Posts Tagged ‘Island County’

Chelsea Prescott and her CHS basketball teammates may be the first prep athletes to return to play. Emphasis on “may.” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If Coupeville wants to play basketball this winter, Island County’s rate of positive COVID-19 cases needs to drop.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, working off direction from the office of Governor Jay Inslee, issued updated guidelines Tuesday for schools returning to competition on the athletic field.

In the release of the info, it was stressed that “the Governor’s office has informed the WIAA that these guidelines must be followed and neither schools nor community sports programs have the authority to implement more lenient policies.”

“These revised guidelines give greater flexibility to school administrators to offer education-based athletics and activities and meet the demand of their students and communities,” said the WIAA in a statement.

“Staff will continue to work with decision-makers to evaluate participation in sports deemed high-risk by reviewing all data and documentation available in hopes it may be appropriate to qualify them as moderate risk.”

The new guidelines divide sports into three tiers based on how many positive cases per 100,000 residents a county has, and the percentage of positive tests.

The tiers:


High Risk:

75+ positive cases per 100K in a 14-day period OR more than 5% positivity


Moderate Risk:

25-75 cases per 100K AND less than 5% positivity


Low Risk:

Less than 25 cases per 100K AND less than 5% positivity


As of Tuesday evening, the Washington State Health Department’s risk-assessment dashboard lists Island County at 36.5 cases per 100K, with 2.8% positivity.

In other words, we land squarely under moderate risk.

But, basketball, which is currently set to be the first sport back in action, with practice kicking off the final week of December, and games in January, requires counties to be in the low risk category to play actual games.

As of now, a high risk sport can only start playing games if a county is in the low risk tier for positive cases.

By contrast, low risk sports can begin competition even if a county is in the high risk tier.

Moderate risk sports match up with the moderate risk tier.

Confused yet?

How each sport Coupeville plays is currently classified:


High Risk:

Cheer (with contact)


Moderate Risk:



Low Risk:

Cheer (sideline/no contact)
Cross Country
Track and field


Currently, the plan is for basketball to run from Dec. 28-Feb. 27, with volleyball, girls and boys soccer, football, cross country, and boys tennis going from Mar. 1-May 1.

Softball, girls tennis, baseball, and track would close out the school year from Apr. 26-June 26.

All sports will be allowed to play 70% of a normal season (so 14 games instead of 20 for basketball), and postseason play is still being determined.

The chance of other sports being moved ahead of basketball, if the numbers dictate such a move, would be a WIAA decision, and not a league or school one, said Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith.


To read the complete new WIAA guidelines for yourself, pop over to:


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But we can have one more fire to honor Beavis before Island County’s burn ban starts.

The great fire God, Beavis, demands our tributes.

But if you live in Island County, better get crackin’ with the cracklin’, as a Type 1 Outdoor Burn Ban goes into effect at 12 PM Friday, July 24.

While the ban was expected, it comes a bit later than in recent years, thanks to the fairly-frequent rain we’ve had this spring and summer.

Once the ban is in effect, no outdoor burning of natural debris, even with a permit, is allowed.

Recreational fires in an approved fire pit are still kosher, however.

Those fires are limited to three feet in diameter and two feet high within enclosures and when safety precautions are followed.

Recreational or cooking fires can consist only of charcoal, seasoned firewood or propane-fueled firepits and must meet the following requirements:

**Enclosures must be AT LEAST 14 inches high, no wider than three feet, and made of cement blocks, stones or #10 gauge steel.

**Burned material must be kept BELOW the top of the enclosure.

**There must ALWAYS be a charged garden hose OR two 5-gallon buckets of water OR a 5-gallon Class A fire extinguisher and shovel present.

**Fires MUST BE 15 feet from combustibles, standing timber or overhanging tree branches.

**Someone 16 years old or older must ALWAYS be present to monitor and/or extinguish the fire.


For more info or questions:

Island County Health Department (360-679-7350)
Northwest Clean Air Agency (360-428-1617)

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Owen Dennison (Photo property Island County Sheriff’s Office)

A search is on for Coupeville’s Planning Director, who has been missing since the morning of June 23.

Owen Dennison has worked for the town since 2016.

The press release from the Marshal’s Office:


The Coupeville Marshals Office is asking the public’s help locating 62-year old Owen Dennison.

Owen was last seen on the morning of June 23, 2020, in Coupeville.

His cell phone was pinged and was located in his office along with several personal belongings.

Owen’s family says that it is abnormal for him not to return home and are worried about his welfare.

Owen is 5’7″ 155 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

He may be driving a black 2013 Ford Focus hatchback, Washington license plate ALM5473.

Anyone with information regarding Owen is asked to contact Marshal Shawn Warwick via the ICOM dispatch center at 360-679-9567 or via e-mail at tips@islandcountywa.gov.


UPDATE (6/24 at 5:55 PM):

Family provided a more recent photo and believe Dennison may have been headed to the Rialto Beach area.


UPDATE (6/24 at 7:34 PM):

Sheriff’s Office reports Owen has been found safe and is with his family.

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Natasha Bamberger, Coupeville legend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Apparently Whidbey Island ends at the midway point.

The website SB Live Washington has been busy compiling lists of its picks for the best athletes to come out of each of the state’s counties, with Island County’s female stars honored Thursday.

And, despite being the smallest of the three high schools on Whidbey, Coupeville netted two of the five slots, with Natasha Bamberger and Makana Stone joining Oak Harbor grads Marti Malloy, Chalise Baysa, and Missy McIntyre.

South Whidbey High School, on the other hand, got shafted, with the most notable omission being Lindsey Newman.

You know, the fearsome Falcon who won three consecutive 2A state tennis titles from 2007-2009, scored a billion points on the basketball hardwood, and is now a professional pickleball player.

Oh, that Lindsey Newman.

But, while Falcon Nation will rightfully have its collective feelings hurt, Wolf Nation has plenty to celebrate.

Bamberger was a five-time state champ for CHS in the ’80s, winning four track titles and a cross country crown, before going on to be world-class ultramarathoner.

Stone, who just wrapped up a stellar college hoops career at Whitman College, dominated in soccer, basketball, and track and field during her time as a Wolf.

To see the full story, and vote in a poll to select the best of the five nominees, pop over to:

Here are the best female athletes to come out of Island County, Washington

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As Island County moves into Phase 2 of the Safe Start reopening plan, there was a stark reminder Friday the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet.

Camano Island recorded its first death from the novel coronavirus, a woman “in her forties with pre-existing medical conditions.”

It’s the 11th COVID-19 related death in the county, with the other 10 deaths on Whidbey Island.

Ten of the 11 deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.

This marks just the third time the Island County Health Department has sent out a press release dealing specifically with a COVID-19 death.

The two previous times came on March 19, when Island County recorded its first death, and March 30, when two deaths were noted.

There are 180 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county as of May 28, with 143 on Whidbey and 37 on Camano.

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