Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Oak Harbor’

An Oak Harbor man has been arrested in the 2011 Montana murder of the man seen above, Mike Crites. (Photo property of Helena Independent Record)

It’s the kind of story Ann Rule would have written.

A cold-blooded killing in Montana has led, nine years later, to an arrest on muggy Whidbey Island.

Oak Harbor resident Leon Michael Ford, 66, was arrested Wednesday and will be charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence in the killing of a man whose chopped-up remains were found in trash bags in Helena back in 2011.

Both charges are felonies.

The remains of the victim, John “Mike” Crites, 48, were found in multiple locations.

Trash bags containing body parts were found at MacDonald Pass outside Helena in October 2011, followed by the discovery of more remains, including the victim’s skull, a year later near Elliston.

The two sites sit approximately 23 miles apart.

At the time of Crites death, Ford owned 15 acres north of the victim’s property northwest of Helena, according to a story in the Independent Record, a daily newspaper in Helena.

The victim and suspect were reportedly involved in a dispute concerning trespassing and property access, and were scheduled to meet on the last day Crites was seen alive.

Ford was arraigned Thursday in Island County, with his bail set at $500,000.

A second hearing has been set for Monday, Aug. 24, and law enforcement is asking for the suspect to be extradited to Lewis and Clark County, Montana.

 

The original story on the arrest:

https://helenair.com/news/local/suspect-arrested-in-2011-killing-of-helena-area-man-mike-crites/article_4508f606-413a-5d76-8715-93f9ce1dfefe.html#tracking-source=home-trending

 

A follow-up story detailing evidence allegedly linking Ford to the crime:

https://helenair.com/news/local/investigation-documents-released-in-2011-killing-of-helena-area-man-mike-crites/article_570b7ca9-ac3b-589f-bba8-58479f916f59.html#tracking-source=home-top-story

Read Full Post »

A long-gone piece of Whidbey Island history. (Bob Barker photo)

Bob Barker is still in the game.

The former sage of the roundball remains arguably the most-successful coach in Coupeville High School history.

While he’s no longer stalking the sidelines during Wolf basketball games, Barker remains a go-to source for Whidbey history and interesting photographs from the past.

Today’s shot, of a historic (and long gone) Oak Harbor landmark, arrived with the following note:

Back in the days when I was involved in photography, I especially liked to take pictures of old buildings, old barns, old churches, covered bridges and scenes (both seascapes and landscapes without people in them).

This is an old barn that has since been torn down to make way for the expansion of the city of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.

This barn was situated behind what is now the Elks Club.

Oak Harbor was originally a Dutch community and you can see the Dutch influence in the architecture of the barn. 

This barn in its day would have to be considered the “Cadillac” of all barns.

Note the curvature of the roof. The lower portion or base of the barn was concrete and not wood. 

I wish that they had had the foresight to restore this barn as it was “one of a kind.”

I cherish this picture as it a reminder of a life that has vanished and is no more…

Bob

Read Full Post »

If you know the driver of this car, contact local law enforcement. (Photo courtesy Johnathan Walker)

Local authorities are interested in talking to the person responsible for a nasty hit and run accident.

The driver of the black car seen in the photo was allegedly speeding on West Beach Road Monday around 6 PM, then blew through a stop sign at Libby Road, colliding with another car.

The driver and a passenger then fled the scene on foot.

The car they hit suffered extensive damage, and both occupants were injured.

One suffered a fractured vertebrae and chest contusions, while the other has chest contusions and burns on her arms from the car’s airbags deploying.

If you have information on the owner of the car, please contact the Island County Sheriff’s Department (360-679-7310) or the Oak Harbor Police Department (360-279-4600).

Read Full Post »

When the boys in the Vegas print shop have no clue how to spell the name of the Washington state Island where you supposedly shoot your show…

We don’t talk much about The Whidbey Buzz these days.

A year into its existence, the internet “news” show is largely viewed as little more than a joke, five to six minutes of regurgitated press releases offered up twice a week by a winking anchorman who frequently stumbles over pronunciations and local geography.

Which isn’t all that odd, since the nattily-dressed Steve Schorr lives and works in Las Vegas, and has for decades.

He can prattle on all he wants about his broadcasts coming from “right here at home in Oak Harbor” and it won’t change the truth.

