CWU signs a five-year contract for pilot training

Central Washington University and its flight training contractor signed Thursday a five-year contract for pilot training services for students in the school’s aviation program.

IASCO Flight Traning of Redding, Calif., has been conducting flight training for CWU for the past months based on a letter of understanding.

It was all the two had after a buyout of the company, and subsequent hold on contract negotiations as the buyout progressed, briefly left the status of the aviation program’s ability to train pilots in question.

IASCO and Central signed a contract earlier this year, but announced in August IASCO wouldn’t be able to start training operations.

IASCO later announced its intent to work with Central. Lawyers on both sides have been working to resolve the situation.

Read more here.

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Council programs capped at 2014 funding levels as part of budget talks

As part of voting on a budget for 2015-2016, the Ellensburg City Council agreed to a compromise on funding council-funded programs — which includes money that goes to events such as the downtown cleanup or social services including the FISH food bank and drug court.

The council voted unanimously Monday to limit funding to 2014’s request, a total of $104,000. It’s less than the $109,000 requested, but more than the proposed $100,000 cap.

Council member Mary Morgan was absent.

The programs are a set of city-funded events and services whose funding falls under the direct discretion of the council, as opposed to under a broader line item in the city’s budget plans.

Representatives from three groups asked the council to hold or put off cuts, including the Ellensburg Downtown Association, HopeSource and Youth Services of Kittitas County.

The funding system has been around since the mid 2000s, and the council tentatively agreed this summer to a cap the total amount as costs kept rising.

Read more here.

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

CWU marchers join in protests

A group leaves Central Washington University’s SURC building on a march through campus in protest of alleged injustice and police brutality in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York,Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014.

A gathering of students and others marched around Central Washington University’s campus Thursday afternoon, protesting along with others around the country who are angry after a string of deaths of unarmed African Americans at hands of police this year.

Marchers joined for many of the reasons mobilizing thousands of others across the county: concerns over systemic racism, police accountability and how the criminal justice system treats people of color.

Even in sleepy Ellensburg, people need to think about the role of the police and systemic racism, said Gianni Glover, a CWU junior and participant in the march.

No matter where they live in the U.S., police behavior and systemic racism is a problem for everyone.

“There’s not a lot of awareness going on. There’s too many people walking around with their heads down, they’re just trying to forget the situation. And I understand that. Police brutality is a crazy thing,” he said.

Read more here.

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Central cutting 57 jobs, most of which are already unfilled

Central Washington University says it will cut 57 positions to help close most of a predicted $6.5 million budget gap, but 41 of those positions were already vacant.

Other cuts include 12 percent in the Division of Business and Financial Affairs, 6 percent in the President’s Division, 5 percent in the Operations Division and 2.3 percent in the Division of Academic and Student Life, according to a news release.


The cuts will go toward closing a $6.5 million budget gap predicted for next fiscal year. The university’s original budget predictions, adopted in 2011, allowed for some tuition increases or further state support. The money never came.

Central used reserve money to bridge the gap into 2015, Assuming no tuition increases or money from the state, that gap would grow to about $9 million in 2016, then $10.5 million in 2017.

“Our new management system provides two important options for meeting our budget challenges: an incentive for academic units to generate new revenue rather than simply making cuts, and a system for transparently evaluating the effects of administrative cuts on the core academic mission,” CWU President James Gaudino said in the release. “The provost and deans used the new management approach to minimize cuts to people and programs; the overhead reductions in administrative divisions reduced cuts in the academic units.”

Read more here.

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Man to spend 366 days in prison for photos of nude relative

An Ellensburg man was sentenced in Kittitas County Superior Court on Monday to a year and a day in prison for taking nude photos of a then 16-year-old relative in March 2013.

Court records said Robert Arthur Busha, 69, had the girl, who was staying at his house, come to a studio he had set up there, then had her pose in various states of undress for photos.

Read more here.

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Drawing helps pass the time for some inmates

An inmate drawing of a barn from Kittitas County jail.

Cmdr. Paula Hoctor, supervisor for the Kittitas County Corrections Center, keeps a binder full of artwork by inmates in a drawer in her office.

A lot of good artists have come through the jail, she said.

Inmates have access to pencil and paper, and can buy colored pencils through the jail commissary system.

They stretch those tools pretty far. To shade like they were using charcoals or pastels, they’ll take toilet paper or other scraps and scrunch it up into a kind of brush.

“Inmates are pretty ingenious, they really are,” she said.

Read more here.

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Peek inside the Kittitas County Corrections Center

Control room operator Lura Treiber and Cpl. Vanessa Toner, at right, work in the control room at the Kittitas County jail, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Brian Myrick/Daily Record)

Everyone booked into the Kittitas County Corrections Center starts at the same place.

Officers at a wide counter in a bunker-like room take vital information, get fingerprints and shoot new arrivals’ photos in front a gray Formica slab glued to a wall, which hangs almost kitty-corner to a big notice that reads “Welcome to Kittitas County” on the opposite wall.

For residents, the day starts at 4:45 a.m., corrections Cpl. Vanessa Toner said. Inmates get medication and meals around then, and have to be ready for a 6 a.m. daily inspection.

The resident population hangs between 90 to 110 inmates, split between those awaiting trial and those sentenced, usually for misdemeanors, who have sentences less than a year.

Sentences longer than ayear are carried out in prisons.

The larger cluster of cells — the newer, two-story jail “pod” — surrounds a large common area, where the inmates get 2 1/2 hours to spend outside of their cell.

The larger annex has a nook for getting outside, larger program rooms for 12-step program meetings and religious services, tables, a couple of phones and televisions. They get basic cable.

Other housing units share small common areas between two cells, with similar amenities.

Inmates are sorted based on their crimes, whether they are accused or sentenced, and criminal history, with the more violent or potentially dangerous offenders in the two-cell units.

Inmates can speak with visitors using video phone connected to a room outside the jail’s secure area. Toner said the jail recently added a system where people can see and talk to inmates from home using the Internet.

There’s no visiting beyond that, save attorneys, who Toner said come by during all hours of the day and night.

Read more here.

Posted in Reporting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment