Lt. Chris Lawson

Lt. Chris posted 182 stories to Whidbey News-Times.
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Port starts plan for Greenbank future

The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville are looking at how the Greenbank Farm will be operated in the future.

  • Mar 7th, 2014 11:04pm

Sherman resigns from school board

A longtime advocate of Coupeville schools is retiring. Don Sherman, who has been a member of the Coupeville School Board for 12 years, announced his resignation during a public meeting last week. His last day is March 31.

  • Mar 7th, 2014 10:59pm

WGH officials found payroll error prior to audit

Several employees at Whidbey General Hospital are seeing smaller paychecks thanks to a snafu in a new payroll system.

  • Feb 28th, 2014 10:37pm

Science Olympiad students prepare projects for regional competition

A small group of students are spending their afternoons rebuilding and tweaking science projects in preparation for competition.

  • Feb 28th, 2014 10:32pm

Port commissioners laying groundwork for Greenbank Farm change

Commissioners for the Port of Coupeville are starting work to determine how the Greenbank Farm will be operated. The current contract with the Greenbank Farm Management Group expires in mid-2015 and port commissioners are looking at the best way to prepare for that deadline. The three-member elected board will meet in March to discuss parameters they would like to include in the request for proposal used to advertise for potential entities interested in managing the Greenbank Farm. “There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed,” said Port of Coupeville executive director Tim McDonald.

  • Feb 21st, 2014 10:59pm

New owners take on Coupeville’s Back to the Island

There’s a new face running one of the businesses on Coupeville’s historic Front Street. Pati Schmakeit recently bought Back to the Island, a small boutique located next door to the Penn Cove Gallery. Back to the Island sells clothes and novelties popular with tourists and neighbors alike. She had a casual journey to becoming a business owner.

  • Feb 21st, 2014 10:58pm

Whidbey grower starts selling organic seeds

Gardeners will have a new source for seeds that should thrive in Whidbey’s climate. Deep Harvest Farm located on South Whidbey Island is offering a selection of organic vegetable seeds at Bayview Farm and Garden located in Langley. Nathaniel Talbot, owner of Deep Harvest Farm, has been developing organic seeds since he was a student at the farmer training center located at the Greenbank Farm. He has 20 varieties of vegetable seeds he has available for sale at the south end garden center.

  • Feb 21st, 2014 10:53pm

Storm wreaks havoc on Port of Coupeville floats, wharf

Repairs keep piling up for the Port of Coupeville. The small port district owns the Coupeville Wharf and the Greenbank Farm, both of which are 100 years old, and repair projects needed to keep the historic buildings safe are adding up. The latest project emerged last week after a wind storm blew through Whidbey Island. The blustery weather damaged the moorage floats and the deck and moorage tubs located at the Coupeville Wharf.

  • Feb 21st, 2014 10:37pm

Audit finds Whidbey General Hospital overpaid its staff $180K

State auditors are critical of the way Whidbey General Hospital officials handle the payroll system. In a report released Tuesday, auditors said hospital officials “did not have adequate controls over payroll process to safeguard public resources.” Because of this problem, Whidbey General Hospital made $183,211 in overpayments to hospital employees and staff accrued 22.73 hours in unearned time off, according to the report.

  • Feb 21st, 2014 10:29pm

Coupeville school levies still passing after Thursday count

Central Whidbey voters gave Coupeville schools two thumbs up Tuesday.

  • Feb 14th, 2014 10:57pm

Coupeville Elementary School students honored for helping breast cancer fight

During a tearful ceremony Thursday afternoon, seven fifth-graders were honored for their efforts raising money for a parent who’s battling cancer. The Coupeville Elementary School students, who participate in a breast cancer club formed this school year, spent part of last fall collecting money to support Heather Ausman, who is fighting stage four breast cancer.

  • Feb 7th, 2014 11:15pm

Whidbey General Hospital hires new project manager for expansion

Whidbey General Hospital’s expansion has taken a step forward. The hospital’s board of commissioners approved an agreement in January with Marc Estvold to manage the project. Voters approved a $50-million bond in November.

  • Feb 7th, 2014 9:38pm

Coupeville High School woodworker project aids Fort Casey gun emplacements

Thanks to the help of a few handy students, the gun emplacements at Fort Casey State Park are getting new equipment that will add to the historical feel of the park. Coupeville High School seniors in the woodworking class spent part of their school year making equipment that was used around the large, 10-inch guns on display. Visitors to the state park will notice the two guns, one in a firing position and one in a resting position. The students are building powder canisters, a time-and-range table along with a rammer head and a sponge head that were used in the gun barrels.

