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News-Times Whidbey


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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, 2014 | Vol. 124, No. 45 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Two die in kayaking tragedy off Whidbey By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Two active-duty Navy men died over the weekend in an apparent kayaking accident on the west side of Whidbey Island, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office. Island County Coroner Robert Bishop identified the two men as Vinson C. Ya, 25, and Joseph T. Lee, 21.

Both men were with VAQ-129 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. The two men left to go fishing at about 4 p.m. on Saturday, said Bishop. They rented two “recreational kayaks” and borrowed a pickup truck from a friend, Bishop said. The two men went into the water in separate kayaks at

Libbey Beach Park. They were both wearing life jackets. Their friends expected them to return by 9 p.m. At 9:55 p.m., a resident reported hearing someone crying for help from the water in the area, but could only see one boat that seemed to be under power and not in distress. SEE TRAGEDY, A4

Commissioner candidates to be interviewed By JANIS REID Staff reporter

Relay for Life

Photos by Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times

Annual fundraiser draws about 1,500 Above, children take a break from the walking during the Relay for Life event Friday to play in bubbles created by a bubble machine on the outside of the track. Left, a group of sisters hold a family reunion at the relay in honor of their sister Clara, who died from cancer. See page A3 for the story.

Island County commissioners will publicly interview three applicants in June for the District 3 seat left vacant by Kelly Emerson’s sudden resignation last month. The first interviews, to be conducted by commissioners Jill Johnson and Helen Price Johnson, are 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, at Four Springs House, 585 Lewis Lane, Camano Island. The second and final interviews are 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room in Coupeville. “We’ll deliberate that evening and hopefully we’ll make a decision that night,” Johnson said Monday. “At least that’s our hope.” The public is invited to attend. Commissioners request that any questions for the candidates be submitted in advance of the interviews. The Island County Republican Party Central Committee submitted three names, per state requirement, to be interviewed by the remaining commissioners to fill Emerson’s seat. The nominations are Richard Hannold, Marc Hennemann and Aubrey Vaughan. Hannold, a retired Navy chief, was previously elected to the Oak Harbor Christian School board. Hannold said hopes to bring a common sense approach to governing and vote according public feedback. Hennemann served in the United States SEE INTERVIEWS, A4

Practice burn, fire calls keep Oak Harbor department on the run By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Oak Harbor firefighters got a lot of hands-on experience fighting fires this past week. They burned down the late Dorothy Neil’s former house on Barrington Drive

Saturday as a training session. Chief Ray Merrill with the Oak Harbor Fire Department said firefighters started blazes inside the house and put them out about 20 times before finally letting the structure burn to the ground. Then, in the early hours of Monday morning, they were summoned to three

separate, genuine residential fires — one of which may have been arson, according to Merrill. Merrill said firefighters received the first call at 3:50 a.m. about a fire at a Southwest Harrier Circle residence. It was reported as a structure fire, but firefighters arrived at the scene to find two

cars on fire in front of a triplex home. It took only about 10 minutes to extinguish the fires, but Merrill said the newer Cadillac and 2008 Chevrolet Impala are likely total losses. The blazes were definitely suspicious, SEE FIRES, A4

Whidbey News-Times, June 04, 2014  

June 04, 2014 edition of the Whidbey News-Times

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