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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mental health services
9:10 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

New Rural Mental Health Funding Called a Good Start

Northwest mental health experts are cautiously optimistic about a new federal grant program. But they call it a modest attempt to improve mental health care in rural areas.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday, the federal Department of Agriculture’s plans to spend up to $50 million over the next three years.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
11:09 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Hanford Whistleblower Emerges on Timecard Fraud Case

File image
Associated Press

There is a new whistleblower at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington, but it doesn’t have to do with technical concerns.

It’s the latest twist in an ongoing timecard fraud case.

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northwest wine
4:15 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Northwest Wine Grape Growers Brace for Cold Damage

Anna King

Northwest wine grape growers expect this week’s very cold weather to do some damage to their vineyards. But it’s not clear yet how much of next year’s fruit might be affected.

Deep cold on wine vines isn’t good, but several factors determine just how bad it is. There’s the cold itself, and how long it lasts. There’s the elevation, colder air tends to settle in lower valleys. Then, there’s the variety of grape—is it German-tough or less cold-hardy Mediterranean?

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cold cattle
11:18 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Cold Weather Challenges Wash. Ranchers and Dairies

Len McIrvin checks on his Herford cattle in the cold weather in southcentral Washington outside of Patterson.
Anna King

The region’s cold snap has many dairy operators and ranchers taking extra care with their livestock. When it’s cold, cattle and other types of livestock tend to eat more to stay warm.

Despite the low temperatures intensified by a slight wind in central Washington, Len McIrvin’s Herford cattle just lowed at his passing pickup. They’re munching on what’s left in a harvested cornfield a few miles from the Columbia River.

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megaloads
9:22 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Megaload Pulls Out of Northeast Oregon Port Despite Protesters

Cathy Sampson-Kruse is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation.
Anna King

A massive load of oil equipment is on its way to Canada, along a winding route that began near Hermiston, in northeast Oregon. Protesters tried to stop the shipment by getting in the way, but the so-called megaload rumbled forward on its journey through Oregon and Idaho.

About two dozen protesters held signs and blew horns while police kept them away from the truck and trailer. The megaload takes up two lanes and stretches 380 feet. 

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
4:15 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Layoffs At Hanford Due to Budget Uncertainty

Associated Press

Three federal contractors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say they’ll lay off 450 workers over the next year. The companies say Thursday’s announcement is largely due to federal budget uncertainty.

The three companies work on Hanford’s tank farms cleaning up contaminated groundwater and providing support services at the nuclear site. Many of the 450 workers will be let go in the next few months, and the others will be laid off by next fall.

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hanford cleanup
3:21 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Hanford Managers Focus on Flammable Gas in Waste Tanks

File image
Associated Press

Managers and scientists are working against the clock to solve a new possible problem at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

How much sludge can be dumped into a double-shelled radioactive waste tank before flammable gas might build up in a big bubble?

At a group of waste tanks called the C-Farm, workers are pumping the radioactive sludge out these old single-shelled tanks into the more stable double-hulled ones This radioactive witch’s brew constantly generates hydrogen and other flammable gases.

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washington crops
12:59 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Washington Crops Rose in 2012, Apples Remain King

Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission.

Washington’s agricultural crops rose 6 percent in 2012 from the previous year, according to federal bean counters.

A recent USDA report say agricultural products reached nearly $10 billion. Some of the products that saw rapid growth in Washington include dry edible beans, barley, and apples.

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Environment
5:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Inslee: Ellensburg Area Stream Restoration Good for Salmon

Governor Jay Inslee signs his name to some of the pipe that will put water back in Manastash Creek near Ellensburg, Wash.
Anna King

A dried-out 3-mile-stretch of creek in central Washington will soon swell again with water. It’s part of a project near Ellensburg to pipe irrigation water from the Yakima River to keep water in the creek for salmon and steelhead.

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Putting the Spa in Spawn
4:27 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

A Spa For Fish: Yakama Nation Creates Refuge for Exhausted Fish

Joe Blodgett, right, with the Yakama Nation's steelhead rehabilitation center, lifts a fish out a tub where they're fed highly nutritious pellets.
Anna King

When a Columbia River steelhead completes its epic journey from ocean to spawning grounds, it’s usually too exhausted to go downriver again. Often, the fish just dies. But the Yakama Nation is changing that circle of life.

Tribal biologists have created a rehabilitation center that helps steelhead recover so they can spawn again in the future. And the Yakama fish spa is seeing more success.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
4:50 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

EPA Fines Hanford Contractor for Asbestos Violations

Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy faces a $115,000 fine for the way a contractor handled asbestos at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington.

The alleged violations occurred during building demolitions in 2009 and 2010 when federal stimulus money sped up deconstruction projects.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
2:19 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Let-Go Hanford Whistleblower: 'My Career is Dead'

Rajah Bose

In early November, a federal appeals court will consider the case of a well-known Hanford whistleblower. Walter Tamosaitis argues his career was essentially killed after he voiced safety concerns at the nuclear cleanup site.

Earlier this month, the high-level manager was laid off for good. It wasn’t retaliation according to the federal contractor that employed him. But U.S. senators and watchdog groups fear this turn will make other workers with safety concerns clam up.

Tamosaitis has had, as he puts it, a lot of stomach acid these past couple of weeks.

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Election 2013
5:01 am
Thu October 17, 2013

GMO-Labeling Initiative: A Tale of Two Northwest Farms

Eric Maier farms 7,000 acres of wheat and cattle near Ritzville, Washington.
Anna King

From the lush valleys north of Seattle to the orchards of the Columbia Basin, to the rolling fields between Spokane and Walla Walla, the state of Washington grows about 300 types of crops.

Ask any of those farmers about Initiative 522, and you’ll get every kind of answer. If passed this November, it would require labeling of genetically modified foods. The initiative would not ban GMOs, as they’re known, but it could have a big impact on Washington agriculture.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
3:54 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Watchdogs Disappointed Hanford Deadlines Likely to be Missed

AP Photo

State officials say they’re disappointed but not surprised by news that the federal government will likely miss several more cleanup deadlines at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

At Hanford, radioactive sludge stews in aging underground tanks not far from the Columbia River. A 1989 agreement created the timeline for treating that caustic gunk. But the task has proven extremely difficult. A Waste Treatment Plant has been plagued by whistleblowers, critical federal investigations, cost overruns, and delays. 

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Northwest Craft Beers
6:37 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Craft Breweries Keep Pouring Into Market, But Is There a Bubble?

Patrick Smith is a fourth-generation hop grower.
Anna King

Northwest farmers are wrapping up this year’s hop harvest at a time when the craft beer industry is seeing huge growth. The change in Americans’ beer-drinking habits means hop farmers are selling more of their crop to smaller breweries than ever before. But all this success begs the question: is there a craft brew bubble?

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