WENATCHEE, WA – It’s time for NCWLIFE Evening News with Grant Olson for Wednesday, September 6, 2017. And now, a few of the stories we’re following for you tonight —a march is held in honor of Matthew Folden focusing on the De-Escalate Washington I-940 campaign, the Cold Case Murder Trial continues and Governor Inslee visits the Jolly Mountain Fire basecamp. Later on, we’ll have sports, your weather forecast and our feature story today.
The investigation is wrapping up in the police officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of a Wenatchee man. A news release issued yesterday afternoon by the Special Investigation Unit outlined the sequence of events as they unfolded outside an Albertson’s Grocery store where Mathew Folden was shot and killed by officer Albert Gonzalez. The report says the officer was the first to respond to a 911 call reporting a man screaming and yelling walking around with a knife in the store’s parking lot. Gonzalez maintained that Folden was the aggressor and the store’s surveillance video and four witnesses corroborated the officer’s claim. Investigators say Gonzalez was heard on his radio commanding Folden to get on the ground and then fired three shots. Gonzalez told investigators Folden was still holding the knife after being shot but dropped it on the officer’s order. The investigation is ongoing and according to Chelan County Undersheriff, Jason Mathews, could last another month.
Around 75 people braved smoke-filled skies to take to the streets of downtown Wenatchee earlier today and march in honor of Matt Folden. The march was also an opportunity for supporters and organizers to push new legislation called, I-940 de-escalate Washington. Kenzie Converse, organizer of the march, says in light of the incidents surrounding the death of Matt Folden, law enforcement officers need to be trained on how to defuse, not intensify, a life-and-death situation. A petition was circulated at the event in support of I-940 and the peaceful march also featured various speakers and live music.
Witness testimony ended today in the Swaim murder trial. The jury heard closing arguments Wednesday afternoon after receiving instructions from Chelan County Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan. 61-year old Bernard Swaim and his former wife Dawn Marie Soles are accused of First Degree Murder in the 1982 death of Stephen Smith, whom Soles had divorced prior to her marriage to Swaim. Soles was the prosecution’s star witness who identified Swaim as Smith’s killer. Soles’ statements to investigators was cited as instrumental in the re-opening of the 35-year old cold-case murder. Soles’ testimony was called into question by defense attorney, Nick Yedinak, who brought forward witnesses, including another former spouse, who claimed Soles had a history of being untruthful. The jury went into deliberations following closing arguments and receiving final instructions from Judge Allen.
Wildfires burning in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Southern Alberta, British Columbia and here at home in Washington have surrounded us, which has ultimately led to our very poor air quality. Visibility in the Wenatchee Valley yesterday was about two blocks with obscured views of the foothills and an orange-red sun. Wildfire smoke contains very small particles and gases, including carbon monoxide, which can get into eyes, throat and lungs where they can cause health problems. Carol McCormick, Personal Health Administrator at Chelan-Douglas Health tells us who is most at risk. Health officials also say that inhaling smoke is not good for anyone, even healthy people, so all area residents should stay indoors if possible and to avoid physical exertion outdoors.
Governor Jay Inslee was in Cle Elum yesterday for a tour of the Jolly Mountain Fire. The fire has burned over 23-thousand acres of timber land and continues to threaten homes in Kittitas County. The Governor held a news conference following his visit with Fire commanders. He maintains that the current rash of wildfires around the Northwest are tied to global warming. There will be a community meeting regarding the Jolly Mountain Fire Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Walter Strom Middle School in Cle Elum.
An update now on area wildfires. The Jack Creek Fire, burning 15 miles southwest of Leavenworth has now burned 2,154-acres. On Tuesday, the fire moved south up the Jack Creek drainage toward Stuart Pass. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest officials have implemented a trail and area closure in the Enchantments permit area and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Jack Creek fire officials say the fire is burning in the right place, at the right time, with the right resources, for the right reason…meaning the Jack Creek Fire is playing its natural ecological role. The Uno Peak Fire continues to burn along steep slopes of the east shore of Lake Chelan on USFS lands. The fire is located about 15 air miles from Manson and has now burned 6,159-acres. The fire began on August 30th and continues to burn in timber, heavy-downed wood, brush and grass. Aggressive firefighting will employed today to control the spread of the fire toward Manson. Priority will also be placed on protecting campground facilities and homes in the direct vicinity of the fire. The Uno Peak Fire is currently 1-percent contained. Meanwhile, the largest fire currently burning in Washington is the 95,000-acre Diamond Creek Fire. Its burning within the Pasayten Wilderness and Eightmile drainage approximately 12 air miles north of Mazama. The fire has been burning since July 23rd in extreme terrain which has limited the direct response actions that might normally be taken to put out a fire. The huge blaze is 65-percent contained as ground crews and helicopters continue to protect nearby homes, communities and various structures in the area.
