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Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks announced today that he no longer believes he is the right person to review the April death of Keaton Farris in the Coupeville Jail. In a released statement, Banks said to avoid any perceptions of a conflict of interest that he has requested Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney Dave McEachran perform the review on behalf of his office.
A public process to help decide future uses at South Whidbey State Park, including overnight camping, will begin next month.
The humpy salmon season is reaching its peak and every day legions of anglers swarm Whidbey Island beaches for their share of pink gold. And with an estimated 6.8 million spawning through Puget Sound, people are landing fish and good memories both. But is there a darker side to the much anticipated, every-other-year salmon boon?
It took about seven years, was riddled with hurdles and cost $6.8 million, but it’s finally done. Sunny View Village, a 26-unit affordable or workforce housing project in Freeland, is officially complete. “What a glorious day, seven years in the making,” said Carolyn Zielinski, assistant director of Asset Management for the National Development Council, during a grand opening ceremony this week.
The Whidbey Island Fair is this weekend and I admit I’m pretty pumped. Of all the events held on South Whidbey, it’s easily my favorite. Not only is it a chance to eat cotton candy in public and without shame, it’s my one chance a year to wield real power. I’m a high and mighty newspaper editor, you see, so I have for the second year in a row been asked to be a judge at one of the fair’s many awesome contests. That’s right, Judge Justin. You may also address me as Your Honor. Either is acceptable.
Callison, Emerson ahead in first ballot count for Langley mayor; Born, Gardner lead in hospital race
The first batch of primary election results was tallied Tuesday and showed Tim Callison and Sharon Emerson leading the three-way race for Langley mayor. Callison captured the most votes with 160 — 44.69 percent — while Emerson amassed 134 votes — 37.43 percent — according to online results posted on the Island County Auditor’s Office website.
For the third time in less than five years, the Holmes Harbor Golf Course is for sale. The fairways, the clubhouse, the waterfront property, the dock, all of it is up for grabs for anyone with a spare $2 million. At least that’s the sum of the two property owners independent listings: the Holmes Harbor Sewer District’s rock-bottom price for about 50 acres of fairways is $450,000, and Holmes Harbor, LLC, which owns just about everything else, is asking $1.6 million.
Developing rules to guide growth in Freeland was the topic of a public meeting Tuesday, and it did just what it was supposed to — draw a healthy cross section of people with varying views and visions.
Saturday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the weather warm, so, naturally, my wife and I decided to punish ourselves with one of our seasonal trips to Everett. The drive to the Clinton ferry was pleasant, thanks to the Ragnar Relay. Racers from across the state had flooded Whidbey to finish the two-day race in Langley, and, like usual, teams had all the flair and personality for which they’re known. Less fun was the van of racers who cut in front of us about a half hour into the 90-minute ferry line. The driver, God bless him, took advantage of a no-blocking section of the line just north of town.
Ahhhhh… manhood! I’ve arrived at last. Admittedly, it was a couple of days later than planned, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Let me just say first that the air is clearer up here with us real men, us crabbers. As the elite we know things that other people don’t, stuff like how it feels to be that guy in the office who gives away free crab because he caught more than he can eat. Well, this week I’m that guy because I caught two.
I’ve done some pretty cool stuff in my life, things many people will probably never do. For example, I know what it feels like to be at sea on a sailboat and look in any direction and not see land. I’ve jumped out of an airplane 169 times and lived the life of a parachute packer. I’ve worked at national parks, been a captain on a shark-tour boat and walked the ancient streets of Istanbul. I even got married and became a father. Despite all of that, it’s only this week that I will truly become a man and pass a Whidbey rite of passage. This week, I drop my first crab pot.
Tammy Stillwell died Sunday from injuries she sustained while participating in a Civil War reenactment at Willamette Mission State Park in Oregon. The Langley area resident specialized in emergency management and played leadership roles in major Whidbey crises such as the sinking of the Deep Sea in Penn Cove, was a volunteer at a half a dozen groups and organizations, and was widely recognized for having a kind and giving spirit.
Muscle cars, low riders, trucks, hot rods, foreign beauties and American classics will all be rolling to one spot on South Whidbey this weekend. Arriving by the dozens in tones of Pacific blue, candy apple red, sun fire yellow and just about every other shade of the rainbow, they’ll transform Bayview Corner into a sparkling treasure chest of the most coveted cars in the world for the 10th annual Cool Bayview Nights Car Show. “I think we’ll have 60 to 70 this year,” said Brian Grimm, event chairman and founder. “It’s a tribute to anyone on South Whidbey who has ever loved cars,” he said.
