Life on Whidbey: They serve on land and water

  • Wednesday, April 4, 2007 7:00am
  • Life

Say you’re enjoying a calm afternoon cruising on your Bayliner when a fire breaks out. You might have a long wait for the Coast Guard, but your chances of receiving help are greater if a member of the Citizens Action Network spots you and immediately calls in your location. The group was created in 1999 by the 13th Coast Guard District.

DIANE SMOTHERS is an active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11 out of Bellingham. She is employed at Sound Publishing and gets this newspaper out to drop points up and down the island on Wednesdays and Saturdays. She explained how the Citizens Action Network operates.

“They are like a second pair of eyes,” she said. “Coast Guard vessels do not make patrols in every waterway, so they rely on CAN members to alert them to problems from their locations.

“They may call simply to say ‘We have power’ or ‘The aid (emergency light) is on.’

“As an auxiliary member, I have gone out on Hobie Cat races, July Fourth celebrations off Bellingham Bay and a number of routine patrols,” she said. “As a whole, Flotilla 11 can be found on the water, in the air, performing safety patrols, vessel safety checks and promoting public education.”

She proudly shows off her Presidential Unit Citation ribbon awarded to recognize the Coast Guard’s rescue of more than 33,000 people during Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

Today there are more than 262 active duty, reserve and auxiliary Coast Guard members, as well as U.S. and Canadian citizens in CAN. To become involved in CAN, visit To join an auxiliary, have a boat safety check or a boat safety class, go to

Name’s the same …

You may have seen the “Under New Management” sign on the highway at the entrance of Whidbey Island Mazda-Volkswagen. Curious, I stopped in to meet sales manager DAVID GLENN and general manager ZANE WYLL.

Glenn graduated with the Oak Harbor High School class of 1990 and Wyll is a long-time resident of Anacortes. They were unusually calm for two guys with a new business to run, but their experience gives them a healthy perspective. Glenn brings eight years as a sales manager to the job. He has been selling cars for 13 years.

Wyll, whose golden retriever Jackson is on his heels wherever he goes, has been in the car business for 12 years.

As I paused alongside a Mazda 3 hatchback for a closer look, the new guy from Arizona, JARED BURRIS, went over some points. He was respectful and didn’t push. One of these days I may take a test drive.

Wyll and Glenn are a good mix and they want the people of North Whidbey to get to know them.

“We are excited to be an active part of this community,” said Wyll. “We want people to understand they don’t have to leave the island to get a good vehicle at a fair price.”

They are open seven days a week, except for their Service Department. Call 675-2218.

Baja beckons …

BILL and CHERYL BRADKIN of Coupeville report they recently accompanied Orcanet founders HOWIE GARRETT and SUSAN BERTA to Baja, Calif., to visit the friendly gray whales of San Ignacio Lagoon.

Their daughter Lisa joined them from New York, along with 10 other local Orcanet subscribers and 10 others from around the world. They describe the excitement of having 40-ton moms and their young calves approach the skiffs repeatedly to be touched and scratched by the human visitors.

The group traveled by bus and single-engine aircraft from San Diego, and spent four nights in a simple camp on the shores of the lagoon. Orcanet hopes to put together another group next February or March timed to coincide with the calving season.

Mensans mingle …

All Mensans are invited to join the Port Townsend Lunch Bunch when they meet at the Bayview Restaurant on Saturday, April 7 at 1 p.m. The restaurant, which is a short walk from the Port Townsend ferry, serves good food reasonably priced and has a smashing water view. Call HELEN BATES at 675-4201 or ART DAY at 297-3820 for details.

Bring some,

take some …

What a great idea! Mothers of Pre-Schoolers MOPS at Concordia Lutheran Church invite families with children in sizes infancy to teens (and all sizes in between) to their Spring Clothing for Kids Exchange on Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 590 North Oak Harbor Street in Oak Harbor.

Clean, wearable clothing, maternity clothes and children’s bedding items will also be exchanged. A book trade for kids let them trade one of theirs for a new one. Call Amy at 675-2338.

Heads up!

McTeacher’s Night returns to McDonald’s on Tuesday, April 10, when teachers from Oak Harbor Elementary School will be cooking and taking orders. Then they get to keep 20 percent of the money taken in between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. “This is our fourth year,” said manager BECKY PEATTIE. “It’s a riot, not to be missed.”

See you on April 11. Call me at 675-6611 or write to lifeon

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