A train trestle caught fire yesterday in the Cashmere area. It started around 4:45 in the afternoon in the area of River Street. Crews from multiple fire districts responded and had the fire contained in short order. According to incident commanders, damage was limited to the trestle structure and no homes were threatened. Sunset Highway was re-opened but River Street remained closed overnight. BNSF Crews were in the process of evaluating damage to rail cars and crossing. The cause is under investigation.
5th District Congressman Dave Reichert has announced he will not seek reelection in 2018. He posted on his Facebook page this morning that he has decided to “pursue new opportunities to serve the country and the American people”. He added that his decision has been difficult and that he looks forward to spending time with his family. Reichert’s decision leaves open the race for 5th Congressional District representing King, Pierce, Kittitas and Chelan Counties.
The high school sports calendar in our region took an early hit yesterday because of the smoke from forest fires with several postponements. As we take a look at the Les Schwab Scoreboard…every outdoor event that was slated for yesterday was postponed due to the poor air quality from smoke. In fact, all other practices for outdoor sports including football, soccer and cross country had to be moved inside for teams throughout the region, which will probably be the case again for today. They were able to play some volleyball INSIDE last night, as Okanogan swept Waterville 3-nil and Cascade travelled to Naches Valley and picked up a 3-1 win. There are several soccer matches that are scheduled for tomorrow that we’ll wait and see if they’ll be played, including one that was supposed to air LIVE on the NCWLIFE Channel between Cascade and Eastmont at 7 o’clock. Stay tuned.
Here is what’s on tap for tomorrow…
In Soccer, Chelan at Quincy at 6, Ellensburg at Cashmere at 6:30 and that Cascade/Eastmont match at 7pm if they are able to play in the smoke.
Meanwhile, they will play volleyball tomorrow with Chelan hosting Wenatchee; Quincy at Cashmere and Lake Roosevelt hosting Manson at 6:30. Cascade is scheduled to be at Ellensburg at 7.
Cameron Maybin had one of Houston’s two hits in the game last night against Seattle, but it was the one that mattered as the Astro’s won its 6th straight, downing the Mariners 3-1 at Safeco Field. Back to the Les Schwab Scoreboard. Maybin hit a 3-2 pitch off reliever Emilio Pagan (puh-GONE) for the Astro’s first hit of the game in the 7th to plate two and break a 1-1 tie. Prior to the 7th, Seattle starter Ariel Miranda gutted through six, hitless innings on the mound, allowing just one run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third. Manager Scott Servais had high praise for Miranda’s efforts. Verlander went six in his Astros debut after being traded to Houston from Detroit. He allowed one run on 6-hits with 7 strikeouts. Kyle Seager homered for the second-consecutive game and Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 with three singles. Servais was asked if he’s frustrated to have a guy go out and throw a no-hitter for six innings, allow just two hits in the entire game, and STILL not get a win. Seattle will try to salvage the final game of the series tonight at 7:10 when they’ll send Andrew Moore to face Lance McCullers Junior.
So with the Mariner’s loss, let’s check the Les Schwab Scoreboard on the rest of the American League in that Wild Card race last night. Baltimore gained ground by beating New York 7-6, so the Orioles are a game out. The Angels leap-frogged Minnesota into the 2nd Wild Card spot by virtue of LA’s 8-7, 10-inning win in Oakland while the Twins fell at Tampa Bay 2-1. The Rays’ win puts them 2-and-a-half games back while Seattle is now 3-games out after the loss to Houston. Texas’ game at Atlanta was postponed due to rain.
Tonight through Thursday: As we take a look at our satellite loop, notice the strong ridge of high pressure that remains anchored over Southern Idaho. Because of that area of high pressure, air quality will remain between unhealthy and hazardous with little to no improvement expected until Friday. We are still tracking moisture that you see trickling up from the south, which should lead to some cumulus development along the Cascade Crest both tonight and Thursday afternoon. There is a small chance that a few high based showers or t-storms develop but the threat continues to remain very low. Nonetheless, a slight chance has been maintained on the crest for Thursday afternoon into the evening hours.
Thursday night through Saturday: This period will bring a change to the current stagnant warm and smoky pattern, which has choked the area over the past week. Models are in good agreement with the timing of this evolution…featuring a marriage of the remains of a tropical system off the California coast with the incoming Gulf of Alaska trough that is trickling down from the Northwest. This conglomerated feature will approach the forecast area by Thursday evening effectively shoving the sprawling western US ridge axis east of the region producing noticeably cooler temperatures in our area. Then, after a somewhat cool weekend, temperatures will begin to warm up again next week.