NCWLIFE Evening News April 14th, 2020

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

And now, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight, An East Wenatchee man who shot and killed his mother’s abusive boyfriend 11 and a half years ago is free after pleading guilty to the crime on Monday. The Alpenhof Fire, burning just south of Leavenworth, reached about 14 acres in size in the steep terrain along Icicle Road, and, Builders are taking advantage of a Douglas County rule that allows home construction, even though Gov. Jay Inslee’s office says it’s the wrong approach during a pandemic.    

But first, we begin tonight. . .

Douglas County recorded its first COVID-19 death in the latest numbers reported by the Chelan-Douglas Health District.

The man who died was a resident at Bonaventure Senior Care in East Wenatchee and had underlying health issues, according to the facility. The number of Douglas County people testing positive jumped from 16 to 27 in the latest count. Chelan County, meanwhile, had an increase of five cases, from 55 to 60.

Five people have died from the coronavirus in Chelan County. The health district provided a breakdown of the deaths by age over the weekend, with all the fatalities age 80 or older. Those number do not include the Douglas County case. Wenatchee and East Wenatchee have the most positive cases in their counties, though the health district reports the virus has hit almost every area of each county.

Hispanics have accounted for the most cases by ethnic breakdown, with 47 percent of the positive cases in the two counties.

An East Wenatchee man who shot and killed his mother’s abusive boyfriend 11 and a half years ago is free after pleading guilty to the crime on Monday.

Christopher Martin Owens has been in jail or prison ever since the 2008 killing of Rick Tyler. His first trial ended in a hung jury, his second one was overturned on appeal. Owens was scheduled for a third trial this June, but instead agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder, in exchange for release with credit for time served.

He’s likely to face no more prison time when Douglas County Judge Brian Huber sentences him two months from now. Owens admitted killing the 47-year-old Tyler, who had physically abused Owens’ mother, and came to her home that night in spite of a restraining order. Owens said he shot Tyler twice to defend her.

The Alpenhof Fire, burning just south of Leavenworth, reached about 14 acres in size in the steep terrain along Icicle Road. Firefighters with the state Department of Natural Resources estimated containment this morning at about 40 percent, with favorable conditions to make further progress. The fire broke out Sunday afternoon near residential homes on Wedge View Drive. It was first driven by gusty winds but has since slowed down as hand crews and helicopters worked to build a perimeter. No structures have been lost.

Builders are taking advantage of a Douglas County rule that allows home construction, even though Gov. Jay Inslee’s office says it’s the wrong approach during a pandemic.

County commissioners are allowing work to proceed on residential projects that already have sales agreements and permits in place, despite the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Douglas County administrator Jim Barker says so far, 85 different commercial building projects have received county waivers to continue work. The governor’s office warns the county rule is based on a misinterpretation of his executive orders, which commanded a halt to commercial construction and other businesses deemed non-essential.

Coming up next, In legislative action earlier today, airports around Washington will receive 310 million dollars in grants and Pangborn is one of them. Chelan County commissioners have amended the emergency order they put out last week banning vacation rentals. Aside from social distancing, there’s a different curve you can help bend, the U.S Census, and, Vintage car lovers can blame coronavirus for this one: The Classy Chassis Parade is off for 2020. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

Pangborn Memorial Airport can expect some federal aid after its traffic was devastated by COVID-19.

Senator Maria Cantwell announced today the regional airport will receive just over $18 million dollars. The aid comes as part of the federal CARES Act, designed to take the sting out of the economic troubles caused by the virus. Passenger volume has collapsed at airports all around the country. Pangborn recently reduced its traffic to and from Seattle from three flights a day down to one. Altogether, Washington airports will receive more than $310 million from the federal government. SeaTac International gets $192 million dollars.

Chelan County commissioners have amended the emergency order they put out last week banning vacation rentals.

The amendment clarifies language in the order, which was aimed at reducing travel and cutting the spread of COVID-19 into and from the county. Among other things, the new language makes it a gross misdemeanor to violate the order, with penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and just under a year in jail. It remains in effect until at least May 4th.

Aside from social distancing, there’s a different curve you can help bend. Right now, North Central Washington is far behind the rest of the state, and the country, in answering the U.S. Census.

