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November 7th, 2011
An era of change in the late Fifties
I was five years old when a group of young activists including my father, Buehl, successfully lobbied city residents to change the form of municipal government from strong mayor to council-manager system. Also heavily involved in the campaign was local newspaper co-publisher Wallie V. Funk, who in 1986 would become my employer at the Whidbey News-Times in Oak Harbor. Wallie was publishing on Whidbey Island in the 1980s when another group of activists succeeded in winning voter approval … back to the strong mayor system. Ironically, my father was involved in the move to revert to strong mayor, motivated by the actions of a city manager perceived by many to be arrogant.
Wallie ultimately retired from the news business and returned to Anacortes under the leadership of Mayor Jim Rice, who had been his peer during the tumultuous Fifties.
A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.
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