Ben Watanabe

King salmon fishing nets really big opportunities on Whidbey

The early bird gets the worm, and only the earliest of anglers can get the king. A veritable fleet of small boats loaded with anxious anglers took to the waters between Coupeville and Port Townsend last week with the hope of hooking into the most regally named sport fish in Puget Sound, the king salmon.

 

Prizes landed during fishing derby, silver salmon still abundant on west Whidbey

A 9-pound, 3-ounce coho salmon was the winning catch at Saturday’s Sebo’s Whidbey Island Coho Derby.

 

Shakespeare in the big top on South Whidbey

Shakespeare in the tent is on for this August and September. Thanks to the support and open wallets of Bard fans, more than $32,000 was raised for Island Shakespeare Festival. However, if passersby missed seeing a 2,400-square foot, 18-foot-high tent behind Langley Middle School, it would be understandable.

 

Classics return for annual Whidbey Island fair

This year’s Whidbey Island Fair is sticking with what works — food, farming, games, rides, music and a parade.

Town is hopping: New event capitalizing on a burgeoning bunny population

Bunny fever is gripping Langley. Now the merchants have a new event they hope will get the town hopping during a traditionally slow time.

Bunnies dominate Langley council meeting

Bunnies, bunnies, bunnies. It’s about all some people talk about in Langley these days, even in the hallowed halls of City Hall during Monday’s city council meeting.

Bringing back the beat: South Whidbey band aids in restoring music to country stripped of its customs

Dana Moffett, Leslie Breeden, Donita Crosby and Dyanne Harshman went to Zimbabwe earlier this year, largely thanks to donations and fundraising on South Whidbey, to perform with the African country’s traditional instruments and donate several to an orphanage. They have become ambassadors of music, trying to aid in the restoration of a custom stripped from the land’s native people.

Choochokam celebrates 40

Choochokam Arts Festival, one of Langley’s premier weekend events and biggest crowd pleasers, is turning 40 this weekend.

Public weighs in at Island County Fair planning meeting

About 75 people crammed into the Coffman Building at the Island County Fairgrounds to hear and see the plans for restructuring the facility’s management and revamping its structures. Some of the most noticeable changes are a planned reduction from 27 buildings to 12 and paving of the RV park and campground south of the main fair area. Animal safety and comfort, failed bonds and adequate demand were among the main concerns aired during a public presentation Tuesday about significant changes proposed for the Island County fairgrounds.

Whidbey Island Fair Association wants regular county funding, new lease

Running the Island County Fairgrounds costs too much, and the managing Whidbey Island Fair Association wants county funding as part of a restructured lease. In a letter sent to the county commissioners on April 9, fair association president Diane Divelbess wrote that her group could not “in good faith” renew the lease as it exists without any county support for the property. The two-year lease is set to expire in June. “The way we are now, we are managing but without sufficient funds to manage,” Divelbess said in a phone interview Thursday. “Up to now, the county has given us what [it] has been able to give us.”

Langley steps in to prevent Dog House demolition

Responding to an inquiry about demolishing the Dog House Tavern by its owner, the Langley City Council approved an emergency moratorium on destruction of historic buildings Monday night. Director of Community Planning Jeff Arango proposed the six-month ban, which was unanimously approved by the city council in a 4-0 vote May 5. Councilman Bruce Allen was absent while tending to a family matter, but the council still had its necessary supermajority for the emergency ordinance.

Line cutters at Mukilteo/Clinton ferry enrage fellow motorists

With summer nearly over, the ferry lines to reach Whidbey Island are dwindling. Line cutting remains a salty issue for many regular island commuters, and for good reason. During 2012, 523 line cutters were reported on the Mukilteo side of the ferry crossing, with the bulk in the peak summer months. A total of 231 line cutters were reported to the HERO program, a division of the Washington Department of Transportation which also cites high-occupancy vehicle lane infractions, in June, July and August 2012.

IRS, Puget Sound Energy phone scams rampant

Island police and Puget Sound Energy is warning Whidbey residents to beware of phone scammers who are targeting utility customers.

Whidbey Adventure Swim changing course for 2014

A tide change has hit the Whidbey Adventure Swim this year, its fourth as an open-water race.

Mukilteo Ferry project moves forward

The proposed site of a new Mukilteo Ferry Terminal moved forward last month with the Port of Everett Commission authorizing the acceptance of the fuel tank farm from the U.S. Air Force. The former fuel tank farm, located one-third of a mile east of the current ferry landing, is the proposed site of a new $140 million ferry terminal. Only $102 million is in the state’s budget through 2019, which would cover engineering and early construction. The state Department of Transportation, Ferries Division will need to drum up the other $38 million to fully fund the massive project.

Tokitae returns in March

Whidbey Island will see the state’s newest ferry return to its route in March. The ferry Tokitae is set to return to the Clinton-to-Mukilteo route March 22. The date is also the start of state ferries’ spring schedule.

Hospital candidates will speak at forum

Three candidates for a seat on Whidbey General Hospital’s board of commissioners offered vastly different takes on leadership during a forum on South Whidbey Thursday.

Lions Club members celebrated for decades of service

Freeman Boyer and Spence Purvis looked as regal as the Lions for which their service club is named.

Confederate flag at Whidbey Fair draws ire

A different set of stars and bars drew the ire and attention of plenty of people at the Whidbey Island Fair parade Saturday. A pair of Confederate flags were flown as part of the parade, along with the U.S. flag and the MIA/POW black flag for lost military veterans, by some American Legions Riders on motorcycles.

Police seek suspect in Bayview robbery

A man wearing a black ski mask, camouflage jacket and pants stormed the Bayview Valero gas station Wednesday night and forced the store’s clerk to hand him $500. The clerk was not seriously injured by the armed robber, though the Island County Sheriff’s Office reported the suspect jabbed the victim with the barrel of the weapon, leaving an impression in her skin that matches the diameter of a shotgun barrel. “Endangering somebody’s life for anything doesn’t make any sense for anything,” said detective Ed Wallace.