By Kara McMurray Gazette Reporter Fourth of July plans promise lots of fun around the county when the big day arrives Saturday. Traditional parades in Johnson and Albion will kick off the day, and celebrations in Endicott and Pullman will conclude the festivities with their fireworks lighting up the night skies. JOHNSON It all started with six bored kids, and now it has become one of the biggest events each summer for Whitman County. It also could claim the most unique trophy if somebody had one. The Druffel siblings found themselves bored on that Tuesday in 1967, the Fourth of July, and asked their parents why they never went anywhere. Their mother Jeanne’s reply? “Why don’t you just go out and have a parade?” And so they did. The six Druffel siblings — Kathy (Wolf), Chris (Lynch), Carrie, Claire (Commeree), Mike and Drew — marched down the street in Johnson with flutes and firecrackers, creating their own parade and a new tradition. Over the next few years, the event gradually grew as others would join the procession and neighbors would grab lawn chairs and watch. Now anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 people line the street. The “spontaneous” parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the Johnson Community Center. Everyone and anyone is welcome to watch or participate. Use of water guns or balloons is now banned. Pre-registration is not required. “Bring your whatever and come on down,” Kathy Wolf said. “It’s always just very fun.” The Druffel clan still participates. Wolf said they are into the third generation of family members gearing up for the fun and excitement. Their parents, Alfred and Jeanne, passed away in 1997 and 2005, respectively, and brothers Drew and Mike passed away in 2001 and 2009, respectively. Wolf said the parade usually consists of several homemade floats and units, and she expects 50 to 60 units this year, though that number is never known until the day of the parade. “It’s all about just entertainment,” Wolf said. “It’s a very homecoming feel.” Wolf recommends spectators arrive by 9 a.m. to get a decent parking spot. “It’s almost parking all the way out to the highway,” she said. The parade goes from the school building south and then turns around and returns. Prior to the parade, a breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. by Whitman County Fire District 12 at the center. The menu consists of scrambled eggs, ham, fruit, coffee, juice and a six-inch cinnamon roll for $8. ALBION The annual Albion Fourth of July Parade will begin at noon and be immediately followed by a barbecue put on by the Albion 4H. Line up for the parade begins at 11:30 a.m. at the park, and anyone is welcome to participate. Pre-registraton is not required. “It just kind of organizes itself,” said Starr Cathey, Albion Clerk/Treasurer. The barbecue will also be at the park. Cathey said more than 250 people attended the barbecue last year. “You get that real small hometown feel,” Cathey said of the parade. “It’s nice.” ENDICOTT Endicott Community Club and Parks and Recreation have been gearing up for the Fourth of July fun there. Activities will begin at 3 p.m. with the food shack open, children’s games and a dunk tank. The Endicott Community Club’s pie shack will open at 5 p.m., and the children’s decorated bike parade will be at 6 p.m. Live entertainment begins at 6:30 p.m. with Farmer Dave doing music and poetry, followed by the Wylie girls with music and juggler Corey Jenkins. The swimming pool will also be open throughout the day. PULLMAN Sunnyside Park will be the site of festivities just as in years past, with a barbecue at 5 p.m., live music and a fireworks display at about 10 p.m. The Community Band of the Palouse will take center stage at 5:30 with a flag ceremony following at 6 p.m. Folk singer Dan Maher will perform at 6:30, and the Fabulous Kingpins will then perform their classic rock n’ roll hits after. “What better way to enjoy the day than relaxing to live music and enjoying good food with friends and family and then finish the evening with a terrific fireworks show,” Mayor Glenn Johnson said. At the park, hot dogs, burgers, barbecued beef, chicken sandwiches, corn on the cob, watermelon, popcorn, beverages, cotton candy, pies, ice cream and other desserts will all be available for purchase. Proceeds will be used to pay for the fireworks. Glow sticks, bubbles and T-shirts will also be for sale, and tickets will be sold for an inflatable play area for children for $1. Pullman Transit will provide free shuttle service. Buses on the A-Route, Loop Route and South Route will provide service every 45 minutes from 4:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and immediately after the fireworks. Park and Ride locations include Pullman Aquatics Center, North Grand Village, Living Faith Fellowship, Safeway and Wal-Mart. More information can be found at PullmanTransit.com. Pullman Chief of Police Gary Jenkins also sent a press release last week about fireworks stands and the use of fireworks in the area. Though stands opened yesterday, it is illegal to discharge fireworks until tomorrow, the release said. The allowed times to discharge fireworks are Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight. Jenkins warned that any violation of this could result in a $100 civil penalty.
