Bulletin Column: September 26, 2019


September 26, 2019

Gordon Davis with son Ben at the grave marker of James "Cashup" Davis outside of Steptoe. Cashup Davis was honored with WSU's first named Deanship.

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.


WSU's first named deanship will honor James S. "Cashup" Davis, the 19th century pioneer who built a hotel on top of Steptoe Butte 131 years ago.

The $5 million endowment was donated last week by WSU grad Gordon Davis, a great-grandson of Cashup Davis.

Gordon Davis was raised on a dairy farm in the Deer Park area. The family farm was named Washington State Dairy Family of the Year in 1964. Davis graduated from WSU in 1969.

The endowment will support WSU's College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resources Sciences.

Gordon Davis last year received the national ag philanthropist award from the National Agricultural Alumni Development Association.

Davis retired in 1990 as an associate professor in animal science at Texas Tech University and founded CEV Multimedia, an educational media company which is now used in 67 colleges and universities, high schools and junior highs. The service now has 15,000 teacher subscribers.

Ziply Fiber

Cashup Davis built the hotel atop Steptoe Butte in 1888, and it was destroyed by a fire in 1911.


Pullman Chamber of Commerce last Wednesday, Sept. 18, cancelled the FieldFest event which had been scheduled for Sept. 28. The event had been slated in a field at the corner to Tucannon Court and Clearwater Drive, an area located south of Pullman Regional Hospital. A lineup of musical acts had been scheduled for the event with food and beer sales planned.

Tickets to the event had been priced at $30. Chamber Director Britnee Christian said advance ticket sales for the event were less than anticipated. Ticket buyers will be refunded.


A civil suit for damages has been filed in court by Marie Taylor and Kevin Doty, seeking payment for damages sustained when a semi truck went off Highway 26 and wrecked two houses located on their property near mile 131, east of Colfax.

Defendants in the suit are Heartland Express Freight, said to be the owners of the truck, driver Desporas Millare and his spouse of Los Angeles.

The truck went off the highway and hit a mobile house and destroyed a small house which had been rented for several years by Craig McCully.

Jim Sharp resided in the other residence.

The suit was filed by Spokane Attorney Luke O'Bannan. A damage amount was not specified.


Two Colfax juveniles have been apprehended after an investigation of reported car prowls on the area of Cedar and Oak streets. Chief Rick McNannay said the investigation started when one of the residents in the area reported his surveillance cameras recorded pictures of the two youths looking into cars.

One resident in the neighborhood recalled losing cash out of his vehicle and as word got around the neighborhood, others reported missing items from their vehicles.

McNannay noted the items were taken from vehicles which were not locked and none of the thefts involved forced entry. Most of the items which were reported missing have been recovered. Watches, $180 in cash, sun glasses, a cell phone and other personal items have been returned.


One person died early Friday morning in a one-vehicle accident on Highway 26 west of LaCrosse. The victim was identified at Brittney Lee Rooney, 25, Cambridge, Idaho, a passenger in a car driven by her father, Norman G. Rooney, 45, Longview.

According to the Washington State Patrol report, Rooney was driving a 1995 Chevrolet Blazer eastbound on Highway 26 at 36 minutes after midnight when it went off the highway and rolled down a 30-foot embankment before coming to a halt.

The accident scene was east of the Fleming Road intersection with Highway 26 near the east end of Pampa Pond.

Norman Rooney, who was not uninjured in the accident, was booked into the county jail later Friday morning on a probable charge of vehicular homicide. He was arrested by Trooper Adrian Jones who investigated the accident.

The arrest report said Rooney admitted he stopped at a gas station about one hour before the accident and took a medication. The report said two bottles of prescription drugs were found near the wrecked Blazer during the investigation.

A Washington State Patrol drug recognition expert was called to the scene and examined Rooney at the LaCrosse Fire Station. A report of the examination was included in the probable cause report.

The report said Rooney admitted taking Ropinirole for restless legs syndrome.

Rooney, who was described as being cooperative in the arrest report, and his daughter were driving between Longview and Cambridge, which is located about 70 miles north of Boise.

Bond for pre-trial release was set at $100,000 surety or $10,000 cash Friday when he made his first appearance in superior court. Another condition of pre-trial release is that he not drive a vehicle after taking medication.

