Remember 2000

"Dozens of police, deputies, volunteer firefighters and NAS Whidbey personnel spent hours searching for a woman and her children supposedly lost on Whidbey Island in September. But the 911 cell phone call that reported the accident was a hoax, with the woman still in Floriday.The year 2000 opened with a whimper and closed with a windstorm on South Whidbey.The whimper occurred when the much-publicized Y2K crisis never materialized, and the windstorm was one clocking gusts of 70 mph and taking town power lines, trees and even houses.Sandwiched in between were all the events that leave their mark, good and bad, on a small community: house fires, tragic accidents, successful fund raisers, levy and bond elections, volunteer efforts,births, deaths, and marriages. Here are some of the highlights that made the pages of The South Whidbey Record.JANUARYFears of Y2K catastrophes turn out to be totally unfounded. On Jan. 1, many islanders are left wondering what to do with their emergency stores of food and water.Islanders line up to renew vehicle license tabs at the new flat rate of $30, thanks to passage of Initiative 695 in November.Everett Stockholm of the Lone Lake area turns 102 years old, meaning he has lived in three centuries.South Whidbey community leader Dorothy Cleveland, 84, died 17 months after suffering a stroke.Joan Roberts, 75, Oak Harbor, who was active in the Whidbey Audubon Society, is killed in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 525 at Bayview Road.A bill to prevent logging in Goss Lake forest, a 600-acre state recreational forest between Lone Lake and Saratoga roads, is introduced in the Legislature by State Rep. Kelly Barlean, R-Langley.AmeriCorps workers begin chopping a trail to a vantage point high above Possession Beach Waterfront Park. The Port of South Whidbey budgets $25,000 for the project.A windstorm drops some power lines and prevents some ferry runs to and from Clinton.The Washington State Ferries Tariff Policy Committee recommends that fares increase by 40 or 50 percent to make up for the $155 million hit the system took from the passage of I-695.Trillium Corp. announces it will clear-cut 40 acres near Freeland, but is open about the action to avert the anger it generated in 1988 when it cut 740 acres near Freeland.Cascade Natural Gas and Westcoast Energy of Vancouver, B.C., announce that Langley could get natural gas service by 2004 from a pipeline they are considering building across South Whidbey en route from Marysville to Port Townsend.FEBRUARYAnthes Avenue in Langley will get sidewalks by 2003 to keep pedestrians away from traffic after the city of Langley is given $259,000 by the Island Regional Transportation and Planning Organization.Islanders get a cool reception in Olympia when they ask legislators to spare part of the 600-acre state recreational forest near Langley.Hundreds of amateur sleuths again converge on South Whidbey to solve the murder case on Langley Mystery Weekend.Hundreds of amateur sleuths converge on Langley for Mystery Weekend.Under orders from the Federal Communications Commission, Whidbey Telephone Co. announces that residents may begin dialing local calls with all 10 digits, a procedure that will be required beginning July 29.Two Island County judges say it's astonishing that Seattle land-use lawyer Keith Dearborn has been paid more than $700,000 to help the county's growth planning process. They call it grossly excessive, as county commissioners say they need his expertise.Boeing workers in SPEEA go on strike, reducing somewhat the ferry commuter crunch.The Whidbey Island Writers' Conference hosts a second successful weekend of writers, editors, agents and publishers.The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board listens to ongoing arguments about the 20-year Comprehensive Plan from the county, environmentalists and property rights advocates. Board members then tell them, We are disheartened, disappointed and frankly mad about the proliferation of personal attacks in the public hearings and briefings.MARCHVoters barely turn down two proposals when South Whidbey School District's $6.1 million two-year levy for maintenance and operations earns only 59.5 percent approval and a $1.45 million bond issue for South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District receives 58.0 percent. Each required 60 percent to be approved.The county signs a new contract with Seattle planner Keith Dearborn, but reduces his hourly wage from $180 to $100.Famed primate researcher Jane Goodall speaks at South Whidbey High School and at a retreat at Clinton's Chinook Center.Citing lukewarm support from the school board, South Whidbey Superintendent Lisa Bjork resigns, effective June 30.In the presidential preference primary in Island County, Democrats choose Al Gore over Bill Bradley by a 2-to-1 margin, and Republican George W. Bush tops John McCain by 336 votes.The Seattle District of the Postal Service orders South Whidbey post offices to remove children's art, fund-raising items and all other unofficial material to make post offices more uniform in appearance.After nine years of work, the Clinton Library opens March 18 as the newest part of the Sno-Isle Regional Library System.South Whidbey High School's girls basketball team goes to the state tournament, returning with the trophy for eighth place.County commissioners approve new sign and lighting regulations affecting businesses and residences, with everyone required to conform within three years. APRILAs the federal census begins, Southenders discover the Census Bureau told postal officials not to put the self-reporting forms in P.O. boxes.The state Fish and Wildlife Commission declares Lone Lake a quality water, meaning a one-fish limit