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 went abroad to study 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.

In 2016 Washington State University named Anna Woman of the Year, and the Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington Pro Chapter named her Journalist of the Year. Her many journalism awards include two Gracies, a Sigma Delta Chi medal and the David Douglas Award from the Washington State Historical Society.

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Hanford sign
ANNA KING/NW NEWS NETWORK

Like the crumbling gasket in your kitchen faucet, sometimes even small parts can mean a lot. Now, federal watchdogs are looking into all types of parts at a $17 billion construction project at the Hanford Nuclear Site.

The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Energy has found a sample of parts going into a large waste treatment plant at Hanford had problems.

Energy Northwest

Have you ever ignored your car’s oil change a bit too long? That’s essentially what happened at the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant this past winter. It’s the latest “green finding” for the Columbia Generating Station near Richland, Washington.

ANNA KING / NW News Network

We roll up a long, gravel road about 20 miles outside Mattawa, a small farming town in central Washington state.

We’re on the King Fuji Ranch where there's four suspected cases of the mumps and over a 100 exposed workers quarantined.

Courtesy U.S. Deptartment of Energy

The project to stabilize and seal a large tunnel of radioactive waste has been completed at the Hanford nuclear reservation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor.

The so-called Tunnel 2 project started in October 2018, at the massive Washington cleanup site near Richland.

ANNA KING / NW News Network

Asparagus cutters bend deep over their work in the early morning light. Colorful plastic bins stack like giant legos amid the scrubby fields north of Pasco, Washington.

Growers in Washington, California and Michigan raise the majority of the nation’s domestic asparagus -- and Washington’s season is on.

But business in U.S. spears is noticeably dwindling.

That’s because there’s increasing amounts of cheaper asparagus from Peru and Mexico coming in: fresh, canned and frozen. And that’s cutting into profits for U.S. growers.

GOOGLE MAPS

Health officials in Grant County, Washington are responding to four probable cases of mumps.

One case has been lab confirmed so far, while the others are still being evaluated. Now county health officials are rallying together a vaccine clinic to treat hundreds of exposed people. 

ANNA KING / NW News Network

Gary Middleton is worried about his cherry and blueberry buds outside of Eltopia, Washington. 

They’re developing late. And it’s gnawing at him.

“Obviously it’s going to move the harvest dates back,” Middleton says. “I would anticipate we’re 7 to 10 days behind a normal harvest.”

A week or so might not seem like a big deal to a non-farmer, but that short window can mean the difference between higher prices for Middleton’s crop, or a potential loss on his harvest.

ANNA KING / NW News Network

Circle irrigation pivot lines fan out in the distance -- dark skeletons against the dirty snow and matching sky.

Ed Schneider has grown french-fry-making spuds here near Pasco, Wash., for 40 years. But this year America’s fries are on the line.

Jane Abel/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Right now, in the Northwest’s high desert, the biscuit root should be ready to bloom.

Pregnant ground squirrels should be up to the surface, munching fresh shoots. But that’s not happening.

On much of Washington’s and Oregon’s eastside, snow has been on the ground for six weeks, and it has some experts wondering how life will shake out for stressed flora and fauna.

Heidi Newsome, is a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service out of Burbank, Wash.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Almond bloom comes nearly all at once in California — a flush of delicate pale blooms that unfold around Valentine's Day.

And beekeeper Bret Adee is hustling to get his hives ready, working through them on a Central Valley ranch before placing them in orchards.

He deftly tap-taps open a hive. "We're gonna open this up, and you're going to see a whole lot of bees here," Adee says.

Under the lid, the exposed sleepy occupants hum away. He uses a handheld smoker to keep them calm and huddled around their queen.

Energy Northwest

The federal government recently doled out two “green findings” to the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear reactor.

The Columbia Generating Station, near Richland, is run by the utility Energy Northwest.

GARY KING

In the Northwest’s Cascades, there’s snow at high elevations, but it’s scored by vertical lines showing where rain has run downhill.

