During National School Walkout Day March 14 parents and others joined students protesting with signs in front of South Whidbey High School. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/ Whidbey News Group.)

During National School Walkout Day March 14 parents and others joined students protesting with signs in front of South Whidbey High School. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/ Whidbey News Group.)

2018: South Whidbey in review

Rogue cops, lots of protests and digging up a really old tooth

Come Tuesday, it’s annus novus, better known as a new year. Looking back over the past year, a pattern of dead, wild creatures, rogue police officers and sibling rivalry rage unfurls. Here’s a few of the happenings from 2018:

January

Freeland couple Katelyn and Joseph Williams became the proud parents of Whidbey Island’s first baby of 2018, Ford Ellis Williams.

The City of Langley paid $15,000 to settle a lawsuit by Langley resident John Norby over alleged breaches of the state’s Public Records Act.

Fairgrounds Advisory Committee discussed the potential problems begat by so many bunnies on the property.

Saturday service resumed on some Island Transit bus routes.

South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District heard from angry residents upset with New Trustland Trails.

Protesters came out in force on the year anniversary of the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

Langley icon Richard Clyde died at age 92.

The state announced a $3-million expansion on Ferry Dock Road to improve ferry pickups and drop-offs.

South Whidbey boys basketball team won the Cascade Conference title, beating Granite Falls.

Langley was found in violation of Open Public Meeting Act for failing to notify public about a workshop.

Langley Police Officer Charlie Liggit saved a man’s life who had overdosed on opiates. Liggit used the nasal spray Narcan, the first time it was used by Langley law enforcement.

A South Whidbey woman squatting in a Lone Lake vacation home claimed “Hobo Law” allows her to stay.

February

John J. Bagley, 36, faced felony charges after being caught pawning a telescope that had been stolen from a children’s underwater robotics club on South Whidbey.

Quick action by volunteer firefighter Marc Swenson was credited with saving a Langley family’s home.

Chief Criminal Deputy Rick Felici announced he’d run for Island County sheriff.

South Whidbey middle school student were arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat.

A tiny fly infestation bugged officials and surgery suites at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center.

Blake Fountain pleaded guilty to reckless burning for starting a fire that destroyed two homes in South Whidbey in 2017. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to get a mental health evaluation.

March

Point in Time reported it counted 170 people as either unsheltered or in temporary housing during its January count.

The first Goat University was held at fairgrounds by 4-H Club Four Seasons and WSU Extension.

South Whidbey High School participated in National School Walkout day to honor victims killed in Parkland, Fla. school.

Multi-talented musician and colorful local character Buell Neidlinger died at his Langley home. He was 82.

WhidbeyHealth officials announced plans to apply for a low-interest $20 million USDA loan to replace aging infrastructure and cover cost overruns of its new wing.

South Whidbey High School students led a community forum on how to make schools safer.

Museo art gallery in Langley was sold to Nancy Whittaker and Michael Dickter.

Whidbey Environmental Action Network filed a complaint over potential public health issues from piles of crushed asphalt piling up on South Whidbey’s Midvale Road.

April

The body of a young, malnourished gray whale was found on the shore of West Beach.

Lane Campbell announced he’s running for sheriff.

Two former Island County jail guards, David Wayne Lind, 55 and Mark Edward Moffit, 61, were found guilty of forging jail safety logs related to the 2015 death of Keaton Farris, 25, found dead of dehydration in his jail cell.

Island Transit launched its first free tour, taking 15 Coupeville passengers to Langley’s Welcome the Whales festival.

A scare over a lethal contagious disease that’s killed hundreds of rabbits in British Columbia led to safety protocols and the temporary cancellation of 4-H bunny activities.

Island County voters made the difference in passing a tax levy for Sno-Isle Libraries.

County commissioners voted to decline the request for more funds to extend the Bridge to Boat Trail from Coupeville to Ken’s Korner.

May

Journalists from around the globe descended on Whidbey to attend the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association.

The county was found guilty of unfair labor practices. State officials found the sheriff’s office unlawfully “skimmed” work that corrections deputies had performed without negotiating with the union.

Port of South Whidbey Executive Director Angie Mozer announced her resignation.

Larry Lehtonen was hired by the Port of South Whidbey to oversee Island County Fairgrounds, a new position.

Island Transit again raised the possibility of charging fares for its bus and paratransit service.

Clinton gas station robber Jonathan “Lexzi” Zupan, 24, was sentenced to three years, two months in prison.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks declined to charge Langley Police Chief David Marks with a crime in connection with a use-of-force November incident involving a man with mental illness. Banks concluded a jury would be unlikely to convict Marks of gross misdemeanor assault. But he deemed the incident “disturbing and well below the bar we set for professional police officers.”

