NCWLIFE Evening News June 24th, 2020


Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. Grant Olson is out this week; 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: COVID-19 infections in the Wenatchee Valley now number more than 500. Medical services for local veterans go mobile after the disease infects Wenatchee’s VA clinic. And against the backdrop of all that news, the governor decides to make virus-suppressing face masks a requirement everywhere in the state. But first, we begin tonight.

… in Chelan County court, where Judge Kristin Ferrera ruled against the plaintiffs in a lawsuit to overturn the state of emergency – the one imposed by Gov. Jay Inslee to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-six plaintiffs including restaurant owners, elected officials, pastors and political operatives said the Governor has no authority to keep the state under strict public health orders. But Ferrera refused to issue a temporary restraining order that would have terminated the Governor’s orders. That also would have put full responsibility for the coronavirus response on local health districts, and at one point, Ferrera told plaintiffs attorney Joel Ard it’s not clear they could handle the pandemic alone.

Deputy attorney general Zachary Pekelis Jones replied that the plaintiffs had no grounds to challenge the Governor’s emergency powers, even though restraints on businesses and gathering places may have affected their livelihoods.

In full disclosure, NCWLIFE show host Cary Condotta is one of the many plaintiffs in that case. We’ll have full ongoing coverage today’s  hearing on our website,, and on air tomorrow morning, on Wake Up Wenatchee Valley.

Even as that legal challenge went to court, the number of COVID-19 cases detected in Chelan and Douglas counties has now topped 500. Five hundred and one cases, to be precise, were tabulated as of this morning.

Three new cases in Chelan County and six identified in Douglas were added to the tally today. It’s part of a continuing upward trend as the Wenatchee Valley remains in a modified Phase 1 of Washington’s Safe Start coronavirus recovery plan. Nine residents of the two-county region have died from the virus, the most recent one on May 13th.

Despite the rising local caseloads,there are currently no Chelan or Douglas County COVID-19 patients hospitalized with the virus. The uptick in positive cases in recent days has not put pressure on Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.

Instead, the hospital is treating nine patients from other counties, including six from Grant County, where there has been a recent spike in positive tests. There are also two patients from Okanogan County at Central, and one from hard-hit Yakima County. Confluence Health communications director Andrew Canning said today that of the nine COVID-19 patients at the hospital, five are in the intensive care unit. Four of the ICU patients are on ventilators.

Wenatchee’s medical service center for veterans expects to reopen June 29th, less than two weeks after multiple employees there tested positive for coronavirus.

The Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, or CBOC in Olds Station, shut down June 17th for thorough disinfection after the cases were discovered. In the meantime, walk-in and urgent-care patients have received treatment through an on-site mobile medical unit, dispatched by the VA Medical Center in Spokane. VA spokesman Bret Bowers says the agency has tracked down all those veterans and other visitors who may have been inside the facility between June 8th and 16th. The mobile medical unit continues to operate at the Wenatchee clinic, Monday through Friday from 8 to 4. In just a week, they’ve attended to more than 90 veteran patients.

Coming up next, what started as a case of child porn possession turned out to be even darker, and now a Wenatchee man faces trial in federal court. And a JC Penney store in the region falls victim to the company’s ongoing bankruptcy. I’m Jefferson Robbins and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .

A Wenatchee man accused of child molestation and child pornography is now in federal custody and facing trial in August.

Earlier this month, 31-year-old Jose Antonio Mendoza was taken by federal marshals from the Chelan County jail, where he’d been held since January, to the Spokane County lockup, where he awaits a hearing in U.S. District Court.

Chelan County prosecutors initially charged Mendoza with 18 counts after Wenatchee police found multiple explicit images on his home devices, including videos that appeared to show him sexually abusing children.

Federal prosecutors under U.S. Attorney William Hyslop took over the case, and on June 2nd, a grand jury indicted Mendoza on three charges of producing child porn and one of receiving it.

Each charge carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years if he’s convicted.

Law enforcement will be out in force on Interstate 90 this weekend focusing on illegal driving by motorcycle drivers. Under a program called It’s A Fine Line, the patrols will be from Spokane to Snoqualmie Pass with the Washington State Patrol taking the lead, with help from law enforcement agencies in Kittitas, Grant, Adams, Lincoln and Spokane counties. The State Patrol said more than half of all motorcycle crashes do not involve another vehicle. In a PSA, State Patrol Sergeant Darren Wright says most of those crashes are preventable.

Shoppers have been watching closely as JC Penney decides which stores to close in its ongoing bankruptcy. Tonight, we learn the Omak location, at the Omache Shopping Center, will shut down and liquidate starting July 3rd.

The store chain’s Wenatchee location remains operative, but 149 other stores across the country haven’t been so lucky. JC Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.

You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that facial coverings will be required in public throughout Washington to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. What does that mean for you? Eric Granstrom brings you that story, plus sports and weather, next on the NCWLIFE Evening News. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News…

All those DIY mask-making videos are about to come in handy. Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that facial coverings will be required in public throughout Washington, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order goes into effect tomorrow, and requires facial coverings in an indoor public space, or in an outside public space when you’re unable to physically distance from others. There are exemptions for children under age 5, and for people with health issues or who are deaf. Inslee said a troubling rise in COVID-19 cases in some areas of the state led to the decision.

It was another sunny and warm one out there today for the Wenatchee Valley and most of Washington State. 

As we look out the weather window, we see a few clouds but mostly sunny.  Thundershowers are expected in areas to the north and east of us, but not here.

