2011 Year in Review: Part two

Published on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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July

• City of Blaine officials announced plans to purchase the Banner Bank building with the intent of moving city hall to the new
space.

• A Blaine man, Scott Alan Stuart, pleaded guilty to collecting millions of dollars from dozens of people across the country via an email scam.

• North Whatcom Fire and Rescue fire commissioners voted to consolidate services with Fire District 4, which covers northern Bellingham.

• Glenn Golay, former Birch Bay Water and Sewer District treasurer, pleaded guilty to nine counts of first-degree theft stemming from his embezzlement of nearly $469,000 from the district.

• Blaine City Council member Scott Dodd resigned, citing a move from Blaine to Birch Bay as the reason for leaving.

• Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputy Zac Reimer was named the new Birch Bay neighborhood deputy after deputy Cliff Langley retired.

August

• Whatcom County planning officials fined SSA Marine for performing unpermitted road-grading and tree-clearing at the Cherry Point site without the proper permits. The Seattle-based shipping terminal company was performing the work to gather geotechnical data on the area. The state Department of Natural Resources also faulted SSA Marine for the work.

• Opponents of the $600 million Gateway Pacific Terminal proposed for a site at Cherry Point area met in Birch Bay to make their case against the terminal’s construction.

• Whatcom County planning officials announced they would not impose a six-year development moratorium on the Cherry Point property for the unpermitted preliminary work SSA Marine did at the site.

• Wayne Groen, the Lynden man convicted of illegally shining a high-powered flashlight at a Customs and Border Protection helicopter, was sentenced to two months in prison.

• Former Birch Bay Water and Sewer District treasurer Glenn Golay was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to nine counts of theft after embezzling nearly $469,000 from the district.

• A Customs and Border Protection agent pleaded guilty to harassment after threatening a B.C. resident on the shoulder of I-5 in Mount Vernon.

• State senator Doug Ericksen and former Lynden mayor Jack Louws garnered enough votes to move on from the August primary elections, as did Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo and opponent Steve Harris.

• The Blaine school board unanimously approved the school district’s $20 million 2011/2012 budget.

September

• The improvements to H Street just east of the Cost Cutter shopping center were completed but also prevented one couple living on H Street from moving their RV out of their driveway. City of Blaine officials paid to fix the problem roughly three weeks after the couple told the city about it.

• Bellingham-based development corporation Trillium defaulted on a handful of properties in Birch Bay.

• State test scores showed improvements across most grade levels at Blaine schools.

• Northwest Park and Recreation District 2 volunteers made the case for a $350,000 levy that appeared on the November general election ballot.

• The Salishan Neighborhood Association worked to improve a section of Telescope Beach near Marine Park.

• Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies arrested five suspects, three of them from Blaine, who were allegedly involved in a countywide theft ring.

• Jun Yu Development I, LLC, based in Richmond, B.C., bought the Birch Bay Waterslides property for approximately $3.2 million.

• The stretch of Lincoln Road from Harborview to Shintaffer in Birch Bay reopened after a four-month closure. Construction on the road widened the lanes and added dedicated left turn lanes at the two intersections.

October

• Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway announced plans to demolish the 100-year-old Blaine train depot but later agreed to wait on the demolition after a request from Blaine City Council.

• Bellingham-based environmental group RE Sources for Sustainable Communities filed a notice to sue Seattle-based shipping terminal company SSA Marine in connection with the company’s unpermitted work done at the Cherry Point site.

• Blaine City Council declared Blaine a Let’s Move! city, connecting the city to a nationwide movement supporting healthy communities and battling childhood obesity.

• Blaine City Council voted to acquire two privately owned parcels in east Blaine via eminent domain. The city plans to eventually extend sewer and other utilities through the properties.

• Whatcom County Council voted 5-2 to rezone 568 acres in the Birch Bay areas from one house per 10 acres to one house per five acres.

• Blaine public works director Steve Banham announced plans to leave his job for the same position with the city of Lynden. Banham worked for the city for 11 years.

• Birch Bay Water and Sewer District commissioners voted to increase water and sewer rates for 2012.

November

• Washington state residents voted to get state government out of the liquor business while Whatcom County voters elected Jack Louws as the new county executive and Pete Kremen as the newest county council member. County council members Barbara Brenner and Sam Crawford won their re-election bids.

• Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo and treasurer Steve Oliver won their re-election bids, while county voters elected Debbie Adelstein as the new county auditor.

• The $350,000 Northwest Park and Recreation District 2 levy failed for a second year in a row.

• Three Blaine High School cross country runners advanced to the state championships.

December

• Blaine City Council voted to increase the city’s property taxes and sewer rates for 2012.

• Blaine City Council tabled a revote on the acquisition of portions of two properties in east Blaine. The revote was required after an address error prevented the original vote notification from reaching the correct party.

• Blaine City Council members Alan Black and John Liebert retired.

• The new owner of the Birch Bay Waterslides also purchased 231 acres in the Birch Point area.

• Fire Chief Tom Fields of North Whatcom Fire and Rescue announced his retirement, effective January 1, 2012.

• Bellingham-based environmental group RE Sources for
Sustainable Communities sued Seattle-based shipping terminal company SSA Marine for
violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

• The Blaine man who pleaded guilty to scamming dozens of people across the country out of millions of dollars via email was sentenced to five years in prison.

• Canada-born developer Bill Grant died at the age of 69. Grant was responsible for Birch Bay’s two major resort developments.

• Trillium Corporation owner David Syre filed for bankruptcy.

• Blaine High School wrestlers took two individual first place titles at the annual Battle at the Border wrestling tournament.