NCWLIFE Evening News December 31, 2019


Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News this New Year’s Eve 2019. Grant Olson is off tonight; I’m Jefferson Robbins. We’ve got a lot of news for you as the year gets ready to change over to 20290. Before we get to those stories, let’s take a quick look outside our weather window:

We saw a pretty variable weather situation around the Wenatchee Valley, with clouds and some precipitation around moments of sunbreaks. But we’re talking about even more unsettled weather moving into our area as we move into the weekend, with features including gusting wind, rain, and yes, the chance of snow. Eric Granstrom will be along a little later with the full weather picture. Right now, here’s a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight:

A convicted sex offender is asking for a second chance at a softer sentence. A borrowed truck turned out to be not borrowed, but stolen. And a mysterious figure is taking shape in the snow at Mission Ridge.

But first, we begin tonight at Wenatchee City Hall . . .

where City officials got a jump on the new year by starting their new terms.Incoming Wenatchee City Council members and a not-so-new mayor were sworn in Monday. New to the council after winning their elections in November were Travis Hornby and Jose Cuevas. Sworn in for new terms were councilwoman Linda Herald and Mayor Frank Kuntz. Herald defeated challenger Jorge Chacon in the November election; Mayor Kuntz was unopposed for his third term.

Speaking of Mayor Frank Kuntz, he says the City faces a financial hit in 2020 due in part to an increase in jail costs at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center. The City’s share of the jail funding will add to a budget that already projects more spending than revenue next year. . .The Mayor spoke about the looming budget challenges, and how the city plans to absorb a 25% increase in jail costs, in a recent In Focus interview with NCWLIFE’s Steve Hair.

The city’s 2020 budget includes over $107 million dollars in spending with $81 million dollars in tax revenue. It will require tapping into reserves, but Kuntz says the City has built that up over the past decade. .

Overall, the Mayor sounded upbeat about the new year and what it will bring in terms of new growth and development.

A Douglas County man imprisoned for sexual abuse says he was unfairly denied a chance at a lesser sentence.

Robert Thomas Lamberton, who’s 49, pleaded guilty in last spring to two counts of first-degree incest and one in the second degree, for molesting one of his own adopted children. Prosecutors offered to recommend a Special Sex Offender Sentencing option, which would have allowed Lamberton to spend six months in jail and go free on strict probation.

But Superior Court Judge Brian Huber rejected that proposal, and sentenced Lamberton to five years in prison. Lamberton now wants the Court of Appeals to review the judge’s decision. He’s confined at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Franklin County.

A Cashmere man who “borrowed” his friend’s pickup truck while his friend was in jail went to jail himself over the weekend, after police determined the truck was stolen

Deputies found 33-year-old Thomas Ezra Roth trying to gas up the truck Friday morning outside Cashmere. He allegedly told them he’d borrowed the truck from his imprisoned friend, but the inmate told police he hadn’t granted permission. A trailer attached to the truck was also reported stolen. At the time of his arrest, Roth was out on bond for an earlier vehicle theft.

Coming up next: Three thousand insurance customers in Washington must shop around for new policies after one provider gets shut down by the state. It’s apple-drop time tonight at Pybus Public Market as the year clicks over into 2020. And fireworks laws are still in effect, so be careful how you celebrate the new year.

I’m Jefferson Robbins, and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Jefferson Robbins

If you’re thinking about setting off fireworks tonight to ring in 2020, you should be aware you could be starting the new year and decade by committing a crime. In Wenatchee and Chelan County, for example, there are year-round fireworks bans in place. The same holds true for Cashmere and Entiat. Most other area cities and counties follow state laws. That means fireworks are legal from 6 tonight until 1 Wednesday morning.

Of course, you can always leave it to the experts and enjoy a professional fireworks show in Chelan that starts at 9.

Or you can skip the fireworks all together and go to Pybus Public Market, where there will be live music, dancing and the annual dropping of the apple at both 9 p.m. and midnight.

Tonight’s Pybus event is the market’s sixth annual apple drop, modeled after the Times Square ball drop in New York City. The apple, which was first dropped in 2014, was constructed by Wenatchee Valley College instructors and students. Faculty members Bob Acklin and Zack Jacobson led the project to build a lighted aluminum apple that’s five feet high, but weighs only 25 pounds. This year, the apple will drop at both 9 p.m. and midnight at Pybus, at the foot of Orondo on Worthen Avenue.

If you’re one of the 3,000 Washingtonians who bought health insurance through Trinity Helathshare, it’s time to shop for a new policy.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said this week the faith-based nonprofit failed to meet the standards for insurers to operate in Washington, and banned it from selling its high-risk policies in the state. He also fined the Georgia company $150,000. Open enrollment is already over, but Trinity policyholders can keep their coverage for up to one calendar year.

You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up next, a look at that mysterious figure that’s looming over Mission Ridge, plus your complete local weather forecast courtesy of Eric Granstrom. That and much more still to come on the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Jefferson Robbins; stay with us.

A more active weather pattern is expected to develop into the New Year.  Moderate to heavy mountain snow accumulations are expected through today and into tomorrow.  Snow will also continue to fall in Northeast Washington and the Idaho Panhandle.

Looking at the Weather Almanac for the Wenatchee Valley…

       Today’s High – 48 Low – 30
       Normal High – 31        Low – 23
       Record High – 49 in 1998   Low – (-13) in 1968
       Today’s Precipitation – Trace
       Precipitation to Date – 7.00”
       Snowfall to Date – 2.5’
       Sunrise – 7:48am Sunset – 4:20pm

The Wenatchee valley and North Central Washington is sandwiched between areas expected to get snow.  To the east of us in the Spokane area, they are getting one to three inches of snow today.

