Carrying a tuba around every day can take a toll on the triceps. But what felt like a struggle a year ago seems a little less laborious these days for Jordan George. He’s gotten stronger, and so has his tuba playing. George, an eighth grader at North Whidbey Middle School in Oak Harbor, recently was selected to participate in the Washington Music Educators Association Junior All-State band Feb. 15 in Yakima.
Wayne Killebrew admits he’s a little embarrassed by the state of his neighborhood. Tucked away just north of Oak Harbor, the mobile home park once called Thunderbird is filled with 59 ancient, moss-covered, single- and double-wide trailers. Many are in various states of disrepair, with tarps and other makeshift patches covering holes in thin walls. Some yards are littered with junk.
The recent installation of cement blocks around Outlying Field Coupeville is drawing criticism from area residents who claim the Navy failed to consult with the community. More than 1,000 40-inch cement Jersey barriers were placed around the perimeter of the OLF, stamped with the words “government property, do not trespass.” Additional fencing will also be placed at the entryways. Plans to install the blocks to increase security at OLF Coupeville has been in the works for years, according to officials at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
A national pet-supply retailer is moving into Oak Harbor, but the owner of the city’s longtime, family-owned pet store isn’t worried about the competition. “For me, it doesn’t change a lot of things,” said Brian Knoll, owner of Island Pet Center. “We’re going to continue to take care of our customers like we always have. We’re going to continue to offer fair, competitive prices, like we always have.” Petco plans to open a store in a vacant building on State Highway 20 across from the Albertson’s supermarket, according to documents filed with the city of Oak Harbor. The building used to house a Blockbuster Video and a payday loan business.
Dramatic exchanges that occurred during the Navy’s public information meetings last week illustrated rising tensions over jet noise. Within the first hour of the first scoping meeting in Coupeville, two men traded heated words that led to one of them being ejected by town marshals. During the second meeting, held in Oak Harbor, community leaders on both sides of the debate made unscheduled presentations to Capt. Mike Nortier, commanding officer of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
A man wearing a black ski mask, camouflage jacket and pants stormed the Bayview Valero gas station Wednesday night and forced the store’s clerk to hand him $500. The clerk was not seriously injured by the armed robber, though the Island County Sheriff’s Office reported the suspect jabbed the victim with the barrel of the weapon, leaving an impression in her skin that matches the diameter of a shotgun barrel. “Endangering somebody’s life for anything doesn’t make any sense for anything,” said detective Ed Wallace.
Over the next three years, six crews of the Royal Australian Air Force will train to fly the new EA-18G Growler at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The pilots will join the base’s Fleet Replacement Squadron and Electronic Attack Squadron 129. As part of the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program, the Australian government is purchasing 12 of the Boeing-made Growlers.
An Oak Harbor man is accused of choking his wife and restraining her from leaving after fighting about whether he should drink while watching Ultimate Fighting Championship, court documents show. Erik Selvidge, 25, was ordered held in Island County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill ruled at a Nov. 18 hearing that there was probable cause to hold him on suspicion of kidnapping and assault.
Nichols Brothers announces new projects for 2014; soroptimists’ Tree of Hope in need of sponsors; four vehicles damaged in S. Whidbey crash; harbor expansion causes another headache; South Whidbey School Board heads to Bellevue
The organizer of the North Whidbey Community Harvest called it a Thanksgiving like none other. The 12th annual event drew about 4,000 people to the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge on Nov. 28 while volunteers delivered meals to about 1,000 more, according to Jack Stiltz, the event’s coordinator. “This ranked as the best we’ve ever had in 12 years,” Stiltz said.
Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley’s benefits will shrink in just over a year. Members of City Council shot back at his proposal to eliminate health insurance coverage for all elected officials with a resolution that will only affect the mayor’s benefits. The council unanimously approved the resolution during Tuesday’s meeting. It eliminates elected officials’ eligibility to participate in the city’s high-deductible health care plan and prevents the city from paying for medical premiums for dependents of elected officials.
Partners who built a development that includes the new Island Drug store have filed a $499,000 claim for damages against the city of Oak Harbor. Dry Lake Land Stewardship, LLC, alleges in a Nov. 18 claim that city staff misapplied state and city laws, resulting in a delay of the project and the alleged damages. The claim documents identify Oak Harbor residents Chris Anderson and Aaron Syring, owner of Island Drug, as members of Dry Lake Land Stewardship.
Glenn Anthony’s attempts to stop his wife were turning futile. He’d look away for a moment, and his wife would sneak in the door with another couple of packages in her arms. He didn’t want her lifting so much. “Let me get the rest of the stuff before she unloads the car,” Anthony said as he walked outdoors. It’s a busy time of year for Mollie Anthony and husband Glenn.
A Coupeville-based group that sued the Navy in July over jet noise is claiming that Outlying Field Coupeville is not as essential as the Navy claims. The Navy suspended touch-and-go operations at OLF Coupeville in May, but plans to resume in January in a more limited capacity than in recent years. The landing practice field is part of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
The Valero gas station in Bayview was robbed by a masked gunman Wednesday night. According to the Island County Sheriff's Office, a white suspect wearing a black ski mask, a woodland camouflage jacket and pants robbed the Highway 525 station with a shotgun at about 8:40 p.m., Dec. 4.
Even with dark gray clouds overhead, fate refused to rain on the holiday happenings Saturday. Community members came together in downtown Oak Harbor for the annual Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival Nov. 30. Marisa LaRue traveled from Freeland with her granddaughter to do some shopping and watch the lighting. “I’m glad it’s not raining,” she said.
Oak Harbor Police Dept. The following items were selected from reports made to the Oak Harbor Police Department:
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.
Those stopping by the Holiday Market on Pioneer Way in downtown Oak Harbor might see some familiar faces from the farmers’ markets during the summer. “It’s nice to have something to do in the off season,” said Lisa Phillips, beekeeper and Round Tuit Farms owner. Phillips is selling honey at the market. She has six hives that she looks after on Whidbey Island. If anyone has questions about honey, Phillips is the person to ask. She has plenty of samples to make sure people can find the right honey for them. She also sells honey from four other beekeepers, so there is a variety of honey to try.
An Oak Harbor man was arrested as part of the Anacortes Police Department’s online sting operation targeting sexual predators. Detectives with the Anacortes police posed as a 13-year-old girl on a social networking site during the operations, which was a collaboration with the Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to Capt. Lou D’Amelio with the Anacortes Police Department.