Around the City

Published on Thu, Jan 4, 2007
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Around the City

Fire district takes first vote of 2007
The North Whatcom Fire and Rescue met service voted to adopt a $5 million budget last Thursday for 2007 and set its meeting dates for the year.

Meetings are now set for the second Thursday and fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m. The Thursday meetings will be held at the Lynden station at 307 19th Street, and the Monday meetings will be held at station 63, 4581 Birch Bay-Lynden Road.

The agency, a merger of former Whatcom County fire districts 3 and 13, has also submitted a request for a name change that will go before Whatcom County Council January 16.

If the council agrees, the agency will be officially known as North Whatcom Fire and Rescue, Whatcom County Fire Protection District 21.

Chief Tom Fields said that a fire protection district number is required, “so we’ll use a new one, number 21, but we’ll be doing business day-to-day as North Whatcom Fire and Rescue.”

New minimum wage takes effect January 1.
Washington’s minimum wage increased 30 cents to $7.93 an hour as of January 1.

The Department of Labor and Industries recalculates the state’s minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688, which Washington state voters approved in 1998.

The initiative requires the state to adjust the minimum wage according to the change in the federal “CPI-W,” which is a national index covering the cost of goods and services needed for day-to-day living. The index rose 3.9 percent during the 12 months ending August 31, 2006.

Washington’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agriculture and non-agricultural jobs, although 14 and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $6.74 an hour.

School board briefs
At its last 2006 meeting on December 21 the Blaine school board elected Todd Berge chair and elected Mike Dodd as vice-chair. Pebble Griffin was elected to be the legislative representative.

The board’s next meeting was set for Monday, January 29 at 7 p.m. With the exception of this month the board plans to meet on the fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m. for the rest of the year.

Planning commission to correct error in comprehensive plan
The Whatcom County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed rezone of the Hoekstra property at 4833 Birch Drive near Morrison Avenue. The original zoning of the property is resort commercial (RC) and has a density specification of six units per acre (URM6)

This is because of an error on the map of the official comprehensive plan for Whatcom County when it was being digitized in 1992 by interns working very odd hours.

In 1996 Hoekstra applied for a residential permit to build a small gift shop. The house was built and when he came into the office for the occupancy, he was told he couldn’t.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, January 11, at the Whatcom County Planning and Development Services in the conference room (small building in front) 5280 on the corner of Northwest and West Smith roads.

For more information contact Elizabeth Olsen at 676-6907 or 380-8100. Written comments may be submitted to the Whatcom County Planning Commission, attention: Becky Boxx, 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham, 98226. Written comments may also be emailed to

Volunteers sought for bald eagle count
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking volunteers for their annual bald eagle count scheduled for January 12 and 13.

Interested individuals are required to attend a training seminar at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 4 at the Bellingham Public Library at 210 Central Ave. in Bellingham. Cost is $4.For more information, call survey coordinator Sylvia Thorpe at 647-1192.