NCWLIFE Evening News March 19th, 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, Just four days after opening, the drive-through coronavirus testing station set up by Confluence Health is now closed. The chief medical officer for Columbia Valley Community Health spent almost an hour this week answering COVID-19 questions via Facebook. The COVID-19 response has reached local Superior Courts, and, The head of the state Department of Agriculture says there is no need for the public to be concerned that store shelves will go empty.     

But first, we begin tonight. . .

Officials from throughout the Wenatchee Valley gave a joint press conference this afternoon on the COVID-19 pandemic. The mayors of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee joined other speakers to encourage social distancing, to minimize the spread of illness. Almost all of them called the public health effort a once-in-a-generation project:

Health officials at the press conference stressed the need to keep coronavirus infections down, so health resources are available for people with other medical conditions.

As of today, 66 people in Washington have died from coronavirus-related illness, and more than 1,100 are known to be infected.

Just four days after opening, the drive-through coronavirus testing station set up by Confluence Health is now closed.

The health system shut down the North Emerson Avenue site after it became clear there weren’t enough available test kits to meet demand. The station was overall a success, taking samples from dozens of patients and detecting at least one positive case. But now Confluence Health says those test resources need to be devoted to those most at risk of serious illness, including the elderly and immune-compromised. The drive-through station opened on Saturday and closed down on Wednesday.

The chief medical officer for Columbia Valley Community Health spent almost an hour this week answering COVID-19 questions via Facebook. Dr. Malcolm Butler fielded concerned inquiries about the virus on Tuesday afternoon, while practicing social distancing at the same time. First on the agenda, flattening the curve of infection so that health services aren’t overwhelmed. . .

You can view that entire segment on the CVCH Facebook page.The COVID-19 response has reached local Superior Courts.

The Washington Supreme Court on Wednesday gave guidance for local courts to help prevent the spread of the virus in their courtrooms. Douglas County Superior Court Judge Brian Huber promptly postponed all criminal and civil trials until at least May 1st, and Chelan County Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan issued a similar order today. Many cases will be heard by telephone. Public offices in both counties are closing in response to the pandemic.

The Chelan County Assessor, Community Development and Noxious Weed departments all will shut down on Monday. The Chelan County Sheriff, Human Resources, Public Works and Probation already closed their doors to face-to-face business this week. Douglas County commissioners passed a resolution Wednesday to close all access to their county offices, starting today. Both counties encourage residents to use their online services as much as possible. That web address for Chelan County is co.chelan.wa.us. For Douglas County, it’s douglascountywa.net.

The head of the state Department of Agriculture says there is no need for the public to be concerned that store shelves will go empty.

Director Derek Sandison said Wednesday the food supply chain continues to function and the state and federal government are working to ensure it continues that way during the coronavirus outbreak. Trooper John Bryant of the Washington State Patrol was out Wednesday at a rest stop near Cle Elum checking on part of that supply chain. . .

Coming up next, An alleged drunken driver early this morning led police on a chase from south Wenatchee across both bridges and back almost to the starting point.  After a car and foot chase, a 20-year-old Oregon man was arrested early this morning near Warden as a suspect in the theft of ATVs. The Chelan County Board of Commissioners announced yesterday the appointment of a new Director for the Chelan County Regional Justice Center, and, Link Transit began offering free rides today and will continue to do so until further notice. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

An alleged drunken driver early this morning led police on a chase from south Wenatchee across both bridges and back almost to the starting point.

Wenatchee police arrested 33-year-old Megan Rebecca Beam from Baker City, Oregon. They say she fled in a stolen car after officers tried to pull her over about 3:17 a.m. near the George Sellar Bridge. She allegedly drove across the bridge, north on Sunset Highway, and back across the Odabashian Bridge to Wenatchee. The car was finally stopped at Mission Street and Spokane. Four different police agencies got involved in the pursuit. Beam faces possible charges of DUI, possessing a stolen vehicle, and fleeing police.

After a car and foot chase, a 20-year-old Oregon man was arrested early this morning near Warden as a suspect in the theft of ATVs.

