Wade - You are dead right about the local wood needing to be cured before use, and that takes time. Bob S. can tell you much more about the process, and he also has some great web articles on wood selection, curing, use, etc.
If you know you want to build another boat later and are tempted by using solid wood (or want to avoid using all that epoxy again), you might consider picking up some wood now and letting it cure while you build your first boat out of ply.
That way you can increase your skills, tool collection, and boatbuilding knowledge while working up to your second boat...they *are* habit-forming, y'know...
At this stage I'd probably build my first one in ply also -- unless I had had previous bad experiences with epoxy. Some people are naturally sensitive to it, others have problems as exposure increases -- you don't build up resistance to epoxy, it only gets worse over time. Nitrile gloves and good organic vapor filters in your respirator really help!
Be sure to price the epoxy as well as the marine ply for this first boat -- you may find that it costs more than a solid wood boat, which is just part of the reason for suggesting planks rather than ply.
"The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.