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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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
8:57 am
Mon July 4, 2011

Hanford employees told to 'reach out' with safety concerns

RICHLAND, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Energy says it doesn't agree with the finding that the safety culture at Hanford is "flawed." Even so, the department says that it's working to make improvements at the waste treatment plant under construction in southeast Washington.

That's the upshot of a letter released Friday after a federal nuclear watchdog raised questions about Hanford’s massive plant.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
8:54 am
Mon July 4, 2011

Hanford safety board reacts to energy secretary Chu’s letter

RICHLAND, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Energy says it believes its safety culture at Hanford is “strong.” But the agency said in letter Friday it’s also working to make improvements. The letter is a response to criticism from a federal nuclear watchdog that called Energy’s safety culture at Hanford’s waste treatment plant “flawed.”

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Data Centers
2:06 pm
Mon June 27, 2011

High-tech ‘crops’ growing fast in Quincy, but will the bounty last?

Tim Snead, Quincy’s city administrator, stands in front of some of the new data centers that are being built on the edge of town.
Anna King Northwest News Network

QUINCY, Wash. – Located just north of the Gorge in the eastern part of the state, the town of Quincy used to be a stop for trains to get more water. But in the last five years it’s quickly becoming a regional center for the online world. That’s because email messages, family photos and tax info are being stored in huge data centers here.

It’s a new kind of crop for this rural farming community, but some are asking if the bounty will last?

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
1:36 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

DOE writes employees about criticism of Hanford safety

RICHLAND, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Energy is defending its safety culture at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. The agency sent its workers a letter in response to harsh criticism this month in a report by a federal nuclear watchdog.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
3:22 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

Investigation finds ‘flawed’ safety culture at Hanford

A high-level whistleblower from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is meeting with members of Congress this week. The topic: the safety culture at Hanford’s $12 billion waste treatment plant. A new report backs up his claim that the Department of Energy and its contractors discourage workers from raising safety concerns.

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Environment
10:40 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Science behind Hanford treatment tanks questioned

RICHLAND, Wash. - A federal nuclear watchdog agency is questioning some of the science behind a massive treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. In a letter released Thursday, federal examiners say key treatment tanks could pose risks.

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Business
9:06 am
Wed June 8, 2011

Sick Hanford workers say safety still not a priority

About 50 workers from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation complained about health and safety issues at a meeting in Richland on Tuesday night. The conference was organized by Hanford Challenge, a watchdog group.

Most who attended the meeting complained they aren’t being compensated adequately for their health problems. They also said Hanford contractors and the federal government aren’t keeping workers safe in places like the nuclear waste tank farms.

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The Northwest's Late Spring
12:58 pm
Wed May 25, 2011

Wine makers fret over cool spring, still hope for good vintage

Carlos Valencia harvests riesling grapes on the farm of Mike Miller, near Prosser, Wash. File photo.
Elaine Thompson AP

Northwest winemakers are holding out hope for a good 2011 vintage despite this being the coldest spring they can remember in decades. Growers say they’re plants are about three weeks behind their usual growth for this time of year.

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NUCLEAR RISKS
3:06 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Study: Earthquakes near Hanford not as unlikely as first thought

For years top scientists have said a big earthquake near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is highly unlikely in our lifetimes. Now, a new geological study is being published, and what it says is shaking up assumptions.

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Natural Disasters
1:15 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

As Yakima River Flood Waters Recede, Residents Clean Up

Portions of Gomer Road near Richland, Wash. are closed due to water over the roadway.
Benton County Emergency Services Dept.

Some areas of the Northwest remain at risk of flooding. But residents along the Yakima River are cleaning up flood damage as the water recedes.

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Wildlife reintroduction
2:45 pm
Thu May 12, 2011

Pygmy rabbits face possible last stand in the state

Fish and wildlife agents work to construct a temporary enclosure for pygmy rabbits on Sagebrush Flats Wildlife Area north of Ephrata.
Anna King N3

In north central Washington, scientists are trying once again to reintroduce a tiny endangered rabbit species into a big, predator-ridden landscape. Next week, scientists plan to release about 100 young pygmy rabbits, each one the size of a tennis ball.

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ENVIRONMENT
2:12 pm
Tue April 26, 2011

Questions remain about piping Hanford's nuclear waste

One of the most difficult challenges at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is moving radioactive waste from point “A” to point “B.” The federal government is spending billions of dollars on a waste treatment plant. Piping that radioactive waste across the desert is sort of like getting ketchup out of a bottle. But it’s a whole lot more complicated and dangerous.

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Living in Gangland
4:00 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Some women don't choose gang life, but it affects them nonetheless

Anna King Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part three of "Living In Gangland," we profile a mother and daughter and their struggle with gangs.

Across the nation there are an estimated 750,000 gang members. That's according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Some of them are women, but more often, women are impacted as the mothers, sisters and girlfriends of gang memgers. They may not actively choose the gang life, but its perils affect them nonetheless.

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Living in Gangland
4:00 am
Tue April 12, 2011

Activist in tiny Outlook, Washington wants a town where people aren't afraid

A sign promoting a community meeting in Outlook, Wash. a dairy town near Yakima.
Anna King Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part two of "Living in Gangland," we bring you the story of the unincorporated town of Outlook, in Eastern Washington - and one woman who is fighting to get the town back.

When "Maria" gets off Interstate 82 and heads down the off ramp for Outlook – she starts praying -  that she’ll get home safe today.

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Public Health
2:40 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Northwest very familiar with Iodine-131

An alfalfa field near Richland, Wash., Mar. 30, 2011.
Anna King Northwest News Network

The small amounts of radioactive Iodine-131 found in milk in Spokane has been causing ripples of concern throughout the Northwest. Officials say the tiny amounts of radiation found in the milk were probably blown over from Japan’s stricken nuclear plants.

Just outside the Tri-Cities, Drex Gauntt’s alfalfa fields roll out like a plush emerald shag carpet. One of the ways that cows can pass Iodine-131 into their milk is by eating grass or hay that’s been contaminated with the radioactive isotope. Gauntt says he’s not too concerned.

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