NCWLIFE Evening News June 25th, 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 strike a coffee service worker and an educational staffer in the Wenatchee Valley. An Ephrata man who murdered his landlady can’t wriggle out of his 55-year sentence. And one of Wenatchee’s leading health experts joins us to talk about face masks, and how they can suppress the pandemic.

But first, we begin tonight. . .

… at the Chelan-Douglas Health District, where Barry Kling, the administrator of that two-county health district for the last 17 years, will retire in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kling, who’s 66, confirmed today he’s leaving the office, effective in about one month. He would not comment further to NCWLIFE. But his decision comes after his relationship deteriorated with the Board of Health that oversees the district.

Three members of the board unsuccessfully sued Gov. Jay Inslee to end his COVID-19 state of emergency, and the Attorney General’s office claims one of them, Douglas County Commissioner Marc Straub, abused his position at the board to gather evidence for the lawsuit. Straub denies this. But in a public meeting 10 days ago, Kling told the board those legal entanglements were bad for the district.

The board must approve a successor to Kling. The district’s longtime nursing director, Carol McCormick, also plans to retire this month.

As leadership prepares to change in the fight against coronavirus, the infection still manifests throughout the valley.The Dutch Bros coffee shop on South Mission Street in Wenatchee abruptly closed Wednesday after one of the employees tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement posted on social media, the company said the shop will undergo a third-party deep cleaning before reopening. Dutch Bros said the employee was tested Tuesday and received the positive result Wednesday. The employee had worked a morning shift June 18th, afternoon to evening shifts on the 19th, 20th and 22nd and an afternoon shift on the 21st.

Across the Columbia in East Wenatchee, an Eastmont School District staff member who helped collect Chromebooks last week from students, tested positive for COVID-19. The collection was an outdoor drive-through and drop-off event where the staff member assisted. The Chelan-Douglas Health District says because it was outdoors, and because school workers were masked and followed social distancing protocol, the risk of disease transmission to any students or parents who participated is very low.

Grant County recorded its sixth death from COVID-19 Wednesday: A Moses Lake man in his 90s who died at Samaritan Hospital. The Grant County Health District also reported 35 new confirmed cases of the virus Wednesday, with two requiring hospitalization. There are currently nine Grant County residents hospitalized with the virus, as cases in the county have spiked in the past two weeks. The new cases were detected throughout the county, with reports of positive tests in Ephrata, Mattawa, Moses Lake, Othello, Quincy, Royal City, Soap Lake and Warden.

Coming up next, an appeals court says 55 years is an appropriate sentence for a case of second-degree murder. And a new solar facility may soon be taking shape in the Columbia Basin. I’m Jefferson Robbins and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .

sentence stands for the Ephrata man who murdered his 82-year-old landlady back in 2014.

Chad Gerrit Bennett, who’s now 31, was sentenced three years ago to a 55-year prison term. The state Court of Appeals today turned down Bennett’s appeal of his conviction for the second-degree murder of Lucille Moore. There were no witnesses but Bennett’s DNA was discovered throughout her home after she was found dead from multiple stab wounds.

Bennett said his trial was unfair, his exceptional sentence was too long, and the case was mishandled by police and prosecutors. The appeals court judges in Spokane denied all those claims.

A Chicago-based company is looking to build a 713-acre solar farm near the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake. In-ven-ergy has applied for a permit for a 120-megawatt solar power facility about two miles west of the airport. The company has 158, wind, solar, storage and natural gas projects throughout the world. The Moses Lake site would be the company’s 34th solar wind farm. The proposed project is currently under environmental review. Invenergy hopes to begin construction later this year.

North Central Washington law enforcement agencies say Gov. Jay Inslee’s order that all Washington residents wear face coverings in public places is outside their jurisdiction. A short joint statement from the North Central Washington Law Enforcement Leadership group Wednesday said the issue is not a QUOTE mandate for law enforcement response. UNQUOTE. Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said his office has much larger priorities than ticketing or arresting someone for not wearing a mask. Inslee issued the statewide mandatory face-covering order after COVID-19 cases spiked in recent days in some counties, including Grant County. The law enforcement leadership group is comprised of the Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan County sheriffs and the police chiefs of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.

Speaking of masks, Dr. Malcolm Butler joins us next to talk about the practice nd how it can suppress the spread of disease. 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…

Starting tomorrow, Washington’s Governor and Secretary of Health require facial masks for almost everyone, when you have to be closer to others than six feet.

When the mandate came out, disinformation about using masks began to spread even faster than COVID-19 itself. Dr. Malcolm Butler, with the Chelan-Douglas Health District and Columbia Valley Community Health, sat down today with our reporter Jefferson Robbins to help bust some of those myths.

We enjoyed another sunny, hazy and warm day for the Wenatchee Valley today.  Temperatures across the region rose to the upper 80’s and low 90’s, as predicted.

