NCWLIFE Evening News November 15, 2019

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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, A class action lawsuit  that was close to settlement between migrant farmworkers and Stemilt Ag Services is now being reconsidered. The City of Wenatchee will enter the coming year with a balanced budget, and, As the Wenatchee School Board sets about reshaping itself for the second time in two years, Superintendent Paul Gordon has suggested yet another change might be worth exploring, we will tell you about it.   

But first, we begin tonight. . .

Three juveniles in a stolen car led East Wenatchee Police on a short but high-speed chase early Thursday morning.

Sargent Joe Hinkle said it started about 2:00 a.m. on Valley Mall Parkway when an officer spotted a vehicle that had been reported stolen in Wenatchee. The driver sped away from the officer, reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour. The chase went onto Sunset Highway before the suspect turned onto 13th Street, where they eventually pulled over. Hinkle said the car belonged to a relative of one of the juveniles and police are still sorting that out, as well as determining who was driving. Hinkle said at a minimum, charges against the driver are likely.

A class action lawsuit  that was close to settlement between migrant farmworkers and Stemilt Ag Services is now being reconsidered.

Lawyers for two farm laborers who worked for Stemilt under an H-2A contract say their clients weren’t included in the proposed $200,000 settlement, because notices of the lawsuit did not reach them by U.S. mail at their homes in Mexico. They say other workers may have also been unfairly left out of the lawsuit. Lawyers for both sides were due to settle the case in Chelan County Superior Court Nov. 8. That hearing date has since been rescheduled. The case deals with unpaid back wages to more than 10,500 ag workers who picked and sorted fruit for Stemilt over a three-year period.

With that unanimous council vote the City of Wenatchee will enter the coming year with a balanced budget. But there are signs of looming financial problems going forward. 2020 General Fund revenues and expenses are both 6% higher than this year’s budget. The Council has approved spending 2 million dollars in carry-over funds to pay for one-time projects to improve service levels, complete projects, and create efficiencies.

The 2020 budget totaling over $107.4 million dollars in spending includes almost $37 million in capital projects such as, Saddle Rock Trail Restoration, North Wenatchee Redevelopment, the New City Hall, old City Hall remodel for lease, Confluence Parkway environmental studies, Skyline reservoir transmission line, Olds Station sanitary sewer, 9th Street BNSF Crossing and several other projects.

Budget writers report Wenatchee’s economy has been strong the past several years, but is anticipated to plateau in the coming years. They say many economists project a mild recession starting in 2021 prompting concerns about possible belt-tightening in the future. There were no comments submitted by the public at Thursday’s final budget hearing.

As the Wenatchee School Board sets about reshaping itself for the second time in two years, Superintendent Paul Gordon has suggested yet another change might be worth exploring: electing board members by district instead of having all at-large seats. As Gordon bid farewell to Sunny Hemphill and Karina Vega-Villa, who were defeated in last Tuesday’s election, and discussed replacing Sarah Knox, who has resigned, he floated the districting idea. . .

Breaking elected positions into districts is something the Wenatchee City Council recently did with the goal of more diverse representation. The new board will discuss Gordon’s idea at its November 26th meeting.

Coming up next, In a low-key announcement yesterday, 4th District Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse announced his decision to run for another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The hiking trails on Saddle Rock will be re-opened November 27th as the first phase of the Saddle Rock remediation project is wrapping up, and, Sergeant Jeff Middleton, who has been with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office for 35 years, is retiring.  I’m Grant Olson and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News.

Welcome back, and in other news. . .

In a low-key announcement yesterday, 4th District Republican Congressman Dan Newhouse announced his decision to run for another term in the U.S. House of Representatives. In a conference call Thursday, Newhouse said, quote, “My intention is to run for a fourth term in 2020.” Newhouse handily won his last race in 2018, defeating Democrat Christine Brown with 63% of the vote.

The hiking trails on Saddle Rock will be re-opened November 27th as the first phase of the Saddle Rock remediation project is wrapping up. 

Phase one included the removal of waste rock and hydroseeding on four areas on the lower part of the mountain. The City urges hikers to avoid those areas. Final engineering of the phase two project is anticipated to get underway soon with construction occurring in late summer through the fall of 2020. 

That project will remove the waste rock on the upper areas of Saddle Rock and include trail work, planting of native vegetation and possibly the installation of benches and interpretive displays along the trail. Both phases of the project are funded predominantly through State Department of Ecology grants.

Sergeant Jeff Middleton, who has been with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office for 35 years, is retiring.

