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A Guide to a FulďŹ lling Senior Life in Whatcom County

ENCORE Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Local artist Woody Smith has had a lifelong career creating artwork inspired by the beauty found in nature. One of his pieces, a creation of olive leaves and branches, is featured in front of downtown Lynden's Drizzle. .............................................................C6

Longtime LHS public address announcer Lawrence Honcoop's passionate, iconic voice has become almost synonymous with Lynden athletics during his three-plus decade of top-of-the-line work...................................... C3 A supplement of the Lynden Tribune and Ferndale Record


Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record



The voice of the Lions Longtime Lynden PA announcer Lawrence Honcoop’s passion and knowledge run deep By Cameron Van Til

   LYNDEN — For more than three decades, Lawrence Honcoop’s iconic voice has soared through the autumn air on Friday nights at Rollie DeKoster Field, filled jam-packed Jake Maberry Gymnasium on winter evenings and provided direction to track athletes on spring afternoons.    The longtime Lynden High School public address announcer’s play-by-play narration has become practically synonymous with LHS athletics over the years, his passionate calls meshing as the perfect complement to the events themselves.    Lynden athletic director Mike McKee likens the dynamic to baseball’s beloved Vin Scully, the famous Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster who retired earlier this month after 67 seasons in the booth.    “That’s how we feel about Lawrence with us,” McKee said. “He’s been with us longer than any other (announcer) in the state that I’m aware of, and he does it at a high level. We take a great deal of pride in having him do our games, and I know from a community standpoint we just really appreciate it.”    Born and raised in Lynden, Honcoop, now 86, was a four-sport athlete for the Lions before graduating from LHS in 1948. He started at quarterback in football, was a guard in basketball, played shortstop and second base in baseball, and ran the mile See Honcoop on C4

Lynden High School public address announcer Lawrence Honcoop has been calling LHS football games for more than 35 years. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)



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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record


Honcoop Continued from C3

Prior to each game, Honcoop creates a list of names and numbers to reference during the contest. Lynden High School athletic director Mike McKee says that Honcoop's extensive preparation is part of what separates him from other PA announcers. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)

and half-mile in track. He now announces those same four sports for LHS.    Aside from a stint in the Korean War, Honcoop has spent his entire life in Lynden, mostly as a self-employed dairy farmer. He and his wife, Beverly, ran the farm together while raising five kids.    Honcoop’s first experience as a PA announcer came in fastpitch softball — a very popular sport in the area back in the 1960s and 1970s — while announcing the Memorial Day tournament at the Lynden fairgrounds and later the Sumas Fourth of July tournament.    Former longtime Lynden athletic director Terry DeValois knew of Honcoop’s experience and approached him one day in the spring of 1977, informing him that the school was in need of a football PA announcer. Honcoop agreed to give it a try that fall, and he’s been the team’s voice nearly every year since. He started calling basketball games and track meets a few seasons later, and in recent years has added baseball to his slate.    In all, Honcoop has been announcing Lynden sporting events for 35-plus seasons. So what keeps him coming back year after year?


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ENCORE    “Because I feel high school sports is the purest there is,” Honcoop said. “You can’t beat high school sports.”    As an example, Honcoop points to a stirring moment he once witnessed at a track meet.    “(There was a kid) that wasn’t really a track man,” Honcoop said. “He ran the two-mile and got lapped. And yet when he finished, the crowd gave him an applause. That touched me. That touched me.”    A few of Honcoop’s inspirations have been Dick Webster, Clay Huntington and Doug McArthur, a trio that used to announce the state basketball tournament at the University of Puget Sound fieldhouse. What stood out to Honcoop was their fairness to both sides — which wasn’t always the case in other venues.    “I used to go to games at district tournaments and different places, and the enthusiasm of the announcer was all for the home team,” Honcoop said. “I’m not throwing stones here, but that isn’t right.”    As a result, Honcoop has placed a priority on being fair.   “He’s innately fair,” McKee said. “(Lawrence) wants to announce the game where all kids are recognized. Obviously he’s rooting for the Lions, but he does so in a way that is very classy and where other teams feel good about the experience — win, lose or draw.”    Another aspect that stands out is Honcoop’s preparation. Prior to a game, Honcoop studies statistics to get a grasp

