The Colton Wildcats celebrate as the buzzer sounds in a 67-44 victory over defending state champions Sunnyside Christian in Yakima last Friday. Colton will now play at the state tournament beginning today (Thursday) in Spokane. At center, Colton senior Jake Straughan raises his arms, with Dalton Patchen, another senior, over his right shoulder. In the foreground, dropping to the floor is head coach Seth Paine. Assistant coach Ben Aune bends down with him. Colton won by a score of 67-44. For full coverage, see pages A5-6.
By Garth Meyer
The town of Garfield representatives are in the process of deciding whether to allow marijuana to be grown and processed within city limits under Washington’s new law.
The issue came up when a town resident applied to become a grower and processor.
The town’s council will decide whether to pass an ordinance to permit or ban marijuana production in the town.
“We’re debating it right now,” said Mayor Ray McCown.
The matter is presently in the hands of the city’s planning and zoning committee and a public meeting will be March 17 at 7 p.m. at the community building.
The purpose is to hear what the public thinks.
McCown said that originally, he and the council were leaning to pass an ordinance prohibiting it.
But then, he said, a bill in the state legislature has come up which would prohibit towns with marijuana bans from sharing in tax proceeds.
“It’s a kind of blackmail as far as I’m concerned,” McCown commented.
He said that under the state’s new legalization law, marijuana growers will be taxed 25 percent, processors 25 percent and retailers another 25 percent.
He said it will work similar to liquor taxes, of which Whitman County proceeds are shared by each town.
“I think the town of Garfield gets around $10,000 in liquor taxes,” he said.
After March 17, the planning and zoning committee will make a recommendation to the city council, which will then vote on it.
“I think the council is about split on it right now, that’s just my feeling,” McCown said. “Most of the (townspeople) I talk to are against it.”
City councilwoman Sharon Schnebly suggests that ultimately a ban may not be an option. She is also a non-voting member of the planning and zoning committee.
“Because this is such new legislation, the issue of an outright ban will end up in litigation, more than likely,” said Schnebly.
The matter at hand is only about growing and processing, not retail.
“There won’t be any retail outlet,” McCown said. “We’re not big enough to qualify. But the raising and the processing, that can be done as a home business.”
“I’m kind of like Colfax,” McCown said. “Let’s put it under the table for six months. See what happens.”
Garfield city attorney Stephen Bishop, who represents nine towns in the area, suggests that much is unknown on matters of legal marijuana.
“The effect of a land use ordinance, such as in Oakesdale, is unclear with respect to growing, processing or selling marijuana,” said Bishop.
“Our goal is to make sure we’re not opening the town to liability,” Schnebly said.
McCown indicated he will “just listen” at the March 17 session.
“I expect maybe 10 people,” he said.
In order to be eligible to grow, process or sell marijuna, an applicant must meet state guidelines such as being more than 1,000 feet from a school, daycare facility or park.
Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers on Monday announced that he will seek a fourth term in the upcoming primary election this year.
Myers began serving as sheriff in January of 2003 after defeating incumbent Steve Tomson in the 2002 primary election.
“It has been my privilege to serve as the sheriff of this county for the past 11 years,” he said in a statement. “The sheriff is the only law enforcement officer in the entire county who works directly for the people and who holds that position based on a vote of confidence. I am humbled by the support I have received and hope I have earned that same vote of confidence for another four years.”
Myers was one of the county’s elected officials who was active in the fall budget negotiations which contained cutbacks in his office, including a deputy. At the time, he said he and his officers would continue to provide the best service possible under the circumstances.
In addition to the budget debate, the sheriff’s office last year was called on to provide evidence, testimony and other support for four murder trials which eventually led to the conviction of the Lazcano brothers.
Myers in his announcement credited a seasoned and dedicated staff as the key reason he believes the sheriff’s office has been successful.
Integrity, community involvement and being service oriented have been key focal points of his administration, he said in the statement.
On the road and in the office, professionalism and customer service is not just expected, it is the culture, he said.
Myers points to technology and intelligence based policing coupled with “Old fashioned” shoe leather and note taking as key reasons his office continues to be successful in solving crimes and ensuring criminals are held accountable.
Myers said he believes that his office’s mission and purpose is clear.
“As long as I am sheriff, our focus will be to keep Whitman County a great place to live, work and raise a family,” he said.
“I’m fortunate that I work with dedicated individuals,” he said. “Dedicated staff members here have really made our office outstanding,” he said.
The only other known candidate who has announced for the office is Michael Assenberg of Colfax. He at one time faced charges for growing marijuana in Colfax, but the charges were dropped in the wake of state voters’ approval of the recreational marijuana initiative. Assenberg had contended he was a medical marijuana provider.