  • Feb 7th, 2014 9:30pm

Weber finishes dozen years on the port board

Benye Weber worked through many changes during her 12 years serving on the Port of Coupeville’s publicly elected board.

  • Feb 3rd, 2014 10:45pm

Ledgewood landslide still unstable

Homeowners still living near the massive landslide area in Ledgewood are wary as more pieces of the bluff continue to slough off.

  • Feb 3rd, 2014 10:30pm

Support rallies for school levies vote

Coupeville School District has two proposals on the Feb. 11 ballot. The first request is for renewal of the maintenance and operations levy, which will bring in $2.24 million each year for four years.

  • Feb 3rd, 2014 10:28pm

Prolific Coupeville artist Roger Purdue passes away

Whidbey lost a masterpiece this week. Coupeville’s Roger Purdue, a popular artist, educator and pilot, died early Sunday morning from complications of Parkinson’s Disease.

  • Feb 3rd, 2014 3:56pm

Condemned Ledgewood house burns to ground months after landslide

A Driftwood Way home that had been abandoned since a massive landslide made national headlines in early 2013 burned to the ground Sunday night.

  • Jan 28th, 2014 11:19pm

Island County struggling to find Conservation Futures Fund volunteers

After months of searching, Island County is still looking for volunteers to participate in two boards that evaluate projects trying to utilize Conservation Futures Funds. The county started looking for volunteers in October to serve on the Community Advisory Board and the Technical Advisory Board; however, nobody has applied yet. “It would be nice to fill the positions,” said Pam Dill, who is coordinating the application search for Island County. She said it doesn’t require a large time commitment.

  • Jan 17th, 2014 11:05pm

Whidbey’s Island Transit settles into new facilities

Today’s Island Transit looks a lot different from the entity that formed in 1987 with five buses and 20 employees working out of a former auto shop that contained two maintenance bays and one restroom. The publicly-funded transit entity currently has more than 200 vehicles and more than 140 employees who recently moved into a new headquarters facility that was mostly paid for by a federal grant. That headquarters is located on Highway 20, south of Coupeville near the Pacific Rim Institute and Outlying Field.

  • Jan 17th, 2014 10:51pm

Coupeville man shares struggles, trip

As he shares his adventures bike riding to the Arctic Circle, Patrick Rodden is currently facing a different challenge. He spent more than a year recovering from injuries sustained in a 15-foot fall while he was putting the finishing touches on the renovation of his South Whidbey home. That accident took place two years after he made his trek, which drew the attention of regional media. As to what caused the accident, he’s not really sure.

  • Jan 10th, 2014 10:54pm

Auditors find fault in Island Transit vehicle, fuel use

For the second time, state auditors question how Island Transit monitors staff use of take-home vehicles and fuel cards. According to an accountability audit report issued Dec. 30 by the Washington State Auditor’s Office, a finding was issued stating Island Transit officials “did not adequately monitor take home vehicles and fuel card use to ensure they are only used for official purposes.” Island Transit has 14 vehicles and fuel use cards designated for take-home.

  • Jan 10th, 2014 10:41pm

First baby of 2014 born at Whidbey General Hospital

Brian and Kathryn Wilson were hoping to celebrate their five-year wedding anniversary with childbirth. However, he was a bit late and they welcomed their son, Cole Alan Wilson, on New Year’s Day. Cole was born at 1:03 p.m., Jan. 1 at the Whidbey General Hospital Family Birthplace. Cole weighed 9 pounds and was 20 inches in length at birth.

  • Jan 10th, 2014 10:40pm

Coupeville art gallery closes doors

After 17 years, a popular Front Street art gallery is closing its doors. The Windjammer Gallery, located across the street from Mariners Court, shuttered its doors Friday to make room for a wine shop. “We’re retiring,” owner Chuck Poust said the day before the closing. “It demands a lot of your time. We were only closed three days out of the year.”

  • Jan 7th, 2014 11:42pm

Coupeville’s Vail Wine Shop moves into former Windjammer gallery space

Larry and Patsy Vail have a New Year’s resolution: move their Coupeville wine shop and continue with the success they’ve enjoyed for the past two years. The couple, owns Vail Wine Shop, is moving the shop’s former home in Mariner’s Court across the street into the the former home of the Windjammer Gallery, which closed in late December after 17 years in business. “I’m expecting it to go well,” Patsy said of the new location.

