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ISLAND LIVING Lighthouse docents illuminating history A13

SATURDAY, APRIL 5, 2014 | Vol. 124, No. 28 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Sailor rescues man from Jeep fire By JANIS REID Staff reporter

Photo by Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times

Lifelong Whidbey Island resident Earle Darst holds up a photo of the post office oak tree for the Oak Harbor City Council to see Tuesday night. He said the photo shows the tree was perfectly healthy.

Councilman: Meetings should have been public

Presentation on oak’s health shared with tree advocates By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Speaker after speaker made it known they weren’t happy with the surreptitious manner in which city leaders chopped down the landmark Garry oak tree at the Oak Harbor Post Office. Anger was vented during Tuesday night’s council meet-

ing, but the citizens also learned about the background of the decision to chop the 330-year-old tree through a comprehensive presentation by city staff and a consulting arborist. And members of the community and city leadership expressed their commitment to preserving the city’s remaining Garry oaks and renewed interest in open government. WHILE MUCH of the ire was directed at Mayor Scott Dudley, Councilman Rick Almberg said he felt some culSEE APOLOGY, A17

A sailor from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station became a hero Saturday when he helped pull people from a burning vehicle near Salem, Ore. Nickolas Kingston If we was returndidn’t ing from a visit with get him family in his out, he hometown of Forest was Grove when he spotted going to the burning die.” Jeep and Nickolas pulled over. Kingston Just after pulling over into a gravel turnout, Kingston said he heard a cry for help from off-duty Washington County Deputy Corporal Cheryl Crecelius. Crecelius had removed one unconscious person from the car and a second person had escaped on his own. Both were laying in a nearby driveway when Kingston arrived. A third victim was unconscious and his legs were pinned under the steering

Photo by Tony Popp

Whidbey sailor Nickolas Kingston pulled a man from a burning Jeep. wheel, Kingston said during an interview Thursday. Both front doors would not open as a result of the impact. Kingston said he climbed into the back of the Jeep, grabbed the man by the waist and gave him a “good tug” to free him. Kingston said he then pulled the man out through the back seat and dragged him to the area where the others were lying. Kingston said it was hot inside the vehicle, which was filled with “toxic smoke” from burning plastics and upholstery. “I hadn’t really thought about anything other than getting him out,” Kingston said. “If we didn’t get him out, he was going to die.” Prior to joining the Navy, Kingston said he volunteered for Oregon fire departments for nine months. The three men in the accident, Mark Vanvleck, Jason Eaton and Christian Bandmann, are expected to recover from the accident, according to KATU news SEE HERO, A24

COER leaders take jet noise fight to Washington, D.C. By JANIS REID Staff reporter

Top members of the Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to lobby against the Navy’s EA-18G Growlers. Members of the group said they met with both legislators and staffers from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Pentagon, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Friends

Committee on National Legislation. “We thought our reception would be cool, but in most cases it was very warm,” the group’s president, Michael Monson of Coupeville, said Friday. Monson made the trip with fellow COER members Ken Pickard and Maryon Attwood. Monson said he, Pickard and Attwood were happy with the reception they received. “They had done their homework, they knew our situation,”

Monson said. “We were really surprised how much they knew about our situation and gave us some very good suggestions. We were very high on the way home, it was just absolutely marvelous.” “Even the Navy, they listened to what we had to say.” The group has stated its intention to close the Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville and remove the EA-18G from Puget SEE COER, A17

Whidbey News-Times, April 05, 2014  
Whidbey News-Times, April 05, 2014  

April 05, 2014 edition of the Whidbey News-Times