As we look out the weather window, we see a few, hazy clouds mixed with the blue skies and sunshine.  And, unlike yesterday afternoon, we don’t have the gusty winds…just a slight breeze out of the southwest.

Let’s check our weather almanac for the Wenatchee Valley today.
High Temperature – 91      Normal High – 81
Low Temperature – 64      Normal Low- 57
Record High – 101 in 1992
Record Low – 43 in 1976
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 – 95
Ephrata – 95
Quincy –  93
Ellensburg – 90
Wenatchee – 96
Cashmere – 93
Leavenworth – 90
Lake Wenatchee – 78
Entiat – 92
Chelan – 95
Omak – 94

As we look at the surface loop, thundershowers and the potential for wildfires exists for the northeast and Idaho Panhandle for the next few days.  We’ll see dry conditions persist until late Saturday and into Sunday with showers and thundershowers possible.  The Wenatchee Valley will experience one more hot day Friday before things cool significantly over the weekend and through the 1st of July.  The cloud cover will be sparse tomorrow with increasing clouds through the day Saturday.  Sunday will be mostly cloudy and help result in cooler temperatures through Tuesday and Wednesay.

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

Tonight – Mostly clear and calm, a low of 65
Friday – Sunny and warmer with a high of 96
Friday night – cloudy overnight with clearing towards morning, a low of 64
Saturday – Mostly sunny and breezy with northwest winds 10-to-20, gusting to 30, a high of 81
Saturday night – Breezy winds will bring clouds in with a low of 56
Sunday – Clouds and morning showers or thundershowers with a few sun breaks in the afternoon, a high of 74.
Monday thru Wednesday – Showers mixed with sunshine Monday and Tuesday with upper 70’s to low 80’s.  Sunny Wednesday at a high of 83.  Nighttime lows should be in the upper 50’s throughout the period.

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.

Schools across the state are digesting Safe Start guidelines that were put out by the WIAA regarding sports and activities this week.  Eastmont Athletic Director Russ Waterman says it provides a plan of attack, but the common denominator is tied to the local health district…

NCWLIFE Channel is working with local districts on a broadcast schedule for the fall.  Right now, everything is in limbo until we see the direction of the pandemic.  We’ll have more with Waterman tomorrow.

Steve Raible, the radio voice of the Seahawks and News Anchor at KIRO in Seattle, is retiring this week.  After being drafted by the Seahawks as a wide receiver in 1976, he transitioned into a career in broadcasting.  He’s been on the air at KIRO for 38-years but Friday is his last day. 

He talked with NCWLIFE’s Kaitlin Hetterscheidt last September about making that transition…

Raible’s last day on the air at KIRO is tomorrow, but you can watch a 30-minute special on his career tonight at 7 o’clock.  He says he and his wife Sharon will do some traveling once the pandemic has passed.  Raible will still lend his voice as the play-by-play announcer for Seahawks games until, as he says, “they carry me out of here.”

The Seahawks are reportedly interested in wide receiver Antonio Brown…

According to the NFL Network’s Michael Silver, both Seattle and Cleveland are in the market for Brown’s talents.  While in Pittsburg, Brown led the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.  His relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlesberger soured and he publicly said he wanted out of Pittsburg.

Oakland picked him up but then one incident after another developed.  He couldn’t practice in the preseason because he didn’t like his helmet fit.  Then he got frostbite on his feet.  And he fought publicly with Raiders GM Mike Mayock.

As he signed with New England, allegations surfaced that he sexually assaulted his former trainer, which he denied.  Finally, in March, Brown pleaded no contest to charges from a January incident where he and his new trainer attacked a moving truck driver.  He was given two years’ probation in court and is expected to receive a suspension from the NFL.

The first real affect on the upcoming NFL season because of the pandemic is being felt.  ESPN is reporting that sources have said the Hall of Fame Game between the Cowboys and Steelers has been cancelled.  In addition, the enshrinement ceremony for the class of 2020 has been postponed.

Our own Eric Granstrom spoke with the Seahawks yesterday and was told no travel arrangements have been made for the upcoming season.  In addition, the preseason, if it occurs, will not include fans and its own radio broadcast team will most likely do the games remotesly.

Sockeye Salmon fishing is expected to make a strong return this summer, but anglers may have to wait until later in July to fish them in the Upper Columbia.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife closed the Columbia to sockeye fishing last night from the mouth to just below the Tri-Cities to save steelhead and fish destined for the Snake River.  Fishing for the popular table fair remains open from just above the Tri-Cites to Priest Rapids Dam.

“Fishing Magician” Dave Graybill predicts our stretch of the Columbia should open later in July and shows us some hot spots…

In addition to these popular spots, Graybill says there could even be a fishery on Lake Wenatchee sometime this summer if return numbers remain strong.

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

Remember how exciting and-or scary your first haircut was as a kid? Dan Kuntz underwent his first haircut in more than three months, and he says it felt just like the first time. He’ll share that experience with you tomorrow on Wake Up Wenatchee Valley. Here’s a taste:

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.