NCWLIFE Evening News July 7th, 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, A total of 31 workers at a Columbia Fruit packing facility in East Wenatchee have now tested positive for COVID-19. Positive tests for COVID-19 continue to spike in Grant County, with 79 confirmed cases between Saturday and Monday. Positive cases of coronavirus are also surging in the Wenatchee Valley, and, A federal incident management team was called in to manage firefighting efforts on a wildfire burning south of Royal City that grew to almost 6,000 acres overnight Monday.     

But first, we begin tonight. . .

Two men from Yakima are jailed tonight after a drive-by shooting in the middle of a Wenatchee neighborhood, which wounded a passenger in another automobile. The gunfire broke out about 2:48 pm Monday. A neighbor provided this dramatic security camera footage from the incident. . .

Police say 20-year-old Alexander Lopez was a passenger in that maroon Ford Explorer, and he fired a rifle toward a Honda Accord near the intersection of Douglas and Idaho streets. Officers stopped the Explorer at the North Wenatchee Avenue Wendy’s restaurant, where they arrested Lopez and the driver, 26-year-old Juan Mendoza-Rodriguez. A passenger in the Honda later appeared at Central Washington Hospital with a bullet wound to the leg. Lopez allegedly admitted firing a rifle after a verbal altercation with people in the Honda, and said he feared they were reaching for a weapon. Both men face charges of first-degree assault.

A total of 31 workers at a Columbia Fruit packing facility in East Wenatchee have now tested positive for COVID-19.

The first few cases came to light almost two weeks ago, and after closing down its packing line, the fruit company asked to have its remaining 93 workers tested Thursday by Columbia Valley Community Health. None showed symptoms, but those tests confirmed 16 more cases. The packing facility is located near Pangborn Airport. Columbia Fruit says those who’ve tested positive are now in isolation. They can return to work after 10 days if they show no further symptoms. The findings help bring the Valley’s total coronavirus cases to 667 as of this morning.

Positive tests for COVID-19 continue to spike in Grant County, with 79 confirmed cases between Saturday and Monday.

The Grant County Health District said there are currently 16 people hospitalized with the virus. The latest cases again came from throughout the county, with positive tests in Quincy, Moses Lake, Ephrata, Mattawa and Royal City. So far, Grant County has had 691 positive tests for COVID-19 and 6 deaths.

Positive cases of coronavirus are surging in the Wenatchee Valley. The Chelan-Douglas Health District reports 753 known cases as of today, with 15 people hospitalized locally for COVID-19.

Three of those under hospital care are from the two-county area; others hail from surrounding counties. There have been 180 new cases found locally in the last week, 86 of them just since the Fourth of July. Today is the first day of the state order mandating the use of protective facial masks while in a public space.

A federal incident management team was called in to manage firefighting efforts on a wildfire burning south of Royal City that grew to almost 6,000 acres overnight Monday.

The fire is on the western end of Saddle Mountain on U.S. Fish and Wildlife-protected land in Grant County. Local firefighting crews from throughout the region were joined by state and federal firefighters late Monday afternoon, with four aircraft and smokejumpers assisting.

The fire started about 12:30 p.m. and quickly grew. When winds picked up Monday night, crews struggled to maintain fire lines. Highway 24 was closed about 10 Monday night and reopened about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday as the fire burned away from the roadway. More than 200 firefighters are working to contain the fire, which has not threatened any structures.

Coming up next, A brush fire outside Twisp was quickly contained Monday night but not before burning into power lines. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was in Omak yesterday and made a decision on re-introducing grizzlies to the North Cascades, and, The Wenatchee Police Department is sending out its thanks to all the people who cleared out of Walla Walla Point Park ahead of Saturday’s fireworks show. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

A brush fire outside Twisp was quickly contained Monday night but not before burning into power lines.

Fire crews from Twisp, Winthrop and the state Department of Natural Resources responded to the fire off Twisp Winthrop Eastside Road on Balky Hill Road at 9:30 p.m.

They initially had to wait for the Okanogan PUD to cut power to the lines before attacking the blaze. The fire was out and power restored by midnight. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The reintroduction of grizzly bears into the North Cascades is a non-starter.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced today at a roundtable in Omak that the federal government will not move forward with a restoration plan to bring the bear back to the central Washington wilderness.

