Ben Watanabe

Ben posted 2002 stories to South Whidbey Record.
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Christmas season never ends in Coupeville home

Christmas is less than 24 hours in the past, and Leslie Stevens of Coupeville already has designs for how she will decorate next year.

  • Dec 23rd, 2015 11:16pm

Atlantis underwater robotics group moves on to inspire, teach the next generation

Atlantis ROV is moving on and expanding from its days as an underwater robotics team.

  • Dec 21st, 2015 7:16pm

Pair of Lions Club members celebrated for 75-, 65-year marks

Spence Purvis and Freeman Boyer looked as regal as the Lions for which their social club is named while being honored for a combined 140 years of membership and service.

  • Dec 21st, 2015 7:13pm

Clinton landmark makes winter appearance

There’s a car in Clinton visible only a few months each year, and winter is prime viewing season.

  • Dec 24th, 2015 5:21pm

Family tree farm still growing 74 years later

Anyone looking for a last-minute Christmas tree need only head to Clinton.

  • Dec 19th, 2015 12:24am

Langley City Council considers need for a generator

The November wind storm that cut power to Langley for more than 24 hours has some in the city wondering what more can be done in future electrical outages.

  • Dec 19th, 2015 12:15am

Langley offered planner severance to avoid possible litigation, claim

The $17,000 severance agreement offered to Langley’s former planning director was, at least in part, done to avoid possible litigation.

  • Dec 16th, 2015 5:05pm

Land use, UGA at heart of Langley’s comp plan update

Just how large the city should get is foundation for just about everything else in Langley’s comprehensive plan update, to be discussed in pieces over the next few months. The first public input meeting about a handful of elements in the plan update is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. Topics to be covered include: the urban growth area reduction request, comp plan vision statement, shoreline master program, and the land use, sustainability and economic development elements.

  • Dec 12th, 2015 2:00pm

Clinton boy continues dream of big giving

Weston Dill, who stands barely tall enough for his head to peek above the dining table in his family’s home, is hoping to be a big donor for homeless children this year. As he has the past two years, the Clinton kindergartner is organizing a gift drive for the Everett Gospel Mission. The homeless shelter serves an estimated 300 people from Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties every day.

  • Dec 14th, 2015 4:39pm

Exiting planner to get $17K, plus recommendation letter from mayor McCarthy

Langley will pay its former planning director more than $17,000 as part of a separation and severance package.

  • Dec 11th, 2015 11:27pm

Sanctuary, relocation, ‘cruelty’ pondered by Langley rabbit group

Finding a way to address the concerns of property owners in Langley has remained as challenging as trying to catch the rascally rabbits at the heart of the citywide issue.

  • Dec 10th, 2015 8:59pm

How to get your Christmas, holiday fix on South Whidbey | CORRECTED

Plenty of people say the holidays bring with them a busy time of family, friends, gatherings and parties.

  • Dec 9th, 2015 4:59pm

Mo’s Pub to pour its last pint Sunday

Mo’s Pub and Eatery in Langley will pour its last pint and serve its final plate of fish and chips this weekend.

  • Dec 9th, 2015 12:00am

Decision on planning director’s employment likely to come Monday

The fate of Michael Davolio’s position as Langley’s planning chief may be decided next week.

  • Dec 5th, 2015 3:00pm

Clinton Community Council searches for downtown leaders

Finding new leaders to champion the once-neglected causes of Clinton is becoming a paramount task for a group of volunteers committed to creating a voice for the unincorporated area.

  • Dec 8th, 2015 2:56pm

Finding reflection, quiet with Langley holiday concert

Early sunsets, cool temperatures and the holiday spirit are working together with musicians Sheila Weidendorf and Mathew Habib to create a quiet, contemplative Christmas concert.

  • Dec 4th, 2015 11:24pm

FBI raids Clinton home, business

FBI agents served a warrant at a private residence and a longtime business in Clinton on Thursday morning, surprising neighbors and sparking questions about the nature of the raids.

  • Dec 4th, 2015 11:19pm

Langley son rolling steady with Seattle radio gig

Running a major radio station’s evening programs is a lifestyle for South Whidbey son Zach Van Lue.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 10:17pm

Crowd braves frigid temps for Lighting of Langley, holiday season start

The freezing temperatures were just right for Santa Claus to roll into town on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle for the Lighting of Langley ceremony Saturday.

