NCWLIFE Evening News March 31st, 2021

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Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Grant Olson. Before we get to what’s making news, let’s take a quick look outside our weather window:

And now, here a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight, More people become eligible for their COVID-19 vaccination today, just as a key online tool for determining eligibility goes away./ Negative effects of COVID-19-related layoffs on the statewide and local economies are once again evident in the latest unemployment figures, and, Today is the last day to get those studded tires off your vehicle and the state says there will be no extension of that deadline this year.     

But first, our top story tonight. . .

A Dryden man is suspected of assaulting his domestic partner multiple times, including pointing a firearm at her.

Chelan County deputies arrested 47-year-old Isaac David Heckman on Monday. His former partner told deputies Heckman struck her on multiple occasions throughout early 2021, including one assault that left her with broken ribs and another in which he choked her unconscious.

In one incident, she said, Heckman pointed a shotgun at her and threatened her life. He faces possible charges of first, second and fourth-degree domestic violence assault.

More people become eligible for their COVID-19 vaccination today, just as a key online tool for determining eligibility goes away. Starting today, restaurant workers, those experiencing homelessness, and people 16 and up with certain preexisting medical conditions are among those who can get their shots.

The state Department of Health says with 5 million of the state’s 7 million residents now eligible, the online PhaseFinder tool that helped steer them toward vaccine appointments has been taken offline. You can instead visit vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov to schedule an appointment.

Negative effects of COVID-19-related layoffs on the statewide and local economies are once again evident in the latest unemployment figures from the state Employment Security Department.

Non-farm employment and unemployment rate data from April 2020 through February 2021 both are up. The local economy lost 2,400 nonfarm jobs between February 2020 (44,800 jobs) and February 2021 (42,400 jobs), a 5.4-percent downturn.

Today is the last day to get those studded tires off your vehicle and the state says there will be no extension of that deadline this year. Drivers who do not get the tires removed by April 1st face a $136-dollar fine. Without an extension, March 31st is typically the last day studded tires are allowed on Washington roads.

Coming up next, As Chelan and Douglas counties hover in Phase 3 of the state’s pandemic recovery plan, local public offices are starting to open up./ The state will begin work Monday on reopening the North Cascades Highway, and, A 9-1-1 dispatcher in Grant County helped a grandmother deliver her daughter’s baby off Interstate 90 east of Moses Lake earlier this month. I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

As Chelan and Douglas counties hover in Phase 3 of the state’s pandemic recovery plan, local public offices are starting to open up. Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz says city hall will open for public visitors April 12th. . .

Mayors of some surrounding towns say they’re ready to reopen their city buildings as well. Leavenworth Mayor Carl Florea says he’ll soon ask his city council about reconvening in person, and Cashmere Mayor Jim Fletcher says his city hall is already open for business, as long as you wear your mask.

The state will begin work Monday on reopening the North Cascades Highway. The Washington State Department of Transportation says it likely will be four to six weeks before the scenic highway that connects the Methow and Skagit valleys is open for traffic.

In addition to about seven feet of snow on the highway, the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes are full and that snow will need to be removed. The state says snow levels this year on Highway 20 are higher than normal.

Last year, the pass reopened on May 12th. In 2019, it was reopened April 18th. The latest reopening date on record was back in 1974, when the pass was finally cleared June 14th. The earliest reopening was April 2nd in 1998.

A 9-1-1 dispatcher in Grant County helped a grandmother deliver her daughter’s baby off Interstate 90 east of Moses Lake earlier this month.

Washington State Patrol Trooper John Bryant said Wanda Rand called 9-1-1 on Friday, March 19th, saying her daughter was going into labor as they were driving west on I-90.

They pulled off the interstate at Road U Southeast where Multi Agency Communications Center dispatcher Summer Mann gave instructions to Rand as she delivered the baby in the back of the vehicle. Troopers arrived shortly after to find the baby was breeched and unresponsive.

