over five years that be used to improve student academic performance with outdoor experiences.
September 9: The Borderites used a surprising big play offense and a suffocating offense to beat the Coupeville Wolves to win their first football victory since the fall of 2001.
September 16: Former Blaine mayor John Hobberlin trounced former Blaine council member Dave White in the primary election and would face Democrat Kelli Linville in the November general election.
September 23: Whatcom County hearing examiner Michael Bobbink heard closing arguments in an appeal of a county decision denying William Pipeline’s application to build a 33-mile pipeline from the Canadian border to Cherry Point.
September 30: Blaine mayor Dieter Schugt stepped down to conserve his energies in his battle against leukemia.
October 7: Former Blaine mayor Dieter Schugt passed away after a battle with leukemia. Whatcom County Council approved the Birch Bay community plan after nearly four years of work and a great deal of talk and revision.
October 14: The Birch Bay golf course was scheduled to be auctioned off by sheriff’s deputy Kevin Moyes on November 5 to settle a $20 million debt owed by the owners.
October 21: Blaine airport commissioner Bob Brunkow was appointed to Blaine city council to fill the vacancy created by the departure of former mayor Dieter Schugt.
October 28: Blaine community development director Terry Galvin asked city council to set a clear planning vision in response to concerns that an increasing pace of downtown development would result in “Everytown USA, one of those infamous strips.”
November 4: County residents voted more than 60 percent in favor of a ballot measure to build a new county jail.
November 11: Ken Hertz of Blossom Management announced he was considering developing a 450-acre parcel of land between H Street Road and the Canadian border for residences.
November 18: After 26 years, Blaine city clerk Shirley Thorsteinson announced her retirement.
December 1: Birch Bay Water and Sewer District announced a revised rate structure, to take effect January 1, 2005.
December 2: Two quick-thinking construction workers saved the day for a Blaine resident and her pets after they discovered a fire in a house in the 9700 block of Allan Street.
December 16: The city of Blaine was asked by developer Ken Hertz to consider concessions in developer conditions currently imposed on a major residential development being proposed for east Blaine.