Anna King

Northwest News Reporter

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.

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The Columbia Generating Station outside Richland, Washington, is the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant. Now, the federal government is auditing the plant to make sure it could weather flooding.

Many Washington and Idaho wheat farmers are struggling this year because of a weird crop problem. Researchers at the USDA’s Western Wheat Quality Lab at Washington State University in Pullman are looking into it.

By baking cakes, cookies, bread, pancakes, noodles and pasta.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred in their last scheduled debate in Pasco Wednesday night over Inslee's record at Hanford and their stances on environmental regulations.

In the last six years, about 10 confirmed cases of valley fever have popped up in Eastern Washington. And the state of Washington estimates there are even more exposures that haven’t been diagnosed.

It’s been more than 18 months since Pasco police shot and killed Antonio Zambrano Montes. For most of that time a coroner, a prosecutor and the Franklin County Commissioners have argued over whether to conduct an inquest.

It’s now scheduled for the week of December 12 at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.

For decades, artifacts of life and work from the Manhattan Project and Cold War era at Hanford have been locked away. Now, these historical items are being trucked off the southeast Washington nuclear site and curated at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

A new federal bill was introduced Monday that would further protect whistleblowers at Hanford and other nuclear sites. The legislation was penned by thee Democratic senators: Oregon’s Ron Wyden, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

More people from across the globe than ever are seeking to transform themselves on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. And as fall comes, the through-hiker season is wrapping up.

Firefighters lit off two prescribed fires Thursday in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in central Washington state. It’s part of a wider $800,000 state pilot project to prevent huge fires like the Carlton Complex two years ago.

As part of the Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo in northeast Oregon, a Western pageant called “Happy Canyon” will kick off its 100th year run Wednesday. The show includes hundreds of volunteer performers, galloping horses, a live orchestra, Old West cowboy antics and real Native Americans.

After two years of some of the worst fires and smoke the Northwest has ever seen, Washington’s Methow Valley is catching its breath. Dozens of businesses didn’t make it through and the fires still throw a long shadow.

The police department in Pasco, Washington, needs to hire more women, more Spanish speakers and have more diversity in general. That’s one finding of a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice that was prompted by the February 2015 shooting of farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes by three Pasco police officers.

In southeast Washington, the Range 12 Fire is finally out. But now there’s 176,600 acres of black. And it’s roasted much of the valuable habitat on the Hanford Reach National Monument.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said workers at Hanford tank farms who say radioactive waste is making them sick need to be heard.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

This year Washington farmers estimate they’ll harvest about 133 million boxes of apples. That’s up 15 percent over last year’s crop, but it won’t pluck the top record from the biggie 2014. The harvest is just now starting.

The Northwest apple harvest is just underway and pickers are wading into the lush orchards. And so far things look dramatically better than last year.

Tuesday’s high winds set two major new fires raging in Washington state. One ripped across grassy eastern Washington flats near Moses Lake and the other up a steep canyon near the Snake River and Pullman.

The Range 12 Fire in southeast Washington has destroyed some of the most sensitive shrub steppe habitat in the nation.

Officials from the Hanford nuclear reservation and Energy Northwest have been meeting with fire managers in southeast Washington state Tuesday. The nearby Range 12 Fire has grown to more than 177,000 acres and high winds are predicted this evening.

Organic blueberries are really hard to grow west of the Cascades -- too many bugs and too much disease. And east of the mountains, growers must battle the desert. But one company growing blueberries in south central Washington state may have a solution.

Giant tents.

Ed Suominen / Flickr Creative Commons

US Highway 12 just east of White Pass, will close Wednesday, July 27. 

The annual boat races in the Tri-Cities in southeast Washington draw more than 70,000 spectators -- thousands from out of town. It also draws an increase in child prostitution.

People who live in the country who want to play Pokémon Go have a problem.

There are a lot of techie reasons why Pokémon stops are found more often in cities. But generally speaking, where there are more players or people there is usually more Pokémon activity on the game -- it just works better.

Workers at the Hanford tank farms in southeast Washington state stopped work Monday after a group of unions in Richland called for a halt in the early morning. A union leader said that could mess with about 2,000 people’s schedules at the site.

Editor’s note: Anna King’s reports from the 2015 wildfires in Washington state earned national recognition in breaking news and crisis journalism. We asked our Richland correspondent to reflect on fire, safety, and what’s changed over the years. --Phyllis Fletcher

Ben Brooks / Flickr

More homes now are built in rural and wildland areas. And fire managers are now seeing more wildfires spread from rural areas into cities and towns. Firefighters went up against these country-to-city fires last year in Chelan, and this year in California and Canada.

The Northwest saw several red flag warnings and fast-burning fires over the long holiday weekend. And in the last several years, regional firefighters say they are seeing bigger fires that threaten more homes.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Wolf

The Fourth of July is just around the corner. And in the tiny wheat-farming town of Johnson, Washington, they’re getting ready for the 50th year of what some call “America’s Craziest Parade.”

This story has been updated.

A wildfire that broke out near Cle Elum Saturday has been fully contained according to the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office. The 50-acre fire caused several homes to be evacuated and threatened Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.

Fireworks aren’t the only thing firefighters have to worry about this Fourth of July weekend. They have a big battle on their hands and have been bringing in extra crews and equipment to posts east of the Cascades.