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Bulletin Column


July 26, 2018 | View PDF

Season Opener: Harvest begins with wheat-cutting near Diamond July 24. More and more combines will appear around the county over the next month.

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 and Steptoe Fire crews Monday responded to a report of smoke at the Department of Social and Health Services building in the 400 block of S. Main Street. The fire report was relayed to the department at 2:02 p.m. by an alarm monitoring company.

Employees evacuated the building to the parking lot.

Colfax Fire Chief Craig Corbeill said fire crew members were at first unable to determine the source of the smoke. It was later determined to have been caused by a faulty electric motor located on the roof. The motor was part of the air conditioning system and linked to the building's duct system.

Crews from Avista and Harrison Electric assisted at the scene.

Corbeill said the motor was one of six included in the building's HVAC system, so the air conditioning continued after the faulty motor was out of service.


Colfax Police Chief Rick McNannay Tuesday morning responded to a report of graffiti painted on grain tanks at Spokane Seed Co. on N. Clay Street.

The tanks were hit with red and green spray paint.

McNannay said the markings didn't appear to be any kind of tagging marks. One of the words written on the tanks was "Ha."

Police also received a report of markings made in the pump area in front of the Chevron station at the north end of Main Street.

Surveillance cameras show a woman using a marker late Saturday night. What appears to be a love note was written on one of the support poles for the canopy over the pump island.


A display of Whitman County Sheriff's Posse memorabilia will be added to the upcoming edition of the Palouse Empire Fair. Barb Kinzer, who organizes the Posse's parking service during the four-day run of the fair, told the fair board Monday night that the Posse has a special display case and would like to see it placed in one of the display barns at the fair. She noted Posse members and former members had photos and other memorabilia which could be displayed in the case. She added the display case could remain on the grounds, although Posse members would want to retrieve their items to keep them at home after the fair.

Kinzer reported the WSU Equine members will again assist with parking vehicles at the fair this year. She plans to meet with club members after classes resume at the university.

The fair compensates club members by offering use of the arena building for a one-day club event in October.

Fair Manager Janel Goebel presented board members with a fee schedule the fair will charge for use of facilities for next year. The fair for this year has kept with the prior year's fee schedule.

Top rental fee for the fair is a $1,500 premium package for rental of the community building and grounds for three days. That package normally is used for wedding parties, with the first day used for decorating and other preparations.

One change for next year will be conversion of off-season vehicle storage from a monthly rate to a weekly rate. The weekly fee will be $10 for a vehicle under 20 feet, and $12 for vehicles 21 feet and over.

Among other topics, the fair plans to offer wi-fi services again this year. Wi-fi, which provides wireless internet connectivity, was offered at the fair for the first time last year and proved popular.


Washington Distinguished Young Women competition will be Aug. 4 this year at Pullman. The event will have 11 high school seniors from around the state competing for the title of Washington Distinguished Young Woman. Practices for the event will begin Tuesday, July 31.

The state event this year will move to the Pullman High School theatre after a long run at the WSU's Beasley Coliseum. Last year's state final at Beasley had 14 contestants.

Tayma Vanek, winner of this year's DYW contest at Colfax; Emily Schultheis of Colton/Uniontown, and Daphne Felsted of Pullman will be three county entrants among the 11 contestants.

Danielle Kallaher of Pullman is program chair.

Linda Felber of Salem, Ore., the Colfax entrant who won the America's Junior Miss title in 1964, will again serve as one of the judges. Babs Pfaff, Washington Junior Miss for 1973, will also be on the judging panel.


James A. Taylor, 30, Colfax, was booked into jail early Sunday morning on probable charges of second and fourth-degree assault. Taylor was arrested by Colfax Police Officer Cory Alcantar.

The alleged victim in the case is Lori Melissa Herne, 24, who was arrested July 20 near the Tidwell Road intersection with Highway 27 just north of Palouse. Herne was arrested on a probable charge of drug possession.

According to the arrest report by Palouse Officer Joe Handley, Herne was the driver of a vehicle recorded as driving 42 mph in a 25 zone. A search of the vehicle after the stop allegedly led to discovery of a needle loaded with methamphetamine in a metal Army box found in the vehicle.

Taylor was subsequently arrested after Colfax Police checked reports from Herne that alleged she had been assaulted by him. The last incident alleged he had grabbed her around the neck with both hands some time in January. Accounts from last year alleged she had been slapped and sustained a black eye in other alleged assaults.


At approximately 9 a.m. Saturday morning, EMS personnel from the Steptoe and Colfax Fire Departments were notified of a hang-gliding incident near the top of Steptoe Butte. Due to the extent of the injuries, Med-Star transported the subject to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. The patient, Don Croft, 69, Athol, Idaho, later died as a result of the injuries he sustained from the impact of the crash.

According to friends and family members, Croft was an experienced hang-glider.

At this time, the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office will assist in determining the exact cause and manner of death, according to Sheriff Brett J. Myers.


Work on the decks of five bridges along Highway 195 between Steptoe and Rosalia was scheduled to wrap up Monday. Temporary traffic control lights at the three work sites this weekend were set on amber caution mode, with both lanes on both sides of the bridges open for traffic.

Mark Allen, project engineer, said some striping work was scheduled at the sites Monday to wrap up the bridge work.

Work on the bridges started March 26. The finish went beyond the contract deadline, but contractor N.A. Degerstrom will be allowed credit for extra days because the bridge decks were found to be in worse condition than anticipated, and the contractor was allowed extra time to clear the deteriorated surfaces and to supply more concrete for them.

One bridge project is located just north of Steptoe. Three are located in a work zone located just south of Rosalia and north of the Highway 271 intersection. The fourth site is located north of Rosalia near the north Rosalia turnoff.

Degerstrom of Spokane was contractor for the project with the original bid at $2.075 million.

During the project, the temporary traffic control lights alternated one-way traffic while crews worked on one side of the bridges. Traffic was switched to opposite sides once work was finished on the first sides.

Work continues on the passing lane projects which are located north of the Thornton Road intersection, north of the Babb Road overpass and in the Plaza area.

Finish date for the passing lanes is slated in mid-September.


Each fire district in the county Saturday evening was asked to send a truck to a range fire in Wawawai Canyon. Colton Fire District 14 responded to a report of three separate fires burning uphill from the south side of the road along the canyon. The fire consumed an estimated 400 acres before is was stopped.

The call to fire districts in the county went out at approximately 7:30 p.m. Approximately 40 firefighters and 22 trucks from around the county responded to the scene.

The fire was officially extinguished at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.


Friday's mailout for the Aug. 7 state primary election totaled 22,109 ballots for Whitman County. Total issue for the ballots could increase slightly because in-person registration continues until July 30.

The Aug. 7 election date is the deadline for the return of ballots. They need to have a postmark of Aug. 7 at the latest or can be left at the elections office or in ballot deposit boxes by 8 p.m. Aug. 7.

For the first time, ballots have been sent out with a "no postage necessary" marking on the return envelope under a new state policy.

The postage bill will be figured on the number of ballots which actually get sent back through the mail. Voters who drop off their ballots in the deposit boxes will help the county save on the postage bill at the end of the process.

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