NCWLIFE Evening News October 3, 2019


Good evening and welcome to the NCWLIFE Evening News. I’m Jefferson Robbins, filling in this week for Grant Olson. He’s out this week, hopefully enjoying this beautiful Wenatchee Valley weather. Today’s top news stories are coming up, but first, let’s take a quick look outside our weather window…

We’ve had an unbroken streak of mild temperatures and sun all week, since the cold moved in over the weekend and into Monday. We are likely to see some lower temps creep into the picture, very subtly, over the weekend and early next week, but in the meantime, enjoy what you get. Eric Granstrom will be along soon with your full weather outlook, but first, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight:

An Okanogan County hero is dead, more than a month after his injury battling a wildfire.

Chelan County may soon have new resources to aid its homeless population.

And the iconic Saddle Rock gets a much-needed toxic tidying.

But first up in news …

Christian Johnson, the assistant fire chief for Okanogan County Fire District 3, died Wednesday from injuries he sustained fighting the Spring Coulee Fire in early September. Johnson, an Okanogan resident, had been at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle since September First after suffering burns to more than half his body. He was 55. Johnson and another firefighter were outside a brush truck when he was overcome by flames. The other firefighter was able to escape. The Spring Coulee Fire burned 142 acres before being contained. State Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz said in a statement today QUOTE Everyone at DNR is holding the family of Assistant Chief Christian Johnson in our hearts. Christian, an Army veteran and a member of Okanogan County Fire District 3, is a hero. UNQUOTE

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says it’s identified a second suspect in a Sept. 27 robbery at a Banks Lake campsite, where one man was arrested after being run over by a getaway car. Kye M. Shelton, 31, is sought for allegedly helping to steal two portable Honda generators from a campsite. The campers returned to find their site being looted, and chased the group of suspects, who fled in two vehicles. One suspect, Joseph Aaron Lacey, 19, of Yakima, was run over by one of the two getaway vehicles, and later arrested. Deputies say Shelton was among the suspects who fled. Anyone spotting Shelton or the vehicles, or having related information, should call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 884-0941 or 663-9911.

Here in the Wenatchee Valley, crews have been busy since September 16th removing arsenic-contaminated rocks and soil from the popular Saddle Rock hiking area. Big and small dump trucks have been hauling out the mining waste for transport to the landfill in East Wenatchee as part of the first phase of the cleanup. Hiking access to Saddle Rock remains open from either Dry Gulch or the trail near the Wenatchee Racquet and Athletic Club. The main hiking trail is expected to remain closed through the end of November.

Just in time for that cleanup effort, Saddle Rock officially *became* Saddle Rock this week.

The state’s Board of Natural Resources on Tuesday formally designated the distinctive dual rock outcroppings under the Saddle Rock name, while the hilltop on which they rest became Saddle Gap. On some older maps, the hill was known as “Squaw Saddle,” derived from an outdated and derogatory term for Native American women. The Saddle Rock and Saddle Gap names are now official, as far as the state is concerned. The U.S. Geological Survey still must make the correction on all federal mapping systems, from which Google Maps and other guide services harvest their data.

Coming up next:

A little blue frog stands out from the crowd in a state biology survey.

And Megan McPherson introduces us to Little Remmy, the latest pup seeking a home in our Kennel Kameos feature.

That’s all just ahead. I’m Jefferson Robbins, and you’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Stay with us. 

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News.

There’s one special variety of frog that’s rare in Washington state, but even rarer when it comes in a different color. There are only between 700 and 1,500 Northern Leopard Frogs in the state, all of them residing in North Potholes Reservoir near Moses Lake. When biologists and volunteers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife surveyed that frog population back in August, they came across an unusual example of the species. Wildlife biologist Sean Dougherty [DOHRTY] explains:

Northern leopard frogs are an endangered species in the state, and a species of concern for federal wildlife agencies. The blue frog’s mutation is exciting, but its chances of passing on the trait aren’t so good — Dougherty says about 90 percent of the frogs die before they reach maturity.

Housing for Wenatchee Valley’s homeless population is the purpose of a new public/private program soon to be administered here. New legislation allows a larger portion of local sales tax revenue to be returned to cities and counties for that purpose. Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay says Chelan and Douglas Counties and the Cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee are collaborating on where and how the funds can best be used . . .

Overbay says data collected earlier this year showed a slight reduction in our area’s homeless population. He attributes that to the variety of services and programs offered locally. Revenue sharing agreements between the city and counties pay for programs that aid the homeless and low income.

You’re watching the NCWLIFE Evening News. Coming up next, Eric Granstom gives us all this weekend’s coming events, plus your complete local weather forecast. That and much more still to come. Stay with us.

Welcome back to the NCWLIFE Evening News. . .

Time now to find out what’s taking place this weekend.