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record of the opposing team’s key players. He reviews the rosters and creates a list of names and numbers to reference during the contest. And he arrives plenty early so that he can confirm name pronunciations with the opposing coach.    “Lawrence is always prepared,” McKee said. “He’s always really professional. He wants a quality product, he wants to do it right, and even to this day that hasn’t fallen off at all. He’s done his homework. Very seldom do you ever hear Lawrence mispronounce a name. You go to any other venue and they’ll mispronounce multiple kids’ names over a long period of time, so that stands out.”    Having been around high school sports essentially his entire life, Honcoop doubles as an unofficial local sports historian who seemingly always has a story on the tip of his tongue. He’s quick to recall the numerous championship teams he’s witnessed over the years, and has seen no shortage of change in his time — everything from the rapid growth of girls’ sports to the development of spread offenses in football.    “He can tell you stories,” McKee said. “He’s got a great memory. He’ll bring up names from now all the way back 50 years and not bat an eye.”    Honcoop said that his future as a PA announcer hinges on how long his eyesight holds up, though he’s quick to point out the help he receives from the spotters who sit next to him in the booth for foot-


Honcoop says that his view from the press box is one of the perks of being the Lynden PA announcer. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune) ball games. He also admits that the view is one of the biggest perks of his gig.    “I’m in the front row in basketball,” Honcoop said. “I have a beautiful view up there in that booth for track and football. And in baseball I have a little shed there right back of home plate. I’m short and small, and I get a good view of the field. That’s one advantage.”

  Honcoop is exceedingly humble about his role and quick to downplay his impact. “I’m just trying to help out and keep people informed of what’s going on,” he said.    But the Lynden faithful would likely beg to differ. As McKee put it: “He’s an icon here at Lynden High School.”

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record



A lifetime of art Artist Woody Smith has been bringing art to life the last three years By Ashley Hiruko

Local artist Woody Smith holds a maple leaf created from metal in the barn where he constructs his art pieces. His art includes large sculptures of lions, children playing and a salmon chandelier — each piece reflecting beauty found in nature. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)

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LYNDEN — Like a fine wine, some things just get better with age. That’s the case for local sculptor Woody Smith. For over 40 years, the 72-year-old artist has been visualizing projects for customers, including a piece he created for Drizzle on the downtown sidewalk off Front Street. “As far as the visualizing things, that’s something that has grown in me and gets bigger all the time,” Smith said. “It doesn’t go away. The older I get, the better my visualization becomes.” The stainless-steel piece is composed of 120 olive leaves of different shapes and sizes, each one meticulously created by Smith’s own hands.    “My father was a hands-on guy; he was a surgeon,” Smith said. “My grandfather was hands-on and I became handson.” As a child, Smith spent great amounts of time with his grandfather, one of the original founders of the Greyhound Bus service, he said. Working with his hands came natural for his grandfather, who started off as a car mechanic. It was apparent that the gift had been passed down to Smith from an early age. When he was 10, he was outfitted with his own workshop and would spend hours building away in it. “I was busy making stuff from the moment I could sit up,” Smith said. This still remains true today. Smith, who relocated to Whatcom County three years ago, wakes up around 3 a.m. each day and greets a large, open barn.

