Another year has come and gone: July through December 2013

Published on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

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The reopening of Semiahmoo Resort midway through 2013 brought relief to the community, as many locals were re-employed. Soon after, the elections train gained momentum as voters considered hotly-contested initiatives and a diverse array of candidates. Let’s take a look back at headlines from the second half of 2013.


  • County executive Jack Louws proposed reducing the number of Medic 1 Advanced Life Support (ALS) units in the county from four to three to address budget shortfalls.
  • Munger Farms, a property owner in west Semiahmoo, requested an amendment to the city of Blaine’s zoning text to allow blueberry farming on their property. City planners denied the request in August after an uproar of opposition from Semiahmoo residents.
  • A Blaine man was sentenced to more than three years in prison for providing heroin and methamphetamine to a 14-year-old girl.
  • Choreographer Vincent Patterson endorsed the Birch Bay Activity Center and its Zumba program while visiting his sister, Birch Bay resident Leslie Kaeufer.
  • The city of Blaine reached an agreement with the Martin family for a utility easement through their property in east Blaine.


  • Blaine’s Good Samaritan Society-Stafholt home announced that it would no longer offer assisted living services for seniors due to budgetary constraints.
  • The Lummi Nation formalized its opposition to the Gateway Pacific Terminal in a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • The Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management District (BBWARM) received a $94,750 grant from the National Estuary Program for stormwater retrofit projects.
  • Kites were flown and boards were skimmed at the 2013 Sea and Sky Festival celebrating summer on Birch Bay.
  • The Semiahmoo Resort reopened after a 10-month hiatus and a change of 
  • ownership.
  • Blaine’s vintage 1949 American LaFrance fire engine was donated to Firefighters for Fun, a Bellingham nonprofit, but will still be featured in Blaine parades and ceremonies.


The Washington Department of Transportation replaced a span on the Skagit River bridge in Mount Vernon on I-5 after its predecessor collapsed into the river after it was hit by a semi-truck.
David Jordan was charged with attempted introduction of contraband after he was observed shooting an arrow towards the Whatcom County Jail. An arrow was later found on the roof with a bag of marijuana tied to it. The excuse given to sheriff’s deputies was that he was trying to shoot a squirrel perched on the building.
The Blaine Police Department mourned the loss of their retired K-9, Yoschi, who succumbed to old age.
The U.S. Border Patrol settled with civil rights groups over a lawsuit that claimed they were stopping vehicles and interrogating suspects without legal justification. The border patrol admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.


  • The Will’O Pub and Café opened in Birch Bay.
  • The driver of a Pontiac Grand Prix broadsided a Blaine school bus full of students on their way to school in foggy conditions. None of the 42 students on board were injured, although one was taken to hospital as a precaution, and the driver of the bus, Jerre Bouma, was treated at the scene. The driver and passenger of the Pontiac were hospitalized with serious injuries. Fog and speed were determined to be factors in the crash.
  • Construction of the BP Heron Facility for Environmental Education at Birch Bay State Park began.
  • Donald Calvin filed suit against Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo and chief of corrections Wendy Jones for what he believed to be violations of his civil rights during his arrest and detention at Whatcom County Jail.
  • Two drivers died on the scene in a head-on collision on Grandview Road when when 39-year-old Mississippi driver Wesley Martin passed a semi truck in heavy fog and struck a Nissan Sentra head-on driven by Angela Roderick, an 18-year-old woman from Blaine.
  • Trident Seafoods donated a 1906 29-foot Bristol Bay sailboat to Drayton Harbor Maritime.


  • Election day results showed progressives sweeping Whatcom County Council positions, as Barry Buchanan ousted chair Kathy Kershner, Bill Knutzen was replaced by Rud Browne and incumbents Ken Mann and Carl Weimer retained their seats.
  • Over two-thirds of Blaine and Birch Bay voters supported a property tax levy to fund Northwest Park and Recreation District 2.
  • RiteAid opened a new store at 1195 Boblett Street and closed its former location at Blaine International Mall.
  • A fire that consumed a mobile home in the 8600 block of Blaine Road was deemed suspicious by Whatcom County fire marshals.
  • County council voted to purchase a 39-acre property in Ferndale for the future site of a new county jail and sheriff’s headquarters at a cost of $6.1 million.
  • Blaine City Council approved an ordinance to amend the city’s zoning laws to accommodate the legalization of marijuana.


  • Fire crews responded to two fires in one night in outbuildings on Blaine Road and Sweet Road. The Sweet Road fire was caught early and major damage was prevented. The Blaine Road fire resulted in the total loss of a barn and the passenger vehicle, tractors and tools inside it.
  • Three companies applied for marijuana licenses in Blaine.
  • A year after a rebuild of the dam at the south end of Lake Terrell and major efforts to restore Terrell Creek to reopen a historic salmon run, project managers hosted a tour of the restored area.