Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bulletin Column: October 3, 2019


October 3, 2019

A gray Gleaner combine waits out moisture on a hill south of Thornton Sunday, Sept. 29.

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.


The three fires Friday night along the Wawawai Canyon Road were believed to have been set. One of the fires was located near Wawawai County Park at the bottom of the grade, and the other two were located at mile 11, about three miles up the canyon from the park. The two higher fires actually merged before they were doused.

Fire District 14 Fire Chief Jon Dahmen said other possible causes of the fires have been ruled out. Power lines were not down and conditions for a field fire were low by the time the fires started at about 8:30 p.m.

Lightning was not reported in the area.

The fire near the park was on the park side of the road, and the two upper fires were on the opposite side of the road.

Dahmen estimated 200 acres of rangeland were burned by the fire.

The three fires were in an area of Fire District 14 which is believed to have been hit by arson last year. Dahmen said five or six fires along the river area were suspected to have been caused by arson. He added arson has been suspected for fires in the area for as far back as 10 years.

Friday night's fires led to calling on more volunteers from Fire District 12 at Pullman, District 4 at Palouse and District 11 with Colfax, Diamond and Steptoe responding.

Crews battled the fires until they were determined to be out as of approximately midnight, Dahmen said.


Colfax Police Tuesday morning received a report of a suspected car prowl in the 300 block of James Street. The owner said she had left her purse under the seat of the car Monday night and it was missing. Cash in the purse and her wallet, which was in the purse, were taken.

Chief Rick McNannay again stressed residents should not leave unattended vehicles unlocked. Normally, car prowlers will not attempt forced entry into a locked vehicle. The chief stressed the normal routine for a car prowler who finds a car locked is to move on to the next car which might be unlocked.


Colfax Police Department has decided to purchase a 2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer from the Whitman County Sheriff's office for $5,000. The purchase is intended to add a vehicle to the city's patrol lineup, which is now down to two cars.

The Trailblazer has been declared surplus by the Sheriff's department because of its age.

A police Ford Taurus has been sidelined for several weeks with a suspected failed engine. Chief Rick McNannay reported they took the Taurus to a second shop in Pullman, and they confirmed the original diagnosis that the car will require a new or rebuilt engine.

Next move will be to convert markings on the Trailblazer from the Sheriff's office to the Colfax City Police Department.


Final figures for this year's run of the Palouse Empire Fair are still in the works and will be presented at the Oct. 28 fair board meeting. The report will include attendance figures and entry figures which will go into the state report.

Fair Manager Janel Goebel told the fair board Monday night steady rain which hit the fair Sunday took a big toll. She reported the Sunday setback took a toll on a day which logged a "fantastic" gate revenue for the fair last year.

The fair marked a strong revenue day on Saturday this year, but gate revenue for Friday lagged about $1,000 from last year, and for Thursday about $50 below last year, Goebel reported.


Cougar football fans have inquired about the possibility of parking campers on the fairground for WSU home football dates. Janel Goebel, fair manager, told the fair board Monday night that they have received six or seven calls from football fans searching for a place to park their campers.

Some fans located in the RV park during the UCLA game.

WSU fans have been searching for camper space this season after Walmart in Pullman discontinued its policy of allowing fans to park their campers around the outer perimeter of their parking lot at the Bishop Boulevard store.

Some spaces on the RV park are now also being used by hunters.

Also, Goebel noted at Monday night's fair board session, the fair's new "Beyond the Bridge" trailer section drew 33 units for this year's fair run. The site is located at the far north end of fair property where Fairgrounds Road meets Endicott Road.

The area was mowed and marked to be put in use last year and three camper units were located there. This year the fair added a portable toilet and rolled the site to take out the bumps.

One sales point for Beyond the Bridge was extra-wide spaces which were marked out for the trailer units. Campers at the site have to cross the bridge over Rebel Flat Creek to reach the main fairgrounds.

The manager also reported the fair has purchased a small snow plow with an enclosed cab. Fair pathways and the paved parking lot have previously been plowed with an open tractor.


