The Odessa Record -

Small-town news; Lamona accident; Lake Creek H2O

Series: This Week In Odessa History | Story 7

October 10, 2019

This week’s installment of Odessa’s history includes information from both the first and second weeks of October (since we missed putting in a history column last week).

100 years ago

The Odessa Record

October 12, 1919

News updates: An airplane is coming to Odessa tomorrow, carrying with it Mr. Wetzel, the pioneer jeweler of Spokane, who will stop at the Sylvan lake resort for the week end duck shooting. Passengers will be taken at $15 a trip while the plane is here.

Little Josie Acklin fell 30 feet from the Acklin apartment window in the Hemmerling hotel. She was sitting in the window with her back against the screen when the screen gave way.

The man who gets mad at what the newspaper says about him should consider what the newspaper knew about him and didn’t say.

Phillip Zimbelman, who has been with the army service two years, arrived home at Marlin this week.

Rev. J. Charles Evans is attending the conference of Congregational churches at Walla Walla.

Discovery that Turkey Red wheat rotated with peas is proving successful, is changing farming practices in the Palouse country. The discovery means that 500,000 acres will produce more revenue.

The Women’s Social club held its election of officers, naming Mrs. Sarah Phillips, president; Mrs. Irene Kelly, vice-president; Mrs. Kate Ganson, secretary-treasurer; Mrs. Martha Smith, reporter.

H.C. Thomas, a recently discharged navy man, has accepted a position with the Portland Flouring Mills company here.

Miss Rosa Lauer and Alex Kramer were married by the Rev. H.P. Christensen on Wednesday morning.

State Engineer Guy G. Harvey is moving to Spokane, having had five more districts added to his supervision.

After receiving a full share of “unwelcome congratulations” the freshmen were entertained by the faculty and the seniors.

75 years ago

The Odessa Record

October 12, 1944

Home purchases bring movings: The town has been on the move again, as the result of home purchases. G.A. Weber sold his home to Henry Lesser Jr. and moved into the home recently vacated by E.C. Weber, who left for Deer Park to locate.

Purchase of the Henry Els home by Reuben Els resulted in the William Voise family having to find a new location, and Mr. Voise purchased the house from the Justina Raugust estate, untenanted at present.

Julius Kuest has moved into the small home on the David Birge property, and a family from the rock crushing crew, H.L. Dumaw and family into the Dan Schafer house.

Andrew Christman, Odessa Trading company employee and his family have rented the Fred Schmidt rental property, formerly the Charles Wilskie home.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Horak Jr. and family are moving from the Kremsreiter ranch to the Henry Dormaier home.

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Kuest have moved to Spokane and at present Jacob Grening is undertaking a remodeling program in the house they vacated. The Baptist church parsonage is vacant, the Rev. J.G. Rott and family having left this week for Sumner, Wash.

Seek Information on veteran burials: The American Legion grave registration committee is seeking full data on veterans of any American war buried in the Odessa cemetery. They want information including birth, death, period of military service, when discharged and the location of the grave.

Fred Lenhart has been assigned the task of rounding up the information, and urges every person who has a service man relative or information concerning any veteran buried there, to contact him as soon as possible.

50 years ago

The Odessa Record

October 2, 1969

Bob Weber is killed in Lamona car-train clash: A grinding car-train collision at the Lamona Great Northern railway crossing took the life of Robert J. Weber, 40-year-old Crab Creek farmer, Monday at 4:20 p.m. The victim, a School District 105 director, was to join David Bays, superintendent, at Lamona for a trip concerning school matters.

Northbound at the time, Weber apparently failed to realize, or realized too late, that a fast freight was approaching from the east. He was killed instantly as his vehicle was sheared in two by the train. His body was thrown from the vehicle, according to witnesses at the scene within moments of the accident.

The mangled remains of the car were strewn down both sides of the track for about 75 yards, the body of the car landing in a ditch on the left side of the rail line and the motor, front frame and sections of the fenders and front wheels scattered along the right side of the track.

