As the COVID-19 crisis deepened, the City of Ferndale approached the Ferndale Community Service Cooperative about the possibility of a program that would help households financially impacted by COVID-19 pay their water bills. Many people who applied had been laid off. Some had been ill or needed to self-isolate because of exposure to the virus.
The leadership of the FCSC responded with impressive speed. Over the course of several weeks, they worked to develop procedures and policies, including fundraising close to $10,000. The Whatcom Community Foundation contributed $5,000 and the Mary Storer Foundation contributed over $1,000. The rest was contributed by individuals in our community. Everyone’s generosity is greatly appreciated.
The Ferndale Community Utility Fund had served 23 households as of July 13, paying all or a portion of their Ferndale utilities bill (water, sewer, storm drain). To continue through August, they are seeking to raise another $5,000 to support more households. Since the COVID-19 crisis continues, the volunteers are counting on the continuing generosity of the community.
Many households are struggling while others have maintained their income. Anyone who needs help can apply on the home page at ferndalecsc.org. If you want to help your neighbors, visit the same website, and click on the “donate” button.
— Lucy Morse, Ferndale
A failure at the beginning
One reason the US Covid-19 pandemic got out of control from the beginning was a failure by the CDC to develop and quickly deploy a “good enough” test for the virus. Is history repeating itself? Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard epidemiologist, thinks so.
He says current attitudes in the NIH, CDC and FDA are discouraging companies and researchers from quickly putting into production a type of test that could control the pandemic. Mina says we have off the shelf technology that could be quickly scaled up in quantities of hundreds of millions, or even billions of tests that could be used by Americans to test themselves at home for one dollar per test. The test would involve putting saliva on a paper strip that would change color in minutes if you are infectious. He said he’s got some samples in his office.
If everyone could tell, within minutes, for a dollar, at a pandemic busting level of accuracy, if they were about to infect anyone they came into contact with, we wouldn’t have to go through any more of these county or state lockdowns. Schools could reopen with a degree of safety parents could live with. Etc.
NIH is pouring the $1.5 billion Congress gave them for test development into creating a gold standard dream test that would be great if it appears, but that cannot be produced today.
Dr. Mina explained his idea briefly in a NY Times July 3, 2020 opinion piece “A Cheap, Simple Way to Control the Coronavirus”. He has a preprint undergoing peer review which describes the research his group did that led him to the conclusions he describes in the NY Times: “Test sensitivity is secondary to frequency and turnaround time for COVID-19 surveillance”. Dr. Mina was invited to explain and discuss his research and ideas with experienced and eminent virologists and immunologists on the podcast “This Week in Virology” episode 640. After almost an hour of discussion, the experts were extremely enthusiastic. One said “I see some hope, finally”.
Here is a quote from Dr. Mina, from the podcast:
“After the New York Times article came out we did get some people at the White House on the phone, but… what we heard was well you know we have programs set up to fund companies to produce their tests… It just boggles my mind the enormity of this problem. This is killing enormous numbers of people every day, it’s costing the country trillions like literally trillions of dollars. This is a national emergency. Meanwhile they’re waiting for companies like Sherlock Biosciences and E25 Bio which between them have maybe 25 employees to fix a problem that is of global importance and is bankrupting our country. It’s one thing to make vaccines, or to make therapeutics but these are things that necessarily take time. We have to wait to see what the efficacy is. It’s really hard to make a good therapeutic. But a diagnostic test should be a no-brainer. Make a one dollar test. Get it to everyone. Change the way we view these things. And that should be completely being plowed through by the federal government and put out there. We don’t have to make 300 million of them overnight we just have to focus them at the moment in places where the cases are the worst.”
— David Lewis, Ferndale
Voters of Washington, it’s time to clean out the rats’ nest. Let’s start with the governor who is more interested in fining a business owner than protecting these same people while their property goes up in smoke.
Our attorney general needs some looking into, just ask Loren Culp. A good start would be to elect a proven American and lawman. The citizens of Washington deserve better than what we’ve put up with over the last year.
Again citizens of Washington, let’s put a proven warrior on the governor’s chair. Loren Culp is our man.
— Bob Raplee, Lynden
Thank you Lynden leaders
The city of Lynden is very fortunate to have a mayor and city council who have the intelligence and foresight to see a potentially great loss to our community in the closure of the city owned facility, commonly referred to as the “YMCA,” and quickly look for solutions to this problem. It is very refreshing to have leaders who can recognize a potential problem, act quickly to formulate actions to protect our city’s assets and move forward with a plan for both the short term and the long term.
The physical areas available such as our recently refurbished swimming pool and locker room/shower, the workout/strength training rooms, the racquetball courts and the gymnasium are all important to offer our citizens choices for us to exercise and enhance our physical health. But, equally as important the “Y” offers a gathering place to practice and enjoy social engagement. This social component nurtures our mental health, which along with exercise allows us all to be as completely healthy as we can be.
