August 21, 2014

Brush fire threatens house

A four-acre brush fire Thursday, Aug. 7, afternoon threatened a home along the Moscow-Pullman Highway on the south side near Wheatland Express. Fire crews from District 12 were dispatched at 2:42 p.m.
The fire was believed to have started from a spark off a welder. Volunteers from Palouse, Colton and Moscow also responded.
District 12 Chief Lester Erwin said the fire moved rapidly up the hillside and came within 150 yards of the residence before it was stopped by the volunteers. Extra help was needed because lines had to be placed on the hillside and around the house.
The welder operator was working on the sewer line installation along Highway 270.
Erwin reminded residents that a burn ban remains in effect for most parts of Whitman Count due to the dry conditions.


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Bulletin Column

These reports are from the previous four issues of the Daily Bulletin in Colfax. They are reprinted here for the benefit of Gazette readers who reside outside of Colfax. Some accounts have been updated.

Monday night’s meeting of the Colfax City Council turned out to not be a meeting when only three of the seven council members were present. Mayor Todd Vanek conducted the pledge of allegiance and then scheduled a special meeting for next Monday to take care of the business at hand.
Members at the last meeting noted attendance would be down for this meeting, but at the time they believed at least four of the seven council members would be present for a quorum.
The three council members present Monday were Whitney Aguilar, Jeannette Solimine and Steve Holberg.
Solimine and City Attorney Bruce Ensley both noted this was the first time they could recall a city meeting being stopped because of too few council members.
Among items on the agenda was a stack of bills and claims totaling $52,831 which have to be approved by a council vote before payment. The top bill is a $23,405 payment to the Department of Ecology on a loan for the headworks project at the city’s sewer treatment plant.

A 19-year-old Kent resident was booked into the county jail Friday afternoon after his arrest on probable charges that contend he enrolled at Washington State University under another person’s name. The investigation report filed with the court said the suspect, Shondre D.C. Sims used another name to enroll this year after he was denied enrollment to WSU in 2013.
He was jailed under probable charges of forgery, computer trespass and identity theft. The WSU Police Department arrest said an assistant attorney general at WSU and the director of admissions participated in the investigation.
The report said Sims was located at the Beta Theta Phi fraternity where he had earlier intended to reside. He had later indicated he had planned to reside in a residence hall.
The report alleges Sims used the name of Nicholas Wagner, a person he contacted on the internet, to become enrolled at WSU. Wagner actually is a student at Eastern Oregon University.
According to the report, Sims last June attended a campus orientation session under the Wagner name. Since attending the session, Sims applied to have the Wagner name changed to Sims. The report said Sims submitted what he said was a King County District Court order which had changed the name. The investigation determined the court order was fictitious.
The report also said when Sims applied to live at a residence hall, instead of at the fraternity, he submitted the name of a California resident whom he had also contacted via the internet.
Formal charges have not been filed as of press time.

Saturday’s benefit car wash at Dissmore’s in Pullman added about $800 to the Stirling Strong Fund in Colfax. The car wash was done by members and coaches of the Pullman Panthers and the Colfax Bulldogs Junior League football teams.
Konnor Stirling, now a seventh grader, is a former member of the Bulldogs junior team and his dad is a former coach.
Approximately 30 team members, family members and others participated in the benefit which ran for five hours on the Dissmore’s lot.

Three people sustained minor injuries Sunday afternoon in a train-car collision at Almota. They were taken by ambulance to Whitman Hospital in Colfax, according to a report by Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Chapman.
The injured were identified as the driver of the car, Caleb Bravard, 23, Colfax, and two passengers, McKayla Bickelhaupt, 18, Dayton, and Tanner White, 22, Colfax.
According to the accident report, Bravard was driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am on a private driveway toward Granite Road and was struck by the westbound train as the car crossed the railroad tracks.
The train engineer, Brandon Stuller, 42, Lewiston, told Sgt. Chapman he saw the Grand Am approaching the crossing and activated the engine whistle. He said the train was traveling just under 40 miles per hour at the time of the collision.
The train hit the driver’s side of the Grand Am and caused it to catapult off the tracks.
After the collision the train traveled 1,250 feet before it came to a halt. The Great Northwest train was made up of 39 cars loaded with lumber and paper products.
Stuller and the conductor, Dylan Barbee, 22, also of Lewiston, were unhurt in the collision.

