Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bulletin: Mar. 8, 2018


March 7, 2018

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.


Colfax City Councilman Al Vorderbrueggen reported on progress to form a Colfax metropolitan parks district. Proposals for the organization of the district and a draft of an agreement on how the district would function with the city were introduced to the city council Monday night.

Formation of the district follows a discovery that the city's 2016 ballot proposal for formation of the district was actually approved by voters. The measure included a levy of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation which is now on the tax statements for city residents.

Vorderbrueggen reported most of the drafting on the proposal was done by former City Administrator Dodd Snodgrass. He said other metro districts around the state were reviewed and the Colfax draft resembles one in Pullman.

Under the proposal, members of the city council would serve as board members for the metro district.

Vorderbrueggen, who also chairs the city park board, said the board will remain as an advisory body for the city on parks and the metro district.

An operating agreement is required because the metro district will be a separate entity, Vorderbrueggen said.

The metro district was initially proposed to include Colfax and the Colfax School District, but the school district was later dropped before the measure went before the voters.

The council is expected to vote on the two proposals at its next session, March 19.


An estimated 90 head of elk were observed Monday along Highway 27 about three miles north of Tekoa. The elk appeared to be dining on a winter wheat crop.

Wendy Sienknecht reported her spouse, Doug, spotted the elk herd when he was driving a school bus route, and they went out to observe the sight after he finished his route.


Colfax Finance Director Chris Mathis reported to the city council Monday night that an insurance payment for a wrecked city patrol car was placed in the police department budget last year and could have been used by the department to purchase a replacement car if they opted to do so. The check was sent to the city from Geico Insurance.

Mathis made the report Monday night after Police Chief Rick McNannay at the previous council session said the insurance payment for the wrecked car never came back to the police department.

The payment was for reimbursement of one of the department's 2013 Ford Taurus Interceptors which was totaled during city participation in a WSP emphasis patrol. The check was for $17,276 and was placed in the police department's miscellaneous account May 17, Mathis said.

McNannay said he never knew the sum was returned to the police budget and asked whether the sum was still in the police budget. Mathis said she believed the money was consumed by the department's operations during the balance of last year.

McNannay at Monday night's council session repeated his view that the department actually did not operate in the red for 2017. The city passed a general fund budget amendment late last year which included more funds for the police department.

McNannay said police spending included line items which required payments for items over which he had no control. He described them as non-discretionary payments. They totaled $40,649 which he believes offset the late 2017 budget injection, which he listed at $37,330, and actually shows the department's operations finished $3,319 in the black.

He said he included that in his annual report at the prior council session because he didn't want the police department record to reflect reckless spending.

Mayor pro-tem Jim Kackman noted the budget amendment was passed by the city council last year so the matter was closed, and the best course of action now is the try to adhere to the 2018 budget.


A charge of violation of protection order was filed Monday in court against Sean Storment, 40, Pullman resident who is in the jail here facing two other charges. The new charge alleges a deputy who was monitoring calls from the jail heard Storment call the roommate of a woman who is a potential witness in the other cases. Storment allegedly requested the roommate to give instructions to the alleged victim who was referred to as "sister" by Storment in the call, according to the report.

Storment was first charged Jan. 24 with possession of methamphetamine and possession of stolen property after police searched his Pullman apartment. He was released on bail and then charged March 12 with burglarizing the apartment of the woman who was under the protection order cited in the third charge.

Storment was returned to jail after the alleged burglary and is being held in lieu of posting $250,000 bail.

He also faces a charge in Kootenai County based on property which was found at his apartment and is believed to have been stolen from a cabin in the Coeur d'Alene area.


Despite its late winter snow days, February actually fell short of average precipitation for the month with a 1.84 inch total for the month. Average precipitation for February at the Colfax NRCS office is 1.99 inches.

Wettest day in February was .5 inches recorded on Feb. 2.

In the middle of the month, the gauge recorded three snow days but the melt down to water totaled under a half inch. The top mark for snow was five inches recorded on Feb. 15.

Other wet days for the month were .17 for Feb. 3, .15 for Feb. 5, .37 for Feb. 17, .20 for Feb. 22 and .33 for Feb. 27.


Rebecca D. Wilson, 20, Lewiston, was charged Friday with possession of methamphetamine while a prisoner in the jail here. The charge alleges the meth was found in the jail during a search Feb. 12. The report alleges Wilson and another inmate became suspect when another inmate reported they had a marked change of behavior after they were booked into the jail. They allegedly changed from being sick from suspected drug withdrawal to being energetic.

The jail's yellow section, which at the time included six female inmates, was vacated while the search was conducted and the methamphetamine allegedly was found in the cell occupied by Wilson and another inmate.

A small bag of the drug was allegedly found between a metal table in the jail and the wall. The site was later indicated by a county K-9 unit who was brought in to search the cell.

Wilson was booked into the jail Feb. 9 on a drug possession charge.


Juan L. Sanchez, Jr., Moses Lake, was injured Friday morning in a one-car accident on Highway 26 about 9.3 miles west of Colfax.

According to the Washington State Patrol report, Sanchez was driving a 1995 Honda Civic eastbound at 8:05 a.m. in snowy conditions. The Honda crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic, struck an embankment and came to a stop on its top in the westbound lane. Sanchez was transported to Whitman Hospital by Colfax Ambulance.


William Boyd, 62, Pullman, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison Friday in Whitman County Superior Court on a conviction for possession of methamphetamine. The sentence in excess of a year means Boyd will serve the term in a state prison. A warrant of commitment to the state Department of Corrections credited him with 15 days spent in jail here.

Boyd was assigned an offender score of eight because of his record of prior drug convictions. Compilation of his offender score listed four convictions in Whitman County going back to 2000, two in Latah County and two in Kootenai County in Idaho.

Boyd was arrested at his residence on O'Donnell Road last May 23. The arrest report alleged deputies initially responded to the residence in the early morning hours on a report of a possible fight. When the first deputy arrived on the scene Boyd reportedly took off running. He was later located on the property and a glass pipe with residue was found on his person. The residue was confirmed by the state crime lab to be methamphetamine, and Boyd was formally charged Oct. 11 of last year.

Boyd Friday was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine for drug possession.


The Port of Whitman will begin taking reservations for camping and moorage at Boyer Park and Marina beginning Monday, April 2.

Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at one minute after midnight. Callers are asked to leave their name, telephone number and requested dates.

They will be called back by the new Boyer concessionaire to confirm their reservation. The number to call is 509-397-3208.

Reservations at Boyer have been held up for the first months of this year until the port renewed its lease for Boyer with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The port now is in the process of closing negotiations for a concessionaire who will be in charge of scheduling the reservations for the facility.


An April 16 trial date was set Friday morning for Catherine Starks, 31, Colfax, after she entered not guilty pleas in superior court to charges of second degree burglary and third degree theft.

Starks has been charged with burglarizing the Corner Chevron on the Walla Walla Highway in Colfax Feb 24. The report by Colfax Officer Matt Malakowsky said the suspect was a former employee at the Chevron. The report alleges she was observed entering the Corner Chevron on surveillance video and taking cigarette coupons and reward cards.

She was booked into jail Feb. 27. Bond for pre-trial release was set at $10,000 surety or $1,000 cash.

Model Home Furnishings, Lewiston

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