NCWLIFE Evening News April 12th, 2021

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Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Grant Olson. Before we get to what’s making news, let’s take a quick look outside our weather window:

And now, here a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight, A man and his daughter were able to escape safely Saturday morning after their vehicle erupted in flames just outside Quincy./ The vehicle licensing office in Wenatchee was closed for more than seven hours Friday while police investigated a suspicious package that turned out to have nothing threatening inside./ Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday updated and clarified the criteria for counties to remain in Phase 3 of the state’s Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan, and, Three Grant County patients testing positive for COVID-19 have been found to have a variant of the virus that’s more transmissible.

But first, our top story tonight. . .

A Tacoma man suffered minor injuries when the Chevy Express Van he was driving Saturday morning left Highway 2 near the Odabashian Bridge, hit a sign, then rolled back onto the highway.

Washington State Patrol Trooper John Bryant said 51-year-old Keith Browning was cited for wheels off the roadway and driving with a suspended license. The accident happened about 8:45 a.m. on the Douglas County side of the bridge at Northwest Cascade Avenue and blocked the right lane of the highway.

Browning was taken to Central Washington Hospital where he was treated and released. The other occupants of the van were not injured.

A man and his daughter were able to escape safely Saturday morning after their vehicle erupted in flames just outside Quincy. Grant County Fire District 3 crews responded to the fire on Road S Northwest about 6:16 a.m. to find the vehicle fully engulfed. District officials said it is uncertain at this point what caused the vehicle to catch fire.

The vehicle licensing office in Wenatchee was closed for more than seven hours Friday while police investigated a suspicious package that turned out to have nothing threatening inside.

An office employee reported finding the plastic bag about 8:30 Friday morning at the office on South Worthen Street location.

Bomb experts from Yakima and the Washington State Patrol were called in and eventually determined the bag contained a variety of harmless items. Surrounding businesses were able to reopen about 1:30 p.m. and the licensing office shortly after 3.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday updated and clarified the criteria for counties to remain in Phase 3 of the state’s Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan, possible sparing Chelan and Douglas counties from slipping back to Phase 2 when their COVID-19 are assessed today.

Under the plan that took effect March 22nd, all counties were placed into Phase 3 of the plan and scheduled to be individually evaluated every three weeks. The first evaluation is slated for today, and any changes to a county’s phase status takes effect April 16. Counties whose rates of new coronavirus cases are too high, or have too many people currently hospitalized with the pandemic virus, would have automatically fallen back to Phase 2.

But Inslee’s directive Friday means that a county must fail in both case rate and hospitalization metrics in order to be demoted. To remain in Phase 3, large counties like Chelan must have fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period, and fewer than five new hospitalizations for the disease per 100,000. Smaller counties such as Douglas must have fewer than 100 new COVID-19 infections total, and less than three total hospitalizations. The Wenatchee Valley counties appear to beat those numbers as of Friday’s figures, tallied by the Chelan-Douglas Health District: Chelan County has 209.8 new cases per 100,000, but only three people hospitalized in total. Douglas shows 232.6 per 100,000 new cases, but no residents in the hospital.

Three Grant County patients testing positive for COVID-19 have been found to have a variant of the virus that’s more transmissible.

The county public health agency says all three contracted the B.1.429 variant, first detected in California. They were diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March and early April. The Centers for Disease Control lists it as a variant of concern, because it’s about 20 percent easier to spread between people, and it’s resistant to treatment once detected. Vaccination, masking and social distancing are still effective ways to control the virus.

Coming up next, Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has pushed her signature bill on wildfire funding through both houses of the Washington legislature./ Senator Brad Hawkins hydrogen-fuel bill passes both chambers of the Washington Legislature, and, Late Winter and early Spring snowfall have recharged Washington’s snowpack water reserve. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.\

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has pushed her signature bill on wildfire funding through both houses of the Washington legislature. House Bill 1168 passed the Senate on Friday, winning a unanimous vote.

It’s a $125 million package that creates a secure annual funding stream for battling wildland fires, restoring healthy forests, and creating fire-safe communities. The bill comes on the heels of a historically destructive 2020 fire, which burned more than 812,000 acres and destroyed 298 homes. 12th District Senator Brad Hawkins spoke in praise of the legislation. . .

The Department of Natural Resources has never had a continuous funding source for battling wildfires, and some elements, like DNR’s helicopter fleet, are in need of major updates. The bill now goes for ratification in the House, followed by Governor Jay Inslee’s signature.

