Letters to The Editor: November 30-December 6, 2023


The Editor:

For 20 years I have had the privilege of working for the Thanksgiving Basket program. This program would not be possible without the support of the following community members.

• The Northern Light has kept people’s attention by getting the word out each year and highlighting the importance of what we do for the community.

• All of the incredible donors, with their overwhelming generosity, is what keeps our program alive and going strong.

• Tom and Sonia Hayes of T.C. Trading Company, Inc. for donating the site.

• Edaleen Dairy has always been willing to donate the milk; this year it was 220 gallons.

• Cost Cutter in Blaine, including Mitch, Cindy, Stephen and Lance, ordered all needed groceries and had everything ready for an on-time pick up.

• North Whatcom Fire and Rescue, under the direction of Mike Nelson, are instrumental in making this event possible, from picking up, storing and delivering boxes needed, they pick up the milk and the crew does an amazing job of managing the car line on event day. Henry Hollander, a retired firefighter, still comes every year to deliver baskets to families who are unable to pick up. I am extremely grateful for all they do!

Lastly, but most important, are the volunteers who generously give their time to the event, bagging groceries, assembling and filling boxes, assisting with box distribution and all the organization and clean up involved. This small group has helped give 1,213 adults and children in our community a very happy Thanksgiving this year and I am sincerely grateful for having a hand in its success.

With deepest gratitude, I pass the torch.

Shirley Tobian

Director, Community Assistance Program Thanksgiving Basket Program



The Editor:

The State of the Sound report has just been released. It is prepared every two years by the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority to provide an easily understandable summary of the current conditions in Puget Sound.

The report concludes that the Puget Sound is holding on, but its recovery remains uncertain. This mixed scorecard is concerning. Merely clinging to life with little improvement is simply not sufficient progress.

Nearly 80 percent of estuarine wetlands, which are critical to salmon and marine and shore birds, have been diked in the last 150 years. About 3,400 acres have been restored since 2006. While positive, when this gain is compared to projected sea level rise over the coming decades there is a serious risk that even those gains will be literally drowned out by the rising tides.

Terrestrial birds are in steady decline. The golden-crowned kinglet has declined by 60 percent in the western U.S. over the last 60 years. Many others are in serious decline.

Marine bird populations are also way down. The endangered marbled murrelet has been declining 5 percent per year since 2000. Scoters are down about 2 percent per year. Local marine bird surveys show significant declines in many species that winter in our local waters.

We must restore more estuarine areas, preserve the remaining old-growth and mature forests, and protect kelp and eelgrass beds, which birds, fish and marine mammals depend on for survival.

We must also reduce and remove concrete bulkheads and other structures that interfere with the natural shoreline habitats needed for the forage fish eggs and invertebrate species, which are essential food sources for salmon and marine birds.

Here in Whatcom County, we must heed the warning of the report. “Barely holding its own” is simply inadequate. When we take positive actions, conditions in the Sound can improve, and that is encouraging. But, we must make a greater effort to preserve our natural shoreline habitats, and our remaining mature and old growth forests, and do much more to help the Sound to recover and to thrive.

See more at northcascadesaudubon.org.

Robert Kaye



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