Hanford Culture Lives on in Richland’s Alphabet Houses

The Hanford nuclear site rose out of the sagebrush of Richland, Washington, in the 1940s. So did thousands of houses built for Hanford workers. They’re called the Alphabet Houses. Richland correspondent Carol Cizauskas explains from the Alphabet House she calls home.

Nordgren: “They certainly had a velvet glove that they used to stroke the workers, but beneath that, there was a hard-fisted reality. … If you lost your job for whatever reason, you also lost your house, and you had five working days to get out.”
Richard Nordgren is an historian who conducts walking tours of the Alphabet Houses.

 

Alphabet House kitchen

Lorraine and Larry Riggs in the kitchen of their Alphabet House in Richland, Washington.
PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS


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Washington State Democrats Courting the Latino Vote

Latinos traditionally vote Democratic, come election time. Northwest Democrats want to keep it that way. They also want to capitalize on the momentum of the huge turnout of Hispanics last spring at immigration marches across the region. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas went out with Democratic canvassers in Sunnyside, Washington and files this report.

Rosario: “If we sleep through this election, we’ll lose a lot, which is why we’re trying to get the vote out.”
Tania Maria Rosario is the director of the 2006 Democratic Latino Vote Project in Washington state.

 

Central Washington Democratic canvassers

Central Washington Democratic canvassers
PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS


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Summer Program Feeds Poor Children

Public schools are for education. For low-income families, they’re also a source of child care and meals. But what happens in the summer, when children in poverty might be left alone while their parents work? Correspondent Carol Cizauskas visited White Swan in south-central Washington to look at a program that bridges the summertime gap.

Bell: “They’re probably of the poorest children and families in the area, especially out in White Swan. I mean, you’re out as far and as rural as you could possibly be. We have a lot of farm workers, and a lot of times they aren’t even making minimum wage, and they work very, very long hours. Parents work six days a week.”
Belinda Bell runs a summer program for five dozen children from the community of White Swan. The social worker started the project at the Yakama Christian Mission eight years ago.

 

Summer program

Yakama Christian mission summer program sign
PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS


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Tourist Adds Hanford to Life List

There are so many things to see in the world. Mountains, monuments…and hazardous nuclear energy sites. Tri-Cities correspondent Carol Cizauskas profiles a retired engineer who spends his time and money visiting scientific facilities, including Hanford.

Schaffter: “You know, you think about, well, we’re trying to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. We did this many, many years ago, and we didn’t have computers that Iran has now, that sort of thing, and it’s kind of interesting to see how fragile this world really is.”
Craig Schaffter is a retired engineer who tours of places of scientific interest in the U.S.
Hanford tour

Original Hanford safety warning. PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS

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Northwest Land Rush to Build Wind Farms

There’s a new crop growing in the fields of eastern Washington and Oregon. It’s wind turbines. Eight years ago, there wasn’t a single wind farm in the Northwest. Today, enough turbines are operating and under construction to power about three hundred fifty thousand homes. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas visited a new wind farm in central Washington, and reports on the state of wind energy in the Northwest.

Garrett: “People learned today when they went out to actually tour the Wild Horse project and see how big these things are. And just imagine if you had to have fifteen of those put across the street from you and you think you can live with it.”
Ed Garrett is part of a group of homeowners fighting the installation of a wind farm in their location.
Wild Horse wind turbine

Wild Horse wind turbine
PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS


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Some Walla Wallans Won’t Bend

When you drive through Washington wine country, you might see a bumper sticker that says, Don’t Bend Walla Walla. That refers to growth in central Oregon…so swift that Bend is the sixth fastest growing city in the nation. Walla Walla may follow in the footsteps of Bend, but not if some of the residents in the Washington town have THEIR way. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas explains.

Snow: “It’s not just a growth of people. It’s a growth of commercial areas, shopping areas, residential areas. It’s the need to re-design highways. It’s the arrival of levels of traffic that no one has ever seen.”
Donald Snow is professor of Environmental Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla.

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Feds Could Open Hanford to Additional Nuclear Waste

A federal bill could make it easier to ship nuclear waste to Hanford. That means the site in south-central Washington may become a temporary holding tank for other states’ spent fuel. Tri-Cities correspondent Carol Cizauskas reports.

Stevens: “It is an interim storage bill which would allow utility companies that actually use nuclear reactors to put their waste somewhere other than the reactor site, and it would have a role for the Department of Energy in taking ownership of that spent nuclear fuel.”
Craig Stevens works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

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