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.

Ways to Connect

US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – A coalition of groups from southeast Washington is collecting oral histories about the the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and communities around it -- from pioneer days to post-war-cleanup. An announcement was made Tuesday by Washington State University Tri-Cities and 10 other community groups.

The project team intends to collect new interviews, digitize existing ones and make them available online and at the university in a permanent collection.

White House

RICHLAND, Wash. – President Obama’s nominee for the next federal Energy Secretary is no stranger to the cleanup work at the Northwest’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Ernest Moniz was Energy undersecretary during the Clinton Administration and back in the late '90s he faced scrutiny about tank leaks at Hanford.

The problem -- and question then -- was whether about a million gallons of leaked radioactive tank waste had reached the groundwater and was headed toward the Columbia River. Or if it was staying put in a dry layer of soil, above the groundwater.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

YAKIMA, Wash. – Marijuana advocates, people concerned about the effects of drugs on children and hopeful entrepreneurs filled a huge room at the Yakima Convention Center Thursday night. This hearing is part of a series across Washington on how to implement voter-approved marijuana legalization. Correspondent Anna King brings us our story from Yakima.

Washington Closure Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee Wednesday expressed his continuing apprehension over the tank leaks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. He says as the Department of Energy and its contractors are evaluating more than 100 tanks with a new set of criteria, “I have real concerns about the remaining single shell tanks as well.”

Separately, Hanford managers said Wednesday they’ve successfully cleaned up a major part of contaminated land just north of Richland called the 300 Area.

U.S. Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is calling for a federal investigation into the leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Tuesday the senator asked the federal Government Accountability Office to look into the six single-hulled tanks that are losing radioactive waste.

Wyden is the new chair of a committee that closely watches and funds work at Hanford. The Department of Energy says less than three gallons of radioactive waste could be leaking from the tanks each day.

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new detail has emerged on the leaking tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The federal Energy Department acknowledged last week that six single-shelled tanks are holding less radioactive waste than they used to. Monday the agency said those tanks are losing less than three gallons a day.

Worst case: Three gallons per day adds up to 1,095 gallons of radioactive waste per year. The Department of Energy says it doesn’t know yet how long these tanks might have been seeping waste.

Hanford Nuclear Reservation
US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden will be asking the federal Government Accountability Office to investigate the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s tank monitoring and maintenance program. This after Friday’s revelation that a total of seven tanks are leaking at Hanford, and there might be more.

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee says at least seven tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are leaking, not two. He says the Department of Energy and its contractors have apparently miscalculated data that would have found the leaks earlier.

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Major portions of the cleanup work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation could stall if budget cuts known as the sequester start in March. The impasse comes just as two tanks at the southeast Washington site may be leaking.

A report by the Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee estimates that the budget cuts beginning in March would furlough more than 1,000 workers at Hanford for about six weeks. The document also says that pumping radioactive tank waste out of suspect underground tanks to newer vessels would be delayed.

US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Problems at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will be a key issue in the confirmation hearings for the next Secretary of Energy. That’s what Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said after he toured the southeast Washington site Tuesday.

Wyden chairs the Senate committee that will consider President Obama’s pick to replace Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The Oregon Democrat toured Hanford’s tank farms, where millions of gallons of radioactive waste is stored. Two of those tanks have possible leaks.

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – On Tuesday Senator Ron Wyden is on a fact-finding mission at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. The Oregon Democrat chairs a key committee that shares jurisdiction over a $12 billion waste treatment plant being built at Hanford. Soon, the main contractor on that project might face hefty fines.

The punishment stems from an investigation of the troubled plant by the U.S. Department of Energy. The findings in that report are startling.

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – A Hanford Nuclear Reservation watchdog says U.S. Energy officials have bigger problems than the waste that has possibly leaking from a tank in southeast Washington. The tank called T-111, is losing about 150 to 300 gallons of liquid waste a year.

Tom Carpenter heads the Seattle-based watchdog group Hanford Challenge. He says Friday’s news highlights the fact that there’s little space to move highly radioactive waste to.

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – A tank full of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington may be leaking. Friday the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors say liquid levels in an underground radioactive waste tank are going down.

The single-hulled tank is called T-111. It’s located in central Hanford in a group of tanks called T-farm. The Department of Energy reports the rate of loss is about 150 to 300 gallons of liquid a year.

Department of Energy. File photo of Yucca Mountain

RICHLAND, Wash. - A bipartisan group of senior senators is drafting a bill to overhaul the U.S. nuclear-waste program. The group, which includes Oregon’s Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, is aiming to find a permanent home for the nation’s radioactive waste.

Washington Apple Commission

RICHLAND, Wash. – A group of Northwest farmers plans to bring in thousands of legal Mexican guest workers to their fields and orchards this year. Last season many farmers were scrambling to pick their crops because of a worker shortage.

The federal H-2A guest worker program is so cumbersome and expensive, that most farmers haven’t wanted to use it. Employers have to pay for transportation, approved housing and usually more money than the going wage for workers already in the U.S.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The state of Washington’s largest public sector embezzlement case ever moves forward Thursday with a guilty plea. A public works employee admits he took the money over more than 20 years in Franklin County in the southeast part of the state.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Northwest winemakers are trying to wet-the-whistle of China's emerging middle class. Demand for wine is growing significantly there. And that’s drawn Chinese business delegations, restaurateurs and tourists to our region. There even may be a reality TV show that would feature Northwest wineries.

