A guide to Who’s Who in Business
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2014 | Vol. 124 No. 35 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢
OHPD captain hanging it up By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter
The parade lasted more than an hour with 82 entries traveling along Bayshore Drive, City Beach Street and on to Pioneer Way. Dignitaries such as Scott Dudley, Oak Harbor’s mayor, and Capt. Mike Nortier, commanding officer of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, walked the stretch behind the street sweepers and a town crier who’ve long been part of the celebration of the city’s Dutch heritage.
It was the sun that finally did it. Capt. Tim Sterkel could have ended his career with the Oak Harbor Police Department at a nice, round 40 years, but he said the lure of sunny days and the prospect of trading an office chair for a saddle on a horse was too much for STERKEL: him. He turned “If I made a dif62 and decided ference, I bet it to retire. was during my Sterkel’s final years as the drug day with the sergeant.” department is Wednesday. He leaves with 39 years of institutional knowledge that he gained under seven chiefs of police. Rising through the ranks — he started as a reserve officer — Sterkel helped put away murderers and many other bad guys, but he said he’s most proud of his work investigating drug crimes. “If I made a difference, I bet it was during my years as the drug sergeant,” he said. “I can walk away saying, ‘I think we did pretty good.’” A lot of change is coming to the
SEE HAPPENING, A8
SEE STERKEL RETIRING, A8
Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Tammi Fisher and her daughter Makenna Fisher are dressed in Dutch attire as they wait for the start of the Holland Happening grand parade Saturday in Oak Harbor. Makenna’s job was to hand out tulips. See more Holland Happening photos on page A9.
Dutch treat By RON NEWBERRY Staff reporter
The joy of participating in the Holland Happening grand parade was clear from the smile on Sophia Bahner’s face. Bahner, 5, was one of 30 members with Woodward’s Taekwondo Academy in Oak Harbor demonstrating their moves along streets lined with parade watchers in downtown Oak Harbor Saturday.
It was time for crescent kicks and hammer fists. “She was super excited to be able to do some of her kicks in front of the mayor,” said her mother, April Banner. The 45th Holland Happening was highlighted by sunshine during the parade and a firstday crowd estimated at 3,000 people. Wind gusts kept down Sunday’s attendance and played havoc with vendors’ tents.
Annual celebration draws thousands to Oak Harbor
Districts will do county fire inspections By JANIS REID Staff reporter
Fire districts will now perform fire inspections for Island County, a service that was provided infrequently following staffing cuts in 2009. Last week, the county entered into an agreement with the county’s four fire districts allowing them to take over inspections. Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, who was in office during the 2009
staffing cutbacks, said restoring the county’s ability to perform regular fire inspections is a good step. “This is an opportunity for us to do two things,” Price Johnson said. “One, to connect the fire inspections with the first responders, which I think is a positive thing, and two, it addresses the needs of the Planning Department.” The Planning Department has a backlog of permitting and large-scale state-mandated projects.
Prior to the cutbacks, Island County building official Andy Griffin said, the county conducted more than 800 fire inspections each year. Now, Griffin said he alone performs about two per month, and only when they are required for licensure. In the past, the county took a more active approach in ensuring buildings and new construction were fire safe, he said. SEE COUNTY, A4
Race Week gets new owners By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter
The nationally recognized sailboat regatta held out of Oak Harbor each July will have new owners next year. Charley and Schelleen Rathkopf of Seattle announced last week that they are purchasing Whidbey Island Race Week from Gary Stuntz of Clear Ahead Marine Production after the event this summer. For racers and residents, the change in ownership may mean a greater emphasis on family-friendly activiSEE RACE, A4