INSIDE: Psychic unravels destiny, A2
Record South Whidbey
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2012 | Vol. 88, No. 103 | www.SOUTHWHIDBEYRECORD.com | 75¢
Consider yourselves counted
Christmas bird count results in record number BY MICHAELA MARX WHEATLEY Staff reporter
AMILIES, LONG-TIME birders, newbies and experts, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists went out on a mission earlier this month. Teams of bird watchers swarmed birding hotspots from Greenbank Farm to the Clinton ferry dock to contribute to the 113th annual Christmas Bird Count, locally sponsored by the Whidbey Audubon Society. The morning started quiet and many of the volunteers shivered behind their binoculars on the crisp Saturday. But as skies brightened, the birds were on the move. “We all headed out with our teams, stopping the car at shorelines and parks to count everything we saw,” birder Govinda Rosling said. “We also encourage nocturnal birding, and some folks got up extra early for owling.” Nineteen owls were tallied.
The birders enjoyed the “hunt,” but they froze and endured high winds for those special moments, Rosling said. “Our highlight this year was a Cassin’s auklet — spotted by Diane Kaufman, who had never been in a bird count before, she said. ‘Hey what’s that little black duck over there?’” she asked. The Cassin’s auklet is a species that is more common on the coast, and seldom seen in the inland waters, Rosling explained. “The other gem, was a brown pelican that has been hanging around the ferry dock,” Rosling said. The brown pelican is a species that is expanding its range, at first seen only Oregon and south, then in south Puget Sound, and now here at the Clinton ferry dock. The event drew 68 participants who counted 15,485 individual birds, said Rosling, who compiled the data for the See bird count, A13
Chris Peterson photo
Left to right, Lee Chavez, Gaea VanBreda, Todd Peterson (behind) Frances Wood and Jo Moccia watch birds at the Langley Marina during the Christmas Bird Count.
Lending network helps businesses on South Whidbey BY MICHAELA MARX WHEATLEY Staff reporter Only about one year old, Whidbey Island Local Lending has started making loans to local projects. “We think of it as recycling dollars,” said Lynn Willeford, one of the co-founders. “A good amount of us make our money on the island. We want to put it back into the island.” The group formed to help people in the community who need loans to start or expand their businesses. It’s an alternative to bank loans. The small loans are ranging from as low as $300 to about $10,000 or more. Borrowers can be start-ups, seasonal businesses such as landscapers or farmers who may need new equipment before the season starts,
WILL follows basic principles. artists or individuals with the next It’s a network of lenders, who use big idea. “We want to encourage young their personal money to back up people with less access to credit projects they believe in. They are not a credit union to apply,” added Debora Valis, co“Many of us have made and therefore from fedfounder of the loans in the community exempt eral guidelines. group. before. This is just more “Our common Modeled after belief is that we the Port Townsend formalized.” all benefit from a group called Lynn Willeford thriving commuLocal Investors co-founder nity,” Valis said. Oppor tunities Whidbey Island Local Lending “We want to Network, the create jobs,” Whidbey lending Willeford said. network has made Investors and borrowers become its first two loans on Whidbey and has a few others going through acquainted with each other — and the process. The first borrower with investing opportunities — first was Sue Taves, who has used the by attending an open house and money to launch the online publica- then by email. Over the email nettion Whidbey Life Magazine, which work, clients tell prospective inveshas since created jobs and grown tors about a new venture or an expansion of an existing business. significantly.
If investors think the proposal is worthy of funding, they will ask for more detailed information, a business plan and arrange to meet in person. WILL does not give advice; and members know they are responsible for making independent decisions on loans. The loans are formalized in contract form and the conditions are worked out on an individual basis. “There are risks,” Valis said. However, she added, comparable groups have rarely suffered negative experiences as borrowers feel a deeper commitment to their community and neighbors than to a faceless banking institution. The project in Port Townsend has made a huge difference in the community, Valis said. As of January 2012, 20 investors had made 74 transactions for a total of
$2.33 million in loans to local businesses and nonprofits throughout Jefferson County. “Nothing has gone bad,” Valis said. “It’s very personal,” Willeford added. “Many of us have made loans in our community before. This is just more formalized,” she added. Valis emphasizes that the lending network is more like lending used to be based on a solid business plan and personal credibility — sometimes a good gut feeling, rather than credit ratings and numbers. “We are stronger for being person to person and supporting good local business ideas,” Valis said. She recalled when she and husband Steve Shapiro had to approach See lending, 24