[IMG: Jeff Middleton]

Middleton’s long career includes a 1986 incident in which he was shot while in the line of duty. Just two years on the job, he was assisting the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in serving a warrant near Blewett Pass when he suffered the injury. He has served many roles during his three-and-a-half decade career with the sheriff’s office, including chief of operation and chief criminal deputy, as well as serving as a member of the drug task force and SWAT team.

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. . .

A state Auditor’s report found Wenatchee Valley narcotics detectives did not follow their own policies on cash handling, and miscounted handled thousands of dollars in seized drug money. NCWLIFE’s Jefferson Robbins has this report. . .

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.

As Eastmont and Wenatchee prepare for their most-important games of the season in the first round of the State 4A playoffs, both have suffered significant injuries…

Wenatchee will play #1 Kennedy Catholic tonight at Renton Memorial Stadium.  Coach Scott Devereaux says the best way to attack the Lancer’s vaunted offense is to keep the ball out of its hands…

Kennedy Catholic is 9-and-oh and have outscored opponents 50-to-15 on average this season.  The Panthers are 7-and-3 and held opponents to an average of 17-points a game.  They’ll kick off at Renton Memorial Stadium tonight at 7 o’clock and Eric will have reports throughout on our Facebook page, presented by One-Way Construction.

Eastmont will travel down Highway 97 today with a stop in Goldendale for practice and lunch before continuing to Camas tonight.  They’ll kick off with the Papermakers tomorrow at 2 o’clock. 

Eastmont Coach Michael Don says Camas is seeded second because they’re a really big, and really good…

Much has been made throughout the Wenatchee Valley by fans upset that Eastmont and Wenatchee were seeded so low in the 16-team tournament.  Both coaches agreed that until Big-9 teams start winning at State, state-wide expectations of the conference will remain low…

Eastmont and Camas play at Doc Harris Stadium in the suburb of Vancouver, Washington Saturday at 2 o’clock.

Cashmere will try to reach the quarterfinals of the State 1A Tournament with a win tonight over La Salle at Marquette Stadium.  The Bulldogs finished the season at 6-and-3 and earned a #15 seed.  The Lightning are 9-and-oh and the #2 seed.  Kickoff is at 7 o’clock.

The #8 seed Omak Pioneers host #9 seed Colville tomorrow at 1 o’clock in Omak.

Brewster drew the #1 team in the State 2B Tournament and will travel to Onalaska tonight to face the Loggers tonight at 6 o’clock.

The State 1B Tournament’s first round will feature Entiat hosting Cusick tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock.

Let’s open up the Les Schwab Scoreboard at the State B Volleyball Tournament in Yakima’s SunDome…

Almira-Coulee-Hartline will play for 3rd or 4th in the State 1B Volleyball Tournament after falling to Pomeroy this morning 3-1.  The Warriors won the first game 34-32!  I think that must have taken everything out of them.

Pateros dropped out of the tournament with a 3-1 loss this morning in the consolation bracket to Mount Vernon Christian.

Brewster is out of the State 2B Tournament after falling this morning to Liberty (Spangle) 3-0.

Chelan begins its quest for a State 1A title this afternoon at 3:15 against Zillah.  Okanogan’s first-round opponent at 5:15 is King’s.  Chelan will face either Charles Wright Academy or Lynden Christian tonight at 6:45.  The Bulldogs will face either Meridian or Castle Rock tonight at 8:15.

The Big-9 Girls Bowling season got underway yesterday with several matches in the Yakima Valley…

Eastmont fell to Eisenhower 3-1 at Knobb Hill Lanes.  Meanwhile at Minda Lanes, Wenatchee beat Davis 3-1 behind a 230 from Kylah Musgrove and 256 game from Kylah Hankins.  Coach Jeremy Anders also tells us that the Panthers rolled a 188 in the first Baker.

The 1A State Soccer Tournament continues for Cascade tomorrow in Spokane…

The Kodiaks will face Freeman in the quarterfinals at 3 o’clock at Gonzaga Prep High School.  The Scotties were the team that bounced fellow CTL school Cashmere from the tournament last weekend.

It’s Father’s Day weekend a few hours down the road in Pullman tomorrow…

The Cougars are hosting Stanford on the Palouse at 1:30.  You can watch the game on the Pac-12 Network.  Prior to that, Central Washington kicks off at 1 in Vancouver, B.C. against Simon Fraser.  Eastern Washington plays at Cal Poly at 5.  Washington has a bye.

The Wenatchee Wild are on the road this weekend north of the border…

Wenatchee plays at Penticton tonight, trying to snap a two-game losing streak to the Vee’s.  They’ll be at Salmon Arm Sunday for a 3 o’clock puck drop.

Thanks Eric.

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 night.