In a season of home runs, Tampa Bay ranked towards the bottom of Major League Baseball as a team in that category.  You couldn’t have guessed that last night as the Rays hit four home runs to power past Oakland 5-to-1 in the American League Wild Card game…

Yandy Diaz led off the game with a shot to right center to give Tampa Bay the early lead it would never relinquish.  Avisail Garcia homered in the 2nd, followed by Diaz again in the 3rd.  It was 4-nothing Rays before Oakland knew what hit them.

Tommy Pham put the exclamation point on the night for the Rays with a solo shot in the 5th.  Charlie Morton earned the victory on the mound, going 5-innings and allowing 1-run on 5-hits with 4-strikeouts and 3-walks.

Tampa Bay advances to face Houston in the ALDS on Friday.

The playoffs officially get underway tonight with two games in the National League Divisional series.  St. Louis is in Atlanta to face the Braves at 3:02pm on TBS.  It’s Dallas Keuchel versus Miles Mikolas in that one.

Then at 5:37pm, the Dodgers host the Nationals on TBS.  Walker Buehler gets the start for Los Angeles while Patrick Corbin will go for Washington.

Both American League Divisional series get underway Friday as Houston entertains Tampa Bay at 11:05am on FS1 followed by Minnesota and New York in Yankee Stadium at 4:07 on the MLB Network.  Both NLDS game two’s will be Friday as well in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Here’s what we have on tap locally in high school sports…

In girls soccer today, Okanogan hosts Cascade while Chelan is at Brewster at 4 o’clock.  Manson welcomes Tonasket at 6.  That’s the same start time for Quincy at home against East Valley while Ephrata’s at Wapato.  Cashmere hosts Omak tonight at 6:30…

The Eastmont girls volleyball team is in Phoenix to take part in the Nike Tournament of Champions.  Close to home, Entiat is on the road at Easton at 5:30.  An hour later, it’s Soap Lake at Manson; Okanogan hosts Cascade; and Omak visits Cashmere.  Tonight at 7, Wenatchee plays at Eisenhower; Moses Lake hosts Davis; Quincy’s at Toppenish; and Ephrata takes on Grandview…

The Wenatchee girls swim team is on the road in Yakima at Lions Pool this afternoon taking on Davis and West Valley at 4 o’clock.

The Cashmere Bulldogs are off to a 3-and-1 start in Coach Bryan Bremer’s 2nd year at the helm…

His team will host Omak in each school’s league-opener Friday under the lights in Cashmere and in front of the NCWLIFE cameras.  He says he knows the Pioneers will be up for the challenge…

One of Cashmere’s 10-seniors is wide receiver and defensive back Reid Smith.  He says it took a while for everyone to adapt to Bremer’s approach…

Eric Granstrom and Grant Olson will have your play-by-play tomorrow night with the pregame starting at 6:45 from Cashmere High School.  We’ll also bring you a special half-time ceremony with the hall of fame inductions of former football coaches Bill Elliott and Jack Collins.

Wenatchee will be on the road for the first time this season tomorrow in Moses Lake.  Coach Scott Devereaux says with the Chiefs struggling, it would be too easy for his team to relax and get tripped up…

The Panthers are without Riley Kunz for the foreseeable future and have several others banged up going in.  Kickoff at Lions Field is at 7 o’clock.

The Eastmont Wildcats take a 4-and-oh record on the road to West Valley to take on the 1-and-3 Rams.  Eastmont Coach Michael Don says he’s excited to get into the Big-9 portion of their schedule after going undefeated in four non-league games…

Eastmont and West Valley kick off at Zaepfel Stadium at 7 o’clock.

Be sure to tune in to Wake Up Wenatchee Valley tomorrow morning for a break down of tonights Seahawks vs. Rams game on Thursday Night Football…

Both teams are off to 3-and-1 starts, so it’s an early test to see where Seattle ranks as it takes on the defending NFC Champions. 

We have our first Hockey Night of the season on the NCWLIFE Channel tonight…

Tonight’s game is from back in September between the Wenatchee Wild and Trail Smoke Eaters from the Town Toyota Center.  “Voice” of the Wenatchee Wild, Arch Ecker, will have your play-by-play tonight at 7 right here on your television home for the Wenatchee Wild, the NCWLIFE Channel.

Thanks Eric.

Time now for our weekly Kennel Kameos feature from the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. Today, NCWLife’s Megan McPherson introduces us to Remmy the dog. . .

Finally from us tonight, there’s a welcoming new addition to the Pybus Market Public Plaza – “River Dance,” a depiction of leaping salmon by the late Cashmere artist William Reese.

Reese passed away in 2010 after a lifetime creating bronzes and paintings in his Wenatchee Valley studio. His widow Fran spoke at the dedication Wednesday, as part of the Taste of Pybus fundraiser for the market’s nonprofit foundation. Another version of “River Dance” also sits in the front plaza of the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village.

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 And, remember, if you see news happening we’d like to hear from you.  You can send us an email at, or give us a call 888-NCWL (6295). Also, keep it right here on the NCWLIFE Channel tomorrow morning for Wake Up Wenatchee Valley, with host Dan Kuntz. Filling in for Grant Olson, I’m Jefferson Robbins. We’ll see you here tomorrow night.