Mrs. Bill Iverson had just dropped off her last school bus passenger and was leaving with the bus from the Lamona store for home when she witnessed a cloud of dust and flying objects as the train and auto collided. She had noted the car approaching from the south hill.

Dan Roloff, operator of the Lamona General Store, was among the first on the scene, Mr. Bays arrived shortly thereafter, having witnessed the collision from a considerable distance as he approached Lamona from the west.

The Odessa ambulance was called. State troopers were on the scene within a short period of time as were Great Northern inspectors. Ivan Hemmerling took Birge’s wrecker to Lamona, however he found that the dismantled vehicle wasn’t towable. The parts were brought in by Dave Birge Tuesday morning.

Dry bean crop brings good results for local growers: Irrigation farmers of this area, planting beans on part of their summer fallow acres, have produced a good crop in spite of a delayed harvest. Beans were grown on four farms, those of Lewis Kagele, Marvin Fink, Don Bates and Bill Iverson.

Kagele and Bates were finishing up the harvest with custom cutters last week. Fink was the first to get his crop off. All grew a small, flat white export bean, according to Bill Frederickson of Moses Lake, agronomist for Sun Basin Growers, Inc. The three farmers had a total of 264 acres in beans.

Iverson has 57 acres of red Mexican beans which will be trucked to Wheeler for Basin Produce. Wet weather had delayed harvest at Iverson’s farm south of Lamona, however, he hoped to get into the field Saturday with his harvester or by the first of the week.

Yields ran about 10 bags per acre better than in the Basin, the agronomist said. Basin land yields are suffering––now at 13 to 20 bags per acre––because of the build-up through the years of various diseases affecting the crop.

Beans were selling at $8.50 per 100 pounds, Frederickson reported Friday. That price was for cleaned beans ready for shipment. Prices have ranged to $10 per bag in the fluctuating market.

The flatter beans, an export bean, are shipped to Puerto Rico and South American countries primarily. They are used as a supplement for Navy beans which are a round variety.

The crop should be planted by the end of May, the agronomist indicates, with one pre-irrigation. The Bates field was covered eight times this growing season with 12-hour sets. From 85 to 100 lbs. of seed is used per acre.

Normally harvest would take place the last week of August and first of September, however, the cut bean plants were caught by the mid-September rain and intermittent showers since that time, delayed the harvest operation.

Total potential production from the four farms is down, too, inasmuch as the half-inch rain of September softened the pods and matted the plants closer to the ground. The harvesters had more difficulty in picking up the crop and not all the pods would break open.

In a year when dryland and irrigated wheat production is way down, the bean crop looks mighty good to the growers in spite of problems with it.

The agronomist indicates he expects to see many more acres planted to beans in the Odessa area. It’s a good cash crop on summer fallow acres where water is available.

25 years ago

The Odessa Record

October 13, 1994

EPA hears testimony on sole source plan: Eastern Washington has a high quality of drinking water and the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute is concerned about keeping it that way, the executive director of the environmental advocacy organization said last Friday.

Tom Lamar presented testimony at the hearing last week in Moses Lake by the Environmental Protection agency. The public meeting was one of two scheduled in eastern Washington on the agency’s plan to designate the Eastern Columbia Plateau aquifer system a “sole source” aquifer.

Palouse-Clearwater has requested to agency to make the designation through its authority under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

“Our intent in filing the petition requesting the sole source aquifer designation is to protect the drinking water of nearly 300,000 people,” Lamar said. “(Our organization) sees the aquifer designation as a means to initiate EPA review of planned federal financially assisted projects that have a potential to contaminate the aquifer.”

Also present at the Moses Lake meeting were commissioners from Lincoln, Adams, Grant, Whitman and Franklin counties, who are trying to head off the sole sources designation, which they contend is a step toward federal control of Columbia Basin water.

In Odessa, members of the Big Bend Water Resource Committee and others believe the EPA plan could threaten efforts to bring water to the dry lakes and streams of western Lincoln County.

