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Two wildcats place third at Mat Classic A9

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2014 | Vol. 115, No. 17 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Sewer loans to save OH millions By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor resident Rosa Escojido, 22, consults with Opportunity Council Lead In-Person Assister Tryphena Adams Monday about signing up for healthcare coverage to be compliant under the Affordable Care Act.

Islanders navigate Obamacare Uninsured must sign up by March 23

By JANIS REID Staff reporter

Until this past September, when he was laid off from his information technology job, Rob Rodgers and his family of four were covered by health insurance.

After he lost his job, he turned to the Washington Health Plan Finder in search of coverage available under the Affordable Care Act. Similar to national reports, he didn’t have much success. “We tried the website and had a horrible, horSEE NAVIGATING, PAGE A24

The City of Oak Harbor received the green light to obtain a low-interest loan of state and federal dollars to help fund the new sewage treatment plant. Borrowing money for sewage treatment may not seem sexy, but Finance Director Doug Merriman said the low interest rate of 2.7 percent will save the city about $6.1 million in interest payments over the life of the financing period. What’s more, the $11.46-million loan is just for one year of the project and city officials plan to apply for the loan throughout the multi-year project, so the savings could balloon. And that’s good news for ratepayers. “If we continue to be accepted in future funding cycles, that will definitely pull rates down from our original projections,” Merriman said. Meanwhile, archaeologists, geotechnical scientists and real-estate experts hired by the city have been analyzing the Whidbey Island Bank building SEE LOANS, PAGE A24

Commissioners clear way for sheriff’s office to cover Coupeville By JANIS REID Staff reporter

law enforcement services. The town currently pays about $450,000. “I think the contract speaks for itself,” said Sheriff Mark Brown. “It’s been vetted by both the county commissioners and the city.” APPROVED, PAGE A24

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There’s a new sheriff in town. The Island County commissioners approved a contract Monday empowering the sheriff’s office to run the Coupeville Marshal’s Office. Sgt. Rick Norrie will step in and function as the new

Coupeville Marshal March 1, but under the guidance and budget of the Island County Sheriff’s Office. Norrie replaces Lance Davenport, who has been town marshal for the last two years. The marshal’s office has struggled with staff turnover during that time. Under the approved three-year contract, the town will pay roughly $440,000 to the sheriff’s office for in 2015 for


Whidbey News-Times, February 26, 2014