This warm El Niño winter in the region is worrying water managers and farmers. Many Washington and Oregon reservoirs aren’t filling up like they should, and snowpack levels are below average in many areas.  

ANNA KING / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

new proposal from the Trump administration could dramatically change the way the government cleans up radioactive tank waste at t

Hanford sign
ANNA KING/NW NEWS NETWORK

There are several agencies and a group of stakeholders who watch over cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. But the partial government shutdown is blocking some of that important oversight.

In the past 10 years, the Environmental Protection Agency office in Richland has shrunk from nearly 10 experts working on Hanford issues to just three – including the top manager.

Casey Grogan is owner of Silver Bells Tree Farm, 400-acres of Christmas trees, in Silverton, Ore.
ANNA KING/NW News Network

 

The Christmas holiday is centered around peace. But an escalating marketing war for families’ hearts is developing between the real and fake tree industries.

 

The companies behind each type of tree are going at it with ad campaigns online, trying to convince you that their tree is better.

 

Grant County PUD

Crews have finished drilling around 230 core samples in Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River in central Washington state.

Oregon Department of Forestry

From Bend, Oregon, to Ellensburg, Washington, there is a fire weather watch Friday for hot temperatures, low humidity and breezy weather.

Washington DNR

A large wildfire is burning outside of Naches, in central Washington state. The fire, called the Conrad Fire, started Sunday afternoon. It’s currently estimated at 5,200 acres and about 20 percent contained.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

U.S. beef ranchers who voted heartily for President Donald Trump are getting a bit skittish about his trade wars. International tariffs are set to hit U.S. beef the first week of July.

Benton County Fire District 4

Residents of Prosser, Washington, were told to prepare to evacuate last night as fire spread in the hills above the city. 

About 150 firefighters worked all night to fight what is now being called the Montecito Fire which erupted Wednesday evening. 

Anna King / Northwest News Network

In the shadow of remote Dry Mountain, branding is the only way to guarantee a fair sorting of cattle between ranchers in the fall.

Animals’ ear tags can rub off in the rough, sage-studded country. So each year, before cattle are let out to graze on summer range, the young are branded, castrated and vaccinated. Neighbors gather in the early morning to do the work.

Daderot / tinyurl.com/y7dy7pyt

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrowly focused ruling Monday that favored Masterpiece Cakes, a Colorado bakery, which refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Roger Harnack / Inciweb - tinyurl.com/ydfc3bfe

Firefighters scrambled Sunday night at the Hanford nuclear reservation to corral a 2,800-acre wildfire. Hanford officials said the wildfire started Sunday evening.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

American fruit growers are starting to ship more containers of fresh fruit into China again. In recent weeks, some fruit shipments were stuck in customs in China. Public radio has learned that special flights to bring Northwest cherries to China had even been canceled.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The U.S. House of Representatives recently failed to pass a farm bill and Northwest farmers are worried that the process is not plowing ahead.

Photos courtesy of Icicle-Peshastin Irrigation District.

Outside of Leavenworth, Washington, crews have been working on a dam in trouble. 

Energy Northwest

The Northwest’s only commercial nuclear reactor went offline Friday morning in an unplanned event. The Columbia Generating Station went offline around 7 a.m. when its main power transformers automatically disconnected from the grid.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The National Weather Service is predicting possible thunderstorms later this week around the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, Washington. That could cause the Eightmile Lake Dam above the town to fail.

And a simmering dispute between the local irrigation district and the U.S. Forest Service isn’t helping.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The National Weather Service is concerned about this week’s warm weather rapidly melting snow upstream of Leavenworth, Washington, this week. There may also be storms on the way.

Flickr Photo Courtesy Richard Kassan

A nearly 100 year-old dam near Leavenworth, Washington, is under heavy pressure from melting snow this week and officials are warning downstream residents to be prepared to evacuate if the dam breaks.

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