Around the Point – April

New Sheriff on the Point

James Allen has taken over as one of the two resident Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputies serving Point Roberts.

A Whatcom County native, Allen grew up in Lynden and graduated from Lynden High School in 2009. He joined the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office as a cadet in 2016 and attended the Criminal Justice Training Center in Burien before taking on patrol duties in the county. “I like the variety of the work and I like helping people, doing something important,” he said.

Allen will be stationed in Point Roberts for two years with an option to extend for an additional two-year term. He and his wife moved to the Point and he took over his new role in January.

“I’m looking forward to the community policing aspect and getting to know the people I serve,” he said.

In his first few months on the Point, Allen said he had found traffic safety a source of concern, watching numerous vehicles breeze through the stop sign at the corner of Tyee Drive and Benson Road. “I’ve been to too many crashes where someone doesn’t stop and people get hurt,” he said.

Allen replaces deputy Tom McCarthy, who served in Point Roberts for four years and made the enforcement of leash laws a priority. He joins deputy Ian Johnson, who has been on the Point for two years and is approved to serve here an additional two-year assignment.

Allen volunteered for the Point Roberts position, said undersheriff Jeff Parks. “He’s a Whatcom County local and came to us brand new,” Parks said.

Louws to speak at Voters

Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws will be the featured guest speaker at the April 4 meeting of the Point Roberts Registered Voters Association (PRRVA).

“We want to give our members and the community an opportunity to engage with their elected county representatives and senior staff members,” said interim PRRVA chair David McCarthy. “I will play the role of facilitator so we can have a constructive engagement.”

Louws will be accompanied by Whatcom County councilmember Satpal Sidhu. McCarthy said public works director Jon Hutchings and parks and recreation director Michael McFarlane had also been invited but they had not confirmed their attendance.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Gulf Road community center.

Get ready for fresh veggies

The Saturday Morning Market is getting ready for another season of offering the fruits of Point Roberts.

“It is a make-it, bake-it or grow-it market to encourage local ingenuity and inspirations,” said market facilitator Heidi Baxter. “The Market is a great place to share community. And we are looking forward another enjoyable year.”

The market starts May 4 and will run every Saturday until August 31 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., rain or shine.

Vendors pay $25 for the season or $5 per market and need to bring their own table. “Kids crafts and lemonade stands are free, and all non-profits are welcome to participate for free too,” Baxter said.

On the third Saturday of each month, Circle of Care will be providing coffee and freshly baked goods. Organizers are inviting other non-profits to sign up for other weeks or to host pancake breakfasts. Local firefighters will be there as available to provide blood pressure checks.

“We are hoping the inventors and recyclers join us with more engaging activities to help us all recycle more,” Baxter said. On the last Saturday of the month starting May 25, a boot sale will run concurrently with the market, a way for community members to pass on things they no longer need.

Gardeners are welcome to participate in the Seed Program every week. Growers bring their excess produce between 9 and 10 a.m. and it is sold at the market by volunteers to raise funds for the local food bank.

“It is a great way to share those zucchinis and other produce while benefiting the food bank,” Baxter said. “We started this last year and many community members enjoyed purchasing local veggies while the food bank was able to buy more eggs with the proceeds.”

For more information or to sign up as a vendor, please email Baxter at latitude@whidbey.com.

Whidbey expands fiber optic network

The Point Roberts Community Center on Gulf Road now has screechingly fast internet service available for free, thanks to Whidbey Telecom as they begin introducing fiber optic service to the Point.

“This is kind of the tip of the spear to providing this service to the whole community,” chief marketing officer Chris McKnight said.

Making good on a commitment to bring fiber optic infrastructure to Point Roberts, McKnight said the company had started by installing fiber optic from the border down Tyee Drive and along Gulf Road to the community center.

“We are starting with businesses and that builds the backbone,” McNight said. “I would love businesses on Gulf Road and Tyee Drive to know it’s there and to know the benefits. The more people who show interest early on, the better we can make a case for moving forward.”

“We provided the community center with the latest wireless technology so when you walk into that building you can connect for free to the latest and best technology,” McKnight said. “Our primary motivation was to provide our best service to the community and groups that use the space. A happy by-product of that is that people can see what we can do.”

The fiber optic service is faster and more reliable than technology currently deployed. The top speed available through the fiber optic infrastructure is 150 megabits per second (Mbps). “Right now, it’s 50 Mbps in select areas and some people can only get 10,” McKnight said.

Currently, the fiber optic service is only available to businesses, and it will take time to install the underground infrastructure needed to service more of the Point. “Residential service is still down the road,” McKnight said. “We’re committed to upgrading our services in Point Roberts and will continue to do so over time.

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