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Citing newly discovered evidence, one party litigation against a Coupeville couple who are blocking a Greenbank public beach access with a wall told the Skagit County Superior Court May 17 that the case’s “facts are undisputed and the law is clear,” urging the court to decide the matter without a trial.
As the finest silk flowers are to real blooms, so John Antonia’s “preserved trees” are to the living, miniature potted trees that comprise the ancient Japanese art of bonsai. More than 20 years ago, the 69-year-old Coupeville man and his brother, Paul, 60, pioneered the practice of attaching preserved evergreen foliage to weathered wood found high on Montana mountainsides, John said during a recent visit.
An influx of clearcuts is coming to Whidbey Island, according to recent Department of Natural Resources decisions analyzed by a local environmental-protection group.
It looks so pretty — showy purple-pink flowers, long slender seed pods, soft hairs all over. But it’s the most invasive weed Whidbey Island’s wetlands have ever faced.
The county's Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, a volunteer group charged with recommending who gets hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in tax dollars, will face new restrictions and procedures in this year’s deliberations. Those seeking the money, including chambers of commerce, foundations and arts organizations, will also be affected by the changes. “The process is going to be more transparent and predictable,” Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said. “There will be a more level playing field for the applicants.”
After months of study, four main areas of concern — access to health care, housing, depression and suicide, and interpersonal abuse — have emerged as the foci for an emerging community health improvement plan, Island County’s public health department told the Council of Governments on Wednesday.
They’re big, they’re shockingly ugly, and you probably can’t do a thing about them. They’re clear-cuts, the elimination of every tree on a piece of property. Under current state and county law, clear-cuts are often permissible, and they mar the landscape from south to north on Whidbey Island — or exemplify an efficient and ecologically sound timber-harvesting method, depending on your point of view. Both may be true.
Gov. Jay Inslee on March 25 signed into law a measure letting Island County form an organization of local governments to plan and fund future transportation projects.
A proposed law restricting private fireworks use in parts of Island County next year got delayed yesterday at the regular Tuesday meeting of the Board of Island County Commissioners.
Island County will pursue roughly $7 million in federal grant money to underwrite construction of the so-called Race Road Bypass, said Connie Bowers, the assistant county engineer, during a recent Board of Island County Commissioners work session. The 1.5-mile road will link Race Road and Houston Road on Central Whidbey, ensuring that north-south traffic can flow even if Highway 525 is blocked.
Like many Whidbey Island residents, you probably support recycling, but have you ever wondered what becomes of, say, that fabulous bottle of wine you enjoyed after it’s dropped into your curbside recycling container?
Island County this week revamped its website, modernizing its look, feel and capability, said Rick Hannold, chairman of the Island County commissioners.
The Board of Island County Commissioners yesterday unofficially approved ending the county’s 54-year ownership of the historic Langley fairgrounds and transferring ownership to the Port of South Whidbey, pending a public vote on the matter.
Island County’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan, the object of intense effort for at least three years, will be late, the board of commissioners acknowledged for the first time on Thursday.
The Board of Island County Commissioners agreed informally Tuesday that the Whidbey Island Fair will be held for the next two years, despite the unsettled and contentious issue of who will own and run the fairgrounds.
State, county, municipal and other entities on Wednesday officially formed the Island Transportation Planning Organization, a group intended to ensure that Island County allocates federal transportation funds most effectively county-wide. The group chose Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson as its chair and Langley Mayor Tim Callison as its vice-chair.
The Port of South Whidbey, which since April 1, 2015 has managed the historic Island County Fairgrounds under a one-year, no-cost lease from the county, on Feb. 24 threatened to refuse to sign a new lease on April 1 if the county doesn’t agree to accept the results of a proposed August referendum by the Port.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, agreed this past week to reconsider its preliminary mapping of some Island County areas as subject to flooding. The concession, made by FEMA Engineer Ted Perkins during a work session with the county commissioners, apparently eliminates the county’s need to undertake expensive studies of every remapped parcel that it disagrees now faces a flood hazard.
Regular users of Joseph Whidbey State Park are upset that their cherished spot is one of 10 state parks under consideration for private business development.
The Washington State Auditor’s Office last week chided the Island County Council of Governments for failures to comply with state law.
How is Oak Harbor going to keep up with the expected expansion at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island? Schools and housing will be two obvious areas of impact.
That little red building off the highway in Greenbank has a new tenant and, unlike some recent renters who seemed to last there only a matter of days, this one says he’s here to stay.
An appreciation for Whidbey Island’s history — and his own — led Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock to cover the bare walls of his courtroom with a dozen historic black-and-white photos.
Seeking to strengthen a planning department that has endured much turnover, Island County is seeking a consultant, assistant director of planning and a long-range planner.
