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INSIDE: Island County Voter Guide

South Whidbey

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2012 | Vol. 88, No. 83 | | 75¢

the LADLES of LOVE Langley’s Soup Kitchen celebrates a milestone with the 1,000th lunch served BY JUSTIN BURNETT Staff reporter


he Soup Kitchen in Langley will celebrate a remarkable milestone Thursday when volunteers dish up a free community lunch for the 1,000th time. Group officials say it’s impossible to know just how many people have been fed since the kitchen’s inception nearly 10 years ago, but a rough calculation of the number of free meals served simmers around 110,000. Each of those meals was the result of volunteer efforts and with donations, both food and monetary, from the community.

‘Citizens Against Palatial Stations’ hopes to defeat EMS levy lid lift BY BEN WATANABE Staff reporter

Both women rely heavily on their teams of volunteers, which fluctuate between eight and 10 people. People like Chef Dan Saul, Sally Berry, Saul Kitz and many more are what make the whole thing possible. “We couldn’t do this without the

A group opposing the South Whidbey Fire/EMS levy lift has its main argument in the name: Citizens Against Palatial Stations. The informal group of a dozen South Whidbey voters assembled this week and will vote against a 15 cent levy increase. Dean Enell, a vocal opposition leader in Langley, disagreed with the district’s basic premise of needing the money for operations. “When I see what they’ve used that money for, I see that they’re over-funded,” Enell said. South Whidbey’s fire protection and emergency services district has a budget of $2.24 million. The overwhelming majority of $2.01 million is budgeted for operations, with $205,000 planned for capital expenses such as facilities and engines. Since 1990, the fire district’s capital expenses have spiked 11 years, coinciding with major purchases of fire engines, property and station construction. For the past 12 years, South Whidbey Fire/EMS has been a debt-free district, and since 1987, only twice accrued debt to pay off an aerial apparatus as part of annexing Langley and for the engine at the Clinton station. “Do we want to make interest payments?” asked Fire Commissioner Kenon Simmons. “That’s the bottom line. Interest rates are coming down, but even at 3 or 4 percent, you’re paying double for that same building because of interest payments.”

See Soup, A8

See Levy, A8

“It’s a God thing.” Sharon Giberson, Clinton resident and soup kitchen founder

“It’s a God thing,” said Sharon Giberson, a Clinton resident and an organization founder. Giberson started the soup kitchen with Connie Angst in 2003. At first, the pair was thinking about volunteering at a mission in Everett, but instead decided to form one of their own in Langley. They approached the CMA Church’s board, now The Island Church of Whidbey, for the OK to hold the lunches in their kitchen, and gathered volunteers from the church’s beacon group. Deciding to hold two lunches a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, the pair worked with four or five volunteers and served crowds of about 30 people, Giberson recalled. That number has since swelled considerably. Today, lunch attendance often numbers up to 150 people, though the average over the years is believed to hover around 110. Some past special events have seen turnouts greater than 250, however. According to Jean Matheny, not

Spend less, critics tell SW Fire ahead of levy vote

Justin Burnett / The Record

Sharon Giberson and Jean Matheny help Chef Dan Saul mix soup early Tuesday morning in preparation for the day’s lunch. The Soup Kitchen in Langley is expected to serve its 1,000th lunch this Thursday. everyone who shows up are those in need. The event has become a community affair and many just come to catch up with friends and neighbors, she said. “We’ve found that a lot of people come just to be social,” Matheny said. Matheny took over the Thursday lunch for Angst a number of years

ago. She cooks, organizes and oversees the day’s activities but, as is often the case with loose volunteer organizations, she doesn’t have a formal title. Neither does Giberson. “They’ve (the volunteers) been calling me Soup Kitchen Mom,” Giberson laughed. “I don’t know if Jean wants that title or not.”

South Whidbey Record, October 17, 2012