Back when the economy was rolling in mid-2000s, Long Shadows Wineries was jumping.

US Department of Energy

  RICHLAND, Wash. – News out of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation can sometimes sound like just one critical report after another. In fact, last week a federal watchdog agency said Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant is in jeopardy. Several developments lately have intensified the debate over this question: Should a massive federal waste treatment plant move ahead or stop to fix its nagging technical problems?

Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – A federal watchdog agency says work should stop on parts of Hanford’s troubled Waste Treatment Plant. That’s the complex factory in southeast Washington being built to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. A new report out Friday says the project will cost even more and take even longer.

The new report by the federal Government Accountability Office says the U.S. has paid contractors millions of dollars for work they didn’t do right. And the agency recommends trying to recoup those tax dollars.

US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – Federal and state officials announced this week that construction can partially resume at Hanford’s massive waste treatment plant now that some technical problems have been resolved. But a top former Hanford manager is calling for the Secretary of Energy to halt work altogether on the southeast Washington project.

Oregon State Police

The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered a Canadian bus company to cease operations in the United States after a deadly crash in Oregon in late December. Investigators blame driver fatigue. But not everyone in the Northwest Korean community is glad for the tour company’s shuttering here.

The bus accident killed nine people on a treacherous bit of Interstate 84, near Pendleton. Now, the federal government found in an investigation that, “Mi Joo Tour & Travel failed to take basic measures to ensure that its drivers are properly rested for safe vehicle operations …”

Oregon State Police

The Northwest’s tight-knit Korean community continues to grieve the nine people who died in that bus crash just before New Year’s Eve in northeast Oregon. Some of the survivors have already filed a lawsuit against the tour bus company, saying the driver was too tired and going too fast.

Members of a Korean church in Bothell, Washington, are grieving one of their youth pastors. The Oregon State Police haven’t confirmed the death of nineteen-year-old Richard Sohn, but Community Church of Seattle members believe he was on the bus and has died.

Oregon State Police

Two young victims of a deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon that happened just before New Year’s Eve have filed a new lawsuit.  They say the driver was fatigued and going too fast.

The two boys – 15 and 16 -- who filed the lawsuit, describe a harrowing scene. The boys are from Korea, in the U.S. on student visas. They say the tour bus flipped end-over-end as it fell hundreds of feet down an embankment. The boys say they were knocked unconscious or fainted and awoke to screams, people pinned in seats and dead bodies all around them.

Oregon State Police

The Northwest Korean community is grieving two more victims in that deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon. So far, seven of the nine victims’ names have been released in the accident that also injured dozens.

One of the latest two victims to be identified is Chun Ho Bahn, age 63. She was a U.S. Citizen from Bothell, Washington. Her husband is being treated at a hospital in Pendleton. The other victim is Ae Ja Kim, age 61, from Korea. Her husband is still being treated in Portland, Oregon.

USDA

RICHLAND, Wash. – Many Northwest growers are left out of the partial extension of the U.S. Farm Bill included in this week’s fiscal cliff legislation. The new law largely covers conventional agriculture and not the organics, specialty crops and conservation programs that our region’s farmers are known for.

Oregon State Police

RICHLAND, Wash. – Two Korean tourists who were visiting family in Bothell, Washington are the latest victims to be identified in that deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon. Police say Sunday’s accident east of Pendleton was Oregon’s deadliest crash since 1971. Among the dead were 67-year-old Jung Oun Hong and his 63-year-old wife, Kim Joong Wha of Korea.

Lieutenant Gregg Hastings with the Oregon State Police says there are some real challenges in identifying the victims quickly for waiting families.

GenoaPhoto.com

Travel experts say holiday driving around the Northwest will be especially treacherous this year. Snow, wind, rain and ice are predicted through Christmas. This week, a man from Kennewick died in a car wreck on I-90 during snowy weather in central Washington.

First rule? Yes, you’ve heard it before: “Slow down.”

In case you didn't get that, Alice Fiman, a spokeswoman from Washington’s Department of Transportation adds, “And even if you think you’re going slow enough, slow down again.”

Alan Vernon / Wikimedia

As winter begins, humming bird experts say more of the tiny birds may be sticking around the Northwest instead of migrating south.

There are three types of hummingbirds Northwesterners might be seeing more of at feeders or in their yards this time of year: the Rufous, the Anna’s or the Allen’s hummingbirds. These little birds are able to survive the cold by lowering their body temperature, hiding in the lees of tree trunks, shivering to warm up and eating a lot.

State of Washington

When Governor Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she’ll take with her nearly a quarter-century’s worth of expertise on one of the most contaminated places on earth. Cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been one of her top priorities. Before Gregoire was governor, she worked on Hanford issues as the state’s attorney general and before that as ecology director.

Gregoire knows cleaning up Hanford is no easy task. She’s been involved longer than many of the top federal site managers. And despite all of the problems and complexities she’s still optimistic.

Hanford Nuclear Reservation
US Department of Energy

RICHLAND, Wash. – The federal government is reviewing three years of payments to a major contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The review follows growing concerns about a nuclear waste treatment plant at the southeast Washington site.

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