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An orange banner that read, “Standing on the side of love” seemed to embody the spirit of this year’s Whidbey Queer Pride Parade in Langley.
Despite the well documented troubles of Langley’s last watering hole, a new pub has opened on Second Street and neighbors are looking forward to a new and positive relationship. And so far, so good.
Arne Bergstrom has been running to let off steam since 1980, but later this month there is a noble cause that’ll keep his legs chugging… and chugging… and chugging. Bergstrom, a Langley resident, will take his habitual running across the Washington-Oregon state line to partake in the 35th annual Hood to Coast relay, one of the longest and largest relays in the world. In all, 1,050 twelve-person teams will go at their pace over the course of 18 hours.
Once the thrill of rides and the smell of fried food wears off following the first two days of the Whidbey Island Fair, many event regulars swing back for a taste of tradition: the parade and log show.
For Director Josette Hendrix and the people at the Northwest Language and Cultural Center, language is more than a useful tool to keep in a back pocket; it’s rather a window to a deeper understanding to the rest of the world. The center has believed in bringing language classes and cultural experiences to South Whidbey since its conception two decades ago, and it’s in that spirit that the center will celebrate its 20th birthday by throwing a multi-cultural night of music, food and activities.
Art lovers can’t always imagine what a piece might look like on their walls, but an exhibition hosted in an idyllic private residence will have aficionados envisioning the pieces in their own homes.
Some come to the Whidbey Island Fair for the animal shows, some come for the rides, but nearly every fairgoer seems to look forward to the absurd mound of curly fries from the buffalo burger stand. Hundreds came and went through the fairgrounds on the opening day of the 92nd fair for fun in the sun, and there was plenty of both to go around. Temperatures reached nearly 80 degrees on a day that was dominated by the sun, laughter and, of course, curly fries.
While there are plenty of similar music festivals these days, it can be tough to find a festival with a unique musical lineup, but South Enders don’t have to look far to find one. Rare, centuries-old sounds can be heard this weekend as the Whidbey Island Music Festival tunes up for a second weekend at St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening. The festival, running for the 11th year, teleports audiences back in time to the era of early chamber music.
As Freeland grows, community members and business owners want to see new multi-use buildings remain diverse rather than veer towards bland uniformity, at least according to those who showed up to the Freeland Subarea Plan open house on Monday evening.
Little by little, performance by performance, Langley resident and storyteller Jill Johnson is restoring the island’s knowledge of its heritage. Johnson has traveled the state and parts of the country for the past 13 years performing “Little, But Oh My!”, the story of a fiery little woman named Berte Olson who was the face behind the first ferry line at Deception Pass from 1920-1930 before the bridge was constructed. Now the story is making a comeback where it all happened.
Whidbey Island is home to an array of produce and food products: fruits and vegetables, beer, bread bakers, etc. One of the few things the island was missing was its own kombucha brewer — until now. The fermented tea drink is now brewing on South Whidbey at the hands of the island’s first wholesale kombucha business, Amrita Kombucha.
If South Whidbey’s school campuses look a little bit cleaner lately, there’s a reason for that.
Families often come to specialize in certain crafts as traditions are handed down through generations, and for Jan Gross’ family that specialty is homemade jam. Gross and her daughter Becca Hyman are the faces behind 3 Generations Jam, a Greenbank-based mother-daughter team that operates out of a commercial kitchen that was once a laundromat. Gross will share her jam expertise at Slow Food Whidbey Island’s upcoming jam-making workshop on Tuesday, July 26.
Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles on South Whidbey Wednesday afternoon when a pickup truck burnt to a crisp in Freeland. The truck, located on Timber Lane, was fully engulfed in the middle of the street when South Whidbey Fire and EMS received the call around 2:30 p.m. The flames reached as high as nearby power lines — about 25 feet, South Whidbey Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Mike Cotton said. The cloud of smoke rose about 50 feet. The truck was on fire for about 20 minutes before it was extinguished by firefighters. Nobody was injured in the incident.
Those who walk through Langley’s streets will be able to enjoy a new sculpture in the near future, and the installment will tower over the existing art pieces scattered across the sidewalks. The Langley Arts Commission selected a winner on July 14 for their contest for South Whidbey artists to install their own art piece in front of the post office on Second Street in Langley. The City of Langley approved the arts commission’s plans for the art installation at the regular city council meeting on Monday night.
The old growth forests of South Whidbey State Park have always been a prime destination for hiking and trail running, but the park will have a different element over the weekend — live music. Nonprofit organization Friends of South Whidbey State Park has organized the first-ever Forest Music Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 at the park’s amphitheater in an initiative to increase the park’s usage. South Whidbey’s “conductor of fun” and go-to host Jim Freeman will emcee the festival, and five Whidbey-based groups will perform throughout the afternoon with performers covering a range of genres from jazz to maritime tunes to bluegrass.
To many, the members of Western Heroes are South Whidbey legends. For years their grooves have gotten people young and old out of their seats and onto the dance floor.
