A Look Back at the Year That Just Was (Part one)

By Meg Olson

January

• With approval from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) for a revised tariff, Cando Recycling and Disposal prepared to implement the mandatory curbside collection program approved earlier by Whatcom County Council.

• Manual recounts for two legislative districts handed victory to incumbents Doug Ericksen and Luanne Van Werven.

• Failing due to lack of support from the Whatcom County executive and county parks department to build a lighthouse at Lighthouse Marine Park, the Point Roberts Lighthouse Society was dissolved and donated their raised funds, close to $12,000, to the local historical society.

• Bill Meursing resigned from his position on the fire district board of commissioners after 15 years on the board, most of them as chair.

February

• With the government shutdown impacting numerous federal employees in the community, local residents stepped in to lend a hand, donating food and gas cards.

• Chwynyn Vaughan and Holly Robinson were appointed to the Point Roberts Parks and Recreation District board of commissioners.

• There were new faces on the board of the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC). Stephen Falk was appointed to one of the two at large positions, Steve Wolf took over as taxpayers’ association representative, and Tessa Pinckston was named voters’ association representative. David Gellatly was named for a second term as the chamber representative and Linda Hughes remained as the second at-large member.

• Fire district commissioners praised volunteers and staff for their response to the December 2018 windstorm while chief Christopher Carleton announced plans to work with other local groups on the lessons they had learned and how to work together going forward.

• Point Roberts Emergency Preparedness (PREP) group chair Raye Newman said they had learned valuable lessons from the windstorm and planned field day exercises to put them into practice.

• The Point Roberts Historical Society got to work transforming the room that once housed the local library into a historic room.

March

• Whatcom County Planning and Development Services put enforcement of code violations at 1480 Gulf Road on hold for one year to give the PRCAC time to consider wholesale changes to land use rules in Point Roberts.

• Raye Newman was appointed to the board of commissioners of the local fire district, filling the unexpired term of Bill Meursing.

• Water district commissioners were delivered a proposal for a 30 percent hike in water rates over five years to pay for rising water costs.

• County executive Jack Louws and assessor Keith Willnauer announced they would not seek reelection.

• Jason Taylor purchased the Point Roberts Airpark with the intention of continuing its use as an airfield. Local resident Bob Granley took over as airport manager.

• At the annual meeting of Circle of Care, president Chris Cameron announced ambitious plans for the group working to help local residents remain in their home when faced with aging and illness.

• Physician’s assistant Deb Shields took over providing care to patients of the local health clinic.

April

• Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws and parks director Michael McFarlane confirmed the county was giving up on the dock at Lighthouse Marine Park, moving the structure to another county park after repeated failures of the new dock at that location.

• The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency began public hearings on the proposed expansion of the container terminal at Roberts Bank.

• PRCAC scheduled a series of meetings to gather public input on what needed to be changed in local zoning rules.

• Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputy James Allen took over as one of two resident deputies in Point Roberts.

• Whidbey Telecom began introducing fiber optic service to the Point starting with the community center and commercial clients along Tyee Drive and Gulf Road.

• Point Roberts Marina was selected to be the new home of Race Week, an international sailing event that had called Whidbey Island home for 37 years.

May

• County crews began staging for a summer of road work which included chipsealing 23 of the 37 miles of public roads on the Point, some of which had previously been straight asphalt.

• Outgoing county executive Jack Louws drove home the message that the Point Roberts community needed to have a “collaborative vision” if it wanted county help meeting a variety of goals.

• With a projected budget shortfall for the 2019-2020 school year, the Blaine school district started looking at the possibility of teacher layoffs.

• Members of PRCAC sent a letter to the county expressing concern over “the systematic dismantling of Lighthouse Marine Park” and asking the county to commit to engage with the community and invest in county properties here.

• Acadia Tucker, a founding director of the Point Roberts Homegrown Coop, published “Growing Perennial Foods” through Stone Pier Press.

• Bill and Michelle Bennett took over as new owners of Point Roberts Auto Freight.

• Kyle German returned to the Point as the new general manager and golf pro at the Bald Eagle Golf Club.

• The Enchanted Forest Trail opened as part of ongoing trail development at
Baker Field.

June

• The local water district approved an irrigation rate for the local golf course and began to consider a progressive rate structure that would shift more costs to higher use customers.

• Fire chief Christopher Carleton reminded residents and visitors to tell dispatch they are calling from Point Roberts when they call 911 with a cell phone.

• Marcia Rosales began offering Pilates classes in her studio and at Madrona Yoga.

• Local quilter Rose Momsen took first place for quilt art at the Gibsons Landing Fibre Arts Festival.

• The local parks district hired Meghan Kelly as their program and facilities coordinator, replacing Ben VanBuskirk who resigned for family reasons.

• A new biography of legendary wrestler and Point Roberts community member Gene Kiniski by Steven Verrier was released.

(To be continued…)

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