NCWLIFE Evening News March 25th, 2021

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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, Okanogan County reported its 35th COVID-19 death Tuesday./ Officials suspect a fire at a Quincy apartment complex Monday night was started by children outside playing with fire, and, 12th District Senator Brad Hawkins has introduced a pilot project that combines logging slash and organic materials to produce a product called biochar.   

But first, our top story tonight. . .

Another weekly spike in new COVID-19 cases has Chelan and Douglas counties close to the rate Gov. Jay Inslee said will mean going back to Phase 2 of his reopening plan.

In its weekly thermographic, the Chelan-Douglas Health District reported the rate of new cases over the past two weeks at 192.3 per 100,000 residents. On March 11th, Inslee announced all Washington counties would be moving to Phase 3 but said each county would be reviewed every three weeks.

He said any county with a population above 50,000 showing new infection rates 200 or higher per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks would go back to Phase 2. Phase 3 began Tuesday for the entire state and the first three-week evaluation of counties will take place April 12th.

Okanogan County reported its 35th COVID-19 death Tuesday. Okanogan County Public Health does not provide details on the county’s COVID-19 deaths and often delays their announcement.

New COVID-19 cases in the county have been on a steady decline for weeks and Okanogan county now has one of the lowest infection rates in the state.

Officials suspect a fire at a Quincy apartment complex Monday night was started by children outside playing with fire.

Grant County Fire District 3 interim Chief Tony Leibelt said the fire, which destroyed a four-unit section of the complex on Birch Street Southwest, started in arborvitaes outside the building, which then ignited the building’s vinyl siding. Residents of three of the apartments were displaced by the fire and are being assisted by the Red Cross. The fourth unit was unoccupied. The fire was first reported at 7:18 p.m. Monday and drew firefighting crews from Quincy and Ephrata. Leibelt said law enforcement and fire officials continue their investigation.

12th District Senator Brad Hawkins has introduced a pilot project that combines logging slash and organic materials to produce a product called biochar.

Biochar is a charcoal-like product produced through pyrolysis, a process that superheats biomass. A demonstration project in the Methow Valley is under development to produce biochar from excess forest waste to reduce the risk of wildfire and to improve soil in agricultural lands.

Although it looks a lot like common charcoal, biochar is produced using a specific process to reduce contamination and safely store carbon. The energy or heat created during pyrolysis can then be captured and used as a form of clean energy.

Coming up next, The Icicle Fund has awarded $2-million dollars to Northcentral Washington businesses through a series of grant programs in the arts, environment, and cultural and natural history./ After 21 years as fire chief and a firefighting career that spanned almost half a century, Grant County Fire District 3 Chief Don Fortier has retired, and, Once on the brink of extinction, lesser snow geese now show up in abundance each year in North Central Washington. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

The Icicle Fund has awarded $2-million dollars to Northcentral Washington businesses through a series of grant programs in the arts, environment, and cultural and natural history.

Through the Operating Support Grant Program, 32 organizations received unrestricted operating support, allowing them the flexibility to be strategic, nimble, and sustained during a year of high uncertainty while preparing for being viable and impactful post-COVID.

Some of the grant money will go to various local businesses such as the Confluence Gallery Art Center, Numerica Performing Arts Center, the Douglas County Historical Society and the Wenatchee Valley YMCA, all receiving 15,000-dollars. The Icicle Fund was established in 1998 by Harriet Bullitt and has since supported more than 100 local non-profit organizations with more than $45 million dollars.

21 years as fire chief and a firefighting career that spanned almost half a century, Grant County Fire District 3 Chief Don Fortier has retired.

The Quincy native’s last day on the job was earlier this month. He began as a volunteer firefighter in Quincy when he was just 16 years old. Assistant Chief Tony Liebelt is currently serving as interim chief of Fire District 3.

Once on the brink of extinction, lesser snow geese now show up in abundance each year in North Central Washington.

The snow geese, as see in this video taken at Potholes Reservoir by Mitchell Emerson of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, migrate to and from Wrangel Island in Russia, north of the Bering Strait. To the delight of local bird watchers, the geese typically are in our area April through May.

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 Pause for Pets feature from the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. Tonight, NCWLIFE’s Megan McPherson introduces us to Marco the dog. . .

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.

Things did not look good for most of Wednesday’s game for Hailey Van Lith and the Louisville Cardinals.  Northwestern came out hot, connecting on 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to race out to an 18-point lead.  In fact, Louisville trailed 32-20 at half, producing the least amount of points in the first half of a game all season long. 

The second-half was a completely different scenario as the Wildcats went cold and the Cardinals mounted the comeback…

In the end, Louisville advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with a 62-53 victory, outscoring Northwestern 44-21 in the second half.

Kianna Smith led Louisville with 16-points while Dana Evans had 14.  Hailey Van Lith was perfect on the day, scoring 13-points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.

Evans credits Smith and Hailey for helping to right Louisville’s ship in the second-half comeback…

Coach Jeff Walz says a three-pointer from Hailey in the 3rd quarter really got the Cardinals going offensively and let a spark in the rest of the team…

Louisville advances to face Oregon in the Sweet 16 Sunday at 4 o’clock.  That means an extended stay in the bubble for the entire team, which coach Walz addressed as far as his laundry needs…

The Cardinals game against Oregon can be seen on ESPN beginning at 4pm on Sunday.

Eastmont won its 8th-straight volleyball match last night by downing Moses Lake in straight sets 25-2, 10 and 16…

Wildcat junior libero (leh-BEAR-oh) Brenda Calvillo (cal-VEE-oh) took matters into her own hands in the first set, serving 17-consecutive points.

Eric Granstrom had the call here on the NCWLIFE Channel, our first volleyball match on TV in 519-days…

Eastmont will next face Chelan and Wenatchee at Wenatchee High School Saturday.  The Goats are the only team the Wildcats have lost to all season long.

In other volleyball action last night, Cashmere traveled to Wahluke and won 3-0.  Ephrata blanked Okanogan 3-0.  Chelan remained undefeated at 10-and-oh with a sweep of Brewster.  And, nearby Manson also improved to 10-and-oh with a 3-0 win over Oroville.

Eastmont will celebrate its seniors at the Eastmont Aquatic Center this afternoon…

The Wildcats host Wenatchee and Moses Lake in the final home swim and dive meet of the season.  They’ll toe the line for the first event beginning at 4 o’clock.

The Mariner’s 3-game winning streak came to an end last night in a 6-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs…

Justin Dunn was roughed up for 4-runs on 5-hits in 3-and-a-third innings of work, including 2-home runs.  Seattle’s lone highlight came in the bottom of the second with Taylor Trammell (truh-MELL) hitting his second home run of the spring…

Seattle travels to Mesa today to take on the Oakland Athletics at 1:05.

Thanks Eric.

Firefighters in Winthrop had a chance to practice their car extraction skills on this unfortunate vehicle. The firefighters reduced the car to a skeleton of its former self, then proudly posed with what was left.

If you have a video of the day, you’d like to see on the NCWLIFE Evening News, message us on our Facebook Page at the NCWLIFE Channel.

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.