NCWLIFE Evening News January 28th, 2022


OPEN –Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Grant Olson. Before we get to what’s making news, let’s take a quick look outside our weather window:

And now, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight, A Wenatchee man serving prison time for jealously attacking another man with a baseball bat must pay the victim more than $13,000./ Firefighters in Mazama are trying to raise $100,000 to build a well for water they say is vital to improving their ability to fight wildfires, and, COVID-19 testing kits will be distributed at several rural NCW libraries in Chelan and Douglas counties beginning next week.

But first, our top story tonight. . .

Burglary Arrest –The Chelan County burglary suspect who for the past week had successfully eluded arrest in multiple jurisdictions has been captured in Montana. The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office said this morning that 30-year-old Jessie Spitzer of Sultan was taken into custody in Haugan, Montana. Spitzer is suspected in a series of crimes stretching from Snohomish County to Chelan County, to Post Falls, Idaho, and finally to Montana. The Mineral County Sheriff’s Department sent out a warning after Spitzer was suspected of stealing a car just before 9 p.m. Wednesday outside the Montana Bar in Saltese, which is just across the Idaho border and about six miles from Haugan. The previous day, he was confronted by police in Post Falls after an armed burglary but was able to escape on foot. On Sunday morning, he is suspected of burglarizing a Cashmere home and stealing two handguns and a mountain bike. That night, he fled from a Chelan County Sheriff’s deputy after another burglary in Chelan. The sheriff’s office searched for Spitzer along the Columbia River after his stolen pickup ran out of gas on Highway 97A outside Wenatchee. But Spitzer had allegedly stolen a pickup from Tree Top in Wenatchee that he used to drive to Post Falls. Prior to the Chelan County burglaries, he was already being sought in Snohomish County after he was in an accident last Friday while he was driving a stolen vehicle.

Bat Attack Payback –A Wenatchee man serving prison time for jealously attacking another man with a baseball bat must pay the victim more than $13,000. In 2019, 37-year-old Jess Jerome Cunning waited outside the home of a Wenatchee woman in the dead of night, and attacked the male victim with a baseball bat when he left the house. He also slashed all four tires on the victim’s car, and damaged the paint and bumper. Cunning pleaded guilty last year to first-degree attempted assault. On Wednesday, a Chelan County judge ordered him to pay almost $13,500 for the damage to the vehicle. Cunning is currently held at the Airway Heights Corrections Center.

Mazama Water –Firefighters in Mazama are trying to raise $100,000 to build a well for water they say is vital to improving their ability to fight wildfires like the one that almost destroyed their community last summer. Okanogan Fire District 6 says currently their nearest water source is 15 miles away from Mazama, a 30-to-45-minute round trip. With district money committed to building a new fire station and training center in Winthrop, the water project is dependent on private donations. Already, volunteer firefighters, fire district commissioners and citizens have donated to the effort and a water source has been identified near the Mazama Store. The fire district says up to $100,000 is needed for a power hookup, pumping equipment and possibly a generator for getting water during a power outage. Last summer, the Cedar Creek Fire, which burned more than 55,000 acres, came within a few hundred yards of destroying hundreds of homes near and in Mazama, the fire district said.

Rural Libraries Testing –COVID-19 testing kits will be distributed at several rural NCW libraries in Chelan and Douglas counties beginning next week. The Chelan-Douglas Health District said the kits will be available at library branches next Wednesday in Cashmere, Chelan, Manson, Leavenworth, Peshastin, Entiat and Bridgeport. The health district said the kits cannot be reserved and will be handed out on a first-come-first-served basis. NCW Libraries requires that all people entering its libraries wear masks. Most of the NCW library branches are open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. but check your local library for hours.

Grant PUD –The interim director of the Grant County PUD could soon become the permanent man in the top job. Commissioners plan to vote February 8th on whether to install Rich Wallen as the utility’s general manager and chief executive officer.

Wallen has served as interim general manager since January 1st, after former general manager Kevin Nordt stepped down from the position to focus on his health. Wallen has been with the utility since 2017, most recently as its Chief Operations Officer. Commission President Judy Wilson said during his time, Wallen has earned the full confidence of the board.

Grant Fiber –The Grant County PUD continues its build-out of fiberoptic networks into more rural parts of the county. PUD commissioners reviewed plans for fiber expansion during their meeting this week.

By year’s end, they expect to complete fiber installation in George and Warden, and extend new service to areas surrounding Winchester, Royal City, Mattawa, Quincy and Soap Lake. The build-out is expected to reach an additional 1,642 households and businesses. Last year, Grant PUD saw a net increase of 3,149 fiber subscribers.

Connected Schools –School districts in North Central Washington can expect more than $5.1 million in federal money for remote learning. It’s the latest round of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, to reimburse local districts for the costs associated with moving classes online during the COVID-19 crisis.

Eastmont School District leads the pack locally, with $1.3 million in reimbursement. The package also includes almost $1.1 million for Wenatchee public schools and more than $63,000 for Pinnacles Prep, the charter school that opened its doors this school year. Other large recipients by funding amount include Moses Lake, Omak, and the Cashmere School District.

Soap Lake Spinners –As we go to break, Soap Lake police would like to find the person or persons who recently used Paul Lauzier Community Park to hone their skills at driving in deep snow.

Police say the donut spinning at the park caused an extensive amount of damage to city property and they are asking that anyone who has information on the vandalism or video surveillance footage of the incident to contact the Soap Lake Police Department at 509-246-1122.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .

Douglas Jail –Douglas County doesn’t have its own jail, and right now a contract allows it to book up to 40 criminal suspects at a time into the Okanogan County jail, at a cost of $61 per inmate per day.

But Douglas County commissioners say with a shortage of corrections officers at that jail, they’re not allowed to book everyone they’d like to. In tonight’s feature story, Okanogan County Commissioner Andy Hover and Sheriff Tony Hawley discussed the matter with the Douglas County board on Tuesday. They said changes to the contract could wind up costing Douglas County an extra $10 a day for each person they put in jail. . .

TEASE – 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 Seattle Kraken won a defensive battle in overtime at Pittsburgh last night 2-to-1…

After two scoreless periods, the Penguins scored the game’s first goal at the 8:41 mark of the 3rd period to take a 1-oh lead.  Things didn’t look good for Seattle until Jared McCann came through late in the period…

Phillip Grubauer stopped 23-of-24 shots on goal and says it was great to see his teammates bounce back right away after he surrendered the only goal in the third period…

Coach Dave Hakstol says it’s great to get a road win like that, but it’s the way the Kraken continue to attack in the offensive zone that he really likes…

Seattle continues its road trip tomorrow in New York against the Islanders at 2 o’clock on ROOT Sports Northwest.

The Wenatchee Wild stumbled out of the gates in the opener of three games against Penticton last night, falling 5-to-2…

The Wild were outshot 42-to-9 in the first two periods as the Vees built a 2-goal lead before Landon Parker answered midway through the 2nd

The good news for Wenatchee is that they get to try it again tonight at 7:05.  The two teams wrap up the three-game set tomorrow night at 6 o’clock.

On the Les Schwab Men’s College Basketball Scoreboard last night…

No. 2 Gonzaga had no trouble with Loyola Marymount as the Bulldogs win 89-55.  Chet Holmgren led the way with 21-points while J.D. Strawther had 10.

Washington held on to beat Colorado 60-58 as the Huskies were led by the 26-points from Terrell Brown, Jr.

Eastern Washington fell to Montana State 69-65.

In women’s college basketball last night, 5th-ranked Louisville beat Florida State 75-62 as Hailey Van Lith had 9-points for the Cardinals in the victory.

Melody Kempton had 14-points while Eliza Hollingsworth scored 12 to lead Gonzaga past Pepperdine 66-54.

Montana State beat Eastern Washington 65-55.

Washington State hosts Washington tonight at 7 o’clock on the Pac-12 Network.  Gonzaga plays at San Diego tomorrow at 2.  On Sunday, the Cougars and Huskies will play in Seattle at Noon while Louisville battles 21st-ranked Duke on ESPN.

On the men’s courts tomorrow, Washington hosts Utah at 2 o’clock on the Pac-12 Network.  Eastern Washington plays at Montana at 6 on ESPN-plus. Gonzaga hosts Portland at 6 o’clock.  Washington State is home Sunday against Colorado at 7 o’clock on FS1.

Eisenhower is hosting the Big-9 District Girls Bowling Championships today…

Eastmont, Wenatchee, Davis and West Valley are gathering with the Cadets at Nob Hill Lanes.  Eastmont and Eisenhower shared the regular season league title.

We have some prep basketball scores to pass along from last night…

In boy’s play, Grandview beat Ephrata 66-44.  Lake Roosevelt edged Manson 65-64.  Bridgeport beat Entiat 55-27.

On the girl’s side, it was Grandview 71, Ephrata 43.  Lake Roosevelt rolled Manson 66-to-16.  Bridgeport beat Entiat 60-to-38.

Coming up tonight in girl’s basketball, we’ll have Wenatchee and Davis LIVE on our Facebook page starting at 5:45.  Moses Lake hosts Eisenhower while Quincy’s at Omak and Chelan hosts Cascade.  At 6 it’s Prosser at Ephrata; Liberty Bell hosts Okanogan; and Brewster’s in Oroville.

In boy’s basketball tonight, Entiat’s at Riverside Christian at 6.  Omak hosts Quincy at 7:15 while Cascade visits Chelan.  We’ll have Davis and Wenatchee boys tonight at 7:30 here on the NCWLIFE Channel.  Other 7:30 games have Moses Lake at Eisenhower; Ephrata hosts Prosser; Okanogan’s at Liberty Bell; and Oroville hosts Brewster.

Coming up tomorrow in girls hoops, Eastmont’s at Moses Lake at 4:45 while Omak hosts Cashmere at 5:45.

On the boy’s side as Bridgeport welcomes Riverside Christian at 6 while Brewster hosts Liberty Bell.  Eastmont’s game at Moses Lake has been postponed because of COVID in the Chiefs program. Cashmere and Omak play up north at 7:15.

Backing up to some wrestling results from last night, Sunnyside beat Wenatchee 55-22.  Quincy downed Cashmere 44-33 and topped Cascade 54-21.  Chelan beat Cascade 42-24 but fell to Cashmere 51-6.  Selah had no trouble with Ephrata, winning 66-to-9.

The NFL enters its semifinals this weekend with Conference Championships to be played Sunday…

It kicks off at Noon on CBS when Kansas City hosts Cincinnati for the Lamar Hunt Trophy.  San Francisco kicks off in LA against the Rams for the George Halas Trophy at 3:30 on FOX.

Thanks Eric.

Now let’s check in with Dan Kuntz for a look at what’s coming up Monday morning on Wake Up Wenatchee Valley, Dan. . .

CLOSE –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 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). I’m Grant Olson, thanks for joining us and have a great weekend.