Jim Larsen

Editor’s Column: Used cars along Whidbey roads suggest recession is over

Those who doubt the economic recovery need only look along Whidbey Island’s main highway where the number of used cars for sale is returning to normal.

Editor’s column: Hoping the flowers will be stayin’ alive

Coupeville, Oak Harbor and South Whidbey garden clubs are all involved in their spring plant sales, either counting the money from ones already held or getting ready for the flock of flower-lovers yet to come.

Kate Romero lifts the lid and reaches for eggs in her family’s innovative urban chicken coop near Coupeville

Take a tour of Whidbey’s finest coops

To Whidbey Island’s list of home tours, kitchen tours, wine tours, bed & breakfast tours, farm tours and garden tours, add the 2010 Chicken Coop Tour. The tour takes place Saturday, April 24, and for $10, you can pack your car with up to four people, follow a map included with the ticket, and enjoy some of the finest chicken coops on all of Whidbey Island.

Kate Romero lifts the lid and reaches for eggs in her family’s innovative urban chicken coop near Coupeville

Editor’s column: Ironing out the unavoidable wrinkles in life

One odd thing about life is that it can be proceeding as normal, when suddenly an off-hand remark turns the mundane into something stressful, and something forgetful into something that picks away at your mind until you can think of little else.

Editor’s Column: Crime and punishment continues in Olympia

Yours truly owes Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction, a humble apology. After Dorn was arrested for Driving Under the Influence, this column predicted he would get a lawyer, plead either not guilty or no contest, go through the diversion program and come out cleaner than a referee’s whistle after a few years. This legal strategy has worked for innumerable politicians in the past.

Editor’s Column: Hitting the career trifecta on Whidbey Island

I never thought I’d make it this far. In the early ‘80s, I started out in Whidbey Island’s smallest daytime town of Langley. Technically, its population was a bit larger than Coupeville’s, but the swarm of government workers who come to the county seat each day put its daytime population far above Langley’s.

Editor’s column: In Olympia, they’re buckling under the pressure

As the Legislature dawdles in its endless special session, officials in Olympia are slowly going crazy in a Night of the Living Dead scenario. Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn was driven to drink by the delay, and then driven to drive. After enjoyed a family night out with wife and sons at the local Swiss Sportsman Club, he heaved a 0.11 into the Orting P.D. breathalyzer at 3 a.m. and was taken into custody, which is what they do to important people.

Editor’s Column: Democrats mess up our retirement plan

Thanks, Big Government Democrats. Now you’ve totally messed up the retirement plan my wife and I have been working on all these years.

Sharon Nicholson peruses a scrapbook she compiled while collecting information for her book highlighting the experiences of Oak Harbor’s World War II veterans.

WWII stories saved for posterity

Today, they’re universally a friendly lot, polite and welcoming, looking like anyone’s grandpa or grandma. But look a little deeper and they’ve got some harrowing war memories tucked inside their brains, memories that Oak Harbor author Sharon Nicholson has managed to pry out and preserve for posterity.

Sharon Nicholson peruses a scrapbook she compiled while collecting information for her book highlighting the experiences of Oak Harbor’s World War II veterans.

Editor’s Column: Manufacturers take the fun out of babyhood

Somewhere between parenthood and grandparenthood, many years elapsed during which time toy companies, no doubt compelled by lawyers, decided to take all the fun out of being a baby. This awareness struck after visiting toy aisles in Oak Harbor’s finest stores. What I was looking for was a scooter to help a pre-walker get around the house and make it even easier for him to terrorize the dog.

Editor’s column: The sullen, glum face of disaster in Olympia

The face of disaster: Sullen looks, glum conversation, a depressing atmosphere, the inability to accomplish anything meaningful in life ... yes, it’s all there, and we need not look at Haiti, but closer to home, in Olympia.

Iraq veteran Phil Kiver will bring his lively and informative road show to Oak Harbor this month and next.

One soldier speaks for many

If you have a friend or loved one who has fought in Iraq and doesn’t want to talk much about it, go listen to Phil Kiver. With bright blue eyes and rugged good looks, the former soldier is both jocular and serious, representing in his mind the universal American soldier, not just from the Iraq and Afghanistan experiences, but dating back through the decades to every war the United States has fought, including the War of Independence.

Iraq veteran Phil Kiver will bring his lively and informative road show to Oak Harbor this month and next.
Jessie Beeksma in a recent photo

Jessie Beeksma Eerkes: The last of a generation

Oak Harbor had a hole in its heart this Christmas: Jessie Beeskma Eerkes was missing for the first time since 1913.

Jessie Beeksma in a recent photo

Editor’s Column: The top 10 stories of 2010

Who cares about the top 10 news stories of 2009? The year is gone and forgotten. What’s really important is the top 10 news stories of 2010, so let’s get right to it without actually waiting for the events to occur.

Editor’s column: The first year means toys we can understand

I’m looking forward to the best Christmas in years due to my new grandson and the fact I can understand his toys and play with them myself. At eight-months of age, little Joe is about ready for my favorites: The pole that you stick plastic donuts of descending size over; simple wooden blocks; and the wooden hammer and peg set.

A farm house built in 1915 by the Kingma family near Oak Harbor

Historic house is spared, at least for now

Demolition of an historic farmhouse located on the Navy’s Outlying Field just south of Coupeville didn’t happen as planned Monday after the community hastily organized to save the structure. Laura McDonald, a Coupeville resident and amateur historian, reported the demolition plan Friday morning, saying she just found out about it Thursday night. She immediately started spreading the word, hoping to stop the demolition.

A farm house built in 1915 by the Kingma family near Oak Harbor

Editor’s Column: Enemies identified in War on Climate Change

Americans can rest easy now that the Pentagon has declared climate change a national security threat. The U.S. military is a can-do organization. When it steps in we no longer have to worry about the inept antics of the National Weather Service, Homeland Security or Congress.

Editor’s column: Give us Nerf, or give us expensive car repairs

One sad thing about America is that Nerf technology has gone to waste. Although Nerf has been around for decades, its use so far has been limited to children’s toys. It’s fine that a Nerf ball prevents a child’s black eye, and that a Nerf bat forestalls a concussion, but American is more than children. In fact, we’re mostly cars, and our cars need more Nerf protection.

Editor’s column: Cable television goes after the fruit fly audience

Comcast and other paid TV providers see their customers as fruit flies, incapable of seeing far into the future.

Goen wins fire seat, but recount required

Challenger Jerry Goen beat incumbent Larry Morse in the North Whidbey Fire and Rescue race, but it will take a recount before the new commissioner is officially crowned. Goen won by the second-narrowest of margins, eking out a two-vote advantage over Morse. The final tally announced Friday afternoon by the Island County Auditor’s Office left Goen with 2,196 votes to 2,194 for Morse.