Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Good Old Days: January 9, 2020


January 9, 2020

In 1970, Colfax High School advanced food class created a window display to showcase the treats they had made for the holidays.

125 years ago

The Colfax Gazette

Jan. 11, 1895

The analysis made by the Pullman Agricultural college shows that the soil and climate of the state of Washington will produce sugar beets of more than average quantity and quality, in percentage of sugar and purity. The average grade of the beet sugar district of Germany and Austria is 12 percent sugar and 80 percent purity, while eastern Washington shows 15.5 percent sugar and 83.8 percent purity, thus proving to a certainty that our Inland Empire is indeed blessed by a kind providence with unbounded natural riches and fertility, and that it only depends upon us, the owners and tillers of the soil, whether we shall be prosperous by using our natural resources or struggle along in misery, victims of our own improvidence and careless indolence.

Farming is a business like anything else, and in order to be successful it appears to me one must raise products that are wanted in the world's market, instead of consuming time, labor, money and credit to produce an article of which the world is over supplied; for instance wheat. When the merchant can not sell boots because shoes are wanted, there is no doubt but what he will supply himself with shoes, and thus cater to the trade. Now, why should the farmer be the only one that does not understand this business. Most of the misery now existing in the United States among the farming community is not so much the fault of gold-bearing bonds, McKinley and John Sherman, as some of our economists would make one believe, the result of producing breadstuffs and raw materials at a loss, and purchasing articles from the foreigner at a profit, following the old ruts of a century, and not taking in consideration the change of times, markets and conditions.


Last Saturday evening, the date set for the benefit to be tendered to Rev. Geo. H. Newman, was the stormiest night of the winter, but notwithstanding this, the court house, where the entertainment was given, was comfortably filled. The entertainment opened with an overture by the band which was well rendered and was followed by a violin duet by Miss Helen James and J. W. McIntosh and was well received and who responded to an encore. After this Geo. J. Joyce delivered "Thanatopsis" in an effective way, and the choir sang "Hark, Hark My Soul!" The cornet solo by Prof. Read was unusually well rendered and Miss Lansdale recited the "Night Watch" with good effect. Mrs. H. L. Plummer sang a solo, after which a short intermission was taken. The band played another selection and W. J. Bryant gave an excellent recitation of "Regulus." Mrs. S. C. Roberts sang "When the Heart is Young" and was encored. The choir sang "The Rock That Is Higher" and sang it well. The two hymns were Rev. Newman's especial favorites. Chas. D. South recited "Coriolanius" which was well received. Mrs. S. J. Chadwick sang a solo with good taste and the band played a march and thus ended one of the best entertainments of the kind ever given in the city. The churches and secret societies of Colfax were the promoters of the entertainment and are deserving of great credit, through their committees, for the great success attained. It is Rev. Newman's intention to go to Southern California to regain his failing health, and it is the hope of everyone that he will entirely recover. The net proceeds of the entertainment was $127.25.

100 years ago

The Colfax Commoner

Jan. 9, 1920

There were several road delegations before the board of county commissioners this week and the entire afternoon of Monday was spent by the county commissioners in listening to delegates of farmers, who are asking for improved roads.

A petition accompanied by a bond for the cost of examination was filed by a large number of land owners living near Steptoe and Oakesdale, asking for an improved road running from Steptoe to the city of Oakesdale. The proposed road is to connect Oakesdale up with the state road at Steptoe. The road was formerly known as the V. T. McCroskey road. The new petition designates the road as the G. M. Hume road.

The petition carries the names of many of the farmers living along the road as well as a number of the residents of Oakesdale. The commissioners ordered the county engineer to make the necessary surveys and to file his report of the examination with the board of county commissioners. A petition signed by Henry Linden and a number of other land owners of Palouse was filed. The petition asked for a vacation in the Palouse-Moscow road. A bond for the cost of examination accompanied the petition and an order for examination was secured.


An executive session of the members of the city council was held at the city hall Monday evening after the regular session was ended. The executive session lasted nearly an hour and the members of the council discussed the reports of gambling which have been reaching the ears of certain councilmen.

Mr. Smith maintained that a number of reports of gambling had reached him during the last two or three weeks and numerous cases were cited where it was said that men had lost money in card games.

Just what discussion occurred at the executive session of the city council could not be learned. But the policemen were instructed to warn a certain number of places and the pool hall men were instructed to forbid playing of eight ball pool. Mr. Smith as well as one or two other men of the council insisted many reports of gambling had reached them during the last few weeks. They insisted the police be instructed to notify the owners of several places that action would be taken if similar reports were received.


H. I. Willis is clearing the ground on Mill street for the erection of a $12,000 garage, which is to be let this spring. The building will occupy a 150 foot front and it will extend from the corner of the Star Barn to a point 150 feet north. The old frame buildings which are now located on the ground will be razed for the new structure, which will be built of tiling and lumber.