  • Dec 1st, 2015 10:15pm

Rear-ended driver sent to hospital with ‘minor’ injuries after Highway 525, Scott Road crash

The driver of a Subaru Outback station wagon was sent to Whidbey General Hospital after being rear ended by the driver of a Ford truck on Monday morning.

  • Nov 30th, 2015 6:14pm

Building a better bike outfit—for women, by women on Whidbey Island

When Lisa McDermott and Mary Dettrich first began cycling, they were at a loss for finding a good fit.

  • Nov 28th, 2015 8:00pm

“The Nutcracker,” where Whidbey Island dancers make beauty, grace, snowflakes, mice, and rehearsal look effortless

Beauty, power, grace, elegance and speed: the list of ways to describe the company of Whidbey Island Dance Theatre goes on while a select group of dancers rehearsed.

  • Nov 26th, 2015 12:00am

Need for support remains at Good Cheer Food Bank

Numbers have held steady over 2014 so far this year at the Good Cheer Food Bank, which means the need is just the same as its record high.

  • Nov 29th, 2015 9:17pm

South Whidbey stores ready for small business boon

Gennie Martin knows she opened her store, It’s Raining Art & Supplies in Langley, at a challenging time — just after the summer and a couple of months before the winter holidays.

  • Nov 25th, 2015 9:25pm

City to pay thousands to fix Second Street mistake in Langley

Another Second Street redo is in the works for Langley.

  • Nov 25th, 2015 9:19pm

Langley mayor-elect begins transition work | CORRECTED

Tim Callison, Langley's incoming mayor, is already preparing for the office. Election results were certified Tuesday, Nov. 24. Callison led Sharon Emerson 297-262, a difference of 35 votes. Since gaining a lead in the Nov. 3 general election, Callison has taken preliminary steps to assume mayoral duties from Mayor Fred McCarthy, who did not seek re-election after serving for nearly three and a half years.

  • Nov 30th, 2015 9:42pm

Langley planning director’s future remains uncertain

Almost a month after being placed on paid administrative leave, the employment status of Langley’s planning director remains uncertain.

  • Nov 25th, 2015 6:00pm

Warming center opens in Langley

The only warming center available on South Whidbey finally opened Thursday, a year after announcing its intention to open and in the midst of widespread power outages across Whidbey Island.

  • Nov 23rd, 2015 10:22pm

Wind storm knocks out power, delays ferries, blocks roads across Whidbey Island

A monstrous wind storm swept across the Puget Sound region Tuesday, leaving 900 locations in need of repairs and more than 200,000 homes without power.

  • Nov 18th, 2015 3:17pm

2 percent utility increases set for Langley in 2016

Without much further discussion and little public participation at a public hearing Monday night, the Langley City Council approved a 2 percent increase for utility services in 2016.

  • Nov 17th, 2015 11:05pm

Worry about jobs, environment with trade deal, crowd tells congressman

Protecting American jobs and the planet’s environment were some of the top concerns voiced at a town hall meeting in Clinton on Saturday.

  • Nov 17th, 2015 10:55pm

Sarungano gives thanks, readies for more music development

The storytellers of Sarungano have quite the tale to tell. Dana Moffett, Leslie Breeden, Donita Crosby and Dyanne Harshman went to Zimbabwe earlier this year, largely thanks to donations and fundraising on South Whidbey, to perform with the African country’s traditional instruments and donate several to an orphanage. They have become ambassadors of music, trying to aid in the restoration of a custom stripped from the land’s native people.

  • Nov 10th, 2015 10:41pm

A barrel of laughs and a barrel of beer: WICA hosts comedy competition, workshop, open mic

Making people laugh is a matter of truth for Ron Reid.

  • Nov 6th, 2015 11:52pm

Clinton rallies to ready comp plan: Absentee property owners, sewers, industry cited as Clinton woes, needs

Getting people to think about Clinton’s future went hand-in-hand with discussions of current woes and challenges such as a lack of sewers, absentee property owners, and needed industry during an Island County planning meeting Thursday night.

  • Nov 6th, 2015 11:44pm

Second Street rain garden redo may cost Langley $2,000

Overgrown grasses and dead or dying vine maple trees on Second Street became enough of an eyesore that a Langley community organization has come forward and offered to redo the city garden on its own.