A bill to temporarily reduce sales tax on hydrogen-fuel vehicles has made its way through the state Legislature. 12th District Senator Brad

Hawkins sponsored the effort to create an eight-year tax-reduction pilot program.

It passed the Senate unanimously last month and passed the House 93-4 on Saturday. The first hydrogen-fueling stations in Washington are expected to be operational by 2022.

The bill would allow a total of 650 vehicles to receive a 50-percent sales tax exemption in fiscal years 2023 through 2029. The bill now goes to the governor. Hawkins says Washington has the potential to become a U.S. leader on renewable hydrogen use, in transportation and other industries.

With snowpack in the Cascades more than 30 percent above average, the region’s water reserves appear in good shape for spring through summer.

The wet winter brought heavy snowfall to the mountains and foothills this season, which could relieve some of the drought conditions that have plagued North Central Washington for the last few years.

Mountain snow is crucial for water supply and irrigation, and affects both river flows and the severity of wildfires.

You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up next, tonight’s feature story and your complete local weather forecast. That and much more still to come on the NCWLIFE Evening News, stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .

Every few weeks, Dr. Mark Johnson with Confluence Health takes to the Internet, to answer public questions about COVID-19, its effects, and its treatments. In the latest installment, Dr. Johnson tackled the question of how long a vaccine in your body can provide protection against the coronavirus. . .

And that is a look at your local weather forecast, coming up next, tonight’s sports report with Eric Granstrom and more as the NCWLIFE Evening News continues right after this.

Kyle Seager’s second home run of the game was the game-winner for the Mariners as they scored three in the top of the 9th to beat Minnesota 8-6 Sunday…

Seattle trailed 6-nothing in the 6th when Seager and Taylor Trammel helped cut into the Twin’s lead…

Then, trailing 6-5 in the 9th, Seager came up with two aboard…

The veteran 3rd baseman says he’s happy to see this young team experience success in the early part of this season…

Manager Scott Servais says with Sunday being a getaway day before heading for Baltimore, it would have been easy to shut down trailing 6-nothing…

After taking two of three from Minnesota, Seattle heads for Baltimore today to take on the Orioles with Justus Sheffield facing Dean Kremer at 4:05pm.

Taking a look at the rest of the American League West scoreboard from Sunday…

Seven San Diego pitchers combined on a 5-hit shutout of the Rangers in Texas as the Padres came out on top 2-nothing. 

The Angels and Blue Jays were rained out Sunday in Florida with the game to be made up August 10th.

Seattle is now just a game behind Houston and Los Angeles in the American League West standings, ahead of Texas and Oakland.

The spring high school sports season began Saturday across North Central Washington including boys soccer right here on NCWLIFE Channel…

Wenatchee was able to overcome a 1-goal deficit with two, second-half tallies and edge Moses Lake 2-1.  Sebastian Moraga and Matt Wisen had the call here on the NCWLIFE Channel…

In other action Saturday, Diego Saldivar and Edgar Leon each scored twice while Jessie Sanchez and Freddie Gonzalez scored goals as Eastmont shut out Chelan 6-nothing.

Cashmere traveled to Wahluke and came up short 3-1.  Quincy defended its home turf with a 5-nil win over Cascade.  And Ephrata made it a weekend sweep by the home teams as the Tigers edged Brewster 3-2.

And just a reminder that we’ll have live soccer coverage tomorrow night here on the NCWLIFE Channel as Eastmont hosts Wenatchee at 7 o’clock.  Eric Granstrom and Matt Wisen will have your pregame beginning at 6:50 here on your home for local sports, the NCWLIFE Channel.

Thanks Eric.

A reminder before we leave you tonight, the Knapps Hill Tunnel on Highway 97A will be closed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday for a routine inspection.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said the highway will be closed between mileposts 223 and 230 with traffic detoured onto Navaree Coulee Road, which will add about 20 minutes to a trip between Wenatchee and Chelan. WASH-DOT said the tunnel is inspected every two years to examine both the inside of the tunnel and the rocky slope above it.

During the closure, Link Transit will be rerouting nine buses to the other side of the Columbia River on Highway 97 through Orando.

Now let’s check in with Dan Kuntz for a look at what’s coming up tomorrow morning on Wake Up Wenatchee Valley, Dan. . .

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). I’m Grant Olson, thanks for joining us and have a great night.