The Army Corps of Engineers Friday temporarily closed the Illia Dunes Beach and adjacent shallow waters after routine water tests showed elevated levels of fecal bacteria. More water samples were taken Monday to be tested again for fecal coliforms which pose a potential hazard to human health. The beach will remain closed until tests show that the fecal bacterial levels do not exceed state and federal standards.
Warning signs have been posted at the dunes, which in the past has been the scene of large gatherings at this time of year when the fall college terms get underway.
The closure at the dunes follows a corps shutdown two weeks ago of the beach area at Lyons Ferry. The beach was subsequently opened when increased wind speeds on the river and lower temperatures moved the contaminated water out of the beach area.

The Colfax Police arrest report on Michael Breitenberg, 28, the former Paul’s Place resident whose pre-trial release was revoked Friday in Whitman County Superior Court, alleges he wrestled a telephone away from a staff member at Paul’s Place when she was attempting to call 911 Aug. 14 at 10:44 a.m. The staff member said Breitenberg punched her on the arm after he took the telephone away from her. She said she locked herself in the nurse’s station.
Breitenberg had been allowed to return to Paul’s Place after he was arrested July 11 and jailed on a charge of assaulting a staff member. He was later allowed pre-trial release to reside at Paul’s Place.
His arraignment was delayed with the possibility of a voluntary commitment for treatment. His arraignment date on the July 11 case was continued to Aug. 22.

An arrest warrant for Richard Lee-Waddell was ordered quashed Aug. 14 in Whitman County Superior Court. The order for the arrest warrant was signed Aug. 13 by Asotin County Judge Scott Gallina.
Issue of the warrant was authorized Aug. 8 by Court Commissioner Gary Libey on a request by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dan Le Beau.
Lee-Waddell had been ordered to be in court Aug. 8 to arrange for restitution payments which he had been ordered to pay after pleading guilty to a charge of reckless driving involving the Sept. 26, 2011, accident in which the car he was driving collided with a sheriff’s patrol car driven by Sheriff’s Sgt. Jody Hamilton. He has been ordered to pay $57,755.
The arrest warrant was quashed Aug. 14 by Judge David Frazier after he was advised of the status of the case. Lee-Waddell appeared in court Friday morning and was advised the restitution hearing will have to be conducted by Commissioner Libey or Judge Gallina because Judge Frazier early on recused himself from the case because a county car and employee were involved.

A $2,500 bond for pre-trial release of Edwina Grote, 26, LaCrosse, was set Aug. 13 in a first appearance in Whitman County Superior Court after she was arrested in Colfax and booked into the jail on a probable charge of second degree theft.
Grote was arrested Aug. 12 after investigation of the card theft report in Pullman. A Pullman Police officer, who was investigating alleged purchases made with the stolen Washington State Employees Credit Union Visa credit card at Folsom Ace Hardware, observed the vehicle the suspect had been using and called for assistance in stopping the vehicle.
According to the arrest report, Grote is suspected of taking a Visa Card while being treated by a massage therapist in Pullman. The owner of the card reported Aug. 3 he had received notice that charges of $1,391 had been made on the card, according to the arrest report.
The report said Pullman officers reviewed WalMart surveillance tapes which had recorded users of the card making transactions at the store. The woman shown using the card on the surveillance tapes was later identified as Grote who had been treated by the massage therapist earlier in the week.
WalMart employees also identified an Isuzu Rodeo which they believed Grote and a male suspect had been driving at the store.
The Pullman arrest report said the detective was in Colfax Aug. 12 to check out another $422 purchase which had been made with the credit card. While at Ace he observed the Isuzu arrive at the store.