Just as the meeting was taking place, the EPA announced in a press release from its Seattle headquarters that it was giving citizens of eastern Washington another three months to comment on its pending proposal.

The comment period originally scheduled to run until October 14 has been extended until January 17. Two additional hearings are scheduled, on November 15 in Ritzville and another in Pasco on November 16.

The announcement of the extension was not carried in The Record and several other newspapers last week because it was never received. When The Record called EPA to complain, the response was that an emergency situation had arisen in Alaska that day, diverting the staff’s attention from sending out all the press releases.

The commissioners of six eastern Washington counties, including Lincoln, Adams and Grant, have organized a Council of Governments to lobby state and federal legislatures to help stop the designation.

Lake Creek may be model for water re-use:

By Donald E. Walter

Editor and Publisher

Water is becoming a vanishing resource, and the Lake Creek Coulee replenishment project has but a limited time to get started if it is to succeed, State Senator Bob Morton and Bruce Howard, of the State Department of Ecology warned last Thursday.

They were among state and county officials and consultants for Spokane’s waste treatment program attending the second strategy session of the Big Bend Water Resource Committee in Record Square.

The meeting had been called to assess the present status of the project to replenish lakes and streams in western Lincoln County north of Odessa. It was the second strategy session since last May, when Speaker of the House Tom Foley pledged his help in finding funding for a feasibility study of the rejuvenation project. Preliminary research of that study now is under way by the U.S. Geological Survey.

“I was here 3 1/2 years ago, when plans for this project were in their earliest stages,” said Morton, who represents Odessa as the 7th District senator. “I am willing to give this my fullest attention, and I can assure you that there will be positive reaction in the legislature.”

Morton said water re-use legislation is being drafted and will be considered in the next session of the legislature.

“The budget and water will be the two main topics occupying the legislature next term,” he said. “You should have someone who can come to the legislature to lobby for your project. It is something the legislature should explore to its fullest extent. Water use and re-use will be high on the priority list.”

Morton urged the committee to send delegates to the legislative water hearing to be held in Ellensburg October 26 and 27.

“You’d be reaching key legislators there,” he said. “They’re anxious to hear your proposals, and I will assist in presenting your case.” He said legislators at the Ellensburg hearing will consider funding for water products.

“That would be helpful to you in looking to the future,” he said.

The committee decided to send a delegation to Ellensburg and also to plan to lobby in Olympia during the next session of the legislature.

“Potential sources of water for any purpose are becoming more and more rare,” said Bruce Howard, a representative of the Eastern Regional Office of the Department of Ecology in Spokane.

The DOE had been invited by the committee to send a representative to explain the agency’s position on such matters as water rights and environmental concerns. Howard said he had only been at the DOE’s water re-use desk for 10 days, having been transferred from another department within the agency, and therefore was not familiar with water rights and regulations.

“What I do know, though, is that water for re-use and diversion is becoming scarce,” he said. “I can’t think of a better source for water for Lake Creek than the Spokane treatment plant.”

Effluent from Spokane’s waste water treatment facility on the Spokane River is seen as an alternative source for Lake Creek’s replenishment. In the original concept, water would be pumped from Lake Roosevelt to the headwaters of Lake Creek, a distance of about 12 miles.

The alternative plan is to transfer water via pipeline overland from the treatment plant to the head of Crab Creek and on to Lake Creek. Earlier studies have shown this method could be costly beyond the point of practicality.

Spokane presently dumps 22 million gallons of treated waste effluent daily into the Spokane River, and this volume is projected to reach 35 to 40 million gallons within the next few years as new sewers in the Spokane Valley come on line.

The effluent has created high counts of nutrients and algae in Long Lake, which eventually empties into Lake Roosevelt. A means of alleviating this problem is to divert water from these lakes for re-use.

