Letters to the Editor November 2015

The Editor:
Thank you to the current Point Roberts fire commissioners who have provided the vision and strategic direction over the last few years. None of us are getting any younger and with 1,300 permanent residents which balloons to approximately 5,500 permanent and part-time residents during the 100 days of summer, I appreciate your efforts to ensure we have professional firefighters to protect us.
The transparency fire commissioner Stan Riffle has provided with all the fire commissioner meetings and events now available on-line at wcfd5.com is appreciated.

It is interesting to see how the demographics of fire fighters have changed over the years. Our volunteer firefighter team has approximately 33 Canadians, eight local Point Roberts firefighters and five other members from greater Whatcom County. We now have five advanced emergency medical technicians and nine emergency medical technicians for a total of 40+ firefighters.

Having a motivated team without the tools is not very effective. The firefighter radio communication system now provides dependable communications for our firefighters to call for extra resources when they are on scene. This is only one of the many new tools now available to our firefighters.

What all this hard work means to me as a taxpayer is a reduction of $257 in my annual home insurance. Those are eagle dollars and when you convert that to beaver bucks that’s $366, which is a significant amount. As important as the dollars are, more important is the peace of mind knowing we have professionals available to help us in an emergency.

Good luck to commissioner Stan Riffle on your reelection. Your professional history as an architect and owner of a construction company has served us well in your role as fire commissioner in Point Roberts. I look forward to your ongoing vision and leadership for the next six years.
Vern Totten
Point Roberts

The Editor:

In our 12 years here, the fire department has not operated at the level of professionalism, competence and effectiveness that it is now. Stan Riffle is one of the driving forces behind this.

After attending a majority of fire department meetings in the last two years, we can say without a doubt that our community is lucky to have Stan as a fire department commissioner. He has worked hard since becoming a commissioner in 2012 and deserves your vote in the upcoming election.

He is the kind of commissioner who is fully engaged in his position. He spends personal time at the fire hall making sure he understands the issues and he comes to meetings fully prepared. In addition, he’s a nice guy who works well with others.
As a retired architect, the district has benefited from Stan’s expertise and clear, rational thinking many times. Examples include when the roof of the fire hall had to be repaired, his input on the installation of the new septic system for the department and clinic, and being a pivotal player in providing the fire chief with what he needed to create one of the best fire departments in the region.

This last point is important for two reasons. It has increased the department’s insurance rating which in turn has lowered insurance costs for every property owner in Point Roberts. Most importantly, we now have nearly 24-7 staff coverage at the fire department and have nearly tripled the number of member who can provide medical care: nine EMTs, six advanced EMTs, and four paramedics. In 2012, respectively, there were four, two and one.

The choice is obvious, Stan Riffle for position 1 fire commissioner.
Victor Riley and Shannon Tomsen Riley
Point Roberts

The Editor:

Library storytime is designed to help children form a foundation for learning to read. Our trained volunteers choose familiar yet exciting stories. We are friendly and welcoming to everyone, treating each child with respect and fostering self-discipline skills.

Parents participate in the activities encouraging happy social encounters with their children. Parental presence encourages the best behavior of your child. All young children have short attention spans; we try to keep them involved and interested and give them opportunities to learn to take turns, wait for their parts and follow directions. Our goal is to inspire a love of books.

The children’s library area is a physically safe area for your child. Our safe child policy states that children age four and younger must be kept close to and within sight of the person responsible for their safety. It can get busy at the library and, without supervision, your child could become hurt. We are happy to offer space for friends to visit, knitters to knit, and for people to check their email on WiFi, but the librarians cannot watch your children for you. Our teen area is for children 12 years and older, and the furniture there is not safe for young children.

The library staff feels strongly that children are human beings with the right to be treated with dignity and respect. They have the right to be accepted as they are, and to receive our help to become the person they wish to be.

Rose Momsen

Point Roberts Library

The Editor:

The candidate forum didn’t allow much time to detail my platform for election to the board of commissioners of the Point Roberts fire district. Let’s focus on the big picture.

