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.
Lorraine and Larry Riggs in the kitchen of their Alphabet House in Richland, Washington. PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS
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 PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS
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.
Yakama Christian mission summer program sign PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS
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.
Original Hanford safety warning. PHOTO BY CAROL CIZAUSKAS
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.
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.
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.
Several rockets of deadly Sarin gas explode, four people are injured. Wait! It’s just the annual disaster drill in Umatilla County, Oregon, home to the Army’s chemical weapons disposal depot. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas watched a decontamination center spring to life at the HermistonCommunity Center and files this report.
Seigal: “It’s the storage of those weapons that are degrading out there that is the real risk to the community, so we’ve been preparing people for that unlikely event for a very, very long time.”
Jess Siegal is a spokesman for the emergency exercise.
The town of Quincy, Washington, is known for potato farming. Soon, it might be known for another kind of farming, of the high-tech variety. Microsoft is setting up data server farms there, and other technology firms may follow. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas visited Quincy to find out what this means for the town of five and a half thousand.
Weber: “Before all this started happening with Microsoft and Yahoo, the attitude here in town was really kind of depressed, not really knowing what the future held.”
Morrow County, Oregon, wants to woo NASCAR to sagebrush country along the Columbia River. Boosters are asking residents to approve a sales tax for a speedway that has yet to be built. Tax proposals usually get shot down in this fiscally conservative part of the Northwest. But correspondent Carol Cizauskas found enthusiasm for the tax – and the mythical speedway.
Beckstead: “I’m for it because I love racing. I watch the Hooters, the Busch race, Craftsmen Truck, all of it. Junior’s my man, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. C.L.F., Cute Little Fella.”
Bonnie Beckstead is a 28-year Boardman resident who supports setting up NASCAR in her town.