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.

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U.S. Department of Energy

 

President Barack Obama’s budget would spend $2.3 billion on cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in 2016.

But it shifts the focus of cleanup. The proposed budget would spend more on cleanup of the tank waste and a massive plant meant to treat that sludge. But the president’s proposed budget would cut about $100 million from the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations office.

USDA

 

Another new case of bird flu has popped up in northern Washington state. This one is a hobby and 4-H program flock in Oroville, Washington, not far from the Canadian border.

It’s mostly chickens and waterfowl. Another, larger flock 40 miles south in Riverside, Washington is on the chopping block as early as Tuesday.

Anna King

 

Washington state has set a six-mile quarantine circle around a new major bird flu site in near Riverside in north-central Washington.

About 5,000 birds — mainly ducks but also geese, turkeys and chickens — are in the infected flock.

Anna King

Government agriculture officials will kill 5,000 pheasants and turkeys due to a bird flu outbreak at a hunting operation Washington's Okanogan county.

About 40 birds at a game farm in Riverside, Wash. were ill over the weekend and tested positive for bird flu. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state of Washington will kill the entire flock and establish a quarantine around it.

Seattle E.R. nurse Marc Bouma is back in the Northwest after treating Ebola patients in a remote part of Liberia.

Anna King

 

Three new hot spots of bird flu have been found in wild ducks and domestic birds in Idaho.

A second Oregon case was confirmed last week in a wild duck near Eugene. And a flock of 118 birds was euthanized over the weekend in Port Angeles, Washington.

Anna King

 

Several major markets for U.S. poultry products have shut down trade after discoveries of avian flu in the west, including the Tri-Cities, Washington.

Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture is testing flocks there.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

 

Lab workers at the Washington State University secure pathogen labs in Pullman and Puyallup are working overtime to test avian flu cases from poultry in the Northwest.

Atomic Heritage Foundation

 

When the federal government decided to make plutonium in southeast Washington, early farmers and whole villages of Native Americans were kicked out. Now a new collection of oral histories tells some of these stories of the Hanford site.

Kurion

 

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.”

Anna King

Fisheries experts say the return of chinook salmon to the Columbia River may not quite break records this fall as expected.

Last year’s run of nearly 1.3 million salmon was a record, but future years may not bring those kinds of numbers.

University of Idaho Digital Initiatives

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, U.S. government officials rounded up Japanese Americans and sent them to harsh, ill-equipped camps. Now, the National Park Service has announced $3 million in new grants to help preserve that important history.

Stacey Camp, an associate professor at the University of Idaho, is leading an effort to survey the Kooskia Internment site with help from federal Park Service grants.

Anna King

As autumn’s golden light bathes the Northwest, wineries across the region are harvesting, crushing grapes and making wine full bore. This year’s fruit looks petite and powerful.

Jim Holmes, owner of the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain in southeast Washington, is one of the godfathers of the state’s wine industry. He says this year's grapes don't show signs of disease, mold or bird damage. 

Anna King

Hunkered low on the front deck of a yurt are two twentysomethings. The hut is plopped in the middle of a winding mountain canyon in Washington’s Methow Valley near the town of Twisp.

Patty Cho and Sal Asaro are picking out a few tunes. They felt the urge to sing Creedence Clearwater’s “Bad Moon Rising.” Asaro tunes up his banjo, and Cho, cross-legged, starts singing softly in tune while picking her guitar.

“I see a bad moon a-risin’,” she sings. “I see trouble on the way, I see earthquakes and lightnin', I see bad times today.”

This is their new theme song.

Anna King

Kent Stokes can’t believe who survived the Carlton Complex wildfire. It was both his pet cat, and his arch nemesis: an early-morning chattering gray squirrel.

When 28-year-old Stokes returned to the ruins of his burnt-up shop and home, he was happy to find at least the cat.

“I heard him meowing through the brush or whatever was left,” Stokes said. “He came running out. He came through fine. Not a singe mark on him. The squirrel and the cat made it through all that fire.”

JJ Williams / Kiona Vineyards

Wine harvest is underway in a small growing region in southeast Washington called Red Mountain. The dusty wedge of earth has been attracting an increasing amount of investment from winemakers from Napa, Canada and even Italy.

In the late-1970s, Red Mountain was mostly sagebrush. A primitive road slashed through the desert. Today, there are only small islands of desert peeking out from a sea of green grape vines.

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