Jessie Stensland

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.

Rescue swimmers with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 pull parachutists out of the water near Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The parachutists jumped from a C-130 Hercules aircraft during joint training exercise.

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.

Rescue swimmers with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 pull parachutists out of the water near Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The parachutists jumped from a C-130 Hercules aircraft during joint training exercise.
Island County government is experiencing historic change following the election. At left

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.

Island County government is experiencing historic change following the election. At left

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.

Small tax hike, big cuts balance budget

In the end, Island County commissioners raised taxes slightly and cut spending sharply to balance next year’s budget. A difficult budget process, accentuated with a round of layoffs, quieted culminated Monday with no surprises or pain-free solutions to a $2 million shortfall.

Feds to buy shares in Whidbey Island Bank

The holding company for Oak Harbor-based Whidbey Island Bank has received preliminary approval to take part in a federal plan to increase capital in financial institutions and spur lending.

Woman charged with stabbing husband’s leg

An employee of Island County Juvenile Court Services pleaded not guilty to a felony charge for stabbing her husband in the leg, court documents state. Prosecutors charged Rachel Irvin in Island County Superior Court Oct. 29 with assault in the second degree, a domestic violence crime.

County layoffs will be named Dec. 3

Island County elected officials and department heads have until the end of the workday Dec. 3 to identify 25 positions that will be cut from next year’s budget. The commissioners have to adopt a budget Monday, after struggling to find ways to pare $2 million from the general fund because of declining revenues in a poor economy. The budget forum is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Homola ahead in 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… Continue reading

Wetland regulations substantially upheld

A South Whidbey environmental group’s challenge to Island County’s new wetland regulations was successful on three issues that must be fixed in the next 90 days. Nevertheless, members of Whidbey Environmental Action Network, known as WEAN, aren’t thrilled with the 89-page decision from the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, which found in favor of the county on 10 other issues.

Woman charged with assault after fight

A fight outside a popular Oak Harbor nightspot Oct. 29 has resulted in a felony charge against a 22-year-old California woman. Prosecutors charged Megan Byelick of El Cajon in Island County Superior Court Nov. 17 with assault in the second degree.

Longtime News-Times employee Nellie Williams celebrates her birthday today.

Keen-eyed proofreader turns 100

The Whidbey News-Times has a professional proofreader who’s cute as a button, quick with a retort and beloved by all. Nellie Williams also happens to turn 100 years old today, Nov. 19, possibly making her the oldest living proofreader on the planet.

Longtime News-Times employee Nellie Williams celebrates her birthday today.

Layoffs worry Island County workers

The Island County Commissioners are not going to target senior employees or union members for layoffs. They aren’t going to force anyone to retire early. Commissioners Mac McDowell and John Dean, as well as Budget Director Elaine Marlow, waylaid rumors spreading around the county about an upcoming round of layoffs during a public budget workshop Wednesday night.

Kenmore quits its Oak Harbor flights

Kenmore Air will stop flying out of the Oak Harbor Airport at the beginning of next year and officials say they probably can't come back without a ridership guarantee from the Navy.

Homola leads, hand count next

With vote counting nearing an end, there is still no official winner in a remarkably tight race for a seat on the Island County Board of Commissioners.

Board sides with county on APZ issue

Island County officials won an important victory in a battle over zoning around Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, but the land-use war may not be won.

‘Lord Sparta’ gets jail term

A 23-year-old Oak Harbor man was jailed for sending weirdly threatening messages, which he signed “Lord Sparta,” to his ex-girlfriend and her roommate.

Cocaine dealer steals past prosecutor’s credit card

A 30-year-old Oak Harbor resident is going to prison for dealing cocaine and using the credit card of a former deputy prosecutor.