Schorr’s word stews are shot in front of a digital screen in Sin City, set to an opening musical intro remarkably like one I used to hear emit from my early-2000’s iMac.

That’s likely the work of Rick Manning at Rigel Studios, another past-his-prime Vegas lifer clinging to the last decade in which either man was relevant – the late ’80s.

Schorr himself has been on Whidbey at least once since The Whidbey Buzz reared its head online, timed to Scott Thompson, a former Vegas resident, trying desperately to save his constantly-floundering Wright’s Crossing development.

That appearance came at the Oak Harbor Best Western, during a melancholy meet and greet conducted in a windowless, downstairs, bunker-like room.

A small pot of coffee and a jug of water, offered by the hotel, was all that was on the menu, as Schorr and Thompson, who met in Vegas and made a connection over show dogs, talked over each other and tried to fire up a small crowd.

It was the first of many letdowns for The Buzz, which has promised, and failed to deliver, almost every time out, beginning with a pledge there would be cameras at the meet and greet, and footage would be used on-air.

There was not, and it was not.

After that, failed promises of transparency, of setting up a way for people not named Mr. Thompson to donate to the cause at People’s Bank, and of a plan to create a print edition of The Buzz.

Ten months down the road, it’s June 4, 2020, and still no account has been set up at People’s Bank.

As newspapers hemorrhage money and die left and right, seems very much like an idea which might have been cutting edge … back in the late ’80s.

But we’re not here today to just talk about the ways Schorr has fallen from the true faith.

Sure, he frequently slips PR about Thompson and his companies into his broadcasts, while violating the journalistic golden rule by never revealing his own ties with the builder.

Along the way Schorr gives prominent air time to political candidates Thompson financially backs, such as current Oak Harbor City Council member Jeff Mack and Island County Commissioner wannabe Dan Evans, feeding them softball questions.

Scott and wife Cynthia Thompson are the top two contributors to Dan Evans.

And then there’s the weirdo part, where Schorr keeps interjecting bits about Jefferson County recently, on a show supposedly shot on, and centered around, Whidbey, which is located in Island County.

Is Thompson also planning to foist his house projects on Port Townsend? Things that make you go hmmm…

But today I bring out the whuppin’ stick not to attack Schorr for being a PR man, but for the moment on Wednesday’s broadcast where he truly made the ghost of his supposed journalistic idol, Chet Huntley, spin in his grave.

On The Buzz website, Schorr claims he lives by the credo “give the story, state the facts, tell the who, what, where, when, how and why AND keep your opinion out of the story!”

And then, starting at the 2:27 mark of the video below, he takes a giant steaming dump on that credo.

Speaking from Vegas, where a police officer was shot during a protest, Schorr gravely informs us that here, in a place he barely knows, “Tension remains high on Whidbey Island and surrounding communities as protesting and rioting continues to take place in cities around the country.”

And then, in a moment which would make Huntley retch, Schorr, a man “concerned only with facts,” plays footage of riots in mainland cities — lifted from YouTube — while intoning:

“In communities within Whidbey Island, there have been a series of rumors that have sparked concerns, and, even in some cases, business owners becoming armed to protect their properties, but no actual large protests have occured.”

At which point, Steve Schorr’s entire journalistic career, much of it spent reading teleprompters as a Vegas talking head back in the day, withers and dies for the final time.

“A series of rumors?”

What are you, a 14-year-old girl?

Cause you definitely aren’t a credible newsman anymore.

I get it. You don’t live here, Mr. Schorr.

Most of your contact with Whidbey Island is limited to the handful of people who showed up for your meet and greet, such as your painfully obvious benefactor, Mr. Thompson.

Oh, and the tinfoil hat-wearing nutballs who hide out on the privacy-obsessed Whidbey Island Community United page, where they rant all day and night about liberal boogeymen a’comin’ to take away their ability to live as if the 1950’s had never ended.

Which is kind of odd, since the hardcore of the hardcore on that page were born long after that decade (and a lot of its ideas) passed into history.

People like Shannon Williams, an Oak Harbor grad whose tenure on the Island County Planning Commission was remarkably short after she opened by being refreshingly frank, and rather un-politician-like, letting everyone in earshot know exactly how she feels about the homeless.

