Rather be shot than go to prison: Tuesday morning at approximately 2 a.m. Sgt. Chris Chapman from the Whitman County Sheriff’s Office observed a vehicle off the road near the intersection of Shawnee Road and Highway 195. Sgt. Chapman made contact with the driver of the vehicle identified as Jason R. Foster, 41, Colville, who indicated he was having car problems. Initial information provided by Foster did not seem to be consistent or make sense. The vehicle, which had been damaged and appeared to have been in a collision, was also registered out of Stevens County to someone other than Foster. After contacting Stevens County to track down the registered owner of the vehicle, it was learned that Foster was the primary suspect in an attempted kidnapping and assault, which allegedly happened in Colville over Memorial Day weekend. According to the probable cause information from Stevens County, Foster allegedly abducted a coffee stand barista at knife point, forcing her into his vehicle. Only after a struggle was the barista able to get away. Based on this information, officers tried to re-contact Foster but he immediately ran from them on foot. This initiated a foot pursuit through a field and into a drainage ditch near the side of the road. After continued noncompliance and struggle, officers utilized the Taser and ultimately ended up wrestling Foster to the ground before taking him into custody. Once Foster was secured, officers recovered a toy handgun from inside his jacket. Foster later told officers that it was his intention to have them shoot him rather than go back to prison. After being transported to the Whitman County Jail, Foster was transferred into the custody of the Colville Police Department. Foster is currently a level three sex offender with a lengthy criminal history. He will also be facing charges of theft of an automobile, as the 2005 GMC Envoy he was driving at the time was reported stolen in Colville.
By Kara McMurray Gazette Reporter Three weeks ago, Mary Dye was planning her daughter’s upcoming high school graduation party. Now, the newly appointed ninth district representative said she is way behind on that and is trying to get up to speed on everything for her new position. Dye, a Pomeroy resident, was appointed to the seat left vacant by the resignation of Susan Fagan of Pullman. Fagan resigned May 1, and Dye was appointed May 8 at a special commissioners meeting and election in Colfax. She said her appointment was the fastest in the history of the legislature and credits the commissioners of District Nine for organizing so quickly. Dye filed May 11 as a candidate in the special election for the seat she now holds by appointment. Richard Lathim, former Franklin County sheriff who was a finalist for the appointment, has also filed as a Republican for the election race. Democrat Kenneth Caylor of Othello has also filed. Dye was appointed amid a 30-day special session to approve the 2015-17 operating budget. Dye said the Democrats, being in favor of raising taxes, and the Republicans, hoping to find a way to compose the budget without tax hikes, have not been able to reach an agreement. The revenue forecast released May 18 projects an additional $400 million in tax revenue not figured into the budget. She believes both sides can reach an agreement soon now that the forecast has been released. Dye wants the people of the Ninth District to know that she is “going to be their spokesperson.” Noting that the ninth district is mostly made up of smaller communities, Dye said “[These are] great examples of communities that support themselves and don’t ask for a lot back. [They are] the kind of communities that created our nation.” Dye wants to be involved in the communities of the ninth district to show her support for them and to be able to know the needs of the community. She attended the May Day parade and celebrations in Garfield May 16 and said she had a lot of fun. “I had the best hot dog I’ve ever had; I had a polish dog,” said Dye. As she has traveled around the various communities in the district, she said she has had fun connecting with people. “I’m meeting with so many people that I didn’t have the opportunity to do before,” said Dye. “It’s like catching up with everyone on your Christmas card list.” For her, being out in the communities is showing her more of what it means to have community. Though the communities in the district may be small, she feels they have a lot to offer the rest of the state. “I think we don’t really get acknowledged in Olympia,” she said. Dye wants to change that. One thing she wants to change is to allow the communities to have more local control. “I want to find local solutions to local problems and not be told how we have to match everyone else – we are not Seattle east. There’s so many common sense things that local communities would fix if they were allowed to.” Some of the issues Dye sees that she says need more local control are school systems, farmers’ taxes, unfunded mandates and dams. Specifically, she said school systems need to untie teachers’ hands and “let them do what they do best and know how to do,” as well as change the focus on testing and assessments. In a legislative update Dye sent out on Friday, she said, “I am committed to being a vocal advocate for limited but effective government, speaking out against any and all government overreach. I will also be a reform-minded legislator, pushing for more accountability in the state government so that we work more efficiently and effectively for you.” Dye wants the people of the ninth district to know that her door is always open. She cares about the issues and she will get into the communities to speak with the people and learn the issues they want her to bring back to Olympia.
By Garth Meyer Gazette Reporter Trailer queens and billet barges promise to be lonesome this weekend, barred once again from Palouse’s 11th annual Knuckle Skrap’Rs Spring Barbecue and Hot Rod Gathering. Jalopies, Kustoms, Lead Sleds, Choppers, Bobbers and traditional hot rods will instead be on hand for Saturday’s event, which hit its capacity of 150 vehicles three years ago. The milestone prompted organizer Marc Van Harn to drop the entry-year limit to 1965 models, from the previous ’73, to not turn people away. For spectators and drivers, CD’s Smoke Pit of Moscow will serve Texas-style barbecue pulled pork while the Cold Rail Blues Band again performs, followed by the Intentions, another Moscow-based act who will make their Hot Rod Gathering debut. “Something different,” Van Harn said. The Rolling Hills Derby Dames return to assist with parking in the morning before the day’s official start at 11 a.m. They will perform a demo near 2:30 p.m. “Around there,” Van Harn said. “Sometimes the bands play a little longer or a little less. We’re not that uptight.” The new Palouse Caboose Bar and Grill will run a beer garden, and a professional pinstriper will be on site to stripe cars, both in the show and out. Official event T-shirts will be on sale for $13. Additional attractions will be Fade Master from Lewiston, Idaho, with a haircut booth, hot rod photography from Retro Studio of Athol, Idaho, and exhibits from Vintage Velocity Rods of Palouse – the event’s co-sponsor, and Hells Gate Hot Rods from Viola, Idaho. The day culminates a year’s worth of preparation, marking steady growth in vehicles and spectators since the first year of 36 cars in 2004. Now the Hot Rod Gathering draws a large contingent of drivers from southern Idaho and another group from the coast. “I started it because I wanted to have a party at my shop with hot rods,” said Van Harn, who will display his 1928 Hudson and 1956 Cadillac Sedan Deville Saturday. To monitor it all on event day, Van Harn is often seen on roller skates. Cars pay a $10 entry fee and there are no prizes. Billet barges refer to vehicles with solid pieces of metal bolted on the sides. A trailer queen is a car that’s not driven to a show, but instead is transported on a trailer. The show in Palouse caters to only hot rods built (or fixed-up) and driven by their owners. “We are firm believers in building what you drive and driving what you build,” said Van Harn. Since both Palouse’s Main Street and Bridge Street are state highways, their detours have to accommodate semi-trucks, limiting the available stretch of downtown to two blocks – and thus room for 150 cars. The Intentions will bring a repertoire ranging from The Band and Linda Ronsdadt to U2. On lead guitar and vocals is Bill Thompson, Prosecuting Attorney for Latah County. “We will play an eclectic mix of at least our favorites,” said bass player Mark Hellinger of Farmington. The day concludes at 6 p.m. “It’s a good time,” said Van Harn. “We always pack ‘em in.”