NCWLIFE Evening News June 1st, 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 Health District is considering today whether to become a party to a private lawsuit against Governor Jay Inslee. Chelan and Douglas counties are still a long way from reaching new standards for moving from Phase 1 to the newly created Phase 1-point-5 under Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Reopening plan, and while demonstrations over the death of George Floyd turned violent all across the country, relative calm prevailed here in the Wenatchee Valley this past weekend.   

But first, we begin tonight. . .

Douglas County commissioners have withdrawn one lawsuit to overturn Governor Inslee’s stay-at-home orders, and a Wenatchee city councilmember is no longer a plaintiff in another.

The Douglas County case dissolved after a judge on Friday questioned the presence of commissioners Dan Sutton and Marc Straub as plaintiffs, since they also serve on the Chelan-Douglas Health District Board.

In Chelan County court, Wenatchee City Councilmember Ruth Esparza withdrew from a similar lawsuit for the same reasons.

Judge Kristin Ferrera set the next hearing in that case for Wednesday. Attorneys for the state of Washington say they want the case to be heard in Thurston County, if it’s not dismissed altogether. Plaintiffs including three other city councilmembers – Linda Herald, Jose Luis Cuevas and Travis Hornby — say Inslee’s public health orders have overstepped his authority and needlessly damaged the local economy. The latest to join the case: Windmill restaurant owner Kevin Smith, whose attempt to reopen last week despite the emergency order was cut short by state liquor inspectors.

Chelan and Douglas counties are still a long way from reaching new standards for moving from Phase 1 to the newly created Phase 1-point-5 under Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Reopening plan.

But the latest numbers show both counties moving in the right direction. Inslee on Friday loosened testing standards from no more than 10 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 residents over the past three weeks to no more than 25 positive tests.

In numbers released Monday by the Chelan-Douglas Health District, Chelan had 94.6 cases per 100,000 over the past three weeks and Douglas County 96.7 positive tests per 100,000 residents. But in the past 7 days, Chelan County was at 24.6 cases per 100,000 and Douglas County 27.4 cases per 100,000.

Chelan County has had 255 confirmed cases of coronavirus and Douglas County 173. In his latest reopening plan, Inslee did say the secretary of health has the discretion to change any part of the modified Phase 1 plan.

With cities across the country up in arms over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, Wenatchee Valley activists took to the streets over the weekend for peaceful demonstrations. On Saturday, marchers rallied at Memorial Park and waved signs along Chelan Avenue without incident. Other than some scattered graffiti around both Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, the demonstrations were quiet. A follow-up vigil is planned for 6 p.m. this evening, also at Memorial Park near the Chelan County courthouse.

Coming up next, The search for a murder suspect in the Mineral Springs area of Blewett Pass continued today, with authorities convinced 34-year-old Jorge Alcantara-Gonzalez is still in the area. That brief but intense thunderstorm that roared through the Wenatchee Valley Saturday evening knocked out power to thousands of people and left downed trees throughout North Central Washington. A county wide burn ban is in place from now through the summer, and, Wenatchee’s Fourth of July fireworks display will go on this year but a large gathering in Walla Walla Point Park to watch them will not. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

The search for a murder suspect in the Mineral Springs area of Blewett Pass continued today, with authorities convinced 34-year-old Jorge Alcantara-Gonzalez is still in the area.

Jill Beedle, public information officer for the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, said searchers have found indications he is still in the area.

Numerous local, state and federal agencies have been searching for Alcantara-Gonzalez since May 23rd after he was seen with the vehicle of 41-year-old Ian Eckles, a Kent man who had gone missing while on his way to a turkey hunt in Liberty on May 16th.

Evidence in Eckles’ vehicle indicated he had been killed, the sheriff’s office said last Friday. Law enforcement officers spotted Alcantara-Gonzalez last Tuesday at Mineral Springs Campground before he fled on foot.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Service shut down a large portion of the forest over the weekend as the manhunt continued. Beedle said there have been as many as 100 searchers at a time in the woods, with usually about 30. Law enforcement has used a helicopter, drones, K9s and dozens of officers on foot or ATVs.

That brief but intense thunderstorm that roared through the Wenatchee Valley Saturday evening knocked out power to thousands of people and left downed trees throughout North Central Washington. Especially hard hit was the Lake Wenatchee and Plain areas, with power outages from Coles Corner to Stevens pass just after 6 p.m. for about 3,500 Chelan County PUD customers.

By 8:40, the PUD reported that power had been restored to most customers in those areas. In a two-hour period between 7 and 9 p.m. in Wenatchee, Chelan County Fire District 1 responded to four reported pole fires and the Wenatchee Police Department fielded nine calls of hazards, including a tree that had fallen in Washington Park. The more intense thunderstorm in Grant County came earlier Saturday morning. Grant PUD reporting widespread outages beginning about 7:30 a.m. By late morning, most power had been restored.