After a month-long trial in California, Linda Thomas was found guilty of first-degree murder for shooting her sister, Zonna Thomas, in the head over an inheritance feud.

People supporting Langley Police Chief David Marks laud his professionalism and conduct during public comment at a city council meeting. Langley Mayor Tim Callison announced hiring Robert Glen Carpenter as an outside expert on use of force by law enforcement officers.

The Goose Community Grocer experienced a meltdown with thousands of dollars of lost meat, dairy and other frozen and refrigerated foods when its cooling equipment compressors stopped overnight.

June

Convicted killer Linda Thomas hanged herself in jail.

Langley residents spoke out at a city council meeting over incidents they’ve allegedly experienced with Police Chief David Marks, portraying him as a bully prone to shouting and unprofessional conduct. The comments were in direct contrast with glowing remarks about Marks at an earlier meeting.

Island Transit launched its new Ridelink program which provides vans to nonprofits and social service agencies to help with client outings, work programs and health services.

A human skull that had been discovered earlier in a jumble of stolen goods inside a South Whidbey storage unit was determined to be Native American by the Island County coroner.

Government officials from the former Soviet republic Uzbekistan toured Langley and learned about how to attract tourists from the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

South Whidbey High School graduated 86 students and 13 students from its South Whidbey Academy.

A decade-long effort to install a Freeland sewage system was halted by the Freeland Water and Sewer Distinct “for the foreseeable future.”

Island County Commissioners decided to join a multi-district litigation against prescription opioid manufactures.

Joshua Bybee, 30, of Freeland, was killed in a motorcycle accident on State Highway 525.

Island Transit board members voted against adding riders fares to its routes on Whidbey Island.

Robert Glen Carpenter, hired as an expert in use of force techniques by law enforcement, concluded in 45-page report that the actions of Langley Police Chief David Marks were appropriate and proper.

July

Langley Police Chief David Marks was terminated; he appealed the decision under the civil service protection system. Langley Police Officer Don Lauer was named interim chief.

South Whidbey Port District commissioners hire Stan Reeves as its new executive director.

An uninhabited house on Classic Road was engulfed in flames and destroyed.

South Whidbey resident Shannon L. Brown, a former bookkeeper with Artisan Crafted, was accused of stealing $250,000 over a three-year period.

Langley neighbors expressed fear and frustration at the placement of Level 3 sex offender being placed on Douglas Street at a meeting organized by Island County Sheriff’s Department.

Whidbey Island residents joined a nationwide protest over President Trump’s immigration policies.

Fire destroyed a home on Glendale Heights Road.

Three dogs died in Sactchet Head house fire that destroyed the home.

South and Central Whidbey firefighters joined forces to rescue a dog that had fallen off the edge of a bluff at Deer Lagoon.

August

A residence on Smugglers Cove Road was declared a total loss after being engulfed in flames.

Two high-speed chases by law enforcement ended when the road runs out at Clinton ferry terminal.

New state tax data indicate Langley was setting records as a tourist destination.

South Whidbey Community Center, converted from the old Langley Middle School, held its first open house.

The annual Penn Cove commemoration for orcas rounded up in the 1970s for marine parks occurred the same week as a mother killer whale, Tahleqhah, captured world attention by swimming days on end with her lifeless baby.

The body of a sixgill shark was found washed up on Maxwelton Beach.

Voters overwhelmingly approved two tax levy extensions for WhidbeyHealth Emergency Medical Services and South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District.

A “suspicious” box that led to closure of a section of Freeland’s Main Street was found to be a shoe box with work boots in it.

Michelle D. Nichols, convicted of vehicular homicide in the 2015 death of South Whidbey resident Timothy Keil, lost an appeal and is sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison.

Hundreds of wildfires burning in Canada, Oregon and Eastern Washington cause hazy skies over Whidbey Island and Puget Sound.

Stacie Burgua left Whidbey Island Center for the Arts after 18 years as executive director.

September

South Whidbey School District began its new school year as scheduled after a Labor Day negotiating session results in higher salaries for 92 teachers.

Nichols Brothers Boat Builders launched its second 240-feet long, 50-cabin “mini” cruise ship for Linblad/National Geographic Expeditions.

A series of fixes to a dock underneath the Clinton ferry terminal cost the Port of South Whidbey more than $70,000 for repairs. It remains broken.

A settlement between the city of Langley and former Police Chief David Marks included $80,565 in separation pay in exchange for Marks’ resignation, effective Sept. 7.

Whidbey Island Center for the Arts held its annual Djangofest and honored the late Nick Lehr, the man who had the idea for the gypsy jazz festival and started it in 2001.

Island Transit Executive Director Mike Nortier announced his resignation.

Island Transit was awarded $1 million federal grant to purchase 10 new propane-powered buses.

