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 spent an additional two years studying 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.

Ways to Connect

U.S. Highway 12 at White Pass is still closed to all but local residents both east and west. The state’s Department of Transportation is working to clear three rockslides and one washout. But there is still no estimate for reopening the highway.

The federal government announced Friday that it would send $1 million each to Washington and Oregon for fast road repairs after heavy storms this week. Both Washington and 13 counties in Oregon are under emergency declarations.

Washington state transportation officials have crews out assessing the damage to White Pass on U.S. Highway 12 near Mt. Rainier Thursday. There’s no estimate yet of when the high pass will reopen after heavy rains tore the roadway out in several places and caused rockslides.

Washington and Oregon geologists are warning residents of a higher risk for landslides than usual this week. Several storms moving through the region have quickly drenched steep slopes.

A fresh agricultural foe has orchardists bulldozing and burning cherry trees across Washington and Oregon.

Wherever she was, she stood out for being half white, or half Japanese. Shirley Olinger will only whisper the racist names she was called as a girl.

In 1987, late in the Cold War, in a government reading room in Richland, Washington, a historian was studying newly released documents about the Hanford nuclear reservation. Then, a strange man approached her.

Three people are suing the State of Washington over the response to 2014’s Carlton Complex fire. The fire, initially called the Golden Hike fire, was started by lightning. Plaintiffs David and Deannis Schulz and John Clees say it started as just a few acres and that the state could have contained it.

Following a summer of record wildfires across the Northwest, Washington state officials worry that residents in burned-over areas could be facing floods and mud in the wake of incoming storms.

A handful of fairly-famous Eastern Washington winemakers and cult foodies have strong roots in France. One of them, Walla Walla winemaker Gilles Nicault, has felt really far away from his family in the wake of the ISIS attack on Paris.

Hanford officials and community boosters In southeast Washington are hosting a celebration Thursday at an historic nuclear reactor. A signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday made the Manhattan Project National Historical Park official.

Northwest farmers are watching several bills closely in Congress that would try to keep trade moving through ports in the event of a labor dispute.

Cleaning up the central part of the Hanford nuclear reservation will take even longer. That’s the bottom line of a series of regional public comment meetings kicking off Wednesday in Richland, Washington.

Alcoa announced Monday it will curtail major parts of its aluminum operations in Wenatchee and Ferndale, Washington. The move will likely leave hundreds of people looking for work.

For the next week temperatures in Washington’s farmland are predicted to be mild. But wine grape growers and orchardists still worry a cold snap could hurt them.

The summer’s early snowmelt, record temperatures and drought in the Northwest killed young hatchery fish and adult fish returning to spawn. And federal experts are expecting 2016 to be even worse for fish.

On November 10, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior will enter into an agreement establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The Yakama Nation will have more control with its tribal police and courts over crimes committed on the nation’s reservation. That’s according to the federal Interior Department this week.

KAI-HUEI YAU

For the fifth time in 15 years, the state of Washington is fighting the federal government in court over Hanford cleanup. The state’s top cleanup watchdog in Richland -- who grew up just downstream from the nuclear site -- plays a major role in that case.

For the fifth time in 15 years, the state of Washington is fighting the federal government in court over Hanford cleanup. The state’s top cleanup watchdog in Richland -- who grew up just downstream from the nuclear site -- plays a major role in that case

After more than two decades of fighting in court, the Hanford Downwinders case has ended. The approximately 3,000 Downwinders have all either dropped their claims or arrived at a settlement.

Updated -- Officials with the Grant County Public Utility District say an electrical equipment failure is to blame for an explosion at Priest Rapids Dam Thursday that injured six workers, two critically.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will hold public meetings the week October 12 in Richland, Washington, about opening Rattlesnake Mountain to the public.

President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Tuesday hailed a pending trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The deal would span 12 countries in the Asia Pacific region including Canada and Mexico.

In some areas of the Northwest, dryland farmers are getting impatient. They need rain to plant winter wheat.

KAI-HUEI YAU

In southeast Washington state, a group of farms has been frozen in time. It’s at Hanford, the area the federal government took over to make plutonium during World War II.

“It’s amazing that it’s been preserved in a way by the Manhattan Project,” said archaeologist Ellen Prendergast Kennedy. “And that some places are still completely untouched.”

Left untouched since 1943, when the government gave people a month to leave. The whole area has been restricted since then to make plutonium for bombs and clean up after it.

Anna King

Harvest is revving up at Gary Middleton’s organic orchards north of Pasco. The autumn sun warms the backs of pickers perched on tall aluminum ladders. But this year the fruit they are picking is smaller - and there is less of it. The scorching heat of June and the summer’s drought stressed orchards region wide.

“Thank God there is next year,” said Middleton. “It’s been a very tough year. It could be much worse if I was a dryland wheat farmer or someone who had very little rainfall.” Middleton says he’s lucky he has uninterrupted irrigation.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a lawsuit Wednesday against the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors over worker safety at Hanford. We bring you this Q&A from our Tri-Cities correspondent Anna King.

The Chelan and Okanogan Complex fires total more than 230,000 acres. Both fires still threaten more than 8,000 homes.

In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost lays down the well-worn quote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” In this year’s dramatic Northwest wildfires, ranchers and neighbors are cutting down “good fences” of all kinds.

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