and only artificial lures allowed.Langley makes city attorney Eric Lucas its part-time city administrator.The carcass of a 40-foot gray whale washes ashore at the Saratoga Road beach of Jack and Norma Metcalf. Ironically, Congressman Metcalf was a vocal opponent of the Makah tribe's whale hunt last year.Tsunami Hazard Zone signs go up on roads near beaches on Whidbey's west side. They prove popular with thieves, prompting the county to print paper versions for free distribution.Opponents of a proposed Freeland gas station and convenience store say the site may be a wetland.Former state legislator Barry Sehlin drops out of the Republican Party race for Jack Metcalf's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.Voters this time approve the school district's two-year $6.1 million maintenance and operations levy with 72 percent approval and a $1.28 million bond issue for the Parks and Recreation District with 61 percent.MAYThe Legislature approves about $6 million to buy the Goss Lake forest, about 600 acres of Department of Natural Resources land that was scheduled for logging.Jim Porter, a charter member of the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District board, receives the highest award from the Washington Recreation and Parks Association.A graphic docudrama about a DUI-related vehicle accident in which one person dies is acted before students at South Whidbey High School.South Whidbey welcomes two farmers markets: South Whidbey Tilth moves its market to a new site at Thompson Road and Highway 525, while the Bayview Farmers Market opens on the traditional site with a new structure and The state Department of Ecology tightens the rules on outdoor burning. Only vegetation can be burned, and not in a barrel, which is outlawed for burning.County voters approve a 0.3 percent increase in sales tax to add $1.6 million annually to Island Transit's budget. It's intended to replace money lost by passage of I-695.Residents get a chance to meet the three finalists for superintendent of schools: Martin Laster, superintendent at Darrington; Greg Cowan, an assistant superintendent in Bellingham; and Gary Cohn, vice president of administrative services at Lake Washington Technical College.A live fish trap on Maxwelton Creek shows young coho salmon are returning to the stream thanks to work by Maxwelton Salmon Adventure and a washout that removed a culvert.JUNEA scuba diver in trouble in Langley marina is rescued by Tim Nolis, Tom Permenter, Dione Murray, EMTs Jason O'Neil, Andy O'Keefe and Irene Bullock, and police officer Leif Haugen.A lull at Nichols Brothers ends as the company lands two big catamaran contracts.Bayview High School graduates five in its Class of 2000. South Whidbey High School graduates 162 seniors.Bob Alexander retires after a long career in South Whidbey schools, ending with 18 years as Langley Middle School vice principal.Evangelist Luis Palau speaks to 2,000 South Whidbey residents in a Father's Day address.Langley hosts its first Jazz Festival, with numerous big names performing.Marilee Jolin of Clinton wins the Spirit Award at America's Junior Miss pageant, and highland dancer Elana Campbell earns a competition spot in the national championships.Killdeer eggs hatch alongside Double Bluff Road after being protected by the county Road Department and area residents for several weeks.A two-car crash on Craw Road kills Jessie Travis, 18, who had graduated from South Whidbey High School less than a month earlier.JULYDarrell Green and Sandy Dolstad-Green are grand marshals of the Maxwelton Fourth of July parade.Some patrons of the Freeland Library are disgusted to see that privacy screens on computers don't prevent people walking behind users from seeing whatever is on the computer, including pornography.A large cougar-like cat is reported in the Goss Lake area.Large crowds fill Langley streets for the 25th annual Choochokam arts festival.A 30-pound spotted wild cat called a serval escapes from a Sunlight Shores residence.Martin Laster is officially named school superintendent.Clinton Democrat Tom Fisher withdraws from campaign for county commission seat held by Mike Shelton because he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.Island Transit resumes Saturday bus service.AUGUSTWilliam Rowlands enters county commission race at last minute to challenge Republican Mike Shelton.South Whidbey firefighters and volunteer medical personnel create the South Whidbey Volunteers Association to have greater unity when negotiating plans with Fire District 3.Three men and a woman are convicted of crimes associated with the 1999 murder of 24-year-old South Whidbey resident Ed Ross.A propulsion failure forces the ferry Cathlamet out of service in a third incident in two months for the system's previously most reliable vessel.The county begins collecting Fire District 3 taxes a year early in Langley. Unable to figure out a way to give it back, officials decide to credit it on next year's tax bill.John DeForest resigns as principal of South Whidbey Intermediate School; Doug Hale is appointed on a one-year interim basis.The Island County Fair starts with sunny weather, but a bit of rain dampens visitors.Few people attend an open house to ask about the proposed natural gas pipeline from Saratoga to Mutiny Bay.After undergoing surgery on his cancerous prostate, Tom Fisher re-enters the primary election for county commissioner, although so late that only William Rowlands' name will be on the Democratic Party's ballot.A large dog or similar animal jumps a fence and kills pygmy goats at the Mel Ogden Sr. place at Maxwelton and Midvale roads.SEPTEMBERVoters approve a bond issue to expand and upgrade Whidbey General Hospital.Work begins in Glendale to repair road damage