Anna King | KUOW News and Information

Anna King

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, Triââ

Northwest wine grape growers expect this week's cold weather to do some damage to their vineyards. But it’s not clear yet how much of next year’s fruit might be affected.

A massive load of oil equipment is on its way to Canada, along a winding route that began near Hermiston, in northeast Oregon. 

Early crop reports from farmers say Washington and Oregon’s wine grape harvest appears to be up a tick for 2013.

We all burp sometimes. It turns out, so do underground waste tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

After nearly a year of study, the U.S. Department of Energy says fewer radioactive waste tanks appear to be leaking at Hanford than originally thought.

Washington voters have rejected a measure aimed at making it easier to qualify citizen initiatives for the ballot.

Washington’s agricultural crops in 2012 are up 6 percent from the year before. A recent USDA report say agricultural products reached nearly $10 billion.

Community leaders in southeast Washington are looking to develop parts of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation as a prime spot for tourists.

In southeast Washington, and in southern Russia there are two atomic cities a world apart but with surprising similarities.

The Yakama Nation’s steelhead reconditioning program is like a retreat spa for fish. And it's changing the circle of life for the species.

The state of Washington grows about 300 types of crops -- from the lush valleys north of Seattle, to the orchards of the Columbia Basin, to the rolling fields between Spokane and Walla Walla. And if you ask any of those farmers about Washington’s Initiative 522 and you’ll get every kind of answer.

In early November, a federal appeals court will consider the case of a well-known Hanford whistleblower.

Washington officials say they’re disappointed but not surprised by news that the federal government likely will miss several more cleanup deadlines at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

At Hanford, radioactive sludge stews in aging underground tanks not far from the Columbia River. A 1989 agreement created the timeline for treating that caustic gunk. But the task has proven extremely difficult: A waste treatment plant has been plagued by whistleblowers, critical federal investigations, cost overruns and delays.

Northwest farmers are wrapping up this year’s hop harvest at a time when the craft beer industry is seeing huge growth.

There’s a new plan for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The federal government is looking for ways to process certain types of radioactive waste more quickly, while managers there figure out how to solve major technical challenges at its massive Waste Treatment Plant.

New advisories from health officials in Washington and Oregon warn that some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat.

Tests of alfalfa seed from a field in eastern Washington have come back positive for genetically engineered genes called Round-Up-Ready.

The tank farms at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington have the all-clear for work to resume after a high-radiation incident briefly shut down much of the site last month.

In late August, Hanford workers responded to an emergency of a high-radiation reading near a tank known as C-101.

Northwest apple growers are expecting a bumper crop this year and harvest is already beginning on some farms.

But growers are excited over an apple variety you can’t even get in stores yet.

Washington’s crop this year is going to be the second largest on record – at 4.8-billion pounds. Only last year's crop was larger.

Northwest apple expert Rebecca Lyons attributes that recent growth to newer much-denser plantings. But more and more farmers are turning toward premium, newer varieties to earn profits.

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington has inspired documentaries, museum exhibits, art shows and even a book of poetry. Now, a Northwest band call Tangerine is about to release a new song that tackles the leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the federal site.

“I guess it’s a slightly unusual topic for a pop song," admits Marika Justad. "Especially one that has a romantic angle. Justad sings and plays guitar and piano for Tangerine, an alternative pop band from Seattle.

Wine grapes throughout the Northwest are ripening faster this year because of the hot dry summer. Vineyard managers and winemakers are preparing for a breakneck harvest over the next few weeks -- if it stays warm.

This year Eastern Washington had record-setting heat in July, while Oregon had consistently warm weather. Growers throughout the Northwest are hoping for cooler temperatures so the grapes don’t race to ripeness.

The prediction is for more wine, deeper colors and higher alcohol levels.

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.

The Northwest hydropower system is full of dams that were built over the strenuous objections of Native American tribes. Now, two of these old projects are changing ownership -- one in Western Montana and another in central Oregon.

And it’s the tribes that were once powerless to stop them that are becoming the new managers.

The Kerr Dam went up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in the 1930s. It’s north of Missoula. Homesteaders and farmers used it for irrigation and it still generates electricity to this day.

The blueberries on your morning cereal are less expensive this year. That's because farmers are harvesting a bumper crop this summer. It's good news for berry lovers, but the bounty might wreck some blueberry growers.

In Richland, Wash., Genoa Blankenship pops open the lid on a box of blueberries. Her three young children struggle to stop wiggling. Blankenship loves the idea of healthy snacks that are easy to take along to soccer practice.

Washington’s state Attorney General 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 Obama buried the project because of opposition from Nevada’s political leaders.

The blueberries on your morning cereal are less expensive this year. That’s because farmers are harvesting a bumper crop this summer.

It’s good news for berry lovers, but the bounty might wreck some blueberry growers.

In Richland, Washington, Genoa Blankenship pops open the lid on a box of blueberries. She loves the idea of healthy snacks that are easy to take along to soccer practice.

Federal officials are trying to figure out what to do about radioactive materials that remain at a place near the Columbia River known as the 300 Area. It’s the subject of a series of public meetings that kick off this week.

The 300 Area was where workers milled uranium rods and tested ways to process plutonium during WWII and the Cold War. They poured about 2 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste a day into sandy ponds and trenches right next to the Columbia River. Cleaning up buildings and material there has kept crews busy for 20 years.

A group of farmers in southeast Washington is trying to stop the federal government from giving endangered species protection to a rare plant. It’s called the White Bluffs bladderpod. And it 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.

  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 bounce-back is a huge relief for Northwest farmers, but market confidence remains shaken.

Managers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation say crews have cleaned up 15 million tons of radioactive soil and debris from near the Columbia River. It’s gone to a massive dump at the center of the site.

In central Hanford, a ceremonial load of soil marked 15 million tons of waste disposed of at the 52-football-field-sized dump called ERDF. Dozens of truck horns blared in response.

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