Justin Burnett

Justin posted 819 stories to Whidbey News-Times.
Page 4 of 21

Meeting attendance could cost Emerson board chair

Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson's status as chairwoman of the board could be in jeopardy following her approval of what appears to be a second non-board-sanctioned special session notice.

  • Jul 10th, 2013 9:59pm

Hooked on fishing in Oak Harbor

Bouncing up to the scale with her prize clutched tightly between two tiny hands, Breanna Lewandowski’s ear-to-ear grin was absolutely infectious. The 8-year-old fisherman had just become the first to land a fish at the 33rd annual Kids Fishing Derby in Oak Harbor Saturday and it didn’t matter that her catch was barely three inches long.

  • Jul 10th, 2013 7:49pm

Violin-playing twins on Central Whidbey use talents to help others

They’re 13, fraternal twins, excellent violin players and know karate. Black belt karate. By just about anyone’s standards, Dustin and Avrey Scharwat are cool kids. Whether you’re listening to them play music or watching them practice martial arts, the Central Whidbey brothers inspire. They’re no slouches when it comes to putting their skills to good use either, especially when it’s to the benefit of the community.

  • Jul 10th, 2013 7:45pm

Island County rejects speed limit petitions

The Island County Board of Commissioners rejected this week community requests to lower the speed limits on two rural roads. On Monday, the board agreed to support the recommendations of traffic engineers and not reduce the speed limits on Classic Road on South Whidbey and Patmore Road south of Coupeville. Residents from each community submitted separate but formal petitions this past December to lower the existing limits from 50 mph to 35 mph for safety reasons. News of the rejection was mixed from disappointment and anger.

  • Jul 9th, 2013 6:12pm

Reserve manager accepts job at Montana park

After more than six years at the helm, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve Manager Mark Preiss is hanging up his hat and headed for high country. Preiss has accepted a position as chief executive officer of Glacier National Park Conservancy, the nonprofit fundraising partner for the Montana-based park.

  • Jul 3rd, 2013 9:57pm

Ledgewood community gets $200,000 for geological testing

A plea made by Ledgewood residents to the governor and state lawmakers paid off this month with a $200,000 appropriation. The money, which comes from the state Department of Natural Resources, funded additional drilling and aerial radar mapping in the community.

  • Jul 3rd, 2013 9:56pm

Emerson chastised for defying board consensus

Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson was scolded by her fellow commissioners Monday for taking action as chairwoman that conflicted with an informal but majority decision by the board. The heaviest hand slap came not from Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, a South Whidbey Democrat, but from fellow Republican Commissioner Jill Johnson.

  • Jul 5th, 2013 4:23pm

Opinions split on county law-and-justice levy

The first round of public meetings concerning a proposed $2.6 million law and justice tax was held on Whidbey Island this week. If attendees were an accurate reflection of the community, backers of the proposal may have their work cut out for them.

  • Jun 28th, 2013 10:13pm

Fearless or foolhardy? Regardless of what others think, immigrant aims to set record

Some call him courageous. Some say he’s crazy. Others think he’s a bit of both. Whatever your opinion of Rimas Meleshyus, he plans to sail out of Oak Harbor next month and into history.

  • Jun 30th, 2013 4:10pm

County fireworks season now a day shorter

Despite the pleas of a handful of residents, fireworks season in Island County will not be shortened beyond state law. The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to alter county rules for the sale and discharge of fireworks so that they align with state regulations but nothing more.

  • Jun 28th, 2013 3:58pm

Letter claims jet noise a health hazard

Jet noise over Central Whidbey is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage, a privately-funded acoustics study asserts. Jerry G. Lilly, president of Issaquah-based JGL Acoustics, was hired earlier this year by Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve for a Healthy, Safe and Peaceful Environment to conduct an auditory study on jet operations at the U.S. Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville.

  • Jun 29th, 2013 4:49pm

SUV rolls on Highway 525

A Coupeville couple were involved in a rollover accident on State Highway 525 this weekend. According to Sgt. Bruce Maier with the Washington State Patrol, the accident occurred Saturday evening at about 7:30 p.m. just south of Donahey Road in Central Whidbey.

  • Jun 26th, 2013 4:25pm

Overflow crowd says, ‘close OLF’

With the crowd numbering more than 200, a rallying cry to close the U.S. Navy’s Outlying Field south of Coupeville spilled into the parking lot Wednesday. Held at the Recreation Hall on Alexander Street, the building’s 150-person fire capacity was quickly reached and entrances blocked.

