Nathan Whalen

Nathan posted 1066 stories to Whidbey News-Times.
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Paraglider crashes into trees near Fort Ebey

A bruised ego was the only injury sustained by a paraglider from Bothell who crashed into trees near Fort Ebey Wednesday. Pete Blyzka, who has been paragliding for five-and-a-half years, was gliding above the coast line at Fort Ebey State Park Wednesday morning when he encountered blustery weather. “It just blew me back over the trees,” he said.

  • Feb 25th, 2014 6:19pm

Whidbey General Hospital audit reveals payroll problems

Several employees at Whidbey General Hospital are seeing some smaller paychecks as a result of a problem in a new payroll system. In a report released Feb. 18, state auditors reported hospital officials did not have adequate controls over payroll to safeguard public resources. The result of that condition caused the hospital to make $183,000 worth of overpayments to employees, the report said.

  • Feb 24th, 2014 7:27pm

Coupeville voters pass pair of school levys

Central Whidbey voters gave Coupeville schools two thumbs up Tuesday. Two levies proposed by the Coupeville School District appear to be passing with the approval rates over the 60 percent mark.

  • Feb 21st, 2014 11:29pm

Whidbey grower now offers organic seeds

Gardeners will have a new source for seeds cultivated to thrive in Whidbey’s climate. Deep Harvest Farm located on South Whidbey Island is offering a varieties of organic vegetable seeds at Bayview Farm and Garden located in Langley.

  • Feb 20th, 2014 8:03pm

Latest count shows Coupeville school levy will pass

Central Whidbey voters gave Coupeville schools two thumbs up Tuesday. Two levies proposed by the Coupeville School District appear to be passing with the approval rates over the 60 percent mark.

  • Feb 14th, 2014 11:59pm

Manager hired for up to $750K on Whidbey General Hospital 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 7:43pm

Coupeville schools seeking support for levies

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. That money accounts for nearly one quarter of the school district’s revenue, according to school district officials.

  • Jan 30th, 2014 4:46pm

Study reveals groundwater contributed to massive slide at Ledgewood

Homeowners still living near the massive landslide area in Ledgewood are wary as more pieces of the bluff continue to slough off. Ralph Young, a resident living near the landslide site, said a large piece of the bluff broke away last month. “We were concerned it’ll slide again,” Young said.

  • Jan 31st, 2014 6:46pm

Coupeville Beach stairs ruled unsafe

Because of safety concerns, leaders for the Port of Coupeville have deemed unsafe a Front Street entry point to the beach. Stairs near the port office by Coupeville Wharf were recently chained off. People can still walk down to the beach by using the Front Street deck, located next to the Knead and Feed.

  • Jan 21st, 2014 10:53pm

Home damaged in Ledgewood slide burns to ground

Abandoned since last year’s massive Ledgewood landslide, a home on Driftwood Way burned to the ground Sunday. The home, a double-wide manufactured home, was red-tagged by Island County after the landslide, meaning that it was unsafe to enter. The house was pushed toward the shoreline during the landslide and part of it teetered over the edge of a mound.

  • Jan 21st, 2014 10:34pm

Burning ember evacuates Coupeville schools

A burning ember simmering in a dust pile prompted the evacuation of Coupeville Middle and High School Wednesday afternoon. At approximately 1:30 p.m., maintenance supervisor Scott Losey was in the process of changing a belt in the air handling unit for the woodworking and metalworking building at Coupeville High School. He discovered a small ember and burning dust.

  • Jan 18th, 2014 6:41pm

Martin Luther King’s legacy honored

Families worshiping at an Oak Harbor church have been rehearsing in preparation for a celebration honoring the nation’s most famous civil rights leader. Mission Ministry Outreach, which is located on Goldie Road in Oak Harbor, is honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday with a celebration scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

  • Jan 18th, 2014 10:33am

First baby of 2014 born at Whidbey General

Brian and Kathryn Wilson were hoping their son would be born on their five-year wedding anniversary. But their son was a bit late. The first baby of the New Year, Cole Alan Wilson was born at 1:03 p.m., Jan. 1 at the Whidbey General Hospital Family Birthplace. He weighed 9 pounds and was 20 inches in length.