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“It’s so quiet out here that all there is is you stumbling around,” Smith said. His tools and materials for various projects are scattered around. Metal shapes resemble maple leaves and other nature-inspired objects are hard to miss. Smith uses materials that are local to where he is. While living in Palm Springs, he would use cacti of all kinds, sandstone and willow sticks. Now he uses maple wood purchased on Pole Road and metal from Z Recyclers. After spending some time on his computer looking at various inspirations, he gets to work and uses his hands to craft something profound, something with presence, he said. “To make something that has presence, so when people look at it they go, ‘Oh yeah, I like that,’” Smith said. “They don’t even necessarily know why they like it. But they look at it and it feels good to them.” He first stumbled upon this principle while working as a Realtor in Boulder, Colorado. He would watch as certain houses were sold upon their initial viewing, while others weren’t. The houses that sold had something special about them. The owners had put in more time and effort and created something “magical.” “When that certain ambience has been created or allowed to happen, in your intuition you know it,” Smith said. “You feel in balance with it. It feels comfortable.” He witnessed the same kind of magic while he was surrounded by the women in his family who were interior designers, architects and interested in the fine arts. He recalled a time when he would watch as they stood back and calculated their next move when doing their artwork. “What they were truly doing is what has been done for thousands of years — looking for the balance in the natural


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ENCORE world around them,” Smith said. For him, using Sacred Geometry, universal patterns that occur harmoniously in nature, was a way to achieve this balance. This is the gift that Smith grew into naturally, calculating each move in a piece, giving it a balance. “When you go to the sea and look at seashells, all seashells conform to [Sacred Geometry],” Smith said. “Take one leaf and look at it in terms of how it’s divided up. You can find that it fits in perfectly with Sacred Geometry and find a pathway to the intuitive part of that.” But balance isn’t all that Smith is trying to achieve. Smith is working to give his art function. “The idea of just making a statue that goes out into the middle of a corridor, unless it really moves people — to me it makes more sense to make it part of your everyday life,” Smith said. Functional pieces of art created by Smith over the years include large armoires inspired by Egyptian architecture, metal scraps crafted into a salmonshaped chandelier and large doors that greet guests in an elaborate way. But he has also created the minimal — small door knobs and drawer handles incorporated into everyday use. “I want my art to be functional so that every time you go to open a drawer, you see this and you touch it and you feel something,” Smith said.

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record


Smith has had a long career making art for clients. But before the creating begins, he will wake up at 3 a.m. and browse photos online, seeking inspiration. A favorite website of Smith's to do this is Pinterest. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record


Get up! That’s worth something Here are some tips for staying active at 50-plus

A group from the Lynden YMCA has taken a “trail blazer gold” walk along the Jim Kaemingk Sr. Trail a couple of times. (Courtesy photo)



   Not to depress you, but a new report from the Centers for Disease Control has some rough statistics regarding physical inactivity among adults age 50 and older. “Overall, 27.5 percent of adults in this age group reported no physical activity outside of work in the past month.” The prevalence toward inactivity increases significantly with increasing age.    We know that activity delivers health benefits for people of all ages and we know that some people have a hard time meeting activity minimums because of factors such as age, chronic disease or disabilities. What you may not know, or consider, is that even doing what you can will bring health benefits including helping to delay, prevent or manage many chronic diseases that people 50 and older are at risk for.    Here are some ideas for breaking barriers to more activity in your life:     • You can’t stand for long? There are chair exercise classes. Your joints don’t approve of activity on hard surfaces? Water exercise in a pool cushions your joints and

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record

ENCORE allows for a greater range of motion than you may achieve on land. You don’t have much free time, or you don’t have good stamina? We know that just 10 minutes of continued activity at a time does make a positive difference in your health.     • Some of you may not like the term “exercise” and have never chosen to partake in it. No problem. Look at life movements: gardening, walking to your mailbox, parking your car and walking some of your closer errands, riding the bus and then walking, or enjoying a walk and talk on one of our beautiful county trails instead of meeting your friend at a restaurant.     • Surely there are a few of you who are not sold on exercise or activity, so these next two words are for you: Get up. Yes, get up. Practice a fun new idea called “fractured sitting” by not sitting for any great length of time. Your body is a professional at conserving energy and decreasing its range of motion according to how you use it, so break that cycle.    The key is avoiding sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time. Use the break to call someone, go to the restroom, do a household chore, whatever you choose. The key is to get up off your rear end, whether it is with exercise, life activity or “fractured sitting.” To avoid being the one out of four Americans 50 and older who aren’t getting activity outside of work.    You got it, get up!   Tammy Bennett is the health fitness specialist with Whatcom Family YMCA.


