"Shop the island this ChristmasWe make this plea annually, but it can't be stated often enough -- the best place to do your holiday shopping is right here on Whidbey Island.There are many reasons, primary among them our need to support our friends and neighbors doing business on the island. The more we support them now the more they will be able to offer in the future, and we'll have even less reason to have to leave the island to battle mainland traffic and crowds. Spending money with local businesses also allows them to hire more people, particularly young people. The jobs they provide result in money for college, clothes, cars and all the things young folks need. In the process, they acquire valuable technical and human relations skills that can be useful in any future job.Shopping Whidbey Island is also a crucial generator of tax revenue for Island County and the City of Langley. The sales tax is second only to the property tax as an income producer for Island County, which is always hard-pressed to meet the needs of a growing community. If you want to do more to support parks, public transportation, police, juvenile services and community health, all you have to do is shop on Whidbey Island. In a sense, when you shop the mainland your sales tax is going to waste, because it will be spent where neither you nor your friends or family will benefit.South Whidbey has never had a wider range of stores and products than it has now. Any anything you can't get here can be found in Oak Harbor with its big chain stores. Either way, the money and jobs stay in Island County where they benefit our community.Give your community a gift this holiday season. Shop at home.See history at our new museumThe South Whidbey Historical Society did a marvelous job restoring the old Jacob Anthes bunkhouse into a new museum.Although the historic building is intact and in better shape than ever, the interior is all-new and tastefully crammed with informative displays. At Saturday's grand re-opening, the public was duly impressed with the offerings.The museum makes clear South Whidbey's unique history. Separated for years from North and Central Whidbey by forests and the lack of roads, South Whidbey boasts its own pioneering families and early settlements. Each is given its due in the museum, or will be as rotating displays take their place in the limelight.The community owes a debt of gratitude to the hundreds of people who donated thousands of hours and thousands of dollars to recreating the museum. Regular hours are 1-4 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday. It's a great place to visit and to bring out-of-town guests. It's located across from Langley Park, at 312 Second Street. "

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