Life on Whidbey: If it poops, you must scoop

“Your honor, you cannot convict Bruno, an innocent dog, for the failures of his master, a man who wanted the dog to impress his friends but refuses to clean up after he does his business. Furthermore, your honor, we have videotape proof he lets the dog roam without him and has never picked up poop in his own yard. I rest my case.”

First, I wish to acknowledge the late defense attorney Johnnie Cochrane for the inspiration, but what’s all the fuss about? We all share a problem and we can resolve it if we work together.

A family dog can excrete one-third of a pound of solid waste each day. Rainwater moves disease-carrying pathogens from pet waste down our roadside ditches and streams, and eventually into the Sound. (Don’t get me started on farm animals.)

People love dogs so much, they have two or three at home. When Lenny was alive, I carried a plastic bag to clean up after him and I’d routinely patrol my backyard, using a lightweight, pointy-ended shovel and depositing waste into double plastic grocery bags. Disposal workers like to be forewarned, so it would help to mark the bag “pet waste.” Do the same for cat waste in litter boxes.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect when I received “Our Islands, Our Water, Our Future” in the mail last week. It is the most user-friendly supplement I have seen and was produced by the people at the Island County Planning and Community Program Resource Enhancement Program. There are statistics, but they are not boring. I was astounded to read that they estimate 5,088 pounds of daily dog waste is produced in Island County, or more than 2.5 tons. Other items related to saving our water quality, such as gas and oil leaks from cars and boats, are also covered.

If you didn’t receive a copy of the Guide to Clean Water, just go online and read it cover to cover at and click on Clean Water.

Everyone should read it and teachers should discuss it. That’s where positive changes will begin.

Pastor feels the love

The young man who grew up in Cooperstown, N.D., turned 60 recently and Centennial Hall at the United Methodist Church in Oak Harbor was packed on Sept. 15 to help him celebrate.

Pastor David Lura’s church family and community celebrated his life and ministry, 20 years of which were in Oak Harbor.

His first appointment in the United Methodist Church was in Rockford, Wash., from 1980 to 1984. That was followed by service at United Methodist in Edmonds from 1984 to 1987. Over the years, Lura has performed 302 Baptisms and 244 marriages.

Lura and Colleen wed in 1981 and they began a “team ministry.” Together they have helped countless community members through illness and his memorial services are sensitive and respectful.

You’ve probably seen Lura serving the community. His red hair and booming voice are familiar to many. He was acknowledged by Mayor Patty Cohen, Captain Rick Wallace, Gary Wallin and Dave Williams for his role as chaplain for the police department, Navy League and chaplain at many community events. He has spent many years as a Little League coach and still supports local baseball programs.

VFW wants essays

There are three levels of competition in this year’s essay contest sponsored by the Whitehead-Muzzall Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7392.

The Voice of Democracy is a recorded essay for students in grades nine through 12.

Patriot’s Pen is for students in grades sixth through eighth.

Students in third- through fifth-grades also compete, with their theme of “Who is my Hero and Why?”

Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third-place winners and it doesn’t have to end there. Winners may go on to district, state and national competition with very nice cash awards.

Entry forms and letters are being distributed to schools later this week; completed forms and essays will be picked up at each school on Nov. 1. Visit or call 675-7392.

Planes fly in as reminders

“We must have a plane at the main gate!”

Who was it that voiced that opinion with such vigor? Plans went underground for awhile until the day an A-6 Intruder was unveiled inside the gate on Lexington Boulevard. Aviators, launching from carriers on missions over Vietnam in the 1960s, fell in love with the plane. Many will always feel connected to that lone A-6, saying it brings back faces of friends whose planes never returned.

People once argued over the sign that read “The Sound of Freedom.” I hope they come to see the Gateway Project. Today’s aviators show raw courage in accomplishing their mission, and no one can argue about that.

See you Oct. 3. Got some news or interesting tidbits? Call 675-6611 or write to me at