NCWLIFE Evening News, March 9, 2020

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Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Jefferson Robbins, filling in for Grant Olson. We’ve ot a lot of news today, but first let’s take a quick look outside our weather window:

And now, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight: Two suspects in the graffiti defacement at Methow Park are under arrest, suspected of defacing park property and other locations. The man shot and killed by law enforcement in Riverside has been identified as an Omak resident and convicted felon. And hundreds of local primary ballots are in danger of being thrown out because voters failed to list a party preference.

But first, we begin tonight. . .

A Quincy resident who was the first patient to test positive for COVID-19 in Eastern Washington has died.

The patient, reportedly in their 80s, was being treated at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, and Grant County health authorities are trying to alert people who might have had contact with this person.

They say people who’ve visited events at the Quincy Senior Center between Feb. 13 and 28, and a Quincy High School musical production on Feb. 21, might have been exposed to the virus. Contact the Grant County Health District’s coronavirus hotline at 766-7960, ext. 39. Three Grant County residents so far have been tested for the coronavirus, and were found not to be infected.

In the Wenatchee Valley, two residents have now been tested for the virus. One, a Wenatchee Valley College student who was isolated at Cascade Medical Center in Leavenworth, tested negative on Friday and has been discharged from the hospital. Two parents whose children attend Wenatchee schools are undergoing testing, and the family has self-quarantined at home.

The flu-like virus has had an effect on local events and institutions. The Grant County PUD announced today it’s closing its public learning centers, like this one at Wanapum Dam, and will hold its future commission meetings by phone or videoconference.

In Wenatchee, the Nick’s Bricks LEGO event, originally set for this past Saturday at Pybus Public Market, was postponed with one day’s notice. In Leavenworth, the nonprofit Empty Bowls fundraising dinner won’t be held as scheduled on March 19. Public health agencies have warned against large public gatherings, to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, but the virus has a long incubation period and may produce no symptoms at all. The elderly, the immune-compromised, and those with existing heart or respiratory problems are most at risk. Statewide, Washington now reports 162 cases. So far, 21 patients have died in the state.

Wenatchee police have arrested two people in the graffiti defacement of Methow Park. 22-year-old Justino Omar Brito and 18-year-old Tayler Hendersen are both Wenatchee residents, taken into custody on Saturday.

Police say they were caught on video tagging the park bathrooms with gang graffiti, and also tagged property near and Lincoln Park and Lewis Street. Paint cans and other evidence from a parked vehicle left behind at one of the scenes allegedly tied the case to Brito.

Other suspects are still being investigated. Police say if you have information about any graffiti tagging incident, call RiverCom at 663-9911.

The Wenatchee School Board votes tomorrow on whether to accept a new contract with its team of bus drivers.

The school district’s 30 unionized drivers have already approved the new three-year contract, which offers a 6.5 percent pay increase, among other benefits. Those drivers held public rallies in Wenatchee in late January to ask for public support for a new contract, saying they’d been in negotiation for nine months over wages and working conditions for the task of carrying children safely to and from their schoolrooms.

The executive director of the Washington Apple Education Foundation has been named … appropriately enough … the 2020 Apple Citizen of the Year. Jennifer Witherbee, who has led the foundation for 19 years, was surprised with the honor last week by the Apple Blossom royalty at a Literacy Council event, where she is a board member. Witherbee is involved in many causes throughout the Wenatchee Valley. The selection of the Apple Citizen of the Year has been an annual part of the Apple Blossom Festival since 1981.

Coming up next, your plastic bags at the supermarket will soon become more pricey, if not a thing of the past altogether; and in Okanogan County, police name the man killed last week in a Riverside shootout. I’m Jefferson Robbins, and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

About 460 ballots from Chelan County have been rejected so far in presidential primary voting, out of almost 16,000 submitted. The reason: Failure to select a presidential party on the outside of the ballot envelope.

It’s the same story in Douglas County, where 245 out of 7,600 ballots are on hold. Across the state, thanks to the requirement to declare a party, about 58,000 of 1.4 million votes won’t count unless they’re corrected. You can check your ballot status online with the Washington Secretary of State, and contact your local auditor to make a change if necessary. Time’s running out to do so … the votes get counted starting tomorrow night.

