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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Farmworkers
5:37 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Housing study finds cramped quarters in Walla Walla County

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RICHLAND, Wash. – A new study says increasing numbers of families in Walla Walla County are living in overcrowded conditions.

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Amazon and sales tax
5:30 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

California rebuffs deal with Amazon amid tax dispute

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Seattle-based Amazon is under ongoing pressure from the state of California to collect state sales taxes from internet consumers. This week the retailer offered a deal to California's legislature and retailers to try and curry favor. But Amazon was rebuffed.

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Other News
3:15 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Atheist group launches ad campaign on Spokane buses

Courtesy of United Coalition of Reason

A coalition of atheist groups in Spokane is trying to get the word out to other atheists who might feel they’re on their own. This week the group launched an ad campaign on public buses and at the Spokane County Fair.

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Washington wines
2:56 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Wine grape growers hoping for blast of warmth before first frost

John Derrick, manager, does a check of wine grapes in a vineyard called the Spice Cabinet overlooking the Columbia River.
Anna King Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Northwest wine grape growers are sure hoping their grapes hurry up. The countdown is on until the first freeze when grapes will lose their leaves and stop ripening. And certain red varietals need more sun-time than others to be ready for the bottle.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
5:13 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

$12 billion Hanford waste treatment plant may be over budget

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new Department of Energy document leaked to the press reveals that Hanford's massive waste treatment plant might be over budget. A project review committee says the plant is in jeopardy of opening on time.

The waste plant meant to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste is at risk, the report says. That toxic sludge is now sitting in aging underground tanks in southeast Washington not far from the Columbia River.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
4:15 pm
Mon August 22, 2011

Bechtel to conduct survey on safety culture at Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – A key contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation said Monday it will have nuclear experts review its safety culture. Bechtel has been under fire at the southeast Washington nuclear site since a high-level manager was taken out of his position after raising safety concerns.

Bechtel is building a $12 billion factory to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. But recently the federal Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board came to the conclusion that the project’s safety culture is "flawed."

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Wildlife assaults
12:12 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

NW officials: Keep your distance from mountain goats

courtesy of Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

RICHLAND, Wash. –Wild life officials and park managers are refining a better strategy to keep aggressive mountain goats at bay, but steering clear of goats is a good first step.

A hiker was gored to death by a big mountain goat in the Olympic National Park last fall. And just recently, Wenatchee National Forest rangers fielded multiple complaints about an aggressive goat in the hills near Ellensburg.

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Hanford
2:15 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Hanford union raises concerns with waste treatment plant

The Pretreatment Facility being built by Bechtel as part of Hanford's Vitrification.
hanfordvitplant.com

Hanford contractors are welding the lids onto massive waste mixing tanks later this week. That’s despite serious concerns being raised by engineers at the plant in southeast Washington. A labor union that represents those workers has asked for a work stoppage and filed a formal grievance.

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Apple Harvest
7:05 am
Fri August 12, 2011

NW apple harvest could yield smaller fruit this year

The latest estimate says Washington state is set to pick about 106 million boxes of fruit this year.
Washington Apple Commission

Washington State harvests about 65% of the nation's apples each fall. But this year, because of the chilly spring, those cheery orbs of goodness could be a bit smaller and possibly less sweet.

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Rural Crime
1:38 pm
Thu August 11, 2011

Rural town fights gang violence with a summer picnic

Manny Castillo, 9, and his brothers Jesus, 7, and Jr., 6, say they hide in their mother’s room when they hear gunfire in their hometown of Outlook, Wash. They came out to play games and spend the evening with neighbors at a anti-gang picnic recently.
Anna King Northwest News Network

This past spring we brought you the story of an Eastern Washington dairy town plagued by gang violence. Now, several months later residents of Outlook, Washington are fighting gangs with summer camps and social gatherings.

This spring a 17-year-old girl was shot at her home in Outlook, Wash. allegedly by four gang members. But just recently, blocks away from that murder site, children played bean bag toss and took whacks at a piñata.

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Agriculture
1:41 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

New Wash. corn plant made to influence global crop

A new agricultural plant near Othello in Eastern Washington is breeding highly specialized corn for the huge world-wide seed company Monsanto. The laboratories and growing facilities are slated to help the company more quickly distil the genetics of corn to get top characteristics to market.

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Security
6:00 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Ants might become the new model for cybersecurity

Digital ants, like the ones Pacific Northwest National Lab researchers are working on, might someday soon be crawling over a computer system near you.
Pacific Northwest National Lab

RICHLAND, Wash. – Ants have an incredible ability to track down food and swarm together against enemies. Now, scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Lab are hoping to use the same model to fight off cyberattacks.

The new tools are called digital ants.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
4:57 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Hanford layoffs not based just on seniority

RICHLAND, Wash. – Seniority won't be the only factor for determining layoffs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. Pink slips are expected in six weeks by several Hanford contractors because federal stimulus money is tapering off.

CH2MHill and Mission Support Alliance are the federal contractors planning on the 1,600 lay-offs. The companies say union employees will lose their jobs based on seniority: those with the least experience going first.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:27 am
Mon August 1, 2011

New agency sought to find site for nation's nuclear waste

An aerial view of north end of the Yucca Mountain crest in February 1993.
Photo courtesy Dept. of Energy

The nation needs a new agency to site a federal nuclear waste dump. That's the recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission.

The congressionally-chartered agency would decide where to store radioactive waste that's now sitting in aging underground tanks in southeast Washington.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
10:21 am
Mon August 1, 2011

NW could keep nuclear waste for 100 years under recommendation

The Northwest could end up keeping Hanford’s nuclear waste for 100 years or more under a recommendation issued Friday by a presidential commission. President Obama appointed the Blue Ribbon Commission to look into the question of where to store the nation’s worst nuclear waste.

The new report says one option may be to store the waste at regional centers for more than 100 years while the country looks for a suitable permanent repository. That concerns Susan Leckband, who chairs a board that advises managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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