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RECORD D SOUTH WHIDBEY INSIDE MR. SOUTH WHIDBEY SEE...A10 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2013 | VOL. 89, NO. 81 | WWW.SOUTHWHIDBEYRECORD.COM | 75¢ The future of Parks & Rec Unmanned aircraft to join air traffic at NAS Whidbey By JANIS REID South Whidbey Record Captn Blynd Bob Hezel Candidates promise improvements Both say they would consider a new aquatics center if elected By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record Two political newcomers will square off this November for Position 3 in the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District’s only contested commissioner race. Captn Blynd and Bob Hezel Jr., both Freeland residents, are hoping for the seat currently occupied by Jim Porter, a long-time commissioner who was on the board when the district was formed in 1983. Porter has decided not to seek re-election. Incumbents Mark Helpenstell and Matt Simms are seeking another four years unopposed. Ahead for the parks board is the push for renewing the district’s maintenance and operations levy in 2014, pursuing the operation of Holmes Harbor Golf Course, possibly managing three county parks and financing an aquatics center. Captn Blynd Yes, that is his legal name after he changed it many years ago. The Freeland man, 52, has lived on South Whidbey for four years. Within the past year, Blynd focused on the parks district as an outlet for his time and energy. SEE ELECTION, A12 North Whidbey skies are expected to see unmanned Navy aircraft flying by 2016. Four MQ-4C Triton drones will be based out of Ventura County Naval Base in California, but the existing P3 tactical support center at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station will be expanded to support both the P-8A and the Triton, according Ted Brown, installations and environmental public affairs officer for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. The Triton is expected to supplement the P-8A Poseidon in patrol missions, and is expected to be operational at NAS Whidbey by 2015-2016, Brown said. The Triton is a multiple-sensor, unarmed, unmanned aircraft system that is approximately 48 feet long and has a wingspan of approximately 131 feet, according to a Navy executive summary on the drone project. The Triton will provide continuous maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data collection and dissemination capability to remain in flight up to 24 hours per day. The Triton UAS is a complement to the Navy’s P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft, and uses the same tactical support centers as the P-8A aircraft. The tactical support centers operate the command and control functions of SEE DRONES, A9

South Whidbey Record, October 09, 2013

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