The residents of Point Roberts should be given the opportunity to contribute before decisions are made by the fire commissioners. For example, give local businesses preference to supply, staff and contracts. After all, it’s our money – local money is being spent. A $17,000 roofing contract and a large septic installation were awarded to outside contractors without contacting all local contractors.

Emergency preparedness means working consistently with existing community groups throughout the year, having a local substitute staff for each paid position, and long-term power and communications independent of the grid. An emergency shelter and a disaster prepared facility are required. This, again, means advanced planning. A non-local staff and volunteers might be unavailable to us in a real emergency that impacts more than Point Roberts.

The fire commissioners have a lot of work to do before there is a fire or emergency to enhance fire defense programs, emergency medical services and emergency preparedness.

As the new fire commissioner I would fight for a comprehensive plan before any disaster occurs.

Judson Meraw

Point Roberts

The Editor:

In the history of Point Roberts, and all other communities for that matter, the audience is given an opportunity to publicly question each candidate from the floor and the end of their presentations, with each candidate responding to the entire audience. Candidates are also given the opportunity for rebuttal. This is basic civics. Why there was a departure in procedure from the candidate’s night held earlier this month for the county candidates is anybody’s guess, but this “meet and greet” experiment for local candidates is vapid, undemocratic and should never be repeated in future forums.

John Lesow

Point Roberts

The Editor:

I suggest dogs large and small be kept on a leash for their own safety.

Due to development, the coyotes’ cover and habitat are diminishing and they are on the hunt. Many residents have lost their small dogs to coyotes and their cats too. I have seen dogs allowed to wander, as their owners are not aware of the danger.

A place for dogs to run off the leash would be a welcome idea.

Jackie MacKenzie

Point Roberts

The Editor:

You know when you were a child and your mom always told you to wear clean underwear in case the ambulance ever had to come for you? Her sage advice paid off last Thursday evening when we had a medical incident late in the evening.

As a Canadian in Point Roberts, I have one fear – the American medical system. Since childhood, I have been regaled with tales like that of Peter Rabbit going into Mr. McGregor’s garden. Don’t do it! You could end up dead or, as in the case of the medical system, broke.

After trying unsuccessfully for 30 minutes to get our guest up and into the car to go to Delta Hospital, we finally called 911. I believe the fear of calling emergency services almost matched our fear of our guest expiring.

I had talked with the fire chief about a month prior to this incident, as we had had a dinner guest who had gone into anaphylactic shock. While we managed to administer his epi-pen and drive him to the hospital, it was a terrifying experience. The chief had encouraged me to not be afraid to call 911.

From the moment the emergency response team arrived on Thursday evening, we felt incredible relief. After attending to the patient and giving us the option of having her transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, they respected our desire to take her to Delta. The six-man team was compassionate, professional and understanding.

Having had two serious medical incidents at Point Roberts within less than 1.5 months, we have revamped our emergency plan. While we have medical coverage, we realized that our guests do not necessarily carry it. I realized I do not want to be responsible for making serious life and death health decisions for others. What we discovered is that we really didn’t have a plan other than to drive to the border fast. Apparently, that plan was flawed, not to mention foolish.

Our new safety plan is:

1. All guests must have medical coverage before visiting.

2. Call 911.

3. Don’t forget, always wear clean underwear. Mothers are always right.

A big thank you to all the men and women who serve in emergency services in Point Roberts – American and Canadian. We never imagined ever having to call you. I am grateful that the fire chief encouraged me not to be afraid to call 911.

Sylvia Thomas


The Editor:

Point Roberts has a very good fire protection department. Our district has recently achieved an ISO fire suppression rating improvement from six to five, which reflects in a reduction of fire insurance costs to all homeowners and businesses. Also the fire district has been recently qualified to provide immediate emergency pain relief for those individuals so needing prior to or during transport to Bellingham.

Of course, most of the credit for the foregoing goes to our fire chief, Chris Carleton. It must not be forgotten that it was commissioner Stan Riffle who participated in the hiring of our chief and in obtaining his services for the next decade.

