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LIVING: Islander makes a game of tough times, A13

Record South Whidbey

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2012 | Vol. 88, No. 101 | www.SOUTHWHIDBEYRECORD.com | 75¢

Judge sends Langley mayor to jail for 15 days SWR code

BY JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter Langley Mayor Larry Kwarsick will have to spend more than two weeks in jail and will likely resign from office after pleading guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge for falsifying a city record. Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill shocked many in the courtroom Monday by sentencing Kwarsick to 15 days in jail after both the prosecutor and defense recommended that he serve no jail time. In fact, several of Kwarsick’s supporters were noticeably outraged. Churchill scolded Kwarsick for breaking the public trust after a 40-year career as a public servant. In addition to being a popular mayor, Kwarsick is currently the planning director in Coupeville and previously worked as the planning director in Langley and Island County. “What you did was to betray that public confidence,” Churchill said. “I’m sorry, I don’t think anyone who does that should remain in office.” Kwarsick pleaded guilty to one count of false report of a public official for falsifying a document when he was Langley’s contracted community planning director in 2011. He admitted to backdating a document related to his stepdaughter’s home construction project to make it look like his predecessor

Justin Burnett / The Record

Langley Mayor Larry Kwarsick listens as City Councilman Jim Sundberg, right, stands and asks the judge for a lighter sentence. Sitting behind Kwarsick just over his right shoulder is Councilwoman Rene Neff. Kwarsick will spend 15 days in jail in February.

See jailed, A8

Santa brings joy to folks of all ages BY MICHAELA MARX WHEATLEY Staff reporter

Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record

Maple Ridge resident Anne Gnozzo and Penelope Bruder, with mom Erica, frame Santa during his visit to Maple Ridge Monday. Santa has been spending this week with South Whidbey Fire/EMS, visiting all areas of South Whidbey.

A visit by Santa Claus at Maple Ridge in Freeland proved Monday that people are never too old to get caught up in the magic of the season. There was 100-year-old Eileen Wilson waiting in anticipation for the man in red to arrive, side-by-side with first-timer Penelope Bruder, the 10-month old daughter of a Maple Ridge employee. “We’re waiting for Santa,” Wilson said. “It’s fun at any age.”

Santa arrived on his brightly lit sleigh just after dinner at the retirement and assisted living community, accompanied by a court of young elves and firefighters. Baby Penelope looked on somewhat suspicious of the visitor, yet bravely waved hello to Santa when he approached her. Wilson said she remembers the first time she encountered Santa. “It was back home in Davenport, Iowa. You don’t forget something like that. I remember seeing Santa. It was something,” she said. Santa greeted about 20 residents that gathered in

the lobby and earned chuckles when he asked one of the residents if she had been a good girl all year. She assured him she had been. Following the visit the residents sang some Christmas songs before they continued their evening. “It’s wonderful. You never get too old for that,” said Florence Corapine, another Maple Ridge resident. Maple Ridge employee Erica Bruder said that events like this make her work special and bring so much joy to residents and employees. South Whidbey Fire and EMS has been guiding Santa’s sleigh for pre-Christ-

mas visits through South Whidbey neighborhoods since 1995. All of the elves, the organizers, drivers, those scheduling the route and Santa himself are volunteers. “The department does this as a gift to our local community,” said Sherrye Wyatt, spokeswoman for the department. “It’s fun to see how excited everyone gets when Santa arrives, not only young children but the adults too.” Santa will continue his tour of South Whidbey through Friday. See the calendar on page 12 for other stops he’ll be making.


South Whidbey Record, December 19, 2012