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ISLAND LIVING Broad View spells success again A9

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2014 | Vol. 115, No. 25 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Mighty oak felled

Historical photo courtesy of Peggy Darst Townsdin

By JANIS REID Staff reporter

Members of the local American Red Cross chapter and the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Search and Rescue unit assisted with rescue and recovery efforts since a mudslide hit Snohomish County Saturday morning. “It was a good feeling to help rescue people caught up in the mudslide,” said David Scott, the crew chief aboard the Navy’s Knighthawk helicopter. “It was a bittersweet experience.” As of Tuesday, the death toll was at least 14, with well over 100 unaccounted for, according to the Everett Herald. Nine volunteers have been sent from the Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross

Keeping plans secret for weeks, city cuts down post office tree over weekend By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Many in the community expressed outrage this week that the landmark Garry oak tree at the Oak Harbor Post Office was sawed down Sunday morning without prior public notification. The tree was determined to be 330 years old, based on the number of rings counted. Some people, including a former council member and a state expert on open government, question the secret way in which the city administrator chose to axe the beloved tree, and whether the issue was properly discussed with City Council behind closed doors. RICK ALMBERG “I’m in shock,” said Sheilah Crider, “We’ve had more former councilwoman and current executive sessions Island County auditor. under this mayor “They did it in the stealth of the than we had night. It is very regrettable.” Crider, who emphasized that she under Slowik’s was speaking as a private citizen, was entire term.” involved as a councilwoman in saving the giant oak tree in 2004 after city officials planned to cut it down over safety concerns because of a fungal infection; an expert in Garry oak trees was brought in who advised that the tree could be saved. Melissa Duffy, a naturalist educator, said she is “deeply saddened.” Duffy helped lead the effort to save the tree a decade ago; she contacted experts in Garry oaks who said the tree had at least a 100 years left of life. Duffy planted the gardens surrounding the tree and used to coordinate the volunteers who care for it; she said none of the people who loved and cared for the tree knew ahead of time that it would be cut. SEE FELLED, A5

Local agencies assist in Oso slide response


Board hears base growth projections By MICHELLE BEAHM Staff reporter

Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

An Oak Harbor City staffer removes rope from around an ancient Garry oak removed Sunday from the corner of City Beach Street and Barrington Drive. The crew broke two sets of ropes attempting to the lift the stump in one piece.



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Capt. Mike Nortier, commanding officer of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, outlined base growth projections Monday with the Oak Harbor School Board. Nortier reported on the expected population increase at NAS Whidbey over the next several years. Because the Navy’s P-8s, which are modified Boeing 737s, are replacing the prop-engine P-3, additional personnel will be CAPT. MIKE moving to NAS Whidbey NORTIER during the next few years. Three squadrons will be moving to NAS Whidbey, one per year, starting in fiscal year


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Whidbey News-Times, March 26, 2014