Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

McGregor Co.

News Briefs


August 9, 2018 | View PDF


Fire crews from seven different districts responded to a fire Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 1, which ignited trees and brush between two residences located at the junction of Pine City-Malden and Texas Ferry roads at Pine City. The fire started in a grove of pine trees.

Rosalia Fire Chief Bill Tensfeld estimated the fire covered three to four acres which contained timber. The timber was located between a residence on the north side of the area and a barn on an adjoining residence on the south side.

Tensfeld said the fire started off a mulching attachment on the front of a Bobcat which was used by a contractor to cut brush as part of a project to clear flammable material for a fire protection zone. The mulcher is believed to have started the fire by throwing sparks when it hit some type of object.

Crews kept the tree fire from spreading to the house and barn. The fire was also adjacent to other trees in the Pine City area. St. John volunteers were first on the scene. In addition to Rosalia, other departments responding to the fire were Lamont, Spangle, Steptoe, Oakesdale and Farmington.

Local companies assisted with hauling water to the scene. Crews were on the scene until after 9 p.m. Tensfeld said a Rosalia truck had been stationed at the site to counter any restart of the fire. Windy conditions, which were in the weather forecast, increased the probability of a flareup.

A district fire truck was moved up to Steptoe from Colfax to provide coverage there while the Steptoe units were at the Pine City fire.


A civil damage suit involving two sororities on Linden Street on WSU’s college hill was filed Monday in superior court. Alpha Delta Pi seeks treble damages for alleged intrusions on their property during a 2017 remodeling project undertaken by Delta Gamma.

The suit was filed by Susan Kaplan of the Spokane law firm Carroll, Biddle and Bilanco.

James W. Elmer Construction Co. of Spokane, alleged contractor on the project, is listed as a co-defendant.

The suit alleges shrubs, grass, ground cover and a shade tree were removed from Alpha Delta Pi’s property, located between the two sororities. It contends removal of soil on the property has caused erosion problems.

It also alleges part of a garbage receptacle installed on Alpha Pi’s property does not conform with city setback rules.

The suit said damages will be determined at the time of trial. It also asks the court to order the defendant to remove the receptacle. The suit noted before the project started, Delta Gamma sought an easement for a transmitter on the southwest corner of Alpha Delta Pi’s property and was informed of conditions which would have to be met. The transmitter was located elsewhere, but the episode should have served to make the defendants aware of conditions which they would have to meet before they allegedly encroached on the Alpha property during the subsequent remodeling project in the summer of 2017.


Randi Keene, 34, pleaded guilty to amended charges of harassment and third degree assault Friday morning in superior court. As part of a plea bargain agreement, a third charge of obstructing was dismissed.

The charges relate to a July 16 arrest at the home of Keene’s mother in Garfield. Keene reportedly harassed her mother and threatened to kill her. Officer Joe Handley, who responded to the residence, said he was punched three times in the ear while trying to arrest Keene.

She was sentenced to 364 days in jail with all but 30 suspended. She was ordered to get a drug abuse evaluation and undergo any recommended treatment.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Daniel LeBeau told the court Keene has a bad meth habit. He said the 334 days of suspended sentence are intended to get the defendant to undergo drug treatment she needs so she doesn’t land back in court.

Model Home Furnishings, Lewiston

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