News-Times Whidbey ISLAND LIVING At 63, racer still has some gas left in the tank A11 SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014 | Vol. 124, No. 30 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢ Thousands expected for Whidbey marathon By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter The Whidbey Island Marathon has gained popularity by leaps and bounds, which means residents can expect a whole lot of steelylegged runners crisscrossing the island this Sunday. Organizers are cautioning drivers to take it slow this weekend and avoid certain areas, if possible. Oak Harbor resident Tamra Sipes, organizer of the event, said it would be wise to avoid Deception Pass Bridge on Sunday morning. The bridge will be closed from 7:10 a.m. for the 7:15 a.m. start of the full marathon. The bridge reopens to traffic at approximately 7:45 a.m. Undoubtedly, the bridge closure as well as the hundreds of participants will likely clog things up beyond those times. SEE RACE, A24 Schools getting plan in place for expected growth BY MICHELLE BEAHM Staff Reporter With the Oak Harbor school district’s student population expected to grow by about 750 by 2016, the school board is setting in motion plans to accomodate the increase. The population increase, a result of new Navy squadrons coming to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, is expected in fiscal year 2016, which would mean the first population hike would first be seen during the 2016-17 school year. SEE DISTRICT GROWTH, A24 Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times A worker unloads food into the storage garage of North Whidbey Help House during Oak Harbor schools’ “Fill the Bus” campaign last fall. New programs raise debate over ‘Housing First’ model By JANIS REID Staff reporter Those working closely with the island’s growing homeless population offer a resounding “yes” when asked if the island needs a homeless shelter. They will also tell you that Whidbey Island will likely never have one. And that is forcing the county to think outside the box. “We’re all just seeing the need grow,” said Jackie Henderson, Island County human services director. “And, through our churches and communities, we’re seeing more people who are a day away (from homelessness).” Stephen Haggan, a 51-year-old Vietnam veteran who was panhandling near Walmart Friday, said that he hears that there are services for the homeless, but hasn’t seen them materialize for him. While he isn’t homeless yet, Haggan said he and his family are about to get kicked out of their temporary housing. “I keep hearing that (about services), but I don’t see it,” Haggan said. “There’s a lot going on out here, and everyone has a different story.” In an effort to address the island’s homeless population, the county initiated a new program late last year that provides housing for 15 homeless and displaced people. They aren’t placed in shelters or temporary housing, but rather in subsidized apartments. SEE HOMES, A10 Island responds to a growing need for food By JANIS REID Staff reporter Those struggling financially on the island can find a free meal or groceries almost every day of the week on Whidbey Island. More so than ever, the island’s SEE NEED, A10 Weekly Drawings: Thursdays, April 17 & 24 Now – April 24 Cash & Prize Drawings: Every Half-Hour, 2 – 7:30 pm 8 pm Grand Prize Drawings: April 17 & 24 WNT Cars & Cash Giveaway * • 2014 Ford 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.