NCWLIFE Evening News July 14th, 2021

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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, Level 3 evacuation notices were issued last night for the Twin Lakes area after a new Okanogan County fire was ignited along a roadway about two miles outside Winthrop./ Several new wildfires in North Central Washington have led to smoky conditions in some communities, with air quality in the Grand Coulee Dam area listed as unhealthy this morning, and, New rules kicked into effect yesterday to protect Washington farmworkers during extreme hot weather.

But first, our top story tonight. . .

Chelan County officials declared a state emergency this morning as the Red Apple Fire continues to burn on the hillsides outside Wenatchee.

Ohme Gardens was included in the growing list of Level 3 evacuation notices this morning as the fire continues to burn on the hillsides north and east of Wenatchee. According to the most recent report, the fire, has burned about 4,000 acres since first being reported about 7 p.m. last night in the 3300 block of Red Apple Road west of Monitor. The latest evacuation notice includes Ohme Gardens Road and the east side of Burch Mountain Road. In addition, Highway 97A was closed this morning outside Wenatchee because of the fire. There have not yet been reports on any structures lost or damaged by the fire. The Red Cross has opened a shelter for evacuees at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Western Avenue in Wenatchee. The three-alarm fire has brought in firefighters from throughout the region and state as resources are mobilizing. Fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter have been fighting the fire since last night.

Level 3 evacuation notices were issued last night for the Twin Lakes area after a new Okanogan County fire was ignited along a roadway about two miles outside Winthrop.

Residents of Winthrop were put on notice that they too may need to evacuate but by late evening Okanogan County Fire District 6 reported the brush fire was surrounded and crews were in overhaul and mop-up mode. The evacuation notices were lifted shortly after.

The latest fire is not far from three fires burning near Highway 20 that have forced the closure of the North Cascades Highway. According to the state, the Varden Fire is the biggest of those and has burned more than 1,700 acres.

Several new wildfires in North Central Washington have led to smoky conditions in some communities, with air quality in the Grand Coulee Dam area listed as unhealthy this morning.

The Red Apple Fire outside Wenatchee has thus far only caused moderate smoke conditions in the Wenatchee Valley. Conditions in Okanogan County where several fires are burning range from moderate to unhealthy. The Chuweah Creek fire near Nespelem has blanketed much of the Colville Indian Reservation and the Grand Coulee area with smoke. 

The Delancy Fire, burning on a ridge above the highway, was at about 17 acres and the nearby Cedar Creek Fire has burned more than 180 acres. All three fires were first reported Tuesday after a lightning storm moved through the area Monday night. The scenic highway is expected to remain closed through the weekend.

New rules kicked into effect yesterday to protect Washington farmworkers during extreme hot weather.

When the air temperature reaches 100 degrees or above, the emergency rules require farms to provide at least a quart of cool drinking water per hour; a shady rest spot or cooling shelter; and a paid cooldown rest period of at least 10 minutes every two hours.

The protections come after the heat wave of late June and early July, which broke all-time temperature records throughout Washington and is thought to have killed at least 91 people in the state. Cherry orchards in the Wenatchee Valley shifted their harvest work to nighttime to avoid the daytime heat.

Coming up next, The latest from the State Employment Security Department shows the unemployment rate plummeting, post COVID./ Okanogan County gets the lion’s share of a state recreation and conservation grant./ 4th District congressional Representative Dan Newhouse continues his quest to upgrade the H-2A visa program for foreign farmworkers, and, After 18 months of renovation, the Rocky Reach Dam Discovery Center will reopen Saturday, August 28th. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

In May of 2020, COVID-19 related layoffs drove the Wenatchee area unemployment to 12-point-3 percent. But, in the latest economic report from the Washington State Employment Security Department, in May of this year, our unemployment rate dwindled to 5-point-3 percent.

Not seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment across the Wenatchee MSA jumped by 12.4 percent in May 2021, as employment rose to 45,300 from the 40,300 jobs tallied in May 2020 is good economic news.  However, total nonfarm employment this May 2021 (45,300 jobs) was still 1,300 jobs (-2.8 percent) shy of the 46,600 jobs tallied in May 2019 (two years ago). State officials say the current recovery in the Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area is a QUOTE, “work in progress.”

Conservation projects in Okanogan County projects will receive more than $12.7 million in grants from the state Recreation and Conservation Office. That’s the most of any county in eastern Washington. The funds will go to 22 projects including land conservation in the Methow Rapids Natural Area, home of some threatened plant and animal species. Only King and Pierce counties received a larger share of this year’s RCO grants. Projects in Chelan County earned $12.3 million, and in Douglas County, $280,000.

4th District congressional Representative Dan Newhouse continues his quest to upgrade the H-2A visa program for foreign farmworkers. On Tuesday, Newhouse and California Democrat Henry Cuellar (KWAY-yar) again pushed an amendment through the House Appropriations Committee that would expand the temporary visa program from seasonal to year-round. Newhouse says while it helps summer fruit growers, H-2A doesn’t work for the whole agriculture economy. . .

