Year in Review 2007

Published on Thu, Jan 17, 2008 by Tara Nelson

Read More News

Year in Review 2007

By Tara Nelson

Continued from previous issues. Click here to read January - April 2007 Year In Review. Click here to read May - August 2007 Year In Review

September

• Downtown Blaine business owner Steve Lawrenson was awarded a contract to operate Blaine’s liquor store in the International Center by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB).

• Federal officials acknowledge that construction of the new Peace Arch U.S. port of entry will signal the beginning of up to two years of a strangled border. “It’s going to be painful for everybody,” said James Rector, assistant port director for the Blaine area.

• Whatcom County auditor Shirley Forslof dropped a bombshell on two-term council member John Liebert’s re-election campaign in the last week when she announced that he may be ineligible to run because his residence is not in the ward he’s running for.

• Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire called the looming traffic congestion as a result of the General Services Administration’s planned Peace Arch Port of Entry reconstruction “unacceptable” during a visit to Ferndale for a tour of the city’s waterfront.

October

• After being worth just a little over 60 cents U.S. a few years ago the Canadian dollar has passed the U.S. dollar in value for the first time since 1976.

• After an overwhelming display of public opposition, Blaine City Council narrowly voted Monday to deny an amendment that would streamline the city’s planning process.

• Local control over taxes and land use decisions were the most important issues to Birch Bay residents, according to a survey distributed by the Birch Bay Steering Committee.

• After working with the city of Blaine for only six months, Tom Black, the development manager of the city’s community development department has resigned.

• U.S. Representative Rick Larsen is calling for the House Homeland Security Committee to hold a hearing addressing the growing number of complaints about the NEXUS trusted traveler program.

• Incumbent Jason Overstreet beat his opponent David Gallion in the bid for Blaine City Council, Ward 3, Position 5. Other candidates who won the election were: Blaine Planning Commission member Harry Robinson, who was running uncontested for the council’s Ward 2, Position 4, and Scott Dodd, who was running uncontested for the council’s Ward 2, Position 3 and incumbent John Liebert, who was running uncontested for Ward 1, Position 1.

November

• Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo pulled the plug on a private contractor that has been operating a minimum security jail for the county when he learned of possible sexual misconduct on the part of one of their employees.

• Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) finished most of the Highway 543 improvements from H Street north to the border and has reopened lanes.

• City of Blaine finance manager Meredith Riley announced she would not recommend raising the city’s property tax rate more than 1 percent in 2008, even after a state supreme court ruling that determined otherwise.

• Whatcom County public works crews began long-awaited road repairs on Drayton Harbor Road between Shintaffer and Harborview roads.
December

• Birch Bay resident Yvonne Schaff, 56, was killed when a Ferndale woman driving her Chevy Lumina southbound on Blaine Road tried to illegally pass a pick-up. Officials suspect drugs were a contributing factor in the accident and arrested Elyssa Birman, 28, on suspicion of vehicular homicide.

• Blaine resident Mel Hollinger received the 2007 “Man of the Year/Lifetime Achievement” award from the Bellingham/ Whatcom Chamber of Commerce.