Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

Saturdays at 10 AM

Sound Effect is stories inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme.

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Gabriel Spitzer

 


Melba Ayco is the Artistic and Program Director for Northwest Tap Connection. The studio, located on Rainier Avenue in South Seattle, teaches children how to dance. Most of the students are African American. Along with learning how to shuffle and do a time step, Northwest Tap students get a lot of exposure to social justice issues, thanks in large part to Melba. 

KNKX

We meet a woman who combines tap dancing with social justice. A pediatric oncologist shares his story of being pulled out of his comfort zone. And a woman talks about how she chose to shout her diagnosis from the rooftops, only to find out later that she was misdiagnosed.

Paul Elliot / Creative Commons license https://bit.ly/1iowB8m

There’s a debate going on in American higher education about trigger warnings and safe spaces, orthodox thinking and free speech. Evergreen State College in Olympia became briefly famous in that debate in May 2017, when a discussion about campus equity spiraled into a true crisis, involving protests, counter-protests, death threats and neo-Nazis. Graduation had to be moved off campus because of safety concerns.

Courtesy of Tim Haywood.

 


One thing that hardly anyone warns you about when you have kids is how much time you will spend worrying about them. From the moment they enter the world until, well, as long as you are alive, you worry — about everything.

 

Courtesy of Sam Blackman

 


Sam Blackman was about a year into his career as a pediatric oncologist, when he got a page on Friday afternoon. It was from a doctor at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital across the street.

 

In her early 20s, Ginny McClure got some bad news. It was the kind of news people tend to be embarrassed to share. Ginny resolved to not be ashamed — to shout it from the rooftops, even.

Still, there are certain subjects you don’t really want to talk about with certain people, like your parents. For Ginny, that subject was sex.

Courtesy of Alex Hubbard


    

If you’ve spent any time walking around Seattle neighborhoods, you’ve probably spotted a “Fantasy A” poster bearing the name and image of a young African-American man.

 

His handmade fliers promote performances at local clubs and bars where he shares details about his life through rap music. He spends about six hours each day putting up posters.

 

“I’m a musician with autism and I write songs about my personal struggles,” Fantasy A said.

 

Will James / KNKX

 


The Merkle Hotel is a vestige — one of the last residential hotels in Western Washington geared toward housing low-income people. These hotels were once commonplace in this region, particularly in Seattle and Tacoma, but also in many other towns with sizable populations of transient and/or immigrant workers.

 

Credit Andrew Skudder/Flickr

KNKX reporter Will James reflects on the closing of the Merkle Hotel, what may be the last remaining low-income residential hotel in Tacoma. Professor Marie Wong gives a history of single room occupancy hotels in the Chinatown International District in Seattle. An elected official talks about how she still uses food banks. We then visit a bicycle-based needle exchange program in Olympia.

courtesy of Krystal Marx

Krystal Marx is a City Councilmember in Burien, a suburb south of Seattle. Earlier this year, she posted to Facebook with an unusual confession.

"I'm an Elected Official," Marx wrote, "and I Go To the Food Bank. "

Courtesy Marie Wong

Residential hotels once filled a crucial niche for low-income workers and immigrants, a bridge between affordable housing and a shelter.

These Single Room Occupancy hotels, or SROs, used to dominate the streetscape in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Now they’re nearly extinct.

It’s a story that caught the attention of Marie Wong, an Associate Professor at Seattle University. It appealed to her background in urban planning, but also to her background as a Chinese American growing up in the Midwest.

Bethany Denton / KNKX

 


“A volunteer-run, bicycle-based, 365-night-a-year street outreach program with basic emergency supplies and syringe exchange and naloxone distribution…. In Olympia, Washington.” That’s how volunteer Cassie Burke describes the Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach Project, or EGYHOP.

WIkipedia Commons

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

To say that Washington State University Cougars have school spirit is a wild understatement, and if you have any in your life, you know they don't hesitate to remind you.

Now, Cameron McCoy and many other members of Coug nation have reached a significant milestone in letting their flags fly. 

Actual flags. 

TRAJANER/CREATIVE COMMONS

This episode originally aired on December 16, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is "One of Many" ... the tension between standing out and fitting in.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

At first glance it may seem like the students at St. Francis of Assisi school in Burien are dressed pretty much alike: white collar shirts, red plaid skirts for the girls, navy blue pants or shorts for the boys.

But look closer, and you’ll see that many of them have brought a little something special to their outfits.

“I wear a gold watch,” says Gino Morella.

“I have white Adidas superstars that I’ve worn all year,” says Gabriel Hamilton.

“I tend to wear a leather jacket,” says Rachel Fry.

