Opinion

MAYOR'S BEAT | Centennial reflections

By FRED McCARTHY

As Langley’s Centennial Year of 2013 draws to a close, there were many things in the city that were accomplished. Our Centennial year was characterized by the dedicated volunteer efforts of many people who gave generously of their time, talent and treasure to the city. It’s always risky to name individuals because inevitably someone important will be left out, but here goes anyway.

The history of the city was told and celebrated by many volunteers in presentations, tours, dramatic interpretive plays, publications and events. A guardian and curator of our history, Bob Waterman, led the way for many of these memorable activities. Janet Ploof, Bernita Sanstead, Val Easton, Cathy Rooks, Jim Sundberg and others tended the City Hall edible garden. A new metal sculpture by Jean Whitesavage and Nick Lyle graced the pathway alongside of City Hall.

Fred Lundahl, Ploof, Larry Durocher, Tucker Stevens and many others drove Langley Main Street Association’s new electric shuttle and helped interns take care of 35 hanging flower baskets. The Mystic Sea whale watching tours were a great success with some 60-plus excursions leaving the marina, and passengers saw whales on virtually every trip.

Chamber of Commerce Director Marc Esterly and board President David Gregor, and Main Street board President Ploof and Director Lorinda Kay re-energized and inspired the business community. The Choochokam Festival, led by Tom Moore, Mystery Weekend, the Sea Float Scramble, Welcome the Whales, Djangofest and Second Street Market offered us unique experiences. WICA, Whidbey Children’s Theatre, Island Dance and others reminded us regularly of the many arts and artists in our community.

School volunteers helped student interns Laura, Erin, Grace, and Joe weed trim lavender plants around the city. Individuals like Steve Trembly voluntarily mowed Seawall Park, and guerrilla painters, such as Tucker Stevens and John Lawson of the Langley Men’s Club, painted the temporary railing near the slide area on Cascade and put up a new sign in Generation Park.

Miriam Coates led a Feed the Children initiative in Langley Park. Sharen Heath told many of the people stories and events of Langley in her informative “I Love Langley” blog. Local Girl Scouts enhanced the signage at Whale Bell Park with Tim Leonard’s metal work. Three well-organized economic forums were hosted by two city council members, Rene Neff and Bruce Allen, and an incoming council member, Margot Jerome. Over 100 individuals attended one of the three forums and expressed statements of hope and optimism about the future.

We finished the First Street water project, paved two streets — Anthes and Langley Road — and supported the Port of South Whidbey in completing waterline and marina improvements. It was a successful year for our 100th birthday year as a city. So much more happened and I invite others to share the parts I left out. We are excited about what the future holds for our city.

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