Representatives from a slew of Whidbey Island organizations have teamed up to roll out the first of three automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be located in public places on the South End. The installment of the AEDs is part of a push from Rotary of Whidbey-Westside, WhidbeyHealth Hospital Foundation and South Whidbey Parks & Rec to bring defibrillators out of business closets and onto the streets for public usage.
South Whidbey residents want affordable housing. That desire was made clear during Island County Planning and Community Development’s open house on the comprehensive plan Monday at South Whidbey High School.
As the bands filled the Langley air with twangy sounds and infectious grooves, the city’s feet were moving.
Nights are long, picnic blankets are fully stocked with finger food and music is flowing through Community Park. The Concerts in the Park series is back and in full swing.
With the flashing yellow-tinted lights and the clinking and ringing of the pinball machines in The Machine SHOP, it’s easy for one to think they were teleported to an arcade in the ‘70s. But this is 2016, and this is Langley’s newest spot for entertainment.
A Clinton man died Wednesday following a two-car collision on Highway 525. He was identified by the Washington State Patrol as Clinton resident Larry Anthony Poolman in a news release several hours after the crash. Poolman was 63.
A man is in critical condition today following a head-on collision on Highway 525. The wreck occurred around noon just south of the intersection at Crawford Road. The man was transported by ambulance to WhidbeyHealth Medical Center in Coupeville with life threatening injuries. Two others were also sent to the hospital, though emergency responders described their injures as "minor."
As the crack of fireworks echoed throughout Holmes Harbor, the crowd ooh’ed and aah’ed at the rainbow of colors that lit up the Sunday night sky.
There is a way to find a new read, and it doesn’t require a library card. And if you live in Langley, it doesn’t even mean leaving town. Little Free Libraries, a non-profit organization, has several boxes on South Whidbey and the latest popped up at 738 Sandy Point Road in Langley. An open house of sorts was held for the library box’s opening on Sunday by the Langley resident behind the free library, Rhonda Salerno. Dozens, including Langley authors and illustrators, showed up throughout the day to progressively stock the box with some of their favorite suggested reads for their neighbors.
In the driveway of his family’s Langley home, Janoah Spratt examines his 1965 candy apple red Ford Mustang as the sky reflects off the hood. The exterior looks spick and span, the interior is clean and all the parts are working perfectly. His baby looks good, he says, and that will need to be true as his mustang will go toe-to-toe with South Whidbey’s most sought after trucks, muscle cars and low riders. Spratt is preparing for the Cool Bayview Nights Car Show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 10 at Bayview Corner.
This hasn’t been a good year for orca sightings in Puget Sound, and experts are concerned. Observers have seen fewer Southern Residents in 2016 than in any period since whale extensive orca research began in earnest in the 1970s, according to Orca Network cofounder Howard Garrett. Of the three Southern resident pods, — J, K and L — two have been virtually unseen for nearly six months. L pod has made a handful of appearances, he said.
The 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics are right around the corner, and teams across all Olympic sports are starting to announce their squads. One of those who booked a ticket to Brazil is one of South Whidbey’s own. Maya Black and her 11-year-old horse Cody were listed as the traveling reserves for the U.S. eventing team. As the only traveling reserve in the squad, Black will suit up in red, white and blue whether or not she actually steps in for someone to compete. The eventing squad was announced June 20.
Hardware stores across the South End are fully stocked with the necessities: round and square pots, bait, buoys, bait boxes and lead line. And they are going fast. Crab season opens July 1 and runs through September 5. Hunting the succulent crustaceans is permitted throughout the season except for every Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Puget Sound is home to Dungeness and Red Rock crabs, both of which are free to catch and eat.
Langley residents say Seawall Park doesn’t need a complete artistic facelift to make Langley a destination. The focus instead should be on wheelchair accessibility and functional art that accents, not alters, the area’s existing natural feel. Those were among the dominating sentiments expressed during a community forum Thursday, June 23 at Langley United Methodist Church. The meeting was organized by the Langley Arts Commission concerning the city’s six-year $800,000 master art plan.
Patience is waning within South Whidbey Fire/EMS’s leadership ranks over continual permitting delays concerning the district’s planned new headquarters in Bayview. Officials say months have turned into years, and complaints about the sluggish process has rarely produced results. Currently, the district has been waiting since November for what they believe is a rather simple short plat amendment, which is one of the final boxes that need to be checked before the South Whidbey can begin traversing the building permit process.
Making good on its promise to bolster back up volunteers with paid day staff, South Whidbey Fire/EMS has hired three new firefighters. The new additions will start July 11 Two of the hires, Bill Piepenbrink and Alex McMahon, were selected from the district’s existing volunteer ranks. The district also hired Travis Zimmerman, who lives in West Seattle and has been working as a full-time paramedic in Hanford. He will serve at South Whidbey in a lieutenant position.
School is out, the sun is shining and summer is officially here. While the adults still have to work the same schedules, the little ones need to be sent to summer camp where they can be kids and learn from the South End’s many childhood educators. South Whidbey is home to a range of summer camps that are available throughout the season and offer something different from program to program.
