NCWLIFE Evening News June 22nd, 2020

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Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. Grant Olson is out tonight; I’m Jefferson Robbins. 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: Two negligence lawsuits against the Wenatchee School District end with a $120,000 in settlements. A mapping effort to find every public WiFi hotspot in the Wenatchee Valley is underway. And masking up becomes mandatory for the Washington County most heavily plagued by COVID-19.

But first, we begin tonight. . .

With a Wenatchee woman in court fighting to keep her 5-year-old daughter from being returned to the child’s father in Saudi Arabia.

Bethany Vierra Al-Haidari has struggled in the Saudi courts to retain custody amid her divorce from her Saudi husband. Now living back in Chelan County, she was in court today asking Judge Kristin Ferrera to maintain and enforce the child’s residency here in the United States.

Her lawyer Scott Volyn argued that because Saudi guardianship laws overwhelmingly favor Muslim men over non-Muslim women, the custody granted Vierra’s husband in the Saudi courts should be struck down:

Bethany Vierra, who studied human rights as a Ph.D candidate before her marriage, also addressed the court:

Ferrera said she’d consider the major points of the case, including a contempt of court request against Vierra’s former husband, at a later hearing. In the meantime, mother and daughter remain together in Wenatchee.

Two of the Wenatchee students assaulted by a fellow student-athlete on a 2014 football bus trip have settled their long-running lawsuits with the school district.

The family of one of the students, who have since graduated, will receive $85,000. The other family, $40,000. The lawsuits were triggered by the WHS football team’s chartered bus trip to and from Spokane in September 2014, during which a 14-year-old student assaulted multiple fellow players and students, under the guise of horseplay.

He was initially charged with second-degree rape, but later pleaded guilty in juvenile court to third-degree assault. The youth had been allowed to ride on the bus despite being ineligible to play football at the time. He was also on court supervision for assaulting another student the previous school year. There was only one coach on the bus, despite district guidelines that called for two or more supervisors. The families originally filed claims against the school district for $1.5 million each. A third student’s claim against the school district is still going forward in the courts.

A 22-year-old Quincy man was killed Friday morning after a tire blew out on his 2003 Honda Accord while he was driving at a high rate of speed about 5 miles outside Ephrata. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said Augustine Gallegos Junior was driving on Road 9 Northwest near Road H Northwest when the tire blew. The car went off the roadway and rolled two-and-a-half times before coming to a rest on its top. He was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. Gallegos died at the scene. The sheriff’s office said it is not known yet if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

The Wenatchee Valley’s technology association wants your help mapping the area’s public WiFi spots to help kids keep up with their online schoolwork.GWATA says it wants to identify all the local hotspots that students could use when school is not in session and they don’t have online access at home.

They’re asking for volunteers to help map the sites and get information about them out into the communities, in both English and Spanish. The effort aims to cover all 29 school districts in the area. GWATA has carried out other WiFi efforts, such as purchasing 50 mobile hotspots for the North Central Regional Library system back in April. Partners in this new project include the Wenatchee School District and Our Valley Our Future.

Coming up next, preliminary hearings in the long-running case of an Okanogan County murder suspect. And Yakima County residents must now go masked everywhere in public, by order of the governor. I’m Jefferson Robbins and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .

Like every other criminal case since the pandemic began, the murder trial of Lance Robert Bowers has been on hold since he was charged in November with the gruesome death of his wife in Okanogan County. But now there’s some movement in the case: Lawyers were scheduled today to argue over whether to combine the murder of Angela M. Bowers with prior charges of assault and illegal firearm possession. Angela Bowers’ body was found in the trunk of a burning car in June 2019. That same day, Okanogan County sheriff’s deputies confronted Lance Bowers on Aeneas Valley Road and non-fatally shot him while trying to make an arrest. He was held for months on the assault and handgun charges before his wife’s body was identified and he was formally arraigned for her murder. Under current court rules on COVID-19, he’s unlikely to go trial before autumn.

An 84-year-old Moses Lake man was killed in a two-vehicle accident Friday afternoon on Highway 17 outside Moses Lake. The Washington State Patrol said Delbert Chase was driving his 2009 Silverado pickup westbound just after noon on Road 2 when he failed to yield the right of way pulling onto Highway 17 and collided with a northbound semi being driven by 27-year-old Trevor Renstrom of Garfield. Chase later died at Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake. A passenger in his vehicle, 82-year-old Jacquelyn Chase also was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Renstrom was not injured.

Saying Yakima County has the highest per capita COVID-19 cases in the Western United States and more than all of the state of Oregon, Governor Jay Inslee said Saturday he will be issuing an order this week requiring all residents to wear a face covering when in public. Yakima County reported 208 new cases last Friday, the county’s second-largest one-day number since the pandemic began. The county health district said Saturday hospitals have exceeded staffing capacity. The county has had more than sixty-two-hundred cases of the virus and 138 deaths. Inslee said the face-covering order is not optional.

You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up, the Wenatchee Valley Senior Activity Center has been closed since March 9th. But Dave Tosh, the executive director of the center, says they’re taking their first small steps toward reopening. Dan Kuntz has that story, plus sports and weather, next on the NCWLIFE Evening News. Stay with us.

A noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, on Sunday, less than two weeks after Wallace, who is NASCAR’s only black driver, successfully pushed the stock car racing series to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and facilities..

Wallace never saw the noose, ESPN’s Marty Smith reported. It was first seen by a member of Wallace’s team, who immediately brought it to the attention of NASCAR, Smith reported. NASCAR told Fox Sports that it will work with law enforcement on the incident.

Wallace, who drives the No. 43 Chevrolet for racing icon Richard Petty, said in a statement that he was “incredibly saddened” by the act.

NASCAR said in a statement last night “Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” “We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. “As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

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 Saturday at 6 o’clock.

The Wenatchee Wild can’t play during the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped their social media account from recognizing some local heroes off the ice. If you know an essential worker who’s braving the crisis, send their name along to the Wild and they’ll give a shout-out on their Twitter and Facebook. Former Wild forward Nick Cafarelli, who’s now committed to play for the University of New Hampshire, explained how the efforts works:

You can use the hashtag #ThankYouEssentialWorkers when submitting a nominee by Facebook or Twitter. You can also send your nominations by email to wenwild1@gmail.com.

Thanks Dan.

Finally from us tonight, 300,000 plastic tubes sent to Washington state by FEMA, meant to hold samples for COVID-19 testing, turned out to be useless. ProPublica reports the tiny Texas company Fillakit sold the government plastic tubes made for bottling soda instead. They’re useless for virus testing, but Fillakit sent them to FEMA, which then sent them to health departments all over the county. Fillakit’s contract with the U.S. Government stands to pay the company more than $10 million.

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 Jefferson Robbins, I’ll see you here tomorrow night.