"With Thanksgiving just past, we at the News-Times have been reflecting on what we're most thankful for this year. There's so many things it's hard to know where to start. But here's a few:There are local people willing to volunteer many, many hours of their time and potentially risk their lives to be firefighters.Not qualifying for membership in Mothers of Twins/Multiples.Neither Wal-Mart nor McDonald's want to build on Coupeville's waterfront.Whidbey Island Naval Air Station's Search and Rescue team stays busy but safe.We don't know who our next president will be.Oak Harbor is moving along with plans for a new waterfront pier.Puget Sound is neither toxic nor flammable.Nellie Williams, the News-Times' 92-year-old proofreader, is still showing up for work - sharp mind, bum knee and all.Coupeville schools have a hot lunch program.The Babyland and Veterans memorials in Maple Leaf Cemetery.The Huskies are headed to the Rose Bowl.A new orca calf is swimming in local waters.Fort Nugent Park.City workers picked up lawn waste bags even though the branches were larger than three inches in diameter and not bundled in cotton twine. The election is (almost) over, and the related letters to the editor have dwindled accordingly.While there are wet T-shirt contests at a local bar, there are none at the senior center.Old growth trees still grow on Whidbey.Whidbey News-Times reporters haven't gone on strike yet.The Sonics fired Paul Westphal.Duck hunters at Joseph Whidbey State Park refrain from shooting people who are out walking their dogs.Oak Harbor water doesn't taste like Coupeville water.Some the most scenic parts of Ebey's Landing Reserve were permanently protected this year.The Washington Department of Transportation concluded that another bridge from North Whidbey to the mainland won't work.Dorothy Neil.No one from Whidbey Island was killed or injured when the USS Cole was bombed in Yemen.In addition to classes in literature, mathematics and technology, Skagit Valley College offers a class in the history of rock and roll.An Oak Harbor coin laundry is considered a good place to start a romance.CADA and WAIF, for putting caring above everything else.Coupeville decided it can't be bought by Hollywood.The county is finally starting to crack down on people operating illegal dumps and junkyards on their property.Tom Shaughnessy is still facilitating, whatever that means.An occasional earthquake keeps us on our toes.South Whidbey isn't as remote and different as South Whidbians like to think it is.Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens, where rhodies bloom even in the dead of winter.Island Transit is still on the road.Kids still play tetherball at recess.A total of 84 percent of registered voters in Island County turned out for the last election. That's the second highest turnout in the state.Our telephone books are still small.And may the rest of your holidays be filled with thanks, as well. "

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