Mann then helped troopers revive the baby girl prior to being transported to the hospital. Rand told the state patrol that her new granddaughter, Betty Morgan, is still in the neo natal Intensive care unit at a Spokane hospital but doing well.

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. . .

Medical experts agree: The next three months are critical to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccination works, but it has to be accompanied by other practices like masking and social distancing. Dr. Mark Johnson with Confluence Health gave an update this week on where we are right now in the pandemic, and outlined the challenges ahead. . .

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 Gonzaga Bulldogs are in the NCAA Final Four for just the second time in school history following an 85-66 win over USC Tuesday…

Drew Timme and the Gonzaga offense did pretty much whatever it wanted against the Trojans, scoring a team-high 23-points.  Corey Kispert added 18 while Jalen Suggs nearly had a triple-double with 18-points, 10-rebounds and 8-assists.

Coach Mark Few says he and the Bulldogs will enjoy this moment…

Gonzaga led by as many as 21-points in the first half and cruised in the second half for its 29th win of the second by double-digits.  Coach Few says this was a classic Bulldog victory filled with great defense and superb offense…

Jalen Suggs was a two-sport-star coming out of Minnesota and could have easily chosen football over basketball.  He says he’s certainly glad he chose to play basketball at Gonzaga…

Gonzaga will face UCLA Saturday at 5:34pm on CBS after the Bruins advanced with last night’s 51-49 win over Michigan.  The other semifinal will feature Houston and Baylor at 2:14 on CBS.

Hailey Van Lith’s freshman season came to a sudden end in the Elite Eight last night as her Louisville Cardinals fell to Stanford 78-63…

After building a 12-point lead at halftime, Louisville extended the lead to 14-points at the 7:08 mark of the 3rd quarter.  But that’s when Stanford went on a 17-to-2 run over the next 4-minutes and 42-seconds.  The Cardinal then outscored Louisville 30-to-13 in the final frame to win 78-63.

Dana Evans played her last game as a Cardinal, scoring 24-points in a losing cause.  She says she’s proud to have played side-by-side with the women who made up this team…

Evans is the only senior on a team that went 26-and-4 this season.  Coach Jeff Walz (walls) says this year’s sorrow should fuel next year’s aspirations…

Hailey Van Lith played in all 30-games for Louisville this year, scoring 335-points in 905-minutes.  She had 7-points in Tuesday’s loss. 

Stanford will face South Carolina in Friday’s Final Four at 3 o’clock on ESPN after the Gamecocks clobbered Texas 62-34.  The other semifinal features Arizona and UConn Friday at 6:30.

Wenatchee won its 8th-straight girls soccer match last night, overcoming a feisty Cashmere squad 1-nil at Lee Bofto Field at the Apple Bowl…

On senior night, Panther senior Yareli Sanchez-Blanco tallied the game’s only goal in the 57th minute.  Sebastian Moraga and Matt Wisen had the call on the NCWLIFE Channel…

In other soccer action Tuesday, Eastmont beat Cascade 5-1; Wahluke shut out Manson 6-nil; and Okanogan beat Liberty Bell 6-1.

We are scheduled to bring you volleyball LIVE on the NCWLIFE Channel tonight…

The Eastmont Wildcats will celebrate its seniors as they host the Ephrata Tigers.  Eric Granstrom will be courtside with pregame at 6:50 (if our equipment is operational).

In one other volleyball match tonight, Cashmere plays host to Manson at 7 o’clock.

Thanks Eric.

As we leave you tonight, saying they like big plows and they cannot lie, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced the winning name Monday for its third tow plow. Sir Plows-A-Lot, a reference to Seattle rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot, edged out Towbi-Wan-PlowNobi and Bow Chicka Wow Plow as the winner in the online voting.

Sir Plows-A-Lot joins the Big Leplowski and Plowie McPlow Plow in the WASH-DOT tow plow fleet.

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.