Anna King

Richland Correspondent

Anna King, KPLU’s and N3’s Richland-based reporter, has been covering the Mid-Columbia since the spring of 2007. Before that she was a print reporter for the Tri-City Herald where she covered the environment, Native Americans, agriculture and Northwest wine. A Washington native, she's also a regular contributor to the magazine Wine Press Northwest and was a contributing author to the guide book Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest. Anna's memorable moment in public radio: "Being dusted from head-to-toe by a potato digger during harvest. Every square inch of me was covered in fine sand. Public radio is a dirty job!"

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An environmental cleanup company with engineering headquarters in Richland, Washington has just flown its second water treatment system to Japan with a massive plane.

It’s intended to treat thousands of gallons of radioactive water leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.

Anna King

 

A slowdown at western ports is now aggravating farmers across the Northwest.

Produce processors are laying off production line workers. Apples are backing up. And the summer’s premium hay is stacked in sheds and not moving.

U.S. Department of Energy

 

A bill that passed Thursday in the U.S. House includes big changes for the Tri-Cities. 

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 would create a new set of national parks in honor of the top-secret Manhattan Project. That would include a museum at Hanford and other historical sites.

Courtesy of the Kilian Family.

Farmers in eastern Washington are busy festooning their dusty machines with thousands of Christmas lights for the annual Sunnyside Lighted Farm Implement Parade.

Tobin Fricke / Wikimedia

 

For the third time this week, there are calls to protect workers from hazardous vapors at Hanford, this time from Washington’s congressional delegation.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Three groups with ties to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation announced Thursday they intend to sue the federal government and its contractor.

They say Hanford leaders aren’t doing enough to protect workers from harmful radioactive tank vapors.

 

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have been complaining of vapors from radioactive sludge for decades. They say the fumes give them sore throats, headaches and dizziness. 

Now Washington state says it intends to sue the U.S. Department of Energy in 90 days if more isn’t done to protect these workers.

You’ve probably noticed the arctic air mass from the North Pole, nuzzling in close here for an icy hug. What you might not have thought of are the cold apples in the Northwest and the people struggling to harvest the last of them.

Anna King

The Carlton Complex fires burned more than 255,000 acres in Washington’s Methow Valley past summer. There are thousands of fire-scrubbed hillsides and slopes that threaten to become torrents of mud running down in nearly every direction.

Some slopes burned so hot this summer that there’s little left alive. Even the seeds are gone. Now federal and state agencies are planting nearly 10,000 acres of native seed by plane on public land. The seed mixture and planes cost about $140 per acre sown.

Andrea Parrish - Geyer / Flickr

Washington apples will soon be packed aboard boats to China. The Chinese government approved market access to Northwest fruit Wednesday after a two-year market closure.

Courtesy of Marc Bouma

Northwest medical professionals are getting ready for Ebola. Some are volunteering to fly out and help patients in west Africa. Others are practicing and equipping their hospitals to receive a case if needed.

Marc Bouma, an E.R. nurse at Seattle's Swedish Hospital, is taking a leave of absence for Ebola. This Sunday, he’s flying to a remote county in southeast Liberia.

myriverguide.com / Flickr

Construction begins this week on a state project in the Methow Valley to give fish a boost of cold, clean water in rivers near Twisp, Washington. The state and a trout conservation group are pouring about $10 million into a whole new irrigation system there.

Anna King

In rural parts of the Northwest, many believe owning a gun is sort of like owning a garden trowel. You just have one or two around.

In November, Washington voters will decide on two gun-related initiatives. Initiative 594 aims to close loopholes on gun sales without background checks. The initiative is likely to pass, according to a recent poll. But in rural Washington, some people are skeptical the initiative will hit its intended target.

U.S. Department of Energy

The Environmental Protection Agency intends to fine the U.S. Department of Energy up to $10,000 per week if radioactive waste just a stone's throw from the Columbia River isn’t cleaned up.

Behind the old called the K-West reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is a huge concrete swimming pool-like basin. It was built in the 1950s and meant to last for 20 years. That’s where workers dumped hot irradiated rods until they cooled. Later, they were shuttled off to be further refined into plutonium for bombs.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

People of the Methow Valley and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation were hoping for more money to rebuild hundreds of lost homes and livelihoods.

But the federal government, for the second time, turned down the application by Washington state for more aid. This time, FEMA said the effects of the fire were not severe enough "to warrant the designation of Individual Assistance.”

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