Author: Kate Poss | With Photos by David Welton

Kate Poss This Is Whidbey was founded by Kate Poss for readers who are interested in cultivating our island’s quality of life, including its land, sea, and air; its people, plants, and animals; and the bodies, minds, and spirits of its inhabitants. You may know Kate from her work in island libraries through May of 2016. Her background includes a career in newspaper reporting in Los Angeles for various weeklies and dailies, including The Los Angeles Times. She was a frequent contributor to the online Whidbey Life Magazine and still writes for the biannual print magazine. David Welton Stories are highlighted by David Welton’s excellent photography. David is a retired physician who was a staff photographer for Whidbey Life Magazine since its early days. His work has also appeared in museums, art galleries, newspapers, regional and national magazines, books, nonprofit publicity, and on the back of the Whidbey Sea-Tac Shuttle!

October is Civility Month. Civility First, a grass roots movement promoting courteous private and public dialogue, is hosting a number of workshops and an art contest. Meeting with Celia Schorr, executive director, and Kate Bracy, board president, at the Commons Cafe & Books the last week of September, we talked of available tools to bridge our differences in everyday and public discourse. We talked of safety, of defusing an intimidating person and maintaining one’s integrity in the face of someone who wants to disregard it. “I am new as the executive director,” Celia Schorr said. “What I’ve learned that people…

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David Welton was in his element Sept. 21-25, shooting photos of musicians gathered for the 22nd annual DjangoFest NW 2022. Whidbey Island Center for the Arts hosts and produces the festival, which draws international bands, and local talent such as Hot Club of Troy. French-Romani jazz musician Jean ‘Django’ Reinhardt was born January 23, 1910, and went on to create a legacy as a premier jazz guitarist. His work is celebrated in festivals worldwide, including Langley’s annual DjangoFest NW. Ours is a festive event with musicians playing at local cafes, the sound of Paris in the air. Django’s unique…

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If Coyla Shepard could make wishes come true, buyers with deep pockets would appear with a million dollars to buy the properties on either side of THINC, the first tiny home village in Langley. Tiny Homes in the Name of Christ, or THINC, a non-profit founded more than five years ago, will provide nine tiny homes for Whidbey’s residents challenged with finding affordable places to live. One of the 264-square-foot homes is nearly complete and six others of the same size are under construction. Providing affordable housing for everyday workers is among the highest priorities facing the City of Langley…

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Kevin Hurtley was working in Alaska last February when he read a story in the South Whidbey Record about a Husky-mix dog named Trek who needed a home. He phoned his wife Kathryn Hurtley on Whidbey Island and mentioned how the dog’s wild, blue-eyed gaze had struck a deep cord.  Kathryn Hurtley then learned that the young feral dog, his siblings and mother, were found in 2021, barely surviving, emaciated and flea-ridden, in an eastern Washington cornfield. Red Waggin’ Rescue, a non-profit pet rescue service, found the dogs and looked for folks to foster them. Soon after, Lyn Kiernan, a…

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Seeking to raise awareness of and take immediate action on global climate threats Earth is facing, United Student Leaders-Whidbey Island asked Island County Commissioners to pass a climate emergency declaration at its board meeting Sept. 6. USL is a youth-led social and climate justice organization which formed in 2019. Their influence led to an expanded curriculum, which included new ethnic studies, environmental science classes, and a broader sex education class, which covers a spectrum of orientations. Additionally, the students successfully petitioned the City of Langley to declare a climate emergency. As a result, the city created a Climate Crisis Action…

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Spending time with artist Kéké Cribbs is like breathing fresh air you didn’t know you needed.  It was seeing Kéké’s recent photos posted on Facebook of her ‘Persephone’ glass art that brought us together for this story. In her post, she notes the piece was finished, packed, and shipped to a California art museum for its upcoming show, “Transformations in Glass: Vitreous Funk, Fantasy, and Light.”  The Claremont-Lewis Museum of Art in Claremont CA will host the retrospective October 5 through February 5, 2023. The exhibition celebrates the art of Vitreous—Richard Marquis, an internationally acclaimed glass artist; Fantasy—Kéké Cribbs, who,…

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Update! About 70 members of the community took a peek at Langley Library’s proposed remodel and design at a community meeting Aug. 30 at 6:30 pm.  Sno-Isle Library staff and MSR Design, an architectural team which designs libraries, presented a conceptual plan, which incorporates community input. Plans are to update the Langley Library with improved accessibility, improved energy efficiency, a meeting room, an additional restroom, plus additional space downstairs for browsing, and quiet areas. The library’s update will preserve the historic aspects of the building. Preliminary design of the library can be found here. MSR Design is a national leader…

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Raising funds to empower South Whidbey women toward reaching their goals, Soroptimists International of South Whidbey Island will host its second annual Whidbey Women & Art Benefit Show & Sale Sept. 3-4 at Dancing Fish Vineyard in Freeland. The show is a win-win for the artists, the Soroptimist Club and the winery: artists sell and show their work, the club charges a booth rental fee, which goes towards its scholarship funds; and Dancing Fish wines and fare can be sampled.  “Dancing Fish is hosting us at no cost,” said Elin Waldal, SISWI club president. “Its new owners will carry on…

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While Peter Lawlor is no doubt playing his melodeon somewhere in the Great Beyond, friends of his gathered at the Sea Biscuit Bakery Saturday Aug. 20 to recall stories about a true Whidbey character who passed away Aug. 2, 2021. Peter’s daughter Gretchen Lawlor organized a memorial for her father, a New Zealand merchant mariner, ski instructor, poet and musician, who moved to South Whidbey in 2000. Singing with the Shifty Sailors, publishing poetry, and performing for 16 years at the Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, whose restaurant is now the Sea Biscuit Bakery, Peter was Langley’s poet laureate. Flowers from friends’…

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“How would you like to wake up to this?” asked Pat Powell, sweeping her arm around a landscape of rolled hay bales in a farm field with Admiralty Bay and the Olympic Peninsula in the background. The spectacular view was from the Whidbey Camano Land Trust’s new Keystone Farm and Forest Preserve, a fitting legacy for Powell, who is retiring this month as the trust’s executive director after nearly 20 years of working to preserve key Island County properties. At $9.1 million, the Keystone Preserve—175 acres of forest, a working farm, and two-thirds of a mile of beach near Coupeville—is…

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