Kite festival takes to the sky

The Whidbey Island Kite Festival and Sportkite Competition takes to the sky with colorful kites of all shapes and sizes on Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23 on the parade grounds at Camp Casey. The highlight of the weekend is the Whidbey Island Sport Kite Championships, one of the premier sportkite competitions in the Pacific Northwest. Individual, pairs, and team events are included. Competition takes place both Saturday and Sunday. The Whidbey Island Sport Kite Championships is an AKA-sanctioned event. Activities include kids' kitemaking, beginning sportkite lessons and sportkite demonstrations.

Big plans for Community Green

Shoppers at the Coupeville Farmers Market on Saturday had a chance to weigh in on the future of the community green, the grassy field behind the public library that is owned by the Town of Coupeville. The green is used for the weekly market from April through mid-October as well as special events and parking during large events such as the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. At Saturday’s open house, people looked over drawings of the three alternative master plan proposals for the almost four-acre property. Landscape Architect Craig Lewis of JGM Landscape Architects in Bellevue designed the proposals with input from a local committee that brainstormed ideas.

Expect heavy ferry traffic

Drivers using the Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry route can expect heavy eastbound traffic at Port Townsend from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23 due to the annual Oyster Run motorcycle ride in Anacortes. All drivers, including motorcyclists, are encouraged to make reservations on the Washington State Ferries website or by calling 511 to ensure space availability on their desired departure. The Coupeville terminal can experience heavy westbound traffic between 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Washington State Ferries’ fall schedule begins on Sunday. The two-boat sailing schedule, with sailings every 45 minutes, will be reduced to one boat, with sailings every 90 minutes, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Safely dispose of unused drugs

Local residents can safely dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs during next week’s Drug Take-Back Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, the public can drop off expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications at the Sheriff ‘s Office at 5521 E. Harbor Road, Freeland, the Coupeville Marshal’s Office at 4 N.E. Seventh St., or the Oak Harbor Police Department at 860 S.E. Barrington Dr. The service is free and anonymous, and provides the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft.

Coupeville Arts Festival grants now available

The Coupeville Festival Association is looking for applicants for the organization’s yearly grants. All proceeds from the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival, which takes place in early August, go back into the community within the 98239 zip code. Those proceeds are divvied up in the form of grants and scholarships. The association has awarded more than $500,000 since 1964. Check the festival association website at and click “grants” to see if a request qualifies.

Boling earns a Fulbright

One young woman with deep roots in Coupeville is branching out into the bigger world. “I am a small -town girl at heart, but I am only this way after experiencing many different cultures and living in various places in the U.S. and across the world,” said Jessica Boling, 27, who has lived in Boston, France, Cameroon and Korea since graduating from Coupeville High School in 2003. Boling is currently working in Korea. She went there for an “adoptee’s trip home” sponsored by the Holt Foundation, which helps international adoptees travel home to explore their origins. She spent three months with a host family and the Holt organization subsidized her stay so she could teach English. Jessica was born in South Korea, and adopted by the Boling family when she was four months old. She grew up just outside Coupeville on a farm in Ebey’s Prairie with her parents John and Linda Boling, older brothers Grant and Douglas, and a younger sister Lyndsay, also adopted from Korea as a baby.

Raptor Day

A female goshawk stretches its wings on the arm of master falconer and biologist Steve Layman of Clinton during Raptor Day at the Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship, part of last weekend’s Whidbey Island Farm Tour. This bird came from the northern Great Plains area, but the species also can be found on the Olympic Peninsula.

Nichols Bros. lands another ferry contract

There are a lot of smiling faces at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. Company officials last week announced the signing of the firm’s second $17-million contract this year with Seattle’s Vigor Industrial to build the superstructure of a new 144-car state ferry. The Freeland shipyard began work on the first boat earlier this year. Although it was unlikely that Nichols Brothers would not be working on the second ferry as well, there were no guarantees and CEO Matt Nichols was happy to confirm that the deal was finalized early last week. “Signed, sealed and delivered,” a smiling Nichols said in an interview Sept. 13. The two jobs combined, totaling $34 million for the small Whidbey firm, has allowed the company to hire an additional 100 workers and means steady work until the end of 2013, Nichols said.

Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office

The following items were selected from reports made to the Coupeville Town Marshal's Office: Sunday, Sept. 9 At 7:52 a.m., a caller reported a loose herd of 45 goats and a llama near the intersection of NE Otis and NE Sixth streets.

