It was a year of tragic events, celebrity sightings and animal hijinks

It was an interesting year on Whidbey Island, as it it every year.

The year started out with tragedy. Within days of each other, well-known Freeland resident Natasha Blouin was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, an Everett man died in a plane crash and Langley resident Virgina Nelson was struck and killed by a car while crossing the highway.

Animals were up to shenanigans. Aggressive deer killed a dog and a cat. A lonely black bear swam from Camano for a visit. Whidbey’s only elk got his antlers tangled in a blue tarp. Bigfoot was spotted.

The year started and ended with celebrities. Tom Cruise was at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island to film “Top Gun 2” early in the year and actor Eddie Redmayne visited South Whidbey during Christmas.

Of course, there were occasional controversies. Parents and others complained to school board members about a variety of issues.

The state attorney general filed a lawsuit against the Navy over EA-18G Growler aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

People far beyond Whidbey Island are reading about life here online in the South Whidbey Record. Nearly 678,000 people read stories online in 2019.

Nearly 1.3 million page views were counted, about half of which were on mobile devices.

Here are the top 10 headlines of the past year:

• One killed in South Whidbey crash

• After 36 years, luck changes at Neil’s Clover Patch Cafe

• Traditional Buddhist temple rises in South Whidbey woods

• Level III sex offender lives in Langley

• “Fantastic Beasts” actor reported on South Whidbey

• Parents lash out at South Whidbey school board with litany of complaints

• Bigfoot sightings abound

• One person airlifted after crash in Freeland

• Leif Erik Albertsen: Oct. 16, 1974 – Oct. 16, 2019

• Man told victim’s mother about murder, then killed himself