NCWLIFE Evening News June 17th, 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, Despite a statement from the company’s lawyer last week that Slidewaters would open within days, the owner of the Chelan waterpark said Wednesday they still do not have an official opening date. A Grand Coulee man who sold methamphetamine on the Colville Indian Reservation will serve 10 years in federal prison, and, The 21 year-old management agreement between the East Wenatchee Metropolitan Parks District and the Wenatchee Valley YMCA on the operation of the Eastmont Aquatic Center has come to an end.    

But first, we begin tonight. . .

For the first time, both Chelan and Douglas counties have reached a key benchmark in Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start COVID-19 reopening plan.

One of the key factors Inslee has cited in allowing counties to move from one phase of reopening to another is no more than 25 new cases per 100,000 population over the past two weeks.

A report Wednesday from the Chelan-Douglas Health District showed 24.6 cases per 100,000 for Chelan County and 25.3 cases per 100,000 for Douglas County over the last two weeks.

Both counties received approval last week to move to Phase 1.5 of Inslee’s reopening plan, lagging behind most of the state. The health district says the two counties are hoping to jump to Phase 3 of the plan, which would substantially reduce restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

Despite a statement from the company’s lawyer last week that Slidewaters would open within days, the owner of the Chelan waterpark said Wednesday they still do not have an official opening date.

A federal judge presiding over a lawsuit filed on behalf of Slidewaters by the Freedom Foundation last week denied a request for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed the waterpark to open. That lawsuit seeks to prevent the state Department of Labor and Industries from levying $10,000 fines on businesses that defy Governor Jay Inslee’s phased reopening plan in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Slidewaters owner Robert Bordner said he is still working hard to reopen and is urging guests to email the Chelan-Douglas Health District Board members supporting his efforts.

A Grand Coulee man who sold methamphetamine on the Colville Indian Reservation will serve 10 years in federal prison. 27-year-old Randall Curtis Gross was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane, after pleading guilty four months ago to drug conspiracy charges.

U.S. Attorney William Hyslop says Gross sold large amounts of meth and heroin, primarily to Colville tribal members on the reservation.

ATF and Drug Enforcement agents arrested him last July as part of a drug trafficking investigation in Grant County. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the Ephrata Police Department, and the Colville Tribal Police all participated in the investigation.

The 21 year-old management agreement between the East Wenatchee Metropolitan Parks District and the Wenatchee Valley YMCA on the operation of the Eastmont Aquatic Center has come to an end.

The parks board voted on Monday to immediately end the contract with the Y that was set to expire at the end of next year. The Aquatic Center is owned by the Parks District but its day-to-day operations have been handled by the Y since 1999.

In a press release, the YMCA voiced it’s support of the decision and is hoping to reach an agreement with the Parks District for continued use of the pool by its members. The Aquatic Center recently completed a $3 million renovation but has yet to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coming up next, The Department of Ecology is asking for your comment regarding an environmental cleanup project at Saddle Rock Park. The wide swath of forest that was closed down during a manhunt off Blewett Pass has been reopened, and, What the next public school year will look like is still up in the air, but the Wenatchee School District wants to extend some its resources to students throughout the summer.  I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

The environmental cleanup at Saddle Rock is a long-term process, and at each step, public comment is needed.

The state Department of Ecology wants your input on Phase 2 of the project, which aims to remove two piles of waste rock left over from toxic gold mining operations decades ago.

There are high concentrations of mercury, arsenic, selenium and other toxic metals in the material. You can view a report on the project at Ecology’s website. Public comments are welcome through July 15th.

The wide swath of forest that was closed down during a manhunt off Blewett Pass has been reopened. But the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest says personnel are working to remove hazardous trees before all the campgrounds are reopened. They expect to have that work completed this week.

Those campgrounds include Swauk and Mineral Springs, and Ken Wilcox Horse Camp. All other Cle Elum Ranger District campgrounds are now open. Murder suspect Jorge Alcantara-Gonzalez was on the run in the forest for more than three weeks as numerous law enforcement agencies searched for him. He was captured Sunday in the Teanaway Community area.

What the next public school year will look like is still up in the air, but the Wenatchee School District wants to extend some its resources to students throughout the summer.

Students who were issued laptops and tablets from the school district last April, as the COVID-19 shutdown began, will be able to keep them through summer break.

Only graduating seniors or students not returning to class next year need to hand over their devices.

As for meals, anyone in the district under 18 can continue to pick up lunches and breakfast from school distribution points, starting July 6th. You can get more information from the district’s website.

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,Washington fire departments rely on the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau to tell them how they’re doing on community fire protection. Recently Chelan County Fire District 1, which serves Greater Wenatchee, moved up one whole point in the 10-point WSRB rating. . .a big step for any fire service. Chief Brian Brett talked with NCWLIFE’s Jefferson Robbins about the improvements. . .

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.

In breaking news today, Major League Baseball is rising from the ashes…

According to ESPN, the league sent a proposal for a 60-game season at full, prorated pay for the players association.  Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark met for several hours face-to-face yesterday and settled many differences.

This is quite a turnaround from the weekend when the players union cut off talks with the league and both sides claimed the other was dealing in bad faith.  Manfred told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg just Monday that he wasn’t confident there would be a season.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the proposal would have the season beginning July 19th with the 60-game schedule containing 10 off-days.  It also would include an expanded playoff format.

The Major League Baseball draft was drastically cut last week from its normal 40-rounds to just 5.  That left a lot of room for teams to sign undrafted free agents.  Such was the case for the Mariners…

Seattle signed Auburn catcher Matt Scheffler, a 6-2, 190-pounder originally from Kirkland.  The Mariners also nabbed 6-1, 205-pound infielder Justin Lavey out of Louisville.  He was an All-ACC 3rd teamer in 2019, batting .316.  Finally, Seattle added infielder Brett Rodriguez out of Wofford.  The 6-foot, 200-pounder was a base-stealing expert at the South Carolina school.

The Mariners have not made any of the agreements official, as players must pass a physical exam before contracts can be signed.

Eleven more West Coast League alums signed free-agent deals following the draft last week, including former AppleSox Mac Lardner…

The 6-4, 195-pound left-handed pitcher was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend.  The Gonzaga Bulldog played in Wenatchee in the summer of 2016 where he amassed a 2-and-2 record.  At G-U, Lardner was 21-and-5 with over 200-strikeouts.

Despite the coronavirus raising havoc with construction timelines around the northwest, the renovation of Seattle’s new NHL home isn’t far off…

The former Key Arena remodel is about 2-months behind schedule, according to team president Todd Leiweke (LIE-wick-ee).  The yet-to-be-named franchise is scheduled to start play in the NHL in 2021. 

The initial hope was for the building to be complete in June of 2021.  Lewieke said the expectation now is that the venue will be complete later in the summer.

And a reminder that NCWLIFE Channel is teaming up with Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval to bring you the inaugural race of the 2020 season.  Four classes of racing will take place on the night of Saturday, June 27th including the Jerry’s Auto Supply Pro Late Models; Dick’s Heating and Air Conditioning Thunder Cars; Plumb Perfect Roadrunners; and Bandoleros…

No fans will be allowed to attend, so the only way to watch the action is here on NCWLIFE.  We’ll begin our broadcast a week from Saturday at 6 o’clock.

One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be LOUD!

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.