NCWLIFE Evening News January 20th, 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, A happy ending yesterday to the search for a missing man living with dementia. A Wenatchee man is accused of causing a vehicle crash that injured his 11-year-old passenger Saturday night, and, Chelan County reported its 39th COVID-19 death yesterday, a man in his 80s.    

But first, we begin tonight. . .

A Bridgeport man is accused of following a woman through a dark Bridgeport alley and lunging at her with a knife.

Douglas County sheriff’s deputies arrested Christopher Rodriguez last Saturday for the incident, which was reported on January 13th. The woman said she was walking between 14th Street and Douglas Avenue about 10:30 p.m. when Rodriguez followed her, threatened to kill her, and made a stabbing motion with a knife that came within two to three feet of her.

She ran for safety at a nearby house, and residents there called police. Rodriguez did not admit to any wrongdoing. Deputies say they’ll seek a charge of first-degree assault.

A happy ending yesterday to the search for a missing man living with dementia: He was quickly found after wandering away from his home. 73-year-old Gene Allen Stevens was accompanied by his dog when he went missing from the Stoneridge Drive area.

The East Wenatchee man was under care for severe Alzheimer’s disease. The Douglas County sheriff’s office said Stevens was reported missing about 4:09 p.m., but was located just after 6 p.m., less than an hour after the public alert went out. Sheriff’s deputies said he returned home safe and sound.

A Wenatchee man is accused of causing a vehicle crash that injured his 11-year-old passenger Saturday night. 31-year-old Schuyler Stephen Lee faces a possible charge of vehicular assault.

Wenatchee police say Lee crashed his own vehicle into a parked car in the 1400 block of Okanogan Avenue about 7 p.m. The child suffered a concussion in the wreck, and police said Lee showed signs of impairment. He was scheduled to make his first appearance yesterday in Chelan County Superior Court.

Chelan County reported its 39th COVID-19 death yesterday, a man in his 80s.

The Chelan-Douglas Health District said the man died earlier this month but an announcement was delayed until it was confirmed it was a coronavirus-caused death. New COVID-19 cases have been on the decline in the two-county region for the past few weeks.

The health district reported this morning that the rate of cases over the past two weeks took another big drop to 475 per 100,000 population. That’s down from 635 cases per 100,000 population reported a week ago. In mid-December, the rate peaked at more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 population over the previous 14 days.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus also has been declining in the past week, with 28 COVID-19 patients currently at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, down from a peak of 37 patients about two weeks ago. Confluence Health said 11 of those patients are in the Intensive Care Unit.

Coming up next, The Grant County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a man posing as a sheriff’s deputy and a woman posing as Child Protective Services agent who may be planning criminal activity. The city of East Wenatchee has launched an online effort to keep its finances transparent for the public. Okanogan County has a new chief prosecutor, and, Record-setting crowds continue to cause big parking messes at sno parks in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest with forest officials now advising people to save their trips for weekdays.  I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a man posing as a sheriff’s deputy and a woman posing as Child Protective Services agent who may be planning criminal activity. The sheriff’s office says the man and woman went to a home just outside Moses Lake on Monday saying they were checking on children living there.

They two asked permission to enter the home but after the woman went back to their car the homeowner became suspicious and denied the man entry to the home and told him he was going to get his gun.

The two then left in a gray Chevrolet Impala. The man is described as 6-feet-2-inches tall with a light brown complexion and brown crew cut hair. The female is described as white, 170 pounds with long brown hair and wearing a black dress with thick shoulder straps.

The city of East Wenatchee has launched an online effort to keep its finances transparent for the public.

The city said this week it’s contracted with ClearGov to create a new Fiscal Transparency Center, which puts the city’s financial picture all in one web service. You can visit the center through the city’s own website, for an easy-to-understand, interactive breakdown of the city’s finances, as well as insights into demographics and more.

Okanogan County has a new chief prosecutor. Melanie Bailey, an East Wenatchee native who’s worked as both a deputy prosecutor and a public defender, took on the role this week, appointed by county commissioners.

She replaces Arian Noma, who resigned in December, citing community racism and budget disputes with the county. In her interview with Okanogan commissioners, Bailey said leadership will be the most important quality to bring to the office. . .

Record-setting crowds continue to cause big parking messes at sno parks in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest with forest officials now advising people to save their trips for weekdays.

Forest recreation areas have been overwhelmed much of the COVID-19 pandemic as throngs of people look for a close, outdoor option for getting out of their homes.

The Forest Service said with parking lots often full by 9 in the morning, people have been parking illegally on the roads leading to the sno parks, hindering access for emergency responders, snowplows and residents.

Especially under pressure this time are the Cabin Creek, Salmon La Sac and Lake Kachess sno parks along Interstate 90, where tow trucks have been kept busy removing illegally parked vehicles.

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, the COVID-19 shutdown has hit Wenatchee’s Town Toyota Center especially hard this year.

Being an entertainment facility dependent on large gatherings of people, it’s very reason for existence has been put on hold the past 10 months. In 2020, trade shows, sporting events, concerts and more were all cancelled. General Manager Mark Miller said much of what has been happening at the facility lately is related in some way to the pandemic, from being a storage and distribution facility to a coronavirus testing, and soon, vaccination site. But while that has helped, Miller says most of his employees are still without work and the economic benefits of the arena to the community have been lost. . .

