NCWLIFE Evening News January 12th, 2021

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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, The driver who struck a pedestrian in a Wenatchee crosswalk back in November must serve just over 10 months in jail. As has been the case for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, people looking for a chance to get away from it all have clogged recreation areas in North Central Washington, and, Some good news but mainly bad in the latest real estate snapshot from Pacific Appraisal Associates.   

But first, we begin tonight. . .

The wet, heavy snow that fell overnight in the Wenatchee Valley caused power outages for thousands of customers as crews responded to numerous reports of downed lines and trees.

Chelan County PUD spent much of the morning restoring power to customers in Cashmere, Manson, the south shore of Lake Chelan, Lake Wenatchee, Peshastin and Dryden and points between. The PUD said its outage phone line was overwhelmed with customers calling in this morning.

Because of the outage and snow, many schools had on-line classes only today with some cancelling school altogether.

The driver who struck a pedestrian in a Wenatchee crosswalk back in November must serve just over 10 months in jail.

Timothy Brian Shales, who’s 57, struck a woman with his pickup in the intersection of 5th Street and North Emerson Avenue, then drove away.

He pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular assault, and Chelan County Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan imposed a sentence of 10 and a half months. Shales was intoxicated at the time of the November hit and run, and has a previous DUI conviction.

As has been the case for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, people looking for a chance to get away from it all have clogged recreation areas in North Central Washington.

Last weekend, the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office said they responded to numerous reports of trespassing, traffic hazards and unlawful parking at recreation areas off Interstate 90 leading to Snoqualmie Pass. 

As a result, Kittitas County Sheriff Clay Myers ordered extra patrols and deputies wrote dozens of tickets. Myers said the problem isn’t expected to go away anytime soon, so extra patrols will be out again trying to keep the throngs at bay.

Some good news but mainly bad in the latest real estate snapshot from Pacific Appraisal Associates.

The good news is that total home sales in December were up 29-percent compared to the same time last year with 90 sold this year and 70 in December 2019. Now the not so good news. . .New home listings were down 14-percent compared to last year and active listings were down a whopping 74-percent last month compared to December 2019 with 121 homes listed in 2019 and only 31 last December. The year-to-date median sales price of a home in the Wenatchee Valley also went up, 6-percent in December 2020 to 372,250-dollars compared to 349,000 for a home in December of 2019. The Wenatchee real estate market consists of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Malaga, Orondo and Rock Island.

Coming up next, A trail leading into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area near Leavenworth will be closed much of the next two months as an old bridge is removed and replaced with a new one. The Eastmont School District will return grades 5, 6 and 7 to classrooms next week. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce has announced finalists for its 2020 Business of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year awards, and, A Wenatchee public health executive starts his second term with the state board that oversees health insurance plans for Washington. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

A trail leading into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area near Leavenworth will be closed much of the next two months as an old bridge is removed and replaced with a new one.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest says a start date for the project hasn’t been determined but the work is likely to be between January 15th and March 7th. The trail will be closed at the Snow Lakes Trailhead with no alternative route for crossing the creek.

Chelan County and the Icicle Peshastin Irrigation District are contracting out the work to replace the bridge, which is just a few hundred feet from the trailhead. The bridge is being replaced so improvements and repairs can be made to a fish screen in the irrigation canal about a quarter mile from the trailhead. Because of the time of year, the Forest Service expects the impact to users to be minimal.

The Eastmont School District will return grades 5, 6 and 7 to classrooms next week, Superintendent Garn Christensen announced Monday.

The students will attend classes all-day on alternating days starting Tuesday, January 19th, a format the lower grades will also now follow.

Christensen said the goal is to get the rest of the students in junior high and high school back to classes Jan. 25, but that return is still tentative.

Half-day classroom instruction began Monday for Wenatchee School District fourth-graders, with plans to return fifth-graders on Jan. 20 and middle and high school students January 26th.

The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce has announced finalists for its 2020 Business of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year awards.

For Business of the Year, the three finalists are the Heidi Huddle Allstate Insurance Agency, Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort and Numerica Credit Union.

For Nonprofit of the Year, the three finalists are Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Wenatchee Downtown Association and  the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council.

The winners will be announced at the chamber’s annual banquet March 4th.

A Wenatchee public health executive starts his second term with the state board that oversees health insurance plans for Washington. John Schapman is the deputy director of the North Central Accountable Community of Health, which coordinates health policy and strategy in the four NCW counties.

On Friday, Governor Jay Inslee announced Schapman’s reappointment to the state Health Benefit Exchange Board, which decides which insurance plans can be offered under Washington’s Medicaid program. He was first appointed in 2019. Yvonne Bussler-White of Omak also received a new appointment to the governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment. Both appointments run for the next two years.

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. . .

In tonight’s feature story, Confluence Health infectious disease specialist Doctor Mark Johnson said Central Washington Hospital is struggling to treat a surge of COVID-19 patients. Is part 2 of his interview with Wake Up Wenatchee Valley’s Dan Kuntz, Johnson said this is the moment in the pandemic that will make or break us. . .

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.

Thanks Dan.

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.