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News-Times Whidbey


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SATURDAY, MARCH 8, 2014 | Vol. 115, No. 20 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Parks and rec district settles suits

3 now in race for Emerson position

By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

By JANIS REID Staff reporter

If he’s elected Island County commissioner, Camano Island resident Marc Hennemann said he would keep taxes down and make public safety a priority. Hennemann is the second Republican to announce his candidacy for Island County District No. 3 HENNEMANN commissioner, a position currently held by Commissioner Kelly Emerson. Emerson said she is not seeking reelection. Karla Jacks, a Democrat and Camano Island resident, and Richard Hannold, a Republican and North Whidbey resident, previously announced plans to run. Hennemann said he met Richard Hannold. Hennemann said he believes he can offer a wider breadth of experience than his opponents. Hennemann served in various capacities in the Air Force for 21 years and earned a master’s of public administration from the University of Oklahoma. Hennemann said he plans on “raising and spending a good bit” of money to win. Hannold has said he plans to keep his campaign simple and take a grassroots approach, including going door to door. “I’m willing to spend the money on the campaign,” SEE HENNEMANN, A5

Breaker, breaker

Photo by Jill Merculief Schnabel

A large wave crashes onto West Beach in Oak Harbor in this photo taken by reader Jill Merculief Schnabel. “When a big storm comes in, my dad and I call these waves ‘crashers,’” she said.

North Whidbey Park and Recreation District is in the process of settling two wrongful termination lawsuits. If the settlements are accepted, it could spell the end of a long-standing controversy that has mired the district in litigation and created a division among stakeholders. Thursday night, the district board of commissioners held a special meeting. Following an executive session, the members voted unanimously to approve letters to Neil Romney, former North Whidbey Aquatic Club swim coach, and Vicki Robinson, former administrative assistant. Bill Walker, former director, set off a firestorm of controversy when he fired Romney and Robinson in the fall of 2012 after they both refused to give him access to the swim club’s financial records. They sued the district, claiming retaliation and wrongful discharge, among other allegations. Thursday, Allan McDougall, chairman of the district’s board, explained that the letters were part of a settlement agreement worked out in mediation last week. The letters state that the district does not believe either former employee engaged in any misconduct or malfeasance. Under the terms of the settlement, Romney and Robinson will both receive “small cash settlements” of less than $20,000 each, McDougall said. They originally asked for damages in excess of $100,000 and to be re-instated. Letters of resignation will also be placed in their employee files at the district under the settlement. In addition, McDougall said, the district agreed not to go after Romney or Robinson for the cost of a state audit that found a long list of problems, including missing money, in the swim club’s nowSEE SETTLED, A5

Weather advisory has county keeping eye out for mud By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Island County road shop crews are keeping their eyes out for mud.

The National Weather Service issued a “special weather statement” this week, warning about increased landslides in a wide swath of Western Washington that includes Whidbey Island.

Sure enough, there was a mudslide in Central Whidbey Thursday — and more may come — but Public Works Director Bill Oakes said he isn’t too worried about something on SEE MUD, A10

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Whidbey News-Times, March 08, 2014  

March 08, 2014 edition of the Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey News-Times, March 08, 2014  

March 08, 2014 edition of the Whidbey News-Times