Sara Hansen

Faith, friends and family crucial in defeating breast cancer for Oak Harbor survivor

After a long Labor Day weekend in 2009, Patricia “Annie” Martin learned she had breast cancer. Shortly after the discovery on Oct. 6, 2009, she underwent a lumpectomy to remove the 4.7 centimeter tumor, along with the 13 lymph nodes. This was only the beginning on her road to recovery.


33 years of Reno: Macaw parrot loved by generations of Oak Harbor residents

Customers at Island Pet Center will no longer see a friendly face at the back of the store. Reno, the macaw parrot, died Tuesday, Nov. 19. “I was 15 and half years old when I took her out of the box for the first time,” said Brian Knoll, Island Pet Center owner. Reno has been a prominent figure at the store for 33 years. The store opened 36 years ago.


Hundreds help ring in holidays in downtown Oak Harbor

Even with dark gray clouds overhead, fate refused to rain on the holiday happenings Saturday. Community members came together in downtown Oak Harbor for the annual Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival Nov. 30. Marisa LaRue traveled from Freeland with her granddaughter to do some shopping and watch the lighting. “I’m glad it’s not raining,” she said.


Whidbey General Hospital Auxiliary shop runs on volunteers

When asking someone where they got their accessories, it might be surprising when they say the Whidbey General Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop. “It’s one of the best kept little shopping secrets,” said Michelle Suggs, hospital gift shop manager. “Every nook and cranny is filled here.” The gift shop has always been run by volunteers, and the profits are collected by the WGH Auxiliary and used to help the hospital purchase equipment it needs. The funds raised have gone to help purchase the new Breast MRI scanner, and also improve the birth center.

Travel, event planning business opens in downtown Oak Harbor

If you look up at the second level of a building in historic downtown Oak Harbor, you might see a silhouette of a wolf. “I love wolves,” Iris Gutman said. “He’s guarding my business.” Gutman started Oak Harbor Travel and Event Planning a year ago out of her home and just moved into an office on 801 S.E. Pioneer Way.

Oak Harbor zombies rise up on Midway Boulevard Saturday

If you’re planning to leave the house on Saturday, keep an eye out for zombies. They’re coming to a street near you. The Monster Mash Street Bash is a new event aimed at bringing more business to merchants on Midway Boulevard, according to Kathy Reed, Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director. The fun is from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.

The Honey Bear helps to sweeten education locally

As fifth grader Catherine Lhamon entered The Honey Bear, she was excited to spend the dollar she’d been allocated. “There’s 100 cents in a dollar,” she said. Helene Lhamon, Catherine’s mother, said they’ve been coming down to the store since she could walk. “Back then, it took us 45 minutes to walk down here, and 45 minutes to walk back,” Helene said. The Honey Bear will host a fundraiser for the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools Sunday, Jan. 26. Owner Karla Mackintosh said she will donate 100 percent of the profits to the organization.

Oak Harbor shop offers dance clothes, practice wear and more

Business owner Vanda Coleman is dancing her way to a new location in downtown Oak Harbor. Her store, Fantasia Boutique, moved to 665 Southeast Pioneer Way two weeks ago, and Coleman is excited to be there. “At the old location, we were upstairs and it wasn’t working,” Coleman said. “We wanted to make sure everyone could reach us.” The boutique supplies island residents with quality dance equipment, such as shoes, practice wear, performance outfits and more.

Coupeville kids with a cause

Seven fifth-graders’ determination to help one of their ailing moms is paying off. The Breast Cancer Club, comprised of Coupeville Elementary students, raised approximately $607.92. The jars were distributed around to Oak Harbor and Coupeville businesses, including Flyers Restaurant and Brewery, Hallmark and New Image Hair Salon.

Whidbey Inspiration becoming a family affair in downtown

When Whidbey Inspiration owner Lynn Copeland needed help, her grandson was there to lend a hand. Since working with his grandma for less than two months, Mike Williams said he’s learned a lot from her. He took over the embroidery aspect of the business and was a natural with the machine. “I’m getting closer and closer to being a master at this thing,” Williams said.