Let’s check our weather almanac for the Wenatchee Valley today.
High Temperature – 90      Normal High – 80
Low Temperature – 57      Normal Low- 57
Record High – 104 in 1992
Record Low – 42 in 1983
Precipitation – 0.00, 0.16 for the month & 2.66 for year
Sunrise – 5:05am       Sunset – 9:02pm

High Temperatures expected Wednesday in our region…
Moses Lake – 91
Ephrata – 91
Quincy –  90
Ellensburg – 90
Wenatchee – 93
Cashmere – 91
Leavenworth – 89
Lake Wenatchee – 76
Entiat – 92
Chelan – 92
Omak – 91

As we look at the surface loop, the showers and thunderstorms are mostly to the northeast and across the Idaho Panhandle.  We’ll see moisture coming our way finally Sunday and Monday, but will be dry for the most part.  The warm temperatures are expected to linger in our region through Friday and then we’ll finish out the month of June much cooler.  In fact, probably cooler than the normal highs.  As far as the cloud cover, we’ll be mostly cloud-free through the rest of the week with a good system moving in by Sunday and Monday.  The clouds will linger through the middle of next week as well.

So here’s your Patriot Plumbing Heating and Cooling forecast for the Wenatchee Valley over the next 7-days…

Tonight – Mostly clear with winds northerly 5-to-8, gusting to 20 and a low of 61.
Thursday – Mostly sunny with not much wind, a high of 93.
Thursday night – Partly cloudy with a low of 64.
Friday – Sunny and warmer with a high of 96
Saturday – Cooling down, even though it’s still sunny, a high of 86.
Sunday – Clouds and morning showers or thundershowers with a few sun breaks in the afternoon, a high of 76.
Monday and Tuesday – Expect showers and sunbreaks with highs in the low 80’s.  Overnight lows will be in the 60’s for the next few nights and 50’s Saturday through the first part of next week.

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.

The WIAA has come out with guidelines for schools that are trying to return to sports this fall.  And unless we reach Phase 4 of the Safe Start Washington plan, there will be no football…

Football and wrestling are considered “high risk” sports by the WIAA in the return-to-activity guidelines due to increased potential for exposure to respiratory droplets.  Any such sport could only feasibly return in Phase 4 of the safe start plan.

Moderate risk sports include soccer, volleyball and swimming relays.  The lower risk sports would be cross country running and individual swimming. That’s just the fall.

WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman says he’s guardedly optimistic about our state’s ability to return to sports this fall, but warns not to rush it…

The guidelines include specific directives on gathering limitations; screening participants and staff; social distancing and practice/game recommendations; as well as a phase-related tiered structure.  Hoffman is recommending districts check with their attorney’s before proceeding with practice or events…

Big-9 athletic directors meet tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock.  Eastmont A-D Russ Waterman will join us on a Zoom video conference tomorrow for an update.

After three months of negotiations between Major League Baseball owners and the MLB Players Association, there is finally an “agreement” to play baseball in 2020…

A unanimous vote by MLB owners Monday imposed a 60-game schedule which would have players reporting to home facilities July 1st to ready for play July 23rd and 24th.

This means the Mariners will appear at T-Mobile Park for the first time since last September 29th.  Seattle had to get the go-ahead from Governor Inslee to allow the Mariners to begin spring training in the Emerald City.  King County is entering Phase 2 of Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan, but the governor gave permission to professional sports teams to resume practices and activities without fans on June 6th.

The noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway had been there since at least last October…

Federal Authorities reported their findings to NASCAR Tuesday and that no charges would be filed because no crime was committed. 

U-S Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. said an investigation determined “although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage 4 last week.”

The noose was reported by one of Wallace’s crewmembers Sunday night.  Sunday’s race was delayed by weather, but by the time racing resumed Monday, the NASCAR world knew of the finding and rallied to support Wallace.

The checkered flags will fly once again Saturday at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval.  Four classes of racing will take to the quarter-mile asphalt track on Fancher Heights and NCWLIFE will be there.

No fans can attend due to the pandemic, but fans can watch all the action on NCWLIFE beginning at 6 o’clock.  Time trials will be followed by racing at 6:30 in the Bandolero’s, Plumb Perfect Roadrunners; Dick’s Heating and Air Conditioning Thunder Cars; and Jerry’s Auto Supply Pro Late Models.

It’s the Dick’s Heating & Air Conditioning Opening Night at the Races, Saturday night LIVE on the NCWLIFE Channel.      

Thanks Eric.

The Knapps Hill Tunnel on Highway 97A is still closed as crews continue work on a slope stabilization project, but a pair of moose apparently didn’t get the memo.

The Washington State Department of Transportation took these photos saying QUOTE Normally not known as tunneling animals, these two beauties showed up on US 97A Knapps Hill south of Chelan this weekend. They determined they did not meet the height requirement, and went along their way. UNQUOTE

Finally tonight, exciting news from the Entiat National Fish Hatchery: The first tagged summer Chinook salmon of the year has made it back to the mouth of the Entiat River. The hatchery’s tagging system detected the returning fish on Monday as it took a hard left from the Columbia to head back to the area where it spawned. The chinook doesn’t have a very memorable name for a valiant explorer, though: Under the tag system, he or she is simply known as 3DA.1A19AF17CE. We’ll have to hold a contest to come up with a better one.

Before we step away, our morning show host Dan Kuntz is here to talk about what to expect tomorrow 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 And, remember, if you see news happening we’d like to hear from you.  You can send us an email at, or give us a call 888-NCWL (6295). I’m Jefferson Robbins, I’ll see you here tomorrow night.