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News-Times Whidbey

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 | Vol. 124, No. 43 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Late historian, WNT editor’s home to burn for good cause

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BEST OF WHIDBEY

THE

BEST OF

WHIDBEY

ICE AWARDS READERS CHO

Ballot kicks off voting A11-14

By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

A piece of Oak Harbor history will go up in flames — repeatedly — over the weekend. All for a good cause. Oak Harbor Fire Chief Ray Merrill said the home in which the late Dorothy Neil lived is going to be burned down by the NEIL fire department on Saturday. SEE NEIL HOME, A7

Photo provided

Tamra Sipes, shown at left during this year’s Whidbey Marathon, will meet with Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley this week to discuss her future as the coordinator of the annual event. They mayor wants to let Sipes go, the City Council wants to keep her.

Photo provided by Mike Brown

A grease fire in an Oak Harbor home Friday destroyed the residence.

Grease fire destroys Oak Harbor residence By MICHELLE BEAHM Staff reporter

A grease fire destroyed a mobile home on Spitfire Lane in Oak Harbor Friday afternoon. No one was injured. The blaze, which damaged the doublewide home, was apparently caused when grease used for deep frying caught fire and spread. All occupants were home at the time of the fire, which apparently started when the wife SEE GREASE FIRE, A7

Mayor, council at odds over marathon coordinator’s future

By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Changes are coming to the management of the Whidbey Island Marathon, whether or not the City Council is on board with them, says Mayor Scott Dudley. At odds on past occasions, the mayor and the council are once again fighting over control of the city. This time, the tussle is over whether or not to keep longtime Oak Harbor resident Tamra Sipes as coordinator of the annual marathon. CITY COUNCIL members, particularly Councilwoman Beth Munns, spent a great deal of the council’s Tuesday meeting

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gushing about the success of the marathon, which this year had the highest number of participants in the 13 years the race has existed. The city has owned it for five years. A little more than 2,800 people ran in the full and half marathons this past April. Munns asked to have the issue of the contract for the race coordinator brought forward on the agenda, pointing out that Sipes needs to start working on next year’s marathon as early as possible. “Usually the day after an event you get one free day and then you start again planning for the next one,” she said. The council unanimously voted to con-

sider a two-year contract for the position no later than July 1. THE TROUBLE is, it’s up to Dudley to decide who will fill that role. While several council members made it clear they are confident that Sipes is the right person for the job, Dudley said he doesn’t agree. The mayor said he isn’t happy with the work Sipes has done and wants to look into other options, including finding a nonprofit group to run the race. He said participation steadily declined until this year, when it skyrocketed due to — what SEE MARATHON, A7

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Whidbey News-Times, May 28, 2014