Samish Neighborhood Association

Neighbors in Bellingham, Washington, working together

SNA Fall 2010 Newsletter

Fall 2010

Neighborhood News


P.O. Box 1551  Bellingham, WA 98227

Annual Samish Neighborhood Barbecue/Potluck at Lake Padden Park

Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, September 12

Plan to bring your family, meet your neighbors and enjoy a tasty barbecue. We’ll have special guests, information tables and maps of the Samish area so you can discuss what’s going on in the neighborhood with SNA board members and other residents. We’ve also invited current officials as well as new candidates running for office in this fall’s election. This is a great time for a face-to-face to see what these people have to say about what they think our future will bring! SNA will provide barbecued chicken, hotdogs, condiments, soft drinks and coffee. Remember to bring your favorite dish to share and chairs or a blanket for your seating comfort.

Potluck dish suggestions are:  Last name A-M Side Dish N-S Salad T-Z Dessert

Dinner is free with your potluck contribution and yearly dues paid ($15 per household, $12 for seniors). We charge friends and former neighbors $5 each. If you haven’t already paid your 2010-11 membership fees, mail in your registration form and check now (see page 4) or plan to bring them to the registration table at the picnic.

Not sure if you’ve already paid this year’s membership fee? Just contact SNA Treasurer Tim Wynn, 714-1366,

How to Find Us: Enter the park through the east (golf course) entrance and look for the Samish Neighborhood banner at the large picnic shelter between the play equipment area and the lake.

President’s Report

Our mission for the Samish Neighborhood Association is to improve communications between our residents and the city. The task is getting harder since, with such a poor economy, some tough decisions had to be made. But our board believes we have found some solutions in better using our website, modestly raising our dues and applying for a 501(c)3 tax exemption status to better receive donations. Twice a year, this SNA newsletter arrives in your mailbox. We use it to touch base with you, let you know what has happened in the last six months, and provide information about our neighborhood. Our website does the same service every day at a fraction of the price. The board has discussed no longer mass-mailing our newsletters and switching to website-only communications. The decision won’t an easy one, and the discussion comes up often as we deal with our budget. We understand that some households still do not have internet access. Others don’t even know how or care to look at our website. We hope to change that in the coming years. The lowered cost and convenience of the website is a big incentive, but there also is, of course, the reality of budgets. Printing and mailing this newsletter to 1,400 households in Samish neighborhood costs more than $1,200 a year. The city – which formed neighborhood associations in part to facilitate communications – used to give us $1,000; now that’s been cut in half. I hope that we can find a way to continue some form of printed material for those who cannot use the internet, but for now it is cheaper for us to bulk mail our newsletter to every household. All or some is not an option. Other associations canhand-deliver their materials; as the largest neighborhood, we can not. The second tough decision was that for the first time since our inception in 1980, we are raising our dues from $12 to $15 per household (membership for seniors will increase from $10 to $12). This is more in line with other association memberships and will help us bridge some of our gaps.

Third, we are applying for a 501(c)3 federal tax exempt status. While we will continue to be a nonprofit association, this will allow people to claim their donations (but not membership fees) as a deduction. I have to thank April Markiewicz for all of her work in taking on this task. We are committed to serving our neighborhood and rely on your continued support.


Greg McCracken, SNA President

Samish Neighborhood News is published twice yearly by the Samish Neighborhood Association, P.O. Box 1551, Bellingham, WA 98227-1551

Editor: Pauline Palmer Assistant Editor: Ginny Davidson Contributors: Kincaid Davidson, April Markiewicz, Greg McCracken, Trinn Murray


7 p.m Community Baptist Church, 810 Samish Way, second Tuesday of the month, except March (annual meeting) and September (annual picnic).

To sign up at our Web site: Include your email address on your membership form and go to

Get to Know Your Neighbors

By Kincaid Davidson, Samish Neighborhood

American Goldfinch

 The first time I saw this bird I thought someone’s pet had escaped. The bird was beautiful with bright yellow body and black tipped wings. It had some black on the top of its head, and its tail was also black. It was small, just a little smaller than a sparrow, and was eating from our bird feeder. Turns out, this beautiful small bird is the American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). It is the state bird of Washington, Iowa and New Jersey. Even though they travel in flocks, I have only seen two or four at a time here on Samish Hill. It is during their breeding season they become so colorful. Both the male and, to a lesser extent, the female become much brighter during mating season so that they truly stand out when seen in trees or on small brush.

