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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Workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation are starting to install a thick plastic covering over a tunnel that collapsed on May 9. That tunnel holds highly radioactive waste left over from the Cold War.

Federal contractors plan to install another level of containment over the tunnel that caved in at the Hanford nuclear site on May 9. The tunnel was used to store old, highly radioactive equipment from a facility that dates back to the Cold War.

One week ago workers found a tunnel filled with radioactive waste caved in at the Hanford nuclear site in southeast Washington. State officials and tribes are calling for quick cleanup action.

But how did we get here?

Washington state is taking legal action against the U.S. government after a tunnel full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday at the Hanford nuclear site.


Tuesday morning an emergency response was triggered at the Hanford nuclear site when a hole was found in the roof of a buried tunnel nearby a mothballed plutonium processing plant. The tunnel, constructed in the haste of the Cold War, was about 360-feet-long and built out of timbers and concrete.

So what exactly is in that tunnel? 


U.S. Department of Energy

After a collapsed train tunnel with radioactive waste inside was discovered Tuesday, crews have been working to stabilize the sunken area at the Hanford nuclear site.

The U.S. Department of Energy issued an emergency alert Tuesday morning at the Hanford site north of Richland, Washington, after a tunnel at a radioactive cleanup site caved in. Workers at a former chemical processing plant were evacuated and thousands more across Hanford were directed to take shelter indoors.

State and federal officials said all workers were accounted for, there were no injuries and no indication of “release” of radioactivity into the environment. By early afternoon, the employees taking shelter were given permission to go home except those needed for emergency response.

The city of Kennewick, Washington, had a wakeup call last year. One of its city councilmen made a joke online about Mexican-Americans that upset people in the Tri-Cities.

Holden Village, a retreat center at the tip of Lake Chelan that’s been mostly closed due to mine remediation work, is ready to fully re-open.

An unusually cold and wet spring has Northwest asparagus growers anxious because the crop isn’t coming up. Large asparagus packing houses say they’re down hundreds-of-thousands of pounds so far this spring from normal.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Since the presidential election, many Northwest cities and towns have adopted resolutions reaffirming that all people are welcome -- regardless of race, religion or sexual identity. Boise, Eugene, Seattle, Spokane and Spokane Valley have. The Wenatchee city council is scheduled to consider one this week. But not Richland.

The March For Science in Washington, D.C., is happening this Saturday on Earth Day. Smaller science events are happening across the Northwest -- even in conservative southeast Washington.

YAKAMA NATION

You know the name Rosa Parks. But do you know David Sohappy? He was at the center of a 30-year legal battle over Native American rights to fish salmon.

With climate change and the decline of honey bees, Northwest farmers are looking for more reliable ways to pollinate cherry and apple trees.

Tuesday the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission scolded the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant. The NRC said the Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington improperly packaged, mis-labeled and shipped too-hot radioactive waste.

Returning an ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man to the earth was a private affair. After decades of legal battling, a couple hundred people gathered in the early-morning chill of February for the burial.

A Catholic bishop is preaching a message that’s tough for some of his white parishioners to hear: that they have to love their undocumented immigrant neighbors.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

In Washington state, experts say probably more than half of the workers harvesting the apples you eat and the asparagus you grill are undocumented. And farmers and undocumented workers are bracing for deportations President Donald Trump has promised.

Over the weekend a large diesel spill developed on the Columbia River near downtown Wenatchee, Washington. So far state officials haven’t been able to locate the source of the spill.

The Northwest has had above-average snowpack and rain in many areas this winter. That’s good -- it’s wiped out drought. But all that water has wildland fire managers concerned about the terrain’s greening cheatgrass.

Wine scientists and grape growers will converge in the Tri-Cities, Washington, next week to talk about how to produce high-quality wine when the climate is getting more extreme.

Roads in a large swath of central and eastern Washington and Oregon have been devastated by melting snow and heavy rain. The flood of potholes and washouts has stalled heavy trucks carrying wheat, cattle and equipment.

Kennewick Man was reinterred Saturday by several Northwest tribes in a private ceremony. It ended a 20-year battle between scientists who wanted to study the bones and tribes who wanted to lay them to rest.

The Washington State Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a florist who declined to do flowers for a same-sex wedding broke the state’s anti-discrimination law. But the same-sex couple who won the case, isn’t celebrating too enthusiastically just yet.

Northwest residents are surrounded by thousands of dams, some in disrepair. And now the emergency at California’s Oroville Dam has sharpened interest in dam safety.

In Washington and Oregon, head-high piles of snow are starting to melt out east of the Cascades. But even Northwest cities that are used to clearing abundant snow are tallying up extra costs this winter.

President Donald Trump signed executive orders to increase immigration enforcement officers, deport individuals living in the country illegally and build a wall along the border with Mexico. All while Northwest farmers say they can’t hire enough people to pick fruit or work in packing houses.

During winter’s coldest months, snow can protect winter wheat like a blanket on a bed. But if it hangs around too long it can cause problems.

Mike Licht / Flickr

The recent testy back-and-forth between President Trump and Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto could end in real cash losses for agriculture in the Northwest.

Nearly $140 million of apples, $83 million of dairy and $26 million of frozen fries were shipped from Washington state to Mexico in 2015. For Oregon, farmers shipped $12 million in live trees and $15 million in wheat gluten and starch. Plus pears and prepared fruits and veggies.

Washington Apple Commission President Todd Fryhover said even talk of tariffs, or presidential-ego-bashing can result in canceled orders.

Most farmers in rural eastern Washington state say they only hire legal workers. But there’s a polite fiction of living and working there. Federal immigration officers raid farms and ranches here. And people get deported.

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