A county wide burn ban is in place from now through the summer. This ban, as written by the Chelan County Commissioners, covers all of Chelan County. Several other counties have also implemented similar burn bans.

The burn ban does not affect cooking and recreational fires must be under 36 inches in diameter and no more than 24 inches tall. Fires must be in approved rings or burning devices. All fires must have someone on site at the fire until it is cold out.

Water and shovel must be on site and ready to use. This fire season is already showing signs of being very active. Please, when burning, be very careful with fire and do not burn in days where winds may carry hot ash or embers.

Wenatchee’s Fourth of July fireworks display will go on this year but a large gathering in Walla Walla Point Park to watch them will not.

The Independence Day Celebration Committee announced late last week that the professional fireworks display and accompanying music will begin at 10 p.m. on July 4th and be broadcast and live streamed here on NCWLIFE. Music will be provided by KOHO radio. Individual fireworks are banned in Wenatchee.

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. . .

With the COVID-19 pandemic having hit Hispanics in the state and the Wenatchee Valley the hardest, there has been a scramble for answers. In tonight’s feature story, Gustavo Montoya, former publisher of the Spanish-language newspaper El Mundo in Wenatchee, appeared on Street Talk and Other Stuff with host Mike Magnotti today to discuss potential reasons for the high number of COVID cases among Hispanics. . .

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.

If 2020 were given a name, “Unscripted” would be appropriate.  Plans by anyone on the planet have been thrown out the window by the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the world of sports.

Locally and across the northwest, baseball teams in the West Coast League have had to plan, unplan, revamp, rewrite, wait, and plan again.  AppleSox General Manager Ken Osborne is still holding out hope that Wenatchee will have some sort of season this summer…

AppleSox owner Jose Oglesby has been watching the conversation about phases closely in Washington.  He knows Phase 3 would be necessary for baseball to return but hopes the nature of the game would help with starting the season…

The West Coast League season as we knew it has been cancelled.  Oglesby says AppleSox season ticket holders have been offered to receive credit towards next summer.  In the meantime, he and the league are still working on some kind of plan to have baseball in July with the remaining teams.

You can watch Dan’s entire interview with Jose by going to our website at NCWLIFE dot com and click on Full Episodes and go to Wake Up Wenatchee Valley.  By the way, the AppleSox season would have begun this Thursday.

The BCHL is moving forward with plans for hockey as scheduled this fall…

In a release today, the hockey league’s Executive Director Steven Cocker said, “the BCHL is fulling planning on playing this fall, as soon as we receive approval from Hockey Canada and Health Authorities.”

An important element for hockey to remain on schedule was today’s opening of the Hockey Canada Registry or H-C-R.  This means that Canadian Junior Hockey teams will be allowed to start making acquisitions to build their rosters for the upcoming season.

Earlier in May, the BCHL created a Return-to-Play Task Force, which is responsible for outlining several scenarios on how and when the league can resume its schedule.  We hope to speak with officials with the Wenatchee Wild on their plans for the upcoming season this week.

If there’s one Seattle Seahawk with a burning desire more than others to get on the field, it’s L.J. Collier.  The former first-round pick has had a career filled with injury and disappointment.  Getting back and showing what he can do on the field is the fuel that feeds him during the pandemic…

Collier suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for six weeks.  He said he learned a lot while rehabbing, which he thinks has made him a better football player…

Collier and his teammates are having to wait until late July before they’ll get on the field for training camp.  In the meantime, he says he’s working out and will be ready to show the world what he can do.

The Wenatchee Panther Boost Club, in conjunction with the NCWLIFE Channel, present a college commitment ceremony for 20-seniors Thursday night at 7…

Find out where a group of Wenatchee High School seniors have committed to play college sports with this virtual ceremony.  Again, that’s 7 o’clock Thursday night here on the NCWLIFE Channel.

We’re all about graduation this week on the NCWLIFE Channel.  In our normal spots for sports, we’ll be featuring virtual graduation ceremonies…

We’ll feature Eastmont’s commencement ceremony Friday at 6 followed by Wenatchee High School’s graduation at 8.  Then on Saturday, we kick it off with Quincy’s drive thru ceremony at 1, followed by the virtual ceremony for Cascade High at 5 and Cashmere’s class of 2020 at 7 o’clock.

For the complete list of broadcast times, head to our website at NCWLIFE dot com and click on Class of 2020.

Thanks Eric.

Finally tonight,Wenatchee High School seniors missed out on a lot of commemorations thanks to COVID-19, but here’s a tribute that will last a little while. . .

Every graduating senior memorialized in spray can art on the WHS front lawn. Spokane teacher and artist Tom Pettoello worked his magic there, with help from assistant Carol McQuaid, after creating a similar project for seniors in his hometown. Wenatchee High Principal Eric Anderson helped arrange the artistic endeavor.

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.