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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Anna King

When you think organic, you probably visualize fresh, sweet-smelling fruits and vegetables. But what makes that delicious organic produce grow?

The answer is digested fish parts mixed with molasses, which smells so bad that it’s been known to make farm workers gag.

Governor's Office

Gov. Jay Inslee got an up-close view of the drilling machines at work on the damaged Wanapum Dam in central Washington Wednesday, just one day after officials announced the dam’s massive crack was caused by fundamental design errors and bad concrete pours in 1960.

EPA

With the weather warming up, work has resuming at one of the largest Superfund sites in the nation. The EPA is trying to clear decades of mine pollution from Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin and the upper reaches of the Spokane River. And this summer, managers are using an environmental remedy you might not expect: pavement.

Grant County PUD

A host of problems caused the massive crack in Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River, the Grant County Public Utility District said Tuesday.

Northwest sweet cherry growers say they'll likely pick 20 million boxes full — their third largest haul ever — this season. But there’s plenty that can happen to cherries before then, even on the day of harvest.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah grow about two-thirds of the nation’s sweet cherries. And this year, demand should be even higher for those candy-like fruit as a result of the dismal cherry growing weather in California. The continuing drought in that state and poor pollination has thinned out their crops. 

Tobin Fricke / Flickr

The clock is ticking on the 40-day, 40-night compromise deadline between Washington state and the federal government for cleaning up Hanford’s leaking radioactive waste tanks.

But at Hanford’s annual update for the public in Richland this week, it was clear that any agreement between the state and the federal government is still a ways off.

Anna King

We’ve all heard of the Western Gold Rush. But how about the Northwest cattle rush?

Farmers in our region are taking advantage of record prices worldwide for dairy and beef. And on the front lines of this Northwest herd expansion is your friendly artificial insemination technician. So when you douse milk on your morning cereal, think of guys like Dean Hibbs.

Hibbs has been on breakneck drive to breed more cattle and hasn’t had a day off in weeks. He says cows in heat wait for no man.

Ed Andrieski / AP Photo

Farmers in eastern Washington who want to get into the marijuana business may face an immediate hurdle.

The U.S. government is currently deciding whether it will give growers access to federal water. The agricultural heart of the state depends on these irrigation systems. 

Grant County PUD

The cost fixing the cracked Wanapum Dam will total $61 million, according to Grant County PUD officials.

About one-third of the cost is the result of the investigation into the crack, the guarding of the river and the loss of power production. The rest will cover the fix itself.

Anna King

Hundreds of Chinook salmon are being rounded up and loaded into tanker trucks that will drive them around the cracked Wanapum Dam in southweast Washington.

The Columbia River will remain drawn down at least until June, which means fish can’t reach their traditional ladders. Engineers are working on extensions and water slides of sorts to get fish ladders working again. But work to install this new equipment has been difficult, with cranes, man baskets and the whipping wind.

 

Many Northwest alfalfa growers had a rough year with bad weather last summer. Rain can leach nutrients out of drying hay and rot away any profits. 

But this year, hay markets are primed if growers can duck the storm clouds. Drought in California and parts of the Midwest means hay buyers are focusing in on Northwest crops. 

The drawdown of water behind the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is exposing dozens of human gravesites and hundreds of Native American cultural artifacts. Grant County officials are working overtime to protect these sensitive sites, but that work isn’t cheap.

Grant County utility district says it’s spending about $600,000 per month protecting 80 miles of Columbia River shore.

Central Washington University

Code language is probably as old as language itself. Now, two Northwest professors have launched a competition to test students’ code-breaking skills.

Called Kryptos, the competition is geared toward undergraduate students all around the Northwest. But the region’s high school students are also encouraged to try and break the codes.

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco. The green points are the first crop harvested in spring.

Anna King

For one resort community in central Washington, this summer could be a bust. A crack in the Wanapum Dam there has forced operators to draw down the Columbia River more than 25 feet, leaving boat docks hundreds of feet from the water.

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