Even on Whidbey Island we need a fresh start once in a while, which is why the new year is one of our favorite times.
South Whidbey isn’t a great place for partying with its one tavern, a pub and scattering of bars and private clubs. Nobody throws a community New Year’s wingding with confetti, fireworks or slowly descending balls. There are gatherings of friends, of course, but those looking for a New Year’s Eve they can’t even remember usually go to some mainland hotspot. The rest of us simply spend our time reflecting on the past year and on what may come in 2013.
The year that expired on Monday wasn’t a bad one, compared to others since the start of the Great Recession in 2008. Experts say the recession ended long ago, but of course those experts all have jobs. The recession hasn’t ended, but on Whidbey things seemed a little better based on business receipts and housing sales. Nichols Brothers, our largest private employer, was going full-bore all year with Washington State Ferries jobs supplementing their private boat building business. Stores in Freeland and Langley were frequently busy, and Clinton made great strides as businesses worked together to make themselves a destination for other islanders.
South Whidbey’s schools continued to lose students, but at a slower rate than past years. And all the seventh graders have iPads. How many other school districts can boast of such an experiment? Teachers and administrators are trying new things and aren’t afraid to gamble a little bit if it might improve student achievement. That’s a good thing.
Our only city, Langley, turned the corner on progress, as plans for an improved marina bore their first fruit with the boat ramp upgrade. The Port of South Whidbey is doing a good job of working with what it has to make improvements, and patiently waiting for those government grants to come through. Hopefully, they will in 2013.
As a community, we’re entering 2013 in pretty good shape, slowly battling back from the recession. We’re running leaner but more effectively. On a personal note, we’ll all be lighter if we keep those resolutions.
We’re doing our part. Now, if Congress doesn’t mess it up we should experience an even better year in 2013.
Reminiscing and looking forward, that’s what the new year is all about. And it doesn’t even cause a hangover.