Letters to the Editor March 2016

The Editor:

On behalf of the school board, as well as the students and staff of the Blaine school district, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the patrons of the Blaine school district for their overwhelming endorsement of the four-year levy initiative.

It is a tribute to the citizens of Blaine, Birch Bay and Point Roberts, and their continued dedication to the education of students, that school-related tax measures have realized such a high level of support over the past two years.

We are now positioned to make much needed upgrades to school facilities, while being able to assure that the quality programs that are currently in place can be sustained into the future. We are most grateful for your approval of this critical measure.

Ron Spanjer, superintendent

Blaine school district

The Editor:

So, how did David actually defeat Goliath? Well, in the case of the No Towers fight, it wasn’t a single stone; it was more than two and a half years, thousands of volunteer hours, donations, gifts, petitions, meetings, letters, research, fundraisers, court appearances, filings, in-kind help and just short of $250,000.

Even after all this time and our eventual victory, the notion that this happened at all still galls, but that so many came together to help win the battle against the unwanted AM radio towers and stuck with it so long is nothing short of amazing. On behalf of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers, I would like to thank all of our supporters, large and small, because it took each and every one of you to finally be able to call this a victory.

In order to celebrate the win and to pay off the last of what we owe on the fight (roughly $14,000), we are hosting a Victory Party and Fundraiser on Saturday, March 5, starting at 6 p.m. at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern. Live music starts at 6:30 p.m. with singer/songwriter “KK,” followed by the comedy of Lucy Williams. At around 8 p.m. the vintage country/honky-tonk band “The Neon Stars” will play for listening and dancing.

There will be a silent auction, games and a raffle for a 50″ HD Smart TV, complements of TSB Shipping. The Reef will be offering a special menu. $20 suggested donation at the door. Come join the party, or if you can’t make it, consider helping us retire the debt through a credit card donation online at NoTowers.webs.com or by mail to PRTA/FTT, P.O. Box 158, Point Roberts, WA 98281.

To all the hundreds of supporters who got us this far, go ahead, reach around and give yourselves a big pat on the back! The victory belongs to us all.

Jennifer Urquhart, treasurer

Cross Border Coalition to Stop 

the Radio Towers

The Editor:

About 35 folks came out on Valentine’s afternoon to celebrate and support the progress being made by Point Roberts Circle of Care and all had a good time.

Brewster’s Fine Foods hosted the gathering and provided their upstairs space where party-goers were entertained by Point Roberts’ local chanteuse, Shaune Ann Feuz, who was accompanied on guitar by Dave Ivas. Delicious wines from Brewster’s stock were served while guests sampled gourmet chocolates from Vancouver’s ChocXO chocolatier.

Circle of Care, which is a program of Whatcom Council on Aging, is organizing both volunteers and professionals to provide in-home care to Point Roberts seniors and families in need.

The fundraiser was the first 2016 event planned to raise funds for several purposes. In order to meet state requirements, home care aids must be trained, tested and certified – a process that is expensive and time consuming, so Circle of Care will provide scholarship funds and some grants to help defray the cost of training. Some of our residents may not be able to afford to pay for in-home care so funds will be provided to pay workers in cases of need.

In order to acquire grants and governmental funding, we will need a grant writer (in the meantime we are being assisted in this department by a couple of savvy Point Roberts residents). Eventually Circle of Care may need to have a part-time administrator and, of course, there are operational expenses.

All contributions and expenses will be accounted for and Whatcom Council on Aging will assist with reports and record keeping. Circle of Care has a steering committee comprised of 12 capable and generous volunteers, and so far hundreds of hours have been dedicated to getting the organization up and running.

No funds are being used to pay the steering committee. Treasurer Pia Clark estimated that the event raised over $1,500 from donations and silent auction sales.

Circle of Care is especially grateful to all the Point Roberts and Tsawwassen merchants and businesses who contributed items for a silent auction.

