We were dismayed to read the article published in the Cascadia Daily News on April 15, 2022, and the implication that our stated concerns about the fate of our family’s historic home may somehow be causing uncertainty about the future of the Birch Bay Vogt Library. It has been clear based on bond measure failures and the Whatcom County Library System’s (WCLS) own statements that the future of the library has been unclear for quite some time. That is part of the reason to make our position known to the community along with our great sadness about what may happen to the home.
Sadly, the Cascadia Daily News article creates even more uncertainty about what might happen to our grandparents’ historic home, whether there will be a library at all, or whether WCLS will simply sell the property. While the article states that the library has no plans to tear down or sell the home, it provides no assurances and therefore no comfort to us. Our intention is and has always been to preserve this historic treasure for the Birch Bay community and Whatcom County. We believe that WCLS could accomplish that, as it assured us it would when we sold them the property.
Gary and Cindy Lou Vogt
Ron Judd’s column of April 27 (“On big limbs—and small branches of democracy”) is really an essay on inconvenient solutions in search of a problem. Granted, the loss of the Clean Green dumping facility was an inconvenience to the many folks who took advantage of it.
On the other hand, we have been producing yard debris for almost 20 years here in the Lettered Streets from our 50-by-150-foot lot and stuffing it into our kitchen waste recycle bin and often also into two other garbage can-sized containers (and sometimes even more — those black pots from garden stores). Sanitary Service Company whisks it away from our curb without question every other week.
We are active gardeners with trees, shrubs, bushes and flowering plants in unending growth cycles, so we produce a lot of the stuff. Limbs, branches, brushy stuff, leaves — all it takes is a collection of saws, loppers, clippers and trimmers, plus elbow grease: Voila. No problem! I agree with Ron. That parcel at Woburn and Lakeway is put to much better use serving distressed people than it ever was as a dump station for rotting vegetation.
I was pleased to see the “Bullet Train Study” article, as there is so much talk about high-speed rail, yet scant detail in print. For example, the Everett Herald article does not discuss the route for a proposed bullet train, except to say that upgrading “the existing rail line” would be much cheaper than an entirely new route. That sounds sensible, but doesn’t it involve another “third rail”—potential environmental damage to the Chuckanut shoreline? It will take much improvement to save that winding stretch of track from rising sea levels, much less to make it safe for electrification and high-speed transit. Obtaining permits, permissions and local cooperation may prove impossible. Yes, there are potential inland detours, but where are the discussions of those routes, and their particular challenges? Despite what the article implies, we cannot depend on the rail industry alone to provide the necessary innovation and public involvement for improving passenger train service.
Thanks for the story on Alaska Airlines increasing service to Everett’s Paine Field. While that is good news for many people in the Seattle area and could potentially be somewhat useful to those of us living in Bellingham and elsewhere in Whatcom County, it is not of much value at present. We flew out of Paine Field a couple of times back before the pandemic and it was a very nice facility.
However, parking at that airport was exorbitant ($20-plus per day) and my understanding is that it's still the only option available there. The other service we occasionally use when we must fly out of SeaTac (where parking is also very expensive) is the Bellair Shuttle bus service, but that currently runs $90 roundtrip (senior fare). And even though Paine Field is significantly closer to Bellingham than SeaTac, the Airporter fare is the same regardless of which airport a person flies out of.
For those of us living in Whatcom County, a better solution would be if Alaska offered service from Bellingham to some additional places rather than solely to Sea-Tac. It would be really nice if they reinstituted service at least to Portland once again which would provide many more connection options and times!
Frank S. Loulan
I am disappointed that your article on recreational biking, glorified, or at least normalized mountain biking. This type of recreation destroys forest ecosystems. It should not be legal. Please use bikes on roads and bike parks and protect our Mother Earth.