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Whidbey Crosswind The Puget Sound Veterans’ Monthly | JUNE 2014

A tricky change


After service, Navy captain chases new dream By RON NEWBERRY


On an overcast afternoon, just hours after having a crown put on at the dentist, retired Navy captain JR Russell was all smiles, performing an impromptu magic show in his Oak Harbor backyard. He had made the innocent mistake of stepping out front holding a white bunny puppet stuffed in a black top hat. He’s found that people of all ages are drawn to his bunny Kevin whenever he breaks him out in public to practice his act. This day was no exception as a neighborhood kid walked over to inquire. Soon another showed up and Russell figured it was time to put on a little show. Sitting in original Wrigley Field seats on Russell’s back porch, two wide-eyed kids oohed and awed and giggled as they watched Russell make a coin disappear, transform a playing card on an iPhone and levitate a table. All the while, it was hard to tell whose smiles were larger — Russell’s or his audi-

“He’s an extrovert. He loves talking to people. He likes to draw a crowd. He’s very comfortable around people.”

“The people who know me know I’m probably really 10-years-old,” said Russell, who’s 56. “I haven’t cracked adolescence. I know it’s got to be 10 because if I was 8, I wouldn’t have liked girls. That’s why I say I’m 10.

Russell has created a character he calls “Father Martini,” which he’s broken out in front of adult audiences at the Whidbey Playhouse and more recently at a show in Vancouver, B.C.

“Even when I was in a squadron and flying, there was humor and magic in everything.”

He caters his act to his audience, mixing his humor and tricks, whether’s he’s performing at a child’s birthday party or as an opening act at the playhouse.

During his time in the Navy, JR Russell flew planes and commanded a squadron. Yet, since his college days when he served as social chairman in his college fraternity at Villanova University, Russell has never been one to shy away from the spotlight and has enjoyed entertaining others with a quick wit or card and coin tricks he learned as a kid. Unsure what was next in his life after the Navy, Russell was urged by his wife of 29 years, Sarah Russell, to chase a new dream. He went to Las Vegas to learn the finer points of stage magic at McBride’s Magic & Mystery School, and was

He’s started to feel more like an entertainer who has a show rather than a magician who does a few tricks. Ron Newberry photo

Retired Navy captain JR Russell pulls a stuffed rabbit out of a hat. Magic became his passion after serving his country as a pilot and commanding officer for 30 years. taught by well-known magicians Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger. Since 2011, Russell has been performing magic acts at various Whidbey Island outlets from schools to social clubs to senior centers to private residences for children’s

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“I found out it’s a lot more than doing card tricks,” he said. “You have to start putting together a show and be able to entertain.”

“He kind of knows when humor can be used to his advantage,” said Bob McNaught, who served with Russell early on in their military careers and remains a friend. “He tends to turn awkward, stressful moments that come with all walks of life into humor.

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“I don’t know how the tricks are done and I don’t want to know,” said his wife, Sarah, a music teacher. “I like the magic too.” JR Russell can also feel the magic. He remembers how at one of his first performances at a senior center, he watched an 85-year-old resident get up and sing. Russell created a magical setting with bubbles blowing and had been pulling out long strands of silk, about 50 feet of it, when the woman got up and started dancing, then left. “The director came up and said, ‘What did you do? She’s been here two months and hasn’t said a single word and now she’s upstairs singing.’ “Magic. At one of my first performances at a retirement home, I saw the power of magic.” Russell knew then he’d made the right decision to go after another dream. He recalled a conversation he had with Vice Admiral William Sullivan at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, five years ago as retirement approached. Russell was Sullivan’s chief of staff at that time. Russell told Sullivan he was planning to be a magician after the Navy. “He laughed,” Russell said, “and then he said, ‘I wish I had the courage to chase a passion like that,’ and he wished me luck.” To learn more about JR Russell, the magician, go to


2 4 5 6 8

A MAGICAL CHANGE OF TACK Retired Navy captain finds new passion in magic.

MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES Services were held around the island to remember the sacrifices of those who have lost their lives serving their country.

VA to perform review of misconduct allegations Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has announced the VA’s plan to conduct an independent review of operations through the Inspector General, according a VA news release. The review comes in the wake of allegations that have surfaced over the last several weeks, beginning with scheduling delays at the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

Islanders gathered for the Coupeville Memorial Day parade.

Shinseki testified before Congress on May 15 saying he takes allegations about patient safety or employee misconduct very seriously.


“The reports of Veterans’ negative experiences while seeking VA care are of great personal concern to me,” Shinseki said.


