Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bulletin Column: October 10, 2019


October 10, 2019

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.


A proposal to merge the port's water system at the airport with the Colfax City water system was introduced at Monday night's city council session by Debbie Snell, property and development manager for the Port of Whitman County.

The move, which would not involve an actual link up of water facilities, would merge the port's water system into the city's operation and provide access to the 450 million gallon annual water right allowed to the city by the state.

Snell noted the port now is limited to using 5,000 gallons a day by the state's Department of Ecology, and that limit is seen as a hinderance for expansion of the port industrial park at the airport. The port now has seven commercial tenants at the airport.

Providing city water to the airport has been on the council's agenda in the past, and at one point actual extension of a city water main from Colfax to the airport was considered.

That proposal did not "pencil out," according to discussion at Monday night's city council session.

Snell said the port would pay for all the paperwork involved in presenting an application to the state. Estimated cost would be in the $25,000 to $30,000 range.

The port would also maintain its own system at the airport and pay a fee for the water going through its meter.

At present, Colfax now consumes about 48 percent of its allowed state water right.

Snell said the port has 12 acres at the airport which could be used for industrial development, along with another eight acres.

City council members indicated they would support going to the next step of discussion on the proposal.

Some concern was expressed about whether future Colfax growth would increase demand for water inside the city. Also, council members noted the water rights now held by the city could some day be reduced by the state.


Colfax Police Chief Rick McNannay reported to the city council Monday night that he received a quote to install a rebuilt engine in the department's downed 2013 Ford Taurus patrol car at an estimated cost of $7,000. The car has been sidelined since last July when it sustained engine failure.

The downed car left the city with two working patrol cars, and last month the city purchased a used 2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer from the county for $5,000.

McNannay, who reported on the squad car's status at the Sept. 3 meeting, said a second opinion inspection was made on the Taurus and it confirmed the engine in the car was wrecked. Failure of a timing belt threw the engine out of synch and caused pistons to damage valves. City council members decided to stick with a decision made at the Sept. 3 meeting to leave the department decision up to McNannay.

The council requested a report on operation costs for the Taurus. From 2017 through 2019 to date cost of maintenance, operation and repair on the Taurus totaled $12,860 vs. $3,600 for the Ford Crown Vic and $2,500 for the Ford Explorer.

The chief noted without an engine, the Taurus would have no resale value. Prior repairs to the car, including installation of new turbos, and value of police equipment in the car which could not be transferred to another vehicle, would be lost.

Actual mileage on the odometer in the Taurus is approximately 70,000, McNannay reported.


Anthony J. Emerson, 44, was sentenced to 60 days in jail Friday after he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of possession of methamphetamine. Emerson was also ordered to pay a $2,000 drug fine along with other costs and fees. He will be allowed credit for public service work against the drug fine.

Emerson was initially charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver, but the charge was reduced to just possession.

The charge relates to a March 3 arrest in Colfax by Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Jordan. The report alleged Jordan stopped the Ford F 150 Emerson was driving after noticing a faulty tail light. The deputy's report said he observed two butane torches inside the pickup cab. Emerson refused permission for a search of the pickup, so Jordan obtained a warrant. Among other evidence, the warrant search turned up two makeup kits with heroin contained in one and methamphetamine in the other.

Emerson will be allowed work release while serving the jail sentence.


A 13-year-old Endicott youth was transported by Life Flight helicopter to Spokane Saturday night after colliding with a vehicle at an intersection in Endicott. According to the report by Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Brown, the youth was riding a motorcycle dirt bike southbound on 3rd Street in Endicott and failed to stop at a sign at the street intersection with E Street near the back of the Endicott Market.

The youth collided with a vehicle being driven westbound on E Street by Randy Demler, 66, Endicott, at 12:46 p.m.

Endicott EMS and a Colfax Ambulance crew responded to the scene.


Jesus R. F. German, 22, Pullman, made a first appearance in court Friday morning after he was arrested that morning on a probable charge of first degree arson. German is suspected of lighting a trash can on fire in an upstairs rest room at Stubblefield's, the college hill bar in Adams Mall on the WSU campus.

Pullman police were called to Stubblefield's at 47 minutes after midnight Friday, and German was booked into the jail at 5:45 a.m.

According to the arrest report by Pullman Officer Nathan Prada, the burning trash can was discovered by an employee, and German became a suspect when surveillance videos indicated he was believed to be the only person in the rest room at the time the fire was discovered.

The arrest report alleged German also had a confrontation at Stubblefield's two to three weeks prior when a friend of his was ordered out of the bar. He was also found to be in possession of two lighters, according to the arrest report.

A Pullman fire investigator was called to the scene and determined the waste paper towels in the trash can were intentionally ignited. Other potential sources of ignition, such as a cigarette, were not found among the burned towels.

German was advised of his rights in court Friday, and told the court he planned to hire an attorney. He said he was in his junior year of studies at WSU. He was allowed release on his own recognizance and ordered to not go into Adams Mall. Formal charges had not been filed as of Monday morning.


Kyle W. Gaumitz, 24, former WSU student, was sentenced to 28 months in prison Friday on convictions of extortion. The charges against Gaumitz said he convinced female victims to send revealing photos of themselves and then threatened to circulate the photos to their friends and associates unless they complied with his additional requests.

One of the charges alleges Gaumitz messaged a victim "I want you to be my slave."

Gaumitz Sept. 5 entered an Alford no-contest plea to amended charges in superior court. He was originally charged with five counts of extortion with sexual motivation, but the sexual motivation factor was dropped from four of the five counts in the amended complaint as part of a plea bargain agreement.

The 28-month prison term was the maximum he could have received on the extortion with sexual motivation. Gaumitz was assigned an offender score of four on the state scale and faced a range of 24 to 28 months in prison.

Pullman and WSU officers investigated the case, and in February of 2018 officers made a warrant search of Gaumitz' Pullman apartment and seized a desktop computer, a laptop computer and a cell phone. The case involved use of Tinder and Snap Chat applications and other devices to contact the victims.

The state's pre-sentence investigation report noted Gaumitz was visited at his cell for an interview Sept. 20 and continued to deny he was the person responsible. He contended he believed he was being set up by some other suspect and was advised by his attorney to accept a plea bargain to avoid a longer sentence in the event he was convicted.


Bail for pre-trial release of Ashley Green-Noel, 26, Pullman, was set at $50,000 surety or $5,000 cash Oct. 2 after her arrest on warrants the previous day. Green-Noel was listed on Friday's court docket related to four different felony charges with three filed this year and one going back to 2018.

One of the four charges alleges she attempted to sell jewelry in Pullman as a cohort for Brandon Smith of Moscow who was sentenced in connection with a series of burglaries in the Moscow/Pullman area. Other charges related to alleged drug use and sales.


A Colfax fire crew responded to an alarm at an adult care home on I Street Sunday at 12:51 p.m. The alarm was determined to have been caused by smoke from the kitchen.


Jesse W. Harrell, 23, Uniontown resident who faces three charges in Whitman County following an alleged chase down Steptoe Canyon Road and along the Wawawai Road into Clarkston, was arrested in Lewiston and booked into the Nez Perce County Jail at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3.

Harrell had been sought since he abandoned a Subaru Forester, reported to be stolen, in Clarkston. A warrant for Harrell's arrest was issued here Friday after three felony charges were filed against him in superior court.

He also faces charges in Lewiston.

Arrest reports on Harrell allege he drove at speeds of more than 110 miles per hour during a chase along the river after leading officers on a harrowing chase down the Steptoe Canyon south of Colton to the river. He is charged with reckless driving, reckless endangerment and possession of a stolen vehicle.


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