A young golfer tries out his putting skills at the Colfax Golf Course Monday afternoon. Warmer than normal temperatures on Monday brought out several golfers to the course. According to the National Weather Service in Spokane, the 61-degree high temperature reported Sunday at LaCrosse by observer Nancy Taylor tied a record which was set in 2003. The next highest record for the date was 56 in 1934. Taylor Monday recorded a high of 50 degrees. Top mark in Colfax on the reader board signs that day was 66 degrees. Short term forecast is for the weather to remain dry until this weekend with temperatures remaining mild and a chance of light rain. Snow levels are at about 6,000 feet in the Idaho Panhandle, according to NWS. The NWS spokesman said the three month long range forecast calls for above normal temperatures with below normal precipitation.
Shayne Holt, 41, former controller for Whitgro in St. John, was sentenced to three years in prison Friday for taking funds from the cooperative during his employment there. Holt pleaded guilty to the charge last Dec. 5 and his sentencing was set for Friday. He was booked into jail following the sentencing and will be committed to the state prison system. The three-year sentence was assigned after a court finding that aggravated circumstances in the charge warranted a term beyond the state’s normal range for theft in the third degree. The court determined Holt took the funds after being placed in a position of trust with fiduciary responsibilities. It also determined that the crime had a major economic effect on the company and that it involved multiple incidents. Under the state’s standard range sentencing act, a first time offender for third degree theft could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. A finding of aggravated circumstances removes that limit and leaves the length of the sentence up to the court. Holt during his arraignment admitted taking $300,000 from Whitgro, and Friday he was ordered to pay restitution in that amount. He was ordered to begin making the payments 30 days after he was released from prison. Prosecutor Denis Tracy said during the arraignment that Holt took the funds by manipulation of the Whitgro computer program. He also said he entered fictitious purchases of grain from farmers under which the payment sums went to him. David Hamilton, president of Whitgro, submitted a letter to the court urging the judge to assign the 36-month sentence which was sought by the prosecutor. Hamilton said Holt during his employment with Whitgro absconded with more than $400,000. He said the complexity of the scheme took the company nearly five years to discover. The investigation report, which was filed last Aug. 21 when Holt was charged, alleged Holt had taken $488,611 from Whitgro. He was initially charged with first degree theft. Tracy said the $300,000 which was reached in the plea agreement represented an amount which he believed could have been proven in front of a jury. He said when Holt agreed to enter a plea to the $300,000 that served to resolve the case. Holt Friday told the court he took the funds because he had become addicted to pain pills and used the money to feed the addiction. Holt’s mother also testified on his behalf at the sentencing hearing. Defense Attorney Michael Pettit recommended a sentence of 24 months.
By Sally Ousley Gazette Reporter Whitman County issued 197 building permits for projects totaling $11,318,086 during 2014. The total marked a drop from 2013 with a decrease in ag structures and a reduced supply of rural housing sites around Pullman believed to be two of the causes. In 2013, 233 building permits were issued by the county and the total value was slightly more than $13 million, according to Dan Gladwill, county building inspector. Fees collected for 2014 totaled $115,548. “When wheat prices are up, there’s more business generally,” Gladwill said. He also said that the Pullman area is starting to run out of lots. He explained some cluster lots raised the housing numbers a little, but those five-acre lots are almost gone. Over the last five years, 2014 was the second lowest for permits issued. The lowest was 180 permits issued in 2011. The highest number of building permits issued within the last five yeas was in 2012 with 282 permits, with a valuation of $132,038,743. That included the wind turbine farm construction. The 2014 figures included 14 for single family dwellings and six manufactured homes. Inspections totaled 514 and total final inspections totaled 114. The $115,548 in total fees included $83,056 in permit fees, $32,492 in plan review fees. Miles driven totaled 17,337. Other year-end summaries are as follows: 2013 Permits issued: 233; Permits pending: 4; Single family dwellings: 14; Manufactured homes: 4; Total inspections: 489; Total final inspections: 127; Total miles driven: 15,731; Total valuations: $13,163,033; Total permit fees: $99,956; Total plan review fees: $39,678; Total Fees: $139,634. 2012 Permits issued: 282; Permits pending: 6; Single family dwellings: 7; Manufactured homes: 8; Total inspections: 503; Total final inspections: 177; Total miles driven: 16,702; Total valuations: $132,038,745; Total permit fees: $146,514; Total plan review fees: $16,643; Total Fees: $163,157. 2011 Permits issued: 180; Permits pending: 6; Single family dwellings: 6; Manufactured homes: 5; Total inspections: 384; Total final inspections: 112; Total miles driven: 12,949; Total valuations: $6,074,568; Total permit fees: $47,931; Total plan review fees: $9,467; Total Fees: $57,398. 2010 Permits issued: 223; Permits pending: 7; Single family dwellings: 15; Manufactured homes: 6; Total inspections: 483; Total final inspections: 148; Total miles driven: 13,572; Total valuations: $10,974,357; Total permit fees: $89,355; Total plan review fees: $24,274; Total Fees: $113,629. 2009 Permits issued: 224; Permits pending: 6; Single family dwellings: 15; Manufactured homes: 2; Total inspections: 453; Total final inspections: 157; Total miles driven: 13,106; Total valuations: $10,613,058; Total permit fees: $88,960; Total plan review fees: $27,805; Total Fees: $116,765.