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News-Times Whidbey

INSIDE: Spring Fling draws children. A12

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2013 | Vol. 114, No. 26 | www.whidbeynewstimes.com | 75¢

HOOKED ON HOOKAH County builds Navy men bring a bit of Middle East to Oak Harbor

By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

After experiencing Middle Eastern culture while serving overseas, James Ryan and Charles Morgan are bringing a bit of it with Oak Harbor. The Navy men plan to open the Haze Hookah Lounge on Pioneer Way this month. They’ve created space with comfortable couches and local artwork where they hope people will hang out while puffing on hookahs loaded with molasses and flavorings. “It’s really a social activity,” Morgan said. “It’s just a good time to sit down with a couple of friends and smoke and talk.” The two men said they are also trying to dispel myths about hookahs. They’re not about drugs or anything sinister, they explained. The hookah is a Middle Eastern water pipe normally used to smoke shisha, a flavored tobacco mixed with molasses. It’s a tradition that goes back centuries in a wide swath of the world, from the Middle East to India and Pakistan. It has caught on in Europe and the United States in recent decades. Ryan said he first encountered hookah culture when he was guarding “third country nationals” in Qatar in 2004. He said the men would smoke hookahs in the back of an old pickup. After realizing it was just tobacco, Ryan decided to join them and was hooked. Ryan and Morgan said they later met through a mutual friend and bonded

By JUSTIN BURNETT Staff reporter

Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

James Ryan and Charles Morgan are opening the Haze Hookah Lounge in downtown Oak Harbor this month. They learned to love the water pipe while serving overseas.

Driftwood Way homes marooned by a massive landslide in Ledgewood Wednesday became accessible by vehicle late Monday for the first time in nearly a week. Island County Public Works road crews began building an emergency, onelane gravel road Friday. Working through the Easter weekend, they were able to wrap up work at about 3:30 p.m. The new road is not only a relief for full-time residents — who’ve been slogging up and down a muddy trail to get to their homes — but it also provided vacationers who were caught up in the natural disaster the first chance to return overdue rental cars. “They’ve been great,” Driftwood Way resident Greg Cosgrove said, referring to Public Works employees. “We were really cutoff for a while,” he said. Early Wednesday morning, more than a 1,000 feet of bluff collapsed, taking out a large section of Driftwood Way. The road served as the only vehicular access to 17 homes in the small waterfront community. No one was hurt but the devastation claimed one home and left four others uninhabitable. Two are on Driftwood Way and two on Fircrest Avenue, the parallel street that runs

Fundraiser set for Saturday A fundraiser is scheduled to help the people affected by the March 27 landslide. The special event is scheduled for 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 6 at Greenbank Farm. Johnny Bulldog, the Still Bill Band and Mojo Filter are playing. A cook-off is also scheduled. Mark Laska, owner of Coupeville’s Ciao restaurant and one of the organizers of the fundraiser, said Windermere, food vendors and residents have chipped in to help organize the fundraiser. Tickets are $20 at Greenbank Farm the day of the event. People can also donate to the “Whidbey Slide Relief Fund” account at Wells Fargo.

along the top of the bluff. The newly-constructed road connects the southern end of Fircrest to Forgette Lane, a small side street off Driftwood Way. Following what was essentially a footpath, the public works crew hacked it out of the bluff side with small bulldozers. Approximately 600 feet in See slide, a5

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Whidbey News-Times, April 03, 2013