Evening News December 19

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Good evening and welcome to NCWLIFE News. I’m Grant Olson. Before we get to today’s top stories, let’s take a quick look outside our weather window:

And now, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight—it was vehicle versus railroad trustle in Ephrata this morning and the trustle won, we’ll tell you about it and heavy, wet snow caused at least one of three power outages in Chelan County today.

But first, we begin tonight:

A major storm is sweeping over the Cascades this week causing a traffic nightmare over the passes as DOT Snowplows scramble to keep up with the snowfall. Chains were required in both directions with traction tire advisories issued for Stevens and Blewett Passes. Eastbound I-90 Snoqualmie Pass was closed for about an hour this morning due to several collisions and spinouts. State Trooper Brian Moore shared this photo of a car that spun out on US 2 just east of Leavenworth this morning. Authorities advise motorists to take it slow and plan your trips accordingly. Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Spokane are predicting as much as 36 inches of snow possible on Stevens Pass before the current weather system moves through the area.

A high-profile vehicle misjudged the height of a railroad trustle on State Route 28 near Ephrata this morning causing an accident and forcing the Grant County Sheriff’s office to close the highway for most of the day. Traffic on State Route 28 near Ephrata was re-routed from Neva Lake Road to Dodson Road as DOT crews cleared away debris and Burlington Northern-Santa Fe officials inspected the railroad trestle for damage. Nobody was hurt in the accident and the investigation into the official cause continues.

The State Patrol confirms three people were killed Monday morning when an Amtrak train derailed over southbound I-5 in DuPont, train cars laying across southbound I-5 and blocking all traffic, according to officials. WSP reports 100 more people were taken to hospitals. Washington State Patrol says 13 cars jumped the track. The entire train consisted of 12 cars and two engines. Two semi-trucks and five vehicles were involved in the crash on I-5. According to Amtrak, there were “approximately” 77 passengers and seven crew members on board. Pierce County Sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer says there were no fatalities among the vehicles involved in the crash. Investigators say preliminary reports indicate excessive speed may have been the cause of the derailoment. Southbound I-5 will remain closed until further notice.

Power is still out for about 200 Chelan PUD customers in Merry and Little Chumstick Canyon’s after heavy, wet snow caused a tree to fall into a power line along Chumstick Highway about seven miles up from Leavenworth earlier today (Tue.). The repair was estimated to take several hours, as PUD crews had to remove the large tree, replace the pole and re-hang wires. Chumstick Highway is down to one lane with flagger-controlled traffic. There was word from the Chelan PUD of two more power outages this afternoon, one near Peshastin along Stines Hill Road where customers in a mobile home park and other nearby neighborhoods were without power and the other on Beecher Hill where about a dozen people were without power. No word yet on the cause of those outages or the estimated time to restore power to those areas.

Coming up next, The Trump administration has put a halt to plans to recover Grizzly Bears in the North Cascades and Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday received an update on a recent surge in requests for new large load power services from bitcoin and blockchain operations. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching NCWLIFE News.

The Trump administration has put a halt to plans to recover Grizzly Bears in the North Cascades. National Park Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich told the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee last week that her staff had been ordered to stop work on its environmental impact statement by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office. The order also extends to ongoing talks with Canadian officials who are involved in similar recovery plans in British Columbia. Taylor-Goodrich said the agency was in the process of reviewing public comments on a draft environmental impact statement. She said they had received over 127-thousand comments. Chelan County joined Okanogan and Skagit Counties in opposition to the plans . . .

The North Cascades Ecosystem is comprised of the national park and large swaths of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee national forests, totaling 9,800 square miles. It holds an estimated five to 10 grizzly bears. The Canadian portion supports another six grizzlies.

Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday received an update on a recent surge in requests for new large load power services from bitcoin and blockchain operations. NCWLife’s Jay Seabeck has more on the story. . .

According to a press release from the Washington State Department of Ecology earlier today, three landowners near Moses Lake have been fined for illegally using more than 500-million gallons of water from the declining Odessa Aquifer.

In June, the Washington Department of Ecology issued cease and desist orders requiring the landowners and their lessee to stop pumping groundwater. Ignoring the orders, they continued pumping water illegally for three-and-a-half more months to water 530 acres of crops. Ecology issued the following fines:

Landowner Michael Schmidt, and lessee Ron Fode were fined $103-thousand dollars for illegally irrigating 65 acres of alfalfa. Landowner Ron Fode was fined $206-thousand dollars for illegally irrigating 130 acres of timothy hay and landowners Randy and Michele Kiesz, as well as lessee Ron Fode, were fined $309,000 for illegally irrigating 335 acres of alfalfa and potatoes. The estimated value of crops grown on the illegally irrigated lands is more than $1-million dollars.  Penalties may be appealed to the Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

You’re watching NCWLIFE news. Coming up next, your sports update followed by today’s feature story. That and much more still to come on NCWLIFE News, stay with us.

On the Les Schwab prep scoreboard from Monday…

The Wenatchee girls bowling team hosted Moses Lake at Eastmont Lanes and eked out a 117-pin victory.  High bowlers for the Panthers were Jessica Holbrook with a 201; Taylor Bitterman with a 199; Hannah Johnson with a 182 and 176; and Kylah Hankins with a 169.  Wenatchee is off until after the New Year to face Eisenhower on January 4th.

And in basketball Monday, the Waterville-Mansfield boys beat Republic 56-9.  On the girl’s side, the Shockers beat Republic 48-28.

