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

More in Opinion

Sound Off: Recalling the Founders’ views of a free press

America’s Founders regarded a free press as so vital to the new… Continue reading

Sound Off: However you rock a face mask, just be sure you wear one

I’ve heard lots of dismal news about the pandemic, the public health… Continue reading

Editorial: No, we don’t need permission to report on meetings

Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes doesn’t seem to understand a really basic function… Continue reading

Newspaper returns to broadsheet format, moves to new home

No, you aren’t imagining things. Yes, the Whidbey News-Times-South Whidbey Record you’re… Continue reading

Editorial: It’s a difficult conversation, but one we must have

The City of Langley took an important step Monday. The council entered… Continue reading

Sound Off: Addressing white silence on Whidbey Island

I have had the immense privilege of being born and raised on… Continue reading

Sound Off: Be strong, resilient and listen to each other

I have been giving considerable thought to the circumstances we, as a… Continue reading

Editorial: Answers to protests not simple, but there is hope

Editorial writers at newspapers across the nation are grasping for words when… Continue reading

Editorial: COVID responses should continue as we reopen

Island County residents have taken the response to the pandemic seriously. That… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Overcoming an eerie feeling in an empty tourist town

Eerie is an onomatopoeia – a word that sounds like what it… Continue reading

Editorial: Governor, allow the show to go on at Blue Fox Drive-in

Somehow people are choosing sides when it comes to COVID-19. And it’s… Continue reading

Sound Off: Coronavirus, work must somehow coexist

By now it is apparent that, barring a miracle, a cure for… Continue reading