Janis Reid

Meeting change raises Island County commissioner’s ire

Island County Commis-sioner Jill Johnson voiced her displeasure when she learned that Oak Harbor’s public meeting about the county fairground project was postponed. “For the record, I think that’s not OK,” Johnson said.

 

Fifty years later, All-Island Band is still playing strong

When Bruce Seltveit left his four years of enlisted service with the Seabees, he joined the All-Island Community Band and never looked back. A trombonist since middle school, Seltveit took over direction of the band four years ago. “We love to do this,” Seltveit said. “And this is a great place to do it.” The All-Island Community Band is rounding out its 50th year performing all over Whidbey Island. The All-Island Community Band plays all types of music from traditional military marches to holiday tunes.

 

Pieces come together for Saturday’s autism fun run

For those who have autism, it’s like their minds are a puzzle and a piece is missing. That’s how Lonnie Schopen, mother of an autistic son, describes the inner world of those who have the developmental disorder. “They just keep working until all the pieces are put back together,” Schopen said. For this reason, Schopen has organized a 5K fun run with a puzzle theme — to illustrate how difficult simple tasks are for those with autism.

 

Emerson calls for pot ban shortly before resigning

For a brief period during Monday, it appeared that recreational marijuana would be banned in Island County. Discussions about a new ordinance headed for approval took an abrupt turn when Commissioner Kelly Emerson reversed her earlier position and called for a ban of marijuana in the county. Commissioner Jill Johnson quickly seconded the motion.

New programs aiming to curb rising Navy suicides

With U.S. Navy suicides on the rise, nationwide and local efforts are being made to increase soldier resiliency. While Navy suicide rates are historically lower than national and Department of Defense rates, they have trended upward over the past three years “indicating a problem,” according to a report released by the Navy in April.

Land trust rejects COER call to refuse money from Navy

Whidbey Camano Land Trust will continue to accept Navy money to acquire land within Ebey’s Reserve, despite a request from jet noise opponents to suspend the relationship. Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, asked last month that the Land Trust cease using Navy funds until the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement on the EA-18G Growler is finished. That’s expected to take about 17 months.

Two Whidbey Island families forged on National Adoption Day

Four-year-old Madison wanted to know when she’d be able to join Lisa Knott’s family. “She’s been asking me for a year if she’s going to be my little girl,” Knott said. “I’m just glad now I can tell her ‘yes.’” Knott, her husband Keith, and their five other children took Madison into their home as a foster child two and a half years ago. The process of making her a permanent part of the family has been long, but it concluded Friday at an adoption ceremony in Coupeville.

Oak Harbor habitat store big success for humanity

When Whitey Kirschenmann took over management of the Habitat Humanity Store in Oak Harbor six years ago, it was a sleepy business run by eight volunteers. Since then, the store has increased its revenue by five times and is run by an army of 107 volunteers. Paired with the income from its sister store in Freeland, Habitat for Humanity of Island County has built 36 homes on Whidbey and Camano islands.

Third-generation gem expert continuing a family tradition in Oak Harbor

Matt Fikse became a third-generation gemologist last month keeping with family tradition. Grandson of Gerald and Janet Fikse, founders of Gerald’s Jewelry on Midway Boulevard in 1958, Matt Fikse said he plans to take over the family business after his parents Dave and Jane Fikse retire. “I’m so proud to be a part of what my grandparents and parents have built,” Matt Fikse said. “It will be an honor to carry on the tradition they have been known and respected for.”

Oak Harbor community garden wall takes shape

A motley crew of Oak Harbor residents spent Saturday afternoon covered in mud, erecting a wall that will protect a new community garden from northern winds this winter.

Navy Band to play new, old season classics

Navy Band Northwest will present “A Gift of Music” in this year’s free holiday concert.

Waste Management closing call center

More than 120 employees will lose their jobs when the Waste Management call center closes its doors in September.

Forum tackles mental health issues on Whidbey

A forum in Freeland will tackle the complex issues surrounding mental health on the Whidbey Island.

Coupeville group to talk jet noise at Nov. 19 forum

The group opposing flight operations at the U.S. Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville will hold a meeting on Central Whidbey later this month. Citizens for Ebey’s Reserve said it will be focusing on jet noise and its effect on public health. The meeting is 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 N.W. Alexander St.

Whidbey General Hospital finalizes CEO contract

Whidbey General Hospital’s new CEO will assume her duties April 20.

Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve president must stay away from Realtor

A District Court commissioner has ordered that jet noise critic Michael Monson stay away from Realtor Joe Mosolino. The order for protection from harassment was requested June 6 but was made final this past Friday.

Island County refunding property tax overcharge for Freeland man

Bill Goetz was in Beast Mode Wednesday. Goetz confronted the Island County assessor and treasurer in person after getting what he said felt like the runaround via email regarding a $6,000 property tax charge.

Island County may help fund weed war

Island County commissioners will consider this week contributing money to efforts that combat a growing noxious weed problem.

Business Bank rebrands itself with new name, approach as SaviBank

The move to change the name and concept of Business Bank is akin to the rebirth of the phoenix, according to CEO Mike Cann.

Island County approves event permitting for Whidbey farms

Island County commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance earlier this month that allows permitting for events on agricultural properties. The policy applies to events taking place on advertised properties for uses such as weddings, reunions, graduations and food events for a fee, or otherwise commercial use that may include more than 50 attendees. It is not the county’s intent to regulate private parties hosted by property owners, the ordinance states.