About 3:45 a.m., Grant County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a burglary call in the twenty-one-thousand-nine-hundred block of Road 3 Southeast. There had a been a string of similar cases recently near Warden.

The suspect, John B. Buehler of Huntington, Oregon, nearly collided with a deputy’s car while fleeing, the sheriff’s office said. During a high-speed chase, Buehler crashed his vehicle on the Lind-Warden Road and fled on foot for about 200 yards before being caught along the John Wayne Trail. He faces eluding charges, with more charges pending.

The Chelan County Board of Commissioners announced yesterday the appointment of a new Director for the Chelan County Regional Justice Center.

Chief Christopher Sharp has been selected to succeed Interim Director Bill Larson. Chief Sharp will officially take over the Director position on April 1st.  Having served Chelan County citizens for 20 years, first as a Corrections Officer, then promoted to Corporal, Sergeant and finally Chief in January 2019. Commissioners say Sharp has all of the skills needed to successfully move into his new role adding he possesses strong skills in communication, organizational development and leadership.

Link Transit began offering free rides today and will continue to do so until further notice, the agency said.

Link is waving its fares in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, saying by bypassing the fare box it will lessen close contact between drivers and passengers. Earlier this month, Link assured its passengers its buses and vans are cleaned and disinfected nightly and are equipped with disinfectants drivers can use throughout the day.

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. . .

Time now for our weekly Kennel Kameos feature from the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. Tonight, NCWLIFE’s Megan McPherson re-introduces us to Chloe the cat. . .

The Humane Society is temporarily closed to the public until April 24th. However, adoption and surrenders services will be available by appointment. To schedule a surrender appointment or meet and greet with a specific animal, please call: 509-662-9577.

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 Seahawks have dipped into the free agency well and pulled out a former first-round draft pick from 2012, Bruce Irvin…

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Irvin will return to the team that drafted him with the 15th overall pick out of West Virginia.  He played 4-years in Seattle before leaving for Oakland for two years, then Atlanta for a season and spent last year with the Carolina Panthers.  In 119 career games, Irvin has recorded 301 combined tackles, 52-sacks and three interceptions.

According to ESPN’s Adam Shefter, the Seahawks are also bolstering their offensive line.  Shefter reports that Seattle is reached an agreement on a two-year, 11-million dollar deal with former Jets’ offensive tackle Brandon Shell.

Additionally, ESPN’s Jordan Schultz is reporting that Seattle will be signing offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (oh-BWAY-he) to a one-year deal worth a maximum 3.3-million dollars.

While the NFL plods forward with free-agency in a time of restricted movement and personal communication due to COVID-19, Major League Baseball continues to move back its expected start date.  Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred says they had hoped for an April 8th opener, but now it’s looking more like sometime in May or June…

Mariner players and coaches have been sent home from their spring training complex in Peoria.  Players could been seen exiting the facility Monday with multiple bags, loading them into their vehicles and preparing to head home, wherever that may be.

The West Coast League continues preparations for its 16th season, scheduled to open June 5th

In a statement this week, the summer collegiate league said it is monitoring public health announcements and complying with guidelines and regulations.  With the suspension of baseball throughout colleges this spring, what’s offered by the WCL and similar leagues may be the only baseball these collegians will have to play this year.  The Wenatchee AppleSox are moving forward with the belief that their season will begin June 4th at home against the Highline Bears.

I know there are better ideas out there than my own on how to imagine some form of solitaire sports out there, but you have to send them my way.  In the meantime, here we go with another edition of “No Sports – No Problem!”…

Thanks Eric.

As we leave you tonight, getting outside during a coronavirus quarantine is still important, but the Chelan County PUD says it has to cut off access to kids’ play equipment in its public parks.

The utility says it’s impossible to completely clean and sanitize all the plastic surfaces in its play spaces, so until virus restrictions go away, the climbing structures and slides will have to be gated off. It’s one of many such closures put in place since the governor declared a statewide emergency response February 29th.

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.