Annelle Norman

Circle of Care

The Editor:

The GPT coal export terminal proposal is based upon a business model that is not viable. Coal is no longer a thriving industry – coal is a rapidly dying industry. Since 2012, nearly 50 coal companies have gone bankrupt, leaving behind impoverished communities and unemployed miners.

Cheap, abundant, cleaner-burning natural gas and oil are replacing coal and this decreases demand and causes the price of coal to plummet.

The costs of mining coal in Wyoming or Montana and then transporting it by trains and ships across the Pacific Ocean to Asia far exceed what coal is worth. It’s no longer possible to make money by exporting U.S. coal to Asia. Cloud Peak Energy was losing so much money sending its Wyoming/Montana coal to Asia that last October Cloud Peak paid B.C.’s Westshore Terminal $11 million in contract penalties rather than shipping its coal. Subsequently, fewer coal trains have been traveling through Whatcom County going to and from B.C.’s Westshore Terminal.

Peabody Energy, provider of coal for the proposed GPT, is in deep financial trouble. Peabody Energy had a $2 billion dollar accounting loss for 2015 and now Peabody Energy is unable to borrow more money. Peabody Energy’s stock price has dropped precipitously because investors are concerned that it is nearing bankruptcy.

The free market is saying that the GPT coal export terminal proposal is a financial fiasco. The GPT proposal is wholly financed by SSA Marine, a privately owned company. Apparently spending millions of dollars on a doomed project means little to the billionaire owners of SSA Marine.

Maybe their egos have blinded them to economic reality. But at this point the US Army Corps of Engineers would be doing SSA Marine and everyone else a favor by immediately denying building permits for the GPT proposal.

Once the financially doomed GPT coal export proposal is put out of its misery, Whatcom County can resume efforts to attract sustainable businesses that really can create permanent jobs and build a healthy, prosperous future for us all.

Paula Rotundi


The Editor:

We are saddened to announce that the new owner of Caffe Capanna has advised us that they wish to utilize the property in a new direction, and have directed us to cease operations before March 1.

Please come in and have a coffee with us, bring your friends and let’s share some of the memories we have all made together over these past two years. You remember us, the little yellow coffee shack at 1345 Gulf Road.

Our heartfelt thanks are truly difficult to entirely express here. We are so fortunate to have met so many wonderful international visitors, developed life-long friendships, and especially appreciate the support of our local Point Roberts customers who helped us keep the doors open even in the slowest times of the year.

Point Roberts is a genuine treasure, and that is reflected in the people who live here and support local business. We are grateful for the opportunity that has been afforded us in this venture and we are looking forward to the next adventure in our lives.

Please stop by the Caffe when you can. We would love to thank you in person for your support and friendship. Breakfast, lunch, daily soups and baking selection will continue through to the end of February.

And please come visit Whale Bay Village (our little corner of the Point), and continue to support our amazing neighbors, Blue Heron Gallery, Brewster’s, Pedal Pushers Bike Rentals, The Reef and Auntie Pam’s Country Store. Every one of these businesses has supported us and we hope you will visit them often and continue to share the love.

Linda and Ron Hughes

Point Roberts

The Editor:

I will be beyond disappointed if my representative and senators vote to further place us in the position where foreign corporations can sue us when they can’t freely make their profit on the use of our land, air and water.

I say “No” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and they should work to undo these disastrous trade policies that have placed us in this situation. I think the TransCanada pipeline saga has given us a chance to see how this will play out. Even if we dodge this one, they are suing for $15 billion for denial of the Keystone XL pipeline, the treasure lost to litigate via the secret investor-state dispute settlement will be paid for by us.

It may become too expensive to protect our land, air and water and the greedy selfish will do as they wish. If laws to give us a chance to be informed and make the best decisions are objected to they will just be thrown out. Country of origin labeling of meat is a good example. Our descendants deserve a better legacy. No on TPP!

Peggy Borgens


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