WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2013 | Vol. 114, No. 103 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢
It’s a bird, it’s a plane ... it’s, a UFO?
Holiday disaster doesn’t dampen spirit
By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter
By RON NEWBERRY
sending water trickling down the chimney. He wore rain gear to stay dry while getting to his car. But nothing could prepare him for what he saw when he returned that afternoon. The collapsing of a bulkhead left the home unprotected from the pounding waves, which then ripped off the back side of the house and sucked virtually everything he owned out to sea. Thierry remembers needing to
A perfectly reasonable couple say they saw a Christmastime UFO in the skies over Whidbey Island last week. Evidence suggests that the unidentified object was likely not an ungulate-drawn sled driven by the fat man of wintertime lore. The timing was wrong, the color was wrong and no jingling bells were heard. “I immediately thought about Santa, but it’s too early,” Christine Laing said with a laugh. She is a resident of the Sierra neighborhood off West Beach. Of course, there’s no telling what the elves may have been up to. Laing said she was walking her dog, Lenny, at about 9 o’clock on Dec. 16 when
SEE SPIRIT, A20
SEE UFO, A20
It’s not every day a queen bed departs dry land and sets sail into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Such a vision would be unimaginable for most. Not for Alex Thierry. About a year ago, just one week before Christmas, his bed floated away. So did two cameras, a television, laptops, a desktop and table top. The waves crashed through glass panes, took out walls and swallowed sculptures, photographs, clothing, a precious vintage album collection and irreplaceable digital records and memories. He knew that morning before he left to teach at Oak Harbor High School that the wind storm that slammed into Whidbey Island’s western shores was ferocious. Waves already started crashing over the roof of the beachfront home he rented on West Beach Road,
Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Alex Thierry, a pottery teacher and swim coach at Oak Harbor High School, is thankful for the support he received from the community after losing most of his possessions to the sea last December. Photo below shows the devastation.
Soroptimist’s Tree of Hope keeping holidays bright for those in need By SARA HANSEN Staff Reporter
dren they would like to help, and then receives a list with children’s names and their wish lists. Then, the sponsor can buy what they deem is appropriate, then wrap and label each gift. Because sponsors actually go and pick out the gifts for specific children, it makes it more personal, English said. Freitas said she even uses the name of the child to picture SEE TREE, A20
• YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • • Diamonds & Bridal Jewelry 830 SE Pioneer Way • Gold, Silver & Fine Jewelry Oak Harbor • Vintage & Estate Jewelry 360-679-3700 • Buy & Trade Jewelry Holiday Hours: Est 1991 • Repairs & Consignments Mon-Fri 11-5:30 • Sat 10-5 Sun 12-5 • Layaway for the Holidays 22 years at the same location • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER • YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER •
YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER
YOUR LOCAL GOLD BUYER
Soroptimist International of Oak Harbor’s Tree of Hope is helping local families again this year. The program has more than 950 children enrolled and, at one point, only had about 500 of them sponsored. The community since rallied to fill the remaining sponsorships.
“We’re still getting last-minute sponsors who want to help out,” said Rose Freitas, Tree of Hope co-chairwoman. “That’s how great this community is.” This year, the program sponsored more than 400 families, which is the most the Soroptimists have ever done, according to Cheri English, Tree of Hope co-chairwoman. To participate, a sponsor tells organizers how many chil-