2005:Another year has come & gone...

Published on Thu, Jan 5, 2006 by ara Nelson

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2005: Another year has come & gone...

By Tara Nelson

Was it just us or did the year 2005 zip right by? Before it’s all gone here we present a look back at what happened in the year gone by...

January
• The New York Philharmonic Orchestra donates $2,500 to Blaine’s Pacific Arts Association (PAA) to be used for summer music education programs. Joe Robinson, principle oboe player for the orchestra and president of the board for the orchestra’s Elaine and Stephen Stamus New York Philharmonic Scholarship Fund had performed in Blaine the previous summer and helped approved the grant.
• Students at Blaine middle school collect more than $2,500 in coins following a tsunami that destroyed the coastlines of nearly a dozen countries on the Indian Ocean. Ironically, the students’ lesson plan immediately prior to the disaster had included discussion on waves, seismic waves and tsunamis, said Blaine teacher Melanie Helt.
• Heavy rains contribute to nearly 40,000 gallons of raw sewage overflowing from Blaine’s municipal sewer system into Semiahmoo Bay. Following the incident, the Whatcom County Department of Health closed the harbor to shellfish harvesting until the end of the month.
• Nearly 50,000 chum salmon eggs are planted in an undisclosed location in Terrell Creek by the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA). The released marked a culmination of more than four years of salmon restoration efforts by NSEA and the Birch Bay-based volunteer group the CHUMS of Terrell Creek.

February
• Blaine high school principal Dan Newell is temporarily suspended from his position after police say he interfered with investigations of students who were transporting marijuana across the U.S./Canadian border in their backpacks. Newell pleaded not guilty to gross misdemeanor charges of rendering criminal assistance and obstructing law enforcement.
• The Northern Light contributor Jerry Gay and Blaine author Richard Clark, represent the Peace Arch city at the Eighth International Conference on Philosophy and Culture in Seattle. Both displayed their works on world peace: Gay’s photographic essay, “The Road to Peace,” and Clark’s “Sam Hill’s Peace Arch, Remembrance of Dreams Past.” The event was organized by the Russian Institute for Cultural Research at St. Petersburg.
• Point Roberts resident Wayne Seeley discovers he would need to pull over for a 20-minute inspection by U.S. Customs agents each time he traveled through the Peace Arch border crossing as long as he was undergoing radioactive medical treatment for a heart condition because the radioactive residue in his body set off detectors. “I thought they were only going to do it once and log me in, but it’s every time,” he said.
• Many drivers on Drayton Harbor Road choose to ignore temporary barricades put in place by Whatcom County officials to keep traffic off a segment of road that was washed out by heavy rains and tidal overflow.
The Northern Light reported drivers getting out of their vehicles and moving the barricades out of their way and one driver driving off road in an attempt to circumvent the barricades, leaving deep ruts in one resident’s lawn.
• Blaine athlete Paul Kezes, 25, placed seventh in the national cross county championships in Ft. Vancouver, qualifying him for a place on the World U.S. Cross Country Team. In the 12 kilometer race, Kezes finished in 37 minutes and 40 seconds.

March
• Officials from Blaine Public Works announce the first stages for plans to relocate and upgrade the city’s waste water treatment facility with a high-quality waste water reclamation facility on Marine Drive.
The new facility is expected to conserve water by replacing as much as 400,000 gallons of water for irrigation and industrial uses as well as prevent sewage overflows into Semiahmoo Bay. Marine Drive is also scheduled to be upgraded as part of the project.
• Whatcom County engineer Joe Rutan told Northern Light reporter Jack Kintner that residents of Blaine and Birch Bay may have to wait even longer than once thought for the repair and reopening of Drayton Harbor Road. “Even if we had all the money to repair it and the permits in hand, it would still take as much as six months or more to design it, bid it and schedule the work,” Rutan said. He added that because the work would take place near the beach, repairs would require permits from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
• City manager Gary Tomsic accuses the General Services Administration (GSA), a federal organization that operates the Peace Arch port of entry, of ignoring warnings from the city, as well as state and federal highway engineers about local access problems related to the facility’s planned reconstruction. Tomsic, along with public works director Steve Banham, met with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) along with several federal, state and local officials in Murray’s Seattle office to discuss the economic impacts of the plan on Blaine businesses. “The GSA is moving ahead with their building without addressing access issues,” Tomsic said. He was supported by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and several Whatcom County officials.

April
• The U.S. State Department reveals plans under its Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that would begin a phased-in initiative requiring all travelers – including U.S. citizens – to have a passport when entering the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Mike Milne said the effort will increase border security but many businesses and groups, such as the Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce, worry that such a move will harm cross-border commerce.
• Blaine primary school teacher Terre Shapiro and Blaine high school teacher Jeff Worthy are nominated as teachers of the year by the Blaine school district.
The nomination automatically placed them in the Northwest Educational Service District (ESD) competition, a regional grouping of school districts of which Blaine is a member. Shapiro goes on to win teacher of the year in the ESD and competes for the state title against teachers from eight other service districts throughout the state.
• Whatcom County executive Pete Kremen said during an April 8 city council meeting that he would recommend the Whatcom County Council include repairs for Lincoln and Drayton Harbor roads in the county’s six-year transportation improvement plan. Later, in July, when the council voted on the plan, they included repairs for Lincoln Road but failed to make mention of Drayton Harbor Road.

May
• While excavating a water and sewer line in front of Goldstar Resort’s Sandcastle condominium project in Birch Bay, workers unearthed human bones and were required to stop construction until officials from the Lummi Nation and the Washington state office of archaeology and historic preservation gave Goldstar permission to resume their work.
• A proposal by the Blaine school board to remove one grade and one teacher from the Point Roberts school infuriated some parents and led more than 60 residents - many of them members of the Point Robert’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) – to protest the decision during a series of meetings held by the board. The board followed through on its decision, however, and many parents withdrew their students out of the school in protest, either shipping them to Blaine or home schooling them.
• Blaine sculptor Bob McDermott, best known for his sculpture of Dirty Dan Harris in Bellingham’s Fairhaven district, announces his plans to erect a life-sized bronze sculpture “The Vigil” dedicated to the women of Blaine’s fishing era. The sculpture is scheduled to be completed in 2006.

June
• Richard Clark, a resident of Blaine and author of the book, “Sam Hill’s Peace Arch: Remembrance of Dreams Past” joins forces with Northern Light contributor Jerry Gay to promote a sister city relationship between Blaine and Pugwash, Nova Scotia. Mayor John Leibert along with city manager Gary Tomsic said they liked the idea and would give it consideration.
• Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies arrested Walter Bail, a resident of Blaine and owner of the Bordertown Tavern, June 9 on suspicion of trafficking methamphetamine during a county-wide dragnet operation aimed at the Bandidos motorcycle gang.
The arrests were made in coordination with federal law enforcement efforts in other states that resulted in more than 40 arrests.