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!

Take a slow breath in and out. Imagine first and second graders fine-tuning their inner well-being through simple guided exercises. Mountain pose. Shake and Freeze. Rain Storm. Bear breaths. Butterfly breaths. Rainbow breaths. Hot Cocoa breaths. Visiting first and second grade classrooms this week, we met with students on Mindfulness Tuesday at South Whidbey Elementary School. The twenty-minute long weekly classes are taught by Charlene Ray, a seasoned social worker and counselor with more than thirty years’ experience in modeling calm and kindness. Asked if they could say what the practice does for them, student hands shot up like rockets…

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Our County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson exemplifies public service and inspires trust. Representing District One, which covers our whole island, except for greater Oak Harbor and north,  Price Johnson has served the public for nearly a dozen years with an ear tuned to what the island needs most. She is down-to-earth, easy to talk with and someone who likes to get things done. Her husband David owns a family-run construction business. These days workforce affordable housing is high on her list of priorities. “We need to fill the gap for families, entry-level county workers, first-year teachers, lumberyard workers, farmworkers and…

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Horse and dog owners around Whidbey Island turn to Elizabeth Johnson for her skilled care in promoting the health and well-being of their beloved four-leggeds. “Liz knows what she is doing,” said Terry Portillo, whose 28-year-old horse Ranger had been dropping weight during the winter and was being treated by Elizabeth in his pasture. The rural ranch, with one structure dating back to the 1880s, is framed by old evergreens and still-producing apple trees more than a century old. “She has years of experience. You can tell when she’s doing something that helps them feel better.” Having suffered digestive problems…

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Transitioning the Langley Middle School campus into a sustainable community resource center quickly evolved over the past year and a half, now attracting non-profits and businesses committed to creating a better way of life. Gail La Vassar runs the South Whidbey Community Center with the help of supporting colleagues and volunteers who occasionally bake cookies.  La Vassar, executive director of Readiness to Learn, which has served as an umbrella community service organization for more than two decades, now directs the South Whidbey Community Center as well. To that end she curates an eclectic mix of non-profits and businesses whose rents…

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Celebrating the art of life, photographers David Welton and Don Wodjenski invite the public to view their work at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts’ Lasher Gallery during the month of March. The talented gentlemen host a free open reception Saturday March 2 from 5-7 p.m. For the rest of the month, the exhibition is free for public viewing weekdays from 9 to 5. Their art show runs concurrently with The Local Artist Series, which was created to offer local artists a chance to perform at WICA. Welton, a retired cardiologist and Wodjenski, a retired high school art teacher, have…

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Christine Tasseff runs Roots Landscaping and Restoration during the week and on Sundays leads a popular sacred dance gathering called Prayerbody. From 10 till noon at Bayview Hall folks of many stripes gather to free their bodies, hearts, and minds as musicians take dancers through a Wave, a series of musical moods comprising the 5Rhythms©: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness. Tasseff’s friend and mentor Gabrielle Roth, introduced the concept of the Wave and 5Rhythms in her book, Maps to Ecstasy: The Healing Power of Movement. Gabrielle Roth was a theater director and recording artist, as well as a movement teacher at…

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While some want to build walls to Mexico, a local Whidbey woman is building bridges. As a followup to our Dec. 29 story in This is Whidbey: Be here now for this sewing bee, women have since gathered on Friday afternoons to stuff, sew, crochet, and embroider life-sized newborn dolls for a teaching project in Chiapas, Mexico. From Jan. 5 to Feb. 1, the dolls took form, culminating in a blessing of lullabies and celebration with visiting volunteers from Compañeros ed Salud. At the sewing bees, held at Create Space Langley, one found juicy women in a creative frenzy, sharing…

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While Langley’s fat golden bunnies huddle outside in the winter sun, nine humans make their way to the Island Fairgrounds to warm up at Vibrant Fitness. Housed in the Agricultural Exhibits building, the long whitewashed workout room hums with good juju and hard working bodies. “Many of the exercises that we do are like medicine,” said Adam Fawcett, the creator of Vibrant Fitness. “They prevent and reverse prevalent dysfunctions like old man curl (excessive thoracic kyphosis) and vanishing old man butt syndrome (loss of muscle mass in the gluteals/buttocks).” Working out to prevent getting hunchy or losing one’s backside to…

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The lunar eclipse aired January 20th and its show inspired genuine awe as the Earth’s shadow covered the moon and turned it reddish brown. Reality can’t get any better, right? At Ethan Worthington’s Holodeck Virtual Reality lounge in Langley, one may visit Mars and hang out with the Rover, swim with giant jellyfish digitally scaled to look like the real thing, or hone archery skills against attacking hordes. Daniel Algeo lives nearby and stopped by on a Saturday morning to virtually shoot unlimited arrows at hordes attacking his castle in the VR gameplay, The Lab-Longbow. “I love it; the level…

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