A formal charge was not filed against Rooney by Tuesday under the 72-hour rule and an order was filed which allowed his release from jail with the release conditions lifted.


Last Thursday's edition of the Dayton Chronicle reported a proposal to develop a 9.7-mile trail along the railroad line which links Dayton to Waitsburg. The report said 110 people Monday turned out for an informational meeting on the trail proposal.

Unlike Colfax, where trail proponents want to develop a trail on the now dormant Colfax-Pullman rail line which is owned by the state, the Touchet Valley Trail is proposed to run on easement ground along the railroad line which is still in place.

The rail line between Dayton and Waitsburg was deeded to the Port of Columbia in 1996 by the Union Pacific and is still in occasional use to supply the Seneca plant in Dayton.

The Chronicle report noted the Port of Columbia County has received a $637,000 grant from the State Department of Transportation's Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program and the grant will be used to develop engineering and design documents by members of the Touchet Valley Steering Committee.

Dedication of Caboose Park, which was developed on a parking lot next to the former Dayton Depot, has been scheduled for today. The former depot at Dayton is now a museum.


Next meeting of the Palouse Empire Fair board will be Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the fairground. The board normally meets on the fourth Monday of the month, but they opted to move the date back to Sept. 30, the fifth Monday in the month this year.

Follow-up reports on the Sept. 5-8 fair will be among items on the agenda for the session.


Whitman County Library has again issued a call for photographs of barns for their annual "Barns of Whitman County" calendar. Sales of the calendar support programs and services for all 14 branches of the library.

WSU extension agent Stephen VanVleet donates his time and resources to compile the calendar, but the photos of local barns are needed for the illustrations.

Photo submissions can be sent to VanVleet at [email protected]

Proceeds from the calendar sale are used for everything from booking summer reading programs to providing equipment for childrens robotic sessions.

The calendars are sold at area stores and are popular as Christmas gifts.


Trial date for Philip M. Harthill, 71, Rosalia, was scheduled Nov. 12 after he pleaded not guilty in superior court Friday to five charges of being in possession of photos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Harthill remains in jail in lieu of posting bond for pre-trial release. His bond was set at $100,000 surety or $10,000 cash after officers investigating the case requested a high bond because they considered Harthill to be a public safety threat.

Harthill was arrested Aug. 29 after a Washington State Patrol detective and other officers conducted a warrant search of Harthill's residence in Rosalia. They had obtained a warrant three days earlier from the Eastern Washington District Federal Court in Spokane.

The arrest report alleged hundreds if not thousands of photos were found in files at the residence on 8th Street.


A tree planting to celebrate Arbor Day was Wednesday morning in Schmuck Park. Colfax second graders were slated to plant a tree at a site located near the center of the park at 9 a.m.

Colfax Mayor Todd Vanek has issued an official proclamation declaring Sept. 26 as Arbor Day.

Second graders do the annual tree planting so they can monitor their tree's growth during the 10 years leading up to their graduation day, according to Steve Larkin, parks superintendent.


Brandon D. Smith, 28, Moscow, was sentenced 364 days in jail Friday after he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of being in possession of stolen property. Smith had initially been charged with trafficking in stolen property.

Smith, who was a suspect in a series of burglaries in the Moscow and Pullman area, was charged after missing items from those burglaries were located in a warrant search at his residence near Genesee.

Investigators learned two Pullman women associated with Smith had been selling jewelry items to Sam Dial Jewelers in Pullman. Officers contacted the duo in December of 2017 and determined items taken by Smith were sold by them.

The two women allegedly admitted that Smith had requested they sell the stolen jewelry in exchange for paying them part of the sale proceeds, according to the investigation report.

The 364-day jail sentence assigned to Smith Friday was suspended. He was placed on unsupervised probation for a year and ordered to pay a totaled of $324 in restitution to two of the victims.

Smith has been under specialty court supervision in Latah County since 2017.

Donna Green, 55, and her daughter, Ashley Green-Noel, 26, both Pullman, were charged early this year with trafficking in stolen property in connection to the Smith case. The charge against Green was dismissed in superior court and later resolved in district court.

The charge against Green-Noel is still pending, and an arrest warrant was issued Aug. 19 after she failed to appear for a court date.


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