Dan Richman

IBA seeks speedy end to beach wall dispute

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.


John Antonia of Coupeville poses with some of his “preserved trees.”

Coupeville man pioneers art of bonsai tree construction

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.


Spate of clearcuts on the horizon: Permits OK’d for 90 acres, pending for another 44

An influx of clearcuts is coming to Whidbey Island, according to recent Department of Natural Resources decisions analyzed by a local environmental-protection group.


Janet Stein

Island County looks to permanently trim hairy willow herb

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.

Janet Stein

Island County Lodging Tax committee rules become more transparent

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.”

Island County Public Health to release health improvement plan

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.

Curt Youderian gesticulates as he discusses the clearcut on his property. “This was about managing trees that should have been thinned 20 years ago” and that suffered from rot

Logging on Whidbey: the clear-cut truth

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.

Curt Youderian gesticulates as he discusses the clearcut on his property. “This was about managing trees that should have been thinned 20 years ago” and that suffered from rot
Bill Carruthers of the Kiwanis addresses the Island County commissioners in a meeting about fireworks this week.

County, state fireworks proposals fizzle

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.

Bill Carruthers of the Kiwanis addresses the Island County commissioners in a meeting about fireworks this week.

Governor OKs new law, paving way for county group

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.

Funding sought for Central Whidbey highway bypass

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.

A man tosses a bottle into the pile of recycled glass at Island Recycling in Freeland.

Fragile market: Financial return on recyclables at its worst

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?

A man tosses a bottle into the pile of recycled glass at Island Recycling in Freeland.

Island County unveils new, modern website

Island County this week revamped its website, modernizing its look, feel and capability, said Rick Hannold, chairman of the Island County commissioners.

Fairgrounds transfer gets unofficial nod from 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.

Comprehensive plan will be late, Island County board says

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.

Whidbey Island Fair will go on two more years; property ownership still at issue

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.

Island County joins solo transportation planning group

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.

South Whidbey port pushes Island County to accept fairgrounds vote | Corrected

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.

FEMA will reconsider flood map areas of Island County

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.

Joseph Whidbey State park ‘concept’ riles residents

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.

State auditor stings Island County Council of Governments

The Washington State Auditor’s Office last week chided the Island County Council of Governments for failures to comply with state law.