Island County has given the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, the first evidence that the agency erred when it revised flood-risk maps this summer, Hiller West, director of current-use planning and community development, told the county commissioners during a work session Wednesday.
A part-time Greenbank couple sued by Island County for blocking a Coupeville public beach access has sweetened its settlement offer.
Island County’s commissioners are far apart on whether to accept an offer that could end litigation over a stone wall blocking public beach access at the east end of Coupeville’s Wonn Road.
Careage of Whidbey, a skilled-nursing facility in Coupeville, has been closed to new patients since December 17 because it had too many violations of nursing-home regulations, owner Ron Hayes said. It could re-open as early as Feb. 12, when state inspectors are scheduled to re-survey the institution, Hayes said.
An eight-year-old squabble over a wall built to block a popular beach access in Greenbank may come to an end with a settlement. The Island County Commissioners are poised to discuss a controversial settlement offer from the Montgomerys at their regular work session. The meeting begins at 9 a.m., and the settlement will be discussed around 10:45 in the Commissioners Hearing Room in Coupeville.
Wines that taste the same year after year? That’s not what the foursome who own Rain Shadow Cellars are all about, they said during a recent visit.
Three of the seven environmental-protection issues in which a quasi-judicial board found Island County lacking can be resolved with minimal effort, while four others require more research, the county’s principal planner said in a memo earlier this month.
Coupeville’s chamber of commerce scored the lion’s share of the county’s basic 2 percent hotel-motel tax revenues for 2016, garnering $26,450 for use at its visitor center, according to a document approved Tuesday by the Board of Island County Commissioners.
A short stretch of Driftwood Way, the same road that was cut in half two years ago by one of the largest landslides in Whidbey’s recorded history, broke apart and slid about eight feet downhill on Monday night, isolating four houses at the northern end of the road.
The Island County commissioners are considering hiring an Edmonds engineering firm to help stave off new or increased flood-insurance premiums for waterfront landowners.
Oak Harbor can become home to a second state-licensed marijuana retailer, and the rest of Island County can host an additional two stores, under measures proposed this week by staffers at the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board. The measure, which a spokesperson predicted will be approved Jan. 6 by that agency’s three board members, is meant to ensure medical patients have enough access to products they need.
Oak Harbor’s Haggen store is among the 33 “core” locations that the Bellingham-based grocery chain won court approval last week to try selling as part of its bankruptcy. Though the auction could spell the end of Haggen as a grocery company, it does not necessarily dictate the Oak Harbor store’s closure and the possible loss of 85-plus jobs, or even the end of the Haggen name on grocery stores, one expert said.
Driven partly by an improved real estate market, Island County’s 2016 preliminary budget will increase by 8 percent in 2016, to $83.2 million, according to figures slated for a public hearing Dec. 7.
“Have you tried the Pink Lady Kush concentrate? It’s an 80/20 indica dominant.”
Rockie Eggebrecht is a hard-working farmer, but not the kind who wears overalls, labors in the soil and grows broccoli. He wears street clothes, works indoors and plants exclusively in pea gravel.
Rhetoric about recreational marijuana flew fast and loose on May 5, 2014, a lively day in the basement of 1 NE 6th Street in Coupeville.
Much of the Fakkema Farm, 377 acres of forest and high-grade farmland on north Whidbey Island, could be preserved through up to $1 million in Conservation Futures Fund easements under an enthusiastic, unanimous vote Monday by the Board of Island County Commissioners.
Fireworks, regional transportation and vacation rentals led the list of topics addressed Thursday at the Island County Council of Governments’ monthly meeting.
Island County wants to address some contentious environmental-protection issues when it releases its new comprehensive plan by June 1, 2016, and not before, according to a Monday filing with the state’s Growth Management Hearings Board.
On Jan. 1, the Island County Beach Watchers will part ways with long-time administrator Washington State University and become an independent, non-profit organization with a new name: Sound Water Stewards of Island County.
A state judicial body last week gave Island County until Nov. 10 to say how and when it will comply with a decision the body issued this summer. But two Island County Commissioners insisted the county will not be pushed.
After five years of work, Island County has a new plan governing development and permitted activities along its 207 linear miles of seashore and lakefront.
The public will get a chance next month to weigh in on Island County’s decision whether to spend as much as $818,000 this year conserving land and improving a natural area.
Noisy events held on rural land emerged Wednesday night as a major concern for about 30 residents attending one of three meetings island-wide on how best to use rural land.
The Board of Island County Commissioners may have violated the state’s Open Public Meetings Act in ousting planning director Dave Wechner and splitting the Planning Department’s leadership, experts said this week.
Island County Planning and Community Development will likely be split in two, with a separate leader for each half, following the surprise resignation Monday of department director Dave Wechner.