Jessie Stensland

Fire leaves family homeless

A family of four was left homeless after a fire on North Whidbey Sunday.

Airplane accident zone comes under fire

Island County’s new “accident potential zones” faced two challenges filed with the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board.

Oak Harbor man who wielded gun guilty on multiple charges

A man who held a gun to the head of another man at an Oak Harbor party last August will likely be doing some hard time. Wednesday, a jury found 31-year-old Willie Rainey of Oak Harbor guilty of first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon enhancement, assault in the second degree and two counts of assault in violation of a no-contact order.

Oak Harbor interim police chief gets mayor’s nod for top cop spot

Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik will recommend his pick for the next police chief at a special City Council meeting Monday night. For anyone who knows him, Rick Wallace was the obvious choice to head the department of 43 employees with an annual budget of $4.7 million. He’s the interim chief, he was the long-time second-in-command, he’s the go-to guy with the institutional knowledge and the backbone of the respected department.

Oak Harbor man guilty in gun crime

A man who held a gun to the head of another man at an Oak Harbor party last August will likely be doing some hard time. Wednesday, a jury found 31-year-old Willie Rainey of Oak Harbor guilty of first-degree burglary with a deadly weapon enhancement, assault in the second degree and two counts of assault in violation of a no-contact order. The sentencing date hasn’t been set. Island County Deputy Prosecutor Patrick McKenna said he will likely ask for a sentence near the top of the range.

Oak Harbor, state planners mull temporary fix for HWY 20

Engineers from the state Department of Transportation will study a couple different options for short-term fixes to the Highway 20 traffic congestion at the south end of Oak Harbor.

Warrant out for Burlington man who led police on chase

A 51-year-old Burlington man who led deputies on a chase across North Whidbey last fall is wanted on a $10,000 warrant, but prosecutors have a pretty good idea where to find him.

No bids at Oak Harbor airport auction

The first of two auctions for the Oak Harbor Airport was completely uneventful last Friday morning. A handful of people gathered outside the Island County Law and Justice Center to witness the sheriff’s auction ordered by Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock at the conclusion of a tangled lawsuit that began in 2002. But not a peep was uttered during the bidding period. The amount required to settle the judgment was $944,000, so the minimum bid would have had to top that.

Whidbey’s Greenbank beach may be walled off

Public beach access, or lack thereof, on Whidbey Island is a touchy subject for many longtime residents.

Drug dealer accused of mistreating Oak Harbor children

When Oak Harbor police searched the home of a suspected methamphetamine dealer May 31, they discovered two young children living in a dangerous and squalid environment, as well as a victim of shocking domestic violence, court documents show. The suspect in the crimes, 25-year-old Christopher Rankin of Oak Harbor, is being held in Island County jail on $100,000 bail and is facing the possibility of a lengthy prison term.

Aberdeen man back in prison on meth charges

A 36-year-old former Oak Harbor resident with a history of committing methamphetamine-related crimes is back in prison. Kevin Wais of Aberdeen pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court June 16 to possession of meth. Judge Vickie Churchill agreed with the sentence recommendation worked out by the prosecution and defense as part of a plea bargain. She sentenced Wais to one year and one day in prison.

Man charged in Island County court for ripping off disabled woman

A 37-year-old Bellingham man is accused of stealing a car from a disabled woman who had hired him to help take care of her animals, court documents show. Prosecutors charged Brodie Daniel in Island County Superior Court June 2 with possession of methamphetamine and taking a motor vehicle without permission.

Whidbey family homeless and living in the woods

In the middle of a wooded lot on North Whidbey, it looks like a giant tornado picked up a house, shook all the contents out and then flung the building far, far away. A trail, illuminated at night by makeshift lights, leads through the trees to a ghostly specter hung up to scare away thieves. The Halloween decoration guards a giant assortment of household items heaped into the woods. There’s furniture, children’s toys, potted plants, moldy clothing, a soggy coin collection, a nail polishing kit, a baseball bat, a stop sign, dishes, holiday decorations, boxes and bags galore. Three people, left homeless in a home foreclosure, have been living for weeks in a tiny motorhome — stuffed full of the basic necessities of life — parked in the middle of the woods, surrounded by the piles of belongings.

Oak Harbor cops prepare for a rowdy July 4 weekend

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown is predicting a busy, possibly explosive, Fourth of July weekend. "Complaints will probably double because it's on a weekend," he said. "But weather will influence a lot of what goes on." For now, meteorologists are predicting a pleasant Independence Day weekend, with patchy clouds and highs in the upper 60s. Fireworks fans can purchase legal pyrotechnics and light them off during the prescribed times. The same rules apply in Oak Harbor, Coupeville and the unincorporated areas of the county.

Island County cops fear rowdy July 4 weekend

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown is predicting a busy, possibly explosive, Fourth of July weekend.

Oak Harbor man charged with assault, accused of smothering girlfriend

An 18-year-old Oak Harbor man accused of smothering his girlfriend is a facing a felony charge. Prosecutors charged Fritz Ratcliffe in Island County Superior Court with assault in the third degree, domestic violence.

Detective’s nose points out 2 pot operations

One of the two Whidbey Island men who last October for growing pot plants will likely be going to jail soon.

‘Little Bob’ concerns addressed

Probably the most significant thing about a meeting of the Island County Economic Development Council last Wednesday was the astounding number of public officials, candidates for office and business people who attended.

Child rape verdict follows boy’s testimony

A jury found a 34-year-old Oak Harbor man guilty of sexually assaulting a preschool-aged boy at an informal daycare.

This week’s for nurses

Ann Bell jokes around with a husband and wife as the female half is hooked up to an IV line that’s bringing chemotherapy drugs to her body.