National Cowboy was longtime friend of Canutt

Earl Bascom, one of those honored this year as part of the National Day of the Cowboy, was a long-time friend and competitor with Yakima Canutt, the national rodeo champion who became a Hollywood action sequence director in his later years.
Bascom has been called the “Cowboy of Cowboy Artists” for his art creations, including one of Canutt, which were done after he retired from rodeo competition.
Bascom and Canutt often crossed paths earlier in the last century on the major rodeo trail before their careers expanded to other ventures.
The National Day of the Cowboy is now observed on the fourth Saturday of July.
Bethany Braley of Prescott Valley, Ariz., founded the project approximately 10 years ago. She said one of the key efforts in recent years is to convince state legislators around the country to officially recognize the National Day of the Cowboy on the July date.
So far, eight states have officially designated the date. The last one to do so was Kansas which had marked its first official observance in Dodge City with a declaration by the governor.
John Bascom of Salt Lake, one of five surviving children of Earl Bascom, recalls Canutt and members of his family made several visits to the Bascom place at Victorville, Calif.
Earl Bascom and his brother and sister-in-law, Weldon and Rose Bascom, all had roles in the 1954 United Artists production of Lawless Rider.
John also noted he and his father attended Yakima’s induction into the Hollywood stunt performers Hall of Fame.
He said the link between Bascom and Canutt started when Earl was starting his career as a professional wrangler and Canutt by then was a veteran rider. Places where they competed included the big rodeos at Lethbridge and Calgary in Alberta and the Pendleton Roundup.
“At that time Yakima was a national champion, and my dad was just breaking into the business,” John Bascom explained.
By that time Earl Bascom had already put in a solid career as a working cowboy. He took part in cattle drives out of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and across the Texas plains, drove bands of horses through the Teton Mountains, over Milk River Ridge and along Kicking Horse Creek in Montana.
John Bascom said his father’s rodeo career spanned from 1916 to 1940 when he retired.
One of the lasting links between the two old time cowboys was a bronze statue of Yakima which was done be Bascom who became an accomplished artist and sculptor in his later years.
After graduating from the Brigham Young University with a degree in fine art, Bascom followed the example of his cousin, Charlie Russell, and became an internationally known cowboy artist. He spent the last years of his life recording his many cowboy experiences into works of art and bronze.
Bascom was declared by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Artists Association to be the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor.
Earl Bascom was also known as an inventor of rodeo equipment. Among items he designed and produced were bareback rigging in 1924, the bronc riding saddle in 1922 and the bucking chute in 1919.
In 1935, he and his brother, Weldon, produced a night rodeo in Mississippi which was believed to be the first done under electric lights.
The Bascom family lived for several years at Victorville. Earl Bascom died in 1995 at the age of 89. His wife, Nadine, died just last year at the age of 97.
John Bascom said he plans a formal observance of his father’s recognition in this fall with a rodeo event in Santa Clara Calif.
Other states which now observe National Day of the Cowboy are Wyoming, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Oregon and Mississippi.
According to Braley, the day has also been recognized in tandem with events around the country. Approximately 50 have been conducted this year.



Gordon Forgey

Ferguson, Missouri, has been torn apart by violence and rioting. Civil disorder has disrupted the city since since August 9.
The protests stem from the shooting of an unarmed teenager by police.
The victim, shot six times, was African-American. The policeman is white.
The shooting is serious enough in itself, but the local police blundered after the shooting, withholding information and trying to discredit the victim.
Crowds took to the streets. Protests grew, and the local force could not control the situation. Riots, looting and shootings occurred.
The state police was called in. Then, the national guard was called up to help control the crowds. The governor and the federal government are also involved.
The scenes on the street are reminiscent of the 1960’s when American cities convulsed with violence and riots.
Also, as in the 60’s, the rage of the protesters and rioters come from more than one event. Reportedly, it has been simmering for years. The shooting was the spark that ignited the fire.
Most protesters are calling for justice, but that call goes beyond this particular case. They are also calling for racial, educational and economic justice.
Whether the shooting was justified or not, mistrust, frustration and fear are rampaging through the streets of Ferguson and are stalking the rest of the nation.
There are solutions and answers. We learned some of them 50 years ago. Now, it is time to finish the lesson.
Gordon Forgey


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