South Whidbey firefighters fought what they called the largest brushfire on the South End since the 1990s today. According to Mike Cotton, deputy chief for South Whidbey Fire/EMS, it scorched about 15 acres of grassland, damaged power lines and power poles, and threatened a number of buildings. Multiple island and state agencies responded to the emergency, it caused heavy traffic delays along Highway 525 and even resulted in some residents leaving their homes as a precautionary measure.
Island County’s 2014 beaver dam rules sprang a significant leak recently when a state regulatory board found they failed to protect critical areas as required by state law and were not based on best available science.
From where I’m sitting, there’s no better place in the world to celebrate Independence Day than right here on South Whidbey. Truly, between Celebrate America in Freeland and the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade, events that offer everything from great food, awesome music and an outstanding fireworks display to a glimpse of days gone by and good ole fashion fun, who could ask for more?
It was once a small family affair, a chance for relatives and close friends to come together and celebrate America’s birthday.
Absolutely not. Well, maybe. OK fine, let’s send it to the Island County commissioners and let them figure it out.
For a parked food truck, The Big Wierzbowski’s first week in Langley has been one bumpy road. The new business, the first in a commercial experiment approved by the city council earlier this year, rolled into town last week on Thursday and it was trouble from the start.
As a newspaper editor, I’m infallible when it comes too literary errors. Misspellings, rogue comas, incomplete sentences — these are the headaches of lesser writers, not accomplished wordsmiths like myself. Apparently there are some who are unaware of my perfection, however. This past weekend, several people had the moxie to claim that their are in fact words that sound the same yet have different spellings and meanings. Psh, I have no idea what they we’re referring too, homonyms or homographs or something (I stopped listening), but they went on to say that I had made just such an error, a rather grizzly one in fact.
The old drumbeat of Freeland incorporation will be heard anew this week, this time before the Island County Council of Governments.
A Clinton woman is facing a misdemeanor criminal charge following a grisly pit bull attack last weekend that left a neighbor’s dog dead and a community in uproar.
Shirley’s Kitchen, a longtime food stand located next to the Clinton Ferry Terminal, was destroyed by an unexplained fire late Thursday.
The South Whidbey woman involved in a fatal two-car collision on South Whidbey in February was drunk, according to documents released by the Washington State Patrol. Blood samples taken from Michelle Nichols, 46, several hours after the crash revealed her blood-alcohol content was .11, which just exceeds the state limit of .08. And while aspects of the investigation are still wrapping up, authorities say there is enough evidence for a vehicular homicide case.
Possession Point resident Gay Turner bought a used car this month, for $10. She was the winning recipient of a Whidbey Island Eagles raffle, which raised money for charities across South Whidbey. According to Dave Moulton, a member of the club’s board, Turner was more than a bit excited to learn she was the winner.
A proposed property tax hike for Diking Improvement District 4 appears as if it will move forward with little heartburn from area residents.
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stop the mail, but a pesky and persistent water leak came close this week.
Firefighters from South and Central Whidbey battle a barn fire in Greenbank Saturday. The structure was owned by David and Terri Schaal and was a complete loss. A cause was undetermined.
The Class of 2015, 116 students in all, graduated Saturday to the sound of thunderous applause from hundreds of proud parents, friends and educators during a ceremony at South Whidbey High School.
Freeland Water and Sewer District residents have a new commissioner. John Brunke, an engineer and regular attendee of district meetings, was appointed by unanimous decision Monday to replace Marilynn Abrahamson, who resigned suddenly last week. He was appointed by commissioners Eric Hansen and Lou Malzone during the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting, June 8.
Hundreds of Freeland residents were without power for nearly 11 hours Sunday after a large truck sheared a telephone pole in two and then burst into flames. The driver of the vehicle, identified by police as Coupeville resident Robert Blouin, was not injured in the accident though first responders marveled that he escaped unharmed. Live wires were draped across his vehicle and the man reportedly scrambled out a window to safety, all without a scratch.
Competitive speed-shooting champ Mike Gallion is fast. Blisteringly fast. Five targets, five shots, three seconds or less — that’s his average. Not only is that swift enough to rank him among the world’s quickest senior shooters, but it’s earned the Sunlight Beach-area resident dozens of national and international awards over his 15-year competitive career, so many that he’s lost count. Some hang on his walls, others lay in forgotten dusty stacks on the living room table and some are who knows where.
