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NEWS-TIMESS WHIDBEY Business Giving pets a home away from home A4 WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2014 | Vol. 115, No. 27 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢ Unsolved murder back in spotlight Police say they haven’t given up on finding killer By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter It’s been 17 years since Oak Harbor lost its small-town innocence. Seventeen years ago this month, a 7-yearold girl named Deborah Palmer disappeared while walking a few blocks to Oak Harbor Elementary School. Following a massive search effort, her body was found five days later in the surf at a Strawberry Point beach. DEBORAH The city collectively PALMER agonized in myriad ways, including a tear-streaked memorial service for the entire community. But her murderer was never found. This week, Oak Harbor Police Department is once again making a public push to raise awareness about the murder — and the reward fund — in hopes SEE REWARD, A5 Photo by Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times Glorita Davies, president of Filipino-American Association of Oak Harbor, speaks with a cameraman from Washington’s Most Wanted. The association donated money for a banner related to the 1997 murder of Deborah Palmer. The TV station is doing a segment about the unsolved murder. Concert to aid firefighter in Oso with ties to Whidbey Angered by tree’s removal, group gathers at stump By RON NEWBERRY Staff reporter By JANIS REID Staff reporter Despite the wind and rain early Saturday, Terry Ann Gallagher went out to the stump of the 330-year-old Garry oak that was cut down last week to pay her respects. Gallagher tacked to the stump a photograph of the tree she had taken years ago. “There’s a lot of history with that tree,” Gallagher said. “I’ve been on the island for 16 years. This is first time in a long time I wanted to get out and be pissed at someone.” Gallagher said she posted the tree cutting on Facebook and the response of her friends was, “What a disgraceful thing to do.” Under the direction of Mayor Scott Dudley, SEE GARRY OAK, A5 Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times Terry Ann Gallagher places a photo on the stump of the 330-year-old tree. The feeling of loss over the lives taken in the Oso landslide hit home on Whidbey Island. And residents on the island are rallying to help. A benefit concert is planned for Friday night, April 4, at the Roller Barn in Oak Harbor to help Seth Jefferds, an Oso resident who lost his wife and granddaughter during the March 22 mudslide. Jefferds is the brother of Whidbey residents Ian and Rawle Jefferds, co-owners of Coupeville-based Penn Cove Shellfish. Seth Jefferds’ wife, Christina Jefferds, and their 4-month-old granddaughter, Sanoah Huestis, were in the Jefferds’ Oso home along the Stillaguamish River when the slide struck. “He lost his house, his wife and grand- child,” said his sister-in-law Karen Jefferds, Ian’s wife. “He’s not the only one, certainly. We’re trying to do everything we can to help him rebuild his life,” she said. “A lot of people wanted to be involved to help generate money for him.” Whidbey-based band Johnny Bulldog will perform the concert. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50. The use of the Roller Barn is being donated for the event, as is pizza from Hot Rocks Pizza and beer from Flyers Restaurant and Brewery. Tickets are being sold at Flyers, Re/Max Acorn Properties and Ace Hardware in Oak Harbor and bayleaf, the Front Street Grill and Red Apple Market in Coupeville. Seth Jefferds, a volunteer firefighter in SEE BENEFIT CONCERT, A11

Whidbey News-Times, April 02, 2014

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