Oak Harbor says goodbye to local graduate.

TWISTING THE NIGHT AWAY Oak Harbor VFW raises spirits, funds for needy veterans.

He added that he agreed with the statement given by President Barack Obama May 21 stating that, “If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful…” In response to these allegations at the Phoenix VA

Have a story idea?


To make a story suggestion for the Whidbey Crosswind, please contact Janis Reid at jreid@, or call 360-675-6611.

Medical Center and a number of other facilities, the VA Office of Inspector General is conducting a comprehensive, independent review. In addition to the IG’s independent review, Shinseki ordered the Veterans Health Administration to conduct a nationwide audit of all other major VA healthcare facilities to ensure understanding and compliance concerning policies.

year, according to the news release. Since 2009, the VA has enrolled two million more Veterans in high-quality VA healthcare, reduced Veterans’ homelessness by 24 percent, and provided post-Sept. 11 educational benefits to more than one million student Veterans and eligible family members.

“You and your families deserve to have full faith in your VA, and we intend to earn it every day,” Shinseki said.

Every VA medical facility is accredited by The Joint Commission, an independent, non-profit organization that ensures the quality of U.S. healthcare through intensive evaluation of more than 20,000 healthcare organizations, the news release stated.

He praised the hard work and dedication of the vast majority of VA employees, many of whom are Veterans. The VA cares for 8.9 million Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare, and conducts approximately 236,000 outpatient healthcare appointments—about 85 million last

“Notwithstanding these accomplishments, VA will do even better,” Shinseki said. “If any allegations under review are substantiated, we will act.”

Shinseki said the audit is being conducted now by more than two hundred senior staff.

In 2012, The Joint Commission, recognized 19 VA hospitals as top performers, and that number increased to 32 in 2013.

New land for yellowstone cemetery The Department of Veterans Affairs received a donation of property in Yellowstone County for the new Yellowstone National Cemetery in Montana, which was be dedicated in a Memorial Day Ceremony on May 26.

three VA-funded state Veterans cemeteries in Montana located in Helena, Miles City, and Missoula. There is one non-VA funded state cemetery in Columbia Falls, Mont.

VA will manage committal services for burials that were previously scheduled by the City of Laurel, Mont.

VA’s Rural Initiative is aimed at providing burial access for Veterans not currently served by a burial option at either a VA-funded State cemetery or national cemetery. Other burial grounds are planned to serve Veterans in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Utah, Maine, Idaho and Nevada.

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The property, formerly known as “Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery,” is 10.64 acres and located at 55 Buffalo Trail Road, City of Laurel, Mont. The property was donated by Yellowstone County on May 23.

Veterans with a qualifying discharge, their spouses and eligible dependent children may be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents.

107 S. Main Street, Suite E101 • Coupeville, WA 98239 360-675-6611 •

This new national cemetery is part of VA’s Rural Initiative and will serve an estimated Veteran population of 17,567 within a 75-mile radius of their homes. There are

To make burial arrangements at any VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800535-1117.

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VA’s National Cemetery Administration began burial operations at Yellowstone National Cemetery Memorial Day.

VOL. 3, NO. 14 WHIDBEY CROSSWIND STAFF Executive Editor & Publisher............................KEVEN R. GRAVES Associate Publisher.................................... KIMBERLLY WINJUM Editor.............................................................JESSIE STENSLAND Staff Reporter.............................................................JANIS REID Production Manager...............................................CONNIE ROSS

Advertising Sales.........................PHIL DUBOIS, NORA DURAND, DEBBIE LEAVITT, TERI MENDIOLA Lead Creative Artist....................... MICHELLE WOLFENSPARGER Staff Artists........ REBECCA COLLINS, ADINE CLOSE, JEN MILLER Circulation Manager........................................ DIANE SMOTHERS

IDENTIFICATION STATEMENT AND SUBSCRIPTION RATES P.O. Box1200 | 107 S. Main St., Ste. E101, Coupeville, Wa. 98239 360-675-6611 | fax 360-679-2695 | The Whidbey Crosswind is published monthly by Sound Publishing on the last Friday of every month. Mailed subscription available for $20 per year. Payment in advance is required. Periodicals rate postage paid at Coupeville, WA and at additional mailing offices. Copyright © 2014, Sound Publishing