Fourth District Congressman Dan Newhouse has opposed the plan for years, and Bernhardt said today, quote, “the people who live and work in north central Washington have made their voices clear that they do not want grizzly bears reintroduced.”

The draft plan created in 2017 set a goal of restoring 200 bears throughout more than 2.6 million acres. There may now be fewer than five wild grizzlies in Washington. The bear has been listed as a federally threatened species since 1975, and endangered in the state of Washington since 1980. 

The Wenatchee Police Department is sending out its thanks to all the people who cleared out of Walla Walla Point Park ahead of Saturday’s fireworks show. Two police officers and Chelan PUD security had to empty the park ahead of the show and QUOTE, the job was very easy thanks to everyone who left when asked, UNQUOTE.

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. . .

As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, it has potential to affect all areas of local society. At a Chelan-Douglas Board of Health meeting last week, where high infection numbers discouraged an application to move to a new recovery phase, Chelan PUD general manager Steve Wright said the community needs to take steps to aid and protect businesses, including the PUD itself. . .

And that is a look at your local weather forecast, coming up next, tonight’s sports report with Dan Kuntz filling in for Eric Granstrom this week and more as the NCWLIFE Evening News continues right after this.

The season may be shorter this year, but it won’t be an easy road for the Mariners, as they’ll open their 2020 schedule with a four-game series in Houston against the defending American League champion Astros starting on Friday, July 24th.

Major League Baseball released its new 60-game schedule on Monday and the Mariners will play 10 games against each of their AL West rivals, plus 20 games combined against National League West clubs (six vs. the Padres, four against the Dodgers and Giants and three each against the Rockies and D-backs).

The Mariners’ home opener will be Friday, July 31 against the A’s in a game that kicks off a 10-game homestand at T-Mobile Park.

At this point, no fans will be allowed at games at T-Mobile Park and the majority of home games will start at 6:10 p.m. or 6:40 p.m. instead of the typical 7:10 p.m. start time. A few weekday games will start earlier to accommodate travel for visiting teams and all Sunday home games are at 1:10 p.m.

The Mariners were 0-10 against the Astros at Minute Maid Park last season and 1-18 overall against the three-time defending AL West champs, so Seattle will look to turn that trend around when it opens the shortened season. A three-game series in Anaheim against the Angels concludes the Mariners’ opening road trip.

Seattle will host the A’s, Angels and Rockies in its opening homestand, which includes three afternoon games.

The entire 60-game schedule is against teams in the West divisions as MLB divided its 30 teams into three regions — along with the Central and East — to reduce travel as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic that forced cancelation of the first 3 1/2 months of the season.

The Mariners play two three-game series — at home and on the road — against the Padres and two-game home-and-road series against the Giants and Dodgers, as well as three home games against the Rockies and three road games against the D-backs.

The abbreviated 60-game schedule has some interesting quirks.  For instance, the Mariners are one of seven teams that will play 20 games in 20 days, the most allowed by the current CBA between the clubs and the players association.  Unless they make the playoffs, the Pirates and the Phillies will not play each other for the 1st time since 1886. That’s 2,297 games over 133 consecutive seasons.  And for the 1st time in the 143 year history of the franchise, the Chicago Cubs will not play a Friday day game.

The designated hitter will be used in Interleague games at NL parks for the first time this year in one of the rule changes for the shortened season. The other significant change is that all extra-inning games will begin with a designated runner on second base to start each half inning after the ninth. Additionally, relievers must face at least three batters or finish an inning before they can be replaced.

Raiders have made an offer to Jadeveon Clowney driven by head coach Jon Gruden, general manager Mike Mayock and owner Mark Davis are content to play the waiting game. The Cleveland Browns is still reported as the highest bid.

Thanks Dan.

Finally tonight, if you find yourself stressing out over COVID-19, the state has a number you can call for help. It’s called Washington Listens and is for people with elevated levels of stress caused by the pandemic.

The anonymous support line is available for free from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Support specialists have been trained to offer individual support during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also will have information on local resources for help.

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.