Colfax girls beat Broncos 44-38, bag Arena ticket
Colfax girls, who have been out of the final state 2B hoop show since winning titles in 2009 and 2010, will return to the Spokane Arena today for the start of the three-day final tournament. The Bulldogs passed the last test for a state ticket Saturday at Cheney when they bumped Lind/Ritzville/Sprague 44-38 in the regional round.
Colfax had a 2-1 record over the Broncos in the NE campaign.
“They have just worked very hard this year,” Coach Corey Baerlocher commented the the long road to the state show.
He noted members of the team on the first day of practice set a firm goal of making it to the Spokane show and pledged to put in the work required.
The commitment before the season’s campaign was made after a long summer of competition including travels by six members of the varsity on a 13-day trip play in California.
Colfax will arrive at Spokane today with a 21-6 record. The playoff campaign was capped two weeks ago with a SE-NE tourney win over Northwest Christian. The title win came after the Crusaders stopped Colfax twice in league play and in the NE district title game.
With Colfax out of the state show since 2010, none of the players on the Bulldog team, including seniors Bailey Mackleit and Nicole Sheer, have played in a final eight at the arena.
Baerlocher is reluctant to compare this year’s state entry with the 2010 championship team. However, he believes the Bulldog entry this year plays at a faster tempo and has a more balanced offense.
Saturday in the regional win over the Broncos at Cheney, the Bulldogs exploded to an 8-0 lead with two quick three-point shots. They then stalled out while the Broncos recovered. LRS trailed by just one point, 9-10 at the end of the quarter.
Colfax cranked it back up to 21-17 at halftime, but LRS came out after the break and again shaved it to a single point, 23-24.
Amara Huber, who led Colfax scoring with 20 points which included three treys, ignited a scoring spurt later in the third and the Bulldogs had a 34-25 lead going into the last quarter.
LRS charged again, but Scout Cai hit a three-pointer and Sidney Sheer added a bucket to fend off the Broncos as the gameclock went under two minutes.
Coach Baerlocher noted Bulldogs, who have learned to work the clock after some derailments earlier in the season, automatically slowed the pace down at the finish.
Last shot for the Broncos was a dropper by Mallory Kessler with seven seconds left on the clock. Lind/Ritzville/Sprague ended the season with a 17-12 record.
Colfax girls will play LaConner at 12:15 p.m. today in the first round of the 2B tournament. LaConner topped Napavine 51-46 in their regional round.
The Bulldogs’ season-long NE foe, Northwest Christian, is booked on the opposite bracket and will play Bear Creek in the tourney opener at 9 a.m.
Besides NWC, Baerlocher sees Toutle Lake as another one of the top contenders in the eight-team finale. He said White Swan, which was bumped by St. George’s at another regional site, had also figured to be one of the power clubs in the pre-season ratings.
St. George’s, which stopped White Swan 51-48, will play Morton-White Pass in the first round today, and DeSales, the other qualifier out of the NE-SE will play Toutle Lake.
Colfax 44-Lind/Ritzville/Sprague 38: 11/9 11/8 13/8 10/13: Amara Huber 7 (3-3pt) 3-4 20, Kori Goodwin 0 2-2 2, Bailey Mackleit 2 (3pt) 1-3 6, Scout Cai 4 (3pt) 4-6 13, Olivia Mellor 0 1-2 1, Sidney Sheer 1 0-2 2. Total 13 11-23 f-21 44. Lind/Ritzville/Sprague: Felicia Zeimer 0 1-2 1, Jenna Bennett 2 6-9 11, Dalyn Killian 4 (3pt) 2-9 11, Mallory Kessler 3 3-4 9, Tommi Swannack 1 1-4 3, Tessa Janrtz 1 1-2 3. Total: 11 14-20 f-22 38.
Martin Hall, the multi-county facility for incarcerating juveniles, is in financial trouble. Simply put, not enough juveniles are being sent there.
A consortium of counties is trying to solve the problem.
The answer is simple: Incarcerate more kids.
Follow a long-held government tradition: Go for the money.
One classic example is the state of Washington a few years ago during the budget crisis. After years of criminalizing marijuana, the possibility of getting income from taxing marijuana sales prompted some legislators and government officials to salivate over the fresh source of money. Forget all the long held beliefs about the dangers of the plant, go for the money.
This also helps to explain why every law enforcement agency preys on traffic in Colfax. The revenues are good, the pickings are easy. Forget about public safety elsewhere.
It explains why government fees have grown. It explains why inmates must pay to stay in jail and why Washingtonians must regularly buy new license plates—needed or not.
It explains why the state parks department is selling advertising and expensive passes and why park land is porcupined with antennas.
It is a tradition. Need money? Figure out ways to get it, even though it might fly in the face of principle.
Martin Hall can be saved by following the same tradition. Just have the participating counties put a quota on arresting kids. Revenues will increase. The only loss will be justice.
Fairness is not a matter of concern here. This is a matter of money.
Go for it.