NCWLIFE Evening News July 20th, 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, Strong winds last night pushed the Cedar Creek Fire toward Mazama, where crews scrambled to protect the Mazama fire station and other structures./ Firefighters tackling the week-old Red Apple Fire north of Wenatchee said they’ve achieved 90 percent containment as of today, and, Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz visited the burned area left behind by the Red Apple Fire today and made an emergency declaration.

But first, our top story tonight. . .

A man has been arrested as a suspected accomplice in the arson fire that burned a South Wenatchee apartment complex late Sunday, but police say they’re still seeking the person who actually threw the firework that caused the blaze.

20-year-old Devin Andrew Rushing of East Wenatchee told police he was the driver of the vehicle that passed the Aspen Heights Condominium, and said one of his rear passengers threw the firework that torched the surrounding shrubbery.

The fire reached the building and heavily damaged 12 South Wenatchee apartment units, leaving those residents without homes. Police are still seeking the passenger; Rushing remained held in the Chelan County jail today on $75,000 bond.

Strong winds last night pushed the Cedar Creek Fire toward Mazama, where crews scrambled to protect the Mazama fire station and other structures.

Level 3 evacuation notices were issued for much of the area around Mazama. With the increased fire activity, the closure points of the North Cascades Highway were expanded by five miles Monday.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said there is no estimated time for reopening the highway, which has been closed since July 12th after a lightning storm ignited several nearby fires.

By this morning, the Cedar Creek Fire had grown to almost 8,500 acres. Mark Rapp with the fire’s incident management team talked this morning about the threat to Mazama overnight and the plan of attack in the days ahead. . .

Firefighters tackling the week-old Red Apple Fire north of Wenatchee said they’ve achieved 90 percent containment as of today. No homes were lost in the blaze, although more than 1,000 residences were placed under evacuation notices. Bill Steers, operations section chief for the California-based Type 1 management team that’s handled the fire since Friday, said fire lines were being shored up today, and the perimeter of the 12,000-acre fire is under patrol. . .

Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz visited the burned area left behind by the Red Apple Fire today. On a windy morning on upper Burch Mountain Road, Franz said this fire and the potential for more like it led her to close off all Department of Natural Resources land to public access and recreation. They won’t reopen until the risk of wildfire diminishes. . .

Coming up next, North Central Washington’s four elected sheriffs joined 33 others around the state, signing onto a pledge to protect the American right to bear firearms./ Dr. Malcolm Butler, the Wenatchee physician who helped steer the Chelan-Douglas Health District through the COVID-19 pandemic as its public health officer, will resign that post effective August 31st./ A variety of road projects are likely to slow traffic on the Entiat River Road this week, and, The Washington Department of Corrections plans to establish a work-release facility in Wenatchee.  I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

North Central Washington’s four elected sheriffs joined 33 others around the state, signing onto a pledge to protect the American right to bear firearms.

Brian Burnett of Chelan County, Kevin Morris of Douglas County, Tom Jones of Grant County and Tony Hawley of Okanogan County all signed the pledge in a July 15th meeting of Washington sheriffs.

The language of the pledge is taken from a similar one signed by the Utah Sheriff’s Association last month. It promises to, QUOTE, “steadfastly protect the Second Amendment and all other individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution”, UNQUOTE.

Dr. Malcolm Butler, the Wenatchee physician who helped steer the Chelan-Douglas Health District through the COVID-19 pandemic as its public health officer, will resign that post effective August 31st. Butler announced his resignation Monday in the monthly meeting of the Chelan-Douglas Board of Health, which administers the two-county district. He read from a letter he had previously submitted to health board leaders.

The board must now choose a new health officer. Health District Administrator Luke Davies says he’s seeking an interim health officer from a neighboring jurisdiction to serve until a new appointment is made.

A variety of road projects are likely to slow traffic on the Entiat River Road this week.

A contractor for Chelan County will be installing curve warning signs at several points along the road, with one-lane closures and a pilot car guiding traffic through the work areas.

It is part of a $380,000 project to install warning signs on five county roads this year.

In addition, on Wednesday, the Chelan County PUD will be removing hazardous trees on the Entiat River Road at milepost 11, then on Thursday at milepost 23. Those areas also will have one-lane flagger-controlled traffic during the work.