READER INFORMATION: ADMINISTRATIVE: The Whidbey Crosswind is a monthly publication of Sound Publishing, and is a member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. Advertising rates are available at the Crosswind office. While the Crosswind endeavors to accept only reliable advertisements, it shall not be responsible to the public for advertisements nor are the views expressed in those advertisements necessarily those of the Whidbey Crosswind. The right to decline or discontinue any ad without explanation is reserved. DEADLINES: Classifieds and Display Ads – 4 p.m. Monday prior to publication; Community News and Letters to Editor – Noon Monday prior to publication. ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENTS: GEICO INSURANCE

Islanders pause to reflect on fallen warriors By JANIS REID and MEGAN HANSEN

Heads were bowed and tears shed during a Memorial Day services in Coupeville May 24 and in Oak Harbor May 26.. Graves decorated with flags and flowers surrounded a group of more than 60 people who gathered at Maple Leaf Cemetery despite rain earlier that morning. “Memorial Day is something special,” said Fleet Reserve Association President George Brown during his remarks. “It’s for everyone who has served our country and still supports our country.” The service was conducted by leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7392 in conjunction with other veteran groups, including the American Legion and the Fleet Reserve Association. Keynote speaker Dennis Jones, senior vice commander of the Oak Harbor American Legion Post 129, stressed that Memorial Day should be more than just another holiday. “So many people look at this as just another day, but it’s not,” Jones said.

“We’ve lost almost three million to combat death. We don’t know how many more we are going to lose. The only thing I’m reasonably certain of is that many of us will be here to honor the fallen.”

In Coupeville, patriotism overflowed into the streets as the community gathered for the annual Memorial Day Parade and celebration. Starting on South Main Street, decorated cars and floats filled the streets. People walked the parade route waving American Flags, tossing candy and honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Jones encouraged those in attendance to keep the deceased in their thoughts year round, not just on Memorial Day.

The parade, led by grand marshal Beth Kuchynka, proceeded down Main Street onto Front and Alexander streets before ending on Coveland at Coupeville Town Park. An estimated couple thousand people filled the streets to watch. Flags were handed out along Front Street.

“The adage freedom isn’t free is true,” Jones said. “Let us keep those people in our minds daily so they know their sacrifice will not be forgotten. We are honored to be able to honor them.” In addition to speakers, the service included the traditional silent salute, placement of the wreaths and the two-bell ceremony, which was read by Fleet Reserve 1st Vice President Shawn Seribian.

Navy Band Northwest performed along the parade route and played at the entrance to the park as the rest of the community flowed in for further celebration.

“The toll of the ship’s bell reminds us of the reverence we owe to our departed shipmates and to those who guard the honor of our country upon the sea, under the sea, in the air and upon foreign soil,” Seribian read as the bells rang. “Let it be a reminder of the faith they confide in us. Let us who gather here not forget our obligations and in silence breathe a prayer for our absent shipmates.”

“I think it went really well,” said Lynda Eccles, executive director of the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce. “There were a lot of people. “Having the Navy Band Northwest really added to the traditional parade feel. With the backdrop of Coupeville it had that traditional Americana feeling.”

Janis Reid photo

Julia Dietz, with the Oak Harbor American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, hands out poppies on Memorial Day in remembrance of those who died serving their country.

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Crowds fill town for Coupeville Memorial Day celebration Megan Hansen photos

Residents from all over Whidbey and Camano islands gathered in Coupeville Saturday, May 24 to celebrate and honor those who have served and those who died for their country. The town’s annual Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Ceremony participants from clubs, organizations and individuals with and without military affiliation. The parade, which lasted roughly one hour, ended at Coupeville Town Park where Capt. Darryl Walker, commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard spoke to the importance of the day. Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Stansell led a traditional bell ceremony.



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Judi passed away unexpectedly on May 17, 2014. She was born on July 1, 1943 to Commander Frank Screws and Edna Bazemore Screws. She was a proud Navy brat, who was fortunate to have lived in several different states, of which Hawaii

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eymoon driving to Texas in their 1965 Ford Mustang, where Jim began his job working for NASA to put the man on the moon. While in Texas, they had their three children, James, Jennifer and Jacqueline. In 1975, Judi and her family moved to Kansas. There, Jim completed medical school and residency. In 1979, the family returned to Seattle. Judi was then able to fulfill her dream of returning to college to study geology and participate in geological digs.

was her favorite. Judi graduated from Oak Harbor High and attended Western Washington University. She then moved to Seattle, where she began her favorite job as secretary and head of camp-development fundraising for the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America. During a summer camp visit at Camp Omache, she met the love of her life, Eagle Scout and aquatics director, James “Jim” A. Joki. They were married in 1965 and spent their hon-


