Published on Thu, Jan 31, 2008
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Tax deferrals available to some homeowners

Homeowners with limited incomes will be eligible to defer paying half of their property taxes or special assessments beginning in 2008.
To qualify, a homeowner must have owned the home for at least five years, reside in the home, and have a combined annual household disposable income of $57,000 per year or less. Disposable income is defined as income from all sources, whether or not it is subject to federal income tax.

Applicants must pay the first half of their property taxes in order to apply to defer paying taxes on the second half due in October. Application forms will be available after April 20, 2008 at county assessor offices or online at the Washington state Department of Revenue’s web site,

Blaine grad makes PLU dean’s list

Alisha Fisher, a 2007 graduate of Blaine high school, was one of more than 850 students from Pacific Lutheran University named to the Dean’s List for Fall 2007. The list recognizes outstanding academic achievement, as it requires a grade point average of at least 3.5 for the term.

Fisher is the daughter of Wade and Diana Fisher of Blaine and is pursuing a degree in business administration and a minor in psychology at PLU.

Day trips offer outdoor opportunities for all seasons

Whatcom County Parks & Recreation has scheduled a series of wildlife watching excursions this winter.

The next outing is February 2 at Semiahmoo Bay. Experienced birder Paul Woodcock will lead a group around the mudflats and beaches of Semiahmoo Bay and Drayton Harbor to view migratory birds, which are in their seasonal peak for diversity and numbers. Meet at Semiahmoo Park museum at 9 a.m. Expedition ends at noon. No cost.
For more information about the programs, call 733-2900 or visit.

Boys and Girls Club hires new program director

The Blaine Boys & Girls Club has hired Tony Clark as their new program director.

Clark, a native of Orcas Island, is a recent graduate of Western Washington University’s recreation program and has two years of experience working with the Bellingham Boys & Girls Club as a volunteer basketball coach while finishing his degree. He also earned a minor in psychology from WWU.

Clark said his goals as program director would be to install a covered playground over the basketball courts, expand the facility and create more programs to attract older children and teenagers.

“I don’t want to have kids home alone,” he said. “I want them here.”
SR 543 road delays

Motorists planning on using Blaine’s truck crossing next week may want to find an alternative route this week.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will close one lane in each direction of SR 543 during daylight hours beginning this week while work crews install large signs over the highway. One lane in each direction will remain open to traffic until this Friday and possibly into next week. Drivers can now get real time traffic and weather information by dialing 5-1-1 from most phones.

Commission seeks input on DUI checkpoints

The Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force is inviting motorists to call in and voice their opinions on the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission’s proposed sobriety checkpoints as described in House Bill 2771.

The controversial new bill would allow uniformed law enforcement officers to stop all or certain designated vehicles during specific times and locations and question the drivers to determine whether they have been drinking or take the driver off the roadway for investigation or testing.

Proponents of the bill cite an average 20 percent reduction in DUI crashes, injuries and deaths in states that have DUI checkpoints.
Opponents, however, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are concerned about civil rights and the possibility of illegal profiling by law enforcement officers. In September 2007, for example, civil rights groups in Santa Rosa, California accused law enforcement agencies of targeting Latinos at DUI roadway checkpoints to check for proof of citizenship.

The task force has set up a poll at and has invited anyone who has an opinion on sobriety checkpoints to contribute their input.

The web site also includes highlights of the bill and a link to the actual bill, House Bill 2771.

By Tara Nelson