The mountains above 3,000 feet are expected to get hammered, with one to two feet possible.  This storm system will pretty much leave us wet and windy, with rain today and tonight with winds gusting into the 20’s.

We’ll see a mixed bag over the next several days with showers, some afternoon sun breaks, and the possibility overnight snow.  Whatever snow we get in the overnight hours will most likely melt during the days.

Taking a look at the Patriot Plumbing Heating and Cooling forecast for Wenatchee…

Tonight – Strong winds and unseasonably warm, low 40

New Year’s Day – Rain early, sunny later, west winds to 18-miles per hour with a high of 47

Tomorrow night – Partly cloudy, west winds to 17 and a low of 29.

Thursday – Snow early will turn to rain, a high of 40.

Friday – Snow turning to rain with a high of 42.

Saturday – A slight chance of rain/snow in the morning, turning mostly sunny with a high of 42.

Sunday – A slight chance of rain or snow early then partly sunny in the afternoon, a high of 40.

Back to work – Cloudy and dry Monday with a high of 40.

On the Les Schwab Prep Scoreboard in prep hoops Monday…

Eastmont’s boys basketball team survived a 41-point performance by Rogers’ Evan Nomee to win on the road 77-69.  The Wildcats were led by the 24-points of Evan Smith and 22 from Isaac Wellborn.  Eastmont improved to 4-and-4 overall with the win and is off until Friday when it travels to Pasco.

In the girl’s game, Eastmont held Rogers to single digits in all four quarters, winning 59-28.  The Wildcats were led by the 13-points of Jayden Brown and 11 from Megan Chandler.  It was the Eastmont girls first win of the season and they hope to build on that in Pasco Friday.

The prep calendar goes dark for the holiday the next few days and ranks back up again on Friday.  But while there are not games to attend today, you can certain watch some prep action tonight on the NCWLIFE Channel…

We’re going back to January 8th of 2018 tonight as Wenatchee hosts Davis in Big-9 Wrestling.  Hockey Night Thursday features Powell River at Wenatchee from December 21st

On Friday, we’ll feature a game from last February between the Wenatchee boys and Moses Lake Chiefs.  If you missed it last weekend, we’ll rebroadcast the Wenatchee vs. Eastmont girls bowling match Saturday at 1 o’clock.  And then Saturday night, it’s the Wenatchee girls and Eisenhower from last year.

We’ll be back to LIVE broadcasts on NCWLIFE January 10th at the Town Toyota Center with a triple-header as Wenatchee and Eastmont face off.  First, it’s the Unified game.  Then the girls game followed by the boys, right here on your home for LOCAL sports, NCWLIFE.

The college football bowl season continues today with five more on tap…

The Belk Bowl turned out to be a barn-burner as Kentucky scored on a 13-yard pass play with 15-seconds left to win the Belk Bowl 37-30.

Underway right now, it’s Utah and Texas in the Valero Alomo Bowl at 4:30 on ESPN.

After your revelry of the New Year tonight, there are four more bowls tomorrow highlighted by the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual with #6 Oregon taking on #8 Wisconsin.  The Pac-12, by the way, is 2-and-2 in bowl games after Cal’s 35-20 win over Illinois in the Redbox Bowl last night.

Pete Carroll met with reporters yesterday afternoon at the Seahawk’s practice facility in Renton.  He said he’s glad they have another game to focus on rather than have the season end in Sunday’s heartbreaking loss…

Carroll says the best news moving forward is that Seattle still has a running game, despite losing their top-two running backs to injuries…

Seattle will play at Philadelphia in the NFC Wild Card playoffs Sunday at 1:40. You can watch the game on NBC.

Going back to Sunday’s loss, in the play before what proved to be the final play of the game, there appeared to be a pass interference that went uncalled. 

Following the controversy of a no-call pass interference in last year’s NFC Conference Championship between New Orleans and Los Angeles, the NFL changed its rules to allow review of those types of plays.  This season, a coach could challenge pass interference outside of the final two minutes.  Inside the final two minutes of the first half and game’s end, pass interference calls would be reviewed by the NFL in New York.

Following Sunday’s game in which Jacob Hollister appeared to be interfered with by a San Francisco linebacker, the NFL came out and said they DID review the play, but found no evidence of interference.

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll says there’s a fundamental problem with any replays in that they depend on the television broadcast’s ability, or lack thereof, to see it…

Seattle hopes to get a well-called game Sunday in Philadelphia, reviews or not.

Thanks Eric. Finally from us tonight. . .

A Wenatchee man convicted of bringing methamphetamine into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center must undergo a new trial.

The state Court of Appeals ruled today that 56-year-old Lanny Lee Griffith may have been subjected to an unreasonable search in 2017, when security guards checked his coat and found drugs in the pocket. Griffith was on his way to the county clerk’s office to pay a legal fine. A judge sentenced him to six months in jail, but his incarceration was put on hold during his appeal. A new trial must determine whether to suppress the evidence, and whether the search was in keeping with Chelan County’s security policy.

And that’s going to do it for our last newscast of 2019. The handsome face of Dan Kuntz will be the next one you see to tell us what to expect on “Wake Up Wenatchee Valley” in 2020. Dan?

Thank you, Dan. For more news from around North Central Washington, you can find us on Facebook or our website at And, remember, if you see news happening, we’d like to hear from you. You can send us an email at, or give us a call 888-NCWL (6295). Filling in for Grant Olson, I’m Jefferson Robbins. Thanks for watching us all throughout 2019. From all of us at NCWLIFE, Happy New Year.