2001: The Year In Review
One thing is for certain: we wont forget the year 2001. The attacks on September 11 changed millions of lives and reached into every corner of American and Canadian society. Rarely do national events have such a direct impact on Point Roberts but this one sure did. But other things, mostly nicer things, happened as well and before we forget those, here is the 2001 Year in Review issue to remind you...
The Immigration and Naturalization Service said that without more resources for staff, there would likely be cuts in staffing at Point Roberts and the possibility of closing the PACE lane, suggested in an earlier email, could still exist.
Fire district commissioners voted to increase the tax levy rate by the maximum allowable six percent for the fourth year in a row, but maintained Point Roberts still paid less for fire protection than other parts of the county.
County involvement in the repair of a retaining wall on privately-owned Bayview Drive prompted a county review of how flood-tax funded projects are approved.
INS district director Bob Coleman pledged PACE lanes would stay open, even in the wake of staffing cuts, and newly-elected congressman Rick Larsen pledged to make sure it, or some version of it, did. Those programs should be rewarded, not reduced, he said.
Engineers hired by the Port of Bellingham to move forward on a proposed pier at one of two sites in Point Roberts recommended the foot of Gulf Road as the prime spot. The chamber of commerce board of directors, proponents of the new pier, agreed.
Leslie Agron was back in the county courthouse chasing after his proposed Johnson Road TV tower, in the works since the early 90s. Permits for the project had lapsed so he was back asking hearing examiner Michael Bobbink for another conditional use permit. Bobbink continued the hearing to March, asking Agron to bone up the projects plans and provide more detail.
County public works staff got an earful after asking the chamber of commerce to take down directional signs along Tyee Drive. The county agreed to let the signs stay with certain safety modifications.
Jerry Blotsky, head of INS for all Whatcom ports of entry for more than 10 years and father of the PACE program was kicked to a desk job in Seattle.
After over 42 years as a Point Roberts firefighter, Vic Iwersen retired.
The county planning and development committee approved a review of the Point Roberts subarea plan but rejected a proposal to designate the Point an urban growth area.
The local garbage haulers proposal to replace curbside recycling in Point Roberts with a drop-off program was turned down by the county solid waste committee. The company then applied to the state utilities commission to cut the service.
Point Roberts fire chief Mike Campbell was elected president of the Whatcom County Fire Chiefs Association and the Point Roberts fire district starts to look at a permit system for outdoor burning.
Local quilters began assembling a lighthouse quilt to help boost local effort for a real lighthouse at the marine park.
Point Recycling and Refuses application to cut curbside recycling was denied by state regulators, who said it was up to the company and the county to find a solution.
At a packed meeting of the local voters association, a slate of new members stormed all five positions up for election on the nine person board and the engineer of the coup, Tom Hollett, was elected president of the association.
Congressman Rick Larsen met with community members in Point Roberts to discuss local concerns.
Census results were in, showing a 43 percent increase in the Point Roberts population in the last 10 years, from 916 in 1990 to 1,308 in 2000.
County hearing examiner Michael Bobbink approved Leslie Agrons third conditional permit in 10 years to build a TV tower on Johnson Road. Agron was given longer than on previous permits to complete the project, given that all his communications permits had also lapsed, but was given only one year to replant areas not to be disturbed during construction.
Point Roberts formed its own Dollars for Scholars chapter to help raise money for local students.
The steering committee for the subarea plan review, made up of representatives from local agencies and stakeholders, unveiled a first version of a new zoning plan for Point Roberts.
Point Roberts fire commissioners eliminated open burning periods and instituted permits for year-round burning.
After a community meeting in Point Roberts, the local garbage hauler and the county got to work on a program to increase garbage options for the Point.
360 Networks applied for a permit to run a second fiber optic cable through Lighthouse Marine Park.
Frank Lucci and Henry Rosenthal resigned from the voters association board, leaving the new board temporarily without a quorum to appoint replacements.
The local historical society and the parks department joined forces to put together a permanent display of the history of the Point Roberts school at the community center.
Commissioners from fire districts three, five and 13 began meeting to develop plans to consolidate the administration and operations of the three organizations.
The federal forest service approved a grant to pay for 80 percent of a sewer comprehensive plan update for Point Roberts.
Blaine school district voters approved a $20 million bond, some of which will pay for $400,000 in improvements at the Point Roberts primary school, including a covered play area.
As the heron rookery filled up, nesting birds and their squawking fledglings became prey for local eagles. Juvenile eagles proved particularly aggressive, attacking and killing roosting adults.