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Judi was happiest with a house full of kids. It didn’t matter if they were her own, familys’, friends’ or neighbors’. She loved being with family, and her grandchildren were a special joy to her. She also treasured time spent traveling and camping with her husband in their RV. Judi was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Trojan; and inlaws, Ole and Beryl Joki. She is survived by her loving husband, James A. Joki; children, James Massond Joki, his daughter


Judith Joki (Screws)

Brittany, and her husband, Spencer; Jennifer Christine Joki and her sons, Declan and Nolan and their father, Christopher Scott; Jacqueline Rene Daane and her husband, Scott and their children, Jacob, Victoria, and Sebastian; her sisters and their husbands, Valera and Sandy Wilson and India and Jim Manwaring; and her sisterin-law and husband, Judy and Alan Hutchison. She also leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, “outlaws” and friends, as well as extended family in Georgia. A memorial will be held noon, Saturday, May 24, at First Lutheran Church of Richmond Beach, 18354 8th Ave. N.W., Shoreline, WA 98177. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Judi’s favorite charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.


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REPORTER The award-winning newspaper South Whidbey Record has an opening for a general a s s i g n m e n t r e p o r t e r. W e ’r e h u n t i n g f o r a skilled and passionate feature writer who isn’t a f r a i d t o a l s o t a ck l e meaty news stories. Experience with photography and Adobe InDesign p r e fe r r e d . A p p l i c a n t s must be able to work in a team-oriented, deadline-driven environment, possess excellent writing skills, have a knowledge of community news and be able to write about multiple topics. Must relocate to South Whidbey. This is a full-time position that includes excellent benefits: medical, dental, life insurance, 401k, paid vacation, sick and holidays. EOE. No calls please. Send resume with cover letter, three or more non-returnable clips in PDF or Text format and references to or mail to: HR/GARSWR Sound Publishing, Inc. 11323 Commando Rd W, Main Unit Everett, WA 98204

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FEATURES EDITOR Peninsula Daily News on Washington’s beautiful North Olympic Peninsula — a six-day daily with 14,000 circulation Sunday through Friday and more than 1 million monthly page views online — seeks a features editor to produce two popular sections focusing on local enter tainment and on weekend and family activities. Our circulation area covers two counties, including the Victorian seaport of Port Townsend, the sunshine town of Sequim, the “Twilight� country of Forks, five Native American tribes plus wild rivers and the “mountains to the sea� city of Port Angeles. We are located at the gateway to millionacre Olympic National Pa r k a n d a c r o s s t h e Strait of Juan de Fuca from Vancouver Island and spectacular Victoria, British Columbia. Por t Angeles was named by “New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities� as one of the best U.S. small cities. Plus we get half the rainfall of Seattle! This is a great job for a journeyman self-star ter with newspaper staff experience. Great feature writing skills and passion for accuracy essential; good photography skills and knowledge of AP style are required. InDesign knowledge is helpful, although pagination is not part of this position but some general-assignment reporting is. Compensation includes medical, dental, vision, 401(k) and paid vacation. The PDN, nearly a century o l d , i s a c o m mu n i t y minded, family-focused l o c a l n ew s p a p e r a n d Web enterprise that is the main news provider for the Nor th Olympic Peninsula. Check us out at www.peninsula PDN is part of Washington state’s largest newsp a p e r g r o u p, S o u n d Publishing Inc. If you meet the above qualifications, email your resume and cover letter addressing how you fit our requirements, to No phone calls, please.

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garage sales - WA Garage/Moving Sales Island County CLINTON, 98236.

HUGE MOVING SALE Sat. May 31 st, 9 am - 4 pm - 8154 Sandy Hook Dr on Cultus Bay - Tools & supplies for kitchen, household, garden, auto, marine, camping, woodworking, crafts, Jewelry, books, etc.