  • Jun 23rd, 2013 4:00pm

Raise planned for county employees in 2014 budget

Years of financial uncertainty in Island County government may finally be coming to an end. One of the first orders of business may be a pay raise.

  • Jun 21st, 2013 10:20pm

City saves with bond refinance

Oak Harbor taxpayers will save at least $76,300 over the next 10 years thanks to a decision this week to refinance the city’s outstanding water and sewer bonds. In 2004, the Oak Harbor City Council authorized the sale of $2.86 million in revenue bonds. It paid for the construction of several infrastructure projects, including repairs to the sewer lagoon liner on the Seaplane Base.

  • Jun 21st, 2013 10:19pm

Commissioners consider fireworks rules reform

A public hearing on a proposal to shorten the Fourth of July fireworks season in Island County by one day next year will be held in Coupeville Monday. The Board of Commissioners will discuss a plan to bring county code into conformance with state standards.

  • Jun 21st, 2013 10:15pm

Mayor rebukes councilman for casting vote

Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley took a council member to task at the close of Tuesday’s meeting, but the scolding may have been unwarranted. Dudley accused a council member, whom he did not identify by name, of misconduct for failing to recuse himself from an earlier vote concerning city employees and their pay.

  • Jun 25th, 2013 7:59pm

Public meetings set to discuss proposed Island County law-and-justice tax

The public will get its first chance to weigh in on a prospective $2.6 million law-and-justice levy during community meetings to be held on Whidbey and Camano islands. The meetings are 7 p.m., Thursday, June 27, at Fire Station No. 25, 2720 S.W. Heller Road on North Whidbey; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 9 at the Camano Senior Community Center, 606 Arrowhead Road; and 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 10, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 18341 State Highway 525.

  • Jun 19th, 2013 5:26pm

County to replace Recovery Services

The discussion is over. The Island County Board of Commissioners Monday directed Human Services Chief Jackie Henderson to begin the process of replacing the troubled Island County Recovery Services with a private chemical dependency agency.

  • Jun 21st, 2013 4:21pm

Errors threaten future of county’s treatment program

Another error and new information about Island County Recovery Services spurred strong and decisive action by law-and-justice leaders this week. On Monday, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks, in cooperation with Superior Court judges Alan Hancock and Vickie Churchill, announced the immediate cessation of new defendants to the county’s drug courts.

  • Jun 16th, 2013 5:00pm

Meeting planned on OLF concerns

Island County and Coupe-ville elected officials are meeting next week with citizens to hear concerns about jet noise from operations at the U.S. Navy’s Outlying Field. The meeting is 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 N.W. Alexander St.

  • Jun 18th, 2013 5:48pm

Whidbey Island biz offers new perspective

Business on North Whidbey is reaching new heights this month with the addition of a skydiving drop zone. Long-time Kirkland skydiver Rick Mangan partnered with local businessman Jeremey Jackson to open Jet City Skydiving Center at Oak Harbor Airport, formally known as AJ Eisenberg Airport.

  • Jun 15th, 2013 4:20pm

New county planning chief reporting to work on July 1

David Wechner accepted the job as Island County’s new planning head and is expected to report for work beginning next month. There are, however, a few details remaining before the agreement is formalized, according to Melanie Bacon, director of human resources for the county.

  • Jun 12th, 2013 7:40pm

Ledgewood slide declaration dissolved

More than two months after the Ledgewood and Bon Air communities on Central Whidbey were rocked by a natural disaster that made headlines across the country, the dust is finally starting to settle. On Monday, the Island County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to dissolve a declaration of emergency enacted just after the massive landslide occurred March 27.

  • Jun 13th, 2013 9:30pm

County commissioner floating new county prayer policy

Business meetings of the Island County Board of Commissioners may soon begin with a dash of the divine. At the request of Chairwoman Kelly Emerson, the board is scheduled to discuss next week whether or not the formal Monday meetings should begin with a prayer.

  • Jun 3rd, 2013 2:53pm

County commissioners green-light public plan

A public participation strategy for Island County’s multi-year comprehensive plan update was approved by the commissioners last week. The plan, in the works for months, is required under state law. It lays out a framework of public involvement and a schedule of events for the update process.

