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As she stands with her hummingbird hat perched on her head and binoculars firmly in hand, Frances Wood patiently awaits the flutter of wings or the tune of a bird’s song. It’s an indicator that she’s found what she is looking for.
The Choochokam Arts Festival’s proposed move from downtown Langley to Community Park got its final OK this week. South Whidbey Parks and Recreation commissioners unanimously approved the event’s permit application during the board’s regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 20. The marathon gathering lasted nearly three hours, with about half the time focused solely on Choochokam; nearly a dozen community members attended to voice their objections. Celia Black, president of Choochokam Arts Foundation board of directors and Gwen Jones, vice president of the Choochokam Arts Foundation board, were also in attendance.
When Gina Marie Mammano walks into a room, the energy levels seem to rise. The Freeland native’s smile and ever-present positivity rubs off on those around her, and her body of work has a similar impact on readers and listeners alike. Her newest piece is no different. Mammano’s new book, “Camino Divina — Walking the Divine Way: A Book of Moving Meditations with Likely and Unlikely Saints,” takes walks from multiple trails, including paths across Whidbey Island, and pairs them with mental exercises that encourage self-discovery. The walks are inspired by the ancient spiritual practices of lectio divina, or divine reading, and walking meditation.
South Whidbey’s second recreational marijuana retailer will open its doors to the public today. The store, named Island Herb, is located in Freeland at 5565 Vanbarr Place, Unit F. Doors open at 11 a.m. Island Herb is owned by a veteran of the South Whidbey marijuana business scene, Lucas Jushinski. He owns Island Alternative Medicine in Freeland, which was the first medical marijuana dispensary to open on Whidbey Island back in 2012. The old storefront previously used by Island Alternative Medicine is where Island Herb is located.
Critters, children and people of all ages, shapes and sizes gathered on Saturday, April 16, to celebrate the arrival of the gray whales that have visited South Whidbey shores for the past 25 years.
In 2009, Elea Acheson hopped on her trusty 20-year-old mountain bike, “Old Blue,” and hit the road. She had $3,000 in her pocket and one goal: to get lost and not be found. She was gone for two months. Seven years later, the Freeland woman is eyeing Old Blue again, a mountain bike modified for the road, and hit the trail again. She’s about to embark on a 12,000 mile cross-country bike tour that circles the entire country in a clockwise manner.
Hoping to win favor and potentially future state funding, South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District officials gave two state lawmakers a tour of its new 30-acre campgrounds property last week.
As spring brings warmer weather to Whidbey Island, it brings with it a wide array of new tastes for our dinner plates that come straight from South Whidbey’s many farms. Some of the seasonal produce is more popular than others, ranging from rhubarb to bokchoy to the often maligned kale, but it’s all delicious to Annie Jesperson, the cheerful and young co-owner of Freeland’s Deep Harvest Farm. And she’s going to demonstrate how to cook it fresh from the garden at a presentation this month.
As summer approaches, the weather isn’t the only thing heating up in Island County.
The lush and dog-friendly Meerkerk Gardens in Greenbank are in bloom, displaying a vast array of bright colors and smells that send the senses into overdrive. Open throughout the year, the woodland gardens are sprawled over a 53-acre property that overlooks Holmes Harbor and Saratoga Passage. Rhododendrons are the specialty at Meerkerk, as they are native to Washington, but a wide variety of azaleas and trees of all types accompany the “rhodies.” For those looking to do more than a steady stroll though the 10 gardens that are within Meerkerk, there are four miles of nature paths to hike. The real magic, however, is in the garden and those tending it.
Beth McPhee’s home garden is a colorful place filled with things that grow, from flowers of all varieties to succulent vegetables destined for the dinner plate. Naturally, it’s a place where she spends a lot of her time and the few feral cats that lived nearby lightened her labors by keeping her company. But, when she heard an unfamiliar meow while tending her tulips one evening, and then another, she knew she had a problem that was multiplying and getting out of hand. She turned to Jean Favini, South Whidbey’s one-person rescue organization.
Despite being packed with more than two dozen people, the deck of the Mystic Sea was dead silent. No one made a whisper.
South Whidbey High School boys golf recorded their first win of the season Monday, as Falcon junior Thorin Helmersen’s eagle helped lift the Falcons over Cascade Conference opponent Cedarcrest.