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.

Athletic directors in our area released a tentative varsity football schedule Tuesday.  Taking a cue from the WIAA’s restart plan following the governor’s Healthy Washington initiative, creating eight regions in the state, the decision was made in North Central Washington to do away with classifications.  As a result, 25-schools are packed into the NCW Region…

After practicing a couple weeks, three jamborees would kick off the schedule on Saturday, February 27th.  Brewster, Tonasket, Oroville, Chelan and Omak play at Wenatchee with groups of games starting at 3 and 6:30.  Lake Roosevelt, Manson, Wahluke, Eastmont and Cashmere would gather at Quincy.  Moses Lake would host Okanogan, Ephrata, Warden, Cascade and Royal.

The first night of varsity games would be on Friday, March 5th with all games kicking off at 7pm.  The schedule has Moses Lake at Wenatchee; Eastmont at Royal; Wahluke hosting Ephrata; Cashmere at Quincy; Chelan taking on Cascade; Omak at Okanogan; Brewster traveling to Manson; Lake Roosevelt at Tonasket; and Oroville and Warden would play at a neutral site.

We are particularly excited here at NCWLIFE because we get to broadcast games!

Our tentative schedule consumes five weeks beginning March 5th and running through April 2nd.  Our opening night broadcast would follow Moses Lake at Wenatchee.  The following week would be the first of two meetings between Wenatchee and Eastmont, this March 12th at Wildcat Stadium. 

Then we’d bring you the Pear Bowl for the first time ever on NCWLIFE Friday, March 19th with Cascade at Cashmere.  That would be followed by Ephrata at Eastmont March 26th.  Finally, Eastmont at Wenatchee on April 2nd.

The rest of the Season 1, or fall sports season, is expected to be out Friday.  When its available, NCWLIFE will fill in other dates with girls soccer, volleyball, and quite possibly a swim meet at the Eastmont Aquatics Center.

Looking ahead, the WIAA Executive Board voted to switch Seasons 2 and 3 and flip-flopped the traditional “spring” and “winter” seasons…

Now, traditional “spring” sports will be in Season 2, which begins with practice on March 15th and ends on May 1st.  “Winter” sports become Season 3 and will start with practice April 26th and end June 12th.  These guidelines and dates are a framework, but the WIAA has also granted local schools, leagues and regions to do what works for them.

WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman said, quote, based on the risk levels assigned to traditional winter activities compared with traditional spring activities, the board made the decision that those spring activities will have the opportunity to play much earlier than winter activities, end quote.

Speaking of quotes, I reached out to Cashmere grad Hailey Van Lith for her reaction to her college team, Louisville, being ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history…

She said, quote, I would just say that I have received lots of support and love from people back home and I’m so grateful.  Also that we plan on staying at 1, end quote.

Hailey and the Cardinals host No. 23 Syracuse tomorrow night at 6 on ESPN-2.

Men’s college basketball hits the hardwoods tonight…

Washington hosts Colorado in a Pac-12 matchup at 6 o’clock.  The game has been picked up and will be broadcast on ESPN-2.

Washington State hosts Utah tomorrow at 7 on the Pac-12 Network.

Saturday’s Colorado at Washington State game has also been added to ESPN-2’s offering at 5 o’clock.  The Gonzaga-Pacific game in Spokane can be seen on ROOT Sports at 7 o’clock.

The women’s schedule doesn’t resume until Friday.

Let’s take a look at the Les Schwab Scoreboard in the NHL yesterday with a ton of close games…

Jack Hughes scored two of New Jersey’s three goals in the 2nd period as the Devils topped the Rangers 4-3.

Brian Elliott made 40-saves for the Flyers in a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres in Philadelphia.

Frank Vatrano scored 2:50 into overtime to lift Florida over Chicago 5-4.

The legend Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner a minute-11 into overtime to give Pittsburgh a 5-4 win over Washington.

Nikolaj Ehlers decided it in overtime with a goal two-twenty in to give Winnipeg a 4-3 win over Ottawa.

Detroit and Columbus also went into overtime before Tyler Bertuzzi won it for the Red Wings 3-2.

And in the late game last night, Colorado skated past the L-A Kings 3-2.

Only 5-games fill the slate today for the NHL as the Oilers visit the Maple Leafs.  St. Louis entertains San Jose.  The Wild skate at Anaheim at 6:30. The Canucks host the Canadiens at 7.  And the Coyotes visit Vegas, also at 7 o’clock.

As the Mariners prepare for spring training in just a few weeks, the organization announced a way for fans to get closer…

Seattle will host a Virtual Baseball Bash featuring 60 events with access to an assortment of 60 Mariner players, coaches, scouts, front-office state, broadcasters and other personnel.  This includes manager Scott Servais, general manager Jerry Dipoto as well as players like Kyle Lewis, J.P. Crawford and Evan White.

There’s quite a buzz about the Mariners heading into this season with a plethora of good, young talent.  General manager Jerry Dipoto says the plan is to continue bringing along the youngsters and see how the season pans out.  He says fans can expect this team to compete well in the American League…

Fans who want to access content through the Baseball Bash can just head online to Mariners dot com or search Mariners on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks Eric.

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.