The Navy released its final Environmental Impact Statement on EA-18 Growler operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, including Outlying Field Coupeville, where annual operations of the touch-and-go maneuvers may increase nearly fourfold.

October

Suquamish, Washington’s newest ferry, made its debut Clinton-Mukilteo crossing.

Nearly 200 people rallied against increased military jets in a “card stunt” outside Crockett Barn. From the air, the signs form the message, “No New Jets, No New Flights, Do U Hear Us?”

Robert Glen Carpenter, hired as a consultant during the investigations of Langley former police chief David Marks, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault by Pierce County Sheriff’s office, where he works as as sergeant.

Larry Johnson was named Mr. South Whidbey at a sold-out Freeland Hall crowd as an estimated $30,000 was raised for Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund.

Whidbey Veterans Resource Center launched a weekly service to drive vets to appointments at Seattle’s VA hospital. The van is provided by Island County’s new RideLink partnership with social service agencies.

James Knott, 61, was sentenced to one year, three months in prison for sexually assaulting a homeless woman sleeping at a South Whidbey cabin in 2014.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen voiced his concerns about the increase of military Growler operations in a letter to the Navy.

November

In the general election, Janet St. Clair beat incumbent Rick Hannold for county commissioner and Rick Felici won the race for new sheriff. Democratic challenger Dave Paul unseated three-term Republican Dave Hayes for state 10th Legislative District while incumbent Rep. Norma Smith retained her state House seat.

For the third time in his career, a car crashed into a business owned by Ron Lind. A Honda CR-V jumped a curb and crashed into the wall of Linds Jewelry store. Two people were transported to the hospital.

Island County Fairgrounds campground host Ben Woolridge sustained serious burns when his RV caught on fire; his cat didn’t survive.

Orca Network placed a hydrophone at Bush Point to listen in on orcas and other sounds of the sea.

Island Transit named Todd Morrow as new executive director.

South Whidbey Fire/EMS and Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue welcomed a total of six new volunteer firefighters.

City of Langley announces its community emergency assistance program called ALERT.

Scout, a six-month-old yellow Labrador retriever living in Langley, unearthed a fragment of Woolly Mammoth tooth estimated to be 13,000 years old.

Supporters and detractors of Comforts Winery dominated a public hearing of the Island County Planning Commission.

South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District commissioners adjusted trail boundaries in the proposed Trustland Trail to appease neighbors’ concerns.

Langley poet Judith Adams was chosen to serve on Washington’s Speakers Bureau for the second consecutive year.

December

Langley City Council voted to significantly raise utility rates for water, sewer and stormwater to afford costly infrastructure repairs.

Kitsap County awarded Nichols Brothers Boat Builders a $23-million contract to construct two passenger-only ferries for its foot ferry fleet.

WhidbeyHealth announced it is reducing fees charged for physical therapy, getting a CT scan and MRI services by as much as one-third.

Robert Glen Carpenter was charged in Pierce County with first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing and slashing a man outside a marijuana store. The Pierce County Sheriff said he intended to fire Carpenter, a sergeant in the department who had been hired as a Langley consultant to assess actions of its former police chief.

Island County commissioners adopted new updates to the county code for rural events.

A windstorm with gusts up to 60 mph toppled huge trees and sent branches skittering across roads. A power outage affected all households connected to Puget Sound Energy across Whidbey Island. The outage lasts between 15 to 94 hours.

Piper Pontius plays with Scout, the puppy who dug up a 13,000-year-old tooth of a Woolly Mammoth in the Langley backyard of her grandfather, Kirk Lacewell. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Piper Pontius plays with Scout, the puppy who dug up a 13,000-year-old tooth of a Woolly Mammoth in the Langley backyard of her grandfather, Kirk Lacewell. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Thick haze from wildfires burning all around the West and Canada smothered Puget Sound and Whidbey Island skies throughout August.

Thick haze from wildfires burning all around the West and Canada smothered Puget Sound and Whidbey Island skies throughout August.

At a Langley city council meeting in June, Robert Glen Carpenter with the Pierce County Sheriff’s office, and labled an “expert” in use of force by law enforcement officers, demonstrates proper handcuffing technique on Police Chief David Marks. By year’s end, both men lost their jobs.

At a Langley city council meeting in June, Robert Glen Carpenter with the Pierce County Sheriff’s office, and labled an “expert” in use of force by law enforcement officers, demonstrates proper handcuffing technique on Police Chief David Marks. By year’s end, both men lost their jobs.

Verna Everitt, left, took over as executive director of Whidbey Island Center for the Arts after Stacie Burgua retired after 18 years.

Verna Everitt, left, took over as executive director of Whidbey Island Center for the Arts after Stacie Burgua retired after 18 years.

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