Commissioner Riffle designed the changes to our old fire hall to permit the relocation of the second fire truck from its Gulf Road location to the present fire hall and the disposition of the old Julius fire hall property. This consolidation resulted in a significant efficiency improvement to our fire department. This is but one of his many achievements as commissioner.

I have lived in Point Roberts for almost 20 years. There have been many problems with previous fire district administrations over the years. I am very pleased with the present fire department. So much credit goes to commissioner Stan Riffle for his expertise and steady hand. Point Roberts is fortunate to have such a competent commissioner.

Bruno Moras

Point Roberts

The Editor:

I believe that we all have the power to make some small changes to our environment, if we are motivated. My family and I are motivated to pick up garbage that is irresponsibly strewn – consciously or unconsciously – along Roosevelt Way from Province to Bayview.

What about garbage on other streets in Point Roberts, we ask? What about that large lump of Styrofoam that has been sitting on the side of Johnson Road all summer? I bet you’ve looked at it and so have we. But none of us have stopped to pick it up.

We know we have no municipal workers picking up roadside litter here in Point Roberts, so I beg to ask some questions.

Can we all help out a little to clean up the roadside litter?

Can we contact Whatcom County and adopt a road? The commitment is minimal and the reward is visual.

Let’s exert our power to clean up our local environment and be proud of our litter-free roads.

Jane Pratt

Richmond, B.C.

The Editor:

Thank you, Mark Robbins, for the last eight years of dedicated service. When Mark rolled into town 10 years ago, he probably didn’t imagine the amount of volunteer hours he would bestow upon our community with the numerous groups he got himself involved in. The Wackie Walkers, taxpayers association, PREP, lighthouse society, parks board commissioner, and for the last two years as a member of the Cross-Border Coalition to Stop the Towers.

His friendship and many dinner conversations with Irene Waters and Bev Griffith, who both spent much of their lives giving back to the community, may have convinced him to step up to the plate.

Sure, he was retired with lots of time on his hands, but not every retiree is so generous. At the end of the year Mark says goodbye to his parks board position. In those eight years, he has done a lot to keep the community center building up and running, made many friends, found a great dog Buddy and a wonderful wife Béné.

Volunteering can be a very good thing and I’m grateful to all who volunteer their time to the betterment of our community.

Reneé Coe

Point Roberts

The Editor:

On behalf of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers I would like to thank all the businesses and residents in Point Roberts and Tsawwassen for your generous support and donations during our two-year effort to protect our communities from KRPI’s 50,000-watt AM antenna array consisting of five 150′ antennas.

Together we have raised approximately $200,000 to pay our lawyers in Washington, D.C. and Whatcom County.

We recently won round three in the Superior Court of the State of Washington. Judge Susan K. Cook upheld the ruling by the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner and the Whatcom County Council, which found the planned array violates Point Roberts Special District zoning codes, making a conditional use permit for the project impossible.

About 50 folks from both the Point and Tsawwassen journeyed to Skagit County for the hearing on October 7. When we got home we looked up Judge Cook. I think you will find this information very interesting and encouraging.

In April this year:

“Skagit County Superior Court Judge Susan K. Cook has been named Judge of the Year by the Washington State Association for Justice. The award is given to a judge who promotes the justice system through ‘exercise of outstanding judicial ruling or leadership,’ according to the organization’s website. Cook has served as a Superior Court judge since 1996 and was previously Superior Court commissioner.”

The opposition could try to drag this out with more appeals, but please be assured that we are still working to fight this in Whatcom County, Washington, D.C. and through channels in Canada. As many of you know, we still have outstanding legal bills that have recently been reduced (thank you donors!) to about $17,000.

Please consider sending in another donation so we can clear that debt. Send checks by mail: PRTA-FTT, P.O. Box 158, Point Roberts, WA 98281, drop off a donation at Umpqua Bank near the Marketplace, or visit notowers.webs.com to donate via PayPal or credit card. Our members and many volunteers have donated many thousands of hours in this mutual effort and your help with clearing our legal debts would be greatly appreciated.

The cooperation between our communities has proved that famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

Armene Belless

Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers


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