INSIDE: Hometown advantage ... Sports, A7
RECORD SOUTH WHIDBEY
wedNeSdAy, JuLy 10, 2013 | Vol. 89, No. 55 | www.Southwhidbeyrecord.com | 75¢
death prompts family to collect life jackets By BEN WATANABE Staff reporter
“He died doing what he loves the most.”
Like he had many times before, on June 30 Elijah Spratt went swimming. This time, however, the 10-year-old Clinton boy was pulled under by the powerful current of the Twin Rivers Park in Arlington. He wasn’t wearing a life jacket and drowned. His stepmother and father believe Elijah would be alive if he was wearing a personal flotation device, or PFD. “He died doing what he loves the
most,” said Jacqueline “JJ” Edwards, Elijah’s stepmother. During a family outing last year, Edwards recalled tubing on a river in Leavenworth. Her tube was attached to Elijah’s by a carabiner, they got stuck on either side of a large rock with the current pulling them against it. She recalled panicking and Elijah telling her to be calm, then pushing his tube off the rock toward her, freeing them from the current’s force. “I think back to that day and how calm he was,” Edwards said. “That boy was a fish.”
“I know in my heart that if Elijah would have had the opportunity to wear a life jacket June 30, he would have.” Instead, Elijah was submerged for nearly an hour before rescue workers recovered him from downriver, near Haller Park. He is survived by his father, Daryl Imburgia, Edwards, and siblings Alyscia Spratt, Treyson Imburgia, Jaxon Imburgia and Makaelynn Imburgia. “The pain of losing a child, there’s so much hurt, pain, guilt and confusion, lots SEE DEATH, A20
Donate a life jacket
Elijah Spratt’s family is on a crusade to put personal flotation devices at Twin Rivers Park in Arlington and eventually at Deer Lake in Clinton. To donate a life jacket, take PFDs to the Goose in Bayview where there is a box. Cash donations may also be dropped in bins at Mo’s Pub and Tavern in Langley, Langley Pizzeria and Cozy’s Restaurant in Clinton.
HGTV finalist visits island
By CELESTE ERICKSON Staff Reporter
Choochokam paints the town
Celeste Erickson / The Record
Artist Aaron Coberly paints a portrait of Langley resident, Sharen Heath during the 38th annual Choochokam Arts Festival on Sunday. Faye Castle works in the background. See story and additional photos on page A10 of today’s South Whidbey Record.
Brooks Atwood, a finalist on the TV show HGTV Star, visited South Whidbey Island over the weekend. Atwood, the husband of Whidbey Island native Amy Estelle Nichols Atwood, was visiting the Nichols family during the Fourth of July holiday. The couple has been married for three years. The TV show follows 10 contestants as they compete in a series of design challenges to in hopes of winning their own TV show. Atwood is the principal designer and co-founder of POD Design, founded in 2003. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the studio works on architectural and industrial design for houses and retail spaces. Atwood is also an assistant professor of industrial design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology where his students call him the “mad scientist of industrial design.” Atwood said it was his students who found the application and persuaded him to apply for HGTV SEE HGTV, A20