Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Bulletin Column: December 12, 2019


December 12, 2019

County elections staff members Mish Stanley, left, and Nikki Pfaff work their way through 10,737 ballots from the Nov. 5 election, to find 137 ballots from Uniontown. It is part of a process to resolve the tied Uniontown city council race between Jack Espy and Jonathan Musson. Each received 57 votes.

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.


State Department of Transportation plans for the truck passing lanes on Highway 26 to include one short segment where the lanes from opposite directions will overlap to create a four-lane highway for approximately one-half of a mile.

An eastbound lane will begin at mile 123.14 and climb the grade to mile 124.03.

On the other side of the grade, a westbound lane will start at mile 124.88 and end at 123.5 which means approximately one-half mile at the top of the grade will have four lanes where the climbing lanes from opposite directions overlap before they end.

The two truck climbing lanes will be located west of the Union Flat Creek crossing on Highway 26. Highway mile marker 123, which is just west of the start of the overall project, is just east of Eric Appel farm, located approximately six miles east of Dusty.

The hill where the lanes will meet has been known locally as Wise Hill. Buildings from the former Wise place are on the south side of the highway on the east side of the grade.

The truck passing lanes project is tentatively planned to be contracted with a call for bids by the state in 2021.

The other two lane locations are along the eastbound lane on the grade east of the Filan Road intersection and along the westbound lane just beyond the railroad overpass west of Colfax.


A determination of non-significance was issued last Thursday, Dec. 5, by the eastern office of the Department of Transportation on a project involving construction of four truck climbing lanes to allow passing on Highway 26 between Colfax and Dusty. Plans for the project have been announced as a means of making the highway safer.

The project was announced subsequent to installation of passing lanes on Highway 195 between Colfax and Spangle last year.

The DNS notice stated Department of Transportation staff members considered all relevant environmental and social aspects for the construction of truck climbing lanes in the project area.

It noted they reviewed a complete environmental checklist under state Environmental Policy Act Rules.

Purchasing the strips of property is expected to extend over the next year, and a call for construction bids on the project is anticipated to be issued in the middle of 2021 or possibly later that year, according to Dustin Vaughn, environmental permit coordinator for the DOT eastern region.

Residents can request a free copy of the DNS and information from Tammie Williams, eastern region environmental manager at the DOT office, 2714 N. Mayfair, Spokane, 99207-2090.


Colfax police received a report of vandalism at the laundromat in the 400 block of S. Main. Chief Rick McNannay said he received a report of the damage early Monday morning.

McNannay said an electrical service meter had been removed from the outside of the building and the dollar bill changer inside the building was unplugged. Forced entry was not involved because the laundromat was not locked.


Andrew J. Persell, 20, reported to be homeless, was booked into jail here Sunday night on seven probable charges after he was arrested as a shoplifting suspect at Walmart in Pullman. Pullman Officer Holden Humphrey reported he responded to a call from a Walmart security officer at 2:32 p.m. Sunday. The security officer had stopped Persell outside of the store. He told Humphrey he had observed Persell throw an inexpensive item into the backpack he was wearing before he walked out of the store.

The officer reported he found other items from the store in the backpack during the initial investigation. Pens, jewelry and gloves were among items found in the pack. Total value was estimated less than $750.

Officer Humphrey also found a container of heroin and a bag of methamphetamine. Tests on both proved positive for heroin and methamphetamine. The weight of the two drugs was .63 grams for heroin and .17 grams for methamphetamine, according to the arrest report.

The search also turned 100 to 200 small drug packets believed to contain drugs, six knives with drug residue and plastic tubes commonly used to ingest methamphetamine.

Humphrey said Persell was also found to be in possession of two credit cards that did not belong to him. Persell said he found the credit cards while helping a man clean his house in Moscow.

Bond for pre-trial release was set at $50,000 surety or $5,000 cash in a first court appearance Monday. Persell was also told he would have to provide the court with an address where he could be contacted before he could be released on bail.


Police Chief Rick McNannay said he was informed Monday that a missing cell phone is believed to be in Colfax. A Spokane resident reported his cell phone was missing, and a ping check to determine its location indicated the cell phone was in Colfax.

McNannay said the owner of the phone was unable to give an account of how it became missing.

The cell ping indicates the telephone is in the middle section of Colfax.


Sean Storment, 42, Pullman, pleaded guilty Friday to charges in two different cases which were pending against him in superior court. Storment entered the pleas in response to a plea bargain agreement.

Part of the agreement calls for Storment to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation, conducted by the Department of Corrections, to determine if he qualifies for a Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative. His sentencing has been set for Jan. 3.

Storment was charged on delivery of drugs in which officers used a confidential informant to purchase drugs. Also charged in that case was possession of stolen property. He was alleged to have taken items from the residence of a woman with whom he had previously separated. The investigation report in that case said an informant reported Storment showed up at his residence and asked the informant to help him get rid of the items.

The report said a subsequent warrant search of Storment's residence led to discovery of items missing from the residence.

The second set of charges evolved from investigation of a vehicle prowl case in which Storment was said to be in possession of credit cards. The arrest report said Storment took the victim's purse from a vehicle at the Palouse Empire Fairgrounds. She had left the purse in an unlocked vehicle Sept. 3 while entering items at the Palouse Empire Fair. Five counts of possession of stolen property, citing credit cards taken from the purse, were included in that case.

Storment was assigned an offender score of five because of five listed prior convictions dating back to a 1993 Ferry County case. Three Whitman County cases were included in the list with a 2015 drug possession case as the most recent.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Wendy Lierman said she intended to ask the court to sentence Storment to serve 20 months in a state prison and another 20 months of community supervision after he is released.

She said she will also ask the court to order Storment to pay $1,109 to the victim in the first case, and $4,451 to the victim in the credit card case.


Douglas Graham, 51, Lamont, and his son, Levi Graham, 22, were arrested on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm Sunday after deputies responded to a report of a male subject shooting a gun in the 400 block of Spokane Street in Lamont. They received the report at 1:05 p.m.

The investigation report alleged Levi Graham was seen firing from different locations around the mobile home where he and his father reside. In one instance he was observed firing across a field.

The report by Sgt. Dan Brown said deputies found nothing happening when they arrived on the scene, but were informed the home owner, Douglas Graham, was across town hunting quail with a shotgun. They determined Douglas Graham had previously been prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a prior felony conviction.

Douglas Graham told them he was unaware of any shooting at his residence, and they returned to the residence where they located Levi Graham and arrested him for unlawful possession of a firearm, aiming or discharging firearms and reckless endangerment.

Deputies removed three firearms from the residence, and also collected shell casings found in the area.

Levi Graham was booked into Whitman County jail.


Steven Storrings, 26, Latah, has been identified as a suspect in an alleged burglary of the Tekoa Market on Crosby Street in Tekoa early Friday morning. According to a report by Deputy Sgt. Dan Brown, deputies were advised at 6:39 a.m. that the store had been burglarized.

The report said an electrical meter had been thrown through the front window of the store to gain entry. Surveillance videos in the business showed a male suspect entered through the broken window and while inside consumed food items and smoked cigarettes. The suspect was in the business for approximately one hour and 20 minutes, the report said.

Witnesses reported to the business owner that they had seen a male walking southbound on Highway 27 in the early morning hours before the break-in, and another witness said he saw a man walking northbound on 27 around 6 a.m.

Storrings is now being held in Spokane County.


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