Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bulletin Column: April 18, 2019


April 18, 2019

Return engagement: Once known as "The Rhinestone Mailman" in performances, former Bulletin carrier and Pullman Post Office employee Jim Jenkins stopped in at the Gazette April 11.

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 High School jazz band placed second Saturday at the Columbia Basin College Jazz Festival in Pasco. They competed among seven bands in their division. A Hanford band topped the division.

The jazz band last night played its competition set, "There Will Never Be Another You," "Misty" and "Count Bubba."

The band will compete at the Hood River festival May 4, and finish by performing its annual jazz concert in the gym here May 9.


Colfax city employees have again qualified for a two percent discount on health insurance costs by successfully completing a Well City program offered by the city's insurer through the Association of Washington Cities, City Clerk Lynda Kramlich reported to the Colfax City Council Monday night. Colfax employees have qualified for the discount each year since 2011. The program requires city employees to follow an active health regime and then document it with a long application.

Kramlich Tuesday said the program saves the city approximately $6,000 in health coverage costs for 19 employees.


Kolton Cole-Kagele, 24, St. John, was booked into jail here at 11:50 p.m. Sunday after he was arrested for taking a motor vehicle which he allegedly used to go to Spokane to purchase heroin. The arrest report by Deputy Sgt. Michael Jordan was similar to an arrest of the same suspect April 2 that led to charges of taking a motor vehicle without permission and possession of heroin.

Deputy Jordan reported he responded Sunday to a report from the suspect's mother that he had taken her 2016 Dodge Dart and she suspected he headed to Spokane to buy heroin. The report said she made phone contact with the suspect, but he failed to appear as promised. Jordan's report said he later located Cole-Kagele sitting in the missing car which was running and parked next to the grain elevators at Pine City. The report alleged the suspect appeared to be nodding off from use of drugs.

Cole-Kagele Friday appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to charges of taking a motor vehicle without permission April 2 and possession of heroin. In that case, Sgt. Dan Brown observed the suspect driving back to St. John on the Malden-Pine City Road and then arrested him in St. John. At that time he allegedly took a Honda Civic without permission to Spokane to buy heroin.

Bond for pre-trial release on the second arrest was set at $25,000 in a first appearance Monday in court.


Robert M. Zornacki, LaCrosse, was injured Sunday in a car-pickup accident on Highway 195 at the intersection with Highway 194 west of Pullman. According to the Washington State Patrol report, Zornacki was driving a 2014 Sierra pickup truck northbound on Highway 195 at 5:40 p.m. when Yinan Guo, Pullman, failed to yield at the signal while driving a 2011 Lexus eastbound on Highway 194 and was struck by the pickup being driven by Zornacki.


As of Monday morning the rainfall total at the Colfax NRCS office shows April has logged twice its monthly average at the halfway point of the month. Precipitation total for the month is now at 3.12 inches with the addition of a .29 inches reading Monday morning for the weekend total.

The station had readings of 1.00 for April 8, .35 for April 9 and 1.33 for April 10.

Prior to April, the NRCS logged eight straight months of below-average rainfall totals with a 4.48 inch deficit since Oct. 1.


John Andres, 36, Spokane, one of two suspects charged in connection with the Rosalia car prowls case last November, was allowed to enroll for at least three months in a residential drug treatment program under the state's Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative option. Andrus had already pleaded to two charges of theft which related to the Rosalia prowls.

He was allowed release from jail here to catch a bus to Spokane and has been enrolled for treatment on the west side of the state.

The sentence requires Andres to undergo three to six months of drug treatment. After the session, he will be placed on two years of probation.

Andres, noting that he was now 36 years old, said his pattern of drug use was getting old, and he decided to undergo the treatment and start a new chapter in his life.

Court Commissioner David Frazier questioned a listing on the defendant's record which showed he had already attended drug treatment sessions and participated in a drug court program prior to the Nov. 18 episode in Rosalia.

Andres said the drug treatments listed on his record were short sessions which were part of the drug court program.

Andres was also ordered to pay $2,910 in restitution.

Hunter Haley, 25, Reardan, the other suspect in the case, also pleaded guilty to two of the theft charges. The charges involved items which were purchased at Walmart in Pullman with a credit card taken from one of the vehicles in Rosalia.

Haley also pleaded guilty to the two theft charges March 8 and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Haley was also ordered to pay $2,919 restitution which will be a joint and several obligation for the two defendants.

The amount of restitution includes $760 to Walmart and the balance to nine victims of the Rosalia car prowls.


A second trustee's sale of the former St. Ignatius Hospital building in Colfax failed to get a bid Friday morning at a trustee's auction on the courthouse steps. The trustee's listing for a public bid was the second time the hospital has been offered for trustee's auction at the courthouse entrance.

Sierra Minder, representing the Spokane law firm of Winston & Cashatt, read an abbreviated version of the legal notice of sale. The trustee's description noted a bid for $128,718 had been submitted for the building by a prior creditor, and any bid from the public auction would have had to exceed that bid amount.

Minder said the creditor's interest related to the previous sale of the building which was sold by Anthony Girges of Belflower, Calif., to two listed entities in Florida.

The defacto purchaser of the building was Derrick Fincher, 48, a Spokane Valley resident who was convicted in federal court in Spokane last Sept. 13 of swindling more than $2 million from three investors.

Val Gregory, Colfax Chamber director, said Fincher was her lone contact when arranging for ghost tours of the long-vacant hospital on the south hill of Colfax. Gregory said that as far as she knows, the Chamber has the lone key to the building.

Prior to the sale of the building in May of 2017, the chamber conducted ghost tours under an agreement with Girges, and a new arrangement was negotiated with Fincher.

Fincher's payments under his purchase agreement with Girges are believed to have derived from his share of revenue from the tours conducted by the Colfax Chamber.

The tours were stopped after St. Ignatius was posted with a notice of the first trustee's sale which was scheduled for June 8, 2018.

Gregory told Minder Friday that tours of the building, going back to when it was owned by Girges, have brought approximately 9,000 visitors to Colfax.

Minder said she drove down to Colfax last year to conduct the first posted trustee's auction June 8 and received a phone call from the Winston & Cashatt office that the buyer had filed for bankruptcy and the building could not be sold for bid.

Friday, Minder arrived at the courthouse and read the trustee's notice of sale in front of the entrance while Gregory and other residents waited in the lobby in front of the courthouse steps. She discovered the audience had been waiting inside while she read the notice in front of nobody on the outside.

She agreed to read the lengthy notice again after those present advised her they didn't intend to make a bid.

Minder represented Elizabeth Tellessen who did the official filing for Winston & Cashatt. Minder, who is a licensed legal assistant, expects to receive her law degree from Gonzaga School of Law this spring.


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