So for Mayor Korthuis and the city council, I applaud you and thank you for being true leaders, acting quickly and making sure the city is in a position to serve and protect our citizens as soon as it is safe (virus) for us to do so.
— David W. Flatt, Lynden
On the Cedar Drive development
Feeling secure in your decision to own property in an older established neighborhood in Lynden with an RS100 zoning? Do you think the city will honor and protect your current zoned neighborhood? THINK AGAIN!
My husband and I are not against the development of 131 East Cedar Drive as long as it is built respecting and protecting Lynden’s original neighborhood character, aesthetic values and health and safety following current RS100 codes, standards, and environmental laws. That would probably allow the CedarBrook Partners the ability to subdivide the property and build 3-4 large homes in addition to the home that already exists. However; the CedarBrook Partners are planning a much higher density development of 9 homes crammed tightly together with poor access . Since this cannot be done as zoned they are using a Master Planned Residential Development Overlay to alter and minimize all standards and codes and infill the space with a private community. They claim to want to be a part of our neighborhood but they aren’t really. Instead they want to make a closed private community with completely different high density standards at the expense of a salmon stream habitat and run 80-100 extra vehicles into the dead end of Cedar Drive.
Why are we writing this in the paper? Because the City Planning Department took this highly contested project and decided to bundle the legally required hearings for public input into a proposed “virtual” hearing. Our neighborhood has been trying for over a year to meet the City’s Planning Department and City Council face to face to be heard as legally required. We are not being given that right. Instead we are left feeling unseen and unheard once again. We are being discriminated against and want to have an open and public gathering as required by law.
— Shirley & Larry Preszler, Lynden
Concerned about MPRD
I’m writing about our, and many of our neighbor’s, concerns about the Master Planned Residential Development application from Cedarbrook Development Partners for the property at the E end of Cedar St, commonly known as 131 E. Cedar Street.
The proposed development is to create cluster of 9 residential buildings in a relatively small area between the Kaemingk Trail off Springview Drive (N side of the development) and the Trail & Fish Trap Creek (E side of the development). Of particular concern is the request of several exemptions from having to comply with City Planning Codes, including, but not limited to, reducing building setbacks for proposed homes from 25’ off the Trail to only 7’ (2 story homes are proposed by the developer for this area).
The City’s Trail systems provide a nature path through the City lined with wide open spaces, trees, native plants and Fish Trap Creek, creating a serene getaway within the City. Allowing construction of any kind within 7’ of the Trail would negatively impact that serenity.
The City is forcing the public hearing to be a ‘virtual’ hearing despite the neighbors clear objections. Why? In doing so, the City is preventing meaningful public participation which is required by law. Many of the neighbors who want to participate are either at risk for an in-person hearing or do not have the ability to participate remotely, thereby minimizing public comments.
It appears the City may also be providing inordinate aid, including legal services, to the developer, at tax payer cost. It’s my understanding the City Attorney intends to provide a legal brief and spend what appears to be quite a bit of time responding to the neighbor’s appeal which is usually the responsibility of the developer applicant to do the heavy-lifting of its legal response.
— Art Van Allen, Lynden
Cedar Drive MPRD
Planned Residential Development (PRD). We had never heard of this before. Have any of you? It’s happening on East Cedar Drive in Lynden. RS100 Zoned Residential Neighborhood established over 50 years ago. Cedarbrook Partners is proposing a Master Planned Residential Development (MPRD) for eight additional houses on the Property of 131 E Cedar Drive. This is a dead end street with the Fishtrap Creek running through the property. This neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods touching the property, are all zoned RS100. We are concerned that this could become the “ new normal “ in Lynden to have neighborhood zonings changed right out from under you. A PRD will overlay current zoning, and the MPRD will even overlay the PRD! There’s a place for “cluster housing” .. But this neighborhood is zoned for RS100 - Single Family Residence - 10,000 sq ft lot - one dwelling per lot. Who is going to protect the homeowners in Lynden from future PRD’s in already established neighborhoods? Cedarbrook Partners are requesting many variances from current codes under the MPRD they have applied for. Dwelling heights, setbacks, open spaces, critical areas. We would encourage Lynden citizens to be aware of this type of Development (MPRD/PRD/ Cluster Housing) within an “already established neighborhood” .. We are not talking about open land that is being developed from the ground up .. We have lived in Lynden for over 50 years and are thankful for the character and safety that Lynden offers. Will these traits be compromised by a PRD in an established neighborhood within the City of Lynden? We would encourage you to walk the Jim Kaemingk Trail, look at the property, and voice your opinions by August 15.
— Lonnie and Debbie Honcoop, Lynden