Coming up on the Prep Schedule for today…

In basketball, Okanogan is at Cascade for a girl-boy doubleheader beginning at 5:45pm.  There’s a double-dual wrestling match with Quincy, Lake Roosevelt and Cascade at Tonasket at 4:30.  Also in wrestling, Chelan, Cashmere and Omak are at Okanogan at 6pm.  And here on the NCWLIFE Channel, Eastmont wrestles at Wenatchee and we’ll have it LIVE at 7 tonight with Eric Granstrom and his Dad Dave Granstrom on the play-by-play.

Today starts four-days of basketball action at the Town Toyota Center with a college game taking center stage…

Central Washington University takes on Northwest Nazarene with a big Alumni pre-game event beginning at 5:15 in the Top Shelf Lounge.  The game will tip off at 7.  Braden Dragoo recently joined us on Wake Up Wenatchee Valley to preview the event…

High School teams will take over the TTC beginning tomorrow for the North Central Washington Basketball Showcase powered by Gesa Credit Union…

The Cashmere girls take on Chelan at 6 followed by the boys at 7:30. 

Then on Thursday, the first of 6 games tips off at 11am when the Eisenhower boys face Bethel.  That’s followed at 1 by the Moses Lake and Lynnwood boys.  We’ll have Wenatchee and University girls on LIVE at 3 followed by the boys at 5.  Then we’ll tape Eastmont and Rogers in girls play at 7pm and boys action at 9. 

Friday wraps up with six more games highlighted by Wenatchee and Eastmont with the girls at 7 and boys at 9.

The Washington State Cougars gave their head football coach Mike Leach a big Christmas present yesterday afternoon. Leach has been a big topic nationally as turnover of coaches continues throughout the NCAA, and had been receiving offers nationwide.

Washington State managed to secure Leach through 2022 for $20 Million with an additional $750,000 upon completion of the 2020 season. Also, Leach negotiated an additional $400,000 increase of cap room for his coaching staff for the 2018 season.

Mike Leach has lead the Cougars to bowl games in 4 of the last 5 seasons as head coach since starting the position in 2012. This year’s Holiday Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans will be the 3rd consecutive bowl appearance for the Cougars, making Leach the first coach in the school’s history to take the team to 3 straight bowl games.

With Bill Moos, former Athletic Director at WSU, leaving the program this fall, Coug fans feared where Leach might land at the end of the season. School President Kirk Shulz said that the school wanted to keep leach in the Cougar family for a long time.

 The Les Schwab Community Toy Drive wrapped up Monday with final distribution of toys to local charities making sure less fortunate kids have something to unwrap this Christmas.  Eric Granstrom has the story that began three years ago with a conversation between Brent Rhodes of KKRV and Les Schwab Area Manager Kirk Moser. . .

We’ll be back in just a moment with a recap of some of today’s stories and your complete local weather forecast right after this.

Time now for a recap of some of our top stories…

A high-profile vehicle misjudged the height of a railroad trustle on State Route 28 near Ephrata this morning causing an accident and forcing the Grant County Sheriff’s office to close the highway for most of the day.

Traffic on State Route 28 near Ephrata was re-routed from Neva Lake Road to Dodson Road as DOT crews cleared away debris and Burlington Northern-Santa Fe officials inspected the railroad trestle for damage. Nobody was hurt in the accident and the investigation into the official cause continues.

Power is still out for about 200 Chelan PUD customers in Merry and Little Chumstick Canyon’s after heavy, wet snow caused a tree to fall into a power line along Chumstick Highway about seven miles up from Leavenworth earlier today (Tue.). The repair was estimated to take several hours, as PUD crews had to remove the large tree, replace the pole and re-hang wires. Chumstick Highway is down to one lane with flagger-controlled traffic.

There was word from the Chelan PUD of two more power outages this afternoon, one near Peshastin along Stines Hill Road where customers in a mobile home park and other nearby neighborhoods were without power and the other on Beecher Hill where about a dozen people were without power. No word yet on the cause of those outages or the estimated time to restore power to those areas.

And now, your weather forecast for North Central Washington.

Our weather is now under the influence of a large, powerful area of low pressure that will bring heavy precipitation to the Pacific Northwest today and tonight. This deep storm system will sit and spin moisture our way with a 100% chance of precipitation in the Wenatchee Valley until about mid-afternoon. Valley locations near the Canadian border and along the East Slopes of the Cascades may also receive heavy, wet snow accumulations. By the time the storm passes, Stevens Pass could see as much as 30”-35” of snow. A winter storm warning is still in effect for most mountain locations. A cold front moves down from Canada on Friday bringing much colder and drier weather that will spread into the region with just a slight chance for snow Thursday night into Friday morning. We will see sunny skies for Christmas weekend with high temperatures between 20-25 degrees with lows around 10-15.

Who has the most festive holiday lighting display in the Wenatchee Valley? Our NCWLIFE Camera’s captured some of the more elaborate displays around the Wenatchee area . . .

NCWLIFE is offering a 50-dollar prize to the homeowner whose display we judge as the best in the valley. Tell your friends to share their favorite house lighting display in a private message to our NCWLIFE Facebook page and we will announce the winner on January 2nd.

If you have a video of the day, you’d like to see on NCWLIFE News, message us on our Facebook Page at the NCWLIFE Channel.

And that’s going to do it for our newscast tonight. For more on these stories and other news from around North Central Washington, you can find us on Facebook or our website at ncwlife.com.  And, remember, if you see news happening we’d like to hear from you.  You can send us an email at news@ncwlife.com, or give us a call 888-NCWL (6295). Also, make sure you tune in to NCWLIFE Channel Monday morning for Wake Up Wenatchee Valley with host Dan Kuntz and news with Steve Hair. I’m Grant Olson, thanks for joining us and have a great weekend.