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Bulletin Column

 

August 9, 2018 | View PDF



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.

ROUNDABOUT TOPIC RETURNS

Proposals for a rebuild of the intersection of Highways 26 and 195 on the north end of Colfax returned to the city agenda Monday night. Council members received a copy of the the State Department of Transportation's BUILD funding grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Councilman Jim Kackman said he wasn't sure about the plan to replace the two bridges now at the intersection with one bridge. He noted the present intersection has its problems, but he considers it more efficient than the one-bridge configuration outlined in the state's grant request.

Kackman recognized he was making the comments after being absent from the last session when the city council endorsed the DOT's application for federal funding.

The state's grant application estimates the cost of the project at $8.6 million with $2.6 million funded by the state and $6 million from the federal BUILD program.

Kackman said he was also concerned about the impact the single bridge solution could have on at least two businesses in the area, Busch Distributors and Jones Truck & Implement.

State DOT sketches presented at a previous council session show the present site of the Busch Sunset Mart and gas station would be consumed by a one-bridge intersection.

The grant application doesn't specify whether a modified T intersection or a roundabout would be used at the intersection. Mayor Todd Vanek said it was his understanding the state has the final call on how the intersection will be built, but he noted the state planners seek collaboration with city officials and local businesses.

Vanek noted the state actually has a program which presents the advantages of roundabouts.

Council members said their chief concern is how low-boy trailers carrying wide loads such as combines could negotiate a roundabout.

BROWN ENTERS DRUG COURT

Kelly C. Brown, 35, Rosalia, was admitted to the drug court program Friday. The drug court program provides for two years of monitoring, urine analysis tests and attendance at group sessions with monthly reports in superior court.

Charges against successful drug court participants are dropped if they successfully complete the program. Failure to complete the program leads to conviction on the pending charges.

Brown was first charged with a March 15 burglary of a shop in Rosalia, and then charged with entering the Rosalia Fire Station April 1 and taking one of the ambulances for a ride. Brown allegedly entered the station by opening a button lock with a combination he learned when he served as a volunteer with the fire department.

Drug addiction was cited as a cause for both of the cases, and resolution of Brown's case was stopped while he attended an in-residence drug treatment program. Prior to Friday's approval for drug court entry, the court dismissed drug possession and theft charges filed in the first case.

FILM CREW AT PERKINS HOUSE

The Perkins House in Colfax was used as a set by a film crew Sunday and Monday. A crew headed by Jim Temple of Spokane used the site for location scenes for a film about the Civil War. Scenes were shot inside the Perkins House and in the Perkins cabin, according to Theresa Dale, coordinator for the Whitman County Historical Society.

The company rented the Perkins grounds for the two-day shoot.

CITY HALL CAMPAIGNING OUT

After listening to two campaign talks at Colfax City Council sessions last month, members of the council learned Monday night the practice will be dropped. Mayor Todd Vanek reported he checked with the state's Public Disclosure Commission on whether the campaign talks at city council meetings were legal, and they said no.

Vanek said the commission explained the city places itself in a position of offering "public infrastructure" to candidates when they make campaign talks.

Colfax Municipal Court Judge John Hart, candidate for district court judge, made a campaign talk during a council session last month, and Sandy Jamison, a candidate for county auditor, gave a talk at the subsequent council session.

Vanek was asked at the last council session how the candidates came to be on the agenda, and he said the candidates requested to appear. He noted the city staff did not play a part in determining who would be on the agenda.

The city council at the start of the year revamped its agenda format to include a "presentations and work study" segment for meetings, and the candidates made their talks during that part of the agenda.

BALLOT RETURN AT 25 PERCENT

Count of primary election ballots returned to the elections office as of Friday was 5,613, just more than 25 percent of the number which has been mailed out to voters in the county. Another batch of ballots was expected to arrive in the mail Monday morning from returns made over the weekend.

DRUG ARREST IN COLFAX

Cole W. Escallier, 32, Lewiston, was booked into jail here Saturday morning on probable charges of possession of heroin and driving with a suspended license. He was arrested at 1:22 a.m. on Main Street in Colfax by Colfax Officer Cory Alcantar. A search of the vehicle he was driving led to alleged discovery of heroin and drug paraphernalia.

HIGH SPEED MOTORCYCLE CHASE

A motorcycle rider led officers on a high speed chase Saturday evening. The rider was spotted traveling at a high rate of speed at Palouse and pursued on Highway 272 west to Colfax. He headed north out of Colfax, and a Washington State Trooper, who was descending Buck Canyon on Highway 195 clocked the rider traveling at over 100 mph. The rider is believed to have turned off 195 onto Hume Road north of Colfax and headed for the Oakesdale-Tekoa area.

He is believed to have started his ride in Benewah County and approached Palouse via the Potlatch junction.

FIRE DAMAGES LANDFILL BUILDING

A three-year-old waste transfer building at the Whitman County Landfill sustained extensive damage in a fire early Friday morning. Fire crews from Pullman Rural Fire District 12 and other departments responded to the fire.

The fire was discovered by one of the commercial drivers from DeAtley which has the contract for hauling semi loads from the landfill.

The fire burned out fiberglass panels which cover part of the wall on the east side of the top section of the building. Fiberglass was installed on the otherwise metal upper sections of the east and west sides to allow light into the building.

District 12 Chief Lester Erwin said first call to the fire came at 4:23 a.m. He said they found garbage was burning on the collection deck of the metal building and going up one wall. The lower part of the structure is made of concrete.

Fire crew members were able to start loaders on the deck and spread out the garbage to douse with water. Erwin said some of the Colton volunteers work at the landfill, and they took over operation of the county loaders when they arrived on the scene.

While fire volunteers were operating the county loaders to spread the garbage loads, they donned oxygen breathing tanks because of the smoke coming from the burning garbage.

"We didn't know what was actually burning in there," Chief Erwin said.

One of the semi trailer units was parked in the lower level load-out bay. It was empty, and crews managed to pull it out of the building.

Heat from the fire melted overhead light fixtures in the building.

Response to the fire included three trucks from District 12, three from Colton District 14 and two from Albion.

The fire is believed to have been started in garbage which was brought to the building in Friday's garbage loads. The collection deck had been cleared Thursday of the prior day's loads.

Fire crews were able to use water from the landfill's 10,000 gallon reservoir tank at the site in the fire battle.

Erwin said the building didn't appear to have sustained extensive damage, but it will have to undergo inspection before operations resume.

The landfill was closed to loads Monday morning, although yard waste is still being accepted.

An Empire Disposal collection truck from Colfax was turned back at the entry gate. Empire on Friday conducts a limited collection for commercial customers in Colfax, so a shutdown at the landfill Friday would not have a big impact on local collections.

The transfer building was dedicated in April of 2015.

 
 
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