  • Nov 6th, 2015 11:35pm

Here be dragons: WICA, Tears of Joy puppet show explains differences, acceptance — no strings attached

Art will attempt to pull at the heart strings of the audience with the help of real strings attached to puppets this Friday night. Whidbey Island Center for the Arts is bringing in a theater group to put on Kenneth Grahame’s “The Reluctant Dragon” as a puppet play in the first Family Series show of its 2015-16 season. The children’s story, first published in 1898, is about a boy who befriends a like-minded dragon. With the help of fabled dragon slayer St. George, they convince once-terrified townsfolk to accept the less-than-terrifying winged lizard.

  • Nov 4th, 2015 8:00pm

First ballot count for Langley mayor puts Callison ahead by 44 votes

If his lead holds, Tim Callison will be the next mayor of Langley. According to the Island County Auditor's Office's first release of general election results Tuesday evening, Callison is cruising along with 233 votes, or 55.2 percent of the vote. By comparison, Sharon Emerson trails with 189 ballots, or 44.8 percent. It's a difference of 44 votes.

  • Nov 4th, 2015 7:13pm

Callison leads in Langley mayor’s race, Gardner, Fey at WGH

Tim Callison took a 44-vote lead and appears to be headed to the Langley mayor’s office in 2016. Georgia Gardner is also leading the race for Whidbey General Hospital commissioner. Early general election ballot results released from the Island County Auditor’s Office showed Callison with 233 votes. Sharon Emerson trailed with 189 ballots.

  • Nov 4th, 2015 5:10am

Langley agrees to long-standing Sandy Point water contract

More than 50 Sandy Point homes will continue, as they have for decades, to get water service from Langley.

  • Nov 3rd, 2015 10:57pm

Slight increase projected for Langley’s 2016 revenue

An uptick in property, sales and real estate taxes will mean more revenue for Langley in 2016.

  • Oct 31st, 2015 12:00am

Langley citizen board envisions arts-laden Seawall Park

Sculptures, a gazebo, a fountain, an eternal fire, and perhaps a better way for mobility impaired access are all part of the Langley Arts Commission’s robust, six-year, $800,000 master plan for Seawall Park.

  • Nov 1st, 2015 2:37pm

Langley planning director placed on paid leave

Langley’s planning director was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 22.

  • Oct 28th, 2015 3:17pm

Clinton study to look at improving commercial core

Defining the market trends of South Whidbey, how they impact Clinton’s commercial core and what business and industry gaps may exist are the tall tasks ahead of a recently hired consulting company.

  • Oct 28th, 2015 3:17pm

Unopposed Langley council candidates promise open minds, ready ears

Listening, learning and developing the economic strength further are the common threads for the three unopposed Langley City Council candidates. On the ballot in Langley this year are incumbents Bruce Allen and Robin Black, and newcomer Ursula Shoudy. Allen is seeking his second four-year term to continue the work the council and City Hall are engaged in now on infrastructure projects and economic development. Black is prepared for one of two outcomes, depending on if husband Tim Callison is elected mayor, she will either stay on the council or step down.

  • Oct 27th, 2015 10:21pm

Dinner (and a drink) theater takes root at Taproom

Island Shakespeare Festival is coming to a tavern near you this fall, winter and spring.

  • Oct 27th, 2015 10:18pm

Shucking oysters from the brink of death – Kitsch ‘n Bitch ready to shuck

From the brink of death 10 months ago, Sue Frause is ready to celebrate life on Whidbey Island with a bit of vino and a few oysters.

  • Oct 27th, 2015 10:01pm

Langley planning board supports four-property inclusion to UGA

Langley’s planning director and planning board are on the same page after months of disagreement over the city’s urban growth area.

  • Oct 27th, 2015 10:02pm

LaRue sisters’ business longevity, recent exit honored | KUDOS

Michele and Denise LaRue were honored for their decades of business ownership in Langley during a council meeting Monday night.

  • Oct 21st, 2015 2:00am

Commerce, housing questions posed to Langley mayoral candidates

A 30-minute question-and-answer forum for Langley’s mayoral candidates last week wrapped the final public meeting in which Sharon Emerson and Tim Callison appeared together before the Nov. 3 election.

  • Oct 20th, 2015 10:36pm

Where to get tricks, treats, sweets and footloose on South Whidbey

Ghouls, gremlins, costumes, pumpkins, dancing and the dead will all be celebrated during several Halloween and harvest festivities over the coming weeks on South Whidbey. With so many events planned, here’s a primer for what each is, where it’s happening, what it may cost (or not), and how to get involved.

  • Oct 23rd, 2015 9:49pm