53 percent of Washingtonians and almost 48 percent of all Americans have responded to the 10-year population count. Only about 40 percent of people in Chelan County have done so, 43 percent in Douglas, and 36 percent in Grant County. Okanogan County is the most unresponsive county in Washington, at just under 23 percent. You’ve got just over a month to voluntarily self-respond to the Census online at 2020census.gov, or by a toll-free number or a paper questionnaire.

Vintage car lovers can blame coronavirus for this one: The Classy Chassis Parade is off for 2020. The East Wenatchee celebration, scheduled for May 1st and 2nd, runs in tandem with the Apple Blossom Festival every year. But Apple Blossom is postponed too until the COVID-19 emergency is over. East Wenatchee says it still has high hopes to carry on with its next scheduled festival, the Wings & Wheels celebration, scheduled to begin October 2nd. 

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. . .

A hedge caught on fire Monday afternoon at a home on Batterman Road near Rock Island, sending flames shooting high in the air and damaging the nearby home. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Douglas County Fire District 1 public information officer Kay McKellar said firefighters first thought they were responding to a brush fire but soon found out otherwise. . .

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.

Officials with Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval have announced the Leonard Evans 150 event for the Northwest Super Late Model Series along with supporting classes on April 25 have been postponed…

After discussion with the NWSLMS officials, the hope is to have the Wenatchee 200 scheduled for May 23 to now be a sanctioned NWSLMS points race with it being named the Wenatchee 200 Presented by Leonard Evans.

WVSO will continue monitoring the situation with the hope of starting the race in mid May.  All practices have been canceled until at least May 5th. Fans and drivers are asked to monitor the latest on their website at W-V-S-O dot com.

To help compensate for lost NCAA Distribution and added expenditures caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Washington State University announced multiple “cost containment” measures Monday…

WSU football coach Nick Rolovich, men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith, Director of Athletics Pat Chun and President Kirk Schulz will all take 5-percent salary reductions through the end of the 2021 academic year.

Other efforts taken by the school to cut expenses include a freeze in season ticket prices for all sports and a freeze in the price of student sports passes for the 2020-21 academic year.

The article in the Spokesman Review also quotes Chun as saying “a little less than half” of the school’s senior spring athletes have expressed interest in returning to compete in the 2020-21 season.

The eight team XFL football league announced last week that it was suspending operations and terminating all employees…

Despite the shutdown, Seattle Dragons coach Jim Zorn told the Seattle Times that he had not given up on the league.  He said, “I hope it continues on and I think everybody does.  Right now, there is no real way to have an emotion about it.  For me, it’s just a matter of continuing to go plan as though we are going to continue.”

The Dragons were 1-and-4 at the time the league suspended games in March and were leading the league in attendance with an average of over 25-thousand fans at two games at CenturyLink Field.

The XFL had its first go-around in 2001 and again here in 2020.  There’s considerable speculation that Vince McMahon’s league is done for good this time.

At the conclusion of the Seahawks’ season, Russell Wilson and his wife, Ciara, announced on Twitter that they were expecting their second child together.  Now, they’ve gone back to social media for a gender reveal, which took place earlier today at their home in San Diego…

Wilson and Ciara have a daughter, Sienna, who was born during draft weekend three years ago, and Wilson is the stepfather to Ciara’s son, Future Zahir, and now their family will be five with the addition of a boy. 

Even though the turkey season that was to begin tomorrow in Washington has been postponed, turkey hunters may enjoy this video Eric found for us.  It’s from last fall as Jay Hall was trying to quietly wait in his tree stand for a deer when an unwelcome guest joined him…

Don’t forget that tonight begins our NCWLIFE Sports Presents, the great games of our past as we go back to October of 2016 for Big-9 volleyball between Wenatchee and Eastmont….

Eric Granstrom and LeAnne Branam have the play-by-play beginning at 7 o’clock here on the NCWLIFE Channel.

Thanks Eric.

Gas prices are approaching $2 a gallon in the Wenatchee Valley at several stations, as prices at the pump continue to plunge throughout the nation. A combination of record-low oil prices and dramatic drops in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic has gas selling for less than $1 a gallon in several states.

Gas Buddy DOT Com, whose users chart prices throughout the country, reports the cheapest gas in Washington is being sold in Central Washington, with three stations in Cle Elum at $1.25 a gallon, followed by two stations in Quincy, one at $1.33 and the other at $1.35 a gallon. Prices in the Wenatchee area had been in the $2.80 a gallon range just a month ago.

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.