Justin Burnett

Hospital purchased land without appraisal

Whidbey General Hospital did not have an appraisal done before it spent $2 million on a property in Bayview valued at $618,000 six years ago, and it turns out they didn’t have to. State officials confirmed this week that while Washington law does require multiple appraisals to be performed before a public agency sells property, there is no such mandate when it comes to buying.

Whidbey General Hospital may lose money on property sale

A proposal to sell a 4.5-acre Bayview property purchased in 2007 for nearly $2 million would likely result in a financial loss for Whidbey General Hospital, a commissioner said Thursday. Anne Tarrant, president of the board, said the sale of the property is not a foregone conclusion as the commissioners have yet to make a decision. However, she acknowledged that if the board does proceed it would be a hit to hospital coffers.

State lawmakers share insights on legislative session

Tenth District lawmakers last week briefed constituents on highlights of the 2014 Legislative session. Convening at South Whidbey High School before a crowd of about 30 were state Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton; Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor; and Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano.

Rumors of settlement offer swirl around Wonn Road dispute

Nearly one year after Island County filed a civil lawsuit against a Greenbank property owner over a wall constructed at the end of Wonn Road, a settlement offer may be on the table. Rumors have swirled in recent weeks that Bruce Montgomery, the homeowner at the center of the property dispute, has offered the county $100,000 to end legal proceedings. He declined to discuss any current settlement offer in an interview Thursday, but Montgomery did say that’s the amount he believes it will cost him to continue duking it out in court with county lawyers, and that he’d rather the money be spent on another property for public use.

Decision gives whale advocates new hope

A 20-year quest to bring home Lolita, the last of seven orcas captured from Penn Cove decades ago, has resulted in a small but significant victory.

Opinion: Seattle, King Co. officers could learn from Whidbey Island’s law enforcement

They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the street, but that’s not always so, particularly when it comes to Whidbey Island first responders.

Anchor may solve 200-year-old mystery

Once strong and new, it secured our future. Now rusty and covered in sea life, it will connect us with our past. Maybe. Considered by some to be a Holy Grail of Puget Sound archaeology, three men — a commercial diver, an amateur historian and an attorney — believe they have found the fabled lost anchor of Captain George Vancouver’s exploration of the Pacific Northwest more than 200 years ago. Lying in shallow water along the west side of Whidbey Island, the historic artifact could be recovered by the three-man team that makes up Anchor Ventures LLC within the month. Thought the only physical proof left behind by the long-ago expedition, the anchor has been a highly sought-after prize by historical groups for years.

Don’t disturb seal pups

They’re cute, they’re fuzzy and they’re 100 percent off limits. Seal-pup season began last month and runs through September. Experts are once again warning the public to keep their distance. Every year, people see pups that seem to be abandoned and make the mistake of “helping,” said Matt Klope, a biologist and member of the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

North Whidbey farm preserved for future generations

A land deal between a longtime farming family and a nonprofit group has resulted in the permanent preservation of 113 acres of pristine North Whidbey farmland. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust announced Wednesday that it reached an agreement with the Muzzall family, owners of 3 Sisters Family Farms, to purchase a farming conservation easement on their property along the north side of Scenic Heights Road overlooking Penn Cove. Terms of the contrac

Coupeville woman dies in hospital following 3-car accident

A Coupeville woman died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle this week after sustaining injuries Saturday in a three-car pile up on North Main Street. Margaret Bagwell, 75, was in intensive care and in critical condition Tuesday but died later that day, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Sailor begins circumnavigation attempt from Oak Harbor

Rimas Meleshyus, a Russian immigrant with big dreams, sailed out of Oak Harbor Monday and into history. To what end, no one can say.

Federal suit filed; OLF practices suspended

A Central Whidbey community group aiming to close Outlying Field Coupeville has taken its fight to federal court. Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve for a Healthy, Safe & Peaceful Environment filed a lawsuit Monday.

Law, justice measure will be on ballot in November

The fate of a much-discussed, law-and-justice levy is now in the hands of Island County voters. The Board of Commissioners green-lighted a resolution Monday to put a modified version of the property tax measure on the November general election ballot.

Cort named interim reserve manager

Coupeville resident Lisbeth Cort has been selected to serve as interim manager of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. She will be filling in for the next three months as Reserve Manager Mark Preiss is leaving for a job in Montana.

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.

County explores road options for Ledgewood

Driftwood Way residents in the Ledgewood community will have to rely on a tiny, single-lane gravel road as the sole access to the homes for at least two years. That was one of the messages that came from a community meeting in Coupeville last week.

Commissioner stripped of chairmanship

Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson is no longer chairwoman of the board. Carrying through with threats made last week, commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Jill Johnson voted to revoke Emerson’s status as chairperson during the final minutes of Wednesday’s work session. Johnson was appointed chairwoman in her place.

Commissioners pull chair title from Emerson

Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson is no longer chairwoman of the board. Carrying through with threats made last week, commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Jill Johnson voted to revoke Emerson's status as chair during the last minutes of Wednesday's work session.

County hires Ala Spit consultant

A consultant will begin work soon on a feasibility study that will examine the final phase of restoration at Ala Spit. The Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Monday a contract with Coastal Geological Services, a Bellingham-based firm that focuses on assessments, restoration, monitoring and coastal management.

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.