  • Jan 7th, 2014 11:57pm

Audit slaps Island Transit

or 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.”

  • Jan 10th, 2014 5:58pm

Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation fundraising continues

If fundraising goes as expected, stray animals caught on Whidbey Island could have a new home. Officials with the Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation are raising money and constructing a new campus. Nearly $2 million has been raised and leaders are looking to collect another $1.8 million to pay for construction of a new 8,700-square-foot-building on 9.8 acres of land located across the street from the current shelter near Coupeville.

  • Dec 6th, 2013 4:00pm

Coupeville schools putting levy requests on February ballot

Central Whidbey voters will be asked early next year whether to continue local funding for Coupeville schools. The Coupeville School Board last week approved sending two levies that will bring in millions of dollars to the district. Voters will consider the two replacement levies during a special election set for Feb. 12. “We want to stress that this is a replacement levy,” board President Kathleen Anderson said “It’s the same as what ran four years ago.”

  • Nov 25th, 2013 9:24pm

New director ironing out contract with Coupeville port commission

With a new executive director taking the helm of the Port of Coupeville in December comes a new employee arrangement, prompting officials to find a bit more money in the budget. Tim McDonald, the one-time Island County health director, was named executive director last month of the small port district. Since then, he worked with port staff to prepare an employment arrangement.

  • Nov 7th, 2013 1:53am

Friends of Whidbey General makes its final push for bond

Volunteers with the group promoting the proposed Whidbey General Hospital bond are making a final push to get people to vote. Members of the Friends of Whidbey General Hospital are getting on the phones and calling voters to encourage them to cast their ballots. Whidbey General Hospital leaders are asking voters to approve a $50 million bond funding construction of a new wing at the hospital’s Coupeville campus.

  • Nov 1st, 2013 10:52pm

Engineer to eye Greenbank Farm sewer issues

Port of Coupeville leaders say they’re concerned the septic system at Greenbank Farm may need to be redesigned. The Washington State Department of Health attached a string of conditions to a permit for the farm’s large, onsite sewer system, prompting the Port of Coupeville to hire an engineer to come up with modifications to ensure it functions without being a threat to public health or the environment. The system was originally installed by the farm’s previous owner, Chateau St. Michelle, with the hopes of transforming the farm into a public event facility, said Port of Coupeville Executive Director Jim Patton.

  • Nov 4th, 2013 7:19pm

New Port of Coupeville director questions candidate record

A sustainable development mentioned by a Port of Coupeville candidate publicly is eliciting concerns from the port’s incoming executive director. Those concerns arose after Tim McDonald, who will start as port director Dec. 1, wanted to find out more about candidate Dick Bowen’s experience. He said he discovered Bowen was involved with Aspen Trails Ranch, a proposed 325-residence development just outside Helena, Mont, which was a project that spurred litigation and eventually fell through, according to news reports.

  • Oct 31st, 2013 4:09pm

Heavy fog blamed for accidents, ferry delays on Whidbey Island

The blanket of fog that persisted over Whidbey Island this week was a factor in car accidents, reduced operations at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, delayed ferries and it affected sporting events. When it’s foggy, Washington State Trooper Mark Francis encourages motorists to reduce speed and increase following distance while driving during foggy conditions. He said heavy fog was a factor in a Whatcom County accident Oct. 22 that killed two people on State Highway 548.

  • Oct 26th, 2013 11:52pm

Island County ballots are in the mail

Voters will again have a chance to participate in the process. The Island County Auditor’s Office next week will mail out just a bit more than 50,000 ballots next week for the Nov. 5 general election. Island County Deputy Auditor Michele Reagan said the ballots should be mailed on Oct. 16, but the statute allows for the ballots to be mailed out by Oct. 18.

