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In 1994, Leone Argent helped her son put a new roof on her home. She was 81 years old at the time, moving trusses and doing what needed to be done. After that, she said she retired from roofing. On Wednesday, Jan. 29, Argent turned 101.
Driving by on a weekday, you’ll see a guy smiling with a sign in front of Louie-G’s Pizza. He’ll give you a wave as you’re waiting for the light to turn green at the intersection of State Highway 20 and Pioneer Way. “I just wave at people and they wave back,” Demetrice Wall said. “You wave at someone random that you don’t even know and they wave back.”
Focus on feathers: A field trip with Whidbey Audubon Society offers closer look at birds as well as an education from experienced leaders
As the fog lifted from West Beach parking lot at Deception Pass State Park, bird watchers pulled spotting scopes out of their cars and headed for the beach. “This is the perfect light this morning,” Jo Reeves said. It was around 9 a.m. on Saturday, and they were all there to try to spot the red throated loons that would be arriving soon.
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.
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.
After deferring approval for three meetings’ minutes, tabling an amendment to the bylaws, postponing electing 2014 commission officers and delaying review of the state auditor’s report — the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District Commissioners meeting came to a close. “Bring some coffee and tea because it’s going to be a long meeting,” said Commissioner Allan McDougall, referring to the next February meeting.
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.
Oak Harbor is one of 12 locations statewide chosen to host an official Seattle Seahawks rally. The rally will start at 6 p.m. Friday at Flyers Restaurant and Brewery. “We’re excited and looking forward to it,” said Jason Tritt, Flyers owner. “It’s going to be an awesome time.”
For anyone wanting to learn more about Puget Sound, Beach Watchers is holding a one-day university with 65 classes. Sound Waters, now in its 19th year, was started after the first Beach Watchers organization was formed. The program is a Washington State University Extension service which brings volunteers together to educate the public about Puget Sound. “I’m trying to do my bit to save the planet,” said Julie Ward, publicity chairwoman for Sound Waters.
Coupeville residents could hear the Blue Wave approaching before they could see it. More than 80 Seahawks fans marched down Main Street on Sunday, Jan. 5 to meet at the Coupeville Wharf, posing for a photo on the pedestrian bridge over State Highway 20. The procession culminated in a photo at the wharf.
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.
As a new year begins, so does the search for a new director by the North Whidbey Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners. Bill Walker resigned as director at the end of a commissioners’ meeting Nov. 21. Walker’s last day was Thursday, Dec. 19. The board is working with a human resource specialist to rewrite its job notice, said Sean Merrill, North Whidbey Park and Recreation District commissioner chairman.
Fitness for the new year: Oak Harbor graduates, baseball coaches open training facility for individuals, athletes
Now that 2014 is here, it’s time to start making those resolutions a reality. Fitness tops the charts when it comes to putting one’s best foot forward for the new year, and a new Oak Harbor business might help reach those goals. Kyle Isaacson and Tyson Van Dam opened Rep Fitness on 3075 N. Oak Harbor Road Nov. 18.
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.”
Soroptimist International of Oak Harbor’s Tree of Hope is helping local families again this year. The program has more than 950 children enrolled and, at one point, only had about 500 of them sponsored. The community since rallied to fill the remaining sponsorships. “We’re still getting last-minute sponsors who want to help out,” said Rose Freitas, Tree of Hope co-chairwoman. “That’s how great this community is.”
A new wellness center is in town. North Island Chiropractic and Wellness Center opened Oct.1 at 520 E. Whidbey Ave., Suite 101. Owner Dr. Rondle Bennett likes the location because there is plenty of room for growth. “It’ll take me to retirement,” Bennett said.
Fire districts may have to become compliant with the Affordable Care Act by 2015. Volunteer firefighters are considered employees when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, said Marv Koorn, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue chief. “At this point we have a year to investigate all what’s going on,” Koorn said. “We’re going to have to track all the volunteer hours until the IRS or Congress exempt volunteers.”
While walking along a beach in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1979, Barb Bland came upon an injured seagull. Instead of walking past, she decided to stop and help the crippled bird. “I realized then that there are things out there that needed to be fixed,” Bland said. She began volunteering with wildlife rescue groups. She and her husband, Curt, moved to Whidbey Island in 1980 after sailing down from Alaska with friends. After some time on the island, she started volunteering at Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, or WAIF, when it was started in 1990.
