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News-Times Whidbey

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19, 2013 | Vol. 114, No. 6 | | 75¢

INSIDE: Sound Waters gearing up Island Living

WAIF gets OK to open re-use store By JUSTIN BURNETT Staff reporter

Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor City Councilman Rick Almberg questions the city attorney about gun laws during the Tuesday night council meeting. He later walked out after his motion to ask armed citizens to check their weapons in council chambers failed to pass.

Gun debate heats up with walk out

By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

No guns were drawn or even visible, but a councilman’s confrontation with an armed audience member ended dramatically Tuesday night as the elected official left the meeting when his colleagues refused to pass a motion to disarm the man. The confrontation has amped up gun control debate in Oak Harbor, which mirrors many of the discussions occurring nationwide since the Dec. 14 shooting that left 20 children and six staff members dead at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The question being argued in Oak Harbor is whether people should be able to carry firearms in public places like city parks or council chambers. Councilman Rick Almberg, with support from Councilman Joel Servatius, has taken a stand against allowing guns in such public places. Almberg acknowledges that the council may not have the authority to preempt state law, but he wants to bring attention to the issue. “Currently, state law does preclude citizens from carrying the firearms in places like jails or courts and related facilities,” Almberg wrote in a statement to the News-Times, which can be read in its entirety on page A7. “So the issue is not whether possession of a gun in certain locations can be regulated; it’s a matter of which places state lawmakers are willing to regulate. In the view of recent mass shootings, I think this is a subject that needs immediate attention.” Mayor Scott Dudley, on the other hand, said he expects the next council meeting on Feb. 5 to be very popular and that armed people may be in attendance. He said he reached out to a gun rights advocate who attended the Jan. 2 council meeting

Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley holds up the oath of office, saying a couple of councilmen broke the oath in trying to limit a citizen’s Second Amendment rights. armed with a gun and suggested he may want to attend the next meeting; he said he hasn’t asked anyone to bring guns to the meeting, as has been rumored. The likelihood of firearms at the meeting, in turn, has prompted council regular Shane Hoffmire to ask council members to move the meeting to a court or school, where guns aren’t allowed. Dudley has been very critical of Almberg and Servatius for their actions and scolded them at the meeting, saying they weren’t living up to the oath of office. In an interview, he said Almberg should consider resigning if he has to leave a meeting just because people are demonstrating their constitutional rights. “We have a couple of councilmen who have lost sight of what See GUNS, A8

Half-full buckets of paint, scrap or old lumber and other used building supplies may soon be for sale at the Coupeville dump. Earning their latest merit badge in environmental sustainability, the Island County Commissioners last week informally agreed to allow a non-profit group to open a reuse store at the county’s solid waste complex. Per the agreement, which is expected to be finalized with a formal vote later this month, the store will be operated by Coupeville-based Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, or WAIF. The non-profit group will run the store out of an old pole-building, located just west of the facility’s commercial entrance, which was built to house the facility’s original recycle center. “I think it’s great to find creative ways to reduce our revenue stream,” said Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, who also serves as chairwoman of the board. “And this benefits a nonprofit so it’s a win-win.” According to Mary Anna Cummings, manager of WAIF store in Oak Harbor, the organization’s interest in a re-use store has less to do with dollar signs and more to with parallel philosophies. WAIF’s overall mission, she said, is to give animals a second chance. A re-use store does the same thing, but for building materials. “It’s taking something and giving it a whole new use, a re-use,” Cummings said. What profits are made will be put toward the organiza-

tion’s shelters and various other programs run by the nonprofit. The model for a re-use store is basically the same as a thrift store. Goods are donated, then resold for profit, though usually at a fraction of the cost of buying the same item brand new. In this case, the items sold are largely building materials and a range of other hard-torecycle goods, such as scrap electronics that are not accepted by the state’s E-Cycle program – keyboards, mice, fax machines, etc. Various other items, from fishing poles and plastic buckets, may also be collected and resold at the new store. The model is nothing new as similar stores can be found in communities scattered throughout Puget Sound. The RE Store in Bellingham has been in business for 20 years. Whidbey Island got its first in late 2011 with the opening of Habitat for Humanity of Island County’s retail store in Freeland. According to store Manager Sandra Stipe, it resells all kinds of building materials and home products, and the store has been a huge success. Not only are people buying recycled supplies for construction needs at home, but the store is frequented by other customers as well, from artists on the prowl for unique materials to farmers See WAIF, A8

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Whidbey News-Times, January 19, 2013  

January 19, 2013 edition of the Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey News-Times, January 19, 2013  

January 19, 2013 edition of the Whidbey News-Times