Editorial: 71 new reasons to give thanks

It’s Thanksgiving time so stop complaining and give thanks. Here are 71 reasons, many gleaned from the pages of the Whidbey News-Times just over the last year.

1. We’ve got people willing to volunteer their time, talents and dollars to put on free Thanksgiving dinners in both Oak Harbor and Coupeville.

2. Whidbey Camano Land Trust earned the Fantastic Fundraising Award of the Century by acquiring the 664-acre Trillium forest near Greenbank, collecting $4.2 million in donations in only seven months.

3. An unexpected orca baby boom increased the size of population to 87 in the Salish Sea.

4. Oak Harbor finally has an outstanding performing arts venue with the opening of the new high school auditorium.

5. When Help House and Gifts from the Heart announce their shelves are getting bare, islanders always respond to help the hungry.

6. We have foot races above Deception Pass and kayak races below it.

7. The history Libbey House hasn’t moved an inch since a developer proposed moving it a year ago.

8. The Oak Harbor City Council stands up to public opinion and does what it thinks is best, at least until the next election.

9. We got a lot more than we budgeted for with the new Oak Harbor High School remodel.

10. Desperate large retailers are putting the word “Christmas” back in their ads, perhaps because “holidays” didn’t attract enough agnostics and atheists.

11. During the Great Recession that left personal incomes flat or falling, virtually every Island County taxing district bucked up and passed a tax increase anyway.

12. Hundreds of islanders still put out Christmas lights and displays just for the joy of entertaining passing strangers.

13. Whidbey Island charities raise many thousands of dollars each year to feed, house and educate the needy, and to make sure all the kids get Christmas presents.

14. Thanks to a change in the law, Washington residents can now legally collect their own rain water for personal use. Previously, anyone caught dancing and signing in the rain was arrested.

15. If you live in Clinton and are tired of the rain, all you have to do is move to Coupeville where there is only half as much.

16. The state built a new ferry in 2010 for Central Whidbey which cost $76.5 million and carries exactly the same number of cars as the old ferry, built in 1927.

17. Warnings to the contrary, budget cuts have yet to devastate schools.

18. Rep. Rick Larsen won reelection due in part to the crafty strategy of not once mentioning he was the incumbent.

19. The historic Kingma farmhouse on the Navy’s Coupeville airfield was spared from demolition.

20. It’s kind of fun to watch Oak Harbor Councilman Scott Dudley make everyone else mad when he votes no on the idea du jour.

21. The Washington State Department of Transportation swears the 75-year-old Deception Pass Bridge is in great shape.

22. If you want to purchase some fantastic art, you don’t have to step foot off Whidbey Island to do it.

23. You can see the skeletons of a gray whale, Dall porpoise and Stellar sea lion in the Coupeville Boneyard Zoo inside the Coupeville Wharf building.

24. The Orca Network continues to gain support in its effort to free Lolita the killer whale, formerly of Penn Cove, from an aquarium in Miami.

25. More Growlers than first anticipated are coming to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, assuring a more prosperous future.

26. Whidbey News-Times customers no longer have to deal with leaky ceilings and mold thanks to our move to a new building in Coupeville.

27. Coupeville voters set their recession worries aside and approved two school levies.

28. Oak Harbor High School started its own glee club.

29. No matter how many deputies they cut, there will always be one right behind you when you decide to beat the yellow light in Coupeville.

30. Thanks to the new felony DUI law, an Island drunk was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Vickie Churchill.

31. Pastor Fanny Dean was named Oak Harbor’s first Black History Pioneer.

32. Coupeville Library is ready for the next century thanks to an extensive and impressive remodeling effort.

33. Despite a shocking lack of appropriate regulations and zoning, no nudes have been seen dancing in Oak Harbor.

34. Whidbey Playhouse celebrated 30 years of entertaining the community.

35. Oak Harbor’s crack culinary team continues to win state championships and impress judges at nationals.

36. The Irish always manage to keep their spirit alive in the Dutch town of Oak Harbor.

37. The census was taken, so we should soon know how many children are left on Whidbey Island.

38. Island County, filling the void created by Oak Harbor, decided to find a place for strip clubs.

39. The PBY Memorial Foundation succeeded in its effort to bring the aircraft to Oak Harbor for permanent display, as did the Whidbey A-3 Skywarrior Foundation.

40. The tea party helped make politics interesting again in Island County.

41. Whidbey Island Bank grew considerably by gobbling up other banks that couldn’t survive the recession.

42. The Maylor Point Trail reopened a beautiful part of Oak Harbor to the public, thanks to cooperation from the Navy.

43. If you hit a historic “wooden” guard rail on Whidbey Island, chances are it’s a replica made out of metal.

44. The number of small hobby farmers seems to be growing, producing a variety of organic produce for the farmers markets.

45. Sick people in Oak Harbor now have a friend in the Medical Safety Net of North Whidbey.

46. Our new county commissioner who favors small government made history by suing her predecessor, which may eventually result in nobody running for office.

47. Carol Anne and Shane Fortune proved that you can’t win elective office in Island County just by saying nothing, although it was a nice try.

48. The Plein Air Festival is perhaps the coolest art promotion ever undertaken on Whidbey Island.

49. The Coupeville Lions never run out of nifty things to sell at their annual garage sale.

50. The exact price of Oak Harbor’s new sewer plant hasn’t been announced, sparing a number of people from heart attacks.

51. The history Ferry House on Ebey’s Reserve is being fixed up to last another century or so.

52. Whidbey Island firefighters don’t hesitate to rescue dogs stuck on cliffs.

53. Whidbey General Hospital employees always do their best for the community with their limited resources.

54. Central Whidbey Little League won this district’s first State Championship.

55. They finally caught the “barefoot bandit,” who finally was issued shoes in federal jail.

56. Ebey Bowl was revived by optimistic owners after several years serving as a storage facility.

57. Oak Harbor’s annual Free Pig Roast gets better every year.

58. Oak Harbor High School students caught sexting on their cell phones will have to stop and do it in the back of a Chevrolet like our community leaders used to do it.

59. The Island County Fair is just the right size for little kids to enjoy, not to mention the fried food crowd.

60. This year, we might find out what the elected Tea Party members actually want to cut.

61. The county commissioners created new jobs with their mandatory septic inspections. Coming next: Mandatory toilet bowl cleanliness inspections.

62. There’s a good chance that modern students are getting a better education than the cranky geezers who complain about them.

63. Voters decided to keep state liquor stores, meaning we can still find pet goats, kittens and other animals in the Coupeville Liquor Store. Costco never would have allowed it.

64. Experimental tidal projects by the Navy and Puget Sound Energy could eventually result in clean power for Whidbey Island, although it may smell a little fishy.

65. Lt. Mike Hawley and deputies arrested a gunman on West Beach Road without having to shoot the guy.

66. Island County put a halt to excessive Oak Harbor growth to the west side of the island, at least temporarily.

67. Tom Riggs, Democrat, lost to Barbara Bailey but looks like a good candidate for future elections.

68. A lot of government workers in Island County are foregoing their cost of living increases to help with the budget problems.

69. A new car repair shop gamely opened in Oak Harbor in tough times, putting several mechanics back to work.

70. Dedicated Lions Club members always make sure Old Glory is flying all over Oak Harbor and Coupeville every patriotic holiday.

71. Finally, most Whidbey Island families still have jobs and money in the bank, thanks largely to the Navy and other government employees.

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