NEWS-TIMES Playhouse goes back to ‘1776’ A11 WHIDBEY SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 2014 | Vol. 115, No. 26 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢ Accused of stealing WAIF bequest Ex-attorney pleads innocent to charges By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter Alleged theft and money laundering by a former Oak Harbor attorney resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, according to the president of the nonprofit group’s board. Douglas Saar, 40, formerly of the Law Office of Skinner and Saar, is accused of stealing from estates he represented, including one that named Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, commonly known as WAIF, as the sole beneficiary. Saar pleaded not guilty in Island County Superior Court Monday to four counts of theft in the first degree, one count of theft in the second degree and nine counts of money laundering. Both Superior Court judges recused SEE SAAR PLEA, A5 Photo by Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Timnes Douglas Saar, at left, appears in court with Coupeville attorney Charles Arndt. Counting the homeless in Island County Reserve’s marijuana restriction removed By JANIS REID Numbers ‘static,’ but still cause for concern By JANIS REID Staff reporter On the street, Ray Conger is known as “The Mailman.” Someone driving by the Safeway parking lot entrance might recognize him as the guy who holds up signs with messages like, “I love you” and “smile.” “I tried holding a ‘help’ sign but it just didn’t feel right,” Conger said. Conger has been homeless for two years, he said, and stays in his truck with his girlfriend. He said he worked 20 years for the U.S. Postal Service and bragged he once had a high credit score and a 401k. “I’m a broken person now,” Conger said. CONGER IS part of a homeless population that more than doubled around 2012 and stayed that way. The annual point-in-time count, conducted in January, is a state Department of Commerce program that gauges the number of homeless statewide on a given day. In Island County, the count is led by the Opportunity Council with assistance from a few other agencies. The official state count is expected to be released any day, but the unofficial count provided by the Opportunity Council shows that the county has roughly 90 categorized as unsheltered, with 10 sheltered and another 150 that SEE HOMELESS, A5 Staff reporter Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Timnes Oak Harbor resident Brittany Hilleary gives cash to Ray Conger, one of the island’s growing homeless population. Island County planning commissioners heard the concerns of farmers of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and removed restrictions on recreational marijuana operations in that area. “After we heard the testimony of folks who have lived there for years, we were all pretty well convinced,” said planning commissioner Scott Yonkman this week. “Placing restrictions in the reserve didn’t fit as we first thought it might.” The restrictions were taken out of the findings and recommendations approved by the planning commission Tuesday. This information will now be used to draft a marijuana ordinance that will go before the county commissioners. Farmers claimed the restriction on the reserve granted “farmers outside the reserve an unfair competitive advantage and sets a dangerous precedent,” wrote Charles Arndt in a letter to county leadership. The county is in the process of SEE MARIJUANA, A5 Weekly Drawings: Thursdays, April 10, 17 & 24 March 30 – April 24 Cash & Prize Drawings: Every Half-Hour, 2 – 7:30 pm 8 pm Grand Prize Drawings: April 10, 17 & 24 WNT Cars & Cash Giveaway * • 2014 Ford Mustang or Mustang GT • $10,000 Cash • $5,000 Cash 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! Must be present to win. Visit the Rewards Club Center for details. Management reserves all rights.