News-Times Whidbey SPORTS: Wildcats take top two in meet. A9 SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2012 | Vol. 113, No. 76 | www.whidbeynewstimes.com | 75¢ Mayor’s vision elusive, critics say “Eventually it’ll be mounted in a down and dirty (landing) configuration. .... It’ll look like it’s landing on a carrier.” Dudley lists priorities in State of City talk Whale of a groundbreaking By KATHY REED Staff reporter O ne may wonder how a hole in the ground could spark so much joy in the faces of grown men, but that was the case Thursday morning as members of the A-3 Skywarrior Whidbey Memorial Foundation watched ground being broken at the memorial site. “It’s taken us three years to get to this point,” said Bill Burklow. “Oh, man, it’s awesome.” “It’s an exciting day,” agreed Jeff Hansen. “It brings us that much closer to the end product.” The three watched as a backhoe scraped up a bucket of dirt near the center of the space at the corner of Ault Field Road and Langley Boulevard in Oak Harbor, which is near the entrance to the main gate of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. It is the first physical step in the process of creating a concrete pad that will serve as the foundation for “the Whale,” as the jet is affectionately called. “We’re looking at about a three-week event here,” said Burklow. “It will take about a week to get it excavated and inspected; then they’ll put down the rebar and pour the concrete. It will take about a week to cure the concrete and then they’ll do a week of testing for weight.” While the groundbreaking was exciting, moving the aircraft will be the biggest part of the project. The plane will likely be moved in the middle of the night, because it will have to travel down Ault Field Road before it is put in place. “Even with the wings folded the plane’s still Kathy Reed/ Whidbey News-Times Skywarrior Memorial Foundation members Bill Burklow, left, Jim Croft and Jeff Hansen can’t stop smiling as they give a thumbs up at the groundbreaking for the A-3 memorial. 50 feet wide,” said Jim Croft. “We’re going to be walking the wings to make sure it’s got plenty of clearance,” said Burklow. The plane’s tail is also folded to one side, but even so it stands 16-feet, 9-inches tall. Burklow said he believes the clearance for the traffic signals at the intersection by which the plane will be situated is 17 feet, which will likely make for a few anxious moments when moving day does arrive. This is just the first stage of the memorial’s construction, which is expected to be completed in phases. The plane will initially rest on its tires. “Eventually it’ll be mounted in a down and dirty (landing) configuration,” said Burklow. “The nose will be up, wheels down, tailhook down — it’ll look like it’s landing on a carrier.” By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley’s State of the City address started out rocky Wednesday night, but ended in something close to harmony. It seems doubtful, however, that the presentation will satisfy a City Council that has been critical and skeptical of the mayor over the last nine months. He said prior to the meeting that his motive for giving the speech was to head off complaints from council members about his supposed lack of vision or direction. Anyone expecting a bold new vision would be disappointed, Dudley admitted afterward. Instead, he presented some generalized priorities — No. 1 was public safety — as well as specific goals, such as improving the city’s fire insurance rating and battling urban blight. Indeed, Councilman Joel Servatius said afterward that he heard very little in the way of vision. “From conversations I’ve had I believe the public, the city staff, and at least this council member are still unclear as to what this ‘new direction’ or vision is,” he wrote in an email. See Mayor, A4 See plane, A2 Final Day, Thursday, September 27! Half-Hour, 2 – 6:30 pm * Drawings Every 8 pm Grand Prize Drawings: Earn Tickets Now! WNT-ST Two $ 10,000 Winners! Three $ 5 ,000 Winners! Bubble Bonus Drawings: $ 8 ,500 at 7 pm, Seven Winners! Owned by Upper Skagit Indian Tribe On I-5 at Exit 236 theskagit.com • 877-275-2448 *Must be a Rewards Club Member – Membership is FREE! See Rewards Club Center for complete details. Must be present to win. Casino opens at 9 am daily. Must be 21 or older with valid ID.