Spoiler: She’s not a big fan.

Today she occupies herself by taking paparazzi pics of homeless and posting every 12 minutes, as Shannon RW, on multiple Facebook pages like WICU, SAFE Whidbey and the snappily-named Whidbey Island Looks Like Shit.

I’ll give her this. She’s dedicated.

Or Whidbey short-timers like Paul Rempa, (now hiding as Paul TR on Facebook) who enjoys harassing grandmothers whose family roots in Coupeville stretch back nearly to the first white settlers in the area.

I cropped out the photo of the grandma and grandkids, unlike the original poster.

Mr. Rempa is fond of telling any who disagree with him that “words matter.”

Which is really too bad, since the first words which come to mind when I think of Rempa are “stolen honor.”

Screenshot from Paul Rempa’s Facebook, taken 10:30 AM, June 4, 2020.

Take a look at the screenshot, read the date and time, and then listen to command at Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue, who had this to say way back in October, 2019.

Hanging on to the fumes of past glory? Seems to be a reoccurring theme in these here parts.

So you sit poolside in the 105-degree heat of Sin City, Mr. Schorr (please use some sunscreen, sir), and you “hear rumors” from a nutball brigade fond of sniffing the farts of Tim “Chair Thief Boy” Eyman, and then you pass it off as “journalism.”

Antifa is coming to the suburbs! Oak Harbor is in full-on Mad Max mode!! COVID-19 is being smuggled in by the homeless!!!!!

Now, if you actually lived here, on this Island where it’s going to top out in the low 60’s today, you could have seen with your own eyes that yes, there was a Black Lives Matter protest this weekend in Oak Harbor, notable for a decided lack of “tension.”

Show me one photo of Whidbey business owners armed, camped out, expecting an assault on their stores.

Curious as to how not a single image of this type has surfaced on any form of social media this week.

But you don’t live here, do you? And you don’t have any real idea of what happens here, do you?

You just camp out here virtually, using the siren call of the internet as you steadily chip away at whatever remains of your tattered journalistic legacy.

It’s long past time for you to call it a day, Mr. Schorr.

Walk away from Mr. Thompson’s probably doomed housing development, and stop trying to prop up the fear and paranoia of a handful of nutballs, sir.

End The Buzz with some grace and go bask in the afterglow of good memories crafted in your hometown.

They think you’re a swell dude in Vegas — even named a school for you — and you can still accomplish good in Sin City.

Especially if they don’t learn about your willingness to pimp your soul on the internet.

Relaunch your real web show, Under The Vegas Sun. You looked happy on that show.

But do it soon, sir.

Chet Huntley is tired of spinning in his grave.

“Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Read Full Post »

After a ten-year absence, the Whidbey News-Times is moving back to its old stomping grounds in Oak Harbor. (Photo property Garage of Blessings)

You can go home again.

A decade after taking up residence in Coupeville, the Whidbey News-Times is moving its base of operations back to Oak Harbor.

And when the newspaper returns to the Island’s biggest city, it’s landing back in the building from where it came.

The News-Times will occupy the top floor at 800 SE Barrington Drive, right next to the Oak Harbor police station, but this time around reporters and ad salespeople will share the residence.

Back in olden days, like when I was Sports Editor for a hot moment from 1992-1994, the WNT used the entire building, with printing presses camped out in the back half of the ground floor.

The downstairs is now occupied by Garage of Blessings, a non-profit thrift store which relocated there in 2018.

Sound Publishing, the parent company which owns the News-Times, also owns the Barrington building, and has chosen to move the newspaper staff back to Oak Harbor.

The WNT moved its base of operations to Coupeville in early 2010, and has been the anchor of the Coupe’s Village development on S. Main Street ever since.

At first, the News-Times shared office space with its sister paper, the South Whidbey Record, though later the Record returned to its own roots, opening an office on the South end of the Island.

After Sound Publishing purchased the previously-independent Coupeville Examiner, that newspaper also operated out of the S. Main Street location until the paper was discontinued.

Later, after a change in staffing, the Record returned to the building as well.

With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down most Washington state businesses, and throwing the brakes on print advertising, Sound Publishing combined the News-Times and Record into one paper, which still publishes twice a week.

It’s expected the papers will return to operating as separate publications at some point down the road.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »