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Ben Watanabe / The Record

Lucas Taksony, 9, swings at a reflex bag that mimics the countermoves of an opponent, with Solid Stone Boxing Gym owner and trainer Dakota Stone giving him a few pointers. Stone brings her professional boxing experience of nearly 13 years to Clinton.

Clinton clubber, boxing champ opens gym that’s solid as a rock By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record Anyone who had the New Year’s resolution: “Learn boxing from a women’s title holder living on Whidbey Island” now has that opportunity. Dakota Stone, a 14-year professional women’s middleweight pugilist and Clinton resident, has opened her own gym, Solid Stone Boxing Gym. After moving to Clinton, she prepared for

a World Boxing Council title fight against Christy Martin back in 2009, but lost by decision. They fought again in 2011 at the Staples Center — home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers — and Stone won after Martin’s hand was injured. Around that time, she expressed a desire to open her own gym, the kind she had always wanted to go to but never found. Now, that dream is realized and in a manner grander than Stone ever imagined.

She has five different classes that meet in the afternoons, Monday through Thursday. Two of the sessions are for children, split between seven to 11 years old and 12 to 14. Just because they are tailored for kids does not mean the drills and exercises are child’s play. They hit a speed bag for two minutes, take a 30-second break, then move to another station: SEE BOXING, A20

Langley’s priority: boosting business in 2014 By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record

Ben Watanabe / The Record

Langley City Councilwoman Rene Neff speaks at a recent workshop on city priorities in 2014.

If this year goes the way Langley’s mayor and city council envision, it will be a business boon and step into modernity. Mayor Fred McCarthy shared his economic development plan with the Langley City Council last week, and it’s full of ideas of how to spur growth in the Village by the Sea. One of the top priorities is a bit of re-branding with business owners, residents and visitors.

“Between the parking situation and the tourism perception, we need to change the conversation,” said Councilwoman Rene Neff, referring to a popular complaint that parking is a rare commodity in the city. Instead of lamenting vacant storefronts on First and Second streets, city leaders want to focus on the potential. “Our self-talk should be that these buildings are opportunities,” McCarthy said.

Highly visible businesses like the former Mike’s Place restaurant and Dog House Tavern, both located at the intersection of First Street and Anthes Avenue, are empty. While the tavern is owned by a couple with plans to convert the old watering hole into an upper-story residence with a street-level community space, Mike’s Place has been up for lease since July 2011. SEE PRIORITIES, A9

South Whidbey Record, January 15, 2014  
South Whidbey Record, January 15, 2014  

January 15, 2014 edition of the South Whidbey Record