Newhouse has put through a similar amendment in past  years, but the H-2A expansion has never passed the full Congress.

After 18 months of renovation, the Rocky Reach Dam Discovery Center will reopen Saturday, August 28th.

Guests can expect new interactive exhibits, expanded installation space, a new second floor deck to view the dam and Columbia River, and a new year-round schedule. It’s the first major remodel since the Chelan County PUD opened the museum in the 1960s.

There’s still no charge to visit, and the August 28th reopening celebration will include tours, entertainment and an awards ceremony in a poetry contest organized for elementary school students.  

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. . .

Vaccination efforts are nonstop around Washington, but pockets remain where residents don’t have equal access to a COVID-19 shot. In tonight’s feature story, the state Department of Health this week unveiled the Care-A-Van, a mobile program designed to reach everyone still in need of a vaccine. . .

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.

Former Seahawk Richard Sherman is in jail today after being arrested for burglary domestic violence last night outside a home in Redmond…

The 33-year old free agent cornerback is also reportedly being investigated by the State Patrol for crashing his car into a concrete barrier at a construction site along a highway, continued to drive the car on four flat tires, abandoned the car in a parking lot and went on foot the rest of the way to the residence.

Shortly thereafter, a 9-1-1 caller in Redmond told police that Sherman was allegedly trying to break into a family member’s home where he doesn’t live.  He reportedly became combative with police and was taken down by a K-9 unit.

In addition to the possible burglary domestic violence charges, Sherman could face DUI and hit and run charges.  He’s being held without bail in the King County Correctional Facility until he will appear before a judge, which could be tomorrow.

America’s favorite pastime had a most-definite international feel to it last night in Major League Baseball’s 91st All-Star Game…

Japanese-born Shohei Ohtani pitched a perfect first inning to get the win and Canadian-born, Dominican Republic-bred Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. hit a tape-measure home run to earn the MVP as the American League beat the National League 5-to-2…

It was the American League’s 8th consecutive win over the National League in the All-Star Game.

The Red Sox and Yankees get the second half of the season started Thursday in New York while the rest of baseball resumes play Friday.  Seattle begins the second half of the season in Anaheim against the Angels.

Wenatchee lost the first game of a 3-game set in Bellingham last night 6-to-4…

The AppleSox had an early lead in the 3rd with the Bells answering right back.  Wenatchee regained the lead in a 3-run 5th but quickly surrendered it back in the bottom half of the inning.  We get more from the radio “Voice” of the AppleSox Joel Norman…

Adam Grob (grobe) was 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI while Justin Simpson collected a run and 3-walks.  U-C Santa Barbara’s Skylar Hales took the loss on the mound, going 3-innings and allowing 2-runs on 3-hits with 6-strikeouts.

Wenatchee and Bellingham meet again tonight at 6:35.

In other West Coast League action, Ridgefield erupted for 10-runs on 13-hits in its 10-3 win over Port Angeles.  John Peck led the way at the plate for the Raptors, going 4-for-5 with 3-runs and 2-RBI.

Matt Kokodynski pitched 6-innings of shutout ball to lead Walla Walla over Portland 2-to-1.  The Pickles rallied in the 9th with a run and had the tying run 90-feet away before the Sweets put the game away on a ground-out.

Kiko Romero was 2-for-5 with a home run to lead Corvallis to a 9-2, non-league win over the Driveline Entitlers.  Nate Nankil was also 3-for-4 for the Knights with 2-runs and 2-RBI.

Chase Graves and Alex Fernandes each had 2-run singles in a 5-run first inning for Yakima Valley as the Pippins handled Highline 15-to-5.  Fernandes ended the night going 3-for-3 with 3-runs and 4-RBI’s.

Austin Smith and Jake Gentry hit back-to-back, RBI-singles in the top of the 8th to lead Medford over Bend 4-to-2.  The Elks left 10 runners stranded on the base paths.

Coming up today, Corvallis plays the first of two games at 12:05 in a non-league tilt against the Driveline Entitlers.  The Knights will pack up after the game and drive 133-miles north on I-5 to Longview to face Cowlitz at 6:35.  The other 6:35 games have Wenatchee at Bellingham; Ridgefield hosts Port Angeles; Medford visits Bend; and Yakima Valley hosts Highline.  Walla Walla and Portland get underway at 7:05.

The world of golf is getting kids involved locally with a nation-wide program called First Tee.  Lynn Miller is the local director and describes who the program is for…

Miller admitted that he and his staff weren’t prepared for the explosion in growth after the first year in 2019 and was actually thankful for COVID to slow things down.  He says what they need as they move forward is more coaches…

Miller says registration for their fall sessions at Three Lakes and Rock Island Golf Courses will begin next month.  Parents can sign their kids up online at First Tee Central Washington dot org slash Wenatchee.  The cost is 75-dollars but there are scholarships available.

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.