By Kara McMurray Gazette Reporter Whitman County Commissioners have reached a tax sharing agreement with the city of Pullman, effective as of July 1. The commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the agreement at their regular meeting Monday, following the unanimous Pullman City Council vote June 2. The agreement calls for Pullman and Whitman County to split retail taxes 50/50 from new businesses and to work together to establish those new businesses in a tax sharing area. The tax sharing area surrounds the Pullman city limits and extends east from the city limits along the corridor of the Moscow Pullman Highway to the state line. However, existing businesses within the area of the agreement — about 37 — do not fall under the terms of the agreement unless the business changes its conditional use permit. “After the commencement date of this agreement, a change in the commercial use of an establishment located within the TSA, such that a new conditional use permit is required by the county, will constitute a new use and will “reclassify any sales and use tax revenue accordingly.” Also in the agreement is protection for Whitman County with the Hawkins Property, 700 acres of undeveloped land on the north side of the highway on the Idaho border once targeted for a major retail center. Whitman County entered an agreement with Hawkins Property Management several years ago to assist in developing infrastructure on the land. “The new agreement recognizes the Hawkins agreement,” said Mark Workman, Pullman City Supervisor. “If something develops there, we would not share taxes. Nothing ever happened, and who knows if it ever will. But it provides that protection for the county.” Another provision in the agreement is for Whitman County to modify cluster developments. “The county will promptly initiate action to revise its current zoning regulations within the TSA to preclude the permitting or construction of residential structures within the TSA classified as ‘Cluster Residential Development’ after the date of adoption of the zoning ordinance or regulation,” the agreement states. The county commissioners said this deal has been a long-time coming, noting it has been a 10-year endeavor to make it happen. “It evolved over time,” said County Commissioner Art Swannack. “The biggest focus is that Pullman and Whitman County work together to develop the corridor. It’s the area we both felt was in our interest to work on.” The corridor refers to the area along the Pullman-Moscow Highway, where 26 businesses currently stand. The corridor is the primary focus of development, Swannack said. “It makes it so the city and county aren’t fighting over who gets the benefits of that corridor,” Swannack said. Workman said there are no businesses that have plans to come into that corridor right now, but that could change, especially as the infrastructure is completed. “Geographically it’s a good location for retail businesses,” he said. “At some point in the future it’s anticipated to be a vibrant commercial retail corridor. It’s a long-term plan.” Swannack anticipates it would be another 10 years before major development occurs, noting there is infrastructure needed along the corridor. But he said both parties will see the benefits. “We’ll both benefit because Pullman will not have higher costs and both Pullman and Whitman County can have businesses,” he said. “Without it, Pullman and Whitman County would have had to each look at its own interests. We’re both going to get some benefit out of this.” Workman agreed. “We set aside money to go toward infrastructure in the area. We’re equal contributors to that,” he said. “It’s both a win for the city of Pullman and for Whitman County. I think we’ve crafted a good agreement.” Commissioner Michael Largent was thankful to see this completed. “I would like to thank Commissioner Swannack for getting this off the dime,” he said. Largent assigned Swannack to the task after he was elected as a commissioner in 2013. This agreement replaces the interlocal agreement for joint planning between the city of Pullman and Whitman County established February 4, 2004. Workman said that agreement did not provide for the sharing of retail sales tax and involved much less area. “It was just little isolated areas adjacent to Pullman,” he said. “It was just kind of a precursor to the current agreement.” Workman is pleased with how this agreement has turned out. He said it is a 35-year agreement, with the tax sharing and provisions set for 24 years unless both parties agree to extend it. “I wouldn’t be surprised if in 20 years it is extended by mutual consent,” he said. “I think both sides will feel like they are getting a win.”