  • May 29th, 2013 3:55pm

Rhododendron trail plan gets nod from commissioners

Island County commissioners green-lighted a plan recently to extend Rhododendron Trail on Central Whidbey. The board gave the $237,500 project an informal nod Wednesday during the commissioners’ weekly work session.

  • May 29th, 2013 3:53pm

WAIF plans grand opening for BaRC store

Hoping to garner more attention and excitement over its newest project, Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation will hold a grand opening for its building reuse store on Central Whidbey this weekend. The building and reclamation center, dubbed Barc Re-tail, was opened on a limited capacity in March with a goal of capturing construction and building materials from the waste stream.

  • May 31st, 2013 9:53pm

County Clean Water Utility goes under scrutiny

Island County’s controversial clean water utility will be under a microscope of scrutiny next week. At the request of the county’s newest commissioner, two department heads are charged with giving the board a detailed presentation about the program, its funding and projects, at the commissioners’ work session next Wednesday, June 5.

  • Jun 1st, 2013 4:22pm

Hill at Hastie Lake, Zylstra to get $1.13-million fix

A dangerous dip on a rural North Whidbey road is slated for a $1 million fix this summer. Island County Board of Commissioners last week gave a green light for public works to shave down a car-hiding hill on Zylstra Road just north of the Hastie Lake Road intersection.

  • May 24th, 2013 10:29pm

Whidbey General Hospital seeks candidates

Whidbey General Hospital officials are putting out a call for people interested in serving as the District No. 4 commissioner. Roger Case held the position for nearly 18 years but is stepping down. His last day is June 15.

  • May 22nd, 2013 6:29pm

Fire destroys Oak Harbor garage; home spared but badly damaged

An Oak Harbor home on Northwest Hyak Drive was damaged Sunday when an unexplained fire began in the garage. Cause of the blaze was unknown as of press time Tuesday but fire officials say it started just before midnight.

  • May 22nd, 2013 6:25pm

County planning chief’s job offered to Oregon candidate

An Oregon planning director was offered the job of Island County planning chief Monday. David Wechner, head of the Josephine County Planning Department, was unanimously selected for the job by the Island County Board of Commissioners during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting. Wechner was offered the job Monday afternoon but asked the commissioners for 24 hours to make a decision on whether to accept it.

  • May 24th, 2013 7:12pm

Filings portend busy election season in Island County

Close of filing week for open public offices on Whidbey Island promises a busy election season ahead. In Oak Harbor, the four City Council positions up for grabs are now all contested races. That includes Position 7, which is held by Danny Paggao.

  • May 18th, 2013 3:27pm

Drug Court officials: Recovery Services needs to be replaced

Island County Recovery Services was on trial before the county commissioners Wednesday. A contingent of Drug Court officials lobbed weighty allegations of sexual misconduct, abusive language and repeated errors, some of which nearly led to clients being sentenced to undeserved jail time.

  • May 19th, 2013 4:31pm

Early morning fire destroys North Whidbey mobile home

A fire of unknown origin claimed a mobile home on North Whidbey this morning. The blaze is believed to have started sometime after midnight in a single-wide trailer at the back of an undeveloped lot on Van Dam Road. Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames for at least an hour, but the building was completely destroyed.

  • May 17th, 2013 3:09pm

Lavender farmer appointed to Island County board

Central Whidbey farmer Sarah Richards was appointed to the Conservation Futures Citizen Advisory Board this week. Richards was selected by unanimous 2-0 vote of the Island County Board of Commissioners Monday to fill one of two positions within the Coupeville School District boundaries.

  • May 15th, 2013 4:27pm

Field of county planner candidates narrowed to four

Island County may have a new planning chief as soon as next week. The Board of Commissioners interviewed four finalists during two closed-door interviews Monday. The commissioners are expected to hold two more later this week.

  • May 15th, 2013 3:38pm

Filing Week yields early surprises

Filing Week for open public offices in Island County began Monday and the first 24 hours yielded a few surprises. With days to go, the following are among the candidates to file so far.

  • May 15th, 2013 3:26pm

Leaning Coupeville ferry balanced

The signature list of the state’s new 64-car ferries was corrected on the MV Salish with 80 tons of ballast recently. The other two boats in the class are expected to receive the same improvement later this summer.

  • May 14th, 2013 7:22pm