A group of 15 Shelby American Cobra cars made their way through Whitman County Sept. 19 on the “Cobra 1,000,” an annual 1,000-mile tour. For the 25th year of the tour, the group began in Stevenson, Wash., two days before coming to Whitman County. The roadsters carry the name of Carroll Shelby, who was a race car driver and builder. “His whole goal in life was to kick Enzo Ferrari’s (butt),” said Brendan Finn of Marin County, Calif., one of the owners who stopped in Colfax. The body was designed by A.C. Coachworks in England. Only 998 were built from 1962-65. They cost between $6,200 and $9,500 new. Today, they are one of the most valuable American sports cars.
By Garth Meyer Gazette Reporter Former Farmingon Mayor Ron Dugan is preparing to send letters to the town’s 90 voters regarding the upcoming levy proposal to be decided in November. It will be a second attempt to pass current expense and street maintenance ballots this year. The vote regarding $9,000 for the streets and $6,000 for current expense failed on the Aug. 4 primary ballot. Farmington voters have turned down similar levies in 2008 and 2011 – some twice in the same year. Dugan is taking this up on his own accord. “It’s going to have a lot of facts and figures of how Farmington compares to other towns in the area, so people know where the money’s going,” said Dugan, who served as mayor from 2012-13. “What we get from property tax is not enough to run this town,” said current Mayor James Woomack, who is restricted under state law from using town funds to campaign for a levy’s passage. This summer’s city street maintenance levy failed with a 32-28 count while a special tax levy for the current expense fund was defeated 35-25. Both need 60 percent approval. Part of Dugan’s calculations include his term, “cash per capita metric,” for which he checked Farmington financial numbers against a five-town average of Garfield, Palouse, Rosalia, Oakesdale and Tekoa. He concluded that Farmington is at 97.6 percent of the average in cash reserves. “If you don’t pass a modest levy each year, it’s death by a thousand cuts,” Dugan said. “Where your cash reserves should be is a gut feel.” He plans to send out the letters a week before the ballots go out in October. “Ron Dugan is doing this on his own. I think it’s great,” said Woomack. “He’s buying his own envelopes, his own paper, his own ink. He’s just passionate about this town and wants to see it succeed.” In 2009, after a levy failed the previous fall, two-thirds of Farmington’s streetlights were turned off. Avista then offered a program for homeowners to pay the $12 per month cost to keep the nearest light on to their house. Dugan is among those who participated. “This levy will bring in about $9,000. The cost to operate streetlights is about $9,040 a year,” said Woomack. “There’s no requirement to have streetlights in a town.” Overall, the mayor suggested that the town’s finances are not in crisis. “We’re solvent, but we could have an emergency in this town that could wipe out our savings,” Woomack said. “I’d just hate to see the town disappear. To go bankrupt and become property of the county. I don’t want to see this town go the route of Belmont.” Before coming to Farmington, Dugan sold a five-location industrial supply company he ran in Oregon from 1975-2001. Farmington’s levy vote will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. “Votes are often based on emotion,” Dugan said. “I’m trying to give them some facts and pull them away from these emotional votes. People jump to conclusions, without having the facts. Then they go from there.”
By Garth Meyer Gazette Reporter A backyard falconry project in Garfield is now underway after the city granted permission under its fowl policy. An exception was made to a city ordinance – which only allows for three fowl in certain zones – for new resident Landon Moore, who trains falcons for abatement, the practice of using the predator birds to reduce crop damage by pest birds. Moore and his wife, Marcie Logsdon, appeared before the city council in August to ask permission. “We didn’t want to start off stepping on toes,” Moore said. The couple moved to the house earlier this month at 408 North Fourth Street, where Moore will be training four Aplomado falcons. Essentially, the animals are for hunting. “That’s what falconry is,” Moore said. Abatement includes flying falcons over fields in pursuit of pest birds, essentially installing an active predator in the landscape. “The first use of this was for airports,” Moore said. “The idea is to scare the birds away.” The training gets intricate in that the falcons’ goal is not to catch the target birds. “You have to get to know each individual bird very well,” Moore said. “The idea that I don’t want them to catch them usually doesn’t get across.” In order to pull this off, the trainer adjusts factors such as the distance away from launching point of the falcons to the visible pest birds, and hunger level of the hunters during an operation. “It’s a complicated and an adaptable technique,” said Moore. A graduate of the University of Idaho, Moore met his wife in the WSU Raptor Club. Once Moore and his falcons are ready, he hopes to be contracted by an abatement operator in areas of the northwest where crop damage by pest birds is a problem. The operators contract with farmers. “You do follow the work,” Moore said. “It starts with cherries in May and then ends with grapes in northern California in August and September.” Small and sugar-rich crops are most affected. The crops grown in Whitman County aren’t as threatened as elsewhere. “I don’t know of anyone doing this on the Palouse,” he said of abatement. “Wheat and garbanzo beans are in relatively less danger.” Moore was born in Quito, Ecuador, the son of a falconer, and began practicing with the birds when he was 14. He came to the United States when he was 7, settling with his mother and brothers in Weslaco, Texas, before going to University of Idaho for a degree in wildlife resources. Since then, Moore has worked for Idaho Fish and Game as well as spent a winter in Wyoming on a 3.5 million-acre sheep and cattle ranch. “You sleep close to the work, wherever that may be,” he said. Moore’s birds are kept in an outfitted piece of his garage. He and his wife are building a weathering yard in the backyard, complete with chain-link fencing and netting. Moore bought the falcons from a breeder in Central Washington who imports the birds from Peru. In the United States, falcons are a protected species, along with other raptors such as hawks, owls and eagles. Because of their status, activity with falcons is monitored closely. “Falconry is the most regulated hunting activity in North America,” Moore said. “Some call it a sport, some call it an art.”