NCWLIFE Evening News April 23rd, 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 motorcyclists killed last Saturday in a head-on collision in Manson has been identified. Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley is the latest to advocate for an easing on the state’s public health restrictions, and, Chelan County was within its rights to shut down a Malaga cannabis operation in 2017, that’s the finding of the state Court of Appeals.   

But first, we begin tonight. . .

A body believed to be that of 87-year-old Ray Dean Kope was found Wednesday in the burned wreckage of Kopey’s Garage in Waterville.

The former auto dealership burned to the ground one week ago today. Two people escaped the fire, but the search for Kope’s body was hindered by the instability of the rubble. A search dog and heavy equipment were used in the recovery. The fire marshal’s office says the fire appears to have been accidental.

A motorcyclists killed last Saturday in a head-on collision in Manson has been identified as 48-year-old Treye Hovinga of Chelan.

The accident is still under investigation but it appears Hovinga was traveling west on Highway 150 near Key Lane when he crossed the center line and collided with a Jeep Liberty. Hovinga, a father of three, was a 1989 graduate of Rock Island High School in Rock Island, Illinois.

Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley is the latest to advocate for an easing on the state’s public health restrictions.

In an open letter posted online today, Hawley says in his jurisdiction, it’s easier for businesses and recreationists to practice social distancing, and he’s asked Gov. Jay Inslee’s office to consider that.

Hawley’s statement doesn’t go as far as the sheriff of Snohomish County, who says he thinks Inslee’s COVID-19 orders are unconstitutional. Okanogan County has so far had 16 cases of coronavirus diagnosed among residents, none resulting in death.

Chelan County was within its rights to shut down a Malaga cannabis operation in 2017. That’s the finding of the state Court of Appeals, which upheld the closure of Seven Hills farm.

Seven Hills tried to show it was an established cannabis operation before the county placed a moratorium on such businesses in 2015, and outlawed most of them a year later. In its ruling today, the higher court said Seven Hills did not obtain a state license to produce marijuana until January 2016, and never got required county permits for all its structures. As a result, it cannot be grandfathered in as a pre-existing business.

Coming up next, today would have marked the beginning of the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival and we sat down with festival Administrator Darci Christofferson. The Okanogan County Electric Co-op must pay the federal government more than $1 million in suppression costs for the deadly 2015 Twisp River Fire. Two separate pole fires knocked out power to Grant County PUD customers Wednesday night and this morning, and, Chelan County sheriff’s chief of patrol Rick Johnson will officially become East Wenatchee’s police chief on June 1st.  I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

Today was to have been the start of the 101st Apple Blossom Festival in Wenatchee. But with the COVID-19 pandemic having shut down all public gatherings in the state, the food court area remains quiet and there are no chairs lining the parade route. Wake Up Wenatchee Valley’s Dan Kuntz talked with an emotional festival administrator Darci Christopherson today about the loss of the festival and her hopes for something later this summer. . .

The Okanogan County Electric Co-op must pay the federal government more than $1 million in suppression costs for the deadly 2015 Twisp River Fire.

U.S. Attorney William Hyslop announced the co-op reached a settlement with the U.S. Forest Service to pay $1.1 million for the fire, sparked in August 2015 when a tree branch contacted one of the co-op’s electrical lines. Three firefighters — Richard Wheeler, Andrew Zajac and Tom Zbyszewski — died when the wildfire overran their truck;

a fourth, Andrew Lyon, was burned over 70 percent of his body. The Twisp River Fire ultimately burned 12,000 acres of land. The Okanogan County Electric Co-op serves about 3,400 members spread out over 1,200 square miles.

Two separate pole fires knocked out power to Grant County PUD customers Wednesday night and this morning.

First, a pole caught fire near George about 7:25 p.m., causing outages for 82 customers before power was restored just after 10 p.m. Then, at 12:39 Thursday morning, another pole fire near Moses Lake left 933 customers without power. Power for 781 customers was restored about 2:50 a.m. and the remainder about 7 a.m.

Christine Pratt of the PUD says most pole fires happen when light to moderate rain falls after a dry spell. Tilling by farmers kicks up dust that settles on wood poles and their metal components and when the dust gets wet it becomes a conductor of electricity. Grant PUD is in the process of changing metallic components to polymer ones that do not conduct electricity. It will take years, however, to change out all the PUD’s thousands of poles, Pratt said.

Chelan County sheriff’s chief of patrol Rick Johnson will officially become East Wenatchee’s police chief on June 1st. The city council unanimously approved Johnson’s employment agreement Tuesday. He replaces Chief Randy Harrison, who steered the East Wenatchee department for 25 years. Mayor Jerrilea Crawford told councilmembers in the meeting, it’s been a long time coming. . .

The council approved a package that will pay Johnson $122,000 a year.

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. . .

You might think the business of reindeer was restricted to wintertime. But Erika Bowie, manager of the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, says spring and summer are calving season. In tonight’s feature story, due to COVID-19, the Chumstick Valley farm can’t welcome visitors to see the new offspring, but they’re sharing lots of footage on their Facebook page. Take a look. . .

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.

The Seahawks have been working feverishly to prepare for the NFL Draft, which begins tonight with the first round.  The work has included technicians installing various equipment in the houses of General Manager John Schneider and Head Coach Pete Carroll.  Both say the challenge of this draft being conducted remotely will be memorable…

COVID-19 has created obstacles that teams have had to negotiate around, including the monumental task of evaluating players.  Schneider says they’ve learned a lot from this process…

Pete Carroll is entering his 11th season coaching the Seahawks and says the level of familiarity he has with his staff has helped in this process…

Seattle has 7 picks in this year’s draft, beginning with the 27th overall selection in the 1st round.  Coverage can be seen on both ESPN and ABC with the first round getting underway today at 5 o’clock.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson appeared on the Colin Cowherd show yesterday on Fox.  They first talked about how close Seattle came to being the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs had it not been for injuries…

Wilson has been working out in his off-season home in San Diego.  Typically, he welcomes teammates and new signees to his place for an intense, several day workout, but the pandemic has thwarted those plans this year.

Coming up tonight on the NCWLIFE Channel, it’s Hockey Night…

Arch Ecker has the call at 7 o’clock as the Wenatchee Wild take on the Trail Smoke Eaters in BCHL play.

We’re going back to March of 2017 tomorrow night with a Great Game of our Past as Wenatchee and Eastmont boys battle it out in Big-9 soccer.

Saturday begins with a great baseball game at Recreation Park between Wenatchee and Eastmont from May of 2017.  That’s at 2 o’clock.  Then at 7, it’s playoff lacrosse from 2017 as the Wenatchee Valley Thunder host Monroe.

Thanks Eric.

As we leave you tonight, a reminder. . .beginning May 1st, anyone launching a boat in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation area will be need to complete a form indicating their vessel is mussel-free.

The National Park Service is requiring the self-reporting forms in an effort to stop the spread of the invasive aquatic species.

Quagga and zebra mussels are easily transported by watercraft and can cover surfaces of water, clog boat motors, irrigation systems and more. It is estimated they do $500 million worth of damage each year. The forms can be found at each boat launch.

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.