  • Jan 7th, 2014 11:36pm

Greenbank Farm works on warmer barn

It will be a little warmer during events at Greenbank Farm this winter. The Port of Coupeville recently spent more than $3,700 to repair the heaters in the farm’s Barn A, which is home to numerous events such as the holiday market that is currently underway on the weekends. It is one of two projects to improve the publicly owned facility.

  • Dec 31st, 2013 12:28am

Cable ship in Admiralty Inlet piques curiosity

A large ship floating for more than a week near the Coupeville-to-Port Townsend ferry route piqued the curiosity of nearby residents. It turns out the Wave Venture, a 464-foot vessel owned by United Kingdom-based Global Marine Systems, has been sailing in the area while its crew repair fiber optic cables.

  • Jan 2nd, 2014 5:34pm

Finalists chosen for reserve manager

The Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing announced the finalists for manager of the 17,500-acre reserve. The three finalists will be interviewed in January with a decision to be made shortly thereafter, said Lisbeth Cort, interim reserve manager.

  • Dec 31st, 2013 12:08am

Season of giving: Gifts from the Heart helping through holidays

About a dozen volunteers spent the morning of Dec. 18 sorting food being distributed to families on Central Whidbey Island.

  • Dec 30th, 2013 11:56pm

Students’ food drive helps into new year

A group of students at Coupeville Elementary School spent busy weeks collecting food for Gifts from the Heart food bank, which serves low-income families in Coupeville and Greenbank.

  • Dec 30th, 2013 3:56pm

Auditor: Island Transit failed to monitor use of vehicles, fuel cards

For a second time in as many years, state auditors are shining a spotlight on Island Transit's apparent lack of oversight over employee use of take-home vehicles and fuel cards. Island Transit has 14 vehicles and fuel cards assigned to staff members.

  • Dec 30th, 2013 11:30pm

Work moves forward to promote Coupeville levies

Volunteers are laying the groundwork to promote two school levies going before Central Whidbey voters in February 2014.

  • Dec 21st, 2013 12:15am

Hospital searches for lead on bond project

Leaders at Whidbey General Hospital are looking for someone to coordinate construction of a new wing.

  • Dec 21st, 2013 12:10am

Hospital software cause bill struggles

Hangups in a new electronic records system caused delays in billings and reduced the amount of cash available at Whidbey General Hospital. Hospital officials said they are expecting to spend more than $7.5 million implementing an electronic records system provided by Meditech that originally went online in May.

  • Dec 13th, 2013 11:21pm

Pay increase coming for food and clerical workers

Food service and clerical workers at Whidbey General Hospital got an early Christmas present. They are receiving a small pay increase thanks to a new three-year contract the Whidbey General Hospital Board of Commissioners approved during their Monday night meeting.

  • Dec 13th, 2013 11:20pm

Coupeville schools get new phone numbers

Thanks to a technology levy, Central Whidbey parents will have a chance to contact their children’s teachers directly without having to go through a switchboard. The Coupeville School District recently spent approximately $25,000 to install a new phone system. The new system will tie into the one being used by the Oak Harbor School District and the City of Oak Harbor.

  • Dec 13th, 2013 11:15pm

Crowds gather to celebrate holidays

Sub-freezing temperatures couldn’t put a chill on holiday spirit Saturday. Despite temperatures under 30 degrees, hundreds of people bundled up and braved the cold during the annual Greening of Coupeville celebration.

  • Dec 13th, 2013 11:14pm

New WAIF director settling in

Leaders for Whidbey’s animal shelter tapped the Midwest to find a new executive director. Charles Vreeland started his tenure Nov. 4 as executive director for the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation.

  • Dec 6th, 2013 10:13pm

Coupeville couple catches restaurant

Years toiling in the restaurant industry paid off for one Coupeville chef. Tyler Hansen, who recently moved to Whidbey Island, is the new owner of the Oystercatcher, a cozy little bistro located in downtown Coupeville.

  • Dec 6th, 2013 10:05pm

Port comp plan amendment considered

The Island County Planning Commission is reviewing a comprehensive plan amendment that tweaks the zoning of the Greenbank Farm.

  • Dec 6th, 2013 9:35pm