Letters to the Editor: December 2014

The Editor:

Open enrollment is here! November 15–February 15 is the time to enroll, change or renew private health insurance plans through the Washington Healthplanfinder. Not sure if you should enroll? Check out wahealthplanfinder.org to learn more about plan options. Last year, 85 percent of applicants qualified for free, or low-cost plans.

Interfaith Community Health Center is also able to assist you with the enrollment process. In a one-on-one appointment (in person or over the phone), Interfaith’ s enrollment specialists walk you through the process, step by step, to make sure you understand your options and your coverage.

Interfaith is hosting a “Get Covered” event on Saturday, December 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its Bellingham clinic (220 Unity Street). This is an opportunity to speak with experts from the insurance field to learn about your coverage options. Catered food, giveaways and remote broadcast from KAFE Radio 104.1 will add to the excitement for this fun event. Visit interfaithchc.org/enrollment-events for more information.

You can contact Interfaith’s enrollment specialists at 788-2669. The staff at the Point Roberts clinic (2030 Benson Road) can also provide you with more information.

Kristin Robak, Interfaith Community Health Center
Bellingham 

The Editor:

We won round one in the fight against the radio towers! It’s something to celebrate, but our opponent has appealed the hearing examiner’s decision. Back to court we go, this time in front of Whatcom County Council. This could go three ways: Council could uphold the examiner’s decision, they could find in favor of the appellant or they could send the issue back to the examiner. Clearly, we are hoping for the first and, to that end, have engaged the attorney who crafted the Round 1 win to respond to the appeal.

In the event the radio station loses, they can still appeal the decision in state superior court and beyond. Why they continue to pursue the Point Roberts location, given that there are nearly 300,000 acres in Whatcom County to choose from that don’t have height restrictions, is a mystery. We are going to do everything we can to stop them.

This is a time for celebration but not to become complacent. We want the FCC to deny the station’s license renewal and to achieve that, we need to keep the issue front and center. We need more pressure on the Canadian government to intervene, more informal objections to the license renewal and more elected officials showing commitment to their constituents.

It is important to note that the recent actions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to stop pirate radio does not keep BBC Broadcasting from building its towers in Point Roberts. The owner has already made it clear to CRTC that he intends to build the towers regardless of what happens to Sher-E-Punjab, the Richmond-based content provider. He plans to lease the towers to someone else, if it comes to that.

We have an urgent need to complete the funding of our legal efforts. We estimate we need $35,000 to pay for what we’ve achieved so far and to get us through the county council appeal. We have a $500 challenge going – if 150 people or groups donate $500, we can complete the funding drive. Our thanks go to the 23 people who have stepped up so far. We hope to complete the challenge and hold several fundraising events, including at the end of November.

Come to the Party at the Point at Kiniski’s Reef Tavern on November 29, 6–10 p.m. to toast our success and continue raising money for the legal fund. A 55″ Panasonic 3D TV will be raffled, Tony Barton and Friends will play, a 50/50 and other raffle items and fun will be on offer. This is a great chance to say thank you to our volunteers and supporters and for you to insure we have the funds we need to continue.

Jennifer Urquhart, treasurer, Cross-Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Tower
Point Roberts

The Editor:

Some seem to be confused about the role of the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC). The committee was formed by an act of Whatcom County Council to advise the executive and council on the needs and issues of Point Roberts. One of its functions is to serve as the Point Roberts Character Plan Committee (PRCPC).

In this role, the committee has responsibility to provide input to the county in the implementation of the character plan (CP). It is important that local businesses cooperate with the committee and the county in order to preserve the character and nature of our community.

We cannot hope to realize the goals of the CP as long as so many businesses continue to ignore the CP and their structures and signs become newly grandfathered.

The issue of code violations is separate. It resulted, not from any priority of the CAC, but as a response to a number of complaints that were brought to the committee by residents.

There is no plot or agenda. The committee merely forwarded, under the name of the chair, possible code violations, which had been introduced at the committee’s open session during meetings. When queried about the best way to handle these, Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS) recommended that we, as a committee, file them.

Please note, as the name suggests, the committee’s role is purely advisory. It has no authority to determine code violations and no enforcement powers. Those reside with PDS. The anger that has been exhibited by some is misplaced.

Arthur S. Reber, PRCAC chair
Point Roberts

The Editor:

You are invited to the Party at the Point on Saturday, November 29, 6–10 p.m. We will be raffling off a number of items including a 55″ Panasonic 3D TV and DVD player ($1,300 value) thanks to the Marquettes of TSB Shipping. Only 200 tickets were printed, $25 each, available for presale at Auntie Pam’s and Banner Bank. You need not be present to win.

Funds raised will benefit the cross border coalition’s legal fund to stop the radio towers from being built.

The amazing Tony Barton and Friends will entertain us, so come and join the fun!

See you at the Reef!

Armene Belless
Point Roberts

The Editor:

I would like to thank the voters of Point Roberts for their overwhelming support of my candidacy in the recent charter review election. I received the second highest number of votes cast, by precinct, of all 57 precincts in Whatcom County. My colleague, Richard May, received the most votes by precinct and was elected to the commission.

Unfortunately, I was not elected. My support in the western precincts of Point Roberts, Blaine, Birch Bay and Lummi Island did not carry over into the east county precincts. Still, it was an honor to receive the endorsements of private citizens, Whatcom Democrats, the Cascadia Weekly and Northwest Citizen, as well as to share the slate with Richard May and Chris Johnson.

I congratulate Eileen Sobjack, Yvonne Goldsmith, Richard May, Wes Kentch and Jon Mutchler on their election to the Whatcom County Charter Review Commission, district 3.

It was a good night for the GOP, both in the charter election and the races for Washington house and Senate.

For a detailed analysis of the November 4 election, go to sweeneypolitics.com.

John Lesow
Point Roberts

(Ed. Note: the county charter election is a non-partisan race.)

The Editor:

Thanks should go to fire chief Christopher Carleton, Richard Foreman, Bill Meursing, Bruce Harford, Ron Swalling and Esther Rosenthal for the International Remembrance Day ceremony. There was standing room only.

The ceremony opened strongly with the singing of both Canadian and American anthems. The guests included veterans from WWII onward. The vets shared their stories and those of their relatives serving through a long list of wars, and included a 19-year-old deploying soon to Afghanistan.

Ron Swalling spoke of soldiers’ physical experiences and mental scarring. He mentioned returning military fathers and husbands who would never speak of war. That touched me because I have friends who served in the Korean War and are still affected by their experiences. He described the extremes of treatment displayed toward returning Vietnam soldiers as compared to military personnel now receiving respect for service to their country.

B.C. Ambulance Service district superintendent Bruce Harford spoke of the first international ambulance service project born years ago right here in Point Roberts. The service is now offered along the entire Canada/U.S. border. It is an example of what two countries can accomplish when their citizens care enough to work together. Chief Carleton thanked everyone who serves their community, country and the world as a whole.

Observing a minute of silence, the audience honored our loved ones who have served. Many of us wiped away tears when Esther Rosenthal played Taps at the closing of the ceremony.

Jollena Tylor
Point Roberts



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