A teary and tipsy crowd rocked the Point one last time as the Breakers Tavern shut its doors, amid rumors California property baron Larry Kates would be leasing the building.
Lighthouse Café reopened for the year under new ownership and minus the kayaks. Steve ONeill took the tiny rolling café to new heights, offering catered lunches in the park reminiscent of Vancouvers fanciest dining rooms.
Crab season stayed closed as state fish and wildlife officials monitored the molting season.
An upgrade to Whidbey Telephone switching systems knocked out phones for eight hours.
Point Roberts fire commissioners signed an agreement creating North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services, an umbrella organization unifying administration, training, planning and operations for districts three, five and 13.
Taking a new job in California, Dan Levy resigned as fire commissioner after almost five years on the board.
After few changes following a public hearing in Point Roberts, the county planning commission recommended adoption of the new Point Roberts subarea plan to county council.
The local historical society led a walking tour of the foot of Gulf Road, imagining what the bustling center looked like at the turn of the 20th century.
Two Point Roberts boys learned a hard lesson about erosion when they fell 40 feet off the Lily Point cliffs. The 12-year-olds sustained only minor injuries, but fire chief Mike Campbell said chances of dying from such a fall were high and warned people away from the unstable bluffs.
A plane enroute to Everett from Point Roberts crashed near Point Whitehorn, killing both men in the small two-seater acrobatic plane.
Point Roberts water commissioners agreed to move forward with a sewer comprehensive plan update 80 percent paid for by a forest service grant.
Local fire chief Mike Campbell was appointed assistant chief of the newly formed North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Service, moving to offices in Birch Bay. Bill Skinner became interim battalion chief in Point Roberts with backup from Campbell and Jim Rutherford of the Blaine fire department.
Jesse Lofquist was appointed to replace Dan Levy on the fire department board of commissioners.
County council approved a on-call garbage pick-up and drop-off recycling for seasonal and part-time residents.
A biological assessment got underway as a first step in getting permits to build a public pier at the foot of Gulf Road.
Developer Kenji Nose and a steady opening day crowd played their first round of golf at the long-anticipated Point Roberts golf and country club.
Dollars for Scholars awarded $6,500 in scholarships to local students.
With the sudden resignation of fire district 13 chief David England, Mike Campbell was appointed chief of North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Service.
Biologists warned of continued declines in local Orca populations.
Park department efforts to buy the Julius fire station on Gulf Road received initial approval from fire commissioners, pending resolution of a 50-year-old mistake in the property deed.
Local softballers playing with the Tsawwassen Down-Unders won the Canadian National C Division slow-pitch fastball championship.
Terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. sent shock waves around the world. In Point Roberts the biggest impact was at the border, where the PACE program was indefinitely suspended and security beefed up, resulting in some several hour-long delays.
Local businesses lost 30 percent or more of their business, school children and parents were stranded on opposite sides of the line and the lines at the border stayed long. Meanwhile, legislators pushed for additional resources along the northern border and the re-establishment of a higher-security replacement for PACE.
Fire commissioners declared the Julius Station surplus as a step towards selling the building to the Point Roberts parks department.
With all three seats on the fire district board of commissioners up for election, opponents of the North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Service agreement lined up against incumbents.
Members of the Point Roberts Pioneer Group began pursuing a federal grant for a medical clinic on Point.
Old timers got together at the Point Roberts reunion.
Two of 100 border patrol agents transferred to the northern border to ease congestion were detailed to Point Roberts, opening another inspection booth and helping to shorten lines at the border.
Congressman Rick Larsen met with Blaine and Point Roberts business owners, the later of which crossed to the mainland by boat for the meeting to avoid lengthy border delays. The biggest message he heard was we need PACE back. In a follow-up letter to the INS Larsen suggested opening PACE with more security measures pending the deployment of the high-tech alternative being proposed NEXUS.
At a forum in Blaine INS officials confirmed the NEXUS system was the likely replacement for PACE, but didnt set a timeline for the new lane to be up and running.
The county auditor ordered a recount for one of the positions in the fire district commissioners race after a missing tally sheet turned up. Filing errors also led to overvotes that invalidated 142 ballots.
County council gave preliminary approval to the new Point Roberts subarea plan.
State Senator Georgia Gardner announced that she had located a ferry and the funds to buy it, which could bring Point Roberts one step closer to a marine link to the mainland.
A draft biological assessment for the proposed Gulf Road pier found no significant roadblocks to the project going ahead.
Local Red Cross volunteer Carol Tan spent two weeks as a counselor at Ground Zero in New York City.