The Monday morning reading of the precipitation gauge at the NRCS station in the south hill totaled .93 of an inch. The reading includes rainfall which fell over the weekend.

The weekend reading put the September rainfall total at 1.83 inches, which is .79 over the average precipitation of 1.04 inches for the month.

Other rainfall dates for the month were .01 Sept. 2, .16 Sept. 6, .20 Sept. 9, .38 Sept. 11 and .15 Sept. 23.

The above-average reading for September follows four months of below-average precipitation.


Colfax Schools Foundation will host a pre-game tailgate party Oct. 11 at Schmuck Park from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The party will be part of the homecoming festivities which will include the Colfax-Liberty football game that Friday.

The Colfax Schools Foundation was started in 2002 by members of the CHS class of 1952 on their 50-year anniversary. The foundation is a perpetual fund to provide scholarships for Colfax High School graduates.

Last year all 22 applicants to the fund received awards.

Admission to the benefit party will be $8 per person or $25 per family. Preschoolers will be admitted for free.


Charges of reckless driving, reckless endangerment and possession of a stolen vehicle were filed Friday in superior court against Jesse W. Harrell, 23, Uniontown.

The arrest report alleges Harrell was the driver of a Subaru Forester which was involved in a high speed chase Sept. 24 on Steptoe Canyon Road which descends down the breaks of the Snake River to the Wawawai Road along the Snake River.

The arrest report by Detective Bryson Aase said officers had been training at Bryton Landing on the river when the session adjourned. One of the officers familiar with an alleged car prowl case involving Harrell in the Lewiston/Clarkston area identified the suspect and advised Aase he was headed in Aase's direction. The suspect was encountered on Steptoe Canyon Road. Aase alleged a chase followed on the Canyon Road where the descending roadway calls for low speed. He said once the Subaru reached the paved Wawawai Road along the river it accelerated to speeds of 110 miles per hour as it headed upstream toward Clarkston.

The report alleged it came close to hitting an officer who was setting a spike strip in the Clarkston area.

A warrant was issued for Harrell's arrest.


Keith A. Kimball, 52, Garfield, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of violation of a protection order Friday in superior court.

Kimball was booked into jail Sept. 18 after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Seven charges of violation of a protection order were filed in court against him July 11.

The court ordered an evaluation of Kimball to be conducted by Eastern State Hospital staffers at the jail. The evaluation will be done at the jail within 60 days.

Bail for pre-trial release was set at $50,000 surety or $5,000 cash. In the event he is released from jail, Kimball was ordered to notify the hospital to undergo the evaluation.


With the arrival of fall weather, Whitman County Parks removed fire bans for all of its parks except Wawawai Friday. Campfires are now allowed at Kamiak and Klemgard parks. Fire restrictions will remain at Wawawai County Park until Oct. 10, according to Dave Mahan, parks director.

Parks visitors are reminded to keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby when cooking at a camp.



Artifacts which once belonged to James "Cashup" Davis are now on display in the lobby of Hulbert Hall on the WSU campus. Davis was in the news last week because the first named endowed deanship at WSU will carry his name.

Announced last week, the endowment was made possible with a donation from Gordon Davis, a WSU grad and great-grandson of Cashup Davis who constructed a hotel on the top of Steptoe Butte in 1888 where it stood until 1911 when it was destroyed by fire.

Among items in the display case are Davis' historic telescope and his top hat.

A picture of the hotel when it was operating in its prime is among the library's Heritage Collection photo display in the first floor hallway at the courthouse.

Gordon Davis, who never had an opportunity to meet his great-grandfather, credits Cashup Davis with having an incredible sense of vision and believes he serves as a mentor to present members of the family.



Colfax City Councilman Al Vord


An estimated 90 head of elk


Colfax Finance Director Chris Mathis reporte


Colfax City Councilman Al Vord


An estimated 90 head of elk


Colfax Finance Director Chris Mathis reporte


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 12/20/2019 11:27