Justin Burnett

Bringing in the dough during a recession

Whether you realize it or not, if you’re from Oak Harbor there is a good chance you know 21-year-old Matt Deal. If not by name, then by his signature moves and hard-to-forget spring-heeled shoes. After all, there just aren’t that many guys rocking out on one of the city’s busiest street corners waving a sign for $5 pizzas.

Hayes, Riggs vie for open District 10 House seat

The reapportionment of the 10th Legislative District left it much as it was before – a swing district evenly divided between Republican and Democratic voters. The race to fill the open House seat in the 10th features two civil servants from opposing parties. Republican David Hayes is a newcomer to electoral politics, but is familiar with the terrain of the state capital through his work as president of a state law-enforcement group.

Winter weather claims Whidbey landmark

An old and not-so-historic wooden structure on Engle Road that some consider a Central Whidbey landmark has become one of this winter’s first victims. The five-foot wide by six-foot tall wooden blockhouse, which has decorated the driveway to Rod Barnes’ home overlooking the Keystone Harbor for nearly 30 years, succumbed to a windstorm in late November. “It didn’t just fall over, it exploded,” Barnes said.

Blustery weather helps trim Whidbey Marathon profits

The numbers are in and while the 2011 Whidbey Island Marathon in Oak Harbor saw a rise in participation, revenue is down from last year. The 10th annual weekend event, which is composed of 5K, full and half-marathon races, was held this past April on courses that stretched from Cornet Bay to the Monroe Landing area just south of Oak Harbor.

Marina bonds flop, city may borrow from itself

Hopes that interest rates in the municipal bond market would improve have gone unrealized and Oak Harbor may have no other choice but to take out an inter-fund loan so it can pay off incoming receipts for the marina dredging project.

Security gates to limit Oak Harbor Marina access

Walking the docks at Oak Harbor Marina may become a little more difficult in coming months. The city council recently gave the green light to begin soliciting bids for a new security system. Once installed, access to most of the public facility would be restricted to everyone but boat owners and those who take the time to get a guest pass.

Farm tractor chase through Central Whidbey ends with driver at gunpoint

A Central Whidbey man is facing two felony charges this week following a joyride down State Highway 20 on a stolen John Deere farm tractor. The very-slow-speed chase ended with the man at gunpoint.

Signs point to safety on Polnell Road

Mariner’s Cove residents are breathing a sigh of relief this week because cars may soon be buzzing past their community a little slower.

Mob missing on bandit’s big day

Colton Harris-Moore appeared in Island County Superior Court for sentencing Friday but the Barefoot Bandit's entourage, expected to number in the hundreds or more, never showed.

Secretary of Navy visits Whidbey

Sailors at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station received welcomed news Wednesday when they learned from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus himself that their pocketbooks will not feel the sting of the automatic spending cuts set to go into effect next month.

Success prompts move for Oak Harbor law firm

Friends, family, and more than a few Oak Harbor dignitaries recently helped welcome one the city’s most prominent law firms into their new location on Barrington Drive. The law offices of Skinner and Saar, previously located on SE Pioneer Way, moved into their new office across from City Hall earlier this year. A grand opening and ribbon cutting in April was held and was so well attended that it was standing room only.

Whidbey woman accused of premeditated murder in California

An elderly Clinton woman traveled to her sister’s house in California carrying a handgun, zip ties and duct tape and a letter describing her wishes to be cremated. She then shot and killed her sibling before the gun was wrestled from her hands, according to a police report on the incident.

Port of South Whidbey to manage county fairgrounds

If the money comes through, the Port of South Whidbey is getting into the fairground management business.

One votes nay on Oak Harbor property tax hike

To battle the effects of a sluggish economy and keep pace with inflation, a 1 percent property tax hike has been approved in Oak Harbor for 2012. The city council levied the increase, which would garner about $37,500, in a 4-1 decision at its regular Tuesday meeting last week. Council members Bob Severns, Rick Almberg, Jim Palmer and Beth Munns voted for the proposal while Jim Campbell was opposed.

Oak Harbor signs agreement for trash hauling on Seaplane Base

Oak Harbor has entered into a 10-year franchise agreement with Island Disposal for waste collection on the Seaplane Base. The city council last week unanimously approved the franchise agreement, following a public hearing, along with a second and separate franchise agreement that settled a tax liability the garbage hauler accumulated since 2008. According to Public Works Director Cathy Rosen, the Seaplane Base is owned by the Navy but was annexed into the city in 1969. The Navy had provided its own collection services until December of 2008 when Island Disposal took over.

Blaze damages Oak Harbor condominium

An unattended kitchen fire nearly destroyed a condominium in Oak Harbor Wednesday. Oak Harbor Fire Department Chief Ray Merrill said the incident was reported by a 911 caller at about 2:30 p.m. and occurred at the Courtyard Condominium complex off Southeast Eighth Avenue. Firefighters arrived within a few minutes and found smoke pouring from the building.

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.

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.

Team prepares to weigh historic anchor off Whidbey

If it’s what a team of treasure hunters hope, an artifact connected with the Pacific Northwest’s most famous European explorer will leave the seafloor for the first time in over two centuries next week. State regulators have issued Anchor Ventures, LLC, a permit to raise an anchor they believe was lost during Captain George Vancouver’s legendary exploration of Puget Sound in the early 1790s.

Oak Harbor’s Pioneer Way project keeps Island County grant

After months of uncertainty, the fate of $1 million in grant funding for a controversial Oak Harbor street project has been decided. On Monday, the Island County Commissioners unanimously voted that the city will get the money it was promised three years ago for the SE Pioneer Way improvement project, an $8.35 million plan to turn the downtown street into a bustling commercial district by transforming it into a pedestrian friendly one-way.