Anna King

Richland Correspondent

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.

The South Sound was her girlhood backyard and she knows its rocky beaches, mountain trails and cities well. She left the west side to attend Washington State University and spent an additional two years studying language and culture in Italy.

While not on the job, Anna enjoys trail running, clam digging, hiking and wine tasting with friends. She's most at peace on top a Northwest mountain with her husband Andy Plymale and their muddy Aussie-dog Poa.

Ways to Connect

Early this year, piles of deep snow drifted into Burns, Oregon, and so did the outsiders and their money. Gas stations, cafes and hotels are seeing packed crowds in normally sleepy winter.

For businesses, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation is a boom. After Christmas in Burns, some local businesses just shutter for months until spring. Others, like the America’s Best Value Inn usually lay off most of their staff.

Maid Liz Houer said she usually doesn’t have enough work this time of year to keep on.

At a community meeting Monday night, Harney County Sheriff David Ward once again called for the Bundy brothers and their group to depart in peace. He said more than a week’s occupation of the east Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge needs to end now.

Just several miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, ranchers say they’re unafraid of the armed occupiers.

In southeast Oregon Monday, about a half-dozen armed men cut fences between government land and a private ranch near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Last February, three Pasco Police officers shot and killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes in a crowded intersection. Zambrano-Montes had been throwing rocks. This week, the Mexican farmworker’s mother filed suit in federal district court.

In east Oregon, Harney County has seen more tourists -- a lot of them Baby-Boomer birders. Now bird-watchers and business leaders alike are fretting over the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by an armed group.

Native American tribes, cattle barons, trappers, farmers and wildlife advocates have all fought over what’s now known as Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon for centuries.

Many eastern Oregon school children are getting a few more days of holiday this week near Burns. Parents and school officials are worried about security for children since an armed group began occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Some southeast Oregon ranchers near Burns can sympathize with the armed group that’s taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ranchers in Harney County said they are frustrated with federal policy that can complicate ranching, logging and farming.

This winter’s heavy snows have brought hungry elk and deer down out of the hills into Northwest towns. That’s a recipe for trouble.

Conservationists in Washington’s Tri-Cities are nearing a deal to secure a trail right-of-way on a scenic peak. That would get closer to the goal of establishing a 20-mile trail that could offer sunny, dry hiking at times of year when most trails elsewhere in the Northwest are muddy or snow covered.

White Pass near Mount Rainier is open to drivers and skiers, but damage from washouts and rockslides has reduced Highway 12 to one lane in two spots.

In 1944, the U.S. pinned its hope on a secret project to win World War II. The government was counting on the B Reactor at Hanford in southeast Washington state to make enough plutonium in time. One of the physicists working against the clock was a 24-year-old woman: Leona (Woods) Marshall Libby.

Federal officials are conducting an investigation after plutonium escaped off the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state. The plutonium is left over from a Cold War era factory at Hanford where plutonium was processed from a liquid into a solid form for bombs.

Last year several flocks throughout the Northwest were killed off and disposed of, plus many more in the Midwest. Now Washington state agriculture officials are better prepared for high-pathogenic strains of bird flu.

Washington’s White Pass on U.S. Highway 12 near Mount Rainier is still closed both eastbound and westbound. Crews are still working 24/7 to open the high Cascade pass by Christmas, but winter storms might slow that work down.

U.S. Highway 12 at White Pass is still closed to all but local residents both east and west. The state’s Department of Transportation is working to clear three rockslides and one washout. But there is still no estimate for reopening the highway.

The federal government announced Friday that it would send $1 million each to Washington and Oregon for fast road repairs after heavy storms this week. Both Washington and 13 counties in Oregon are under emergency declarations.

Washington state transportation officials have crews out assessing the damage to White Pass on U.S. Highway 12 near Mt. Rainier Thursday. There’s no estimate yet of when the high pass will reopen after heavy rains tore the roadway out in several places and caused rockslides.

Washington and Oregon geologists are warning residents of a higher risk for landslides than usual this week. Several storms moving through the region have quickly drenched steep slopes.

A fresh agricultural foe has orchardists bulldozing and burning cherry trees across Washington and Oregon.

Wherever she was, she stood out for being half white, or half Japanese. Shirley Olinger will only whisper the racist names she was called as a girl.

In 1987, late in the Cold War, in a government reading room in Richland, Washington, a historian was studying newly released documents about the Hanford nuclear reservation. Then, a strange man approached her.

Three people are suing the State of Washington over the response to 2014’s Carlton Complex fire. The fire, initially called the Golden Hike fire, was started by lightning. Plaintiffs David and Deannis Schulz and John Clees say it started as just a few acres and that the state could have contained it.

Following a summer of record wildfires across the Northwest, Washington state officials worry that residents in burned-over areas could be facing floods and mud in the wake of incoming storms.

A handful of fairly-famous Eastern Washington winemakers and cult foodies have strong roots in France. One of them, Walla Walla winemaker Gilles Nicault, has felt really far away from his family in the wake of the ISIS attack on Paris.

Hanford officials and community boosters In southeast Washington are hosting a celebration Thursday at an historic nuclear reactor. A signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday made the Manhattan Project National Historical Park official.

Northwest farmers are watching several bills closely in Congress that would try to keep trade moving through ports in the event of a labor dispute.

Cleaning up the central part of the Hanford nuclear reservation will take even longer. That’s the bottom line of a series of regional public comment meetings kicking off Wednesday in Richland, Washington.

Alcoa announced Monday it will curtail major parts of its aluminum operations in Wenatchee and Ferndale, Washington. The move will likely leave hundreds of people looking for work.

Pages