$350 CREDENZA is custom crafted in like new condition! 6’ long by 2’ high by 18� deep with 2 s h e l ve s & 4 g l a s s doors. Med. - dark rough finish, showing the beautiful wood grain. Call Terry Ann 360-720-2507


Living and serving IT locally ALLfor GOES SAT 30 years 1 DAY ONLY! t/FX$POTUSVDUJPO t3FNPEFMJOH st May 31 , 8a-1p t"EEJUJPOT 360-678-6040 Quality Items. Lots & Lots of stuff! -JD$$4P"5;8-13

730 SW 19th Ct, Apt A2, Salishan Terrace

Spatz of Washington LLC

Firewood, Fuel & Stoves

NOTICE Washington State law requires wood sellers to provide an invoice (receipt) that shows the s e l l e r ’s a n d b u y e r ’s name and address and the date delivered. The invoice should also state the price, the quantity delivered and the quantity upon which the price is based. There should be a statement on the type and quality of the wood. When you buy firewood write the seller’s phone number and the license plate number of the delivery vehicle. The legal measure for firewood in Washington is the cord or a fraction of a cord. Estimate a c o r d by v i s u a l i z i n g a four-foot by eight-foot space filled with wood to a height of four feet. Most long bed pickup trucks have beds that are close to the four-foot by 8-foot dimension. To m a k e a f i r e w o o d complaint, call 360-9021857. WeightsMeasures/Fire woodinformation.aspx

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360-678-6040 Lic#CC01SPATZWL953PR

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JUNE 2014



Twisting the night away Oak Harbor VFW raises money, collects personal items for veterans The Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Riders raised another $500 last month to help veterans who have fallen on hard times. Through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, some funds are available to assist local veterans with rental and deposit assistance, minor car repairs and utilities. In order to supplement this program, the VFW Riders have started to gather money as well as items that are not provided otherwise. The group presented its second check for $500 to the Opportunity Council this month along with several bags and boxes full of personal hygiene items, socks, T-shirts and Ziploc bags.

Riders will continue to support local veterans in need and hope to make this the first of many donations. Organizers say there will be more fundraisers in the future. The program’s objective is to help veterans and their families in crisis situations and continue to work with them by giving them the tools, resources and education through case management. In this way, the Riders hope to help them to stabilize and become self-sufficient.

With several fundraisers completed and with the assistance of fellow post members and the general public, the

The Riders see this project as a perfect way to fulfill their national motto, “To Honor the Dead by Helping the Living.” Those interested in donating can contact the VFW riders at Post 7392 on Goldie Road in Oak Harbor or call 360675-4048 or 360-672-5166 for additional information.

jerry smith chevrolet ad:Layout 1


10:29 AM

Michelle Beahm photo

VFW Rider Skip “Grumpy” Johnson plays Twister for a good cause in May, raising money for indigent and needy veterans.

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Serving Whidbey, Oak Harbor, Burlington and Mt. Vernon

Don’t Drive By! DROP IN!

12484 Reservation Road • Anacortes • (877) 205-9212


FREELAND, 98249.

OAK HARBOR, 98277.

OAK HARBOR, 98277.

HUGE VARIETY YARD Sale! All priced to sell!! Fr i., May 30 th & Sat., May 31st, 9am-3pm. Salmon gear, household, marine, tools, collectibles, lawn equipment, alarms, automotive, outdoor, vintage radio, art, china, picture frames, linens, well pump, dingy. Cash only. 848 Old Beach Road. Fr o m Fr e e l a n d t a k e B u s h Po i n t R o a d , t o Shore Meadows Road, to Old Beach Road. No early birds.

FRI, MAY 30th, 9A-3P SAT, MAY 31st, 8A-4P Paperback books, kitchen ware, odds / ends, chairs, educational supplies, fabric, Asian wares & more 1618 SE 8th Ave. Corner of Pasek & SE 8th Ave. Please, no early birds. No checks.

wheels Motorcycles

HUGE CHURCH RUMMAGE SALE Fri, May 30th, 1-6p Sat, May 31st 9a-4p 490 NW Crosby Rd Living Word Church

In appreciation of Your Service... I’d like to offer mine

‘08 YAMAHA WR250R Dual Sport Motorcycle. Excellent! Only 2,623 mi. M e d i u m bl u e. $ 4 , 0 0 0 obo. Call / text 360-6703662.

Over 30 years of auto experience

Roy G. Mureno, Jr.


Tents & Travel Trailers

Fleet Sales/Personal Vehicles

360-707-7939 Call me before you buy your next car or truck

Selling Something? Picture This!



Garage/Moving Sales Island County


Garage/Moving Sales Island County


Garage/Moving Sales Island County

Schedule your ad for two or more weeks and we will add a photo in print and online for FREE!*

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23’ 1997 PROWLER Trailer. Ready for summer! Sleeps 4. Self contained. Licensed. O.H. $4,500. 360-202-4971.

1.25 million readers make us a member of the largest suburban newspapers in Western Washington. Call us today to advertise. 800-388-2527

Whidbey Crosswind, May 30, 2014  

May 30, 2014 edition of the Whidbey Crosswind