J. F. Aiken has taken a lease on the building for a term of years and the work of erecting the garage will be rushed to completion early this spring.

Mr. Willis has already secured a building permit from the city and is now clearing away the trees from the front of the property. Other business blocks are also to be built in Colfax this year and contractors state that the year 1920 will witness a real building boom in Colfax.

75 years ago

The Colfax Gazette-Commoner

Jan. 12, 1945

More than 100 persons interested in Whitman county agriculture, including county and community AAA committeemen, attended a meeting at the courthouse here Monday to hear talks on the 1945 production goals, marketing and price support programs, production facilities, conservation practices and farm labor.

The meeting was sponsored by state agricultural agencies, which furnished the speakers. Anson Patterson, chairmen of the county A. C. A., presided.

A. M. Camp, member of the state A.A.A. Committee, keynoted the meeting by pointing out the general aspects of the production job facing agriculture this year in the face of shortages of machinery, labor and transportation facilities.

I. M. Ingham, agronomist of the state extension service, spoke on "The Economic Outlook for 1945" and quoted statistics on supplies of grain and livestock with comparisons to the future requirements for military, lend-lease and domestic needs.


B. T. (Bo) Henry, who took office as mayor of Colfax Jan. 2, resigned at a special meeting of the council Monday evening, declaring he had found that his duties would require more time than he could devote to them.

Expressing regret, the council unanimously accepted the resignation, then went into an executive session, at the end of which W. B. (Barney) Hutcheson seated himself in the mayor's chair.

At the opening of the meeting Mr. Hutcheson, councilman-at-large, had been elected mayor pro tem, a procedure apparently overlooked when the new council was organized last week. He was thus the logical successor to Mr. Henry unless the council chose to look outside its membership for a mayor.


The Parent-Teacher association Monday evening authorized its president, Mrs. Troy Lindley, to appoint a committee to draft a resolution to be addressed to the Colfax district school board asking that plans be started, financial, architectural and otherwise, for the post-war construction of new school buildings.

This action followed the reading of a letter addressed to the school board and the P. T. A. by E. A. Hochsprung in which the county sanitarian told of unhealthy conditions existing in both the Hamilton and Martha Washington grade school buildings.

Mrs. Lindley announced Wednesday that Mrs. Wm. T. Noel had accepted the chairmanship of the committee on which were appointed Mr. Noel, Mrs. Allen Lacey, Roy A. Corlew, Leslie McvGuire, Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Rubin, Mrs. A. J. James, Mrs. Fred Mader, Russell Looney and Mrs. Wayne Doty and to which will be named later several Colfax businessmen.

50 years ago

The Colfax Gazette

Jan. 8, 1970

A price tag for the Port of Central Ferry and boat launch ramps at Boyer and Penawawa were topics discussed Monday as port of Whitman commissioners made preparations for the flooding of the Little Goose dam Feb. 16. The port also agreed to its first lease of land at Central Ferry.

Steelman-Duff, Portland, had the apparent low bid of $128,888 for construction of the railroad spur and road which will service the port sites located upstream from the Walla Walla highway on the Whitman county side of the river.

Also bidding on the project were Peters Wood and Lampson Contractors Inc., Kennewick. Their offer price was $175,970. Both bids were quoted on an hourly rate basis with totals listed as a ceiling price. The bids included five switches which will service tenants along the 4,440-foot spur rail. The spur will connect with the Union Pacific's Camas Prairie railroad which has been relocated along the river.


An increase in garbage collection rates for Colfax was requested in a letter sent to the city council from Lust's Disposal service of Colfax. The letter requests an increase from $1.50 to $2.00 per month in residential rates. Charges on commercial firms would stay the same.

Lust noted higher collection rates in other cities, including $2 per month in Pullman and $2.50 in Spokane. The letter seeks to have the rate increase effective as of Jan. 1. Increased cost of operation was listed as the reason for the increase.

Lust said he also sought a five-year contract with the city in order to finance purchase of new equipment for the operation. The disposal service started in June of 1966 and now serves several other towns in the county including St. John, Steptoe, Thornton, LaCrosse and Dusty.

A new truck equipped for container service is part of the improvement plan for the company. The firm hopes to develop container service for large collection stops. Rates on businesses vary according to the frequency of collection.


"Go away, let me sleep!" seems to be the typical reaction of the first baby of the new year, born to Mr. and Mrs. Stan Baldwin of Colfax at 12:43 p.m. Jan. 2 at Whitman Community Hospital, weighing 7 lbs. 10.5 oz. The mother is the former Mary Griffin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Loyal Burwick of Post Falls, Idaho, and graduated from Colfax high school in 1968. The paternal grandmother is Helen Baldwin, Colfax. Dr. Ole Slind delivered "Mr. 1970." The parents and newcomer will receive a number of gifts from Colfax businessmen as winners of the stork derby. Anthony Eden is the Baldwin's first child.

