Jessie Stensland

Search pooch finds missing girl, 11

A search dog tracked down and found an 11-year-old girl whose disappearance Thursday night led to a major search effort on North Whidbey. Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said the girl was undoubtedly cold after spending about five hours outside in the dark and wind, but she was returned to her mother in good health.

Ankle bracelet gone, escape charged

A 24-year-old Oak Harbor man who removed an ankle bracelet while he was supposed to be under house arrest could face a long prison term, court documents state.

Claim resurrects Wallace controversy

The alleged victim in a controversial incident that led to Island County Deputy Jay Wallace being fired for dereliction of duty and falsifying a police report has filed a claim against the county for $250,000 in damages.

McMansion taken off menu, house preserved

The Samuel Crockett house, built on Central Whidbey circa 1890, won’t be razed or moved after all.

Navy confirms P-8A squadrons

Four squadrons of P-8A Poseidon jets, a total of 24 aircraft, will start arriving at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station no later than 2012.

Gun threat sends man to prison

A 33-year-old Oak Harbor resident agreed to go to prison for pointing a loaded handgun at his wife while their children were present. Carlos Brown, a sailor in the Navy, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court earlier this month to assault in the second degree, a domestic violence crime.

Harasser monitored electronically

A 49-year-old Bellingham resident accused of using racial slurs and threatening a man who allegedly beat his daughter received a sentence of electronic home monitoring, according to court documents. Timothy Scott pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Dec. 1 to harassment as part of a plea bargain.

Options dwindle for those in mental health crisis

The director of Island County’s Human Services department is warning of an impending “crisis in the crisis mental health system.” Jackie Henderson discussed the situation with county commissioners last week and suggested a temporary fix locally, though finding the money may be difficult.

Man charged with molesting girl, 5

An Oak Harbor man accused of molesting a 5-year-old girl recently pleaded not guilty to a felony charge, according to court documents.

Navy man found not guilty of rape

A jury returned a verdict of not guilty last week following the trial of a 25-year-old former Navy man accused of rape. Kenneth Steiner, Jr., of New Jersey testified in his own defense during the four-and-a-half-day trial. He admitted having sex with the alleged victim, but he said it was consensual.

Officer finds hole in man’s doughnut story

An Oak Harbor man who stole a pink box of doughnuts from Safeway is wanted on a $5,000 warrant. If caught and convicted of the charges against him, 28-year-old Jeffrey Hurt could end up spending more than three years in prison for the pastry heist. And he didn’t even get to eat them.

Home sellers hit with septic fee

An Island County program aimed at ensuring septic tanks don’t contaminate surface or ground water will continue even though the funding was slashed in a budget balancing act. A new $62 fee will fund the program. The owners of homes with septic tanks will pay the fee when a house is sold.

Pawn shop owner charged

An Oak Harbor businessman is accused of raping a child and threatening another juvenile with a handgun, court documents state.

Craigslist prostitutes arrested in Oak Harbor

Five women have been arrested in what detectives are calling the first prostitution stings in Island County history. To the surprise of investigators, three of the women are Oak Harbor residents and they were allegedly prostituting themselves purely for money in tough economic times. Drugs didn’t appear to be a factor, as it often is in such cases.

Whidbey’s neo-Nazi shootout

An armed-and-dangerous neo-Nazi leader was holed up in a cabin. FBI agents, shivering in the cold rain, surrounded the home in an ever-tightening noose, expertly pumping bullets and tear gas inside.

Navy explosives unit to leave Whidbey

A Navy unit with expertise in blowing stuff up, as well as preventing stuff from blowing up, will be leaving Whidbey Island Naval Air Station next year, according to a Navy spokesman. The move has nothing to do with a lawsuit brought by an environmental group, Navy officials say, but it could affect the litigation, which focuses on the unit's underwater explosives training.

Women take over county

Just after 3 o’clock Tuesday, Helen Price Johnson was sworn in as the first woman to serve as an Island County commissioner. A crowd of county employees and well-wishers hoping to witness the historic moment overflowed into the halls of the Law and Justice Center and burst into cheers as Price Johnson finished her oath.

Homola ahead in ballot tally, recount begins

The Island County Auditor’s Office is finished with the regular round of ballot counting that began on election day, but a manual recount in an extremely tight commissioners’ race starts Monday. Angie Homola has a 50-votes lead over incumbent Commissioner Mac McDowell in the election count finished Tuesday. Homola received 19,222 and McDowell had 19,162 votes. The 50-vote difference is 0.13 percent of the votes cast for the two candidates.

The pork stops here

When Barack Obama takes office Jan. 20, the new Congress will already have a pork-free economic stimulus bill ready for him to sign. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen made this pledge, with some caveats, to a room full of Island County elected officials and representatives of local businesses Thursday morning. He was in Coupeville to promote an economic recovery and job creation package he is pushing in Congress.

Movie theater robbery turns into a fictional tale

Police say a report of an armed robbery at Oak Harbor Plaza Cinema 3 was actually an attempt to misdirect investigators. It was really an inside job, according to police, and no armed robbery occurred.