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News-Times Whidbey


WEDNESDAY, JULY 2, 2014 | Vol. 124, No. 52 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | 75¢

Dept. heads plead for new hires

Reps call for changes at state Ferries By JERRY CORNFIELD


The Herald

Staff reporter

Washington’s newest ferry went into service Monday amid the concerns of two lawmakers that a flawed design is causing some vehicles to bottom out as they transition from ramps onto upper parking decks. Under a blanket of blue sky, the Tokitae sailed on its maiden voyage at noon from Clinton to Mukilteo, with no fanfare. The 144-car vessel, with a capacity 20 cars more than the Cathlamet it is replacing, cost $144 million and is the first of three Olympic-class boats being built for the state at the Vigor Industrial shipyard in Seattle. Total shipyard cost for the newest boats in the Washington State Ferries fleet is $388 million. The Tokitae’s much-anticipated entry into service came as two lawmakers alleged they were misled about a problem for some cars with low clearances and long wheelbases. As they reach the upper parking deck, the lawmakers say, some scrape their undercarriage. Reps. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, and Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, said senior ferry system managers told them in March at the shipyard that their worries SEE FERRIES, A17

already casting their lines from the shores of Driftwood Park near Keystone beach in Coupeville at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. Their target was silver salmon, or coho, which became legal to catch in waters on the west side of Whidbey Island starting July 1.

Oak Harbor’s police chief wants five additional officers, the fire chief wants four new firefighters and the city administrator wants his own administrative assistant. Wednesday, Oak Harbor officials made their opening salvos in the city’s process of developing a biennium budget by presenting council members with funding requests. The process is somewhat different this year in that council members will hear the requests and do goal setting before a two-year revenue estimate is developed, according to Finance Director Doug Merriman. While he won’t have the



Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Salmon fishermen along the shores of Keystone beach in Coupeville Tuesday morning were surprised when divers from Walla Walla University surfaced in front of them. Coho salmon fishing opened July 1 on the west side of Whidbey Island.

Angling for salmon By RON NEWBERRY Staff reporter

Rick Cruz didn’t come into the first day of salmon season with high expectations. “All I want is a bump, to feel the darn thing again,” Cruz said. Cruz, from Oak Harbor, was one of eight anglers

OH’s annual fantastic Fourth filled with fun By MICHELLE BEAHM Staff reporter

Independence Day is a time of nationwide celebration, and Whidbey Island is no exception. Oak Harbor has held its Fourth of July parade for decades, and it’s always been a popular event. “The best part about it is that it is a full day of family fun,” said Kathy Reed, executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “Something that the whole family can do together.”

People from all across the island descend upon Oak Harbor for the day’s parade, carnival and nighttime fireworks show, sponsored by businesses and residents in Oak Harbor. This year’s grand sponsor is Whidbey Coffee. People are known to plan vacations to Whidbey Island specifically for the Independence Day festivities. “There just aren’t that many celebrations like ours, especially ones that have a good fireworks show at the end of the day,” said Reed.

The great part about Oak Harbor’s celebration is that the festivities start at 7 a.m. and last until almost midnight, and that “there’s something for everyone,” Reed said. Visitors go from the fun of the parade to a relaxing day at Windjammer Park and, at the end of the day, “you get to cap it off with a fantastic fireworks show.” Schedule for this year’s Oak Harbor Fourth of July celebration at Windjammer Park is filled with SEE EVENTS, A18

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