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Record South Whidbey


The who’s

who of Whidbey island business

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014 | Vol. 90, No. 23 | | 75¢

Kidding season begins on South Whidbey

Langley to reconsider scrubbing standing ethics committee

By JUSTIN BURNETT South Whidbey Record Yes, they are as cute as they look. Their cries, their little wagging tails, their bids for attention: it’s the whole package and Vicky Brown, owner of Little Brown Farm in Freeland, sums it up best. “They are ridiculously adorable,” Brown said. “My problem is every single one is my favorite.” Brown specializes in goat products and March marks the start of kidding season. The first batch arrived this past Friday and South Whidbey residents have been cooing over Facebook pictures ever since. “ Cutest thing on the planet,” said one commenter. “I want them all” and “Cuteness overload,” said two others. Such sentiments were just a few of the awws and oohs expressed on the farm’s first Facebook post, which as of Monday afternoon had received 135 likes. Many also expressed excitement and anticipation over what they know comes next. Every year, once the new babies are a few weeks old, Brown opens her doors and allows the public to come bottle feed the infant Nubian goats. Hours are 3 p.m. daily, beginning April 1, at 1377 Barr Road. A dozen kids have been born so far, and Brown is expecting about 20 more. That’s usually enough for SEE GOATS, A12

By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record

And Atlantis wasn’t invited to just compete at the Black Sea competition held in mid-August in Constanta, Romania. The group, who range in age from 13 to 17, were asked to be the keynote speakers. “They’ve basically gone from a kitchen table in Freeland on Whidbey Island to the Black Sea.” “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Ashley McConnaughey, the team’s chaperone and mother of Atlantis members Hannah and Haley. For several months each year, for the past several years, Bob and Ashley McConnaughey’s Freeland home has been lost under a pile of PVC joints, wires, metal tubes and documents. The dining room table is covered with ROV materials, all organized in plastic bags and plastic

Facing questions and pressure from four members of the disbanded Langley Ethics Commission, the city council agreed Monday night to take another look at its ethics code and ethics training. Ann Medlock spearheaded the effort to get the Langley City Council to reconsider its decision to remove a standing ethics board. “The commission voted to have one, it was in the code,” Medlock said in a phone interview before the city council meeting. “It was a tight argument, pros and cons.” “Given Langley’s history, the votes prevailed that we needed an ethics board,” she added. Earlier in March, the city council approved the amended ethics policy that struck an ethics board from the process, opting instead to handle an ethical concerns within City Hall or, if necessary, assembling an ad-hoc committee to review issues outside the city government. Having the ethics board be part of the city structure was a sticking point for the original ethics commission. In the commission’s letter dated Jan. 29 to Mayor Fred McCarthy, the four commission members wrote, “moving the board into Langley’s governmental structure makes it, we concluded, not worth doing. Its independence would be



Justin Burnett / The Record

Members of the Atlantis Inc. ROV team operate a bot as they practice in the Island Athletic Center pool. The South Whidbey underwater robotics team was invited to a competition in Romania this August.

Black Sea bound

South Whidbey robotics teams sets sights on Romania for international competition By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record

Justin Burnett / The Record

Chris Wilson works on the control panel with teammate Annika Hustad.

This is the story of a little team of South Whidbey student engineers making a big splash in the world of underwater robotics. Atlantis Inc. ROV already had a Pacific Northwest regional title when the Black Sea International ROV Competition and Exhibition contacted the team of teenagers earlier this month. At the international competition held in Federal Way, Wash., last year, Atlantis won the Biggest Bang for the Buck Award for making a bot that could move, grab, prod, measure and see underwater that cost about $550 and placed 11th among more than 20 teams. “Learning that it wasn’t just a form letter was a nice surprise,” said Hannah McConnaughey, 17, the team’s public relations lead.

South Whidbey Record, March 19, 2014