Anna King

Richland Correspondent

Anna King, KPLU’s and N3’s Richland-based reporter, has been covering the Mid-Columbia since the spring of 2007. Before that she was a print reporter for the Tri-City Herald where she covered the environment, Native Americans, agriculture and Northwest wine. A Washington native, she's also a regular contributor to the magazine Wine Press Northwest and was a contributing author to the guide book Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest. Anna's memorable moment in public radio: "Being dusted from head-to-toe by a potato digger during harvest. Every square inch of me was covered in fine sand. Public radio is a dirty job!"

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climate change
9:01 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Scientists Look For Climate Change Clues in Wildfire Soot

You may know that on a hot, sunny day, it’s better to be sitting in a white car than a black one. White reflects sunlight, while black absorbs more of it.

The same concept applies to researchers trying to figure out what effect wildfires have on climate change. And part of the answer is whether the smoke particles are dark or reflective.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
9:19 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Judge Rules Yucca Mountain Must Move Forward with Licensing

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington’s state attorney is praising an appeals court decision on a nuclear waste repository in Nevada. The ruling requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get the licensing process back on track for Yucca Mountain.

The state of Washington wants Yucca Mountain to be the permanent waste repository for radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. But President Barack Obama buried the project because of opposition from Nevada’s political leaders. Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has to continue forward with the licensing of the facility. 

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landslides
4:18 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Landslides Complicate Firefighting Near Wenatchee

Milepost 10 Fire, south of Wenatchee.
Washington Department of Natural Resources

Torrents of mud and debris have closed three roads near Wenatchee in central Washington. The landslides were caused by thunderstorms on Sunday, along with wildfire damage.

The mudflows have hampered firefighting efforts on the Mile Post 10 fire, which has grown to 6,000 acres since Friday. Some residents and fire trucks were stranded. 

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endangered plant?
8:53 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Bladderpod Endangered Listing Stirs Up Questions from Farmers

White Bluffs bladderpod
Anna King

A group of farmers in southeast Washington is trying to stop the federal government from giving endangered species protection to the White Bluffs bladderpod, a rare plant that grows on a narrow ribbon of federal land and farms.

A farmer group is using genetic tests to claim that the plant is not as rare as it seems.

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blueberry boom
10:44 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Nation’s Monster Blueberry Crop Smashes Prices for Farmers

Leonard Flores, 27, a forklift operator checks out the just picked fruit at Middleton Farms near Eltopia, Wash.
Anna King

North America’s blueberry crop is so substantial this year that prices are dropping, according to farmers. Thae boom follows about a decade of rapid expansion of new plantings.

The Northwest is one of the top producers of blueberries in the nation, and July is the peak of harvest. 

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GMO produce
4:23 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Northwest Wheat Farmers Look Forward To Restored Market

A wheat combine offloads—or “banks out”—into a waiting truck near Patterson, Washington.
Anna King

The first bushels of Northwest wheat are coming off honey-colored fields in southeast Washington. The harvest comes just as Japan and South Korea say they’ll resume buying Northwest wheat.

The Asian countries banned the U.S. grain after some genetically modified plants were found in Oregon this spring. The rebound is a huge relief for Northwest farmers, but market confidence remains shaken.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
4:42 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Massive Hanford waste dump reaches 15 million-ton mark

Crews at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say have cleaned up 15 million tons of radioactive soil and debris from near the Columbia River, managers announced on Tuesday.  

The debris has gone to a massive dump at the center of the site. The Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, called ERDF for short, is the size of 52 football fields.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
8:36 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

EPA fines Hanford for improperly handling radioactive waste

Ted S. Warren Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to pay $136,000 in fines allegedly mishandling certain lab waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The penalty comes from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Energy contractors allegedly stored some radioactive waste without permits, and placed some of it in a landfill before treating it. We’re talking about contaminated science glove boxes, lab equipment and concrete. Environmental regulators studied records from the late 1980s through 2011 in this investigation.

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honey bees
6:44 am
Sun June 9, 2013

WSU researchers to create sperm bank for honey bees

Scott Butner Flickr

Washington State University scientists are developing a sperm bank to capture the biodiversity of honey bees. The hope is to breed stronger pollinators as populations keep declining.

Researchers are preparing to use liquid nitrogen to create a frozen semen bank. They are also trying to come up with a new super-bee subspecies that could thwart the phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.

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Hanford nuclear reservation
10:50 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Swallows Bring Radioactive Soil Into Hanford Waste Plant

Bechtel

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 10:07 am

Workers are back on the job at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. Work stopped this week when radioactive soil was found under the nests of some swallows.

Swallows used some radioactive mud to make nests on exposed beamwork in Hanford’s waste treatment plant. That’s the $12 billion factory designed to bind-up radioactive sludge in glass logs. The nests were found during routine tests, but this is the first radioactive contamination of the new plant.

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GMO produce
12:51 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

USDA adds more investigators to Ore. GMO wheat probe

<> Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has increased the number of investigators and field staff looking into the genetically-modified wheat found on Oregon farm.

There are now 15 people on the ground in the Northwest—up from nine last week.

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Nortthwest farmers
7:01 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Fewer but plumper Northwest cherries expected this year

digitonin Flickr

The spring's cold snaps will mean not as many cherries this summer. Flower buds and bees don’t like low temperatures. And the cherries—well, they don’t like the rain. But there is a silver lining. a week.

Here’s the good news: When there are fewer cherries on the tree, that means the fruit that remains usually get plumper. Norm Gutzwiler, who farms near Wenatchee, is a bit grumpy about the recent rains on his 100 acres of cherries.

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
1:17 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Japanese officials visit Hanford to learn nuclear cleanup strategies

Bags of decontamination waste from cleanup of tennis courts at the Tomioka Town Sports Complex in Japan.
Mark Triplett PNNL

The people overseeing the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster are learning some valuable lessons from the long-running cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A Japanese government delegation recently toured some of the southeast Washington site this week.

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Gay Rights
12:55 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Controversial florist sues Wash. state, says she 'will not wilt'

The Richland florist who refused to sell flowers for a same sex-couple’s wedding has filed a counter suit.

Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronnelle Stutzman says she "will not wilt." She argues there are plenty of other shops in the Tri-Cities that could cater to a gay or lesbian wedding. 

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HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION
5:20 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Some Hanford water cleanup moving faster than expected

At the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the 100-DX Pump and Treat system, which treats groundwater near the D and DR reactors along the Columbia River.
Photo courtesy of CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company.

Cleanup of a hazardous chemical in the groundwater at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is going faster than expected.

Hexavalent chromium is the nasty stuff that made Erin Brockovich famous down in California. The chemical was used to inhibit rust in coolant water in Hanford’s reactors. But that water was dumped into the desert, and now the carcinogen is making its way toward the Columbia River in large groundwater plumes.

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