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INSIDE: Jazzy lady ... Island Life, A10

Record South Whidbey

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2012 | Vol. 88, No. 76 | | 75¢

Clinton council fitting the bill Middle schoolers learn bike safety in Langley




Fiona Rice, a sixth-grade student at Langley Middle School, eyes the curve as she turns left during a bicycle safety lesson. The middle school’s biking program is part of a grant funded by the Washington State Department of Transportation. saw the bikes lined up, they made a bee-line for “their” bike. Thanks to volunteers, the frame sizes are coordinated by colored tape, as are the helmets. Bike safety is a good les-

Staff reporter

son for Langley Police Chief Randy Heston to see. He stopped by Monday, helping students understand the rules for a four-way stop,


one recent sixth-grade class is any indication, biking is gaining ground in students’ list of interests. Once the students walked out to the disused bus barn, now a “bike barn,” behind the school and


Advocates for a unified voice in Clinton will hold a public meeting next week to further discussions about the establishment of a community council. The meeting is being put on by the Community of Clinton organization and is scheduled to take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Clinton Community Hall at 6411 Central Avenue. Proposed is the formation of a nonprofit group that would act as a singular and unified voice for the area’s central core and its residents, said Sherryl Christie-Bierschenk, a smallbusiness owner and Clinton resident. The idea is to organize the community under a single banner so it can have a say in the area’s future when it comes to decisions made by state and county government and to help provide Clinton with a sense of focus and identify. “Lets create the community we want,” ChristieDavid Welton / The Record Bierschenk said. Island County Commissioner “Change is going Helen Price Johnson listens to to happen anyClinton resident and small way so lets have business owner Sherryl Christiea voice.” Bierschenk during a planning The formation meeting earlier this year of such a group concerning the community has been in the future. A meeting will be held making for the next week concerning the estabpast several lishment of a community council. years. ChristieBierschenk, a former chairwoman of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, said she came to realize that Clinton often lacked a consensus or sense of direction when it came to issues of community importance. Hoping to address the problem, she and others worked to set up a three-day conference in January called the Clinton Future Search. More than 70 people attended and together identified eight commonly shared public desires: establishment of a community council, a focus on area beautification, trails and paths, economic development, transportation issues, the construction of a community center, and needed infrastructure and utilities. Committees for each have since been created and some have already produced results, such as the successful, first-ever Thursday market, which was held in July and August. A One Voice committee was also formed and the group this month released a specific proposal on how community council might work. The guiding document can be read at

STORY AND PHOTOS BY BEN WATANABE ere comes the littlest biker gang in town. At 30 strong, the clickclack of changing gears and hum of rubber-on-pavement rises like a symphony tuning up. Then the laughter starts, and the illusion is gone. It’s just a class of Langley Middle School students learning bicycle safety, and in six cases, to ride a bike. “The kids, you see them smiling, they’re trying hard and they’re having fun,” said physical education teacher Rocco Gianni. Thanks to a $23,000 grant, a bunch of volunteers and teachers Erik Jokinen and Gianni, kids at the middle school know how to behave at a four-way stop, proper hand signals and road safety. The South Whidbey school is one of 15 in Washington that are piloting a Washington State Department of Transportation program, which purchased 30 hybrid road-mountain bikes and helmets. The program’s goals are two-fold: teach bike riding safety and promote commuting alternatives to cars and buses. For the two physical education teachers, there’s another crease in the plan: get kids active again. “We want to get them out of their moms’ SUVs and the school buses and onto their bikes, riding to school,” Gianni said. “We’re looking at lifelong activities.” And if the excitement of

Advocates hope to form a new community board by spring.

South Whidbey Record, September 22, 2012