NCWLIFE Evening News June 5th, 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, Latino advocates in the Wenatchee Valley say the Chelan-Douglas Health District needs to make sure immigrant workers and non-English speakers are included in their recovery solutions for COVID-19. Slidewaters, the popular water park on Lake Chelan, is suing the department of Labor and Industries, to prevent it from enforcing Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-home COVID-19 orders, and, more black lives matter demonstrations are planned for Wenatchee this weekend.    

But first, we begin tonight. . .

Okanogan County was one of six new counties approved to move to Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start reopening plan and seven counties were approved Friday to go from Phase 2 to Phase 3.

But Chelan and Douglas counties remain among the five counties in the state still in Phase 1, the most restrictive for businesses and activities. The state Department of Health also approved a plan for King County, the state’s most populous county and the early epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, to move to a less restrictive version of Phase 1. Chelan and Douglas county officials are submitting a plan for moving from Phase 1 but when there will be a decision on that plan is uncertain.

To move from one phase to the next, counties must show a reduction in new positive tests for the coronavirus, that their health care system is ready for a potential outbreak; that testing capability is adequate and other criteria. Counties approved to move to Phase 2 are Clark, Okanogan, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom. Approved to move to Phase 3 are Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Wahkiakum counties.

Latino advocates in the Wenatchee Valley say the Chelan-Douglas Health District needs to make sure immigrant workers and non-English speakers are included in their recovery solutions for COVID-19.

The district is drafting a plan to reopen business sectors and gathering places that have been closed during the pandemic, but one proposal for that plan would count coronavirus detections differently if they occur in group housing, including facilities where migrant farmworkers often live. Thirteen community members representing three advocate groups signed a letter questioning the idea. . .

The Chelan-Douglas Board of Health, which oversees the health district, was scheduled to discuss the plan in its meeting today.

Slidewaters, the popular water park on Lake Chelan, is suing the department of Labor and Industries, to prevent it from enforcing Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-home COVID-19 orders.

The Freedom Foundation, an anti-regulatory nonprofit based in Olympia, is funding the legal challenge, which was filed Thursday in Chelan County Superior Court. Under emergency rules adopted last month, L&I can fine businesses up to $10,000 if they operate without approval under the governor’s Safe Start plan for phased reopening. Chelan County is still in Phase 1, meaning large gathering places like water parks are forbidden from operating. Slidewaters and Freedom Foundation lawyers claim the park has a health plan in place that would allow it to open safely. They’re seeking a temporary injunction.

Public demonstrations and protests have become the norm in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody two weeks ago. Wenatchee has hosted two, with a third one now planned for Saturday evening. Organizers say they’ll move from Memorial Park north on Wenatchee Avenue starting about 4 p.m. A similar gathering is planned for tonight in Leavenworth.

Coming up next, Chelan, Douglas and Grant Counties will receive small business emergency grants. Douglas County Fire District 2 this week celebrated the groundbreaking for its new fire station. The state Supreme Court has weighed in on racial injustice amid hundreds of protests over police brutality toward Americans of color, and, The Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee will have a new director as of July 1st. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority announced yesterday that $333,000-dollars in Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants to support 71 local companies severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The selected pool of grantees includes 17 restaurants, 14 retail establishments, 10 salons, 3 fitness facilities, 3 beauty/personal services, 3 manufacturing facilities, 3 childcare businesses, 2 agricultural businesses, and additional small locally owned establishments.

Grantees are located in 12 different cities across Chelan and Douglas Counties. Grantees represent 38 women owned businesses, 11 minority owned businesses, and a veteran owned business. These businesses will primarily use these funds to pay rent, utilities, and other allowable expenses.

Also, the city of Quincy announced it will provide grant reimbursement for small businesses up to 5,000-dollars for costs associated with the pandemic. The grant program is for licensed small businesses with 10 employees or less and can be used for rent payments, utility payments and for normal operating costs.

Douglas County Fire District 2 this week celebrated the groundbreaking for its new fire station at 240 35th Street Northwest, near the Odabashian Bridge.

The 13,000-square-foot station is being funded through a levy lift approved by voters in 2016 and a $1 million federal grant that will help pay for the firefighters to staff the building. A minimum of three full-time firefighters be on duty at Fire Station Number 4 at all times. The station will house a ladder truck, fire engine, rescue vehicle and a brush truck.

In addition, the building will serve as an incubator for the district’s Resident Program, where aspiring firefighters of all ages will receive training and guidance. The building is expected to open for service in June of 2021.

The state Supreme Court has weighed in on racial injustice amid hundreds of protests over police brutality toward Americans of color. All nine justices signed onto a letter urging lawyers and judges in Washington to address the roots of racial injustice.

The court’s letter says, quote, “We call on every member of our legal community to reflect on this moment and ask ourselves how we may work together to eradicate racism.” The letter follows the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25th. Three police officers there are now charged with his murder. The killing set off a wave of demonstrations, and confrontations by police, in cities around the United States.

The Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee will have a new director as of July 1st.

Chad Kruger, now director of a similar Washington State University center in Mount Vernon, previously worked at the Wenatchee center for 11 years. Kruger takes over from Interim Director Kate Evans. The tree fruit center hosts 12 WSU faculty members and five US Department of Agriculture scientists who conduct crucial research on apple, pear, and cherry crops.

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. . .

NCWLIFE Channel reached out to area high schools back in March when in-person education was canceled by the pandemic. The offer was to help film some sort of graduation ceremony. In tonight’s feature story, fast forward three months, 42-recording sessions and hundreds of hours of editing later, and we’re ready to present the virtual graduations of Eastmont and Wenatchee High Schools tonight here on NCWLIFE Channel. Wenatchee Principal Eric Anderson knew early on they were going to have to go without an in-person ceremony. . .

That’s when the District got together with NCWLIFE to arrange a virtual graduation ceremony. . .

Anderson says the reaction from students and families was positive, despite not getting a ceremony they had hoped for. . .

So the big question is, what will it look like?  Well, here’s a little peak. . .

Eastmont’s graduation will air tonight at 6 o’clock with Wenatchee’s to follow at 8 here on the NCWLIFE Channel.  For a complete list of broadcast times, go to our website at NCWLIFE-dot-com and click on Class of 2020.

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.

It’s official, there will be no baseball this summer for the West Coast League, but the AppleSox are still holding out hope…

In a statement from the WCL today, they said the league’s board of directors voted to cancel its 2020 summer collegiate season due to pandemic-related safety guidelines and travel restrictions across Washington and Oregon.  Concurrently, league members Cowlitz, Port Angeles, Ridgefield, Walla Walla and Yakima Valley are cancelling their respective seasons.

The league’s Wenatchee AppleSox and Portland Pickles still hope to play this summer, independently.  WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer said, “we’re heartbroken about 2020, but we’re already looking toward 2021, with Nanaimo joining the league.  We are confident that next summer will be our best yet.”

We heard from AppleSox management last week that they’re still working hard on coming up with some form of baseball at Paul Thomas, Senior Stadium this summer.

The coronavirus pandemic has been costly to Major League Baseball, but it’s devastated the Minor Leagues…

The Mariners alone have released 44-Minor League players so far, which for many marks the end of their baseball careers. 

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports across baseball, hundreds of minor league players were cut and lost their jobs.  “In the end, upwards of one-thousand players could see their baseball careers end.  The minor leagues have simply been devastated.”

Which is why baseball also chose to slash next week’s draft from 40-rounds to just five.

For the Mariners, minor leaguers still with the organization will continue to receive their four-hundred dollar a week stipend…for now.

The NFL has told coaches around the league they could start returning to their facilities as early as today…

The entire NFL shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic in March and haven’t allowed coaching staffs to return to facilities since.  Yesterday’s announcement was happily received by all except two teams, including the Seahawks.

Seattle still has not received clearance from the King County Health District to return to its facility in Renton.  In addition, San Francisco coaches are awaiting clearance to return.

King County remains in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan which allows for only essential businesses to be open.  The County has applied for a modified Phase 1 of the Safe Start plan that would allow for limited openings for more business, and which would likely clear the way for the Seahawks to have coaches return to their facility.

Washington residents have a unique opportunity to fish for free this weekend.  The Department of Fish and Wildlife has waived the need for a license Saturday and Sunday.  And, as our own Eric Granstrom and his wife Marion will attest, there are plenty of fish to be caught in the region…

Eric and Marion were at Billy Clapp Lake there just east of Soap Lake.  Reports are good for kokanee fishing on Chelan; walleye and bass at Banks Lake; and close to home, trout at Beehive Reservoir. 

Speaking of fishing, another local opportunity just opened this morning…

The Icicle River opened for Spring Chinook salmon fishing this morning.  According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, sufficient returns of hatchery Chinook are expected to meet broodstock needs at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery.

The fishery is open from 800-feet upstream of the mouth of the Icicle just up from the Wenatchee River to 500-feet downstream from the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

Limit is one hatchery Chinook per day with the fishery remaining open until the end of June.

We are focusing on graduation ceremonies this weekend here on the NCWLIFE Channel, but we also have some hockey on Sunday…

There you see the graduation schedules for tonight and tomorrow, but then we have a couple Wenatchee Wild games Sunday.  The first is the heartbreaking end to the 2018 season at the RBC Cup against Wellington.  Then at 7, it’s Wenatchee’s game from December 4th against Penticton.

Thanks Eric.

With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting activities and celebrations for the high school class of 2020, one Wenatchee tradition DID take place this morning, graduates in their gowns riding scooters. . .

Now let’s check in with Dan Kuntz for a look at what’s coming up Monday 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 weekend.