Whidbey News-Times, December 07, 2013
December 07, 2013 edition of the Whidbey News-Times
News-Times LIVING Whidbey Couple goes all-out during the holidays A11 SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2013 | Vol. 114, No. 98 | www.whidbeynewstimes.com | 75¢ Mayor will see benefits reduced Scoping meetings highlight growing tensions By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter By JANIS REID Staff reporter Dramatic exchanges that occurred during the Navy’s public information meetings last week illustrated rising tensions over jet noise. Within the first hour of the first scoping meeting in Coupeville, two men traded heated words that led to one of them being ejected by town marshals. During the second meeting, held in Oak Harbor, community leaders on both sides of the debate made unscheduled presentations to Capt. Mike Nortier, commanding officer of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. During the third meeting, in Anacortes, members of an anti-noise Coupeville group were asked to leave because they did not have permission to set up an information table. More than 340 people attended the three scoping meetings, held Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times With Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley, left, Oak Harbor Chamber President Jason McFadyen, right, and opponents of OLF Coupeville looking on, Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson presents information to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Commander Capt. Mike Nortier during the EIS scoping session in Coupeville. Tuesday through Thursday, marked the start of an Environmental Impact Statement examining the potential environmental effects associated with ongoing EA-18G Growler airfield operations at NAS Whidbey’s Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field Coupeville. The study will also include the proposed introduction of two additional expeditionary electronic attack squadrons and the addition of aircraft to the fleet replacement squadron. Joe Kunzler, a Sedro-Woolley resident who calls himself “Growler Joe” on a blog, was escorted out of Coupeville High School Tuesday after engaging in an argument with retired educator Harry Toulgoat, of Coupeville. A recording of the confrontation was posted online by Kunzler. A critic of Kunzler’s pro-Navy blog, Toulgoat said he approached him with a question about OLF. Toulgoat said he showed Kunzler a statement he prepared to submit at the forum with the title, “Please stop destroying Coupeville.” Kunzler said he saw this as an “anti-Navy tirade” and refused to discuss it further. Toulgoat accused Kunzler of being “short-sighted” and against “effective communication.” “Stop being so arrogant and such a bully,” Toulgoat told Kunzler. Toulgoat also criticized, what he called a “threat,” when Kunzler posted online stating that he would “send a chill down the spine” of those who don’t support the Navy. “All those school children that See Scoping, A20 Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley’s benefits will shrink in just over a year. Members of City Council shot back at his proposal to eliminate health insurance coverage for all elected officials with a r e s o l u t i o n Dudley that will only affect the mayor’s benefits. The council unanimously approved the resolution during Tuesday’s meeting. It eliminates elected officials’ eligibility to participate in the city’s high-deductible health care plan and prevents the city from paying for medical premiums for dependents of elected officials. Councilman Rick AlmSee benefits, A5 Harvest dinner feeds 5,000 Navy says OLF barrier was years in planning By RON NEWBERRY By JANIS REID Staff reporter Staff reporter The organizer of the North Whidbey Community Harvest called it a Thanksgiving like none other. The 12th annual event drew about 4,000 people to the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge on Nov. 28 while volunteers delivered meals to about 1,000 more, according to Jack Stiltz, the event’s coordinator. “This ranked as the best we’ve ever had in 12 years,” Stiltz said. The Community Harvest started as an event orgaSee dinner, A20 AnniversAry WNT-ST The recent installation of cement blocks around Outlying Field Coupeville is drawing criticism from area residents who claim the Navy failed to consult with the community. More than 1,000 40-inch cement Jersey barriers were placed around the perimeter of the OLF, stamped with the words “government property, do not trespass.” Additional fencing will also be placed at the entryways. C e l e b r At i o n Plans to install the blocks to increase security at OLF Coupeville has been in the works for years, according to officials at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. “We’ve been trying to get those blocks out there for some time,” said Bill MacMillan, NAS Whidbey airfield manager and deputy operations officer. “I had this identified as a security risk a long time ago.” Maryon Attwood, a member of the Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, or COER, $237,600 said she thinks that the barriers are a “keep out” sign to island visitors and that the Navy should have consulted neighbors about the appearance. “They should have sought local input,” Attwood said. “That’s my group’s continuing problem with them. 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