Vote Angie Homola for quality of life / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I moved to Whidbey Island in 1992. I had come yearly to teach workshops for the Coupeville Arts Center since the mid 1980s and fell in love with Whidbey. All of us who live here are aware of how lucky we are to have clean air and water, farmland and ocean vistas, low levels of crime and traffic congestion, and a constructive, involved, caring community. I have watched Island County government wrestle with the conflict between growth and conservation, and I know there are no easy answers. While I would like to keep every free space from being developed so that we all continue to enjoy every resource we currently enjoy, I know that is not possible.

Thanks for another good memorial run / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Re and I would like to thank everyone involved in the 2012 Megan McClung Memorial Run. This year’s run was in a new location, downtown Oak Harbor. The transition from NAS Whidbey to Oak Harbor was unexpected, but because of the full throttle response from the men and women who work for Oak Harbor we had a tremendously successful event. Immediately after Mayor Scott Dudley called us to offer the city’s support and sponsorship of the race, the roads, parks, police and administration went into high gear to design the 5 and 10K courses and have them certified in time for the event. The certification process became a major task, as qualified certifiers were hard to find during the summer months when they are off running in races and enjoying family time. However, we were certified!

Commissioners are unlikely to fix taxes / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Here we go again. Jill Johnson-Pfeiffer watched all but one of Oak Harbor’s new-car dealerships disappear during her tenure as executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber. As a county commissioner, she would “increase the tax base through economic growth.” Really?

Which party cares about our veterans? / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would give grants to states, local governments, and federal agencies to hire veterans as police officers, fire fighters, and workers in parks and other public lands. It would help veteran entrepreneurs and contractors and make it easier for veterans to qualify for professional licenses based on their military training. The cost would be $1 billion over the next five years.

Library system celebrates 50 years

Coupeville resident Joanne Roomes, left, looks on as her mother, Mildred Eisenhauer, 101, signs the guest book at the Coupeville library’s 50th anniversary celebration Saturday at the Coupeville Farmers Market. The guest book and other items from the celebration will be placed into the wooden time capsule at right. Library enthusiasts were given an opportunity to say, “Why I Love My Library,” either on bookmarks or on paper “talking bubbles.” The time capsule will be stored in the library’s cupola to be opened at a future date.

Election begins with military voters

The voting period for this fall’s highly anticipated statewide General Election is about to begin, with Washington’s military and overseas voters being the first ones to receive and fill out ballots. Counties will send out roughly 50,000 General Election ballots to military and overseas voters by the Sept. 22 deadline. Many of these voters are expected to use the option of e-mailing or faxing back their completed ballot to their home county elections office. For the 2012 Primary Election, 50,456 ballots were issued to the state’s military and overseas voters.

Shellfish off limits

The southeast side of Whidbey Island has been closed to the recreational harvest of all species of shellfish because of marine biotoxin concentrations.The closure area runs from Strawberry Point to Possession Point on the west side of Whidbey Island, including all of Holmes Harbor. Penn Cove west of Blowers Bluff on the north and Snakelum Point on the south is not included.Beaches on the west side of Whidbey from Admiralty Head south to Possession Point remain closed to all species of shellfish.

We’re voting for Angie / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

We want to thank Angie Homola for her hard work and common sense, which has resulted in a balanced county budget while retaining core functions like law and justice, public health, and infrastructure. Angie understands that unplanned development imposes greater costs on current homeowners and reduces their property values. Angie understands that we treasure our island quality of life and want to protect open spaces, clean water and wildlife, for ourselves and future generations. Angie understands that we want a transparent and accessible county government.

It’s time for a new WAIF animal shelter / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I love good news. And the good news is that the new WAIF animal shelter is, at last, well on its way to becoming a reality. For those of us who have been waiting for this new shelter for so many years, decades in fact, the progress that’s been made toward the much-needed new one is very, very exciting. On land already purchased, the new shelter area is fenced with chained link, the building site cleared, the trail system in, the septic system in progress, and the multipurpose barn building due to be completed by volunteers in October.

‘Coupeville is the best,’ mayor proclaims

“Coupeville is the best.” That’s how Mayor Nancy Conard began her annual State of the Town address last week in which she covered topics such as town staffing, the local business environment and plans for the future. She spoke before an audience of local residents, government officials and business owners at an event hosted by the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce. She first recognized the townspeople’s volunteer service and commitment to the community, and proceeded to weave aspects of what makes the town great – such as a small, nimble government, commitment to the environment, and a strong business community – throughout her speech.

Glorious green tomatoes and gassy bananas

Race Week always makes me feel anxious. No, I’m not talking about Indianapolis or Daytona prior to either of those famous car races. I’m talking, instead, about the week right before the date the weather forecaster’s picked as the first frost of the season, when your tomato plants are practically dripping with fruit – the green kind.