The Washington Department of Corrections plans to establish a work-release facility in Wenatchee. The first public hearing on the matter takes place at 6 p.m. August 11th.

A work release facility serves as a bridge for incarcerated people preparing to return to the community, and allows them to seek jobs outside while serving their sentences. The expansion would serve detainees in all four North Central Washington counties, with locations at the Chelan County jail and the former Deaconess Building. The hearing will be held virtually. The public may also submit written comment to the DOC.

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 right after this.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .

Keeping COVID-19 out of corrections facilities proved a challenge in Washington. The state DOC has reported 6,200 cases among prison inmates, and 13 deaths. In Okanogan County, an outbreak in December affected 11 detainees and four staff members. But the Chelan County Regional Justice Center has largely managed to dodge the virus. In tonight’s feature story, NCWLIFE’s Jefferson Robbins asked Director Chris Sharp how that was accomplished, and how he’s keeping detainees safe. . .

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.

It’s been a long road to recovery for Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger.  The 30-year old from Mountain View, California missed 662-games after suffering a ruptured testicle when he fouled a ball off during a game at T-Mobile Park June 6, 2019.  Then he suffered an abductor tear in his lower core that required surgery.  Then, the following January, he underwent back surgery on a herniated disc.

So, you’ll understand if Haniger enjoys the moment as he’s been selected by Major League Baseball as the American League Player of the Week…

Haniger and the Mariners are in Denver to face the Rockies in the first of two games before turning home to face the A’s and Astros. 

Former AppleSox Marco Gonzales will try to shake off whatever funk he’s been suffering from this season with the start tonight.  He’s 1-and-5 with a 5.88 Earned Run Average.  He’ll go up against the Rockies’ Germán Márquez, who is 8-and-6 with a 3.36 ERA.  First pitch at Coors Field is at 5:40 and can been seen on Root Sports Northwest.

While Seattle had a travel day, the rest of the American League West was in action last night.  Miguel Cabrera drove in 5-runs as Detroit crushed Texas 14-nothing.

Yordan Alvarez was 2-for-3 with a 2-run home run to help Houston beat Cleveland 4-to-3.  Zack Greinke was the beneficiary on the mound, working 5-and-a-third for his 9th victory of the season.

Despite 6-innings of scoreless pitching, including 8-strikeouts for Shohei Ohtani, the Angels fell to the Oakland A’s 4-to-1.  Ramon Laureano’s 3-run home run in the 7th and Matt Olson’s solo shot in the 8th were the difference.

The Wenatchee AppleSox, fresh of their first series sweep of the 2021 campaign, are on the road at Walla Walla tonight…

Wenatchee is off to a 1-and-5 start to the second half of the season while the Sweets are 3-and-3.  Joel Norman, “Voice” of the AppleSox, joined us along with outfielder Michael O’Hara this morning on Wake Up Wenatchee Valley.  He says this is the time for the ‘Sox to turn things around…

O’Hara, a sophomore at U-C Santa Clara, says he thinks this team has the bodies assembled and that it’s time to step up…

O’Hara is originally from Danville, California and says he’d never heard of Wenatchee before coming to play for the AppleSox this summer…

Michael’s Dad played football at UC Santa Clara in the 80’s and his uncle Patrick was a member of the 1992 Pepperdine baseball team that won the College World Series.  He says he’s been playing baseball since he can remember…

You can see our entire interview with Mr. O’Hara and Mr. Norman on our website at ncwlife dot com.

Wenatchee and Walla Walla met back in early June at Paul Thomas, Sr. Stadium with the AppleSox taking two of three from the Sweets.  They’re hoping for the same success starting tonight at 6:35.  You can hear Joel on the call throughout North Central Washington on Sunny FM.

Here you see where Wenatchee stands as the second half of the West Coast League season is underway.  The AppleSox 1-and-5 start has put them 2-games behind the Sweets for that second half playoff spot.  Yakima Valley is already in the post season with its first half Division Title.

Now, as far as the rest of the schedule tonight, Bend plays at Yakima Valley.  Port Angeles hosts Ridgefield.   Portland is in Longview to face Cowlitz.  And Bellingham starts a non-league series at home against the Northwest Star Academy.

Thanks Eric.

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

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.