After spending six years in his garage, Eric Peterson’s business has a store front. “It’s grown enough to be able to purchase this space,” said Peterson, Ashley’s Design owner. “It’s still blowing me away.” Peterson started the shirt screen-printing company, Ashley’s Design, because of his experience trying to order custom printed T-shirts. He’s the Oak Harbor High School cross country head coach and the girls’ track team head coach. When the teams ordered shirts, sometimes they would not receive them for six to eight weeks.
Adults gathered around long tables with coupon books — clipping, passing and chatting away as rugrats played with Duplos and other toys in the center of the tables. “We have C-O-O-K-I-E-S for the kids,” Amy Hannold spelled out for the parents, so she wouldn’t cause a sugar riot amongst the children. For the past three years, this has been Hannold’s favorite part of the week. She is the North Whidbey Coupon Club coordinator, and every Friday morning devoted couponers congregate to clip and confer about their week.
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.
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.
After two budget workshops and two meetings, the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District Board of Commissioners passed its 2014 budget. The board approved a 10 percent fee increase to all programs, except for pool rentals and swim school. Fees for swim school were raised by 20 percent 18 months ago, while other programs fees hadn’t increased since 2006.
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.
Walking into the basement of Jack Tingstad’s house is like taking a trip back in time. Trains traverse the old railroads of Colorado, making their way through mining towns. “It’s a great hobby, especially in the Northwest during the winter,” Tingstad said. Tingstad will host his 13th model railroad open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at his home on 508 Broadway St. Tingstad has volunteered at the food bank for 10 years, and asks those coming to see the trains bring a donation for Gifts of the Heart food bank.
When looking for holiday gifts this weekend, shoppers can stay close to home. Small Business Saturday follows the traditional shopping day of Black Friday and island residents are encouraged to participate. “Everyone should turn out and support small businesses,” said Kathy Reed, Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce executive director.
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.
North Whidbey Park and Recreation District Director Bill Walker resigned at the end of the commissioners’ meeting Thursday. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to work for the taxpayers,” Walker said. Walker submitted his 30-day notice. His last day will be Dec. 21.
Even before 12:30 p.m. the cars began arriving. Three people dropped off food just after noon, and they kept coming. “That’s a lot of food in 15 minutes,” Michelle Curry said On Nov. 13 a call to action went out the community for volunteers to assist with Janeah and Janesah Goheen’s memorial service Saturday, Nov. 16. Curry was one of the organizers and helped coordinate the effort from an idea that came from the family’s church members.
More than 1,000 people gathered to grieve and celebrate the lives of Janeah and Janesah Goheen on Saturday. The VFW Riders served as the color guard outside the building as community members poured into the Oak Harbor High School gymnasium to show their respects. Janesah Danae Goheen, 17, passed away Nov. 11 at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle from injuries sustained in the Oct. 31 car crash in Skagit County. Her twin sister, Janeah Dawn Goheen, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
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.
Fees could be increasing for those who swim at John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool in Oak Harbor. After three hours of discussion during a budget workshop on Thursday, Nov. 14, the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District Board of Commissioners gave direction to parks Director Bill Walker to look at cutting 5 percent in wages and salaries and increasing all program dues by 10 percent, including Masters and North Whidbey Aquatic Club. The board needs to approve a budget by Dec. 1.
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.
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.
After taking a break, Ebey Bowl is back in action. The bowling alley was closed for about a month, and reopened mid-October. On Sept. 22, Traci Wisdom received a phone call from Matt Iverson and Mimi Johnson, the siblings who own Ebey Bowl. They asked her if she wanted to become a partner.
avigating the murky waters of the Washington Health Exchange can be tricky, but there are resources out there. “I’ve been speaking for days,” said Lisa Clark, Opportunity Council Island County Service Center director. Informational meetings are being held up and down the island with new ones getting booked all the time. State certified health exchange navigators are traveling around the county to answer questions, and help people use the system.
The second time is the charm when it comes to passing the Whidbey General Hospital general obligation bond. On election night, the 45 people gathered at Ciao exploded with elation once the first election results were posted, initially showing 61.75 percent voter approval. The bond passed with a 61.44 percent approval, giving it the supermajority it needed.
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.
Some might think it’s no-shave November, but at the Oak Harbor Fire Department, it was ‘Stachetober last month. During the entire month of October, firefighters grew out their mustaches to raise money for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Wounded Warrior Foundation. The foundation provides assistance and support for active-duty and veterans who are wounded, injured or ill, and for their families.
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.