Record South Whidbey INSIDE Whale Center gets mouthy See...A3 SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2014 | Vol. 90, No. 6 | WWW.SOUTHWHIDBEYRECORD.COM | 75¢ FIRE BOAT races to completion SW port scheme passed under fire By CELESTE ERICKSON South Whidbey Record Improving business growth, enhancing transportation opportunities and maintaining public access for waterfronts are a few the Port of South Whidbey’s primary goals over the next six years. Those objectives, and others, were outlined in the port’s comprehensive scheme, a long-range public planning document that was adopted during the commissioners’ regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 14. Five people, not including a Record reporter, attended the hearing to share their concerns, including former port commissioner Geoff Tapert. He expressed disappointment over the document in comparison to the previous scheme crafted while he was a commissioner from 2005 to 2011. “I read through it in five minutes,” Tapert said. “It’s pathetic.” SEE PORT, A9 Directors hammer out school priorities Ben Watanabe / The Record Jake Leonard and Tim Leonard work on the 32-foot catamaran, set to be delivered to South Whidbey Fire/EMS this month as its new, nearly $500,000 fire suppression and marine response vessel. By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record A nearly $500,000 catamaran built for South Whidbey Fire/EMS is late for delivery, and daily penalties for the Freeland-based manufacturer may be adding up. The 32-foot emergency response vessel, built by North Cross Aluminum, was recently put into the water in Oak Harbor and piloted to Langley where it will be permanently moored. The boat is not finished, however, and each day past the Jan. 1 delivery deadline could cost the builder $400 in late fees. “They’re working fast and furious to get it done,” said Chief Rusty Palmer at a fire commissioners meeting Tuesday night. A clause in the contract outlines the $400 per calendar day penalty, but enforcing the fines is at the discretion of the district’s fire commissioners. By CELESTE ERICKSON South Whidbey Record “That will be entirely up to the board to enforce,” Palmer said. “If they feel the vendor has tried as hard as he can, they can forgo it.” In a later interview, Palmer said North Cross may not be entirely at fault, as the builder has been bogged down with warranty issues of equipment supplied by other companies. The main issue is The high school track was the hot-button topic Wednesday night during a South Whidbey School District workshop. The board of directors was gathered to review priorities of upcoming projects that will be funded from the nearly $6 million capital/technology levy passed in 2013. A large chunk of time was spent discussing the resurfacing of the South Whidbey High School track, which has begun to be a health and safety concern for the district. Problems with the facility have resulted in lost practice time for the track team and no home meets. High school track and field coach Mark Eager said the team loses about 10 to 20 percent of practice time from SEE FIRE BOAT, A9 SEE SCHOOLS, A9 Second Street work begins Tuesday By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record Construction, and destruction, of Second Street in Langley will start Tuesday, Jan. 21. Work will begin on the north side of the road, the half which has the library, City Hall, South Whidbey Commons and the Star Store parking lot. On the eve of major change, Langley leaders are confident the public is both prepared and informed. “What I’ve heard is that people realize it has to happen,” said Councilwoman Rene Neff. “The street being dug up has to happen, it’s all coming apart.” “In the end, when it’s all said and done, hopefully it will be a really nice project and make the city better, more walkable,” she added. Langley Director of Community Planning Jeff Arango said in an email that visitors should not expect to park on Second Street during construction, as spaces will be eliminated during work to break up the road and replace existing utilities. The $2.2 million project is slated to last 100 working days and has a stated completion date of June 7. About $1.8 Justin Burnett / The Record SEE SECOND STREET, A9 This sign alerts people to upcoming construction work on Langley’s Second Street, starting Jan. 21.