NEWS BRIEFS Dec. 29, 2001

Woman airlifted to Harborview

An accident Wednesday afternoon south of Coupeville disrupted traffic on Highway 20 and resulted in a Coupeville woman being airlifted to Harborview Hospital in Seattle.

The woman, Lisa Wheat, 19, was listed in satisfactory condition Thursday morning, suffering from arm and leg injuries.

The accident occurred at 3:21 p.m. According to the State Patrol, a 1994 Ford F250 pickup driven by Michael McClure, 29, of Coupeville, was southbound on Highway 20 and attempting to turn left into a private driveway. Wheat’s 1988 Mazda MX6 was northbound, and the two vehicles collided in the northbound lane. A passenger in Wheat’s car, Casey Audette, 21, and McClure were transported to Whidbey General Hospital.

Wheat’s vehicle was totalled while the damage estimate on McClure’s pickup was $5,000. McClure was wearing his seat belt, while Wheat and Audette were not, according to the State Patrol report.

Island Transit passes audit

The Washington State Auditor’s Office found nothing wrong with Island Transit’s books in an audit report released Dec. 21.

The audit period covered Jan. 1, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2000. The bottom line, according to the report: “Island Transit complied with state laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures. We did not identify any conditions significant to report as findings.”

Island Transit employs 75 people and collects approximately $5.2 million in taxes annually. It provides fare-free bus transportation to an average 2,500 people daily as well as a paratransit service for the disabled and a vanpool program funded through user fees.

Orca Network watches whales

Whidbey Island’s top whale watchers, Susan Berta and Howard Garrett, have created a new organization called Orca Network. They were previously associated with the Orca Conservancy.

The Orca Network will be based in Greenbank. It started operating in December with a list of over 300 people on its whale watching network, which extends from the Canadian Gulf Islands to Olympia. Network participants report the location of orca and gray whales.

“Our purpose is to observe and report the movement of the whales, to promote land-based whale watching, and increase humans’ awareness of the whales and the marine habitat surrounding us,” said Berta and Garrett in a news release. The Orca Network will also work to free Lolita, the Puget Sound orca still held captive in a Florida aquarium.

Whale sightings may be seen and reported on a new website at There is also a new toll-free whale reporting number at 1-866-ORCANET (672-2638). The local number is 678-3451.

Time to roll

up your sleeves

To meet the usually increased need for blood at New Year’s, there will be two blood drives in the area. On Monday, Dec. 31, from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 3 p.m., donors are needed at VFW Post on Goldie Road. Call Don Dunn, 675-1190 or the VFW, 675-4048.

On Thursday, Jan. 3, cheerful corpuscle contributors can donate a unit from 1 to 7 p.m. at Whidbey Presbyterian Church at SE Eighth Avenue and Midway Boulevard. This red-blood-cell-roundup is sponsored by Oak Harbor Lions Club and Puget Sound Blood Center.

Christmas trees mean business

Two non-profit groups are making money this weekend and next by collecting and recycling Christmas trees from residents of Whidbey Island.

For $5, bring your tree to the Oak Harbor High School parking lot today, Dec. 29, or Saturday, Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Grad Night party for the Class of 2002. Call 675-5674.

In Greenbank, Boy Scout Troop 53 is picking up Christmas trees today and on Jan. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations are gladly accepted. To arrange for pick-up call 678-3263 or 678-1138.

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