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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2013 | VOL. 89, NO. 101 | WWW.SOUTHWHIDBEYRECORD.COM | 75¢
Man proposes marriage during sentencing; judge not amused
Freeland shellfish district’s days may be numbered
By JUSTIN BURNETT South Whidbey Record
Signs like this one at Freeland Park on South Whidbey may soon be a thing of the past.
Langley will retain a fulltime mayor and the job will continue to pay $53,000. The decision was galvanized Monday when the city council approved the 2014 budget in a 4-0 vote. Councilman Bruce Allen was not present. Fleshed out with the public in several recent meetings, the $11.8 million budget saw few, if any, criticisms. Perhaps the only concern mentioned related to the mayor’s pay, but the issue got little traction with decision makers. Indeed, the topic was not even broached until after the vote was cast and the budget approved. It was then that Councilwoman Rene Neff addressed the issue, and only then to make clear her support of the current fulltime model and Mayor Fred McCarthy. She said she, past councils and a vote of the people have all endorsed the existing model, and that she continues to believe it’s the best path for Langley. “This could be a part-time job but it’s much better as a full-time job,” Neff said. Previous administrations have operated under a mayor/administrator format. The model was switched to just a full-time mayor under Paul Samuelson’s term, cutting the administrator’s position and raising the mayor’s salary from about $31,000 to the current $53,000. The amount is set by city ordinance. Believing the job should be part-time, the model
SEE SHELLFISH, A5
SEE BUDGET, A24
By JESSIE STENSLAND South Whidbey Record An Oak Harbor man attempted to prove during a sentencing hearing on a meth conviction Monday that he was not too late for love, whatever Def Leppard might have to say on the subject. Jacob Jungwirth, 27, proposed to his girlfriend just before being sent away to prison for 18 months. “Crystal,” who was in the audience, immediately agreed. The stunt didn’t sit well with Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill, and Jungwirth nearly earned himself more time in the slammer. “I was not pleased that the defendant wanted to make a mockery of the criminal hearing and that he directly defied an order from the judge,” she said in a statement to the Whidbey News-Times. “I seriously considered taking the plea offer off the table. In the end, I did not, but there is a certain decorum that I expect in the courtroom.” Deputy Prosecutor David Carman handled the case against Jungwirth and was in court during the unusual moment. He explained that Jungwirth pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of methamphetamine. Under the plea bargain, the prosecution and defense recommended a sentence of 18 months in prison. The sentence was longer SEE PROPOSAL, A24
Langley OKs budget, mayor’s salary
Ben Watanabe / The Record
Audrey Doyle, a Freeland resident, walks her dog, Maxwell, at Freeland Park on Tuesday. State health regulators are considering partially lifting a ban on shellfish harvesting in Holmes Harbor that’s been in place since 2006.
State looks to lift ban in 2014, possibly in April By JUSTIN BURNETT South Whidbey Record For the second time in less than two years, state water quality experts say the ban on shellfish harvesting in Holmes Harbor may be lifted within a few months. According to Jule Schultz, a public health advisor with the state Department of Health’s Office of Shellfish and Water Protection, the results of a recently-completed study will pave the way for reopening of the area, at least partially. “From this study we’re confident there will be harvesting opportunities a portion of the year,” Schultz said. “What portion that will be is still undecided.” The Holmes Harbor Shellfish Protection District was established by the Island County commissioners in 2006 following the discovery of elevated levels of fecal coliform
bacteria in water samples. County health and planning officials spent years working on the problem, and in 2012 Schultz said the ban on shellfish harvesting might be lifted within a few months depending on an examination of testing results. More than one year later, however, the ban remains in place and it’s vexing county officials. “I’m frustrated that we’ve spent as much public dollars as we have on Holmes Harbor, and we still have a district and a beach closed to shellfish harvesting because we’ve been successful,” said Keith Higman, director of Island County Public Health. According to Schultz, the source of the hold-up was conflicting data. Fresh water outlets were found free of the offending bacteria, but nearshore results continued to show showed high levels of fecal coliform bacteria as of last year.
Ben Watanabe / The Record