caused by the big 1997 storm. Residents support the initial phase of the project but protest plans to restore a two-lane road up the canyon.Neighbor to Neighbor teams with South Whidbey florists to distribute free roses on national Good Neighbor Day.South Whidbey Parks and Recreation begins excavation for new soccer fields to be accessed off Langley Road.The Clinton Water District commissioners decide to ask voters to approve a bond issue to build a new water tank after one of the old ones starts springing numerous leaks.The Freeland Library installs new privacy screens to shield passers-by from computer screens in use by others. The Whidbey Island Transportation Association is divided by in-fighting between two groups who claim to represent the 20-year-old organization.A Florida woman, Cheryl Brown, sends emergency workers and volunteers from throughout the island on a wild good chase. She allegedly faked a cell phone call about having driven off a Whidbey Island road with children in her car.Groundskeepers Ronnie Dubs and Jordan Thompson find a nettle over 17 feet long on property off Saratoga Road.OCTOBERA shortage of flu vaccine forces cancellation of the first of several clinics scheduled for Whidbey Island.Lind's Freeland Pharmacy is robbed of some $1,000 in jewelry in a rare smash and grab incident on Whidbey Island.A new Community Accountability Board opens for business. Set up by Island County Superior Court judges, the board creates fitting punishments for juveniles who admit to minor crimes.Nichols Brothers leads an effort to set a world waterskiing record in Lake Washington, but the boat it built, the Klondike Express, pulls only 26 skiers out of the water. The record of 100 skiers was set in Australia.The third annual Children's Day event at South Whidbey Community Park draws more than 800 visitors.Several island residents report seeing orca whales on both sides of Whidbey Island.An attempt to start clearing land for the new Exxon station in Freeland is stopped when opponents obtain a stop-work order from the county.NOVEMBERIsland County voters retain commissioners Mike Shelton and Mac McDowell in the general election. In the 10th District, Clinton Rep. Dave Anderson is defeated by Oak Harbor Republican Barry Sehlin, while Senator Mary Margaret Haugen beats rival Norma Smith, R-Langley.Voters approve I-728, which could give the South Whidbey School District an added $4 million over the next five years.The Island County Hearing Examiner faces his biggest audience in 20 years as 150 people, mostly opponents, attend a hearing on the Freeland Exxon station.The first flu shot clinic on South Whidbey attracts a mob of over 100 people, mostly seniors.The Sears kit house that had stood at the entrance to the Greenbank Farm was moved to Bayview Corner, where it will become part of the ongoing reconstruction of the historic area. As planned, ferry service from Clinton is disrupted so the ferry dock wingwalls can be replaced in Mukilteo. Car ferries operate midday between Clinton and Edmonds, while a special passenger-only ferry takes people to Mukilteo.The American Legion Post 141 serves a free turkey dinner on Thanksgiving to hundreds, while the VFW Mobile Turkey Unit delivers to homebound and workers on the holiday. The newly renovated South Whidbey Historical Society Museum opens to the public after three years of fund raising and remodeling.DECEMBERTraffic signals are installed at Highway 525 and FIsh Road in Freeland, but the lights aren't turned on because officials discover the poles are too high and may interfere with power lines. Shortening the poles is expected to take about a month.Useless Bay residents get something to watch when a derelict tug drifts into the bay and gets stuck. The Coast Guard declares it a hazard to navigation and tows it away.After a 19-month wait, Whidbey Telephone Co.'s high-speed fiber optic cable is activated by the Port of Seattle.Clinton residents begin a petition drive to get a public beach on the Kenmir property immediately north of the state ferry dock.Langley Woodmen Cemetery raises the cost of plots to pay for maintenance.The county adopts a $17 million general fund budget for 2001 that's based on a 2 percent property tax increase as mandated by Initiative 722.The old John Patton house on a bluff overlooking Maxwelton beach is burned as a fire district training exercise.In a statewide effort to conserve electricity due to shortages throughout the West Coast, South Whidbey cuts back after-hours activities in the schools for two days.A windstorm blowing at about 70 mph drops trees and power lines throughout the Sound, leaving South Whidbey residents without electricity for all of Friday, Dec. 15, and part of the following day.Island County Commissioner Mike Shelton is elected president of the Washington Association of Counties.The state approves a day-use parking fee for some state parks, which will likely include all five on Whidbey Island.The Greenbank Farm seeks an infusion of cash to help with needed capital improvements.Members of the South Whidbey Youth Soccer Association announce they are putting up $5,000 to match any other athletic organization to pay for improvements to ballfields at South Whidbey Community Park. Their concern that soccer receives enough space and practice time at the soccer fields under construction sparks a heated response from parents in South Whidbey Little League.A state Auditor's report cites ongoing problems in the Island County Treasurer's office that leave the door open for possible misappropriation of public funds.South Whidbey teachers get grants for innovative teaching projects.Downtown Langley's last maple tree will be cut in the new year. "

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