25 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

Jan. 12, 1995

Warm temperatures and heavy rains have turned the county's road network into mud. Weight restrictions were placed on the roads Tuesday and the grid was essentially shut down to truck traffic.

The only road link still open without weight restriction is the recently rebuilt Dry Creek road between highway 195 and 27.

"When we rebuilt Dry Creek, we designed it as an all-weather road, so we decided to keep it open," Lon Pedersen, director of Public Works said.

Pedersen said the weight restrictions essentially shut the roads down to an 80,000 weight limit. Haulers who need to move loads over parts of the road grid are being referred to district supervisors before they can get approval to move.

"We're starting to get calls already," Pedersen said Tuesday.


A list of items is now being assembled for the fifth annual gourmet dinner and auction which will be presented by the Whitman Community Hospital Foundation. The list of auction items now totals about 20 with some additions expected for the bill, according to Carol Stueckle, executive director of the foundation.

The dinner has been scheduled for Feb. 4 this year at Hill Ray Plaza at 6:30 p.m. Time for viewing the auction items will be available for the dinner.

Stueckle said items will be auctioned during the course of the dinner.

Tickets for the dinner need to be purchased by Jan. 25. The $50 tickets include $25 for the dinner and $25 donation to the foundation.

Stueckle described the foundation fund as a savings account for the hospital. The foundation is attempting to build a fund which will generate interest income.


Dave Buri, new president of the Colfax Chamber of Commerce, looks forward to the year with a lot of anticipation. He sees Colfax as facing a lot of changes in a short time.

A decision on the Main Street project, the potential for a housing project and recruitment of new businesses will all be on the agenda for the coming year.

Buri, who was installed at the chamber's annual banquet Tuesday night, is another Colfax graduate who has returned home to Main Street, a place where his great-grandfather, Chris Buri, once operated a livery stable at a site now occupied by Tick Klock Drug.

A 1981 Bulldog grad, he takes over the top Chamber job from Jeff Geier, a 1978 Bulldog graduate.

"I feel at this point that it's time for a leadership change in Colfax," Buri commented. "We can learn a lot form people who have been doing this for 20 and 30 years."

Buri came back to Colfax from California in 1990 and heads the insurance office operation at the Bank of Whitman. The bank has insurance operations at its branches in Pomeroy and Ritzville.

10 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

Jan. 14, 2010

A portion of the 30-foot tall steel retaining wall that separates the Snake River from the Port of Almota gave way last month.

As the wall gave way, so did the earth behind it, which caused the concrete foundation beneath Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative's loading conveyor to shift. The 14-ton conveyor system tilted nearly a foot towards the river.

The portion of the caved wall was located near the PNW Co-op barge loading site at the Port of Almota. The wall creates a loading site for barges coming down the river.

Nobody was in the tower at the time of the accident.

Travis Wambeke, manager of Strata Engineering in Moscow, said rods holding the wall in place gave way after years of corrosion from the river, springing the wall away from the river's edge.


A public hearing will be conducted next Tuesday on proposed abandonment of four segments of county road. The four road segments have been posted to provide property owners with notice of the hearing which will be at 11 a.m.

Once abandoned by the county, the roads and bridges will become private roads and upkeep will be left to adjacent landowners. The road segments under consideration total slightly less than two miles.

The four roads on the hearing agenda are the Klemgard Road, a three-quarter mile stretch of dirt road on the Snake River breaks south of Ewartsville; the Mac Hatley road, a short segment which crosses Union Flat Creek to the former Mac Hatley place which is located upstream, south of Ewartsville; the Pazer road, a short segment off the east side of the Almota Road just south of Colfax, and a segment of the Campbell Road which intersects with the Tekoa/Farmington Road about a mile south of the Tekoa Golf Course Road.


Colton police officer Brian Keller was stunned to open a misplaced shipment of 2,100 paper citation forms followed by a $673 bill in December.

Keller had ordered 125 citation forms (or five books of 25 each) after the department of licensing told him his current tickets were out of date.

"I called them and said, 'Hey, it would literally take me 50 years to use all these tickets,'" said Keller.

The supplier, Micro Data, based in Olympia, refused to refund Colton for the mistake. The company said its minimum shipment is 1,000 tickets. Keller replied he was not told that when we placed the order for 125.

Keller kept the first box of 1,000 non-criminal citations, paid $320 for them and mailed back the second box of 1,100 criminal citations. The city did not pay for that box.


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