The American Goldfinch eats mostly seeds and loves the seeds of thistles and sunflowers. They live along the edge of meadows, in fields or along rivers, and are very happy to eat from bird feeders. It is not unusual for residents of Samish Hill to see the American Goldfinch in their backyards. They are common throughout the United States and are not considered endangered. At times, they will hang upside down to eat from feeders.

The American Goldfinch breeds later than most song birds due to their love of seeds. Their beautiful breeding colors become apparent in July and August. Because of their colors, they are also known as the Wild Canary. Their nests are small, cup shaped and so finely woven they will hold water. The female lays four to six eggs which hatch in twelve to fourteen days. The young birds are ready to leave the nest in twelve to sixteen days. The life span of the American Goldfinch is six to eight years. We have resident American Goldfinchs, but they are much harder to spot during the winter due to their lack of color. On Samish Hill, they are most common near fields or along the woods where the thistles grow. During late spring and summer, they are unmistakable due to their bright colors, and the first time you see one you too will think someone’s pet has escaped.

Proposed Changes to Samish Tax Status

By April Markiewicz,  SNA Board Member

As some of you know, the Samish Neighborhood Association (SNA) is registered with the Washington Secretary of State as a non-profit corporation and with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501(c)(4) tax exempt non-profit organization. The major difference between a 501(c)(4) and a 501(c)(3) organization is that a 501(c)(4) may lobby for legislation and participate in political campaigns and elections, as long as campaigning is not the organization’s primary purpose. This ability to “influence legislation” on the behalf of Samish Neighborhood Association interests, however, comes at a price. The limitation is that donations made to us cannot be deducted from the donor’s taxable income. In the last few years this limitation has prevented us from:

Seeking donations and obtaining grant funds from local companies to use on such things as maintaining our new website (

Renewing the rights to our domain name (

Enhancing the landscaping around our neighborhood welcome signs.

Buying more welcome and meeting notification signs.

Paying for the rising costs of our biannual newsletter.

Helping defray the costs of our annual spring meeting and fall picnic.

As a result we have reluctantly had to increase membership dues to keep pace with expenses. The SNA Board of Directors spent several months evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining our 501(c)(4) status, as well as investigating what political activity is allowed by 501(c)(3) organizations. Our conclusion was that given our minimal “political activities” even at the height of updating our Samish Neighborhood Plan, changing to a 501(c)(3) organization would be appropriate and provide the most benefit to the association. The first step before applying for 501(c)(3) status is updating and revising our 1980 Articles of Incorporation that are on file with the Washington Secretary of State to comply with requirements of the IRS. Since the Articles are 30 years old, the changes are substantial and will require approval of the membership before we can proceed with the application process. The original Articles and the proposed revisions are posted on the SNA website. Go to and click on the SNA Proposed Articles of Incorporation link. If you would like a paper copy mailed to you, please contact me at (360) 734-4498 and provide your address.

We welcome all comments, suggestions and editorial changes. Please send them to April Markiewicz, 235 Milton Street, Bellingham, WA 98229 or email them to me at Thank you!

Samish Select Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the first annual Samish Select Award. Do you know someone who:

√ Preserves/Enhances Character of the Samish Neighborhood, or

√ Promotes a Cohesive Neighborhood Community/ Identity, or

√ Provides Leadership in the Samish Neighborhood, or

√ Provides a Healthy Business Community for the Samish Neighborhood?

If the answer is “yes!” we would like to hear from you. Please read the following:

1 Identify the person you would like to nominate.

2 Determine the area in which they have positively impacted the neighborhood.

3 Describe how that impact has manifested itself and the way in which it deserves recognition.

Please limit the nomination narrative to one page, attach any additional artifacts to your narrative, and provide your name and contact information in the event that your nominee is selected.

Submit to: SNA, Attn: Samish Select Committee, PO Box 1551, Bellingham, WA 98227.

Nominations must be postmarked by Dec. 14, 2010, for consideration and review, or may be handdelivered to an SNA board member or at a board meeting no later than Dec. 14, 2010. Information also is available by going to and using the search option at the bottom of the page. A decision will be made by Jan. 15, 2011, and a recognition certificate will be presented at the March 2011 annual meeting.


Posted in General 8 years, 6 months ago at 4:30 PM.

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