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.

Ways to Connect

Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

Another top-level engineer at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has stepped forward airing serious concerns about the site’s massive waste treatment plant.

In a newly-released memo, the chief engineer charges there are serious problems with Bechtel National’s design and construction of the plant. And that the company should be taken off key portions of the project. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Next month scientists at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation plan to use a robotic rover to examine an underground tank full of radioactive waste that has possibly leaked. The spill isn’t a threat at this point to people or the environment. But the possible leak is raising questions about long-term plans for treating and storing 56 million gallons of radioactive waste.

Susan Leckband chairs the Hanford Advisory Board. She says the possible leak isn’t a game changer – she thinks the government can still figure out how to bind up that waste into more-stable glass logs.

Department of Energy

Scientists and engineers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington are investigating a possible leak between two walls of a double-shelled nuclear radioactive waste tank there. In September, a robotic rover will explore the tank in question to see where this radioactive material might be coming from, and if the vessel is stable.

Photo courtesy Wash. Department of Ecology

Firefighters are getting a better handle on the Taylor Bridge fire burning in central Washington State. Fire crews say they have the fire 90 percent contained. So far the blaze has destroyed more than 50 homes and displaced many residents and livestock. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Jessica Payne / Washington Department of Natural Resources

Firefighters in Central Washington are contending with heavy winds today as they try to get control of the Taylor Bridge fire near Cle Elum. Gusts of up to 30 miles per hour have been testing the fire lines. So far the blaze has scorched more than 23,000 acres, and crews have it 57 percent contained. More than 1,000 people are working to put out the blaze.

Jessica Payne / Washington Department of Natural Resources

Fire crews expect to contain the Taylor Bridge Fire in central Washington by Tuesday afternoon. Crews are now working in steep terrain on the northwest side of the blaze.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Over a hundred volunteers are helping to evacuate, sort and care for animals burned or displaced by the Taylor Bridge Fire near Cle Elum in Washington State.

Fire officials in central Washington are investigating whether construction at a bridge near Cle Elum sparked the 23,000 acre wildfire there. Incident commanders won’t say definitively what started the fire. But they do say the blaze was human caused and it began near the bridge construction site.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Fire officials have reduced evacuation levels for several areas around the Taylor Bridge Fire. But hundreds of displaced residents in central Washington's Kittitas County are waiting and wondering if their homes still stand. Many fled just in time. More than 70 structures have burned down.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Fire officials on the Taylor Bridge blaze near the mountain town of Cle Elum, Wash., are worried about the hot weather forecast for the next few days. Correspondent Anna King reports from the scene of the fire.

Photo courtesy Wash. Department of Natural Resources

A large wildfire in the remote mountains of Central Washington state has burned 22 thousand acres . The Northwest News Network’s Anna King reports the fire has destroyed at least 60 structures from Cle Elum.

Nearly 800 firefighters have been battling the wind-whipped fire for several days. 18-year-old Tyler Oversby stared as giant plumes of smoke crept closer to his hometown.

About 900 firefighters are trying to contain the Taylor Bridge fire before it destroys more homes. It’s burning in central Washington near the town of Cle Elum.

Wash. Department of Natural Resources

The Taylor Bridge fire in central Washington is still keeping about 450 people from their homes near the town of Cle Elum. Some residents have remained, despite the heavy smoke from a fire that’s consumed 28,000 acres.

Department of Energy

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s so-called “black cells” are getting another look from a new high-level group of experts. The announcement today from the U.S. Department of Energy comes just as the southeast Washington nuclear site implements new safety standards for non-radioactive risks.

Department of Energy

Washington environmental regulators are hoping that crews at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will clean out three more aging tanks of radioactive waste by the end of summer. A federal judge has ordered that ten tanks in an area known as “C-Farm” have to be closed by September of 2014.

USDA

Northwest agriculture researchers say they are finding more cases of a zebra chip disease in the region’s potatoes. The malady mars spuds with dark streaks, making them unsuitable for sale. The latest case cropped up near Hermiston, Ore.

Anna King / Northwest Public Radio

Northwest winemakers say they’re optimistic that 2012 will turn out to be a great vintage. Many of the region’s red wine grapes are just on the edge of starting to change color and ripen. The timing of this color change is a good indication of the coming harvest’s quality. Correspondent Anna King reports.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are raising because of the Heartland’s decimated yields. Correspondent Anna King has this report from central Washington’s grain country.

Wheat stubble, grain elevators and whole lot of wide open – that’s Connell, Washington.

Anna King / Northwest Public Radio

Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are going up because of the Heartland’s decimated yields. Meanwhile, many Northwest farmers crops are above average.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Helix, Ore., residents have most of their summer programs back online and many buildings back in service after a massive mud flow ripped through much of downtown. A storm sent rivers of mud down early the morning of July 16.

Department of Energy

A new federal report says managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation respond appropriately to most concerns brought up by employees. But the study says sometimes officials at the southeast Washington site don’t explain well enough to employees how they resolve each concern. The report also says initial interviews with concerned employees were often incomplete or too abbreviated to do a proper investigation later.

Railex

A company that ships Northwest produce to East Coast markets by rail plans an expansion that will benefit the region's wineries. Railex has reached an agreement with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates to build a massive wine storage warehouse in southeast Washington.

Anna King / Northwest Public Radio

Residents of the tiny northeast Oregon town of Helix are cleaning up after a huge mudflow that inundated much of the community.

Idaho National Laboratory

Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls has been failing to properly handle and store explosives, putting some workers in jeopardy. That’s the upshot of a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell made a visit to Richland, Washington Friday to highlight how creating a B Reactor National Historical Park would create jobs and spur tourism in southeast Washington. The B Reactor at Hanford was the world’s first full-scale plutonium production facility. Correspondent Anna King has more.

Senator Maria Cantwell believes despite its dark history, Hanford has an important lesson to share.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

It’s not news that Washington is producing record amounts of blueberries this year. It happened last year. Next year will likely break another record and the year after that too. The real news is: Where is the fruit going, and why is it still so expensive? Correspondent Anna King explains.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

Each year on a long, steep stretch of looping highway in southeast Washington, hundreds of skateboarders test their grit. A helmet, a leather body suit and wicked skill are all that stand between glory and a face full of asphalt. It’s called the Maryhill Festival of Speed near Goldendale. Correspondent Anna King caught up with one young couple that travels the world for downhill skateboarding.

Photo by Scott Granneman / Flickr

This week crews are cleaning up about 30 train cars full of coal that overturned near Mesa, in Eastern Washington. The accident has raised questions about proposed increased train shipments of coal through the nearby Columbia River Gorge. Correspondent Anna King has more.

Allen4names / Wikimedia Commons

People across the Northwest have been reacting to today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s health care overhaul. Correspondent Anna King spoke to people outside the Kadlec Medical Center in Richland in southeast Washington.

Bechtel National, Inc.

Construction on large sections of a waste treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will slow down because of major new testing that’s required. That’s the announcement Tuesday from top managers at the U.S. Department of Energy.

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