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Record South Whidbey

SATURDAY, JULY 14, 2012 | Vol. 88, No. 56 | | 75¢

On trial for murder

INSIDE: Ranch rounds up smiles, Island Life, A10

South End schools to go iTech with almost $1 million BY BEN WATANABE Staff reporter

Ben Watanabe / The Record

Accused murderer James Huden sits next to his attorney, Matt Montoya, as his trial proceeds in Island County Superior Court. The alleged killer seldom looked up, spending most of his time apparently writing in a notebook.

Widow, police, experts testify in Huden trial BY BEN WATANABE Staff reporter

COUPEVILLE — The widow of Russel Douglas, who was murdered in December 2003, testified Wednesday in Island County Superior Court. Brenna Douglas addressed her relationship with her then-estranged husband, a period which she descried as strained at times. She took the stand along with a handful of Island County law enforcement officers and forensics experts in the trial of James Huden, who Island County prosecutors allege was the triggerman who shot Russel Douglas in the head the day after Christmas more than eight years ago.

In his opening statements, Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks argued Huden’s motive for shooting Douglas was to satisfy his own troubled past, one with an abusive stepfather. Huden, dressed in a striped gray suit and wearing his hair in a pony tail, rarely looked up from the table and his notepad, which he appeared to be writing in during testimony. “This is about an assassination,” Banks said. “This case is about the assassination of Russel Douglas the day after Christmas.” “He didn’t even know Mr. Douglas,” Banks said, referring to Huden. See trial, A6

Ben Watanabe / The Record

Brenna Douglas, widow of Russel Douglas, describes their strained relationship to the jury.

LANGLEY — Money will be tight next year in South Whidbey schools. Well, there are apps for that, and there will be plenty of iPads and iPods to swipe and compute on in the South Whidbey School District. Despite losing a handful of teaching positions to declining enrollment and dwindling revenues, the South End’s capital funds for technology are primed to be spent. The district’s technology director, David Pfeiffer, briefed the school board on an iPad project at the June business meeting. That brief became a full-fledged report Wednesday night during the school board’s budget workshop, and the various tablet and handheld device costs total $986,000. Funds collected from the technology levy approved by voters may only be spent on technology-related expenses such as computers, software, network infrastructure and certification. The almost $1 million for technology purchases will also pay for a couple of oneyear contracts for teachers who will be “repurposed” to the technology department, said District Superintendent Jo Moccia. One of the benefits of purchasing the handheld devices is entirely financial, she argued. The idea is to eliminate costly and outdated textbooks that require lots of money, space and replacement. “I don’t want to carry textbooks any more,” Moccia said. “I don’t want to buy textbooks any more.” The school board members applauded the presentation and praised a handful of teachers who represented the technology integration panel. Those teachers

‘I don’t want to carry textbooks any more. I don’t want to buy textbooks any more.’ -- Jo Moccia, superintendent

are responsible for learning how to use and regulate the devices in their classes, then share that information with their colleagues in a peer-to-peer professional development plan. Fred O’Neal, board member, a bit of a techie in his own right, lauded the project and its flexibility to have students and their families directly alleviate a class need. These days, lots of students have smartphones and iPods or iPads. “The lines are getting blurrier and blurrier between what’s a computer and what’s a phone and so on,” he said. “We need to have a policy in place, and as far as I’m concerned, that policy only goes one way and that’s that students can use their own devices.” The first grade-wide implementation of the touchscreen iPad tablets will be seventh grade. Seventh grade students will have access to the second generation iPad, not the newest version. A pair of secondand third-grade classes at South Whidbey Elementary School will be the pilot program for iPod use. Moccia said she would like to use the other two classes that will not use iPods to compare test scores. Threat of theft or loss was already considered by Pfeiffer and the teachers. A professional development group from Apple informed See Schools, A6

South Whidbey Record, July 14, 2012  

July 14, 2012 edition of the South Whidbey Record

South Whidbey Record, July 14, 2012  

July 14, 2012 edition of the South Whidbey Record