  • Oct 16th, 2013 5:30pm

Whidbey General Hospital faced with nearby competition

In terms of facilities, Whidbey General Hospital is facing stiff competition from its neighbors. In recent years, nearby hospitals poured tens of millions of dollars into upgrading their facilities. Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett almost two years ago opened a 700,000-square-foot addition at its Colby Campus while Island Hospital in Anacortes completed upgrades in 2007 and 2012. In recent years, nearby hospitals poured tens of millions of dollars into upgrading their facilities. Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett almost two years ago opened a 700,000-square-foot addition at its Colby Campus while Island Hospital in Anacortes completed upgrades in 2007 and 2012.

  • Oct 17th, 2013 9:28pm

Coupeville food bank serves elementary kids

Several Coupeville Elementary School students will be taking more than homework and books home on weekends. The Gifts from the Heart Food Bank is starting a program to ensure some students have food to get through the weekend.

  • Sep 30th, 2013 5:29pm

Island Transit looks at future projects

With construction of its new headquarters near Coupeville nearly complete, Island Transit leaders are looking at future projects. The Island Transit board of directors approved a six-year capital plan outlining the routes and park-and-ride lots that officials hope to add in coming years. Though the projects are on transit officials’ radar, there is one crucial element missing. “We don’t have the money to add any of those routes,” Island Transit Executive Director Martha Rose said.

  • Sep 16th, 2013 4:56pm

Equestrian Crossing’s needs creative riders to learn horse vaulting in time for national competition

vaulting skills, balancing and tumbling atop horses. Equestrian Crossings, which offers riding programs in Greenbank and Oak Harbor, is forming a team that will participate in regional and national competitions next year. The national vaulting competition takes place August 2014 in Eugene, Ore. The Equestrian Crossings team currently has two people, Jacque Diaz and Haley McConnaughey, but organizers have hopes to sign up more.

  • Sep 6th, 2013 5:00pm

Hay baler destroyed in farm fire

Nobody was injured Tuesday afternoon after a fire destroyed a hay baler along with around two acres of pasture off Arnold Road located near Rolling Hills. Jennifer Muzzall Jones, a co-owner of 3 Sisters Beef, was driving a tractor that was towing a hay baler. She was baling the second-to-the-last row of the field when she looked back and noticed a problem with the baler. “There’s flames coming down the front of it,” Muzzall Jones said.

  • Sep 2nd, 2013 3:56pm

New group forms in support of Whidbey General Hospital bond measure

Volunteers promoting a ballot measure for a bond to finance an update and expansion of Whidbey General Hospital are focusing their efforts on North Whidbey Island. The Friends of Whidbey General Hospital, a volunteer group tasked with promoting the $50-million bond, recently formed and conducted a campaign kickoff at Coupeville Town Park. Around 30 people came together to gather signs to post throughout the island, learn specifics about the bond and answer questions.

  • Aug 29th, 2013 5:14pm

Increasing demand a strain on Ault Field, says Navy

North Whidbey residents are hearing the impact of the suspension of operations at Outlying Field Coupeville. The Navy shifted all of it’s aircraft training to Ault Field. Whidbey Island Navy Air Station Public Affairs Officer Mike Welding said Outlying Field Coupeville is not closed, but, in June, the Navy decided to temporarily suspend field carrier landing practices there until the end of this year.

  • Aug 29th, 2013 4:46pm

Thousands of dollars raised for preservation

Around 170 people gathered at the Ferry House over the weekend to help preservation efforts within Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. They enjoyed a “Picnic on the Prairie” Saturday that raised money for the Ebey’s Forever Fund, which pays for preservation projects on the hundreds of historic buildings within the reserve. Though a tally is still underway, organizers expect to raise about $15,000, said Kyle Waterman, executive director of the Friends of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, which organized the picnic.

