NCWLIFE Evening News July 22nd, 2020

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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 Chelan-Douglas Board of Health responds to the possibility of Chelan-Douglas schools reopening this fall amid COVID-19. The two Yakima suspects in the July 6th drive-by shooting in a central Wenatchee neighborhood face trial in October, and, A Malaga woman is accused of setting several small fires at her Stemilt Creek home on Sunday.  

But first, we begin tonight. . .

Multiple employees at the Wenatchee Walmart Supercenter tell NCWLIFE that 17 workers there have tested positive for COVID-19 in roughly the last week. That number is as of yesterday.

Employees, speaking on condition of anonymity, told NCWLIFE the Wenatchee store has been lax in enforcing facial masks, allowing workers with coronavirus to expose others on their teams. They also say when workers test positive for the virus, the store has not told their team members. The superstore at 2000 N. Wenatchee Avenue employs roughly 200 people. The Chelan-Douglas Health District said yesterday it’s so far unaware of any COVID-19 clusters there. 

A Walmart corporate spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the reports from inside the store. He says the company’s nationwide policy requires the use of mask by all associates and customers, and says the company is, QUOTE, “taking all measures necessary to safeguard the well-being of those inside our stores, fulfillment centers and distribution centers, UNQUOTE.”

It’s one month away from the scheduled start of the school year, and the Wenatchee Valley’s chief public health officer says it’s time to start thinking of school as an essential business.

Dr. Malcolm Butler, health officer for the Chelan Douglas Health District, told the local Board of Health Monday that in-class instruction has the potential to further spread COVID-19 and districts and families need to be prepared. . .

If you’re a parent or student with questions about school openings, the superintendents of Wenatchee, Eastmont and Cascade district plan to hold an online forum Monday

at noon with the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center. You can join that webinar on Zoom by going to the museum’s website or Facebook page.

The two Yakima suspects in the July 6th drive-by shooting in a central Wenatchee neighborhood face trial in October.

20-year-old Alexander Lopez and 26-year-old Juan Mendoza-Rodriguez are both charged with first-degree assault in the shooting, that left one victim with a wound to his leg. Lopez allegedly admitted firing a rifle at another moving vehicle near Douglas and Idaho streets. Both suspects remain jailed on $1 million bond.

A Malaga woman is accused of setting several small fires at her Stemilt Creek home on Sunday.

Chelan County sheriff’s deputies say Penny Lynn Kirk, who’s 43, started five fires outside near the porch in the 4300 block of Stemilt Creek Road about 5:45 a.m.

The alleged arson was part of a domestic dispute, and Kirk now faces possible charges of arson with a domestic violence component. Local firefighters were able to extinguish the flames, and they did not spread beyond the property.

Coming up next, Stemilt is facing a Federal lawsuit over alleged threats to H-2A guest workers. Irrigation water is once again fully flowing in the Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District after a broken pump last Friday forced the district to cut off water on alternating days for customers. Chelan County PUD Commissioner Randy Smith has been named chairman of the Policy Makers Council, a national group that advocates for public power utilities in Washington, D.C., and, It’s probably not the best idea to park in the boss’ parking spot on your first day of work. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

Two Mexican farmworkers have launched a class-action lawsuit against Stemilt Growers, saying managers for the fruit giant threatened to fire them if they did not meet harvest quotas. Columbia Legal Services, the nonprofit law foundation representing the plaintiffs, says the two men went to work for Stemilt Ag Services in 2017 on H-2A guest worker visas. While there, they say, their contract was changed without federal approval, and they were routinely threatened with firing if they didn’t fill a certain number of bins of apples per day. Stemilt has yet to file a response to the lawsuit.

Irrigation water is once again fully flowing in the Greater Wenatchee Irrigation District after a broken pump last Friday forced the district to cut off water on alternating days for customers.

About 1,200 customers at a time in the East Wenatchee area were without water as the district took turns supplying water to the east and west sides of the district. The faulty pump was repaired by Monday and installed by 3 a.m. Tuesday but still didn’t function properly.

It was sent back to the Tri-Cities for more work and arrived back in East Wenatchee Tuesday evening. District Manager Mike Miller said the pump was back in operation by 5:30 p.m. But he advised customers not to get carried away and to use the water wisely.

Chelan County PUD Commissioner Randy Smith has been named chairman of the Policy Makers Council, a national group that advocates for public power utilities in Washington, D.C.

The Policy Makers Council is comprised of 45 elected or appointed officials and meets twice a year in the nation’s capital. Smith has been on the council for the past eight years. Smith has been the District 2 commissioner on the PUD board since 2006.

It’s probably not the best idea to park in the boss’ parking spot on your first day of work, but that’s what a Washington State Patrol trooper cadet did this week in Wenatchee.

Trooper John Bryant playfully posted a picture of the infraction on Instagram, wondering if the cadet on his first day of field training should have known the unmarked parking space belonged to the district commander. Or whether his field training officer should have warned him. Bryant did not document the district commander’s reaction.

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, we once again take you to the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center where They’ve produced a series of six videos so far called Curators Corner, with collections coordinator Anna Spencer showing off treasures from Wenatchee’s past. Tonight she offers a look back at the historic flight of Miss Veedol. . .

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.

There will be football this school year, but it won’t be this fall.  The WIAA Executive Board voted Tuesday to create four sports seasons for high schools across the state and move football, volleyball and girls soccer to the spring.

Board president Greg Whitmore, who is also the football coach and athletic director at Lind-Ritzville-Sprague High School, says it certainly wasn’t an easy decision, but HAD to be made…

Taking a look at the four seasons, the plan is to go ahead with cross country, slowpitch softball, golf, tennis and girls swim and dive this fall from September 7th through November 8th.

Season 2 won’t begin until January 4th, after the holidays.  That will run January 4th through March 1st and include basketball, bowling, boys swim and dive, gymnastics, cheerleading and wrestling.

Season 3 would include football, volleyball, girls soccer, and boys 1B/2B soccer and run from March 1st through May 2nd.

Finally, the tradition spring season would be Season 4 under the WIAA’s plan running from April 26th through June 27th and include tennis, fastpitch softball, track & field, baseball, golf, boys soccer and dance & drill.

Last month, the WIAA categorized sports into low, moderate and high risk levels.  WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman explains how they matched those risk levels up with the state’s Safe Start plan…

We hope to hear from local athletic directors today for a reaction to the WIAA’s plan.  You can watch last night’s entire press conference on our website at NCWLIFE dot com.

While teams await the arrival of rookies to training camp this week, the NFL is doing what it can to help protect its players from coronavirus.  In fact, the NFL has worked with Oakley (the sunglass company) to develop a shield that attaches to the face masks of helmets.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE Tuesday, guest hosted by Joel McHale, and discussed wearing masks…

Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks are expected to report for training camp next Tuesday.

The Mariners played another instrasquad game last night at T-Mobile Park.  It was another good night at the plate for Kyle Lewis…

Seattle plays one more instrasquad game tonight before flying to Houston tomorrow to prepare for the season-opener on Friday.

Thanks Eric.

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.