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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Several former Hanford construction workers testified in a U.S. Department of Labor hearing in Kennewick Tuesday, saying managers at the nuclear site played dangerous pranks that ended in workers with bloodied fingers, an injured knee, a hurt arm and glue smeared across the face. 

A federal court ordered the U.S. Department of Energy Friday to step up its solutions and timeline to clean up tank waste at Hanford in southeast Washington.

On Monday, Amtrak opens its Cascades trains to cats and dogs between Eugene, Oregon, and Bellingham, Washington. But there are some guidelines.

Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel has been fighting for a juried-review into the shooting of a Pasco, Washington, farmworker for more than a year. Wednesday, Franklin County officials promised they’d fund the inquest on the death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes.

At the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station, a recent anonymous letter has spurred a $150,000 investigation so far into the plant’s performance. The letter was penned by an apparent insider.

Independent investigators are onsite at the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant, the Columbia Generating Station, north of Richland, Washington.

In Northwest farm-country, tiny blueberry buds are already starting to plump up. But cold snaps could kill them. And that’s a bummer for your morning smoothie. Now, Northwest scientists are trying to help farmers by studying how low blueberries can go.

For a decade, one woman has been the top watchdog on the Hanford nuclear reservation for Washington state. Jane Hedges retires February 26.

A couple winters ago, a team of Northwest scientists jumped in a pickup and traveled hundreds of miles around the U.S. and Canadian backroads. They were after samples of dirty snow.

Scientists announced Thursday they have found gravitational waves in the fabric of spacetime. One man who leads work at what’s called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory -- or LIGO -- station on the Hanford site, has been working on this singular project for nearly 30 years.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Updated 7:05 a.m., Thursday February 11

A year after Pasco police officers shot and killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes in a busy intersection – community activists and the ACLU of Washington say city efforts aren’t enough.

In Burns, Oregon, this Friday night there’ll likely be two big shows in town. The armed group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge plan to hold a community meeting. But 7 p.m. is also when the new Star Wars movie debuts.

Early this year, piles of deep snow drifted into Burns, Oregon, and so did the outsiders and their money. Gas stations, cafes and hotels are seeing packed crowds in normally sleepy winter.

For businesses, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation is a boom. After Christmas in Burns, some local businesses just shutter for months until spring. Others, like the America’s Best Value Inn usually lay off most of their staff.

Maid Liz Houer said she usually doesn’t have enough work this time of year to keep on.

In southeast Oregon Monday, about a half-dozen armed men cut fences between government land and a private ranch near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Last February, three Pasco Police officers shot and killed Antonio Zambrano-Montes in a crowded intersection. Zambrano-Montes had been throwing rocks. This week, the Mexican farmworker’s mother filed suit in federal district court.

In east Oregon, Harney County has seen more tourists -- a lot of them Baby-Boomer birders. Now bird-watchers and business leaders alike are fretting over the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by an armed group.

Native American tribes, cattle barons, trappers, farmers and wildlife advocates have all fought over what’s now known as Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon for centuries.

Many eastern Oregon school children are getting a few more days of holiday this week near Burns. Parents and school officials are worried about security for children since an armed group began occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Friends of Badger Mountain

Conservationists in Washington’s Tri-Cities are nearing a deal to secure a trail right-of-way on a scenic peak. That would get closer to the goal of establishing a 20-mile trail that could offer sunny, dry hiking at times of year when most trails elsewhere in the Northwest are muddy or snow covered.

Blaine County Sheriff

This winter’s heavy snows have brought hungry elk and deer down out of the hills into Northwest towns. That’s a recipe for trouble. 

White Pass near Mount Rainier is open to drivers and skiers, but damage from washouts and rockslides has reduced Highway 12 to one lane in two spots.

Last year several flocks throughout the Northwest were killed off and disposed of, plus many more in the Midwest. Now Washington state agriculture officials are better prepared for high-pathogenic strains of bird flu.

Federal officials are conducting an investigation after plutonium escaped off the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state. The plutonium is left over from a Cold War era factory at Hanford where plutonium was processed from a liquid into a solid form for bombs.

Washington’s White Pass on U.S. Highway 12 near Mount Rainier is still closed both eastbound and westbound. Crews are still working 24/7 to open the high Cascade pass by Christmas, but winter storms might slow that work down.

In 1944, the U.S. pinned its hope on a secret project to win World War II. The government was counting on the B Reactor at Hanford in southeast Washington state to make enough plutonium in time. One of the physicists working against the clock was a 24-year-old woman: Leona (Woods) Marshall Libby.

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.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The federal government announced today that it would send $1 million each to Washington and Oregon for fast road repairs after heavy storms this week.

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.

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