A man who was shot and killed during a shootout with law enforcement officers last Tuesday in downtown Riverside has been identified as 39-year-old Ryan Eugene Bass of Okanogan County. Sergeant Nathan Hahn of the Wenatchee Police Department said Okanogan County deputies and an Omak police detective confronted Bass, who was wanted on a felony warrant, and Bass pulled out a handgun and began firing. Two deputies and the detective returned fire. After the shooting, Bass died at Mid Valley Hospital in Omak. The deputies and detective are on administrative leave during the investigation. Hahn is the spokesperson for the North Central Washington Special Investigative Unit, which is investigating the incident.  Bass was sentenced to three years in prison in 2014 on burglary charges. At the time of his death, he was wanted to stand trial for alleged burglary, domestic violence, and cyberstalking charges.

A ban on single-use plastic bags at retail outlets and restaurants is close to becoming law in Washington after the measure was approved by the House on Saturday. It previously was approved in the Senate, but differences in the bills will need to be resolved by the two chambers before it goes to the governor for his signature. Under the bill, stores will be required to charge 8 cents each for paper bags. 12th District Representatives Keith Goehner and Mike Steele both voted in favor of the ban, which passed by a 67-29 vote. Previously, Senator Brad Hawkins voted against it in the Senate. It would take effect next January.

You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up next, Commissioner Bob Bugert talks about the proposed Mission Ridge expansion, and Eric Granstrom has 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. . .

Mission Ridge Ski resort’s future expansion plans, if approved, would require substantial improvements to roads and other infrastructure.

Ski Hill owners have laid out a massive 20-year plan that would transform Mission Ridge into a major world class resort, including townhomes, condominiums, single-family homes and commercial retail development. The project is currently undergoing public review as part of an environmental impact study. Chelan County Commissioner Bob Bugert says, when fully developed, Mission Ridge would become its own community. . .

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.

Close but no cigar for the Cashmere girls basketball team as they fell to Lynden Christian in Saturday’s State 1A Championship game…

So here’s a rundown of all the Championship games from Saturday.  The Champions in 4A are Central Valley; 3A Garfield; 2A Lynden; 1A Lynden Christian; 2B Liberty of Spangle; and 1B Inchelium.

The Cashmere boys basketball team came home with the 4th place trophy after a win Saturday morning over River View…

And the Champions in boys basketball are:  Mt. Si in 4A; Garfield in 3A; North Kitsap in 2A; King’s in 1A; Brewster in 2B; and Odessa in 1B.

In Women’s College Basketball Friday…

Central Washington fell to Alaska Anchorage in the semifinals of the G-NAC Basketball Tournament in Seattle 79-77.  Alaska Anchorage went on to win the Championship on Saturday.

And Weber State downed Eastern Washington 83-77.

At the West Coast Conference Tournament today in Las Vegas, Portland’s Haylee Andrews made a layup with 3-seconds to go as the Pilots upset 11th ranked Gonzaga 70-to-69.  Portland will play the winner of Pepperdine and San Diego for the WCC Title.

On the Les Schwab Men’s College Basketball Scoreboard…

Eastern Washington beat Weber State 78-69 to claim the regular season Big-Sky Title Saturday.  In Pac-12 play, Arizona State topped Washington State 83-74 and Washington beat Arizona 69-63.

#2 Gonzaga plays San Francisco in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament tonight at 6 on ESPN.  That’s followed by Saint Mary’s and #15 BYU at 8:30 on ESPN-2. 

The Wenatchee Wild’s season came to an end Friday night at the Town Toyota Center in an 8-3 loss to Vernon…

The Vipers left little doubt that they would wrap up the best-of-seven series in Game 5 by scoring the first three goals of the game in the 1st period.  Scoring goals for Wenatchee in the losing-cause were Nick Cafarelli, Matt Dorsey and Brett Chorske. 

Vernon won the series 4-1 and now move on to face Penticton in the next round of the Fred Page Cup.

San Francisco topped the Mariners in Cactus League play Sunday 8-to-4…

Seattle was led at the plate by JP Crawford with a 2-run triple and Donovan Walton with a solo home run.  Justus Sheffield impressed again on the mound with his third start, going 3-innings and allowing 1-run on 3-hits with 5-strikeouts.

The Mariners are in Phoenix tonight for a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Thanks Eric.

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 Jefferson Robbins, I’ll see you again here tomorrow night.