With the reverberating metallic sound of the rin gong, or singing bowl, meditation at Tahoma One Drop Zen Monastery in Freeland has begun. For the next two hours, those in the meditation hall will sit still, exhale and refresh their minds. Tahoma has been a place for meditation and practicing Zen Buddhism for twenty years, a milestone the monastery will be celebrating as they look forward to many more.
The Organic Farm School has found a new home in the Maxwelton Valley, and it’s now accepting applications for enrollment.
Clinton has a new community gathering space, and it involves one of South Whidbey’s favorite hobbies: gardening. Pastor Mikkel Hustad of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church had a vision to bring together the Clinton community by giving the downtown area the community garden it never had. Hustad and his church recently decided to convert a portion of the church’s land into a multi-purpose community garden. The 50-by-40-foot patch was designed not only as a way for St. Peter’s to grow food for Good Cheer Food Bank and those in need, but also for Clinton residents to grow their own produce for self-sufficiency.
Linda Good hands children an instrument when they’re young.
Father Rick Spicer of Langley’s Saint Hubert Catholic Church loves to walk. Walking is something he enjoys so much he makes an effort to stroll through town on a daily basis. His usual circuit is up and down Second and First streets, making pitstops at favorites like Good Cheer Thrift Store and The Star Store. The library is the usual turning point where he heads back towards the church.
With winds swirling left and right on Lone Lake, sailors were doing their best to use their sails to harness the erratic gusts, in order to be the first boat in their class to cross the finish line. Despite the patchy wind, which usually separates competitors, the boats raced neck and neck to the finish line and produced some photo finishes. The race was the first ever Whidbey Cup Regatta held this past Saturday and Sunday afternoon by the South Whidbey Yacht Club. Nineteen boats in total raced for at least one day, with a few competitors dropping out on the second day for a variety of reasons. The tricky wind conditions made a day’s-worth of sailing more strenuous, and was a factor behind the smaller attendance on Sunday, Regatta Chairman Bill Brown said.
The participants of the “mixxed fit” classes at Whidbey Flex Studio can make walls shake. Loud cheers and stomping feet fill the room over raging hip-hop and electronic beats as owner and instructor Christine Lincks enthusiastically leads groups of people through quick and intense pops, locks and thrusts, all while smiles are etched on the faces on every person in the room. This class is the result of the fitness studio’s members pooling funds together in order to help Lincks purchase the business. Previously named Island Time Fitness, the Ken’s Corner business was on the verge of death when it went up for sale in early May.
The Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast is more than the name entails. While the Clinton homestead is located on a large, rural lot that overlooks Useless Bay and offers quaint rooms as vacation rentals, a walk to the backyard shows a different side to homeowners Gary and Janie Gabelein.
State grant money has paired a University of Washington-based suicide prevention program with Island County Public Health in an attempt to raise awareness about suicide and depression in Island County.
Swedish Medical Center patients suffering from multiple sclerosis began a therapeutic horseback riding program in Greenbank on Thursday. The first day went smoothly, and the initial results were powerful. There were poignant moments for patient Maria Peccorini, whose multiple sclerosis has limited her mobility and caused a loss of feeling in her lower body. She was excited yet anxious about riding since one of her main conditions is multiple sclerosis fatigue. Yet the best moment was saved for last, as she felt a sensation in her hips that she hadn’t felt in some time. “I haven’t felt my hips in decades!” Peccorini said. “I have my hips back! When you haven’t felt your hips in decades and you suddenly do, it’s amazing. I can’t really describe it.”
With the smacking of a mallet against the wooden bars, the party has begun. The sound emanating from the marimba vibrates through the body, causing the people in the room to shuffle with the beat.
The Whidbey Open Water Swimmers are a bold bunch. Rain or shine, summer or winter, 20 or so regulars plunge into Puget Sound. At a minimum, they do it once week — sometimes it’s daily. Yet, tough as they are to willing to submerge themselves in water that can dip into the low 40s, there is a group of five ladies who are the craziest of the group. According to the swimmers, Teresa Wiley-Forsyth, Megan Scudder, Sarah Manchester, Marni Zimmerman and Danielle Rideout are the most ardent swimmers and cheerleaders of the group. It can be expected that they will be out on the water facing the elements in December or January, while others may not be as open to the idea of a wintertime swim.
Runners, dog owners, sunshine and excessive amounts of drool were out in full force Monday morning for the fourth annual Pawz by the Sea 5K Run/Walk in Langley.
In an area that many believe is in its economic death-throes, one new business is on the verge of celebrating its one year anniversary. Meet MAKE Whidbey Market, a small-town shop nestled between Cozy’s Roadhouse and Cadée Distillery in the heart of downtown Clinton. According to owner Janae Cameron, the business didn’t just survive the tricky first year, it’s growing. In fact, she’s reporting increased sales for the past two months as a result of adding a wider variety of products to their storefront. And she’s not an isolated success story. Sixteen new businesses have come to town in the past 18 months, and another — a noodle bar — is slated to open this summer. So if Clinton is supposed to be dead, what gives?
With a flutter of his baton, Jerry Mader signals to his pupils that the time has come to belt it out.
Whidbey Children’s Theater Executive Director Cait Cassée is stepping down from her role after four years at the helm of the Langley-based non-profit organization.