Letters to The Editor: July 14-20, 2022


The Editor:

Every year Fourth of July in Birch Bay is a special event with the night sky lit by fireworks all around the bay. But every year, Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce vilifies this most popular celebration. To me, their vilification is a violation of their basic premise; the chamber’s own “Come and play in Birch Bay, Washington!” It’s right on the top left-hand corner of the chamber’s website. Lighting of fireworks is not chamber-sponsored activity. Beach cleanup is. 

In years past, I do not remember complaining by the chamber for the tons of trash our Fourth of July celebration generated. 

But for the past seven years, our community has been lambasted with pictures and reports of trash, tallied by Doralee Booth, county liaison for the chamber; 29.8 tons to view with drooping, shamed faces.  

Her report of 4.8 tons in 2021, weighed less than an average elephant. That means in seven years, less than six average elephants’ worth were picked up off the beach. 

Comparing trash to elephants, I like to think of them as something related to Winnie the Pooh. Heffalumps. I realize Pooh and Piglet had bad dreams because of Heffalumps. Still, I’d like to hear Winnie the Pooh-type voices when it comes to the chamber and other people’s versions of fun. We always come through as a community and clean the mess from our celebration.   

Rather than watching a cloistered, taxpayer-funded display, many enjoy how we do things in Birch Bay. 

And by the way – those Heffalumps – elephants? The weight of one Heffalump fills slightly less than a quarter of a garbage truck.

Let’s get along and enjoy the diversity we have.       

Patti Barton

Birch Bay


The Editor:

On behalf of Blaine City Council, I would like to thank all those who helped to make July 4 in Blaine such a success. Thanks go to Blaine Chamber of Commerce for organizing all the events. We appreciate the work of the first responders, especially the Blaine police for being on duty to ensure the well-being and safety of all the attendees. Many enjoyed a very popular pancake breakfast at Blaine Senior Center. Thanks to the vendors, the vintage car owners, the participants in the parade and all the people who came to see, to enjoy the food and to watch the fireworks.

After two difficult years of having our celebrations on hold due to Covid, it was delightful to see the community gathering again.

With all the images of this day, it might seem odd that my singular take from this was one random act of kindness. A woman asked me for help for her daughter who had fallen and scraped her arm badly and needed some ice. There was the Whatcom 4-H Rhinestone stand where they were selling burgers. They had an “ICE” trailer. I asked the gentleman at the grill for ice for the girl. He was very busy, but found some ice and gave it to us. He offered more, without cost, if needed.

To me, this was the image of what this day celebrates. Whatever experiences this gentleman has had living in this country, it was such that allowed him to be in a place where a child’s discomfort was important enough to him to stop what he was doing and help. He did what he did because that is who he is. This is worth celebrating. God bless this gentleman and God bless the community who made July 4 possible.

Mary Lou Steward, mayor



The Editor:

I’m writing to you today as a third-generation Whatcom County resident, longtime Whatcom conservative activist, and knowledgeable Republican precinct committee officer, serving the same precinct (No. 126) that my family has lived in for more than 80 years, regarding our best prepared candidates for the primary and November elections.

With this in mind, one in particular is the standout for filling the state senate seat left open by the passing of our dear friend, senator Doug Ericksen. The clear candidate is Ben Elenbaas. 

He is our winning county councilman with many years of grassroots experience representing our interests as an elected cattlemen president, charter review commission chairman, planning commission member, and more. All know his professionalism and grassroots conservative bonafides. There is no comparison.

The sometimes ugly wrestling match known as “The Primaries” always reveal so much about people and their preparedness to represent us. The senate seat is vital and Ben Elenbaas is our best candidate, bar none. Likewise, Dan Johnson and Tawsha Dykstra Thompson are the best prepared in their races to stand for us against the wiles of Olympia. We need all three. So let’s focus our efforts and send our best. Why would we send anything less? I recommend them to you and stand ready to support my decision and answer any questions you may have. An informed electorate makes the right decisions.

Primary ballots go out July 13. The top two go on to November. Vote early please. Let’s get these winners across the finish line and on to Olympia!

Jayson Reimer, Republican precinct committee officer



The Editor:

I am enthusiastic to vote for Richard May for state house position 2. He has been a strong voice in local government for so many years, his focus on small business and smart growth has helped downtown Blaine on the path to success. He always makes time to take people’s calls and emails or meet with them. Richard has been a tireless champion for libraries and for keeping kids in school, and many years of volunteering for river cleanup and habitat management that helps salmon, farmers and neighbors.

We’ve had smart newcomers do a great job, but if elected, Richard would be the only one of our three state positions to be held by someone who was actually here in Whatcom County throughout the last 25 years, with the institutional knowledge and background on how our challenges and trial and error have gotten us to where we are now. Background isn’t everything, but it can be an asset to personally know the lay of the land. My vote is for Richard May.

Laurie Jordan



The Editor:

I’m a 30-year-old Whatcom County resident, husband and father of a little boy. I’m supporting Whatcom County councilmember Ben Elenbaas for state senate because he has the life experience necessary to do the job well. He will be an incredible asset and advocate for us in Olympia. His background stands in stark contrast to that of his 22-year-old opponent. 

Ben went to local public schools; he graduated from Western Washington University; he’s paid a mortgage; he’s run a farm; he’s raised a family, he’s paid utilities; he holds a real job (at BP Cherry Point Refinery); and most of all he knows the struggles that people in this community face because he is one of us. 

Ben has become a good friend and mentor to me, ever since my family moved to Whatcom County. There isn’t a more caring or qualified candidate in this race. He listens; he’s reasonable; and he stands for what’s right no matter the cost to him personally. He is honest and trustworthy. He does what he says he’ll do. He is the best of what it means to be a neighbor. And most importantly, he has demonstrated in his current elected position that he puts people over politics. 

What else could I hope for in a candidate to represent me? For my future, my wife’s future and my child’s future here in Whatcom County, I’m voting Ben Elenbaas for state senate by August 2. Will you join me?

Austin Cooper



The Editor:

Once again, another community is devastated by a shooter massacring innocent people. Mass shootings are nearing an all-time high of two daily in our country. Death by guns is now the leading cause of death among American children.

There are three times as many guns as U.S. citizens in our country. We must reduce gun violence through enacting effective regulation of gun sales. Offer incentives such as gun buy-back programs. Ban military style weapons. Require background checks, safe storage and red flag laws.

Sadly, as an educator, more than one of my students has committed suicide. Access to an unsecured gun at home was a factor. Brain research tells us that the frontal lobe of the adolescent brain, which regulates impulsivity, is not fully developed until age 25.

Our constitution grants the right to “bear arms” and references “a well-regulated militia.” It is high time we defined what these terms mean in 2022, not 1791. I demand action from our legislators to extinguish gun violence from our culture. If we do not, you, your family or your friends may be next.

Nancy Kelley Sheng



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