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News-Times Whidbey SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2012 | Vol. 113, No. 94 | | 75¢ INSIDE: Fruitcakes found at Playhouse. A10 Fundraisers set for assault victim Terry Cooper said Cooper was found at about Two fundraisers 2:20 a.m. Nov. 17. are scheduled in the The 23-year-old coming days to help was transported an Oak Harbor man to Whidbey defray the medical General Hospital costs stemming from beforebeingairlifta suspected assault ed to Harborview that took place last Chris Cooper Medical Center. week. Terry said his Chris Cooper, son received inju23, is currently at Harborview Medical Center. ries from several hard blows His father, Terry Cooper, to the head and face. Chris describes Chris’s condition was in surgery by 7 a.m. Saturday. as a comatose state. A spokesperson for “He has not been conscious since they found him Harborview Medical Center on Pioneer Way,” Terry said Cooper remains in seriCooper said Tuesday. A pass- ous condition in the intensive erby, believed to be someone care unit. Oak Harbor Police who delivered newspapers, Department Detective discovered an unconscious Chris Cooper in front of a Sergeant Teri Gardner didn’t SE Pioneer Way storefront provide many details about By NATHAN WHALEN Staff reporter Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times Oak Harbor resident Ann Liszak gets a plate full of food Thursday during the North Whidbey Community Harvest. She enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast before volunteering in the afternoon. Thousands gobble up feast By NATHAN WHALEN Staff reporter T housands of North Whidbey residents decided to share a festive Thanksgiving feast together at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge. The annual North Whidbey Community Harvest took place Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. where volunteers provided a turkey and ham dinner, complete with all of the traditional side dishes, to anyone who walked through the doors. Volunteer Skip Pohtilla said the day started out slow but then picked up throughout the afternoon. He didn’t have an exact count on the number of meals served but estimated between 2,500 and 3,000 people enjoyed a meal together. Volunteers arrived at the Elks Lodge before 7 a.m. to start cooking the 190 turkeys and 500 pounds of ham that served as the main course. “We definitely have enough for an aircraft carrier,” joked volunteer Scott Fraser. “We are going to feed the masses today.” The Community Harvest needed the help of more than 300 volunteers in order for the food to be prepared and served. “You can’t do it without these dedicated individuals,” Fraser said. Some people enjoyed their Thanksgiving meal before starting their shift to volunteer. “I love it. It’s so much fun,” Oak Harbor resident Ann Liszak said after getting a plate of food. She was eating before she started her shift checking in volunteers. Once the feast concluded, firefighters from the Oak Harbor Fire Department cleaned up. People who couldn’t attend the Community Harvest also had a chance to receive a meal. A group of volunteers was busy filling to-go boxes for the homebound, employees who were working, emergency personnel who were on duty during the holiday and anyone else who called for food. Proposed county gun rules rile residents By JUSTIN BURNETT Staff reporter Residents of rural communities in Island County may soon have a say in whether or not their neighbors can shoot guns in their backyards. On Wednesday, the Island County Commissioners discussed a set of draft rules which propose a petition process for neighborhoods seeking to ban or allow the discharge of firearms in their area. Although usually sparsely attended, the weekly staff session drew a standing room only crowd of hunters, representatives from local gun clubs and general Second Amendment advocates. District 2 Commissioner Angie Homola, the primary sponsor of the proposed legislation, immediately addressed the crowd in the hopes of clearing up any misconceptions about the new rules and why they are being brought forward in the first place. “I’ve been seeing a lot of emails coming through our office that Commissioner Homola is trying to stop people from owning guns in Island County and nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. “This is just an opportunity to address the needs of citizens. “I don’t get to pick and choose what people come and ask me for,” she said. “People have come and said they are afraid for their lives and they would like an opportunity to protect themselves and can you please help.” Earlier this year, residents See rules, A2 about a block away from the Highway 20 intersection. See ASSAULT, A8 Former city employee suit cites harassment By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter A former employee with the Oak Harbor solid waste department filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The attorney representing Nancy Hover and her husband filed the claim against the city and her former supervisor in Island County Superior Court Nov. 2. The lawsuit asks for general damages, damages for mental anguish and emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages and attorney’s fees. The total amount of the damages are unspecified in the lawsuit, but Hover demanded $350,000 in an original complaint for damages filed with the city. The lawsuit claims Hover was a victim of gender discrimination, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and retaliation. Hover’s attorney, Robert Butler of Bellingham, said his client loved her job and worked at the city for many years, despite the hostile environment. “We’re pretty disappointed that the city is tolerating sexual harassment and gender discrimination in this day in age,” he said. The lawsuit states Hover was hired as a solid waste collector in 2005. It claims her supervisor told her she wasn’t welcome there because she was a woman and that she was only hired because she is a woman. Her supervisor complained that the male employees See SUIT, A8

Whidbey News-Times, November 24, 2012

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