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News-Times Whidbey


Crazy for Model As A12

WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2014 | Vol. 124, No. 37 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Commissioner hands in her notice Emerson says she’s off for ‘greener pastures’

On her way out, Emerson calls for pot ban By JANIS REID


Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson stunned many by announcing her resignation Monday. Emerson gave a oneweek notice just seven months shy of finishing her term. Her resignation came after a heated meeting that highlighted tensions that have long existed within the board. She announced in December her decision not to run for reelection at the end of this year. “I will delightfully relinquish the title at the end of the week and head off to greener pastures,” Emerson said. “Thank you so much for the opportunity, it has really truly been an honor.” Emerson, the District no. 3 commissioner, was often absent or non-participator y at public meetings,

Photo by Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

District 3 Commissioner Kelly Emerson announces her resignation Monday after calling for a ban on recreational marijuana. The Island County Republican Party will put forward three candidates from which the commissioners will choose a replacement. abstaining from votes and simply remaining silent at times. After she was named the chair woman of the board last year, she was soon stripped of that title after the other two commissioners questioned her work ethic, ability to lead and willingness to proceed according to board consensus. Emerson also sued Island County twice over an unissued building per-

Anti-noise group plans protest at outlying field By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

The group aiming to shut down Outlying Field in Coupeville to Growler landing practices is holding a “vigil” Friday at the entrance of the field. Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve, also known as COER, issued a release Monday inviting people to take part in the 12:30 p.m. event to express “sadness and anger SEE COER PROTEST, A17

mit to place a deck on her Camano Island home. “I’m really sorr y for those of you that hoped that we would further our cause and be more effective in right-sizing Island County, but there’s always tomorrow,” Emerson said. Emerson did not return a phone message requesting further comments. Just after announcing her resignation during commissioner comments, Emerson excused herself

before the other commissioners had a chance to speak. “You don’t want to hear what we have to say?” Commissioner Johnson said. “I never have,” Emerson said. “Thank you for saying it into the record,” Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said. After Emerson’s departure Johnson and Price Johnson made their own

announcements and then commented on Emerson’s announcement. “I’m sorr y for her, I’m sorr y for this county, community,” Johnson said. “We are all hopeful that ever ybody finds this job rewarding and worthwhile. I know there’s some disappointment out there as well.” Johnson said she was disappointed that she and SEE RESIGNED, A16

For a brief period during Monday, it appeared that recreational marijuana would be banned in Island County. Discussions about a new ordinance headed for approval took an abrupt turn when Commissioner Kelly Emerson reversed her earlier position and called for a ban of marijuana in the county. Commissioner Jill Johnson quickly seconded the motion. The ordinance ultimately passed 2-1, but not before a lively discussion. “I’m just aghast,” said Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, who pressed for a speedy process after a moratorium was placed on recreational marijuana last year. “I can’t believe we’ve come down this road and you’re just now saying that SEE POT, A16

County offices will reopen on Fridays By JANIS REID Staff reporter

Island County offices will soon be open to the public on Fridays. Commissioners Jill Johnson and Helen Price Johnson agreed Monday that the community needs the extra day to access county services, giving the board the majority it needed to pass the change. “Progress … it will be very well received in our community,” Price

Johnson said. County offices were closed Fridays in 2009 as a result of staffing cutbacks. Last year’s budget revealed that the county has finally started to recover from the recession and the commissioners are slowly reviving programs and services that were cut. Commissioners are expected to approve changes to the county’s official hours of operation during their regular meeting, 10 a.m. Monday, May 12. The new hours would go into effect about a

month after adoption. The new hours will open county administrative services 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, including offices of the treasurer, auditor, assessor and the commissioners. The public counters for public works, planning and public health will reopen on Fridays, but the Monday-Friday public schedule will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. instead of its current 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. SEE FRIDAYS, A17

Whidbey News-Times, May 07, 2014