The goal is to just get up on your legs and break the sedentary routine on a regular basis. (Courtesy photo)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record



Floral power Volunteer pair brings floral arrangements from their garden to PeaceHealth campus weekly    BELLINGHAM ­ — Steve Torok, who began volunteering at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center 12 years ago, recalls watching as a nurse wheeled a patient to an infusion appointment in the Short Stay unit. Abruptly, the patient asked to stop. She leaned over her wheelchair and took a deep breath, inhaling the fragrance of a bouquet of sweet peas on the nearby reception desk. “OK,” she announced. “I’m now ready!”    The display of sweet peas had been fashioned by Steve and his wife, Andrea. For nearly 10 years, they’ve worked together to beautify the hospital campus and nearby clinics — consistently bringing in floral arrangements for caregivers, patients and visitors to enjoy. They know the therapeutic value of flowers.    The process is involved, but it is a labor of love. The couple begins their routine each Sunday morning. They gather flowers from their two-acre garden and store them in buckets in their garage fridge for several hours. With “The Swing Years and Beyond” podcast playing in the background, they collaboratively make arrangements on

Sunday evenings. Delivery takes place every Monday. They’ve perfected the art of transporting approximately 20 full vases in their overflowing SUV. The sequence repeats week after week, depending on what the garden provides.    Andrea reports that Steve has “two green thumbs.” He studied agronomy at Delaware Valley University and gardens with a scientific, sustainable and organic approach. He is a master of soils. Andrea is the collector, using her trained eye to select the right flowers and fillers for bouquets. They both have a knack for arranging, and they’ve both used the internet to overcome gardening challenges, like the blight that once shriveled all of their gladiolas. It is clear that their floral ministry is a team effort.    Steve and Andrea label their gardening/florist operation as a retirement hobby, but they find it to be very gratifying.    “If our flowers bring smiles to people’s faces, then it’s worth it,” Steve says.    The humble pair is quick to point out that other caregivers often bring in floral displays, contributing to PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s “blooming” community.    The Toroks’ story reminds us all to stop and smell (and admire) the roses ... and sweet peas, daffodils, gladiolas, narcissus, peonies, lilacs, dahlias, zinnias, ninebark, hydrangeas, crocosmia … or any of the kaleidoscope of blossoms that may be on display at any particular point at PeaceHealth.

For 10 years Steve and Andrea Torok of Bellingham have brought in floral arrangements each week from their garden to the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center campus for everyone there to enjoy. (Courtesy photo)

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record


Keith McKenzie is Lynden center’s new head cook His assistant and a new janitor also have been hired recently    LYNDEN ­ — Keith McKenzie is the new head cook at the Lynden Community Center.    That means he takes the lead in planning and preparing the daily noon meal that is served at 401 Grover St., as well as delivered hot out to those in their homes who can’t make it in — some 90 folks in all, on average, although on big days the number can be well over 200.    McKenzie, who started Oct. 10, comes into the job with great qualifications and varied experience, says center manager Cathi LeCocq.    Most recently, he was a cook at the Christian Health Care Center in Lynden. Prior to that, he was a chef at The Cheese Shop of Appel Farms near Ferndale, creating the fresh baked goods and developing the seasonal menus of soups, sandwiches and other entrees there.    He has lived in Lynden for about 13 years. In addition to being a cook, he has also been a worship and outreach pastor at Sonlight Community church of Lynden

From right, Keith McKenzie is the new head cook at the Lynden Community Center, Shereen Lycklama is his assistant each day, and Cathy Humphrey is the Tuesday volunteer. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune) and is currently with the small Water’s Edge church at Birch Bay.    McKenzie studied music education at the University of Washington, and “rumor has it that he plays the piano beautifully,” according to the October community center bulletin. In fact, he has been pressed into duty using those keyboard skills after

each Friday’s lunch.    Lynne Heeringa departed the cook position to become the Lynden Downtown Business Association gardener, as she continues in so-called retirement.    With that spot filled, the center was looking for someone to be the assistant cook in place of Carmen Lee, who said

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | Ferndale Record



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