NCWLIFE Evening News April 16th, 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, A woman told Wenatchee police she was stabbed in her sleep by her housemate on Tuesday, and it wasn’t the first time. Governor Jay Inslee did not indicate Wednesday whether his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order would be extended beyond the May 4th deadline, and, With a $26 million loss on the horizon from dealing with coronavirus, Confluence Health is cutting salaries, starting at the top.    

But first, we begin tonight. . .

A single-wide trailer, multiple vehicles and two outbuildings were destroyed by a debris fire that burned out of control in Malaga Wednesday afternoon.

But firefighters were able to prevent it from spreading to two nearby homes. Chelan County Fire District 1 said a huge debris pile was burning between two homes when crews arrived and had reached to within 5 feet of a residence in the 4000 block of Concord Avenue. The fire was reported at 1:30 p.m. and crews had the wind-driven blaze contained to the debris pile and burnt cars by 1:46. The two destroyed structures were filled with a variety of household items, the fire district reported. Kay McKellar, public information officer for the district, said the fire is under investigation but wind played a major role. She said people doing spring yard maintenance need to be aware of weather conditions and check with their local fire department before burning.

A woman told Wenatchee police she was stabbed in her sleep by her housemate on Tuesday, and it wasn’t the first time.

Officers arrested 53-year-old William Conrad Hewitt, who’s now in jail on suspicion of first-degree assault. The victim said she believes Hewitt stabbed her while she was unconscious under the influence of medication. Police found her in Walla Walla Point Park with a non-life-threatening wound to her chest. She said Hewitt stabbed her at least once before, in late February, which led her to be hospitalized.

Police said Hewitt denied the accusation, but on Wednesday Judge Lesley Allan ordered him held on a quarter-million-dollars bond, calling the allegations “bizarre.” He has not yet been charged.

Governor Jay Inslee did not indicate Wednesday whether his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order would be extended beyond the May 4th deadline. He said there are signs COVID-19 cases and deaths are leveling off in Washington state but also models showing that lifting the order could cause those numbers to spike again. Inslee said inadequate testing capabilities remain a big obstacle before his order is lifted. . .

With a $26 million loss on the horizon from dealing with coronavirus, Confluence Health is cutting salaries, starting at the top.

The Wenatchee network of hospitals and clinics announced Wednesday CEO Peter Rutherford would take a 25 percent salary reduction, with 10 percent salary cuts for his executive leadership team.

The cuts trickle down to department heads and managers, with salary reductions between 3 and 7.5 percent, and to its clinicians, who’ll take 7 to 10 percent salary losses. The reductions are temporary while Confluence deals with the demands of COVID-19. Back in mid-March, in order to slow the spread of the virus, the network stopped performing elective procedures. But those procedures bring in most of Confluence’s annual profits.

Coming up next, New Chelan County jail director Chris Sharp wasn’t expecting to take over the job of managing hundreds of inmates during a public health crisis. To help communities stay connected while social distancing is the law of the land, the Chelan County PUD wants to help establish free wi-fi hotspots throughout its service area, and, Despite rumors to the contrary, the Forest Service says the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is not closed. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

New Chelan County jail director Chris Sharp wasn’t expecting to take over the job of managing hundreds of inmates during a public health crisis. But he says the Chelan County Regional Justice Center, is doing its best to keep inmates and staff healthy. He and County Commissioner Bob Bugert spoke with NCWLIFE reporter Jefferson Robbins. . .

To help communities stay connected while social distancing is the law of the land, the Chelan County PUD wants to help establish free wi-fi hotspots throughout its service area. The PUD launched a plan this week with local Internet providers to set up 50 or more wi-fi zones in public places, starting in the next few weeks.

Exact locations for the $40,000 project are still to be determined. The Wenatchee School District and Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance also announced a program this week to let students check out mobile wi-fi hotspots from local libraries. That should enable students to carry out their online work for the rest of the school year, when they might not otherwise have access to the Internet.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the Forest Service says the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is not closed. Trails, undeveloped areas, dispersed camping and most roads are still open. Confusion likely stems from the Forest Service’s announcement March 27th that it was closing developed recreation sites in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

That included campgrounds, snow parks, restroom facilities, rentals, fire lookouts and most trailheads. But the Forest Service says there are other places recreationists can legally park on roadsides, then walk or bike in to a trail.

Still, some specific roads and high-use areas have been closed completely, such as Icicle Road near Leavenworth and recreation areas along that route.

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. . .

This tweet from musician and actor Ice-T reminded many of us that yesterday was the 26th anniversary of the premiere of Surviving the Game, the 1994 action movie shot almost entirely in Wenatchee and the Lake Wenatchee area. Local residents got to witness much of the filmmaking first-hand while it was being shot around town back in 1993, and it’s still acknowledged as a home-video cult classic today. In tonight’s feature story, a look back at Surviving the Game. . .

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.

Following the devastating decision by the state to close school for the rest of the year, high school administrations have been wrestling with moving forward.  For Eastmont athletic director Russ Waterman, that means planning for life being somewhat back to “normal” in the fall and pushing ahead with scheduling the athletic seasons. 

Waterman joined Eric Granstrom on a Zoom video conference to discuss the fall and what impacts there might be on the athletic budget moving forward…

Wenatchee athletic director Jim Beeson works in his office a few days a week and from home the rest of the time.  He says they’re doing what they can to recognize senior athletes…

We’ll have more with Beeson tomorrow.  You can see my entire interview with Russ Waterman on our website at NCWLIFE dot com.     

Outgoing voice of the AppleSox Joel Norman was able to catch up with a former AppleSox pitcher who’s now in the Major Leagues, Troy Stainbrook.  He said his time in Wenatchee for a summer was invaluable…

Stainbrook is hoping to get his career underway with the Nationals sooner than later.  The West Coast League and AppleSox are still shooting for the first weekend in June for their season opener.  You can watch Joel’s entire interview with Stainbrook on the AppleSox Facebook page.

Our NCWLIFE sports broadcast schedule continues for the week tonight with Hockey Night…

The Wenatchee Wild hosted the Cowichan Valley Capitals in BCHL action at the Town Toyota Center January 17th.  We’ll have it tonight at 7 with Arch Ecker on the play-by-play. 

Another Great Game of our Past will air tomorrow night with the Bridge of Sportsmanship from 2016 between Wenatchee and Eastmont.

Saturday features the Wenatchee and West Valley girls district soccer championship from 2017 at 2 o’clock followed at 7 by the Wenatchee Valley Rams against Tri-Cities in a football playoff game from July of 2016.

Thanks Eric.

Finally tonight, as the nights warm and the days lengthen, April is a great time to add a tree to your urban landscape.

Arbor Day is a holiday that is celebrated all around the world on the last Friday of April by planting, learning about, and celebrating trees. Municipalities that are part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program have made a commitment to urban and community forestry and work to protect and maintain the trees in their jurisdiction.

The City of Chelan is a certified Tree City USA and though it will not be celebrating its annual Arbor Day and tree giveaway event this April to be mindful of public health and safety, it remains very committed to its urban forests. Many Chelan residents in areas identified as having few trees will be seeing a post card arriving in their mailbox encouraging tree plantings with suggestions of plants suitable for their area.

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.