Nathan Whalen

Island Transit looks at future projects

With construction of its new headquarters near Coupeville nearly complete, Island Transit leaders are looking at future projects. The Island Transit board of directors approved a six-year capital plan outlining the routes and park-and-ride lots that officials hope to add in coming years. Though the projects are on transit officials’ radar, there is one crucial element missing. “We don’t have the money to add any of those routes,” Island Transit Executive Director Martha Rose said.

Store collects new owner

A new face is behind the counter of a Coupeville boutique. Oak Harbor resident Cheryl Nunn took over Collections Boutique last month from previous owner Rita Hart, who still works at the popular shop on a part-time basis.

Fewer students could cost district

It looks like fewer students are attending Coupeville schools this year. An enrollment count shows the equivalent of 886 full-time students are in Coupeville’s classrooms. That amount is 24 fewer full-time equivalent students then the 910 students school officials had projected for the Central Whidbey-based school district.

Bolting through Ebey’s Landing

Two race car drivers sped through one of the most picturesque parts of Ebey’s Landing in a flash. Justin Bell and Townsend Bell (no relation) spent a quiet Wednesday afternoon last week racing a Lexus IS 350 FSPORT. They raced down Ebey Road, drifted through a hair-pin turn onto Hill Road near the bluff trail, regained speed as they whizzed by the beach before negotiating a series of curves on the narrow road in the woods before speeding past a historic, red barn located just outside the treeline. As for who won? Tune in to “Shut up and Drive” to find out. The show featuring Ebey’s Landing airs at noon, Sunday, Sept. 29. on Fox Sports 1.

Residents voice concern on Parker Road project

Officials from the Washington State Department of Transportation tried to conduct a public meeting about how a potential road project affects historic aspects of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve near Outlying Field. Instead, transportation official were fielding questions from a skeptical audience of concerned residents about the proposed project. They questioned everything from lighting to the location of proposed bus stops to the closing of a historic road.

Thirteen-year-old Freeland resident Haley McConnaughey hones her vaulting skills on Kirbey

Equestrian Crossing’s needs creative riders to learn horse vaulting in time for national competition

vaulting skills, balancing and tumbling atop horses. Equestrian Crossings, which offers riding programs in Greenbank and Oak Harbor, is forming a team that will participate in regional and national competitions next year. The national vaulting competition takes place August 2014 in Eugene, Ore. The Equestrian Crossings team currently has two people, Jacque Diaz and Haley McConnaughey, but organizers have hopes to sign up more.

Thirteen-year-old Freeland resident Haley McConnaughey hones her vaulting skills on Kirbey

Hay baler destroyed in farm fire

Nobody was injured Tuesday afternoon after a fire destroyed a hay baler along with around two acres of pasture off Arnold Road located near Rolling Hills. Jennifer Muzzall Jones, a co-owner of 3 Sisters Beef, was driving a tractor that was towing a hay baler. She was baling the second-to-the-last row of the field when she looked back and noticed a problem with the baler. “There’s flames coming down the front of it,” Muzzall Jones said.

Equestrians vault to competition

At a horse arena located near the Greenbank Farm, two equestrians were honing their vaulting skills, balancing and tumbling atop horses.

Schools gear up for first day

Kids only have a few days left to enjoy their summer vacation before heading back to school. Classes in the Coupeville School District begin Tuesday, Sept. 2 for all students from first-grade through high school.

Students will pay more at lunchtime

Students will have to bring a little more cash when buying lunch in Coupeville schools. The Coupeville School Board Monday night approved a 25-cent increase for the lunches offered in schools.

Small jets soar over Whidbey

Jets were flying last weekend at Outlying Field. The installation, known as the place Navy pilots practice touch-and-go landings before deployment, became the three-day home for a group of radio-control airplane enthusiasts.

Whidbey General Hospital Commissioner Ron Wallin

New group forms in support of Whidbey General Hospital bond measure

Volunteers promoting a ballot measure for a bond to finance an update and expansion of Whidbey General Hospital are focusing their efforts on North Whidbey Island. The Friends of Whidbey General Hospital, a volunteer group tasked with promoting the $50-million bond, recently formed and conducted a campaign kickoff at Coupeville Town Park. Around 30 people came together to gather signs to post throughout the island, learn specifics about the bond and answer questions.

Whidbey General Hospital Commissioner Ron Wallin

Increasing demand a strain on Ault Field, says Navy

North Whidbey residents are hearing the impact of the suspension of operations at Outlying Field Coupeville. The Navy shifted all of it’s aircraft training to Ault Field. Whidbey Island Navy Air Station Public Affairs Officer Mike Welding said Outlying Field Coupeville is not closed, but, in June, the Navy decided to temporarily suspend field carrier landing practices there until the end of this year.

Thousands of dollars raised for preservation

Around 170 people gathered at the Ferry House over the weekend to help preservation efforts within Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. They enjoyed a “Picnic on the Prairie” Saturday that raised money for the Ebey’s Forever Fund, which pays for preservation projects on the hundreds of historic buildings within the reserve. Though a tally is still underway, organizers expect to raise about $15,000, said Kyle Waterman, executive director of the Friends of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, which organized the picnic.

Comments sought on Central Whidbey roads project

Officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation want residents to share their opinions on how a proposed construction project will affect Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Plans call for the closing of the intersections of Old Smith Prairie Road and Parker Road with State Highway 20. Traffic on Parker Road would be funneled over to Morris Road where it would intersect with the highway.

Port to consider cash machine at Coupeville Wharf

Visitors to downtown Coupeville might find an easier time trying to find a cash machine in the future. Officials for the Port of Coupeville are considering a plan to place an ATM on port property. The small port district received a proposal from Premier Merchants Group, based in Kearney, Neb., to place the cash machine in the breezeway of the Coupeville Wharf.

Students build connection to World War I vets

Several elementary school students spent the past two weeks building a connection to deceased veterans who fought in World War I. They are pouring through archives and other sources to find out all the biographical information about Island County veterans who served in World War I. The youngsters are participating in a history camp sponsored by the Island County Historical Society, the Whidbey Island Daughters of the American Revolution and the Janet Enzmann archives.

Comments sought for Parker Road highway project near Coupeville

Officials from the Washington State Department of Transportation want residents’ opinions on how a proposed construction project will affect Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Plans currently call for the closing of the intersections of Old Smith Prairie Road and Parker Road with Highway 20. Traffic on Parker Road would be funneled over to Morris Road where it would intersect with the highway. The three intersections are located between Island Transit’s headquarters and Outlying Field and are within the confines of the reserve. A public meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 27, in the Commons at Coupeville Middle and High School.

Hospital General Hospital leaders take informational route concerning bond

Whidbey General Hospital leaders are taking steps to ensure employees follow state laws during an election season where voters will decide whether to approve a $50-million bond that will finance an expansion and updating of the hospital’s campus. That bond is appearing on the November ballot and needs to pass by a 60 percent supermajority. Trish Rose, spokesperson for Whidbey General Hospital, said during a recent hospital commissioners’ meeting that she sent information to staff about how they can inform people of the proposal.

Group forms to promote Whidbey General Hospital bond

Volunteers promoting a ballot measure for a bond to finance an update and expansion of Whidbey General Hospital are focusing their efforts on North Whidbey Island. The Friends of Whidbey General Hospital, a volunteer group tasked with promoting the $50-million bond, recently formed and conducted a campaign kickoff at Coupeville Town Park. Around 30 people came together to gather signs to post throughout the island, learn specifics about the bond and answer questions.