Palouse Clerk-Treasurer Mike Bagott looks through a long-missing volume of the town’s city council minutes from 1915-1920. A woman in Wichita, Kansas, called city hall earlier this month to say she had it. By Garth Meyer Gazette Reporter It was the city’s one missing volume. A Palouse City Council meeting minutes compilation for 1915-1920 had been missing for as long as anyone could remember. It was the one hole in the city records that go back to 1888. Then, two weeks ago, the phone rang at city hall. It was a woman in Wichita, Kansas, who said she had a bound records book from Palouse, Washington. She told Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson that she found it among items of her ex-husband’s stepfather which were moved to Kansas from Sedro-Woolley, Wash. “It just looked like too important a record to throw away,” said DonaMarie Goldsmith. “I really didn’t feel right about throwing it away.” Ken Kester died in Sedro-Woolley four years ago at age 82. At the time, his stepdaughter arrived from Alaska and told Goldsmith’s ex-husband, Michael Goldsmith, what he could take. “He had to come home and pack it real quick, because we were in the process of moving,” DonaMarie said. They were headed to a fifth-wheel trailer and a pole barn in Gifford, Wash., a town of a half-day post office on Highway 25 at Lake Roosevelt. Michael Goldsmith, the now ex-husband, brought the boxes from Sedro-Woolley and stored them above the pole barn’s living area and in a 20-foot car hauler. DonaMarie, who retired from Boeing in 2011 after 27 years as a manufacturing engineer and project manager, separated from her husband in November. She then moved to Kansas, where her daughter lives. After moving into her own apartment in Wichita in January, she slowly started unpacking. “I opened a box up, and was looking at (the volume). It had a lot of data, a lot of information,” she said. “I thought, it’s gotta be important to somebody.” Inside the cover, the inscription of the manufacturer read, “John W. Graham & Co. of Spokane.” The first page showed handwritten Palouse, Wash., city council minutes from Oct. 20, 1914. Goldsmith soon went on-line and sent an e-mail to Whitman County. “I sent it to whoever it was at the head of the county,” she said. “I went to the top office that might be interested in it.” She was referred to Palouse. Goldsmith then located an e-mail address for mayor Michael Echanove. After not hearing back, she finally called city hall. She was somewhat familiar with the town. “I’ve heard of it; I don’t know if I’ve ever been there,” said Goldsmith, who was raised in Anacortes. Once given the address, she put the book into a U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail box and sent it. “The binding was already coming off,” she said. “It was a hundred years old, last year.” “I’m glad it’s back where it belongs. It’s history.” Goldsmith, whose maiden name is Fournier, has an affinity for matters like this. Since the ‘80s, she has studied her family’s geneology, beginning with research work at the Seattle Public Library, reading short-hand records of a French priest to track her French-Canadian ancestry. It all may be part of a stroke of luck for Palouse. “I’d venture to guess that most people, in finding something like that, would have tossed it,” said Mike Bagott, Palouse Clerk-Treasuer. “I think we’re lucky in that it was her that came across it.” Kester died in Sedro-Woolley, but had lived in Bellingham and Santee, Calif., where he drove a local delivery truck. “I don’t know where he got it, how he got it or why,” said his stepson Michael Goldsmith. “He wasn’t a collector. He wasn’t a reader.” Goldsmith indicated that there were no other items like it among Kester’s possessions. “It just turned up,” he said. “It will complete the city’s history, as far as minutes go,” said Deputy Clerk Thompson of the town’s 15 volumes, 14 of which are now at the state archives in Cheney. Recently, the Washington State Secretary of State’s office has worked with cities to store their historic records in the archives. In turn, an archivist came to Palouse last summer to pick up the 14 volumes, which are now in Cheney, where they were first scanned for electronic files. The original volumes are stored there as well. Another state archivist was expected in Palouse late this week to retrieve the missing volume. “It’s just awesome,” Thompson said. “It’s local history. Everyone just assumed it was gone forever.”
By Garth Meyer Gazette Reporter In 62 years, changes have been few, but two recent ones are adding to the tradition. This week, in preparation for Sunday’s annual Uniontown Sausage Feed, Director Ken Oenning will haul 1,800 pounds of pork in boxes in the back of his pickup to the Community Center. On Thursday morning, he’ll work with a group of 30 volunteers to grind and pack the meat and encase it into sausage. The Uniontown Sausage Feed has been part of Oenning’s whole life. He remembers going to it as a child. This year is his 13th as event director. “It’s all pretty well the same,” said Oenning, a town native who retired after 47 years with the McGregor Company. “It’s a tried and true recipe, if you will, for the sausage and how we run it,” said Leslee Miller of the Uniontown Community Development Association. This year, however, two recent additions will include a beer garden and the appearance of Four Names in a Hat, a singing quartet which performs for patrons waiting in line. “They’re just a hoot. They’re very fun,” Miller said. The group will appear at no set times. “We kind of sing for our dinner,” said member Orrin Iseminger. “We just like to sing to the people standing in line. We have a continuous turnover in the audience so they never get tired of us.” Miller herself has never caught a performance in the group’s three years at the Sausage Feed. “I have not crossed with them,” she said. “We feed them and their wives sausage dinner. They sing a bit, then they come down for dinner. Then they sing some more.” The all-you-can-eat meal includes mashed potatoes, green beans, applesauce, sauerkraut, pie from a count of 200, rolls and beverages. The event’s cause remains the same: to raise money for maintenance on Uniontown’s Community Center. Last year, proceeds helped pay for new heating and hot water systems. Plans for this year include exterior maintenance. In 2013 organizers took in $21,924 on the $12 dinners, with expenses of $8,800. Miller has sent flyers to all of the fraternities at WSU. Thursday morning’s sausage making session is expected to last into the afternoon for the long-time volunteers. “The old guys have been making it forever,” Miller said. Meanwhile, upstairs preparations will be underway for the fourth year of the beer garden, enclosed in a room off of a balcony over the old gym floor. “It makes a little money but adds another dimension to the event,” said Sausage Feed Treasurer Brian Bannan. “German sausage and beer. It needs it like sauerkraut.” The beverages are served out of an ice-filled trough: Coors Light, Miller High Life and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. A State of Idaho Transportation worker who moved to Uniontown 10 years ago, Bannan suggested a beer garden for the town’s signature event. “I was the new guy. They were looking for volunteers, looking for ideas. I couldn’t believe they were having a Sausage Feed for 50 years without beer.” The beer is sold separately. To-go meals may be brought up to the beer garden. Aside from the $12 price for adults, meals are $8 for kids 6 to 12; $2 for kids under 6, paid at the door. Takeout orders can be placed by calling (509) 229-3805. On Sunday, while patrons wait in the twisting and turning line, Four Names in a Hat will be heard along the path. Their repertoire includes numbers such as “Zipitty Do Dah” to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” “Tunes of a lively tempo are things people seem to like best,” said Iseminger. “We don’t have that many, but we’re always learning. We’re always ready to sing at the drop of a hat.” The 62nd annual Uniontown Sausage Feed runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, first come, first served.