Addressing this diversion plan was Hunter A. Horvath, of KVA Resources, Inc., and project coordinator of Northwest Regional Power Facility. KV is proposing to build a gas-fired steam generating plant for electricity near Creston. The site of the proposed plant is north of Highway 2, just northeast of Creston and about seven miles from Lake Roosevelt.

Washington Water Power Company abandoned plans in 1993 to build a coal-fired electric power generating plant near Creston and sold part of its licensed site for the plant to KVA. As WWP had been granted water rights in its State Site Certification Agreement, KVA hopes to obtain water for its generating plant from the wells installed by WWP in a gravel terrace adjoining Lake Roosevelt near Lincoln.

“KVA is available for discussion and wants to be a good neighbor,” said Horvath. “To the extent that your project could help in the development of the KVA plant, we’re interested in entering into an agreement with you for obtaining water from Lake Roosevelt or with you and the City of Spokane in routing a pipeline to carry effluent along the same right-of-way for a gas line which would extend from Spokane to our site near Creston.”

Horvath said that if a Site Certification Agreement is granted, the State Energy Facility Siting Evaluation Council will select a final source of water for KVA to operate its power generating plant. At present, the well field is the best prospect to supply the 5 million gallons per day the facility will require.

Contrary to the belief of some committee members, the KVA plant operating cycle does not leave any water left over, Horvath said. Everything evaporates. It returns to the hydrologic cycle. KVA would be interested in sharing Spokane’s waste effluent with the Lake Creek project if the Spokane effluent proves to be a practical source of water for the generating plant, Horvath said.

The KVA system calls for a large holding pond. Located near the Lake Creek headwaters, this could serve both the generating plant and the water replenishment project.

Two consultants for the City of Spokane, John C. Patrouch, an environmental engineer with Bovay Northwest Engineering, and Larry A. Esvelt, of Esvelt Environmental Engineering, were in agreement that the water replenishment project was a workable one and that it should be carried out. Patrouch questioned whether the time was right to approach Spokane on a cooperative effort. Esvelt cautioned that it should be ascertained that Spokane waste effluent is compatible with water for Lake Creek from the chemical standpoint.

Enthusiasm was high among the overflow crowd at the meeting. There were no dissenting opinions or arguments against the rejuvenation project, although some property owners had questions as to the intentions of KVA and the Water Resource Committee.

As he had at the previous meeting, John Vazquez, a rancher whose property is between Pacific and Bob’s lake and includes Delzer Falls, questioned the validity of the Water Resource Committee’s name. He felt it should have “green appeal,” to convey the idea of the water’s benefit to the area.

“This is the first serious meeting which we have had,” said Lincoln County commissioner Bill Graedel, summarizing the evening’s discussion. “I feel it was a most productive session.” He said the county sees the project as a catalyst to economic and tourism development.

Graedel, Howard, Morton and others agreed the Lake Creek project could serve as a model for all water re-use projects in the state in the future. With a scarcity of water in the offing, legislators and others with agencies which might have a part in funding the project may take special interest in Lake Creek as a prototype for other water diversion schemes.

“Why couldn’t we present this as a model project on the re-use of water to the legislature?” asked Lincoln County commissioner Robert Wyborney.

“In 10 years, water will become more precious than oil,” said Wyborney. “We ought to get it while we can.”

No one from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife came to the meeting. Nor did anyone represent the Bureau of Land Management. Both have an interest in the improvement to riparian areas which the water resource project could provide.

Morton and Scott Barr, Morton’s predecessor as 7th District senator, who often accompanies him on trips throughout the district, flew into Odessa for the meeting with Horvath. They flew out from Spokane over Lake Creek Coulee, noting from the air that the lake system suddenly became dry west of Upper Coffeepot Lake.

“It looks to me like the time has come for this project,” said Barr. “It could benefit Spokane as well as this area. I hope there is some way you can join hands with KVA.”

Committee members plan to choose delegates for the Ellensburg hearing at a meeting tonight in Record Square. The next strategy session is planned for November 3 at Record Square.


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