A kerfuffle over a cache of old tires on Langley city property has Mayor Fred McCarthy scrambling for answers, though it may be more than one year too late.
A host of electoral candidates seeking office on South Whidbey this year will be getting formal warning letters from the Washington Public Disclosure Commission next week.
Deer Lagoon residents who reside within Diking Improvement District 4 may see their property tax bills increase next year.
Clinton resident Roy Simmons will never forget 1945. He was 8 years old, and his older brother Stanley was overseas fighting in World War II. Like many young men at the time, Stanley had been eager to serve his country and dropped out of Langley High School to enlist. He said goodbye to his family, and was shipped off to fight in the Pacific Theater.
The Readiness to Learn Foundation raised more than $3,700 with its annual Box Lunch program this week.
John Norby stumbled across several anti-Semitic works at an estate sale, and with the help of friends Kyra Reafs and Kenneth Parker recently donated about 35 of the books to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. A living memorial, the museum works to “inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity,” according to the museum’s website.
They’re baaaack. Carol Osterman’s famous herd of landscape clearing goats returned to South Whidbey last week, and as usual they came ready to work… er eat. Arriving at the Inverness Inn Friday in one large trailer, they poured out the back gate with little urging and voracious appetites.
A piece of property off of Highway 525 is being considered for purchase by the Freeland Water and Sewer District, and the consulting firm was on site Monday and Tuesday conducting the third and final phase of testing — measuring drainage capacity.
It appears the campground closure at South Whidbey State Park may be permanent.
The South Whidbey Record has hired JoAnn Baker as its new marketing consultant.
It’s Friday morning, the sun is shining and next week is filing week. That might not get a lot of motors running, but for political junkies and journalists it might as well be Christmas. And I gotta tell you this guy can’t wait to open his presents. There are a lot of seats up for grabs, which means this is shaping up to be a big election year for Whidbey Island. At the risk of ruining my self-imagined public image of professionalism, I admit next week and the months that follow can’t come soon enough. The people, the debates, the shockers and headlines; no self-respecting newsman — the honest ones anyway — can say they aren’t drooling just a little over the fun ahead. The hardest part is waiting, waiting to find out who is running and who isn’t. Most newspapers can’t, which is why they publish stories ahead of time, spoiling the juicy details before filing week actually begins (see page 1). While most people are upfront about their election plans, there are always a few who keep their intentions secret until the very last minute. Sometimes it’s because they haven’t made up their minds, and in other cases it’s because they want to see who is filing before they make a final, and public, decision. Rubbish. Waiting until the last minute, especially if it’s to better calculate the odds of a successful bid for office, may be clever political maneuvering but it’s cruel to salivating newspaper editors such as myself. If you’re going to run, run and quit teasing dogs with a bone. Someone should lobby the Legislature to create an announcement day, which would officially precede filing week. The results, however, would not be posted as candidates announce, but at the end of the day. That way, crafty political hopefuls couldn’t pick and choose which race to enter based on perceived odds — they’d actually have to be upfront about which position/office they really want — and it would eliminate those who are only running if their friends aren’t. Again, if you want to run, run. And tell everybody about it beforehand. If not a trial run in transparency, it’s at least a mercy to those who can’t wait to find who may or may not be Langley’s next mayor, city council member, school board director, parks commissioner or whatever.
The garden is weeded, the grass cut, the rotten deck boards replaced, the roof is blessedly free of moss and Langley resident Laura Fitzgerald couldn’t be happier.
After nearly three decades of cutting hair on South Whidbey, Theresa Johnson set down her shears for good this week.
An injured bald eagle from the Freeland area was released back into the wild Thursday.
A Langley man who ran a public relations firm on South Whidbey turned himself in Monday after being charged with several sex crimes.
Meet Melene Thompson. She’s already well-known to people on South Whidbey, but will likely become even more familiar over the next 12 months.
J. Glenn Mutti-Driscoll, a hydrogeologist with Seattle-based Pacific Groundwater Group, looked at a core sample dug on a 24-acre property in Freeland Monday. The firm was hired by the Freeland Water and Sewer District to examine the property, which is owned by Jerry Stonebridge, to determine if it is suitable as the future location of a sewer treatment plant.
I thought with regular exercise one is supposed to lose weight. What a crock. Six pounds. Six. Pounds. That’s what I’ve gained since Mr. Spock and I began our daily after-work wanderings across South Whidbey more than a month ago. And these aren’t five-minute jaunts to the mailbox, mind you, but expedition-length treks through forests and along many miles of shoreline. So you can imagine my outrage after that first trip to the scale.