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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Joseph B. Frazier / AP Photo

The Northwest wine industry and the region’s grapevines are both getting older.

Many of the distinct wine grape-growing regions are now celebrating 30 years since the federal government recognized them as distinct growing areas also known as “appellations.” And Walla Walla will be the next to celebrate the milestone birthday.

Anna King

A prominent whistleblower who raised safety concerns at the nation's most polluted nuclear weapons production site has been fired from her job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Safety manager Donna Busche says employer URS Corp. told her she was being fired for “unprofessional conduct,” then escorted her out of the building early Tuesday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington winemakers are hitting the road in an effort to court upwardly mobile city dwellers while they’re still developing their taste for wine. And they’re taking their show on the road in increasingly flashy style.

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings will retire at the end of the year, he announced Thursday.

Political watchers are already speculating on who might run to replace the long-time representative. The district is considered strongly Republican, so a Democratic upset is unlikely.

Hastings served two decades as south-central Washington’s Republican congressman. 

“I turned 73 last Friday, and one more term, I would have been nearly 76, so I just thought this was the right time,” he said.

The close proximity of a group of mountains known as The Rattles to the the Tri-Cities in southeast Washington, means urban dwellers can hike a 1,500 foot peak and enjoy dramatic views on their lunch break -- or even after supper.

Amos Morgan / Washington State University

Washington State University’s viticulture and enology’s facility won’t open in the Tri-Cities until next spring, but students aren’t waiting to bottle and sell their own wines.

And, with the help of local winemakers, they’ve already sold out of their first release.

Courtesy of Meier Architecture Engineering

Southeast Washington is getting an economic boost. Two announcements made Wednesday are expected to lead to new jobs in the area. 

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is building a $10 million facility in north Richland, near the rest of the lab’s campus. The facility will house research on the power grid's reliability, renewable energy and greater energy efficiency in buildings.

AP Photo

  

Over the last several years, Hanford Nuclear Reservation managers have mishandled barrels and boxes of hazardous and radioactive waste in the central part of the southeast Washington site.

The state of Washington last Friday slapped the U.S. Department of Energy with a $15,000 fine.

AP Photo

About 300 workers who were told they'd be laid off can now keep their jobs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

Because Congress approved the 2014 federal budget for 2014 last week, layoffs announced last year can be avoided.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A federal contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation failed to check some single-shell radioactive waste tanks for the buildup of hydrogen gas. It was an eight-month lapse that could have been dangerous for workers and the public.

Federal contractor Washington River Protection Solutions says some of the radioactive waste tanks should have been checked as far back as last March, and weren’t. The overdue tanks were checked in late December, and no gas buildups were found.

AP Photo

Leaders of the Yakama Nation in central Washington say they see little benefit to sales or farming of legalized marijuana on their traditional lands. And the tribes are making moves to prevent anyone from operating a pot business on an area that adds up to one-fifth of the state’s land mass.

Courtesy of Spike TV.

A new cable reality show features rugged Northwesterners tromping through the region’s beautiful landscapes in search of Sasquatch.

Spike TV threw together big-game hunters, dedicated Big Foot aficionados called “squatchers” and animal-loving pro photographers. The new eight-week reality show on SpikeTV is called “10 Million Dollar Big Foot Bounty,” and comes, as the name suggests, with a $10 million prize. It premiers Friday.

Courtesy of Dry Fly Distilling in Spokane, Washington.

A Hood River distillery has the top-selling brand of liquor, according to sales numbers released by the state of Oregon. But other craft distillers say those hot numbers don’t reflect their experience.

Before liquor sales were privatized in Washington state in mid-2012, small local distilleries were featured in state-owned shops there and throughout the Northwest. Now, top craft distillers say national brands are hogging the shelf space in Washington, the biggest market in the region.

Courtesy of Brook Brouwer with Washington State University.

When you think of Northwest wheat, you might picture the rolling golden fields of eastern Washington. But it used to be that a lot of grain was grown west of the Cascades, and it may soon grow here again.

Investors, policy makers and farmers are leading an effort to bring grain back to western Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

Anna King

Monday is a big day for Mexican-American bakeries across the Northwest. It’s Three Kings Day or the Epiphany, a Christian celebration of the day the magi came bearing gifts for Jesus. 

At Viera’s Bakery in Pasco, workers were hustling in preparation for a traditionally busy day.

“I think it’s one of the main days of all year that we sell a lot of bread,” said Alejandro Vacscez, who works at the bakery.

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