  • Aug 26th, 2013 8:31pm

Comments sought on Central Whidbey roads project

Officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation want residents to share their opinions on how a proposed construction project will affect Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Plans call for the closing of the intersections of Old Smith Prairie Road and Parker Road with State Highway 20. Traffic on Parker Road would be funneled over to Morris Road where it would intersect with the highway.

  • Aug 26th, 2013 8:30pm

Port of Coupeville seeks new executive director

Leaders for the Port of Coupeville are looking for a few good applicants. The port formally started looking for someone to replace Jim Patton after his contract expires at the end of this year. The taxpayer-supported entity, which oversees the Coupeville Wharf and the Greenbank Farm, needs a new director to serve on a part-time basis. Compensation is negotiable. Patton said that the commissioners have some flexibility in how the new position would be configured. His replacement could be hired as a regular employee or work on a contract basis.

  • Aug 19th, 2013 8:20pm

Oak Harbor pool director has six months to sink or swim

Bill Walker has six months to change some minds. That’s the deadline set by the North Whidbey Park and Recreation board of commissioners for deciding whether to terminate his contract as director of the publicly-funded district that operates John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool. Two commissioners wanted to end Walker’s employment, effective Sept. 31. Commissioner Allan McDougall made the motion to terminate the contract and it was seconded by Kirk Huffer. McDougall brought forward the motion during a special meeting Aug. 7, during which the commissioners evaluated his performance.

  • Aug 15th, 2013 6:09pm

Highland Games marking 15 years at Greenbank

Get your cabers ready to toss. A group of Scottish-minded people will get their large poles ready for hurling when they participate in the annual Highland Games, which takes place Aug. 10 at the Greenbank Farm. The event opens at 8 a.m. and competitions are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Aug 2nd, 2013 10:33pm

Tree cut considered to improve visibility of Greenbank Farm

Greenbank Farm officials are developing a plan to improve the view of the historic property. Judy Feldman, manager of Greenbank Farm, said tenants at the farm are concerned that patches of trees, which were planted around the time the land passed into public ownership, has grown high enough to block the sight of the farm from motorists as they drive north on State Highway 525.

  • Jul 30th, 2013 9:48pm

Falcons, draft horses to demonstrate value at 2013 Loganberry Festival

A popular festival on Central Whidbey will soar to new heights this weekend. Three falconers will be demonstrating their craft during both days of the Loganberry Festival July 27-28 at Greenbank Farm. Farm manager Judy Feldman said the falconers – Steve Layman, Joel Gerlach and Mark Borden – will demonstrate their falcons’ abilities and talk about how raptors are a benefit for agriculture.

  • Jul 25th, 2013 5:25pm

Frontier Building Supply’s tradition keeps growing on Whidbey Island

A group of builders working around Whidbey Island took a day off Friday to enjoy some light-hearted fun while helping a charitable cause at the same time. Families, builders and vendors came to Frontier Building Supply, located north of Oak Harbor, to enjoy the annual belt-sander races. Sixteen people brought their favorite sander to the wood track to see which one was the fastest.

  • Jul 25th, 2013 4:35pm

Town’s liquor store going dry

A voter-approved initiative proved to be the death knell for a small Coupeville business. Nearly two years after a voter initiative privatized liquor sales in Washington state, Coupeville Liquor Store will shut its doors in the coming months.

  • Jul 22nd, 2013 7:00pm

Two decades of sea shanties: Coupeville’s Shifty Sailors mark 20th anniversary with series of West Coast performances

What started as an attempt to promote a book became a decades-long journey for a group of Central Whidbey-based singers. That journey included trips to the British Isles, Scandinavia and former Eastern Bloc countries.

  • Jul 14th, 2013 5:00pm

Greenbank Farm alums start harvesting

Nathaniel Talbot and Annie Jesperson started from square one. The pair of farmers spent the past couple of years gaining the skills and finding the land to get their farm, Deep Harvest Farm, off the ground.

  • Jul 10th, 2013 10:32pm