All in the family tree: Greenhouse Florist and Nursery is still going strong after 60 years in Oak Harbor

For 60 years the Greenhouse Florist and Nursery has been a fixture in the Oak Harbor business community. Siblings and owners, Henry Vanden Haak and Audrey Butler, said the business has been in the family since 1954, but the business itself has been around for nearly 70 years. It used to be in two locations: one on Midway where Traders Village is, and at a second spot called Antone’s Florist.

City children visit Whidbey Island pumpkin patch

Even though the fog lingered over the pumpkin patch, two girls were still able to scout for the perfect pumpkins. “I’m looking for the perfect shape because I’m going to get lights and put them in it,” Rammaya, 9, said. Rammaya carefully examined every other pumpkin she passed until she found the perfect shape she was looking for.

Retiring Oak Harbor dentist reflects on years in industry

After more than 35 years in dentistry, with 23 years in private practice, Dr. Harry Turner is officially retiring. “We want to do some traveling,” Turner said. “See the USA in my Chevrolet.” Turner sold his practice, Acorn Dental Clinic, to Dr. Joseph Keyes. Turner plans to help Keyes with the transition and slowly phase out of the practice. It will take about three months, working four then three days a week, to eventually be retired.

North Whidbey Fire gets fuel efficient wheels

North Whidbey Fire and Rescue has a new ride in town. The district bought four 2013 Toyota RAV4s as emergency medical response vehicles. So far, the district received one of the Toyotas, and will have the others within three weeks, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Marv Koorn said. “The goal is to be more efficient and keep our costs down, and respond like we need to respond,” he said.

Oak Harbor woman wrangles TV show

Oak Harbor resident Barbra West is riding back into rodeo competition again. West is one of the stars on A&E’s real life series “Rodeo Girls,” which follows five female barrel racers and their horses in competitions. The show premieres Dec. 11 and 12. Viewers will get to know all of their backstories and how rodeo influences their lives.

Oak Harbor High School Transition students collect food for local children

Even when temperatures dipped during the second week of December, the chill didn’t deter students from their prime directive. “It was really cold,” student Diamond Antoniou said. “My fingers were purple.”

Holiday Market features local vendors, products and Santa Claus

Those stopping by the Holiday Market on Pioneer Way in downtown Oak Harbor might see some familiar faces from the farmers’ markets during the summer. “It’s nice to have something to do in the off season,” said Lisa Phillips, beekeeper and Round Tuit Farms owner. Phillips is selling honey at the market. She has six hives that she looks after on Whidbey Island. If anyone has questions about honey, Phillips is the person to ask. She has plenty of samples to make sure people can find the right honey for them. She also sells honey from four other beekeepers, so there is a variety of honey to try.

Island golfers can tee off year-round, rain or shine

Usually when it starts pouring down rain, golfers have to wait for the sun to come back to practice their game — but not anymore. Beau Bayliss opened Tee to Green on June 1, and provides golf simulators for people to use for practice. From the driving range, to putting, golfers can work on every aspect they need inside. “There’s nothing about golf that you can’t do in here,” Bayliss said.

Whidbey Island businesses among the Best of Western Washington

Several Whidbey Island businesses made their mark in KING-5’s Evening Magazine The Best of Western Washington awards. El Cazador Mexican Grill and Catina won Best Mexican in the Great Meals category, and owner Natasha Rodriguez said she couldn’t be happier. She attributed the success to all the customers who’ve supported the restaurant all these years. “Our long-time customers who are like family to us helped spread the word,” Natasha Rodriguez said.

Oak Harbor author visiting for a spell

Oak Harbor Middle School students had the opportunity to meet a former student turned successful author last week. “Remember this day, and keep it in your head for a long time because you might be the second OHMS author,” said Alice Mikos, an OHMS teacher librarian. Brittany Geragotelis returned to her former school on Oct. 18 to speak to students about becoming an author.