Creative Commons

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

Christopher Poulos is the head of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, dedicated to helping those who have been through the criminal justice system.

It’s the kind of job that he is uniquely qualified for.

As a teenager, Poulos struggled with severe substance abuse, leading him into homelessness and then incarceration. He saw the problems of the justice system firsthand, especially how it disenfranchised the poor and people of color.

Nicole Price

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

When Nicole Price was 25 years old, life was not going the way she had planned. She was addicted to meth, she had a hard time holding down a job and then a test revealed she was HIV positive.

“I was afraid of dying. I was afraid of never being able to have kids, of never being able to get married. My family not loving me anymore. It was a really scary time,” remembers Price.

Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

Any parent of more than one child will tell you that they have no favorites. They will tell you that the well from which love is drawn has no bottom. 

This is what Donald Vass would say about books.

"I sense a type of universal voice coming from all of these books. And often when I open a book and my eyes will land upon a set of words or a sentence, a passage that will speak to me. And sometimes, that will speak to me at a moment when I very much need it," says Vass.

AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

Sound Effect producer Kevin Kniestedt shared this essay.   

My earliest memory of watching the Seahawks goes back to when I was probably three or four. I remember sitting in the basement with my dad, with the game on TV, and hearing the announcer saying “there is a penalty flag down.” Since I had no understanding of the game, I imagined that somewhere in that stadium, there was a person standing by a flag pole, lowering and raising a flag that said “penalty” on it every time a player did something bad.

Gabriel Spitzer

When Caroline Garry first noticed she had a problem with perfection, she was in her bedroom closet scrubbing down a pair of white leather Nikes. Caroline was in seventh grade, and like a lot of kids she had gotten attached to a new pair of school shoes. But unlike a lot of kids, Caroline would come home from school every single day and clean them. In hiding. Whether they were dirty or not.

"I just felt this compulsion. I needed to."

Credit Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on November 4, 2017.

The population of Concrete, Washington in 1938 was about 1,000 people. But one October evening that year, while a famous radio broadcast was frightening a good portion of the population across the country, things in Concrete got even stranger.

A violinist with the Seattle Symphony talks about having perfect pitch, and offers a demonstration. A University of Washington gymnastics coach discusses the constant pressure for elite gymnasts to be perfect. A Seattle photographer takes us out to try and find the perfect shot.

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

If you are a musician in the Seattle Symphony, you already have a certain mastery of your craft. Andy Liang is in the second violin section with the Symphony, and despite being an incredible talent, he would probably be the first to tell you that he is not perfect. But he does possess at least one type of perfection: perfect pitch.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

The expectations for Elise Ray Statz were enormous.

These days she is the head coach of the University of Washington women's gymnastics team. But back in 2000, she was captain of the USA Olympic team, and that team’s job was to win gold in Sydney, Australia.

“So ‘96 was the first women’s gymnastics team to ever win a gold medal for team [competition]. And it was just a massive accomplishment for gymnastics,” Elise said. “I think we were expected in 2000 to win gold, and that anything less wasn’t good enough.”

Momka Peeva / Momka's Glass

Bulgarian-born Momka Peeva knows a thing or two about glass. In fact, she probably knows everything there is to know about all kinds of glass. She even wrote a book about it, which is still the go-to text on glass composition and manufacturing used in Bulgaria today.

 

Kimberly Clark Sharp lives in Seattle but she grew up in Kansas. And when she was 22, she had an experience with her father at the DMV that would change her life. It was not something she was prepared for.

“We were leaving the building. I collapsed into and through his arms, and hit the sidewalk,” Kim said.

A nearby nurse, a good samaritan and the fire department all worked to resuscitate her. Nothing was working. Kim describes hearing someone say, “I’m not getting a pulse!”

Agnes Bodor

 

As a kid, Agnes Bodor had a few unusual interests.

“I was really crazy about books about illnesses, you know, images of skin rashes and things like that,” Agnes said.

One day she spotted a small microscope in a store window, and longed to have it. That was unrealistic, considering that her family was poor and living under the Communist government in Hungary. But one day, a family friend with no children of his own stopped by Agnes’s house, and presented her with a small box.

Gisela Giardino/Flickr ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A psychology professor explains how dreams can have a big impact on real-life decisions and discoveries. A researcher searches for a drug that can help veterans kick their PTSD nightmares. A man who used to make teeth transitions into a new career, in dream analysis.

Courtesy of Kate Noble

 

Kate Noble says she knew at a young age that her family was dysfunctional.

 

“Many layers of conflict. Maternal, psychiatric dysfunction, absentee father,” Noble recalled.

 

Help came to Noble in the form of a dream. She was three and a half years old.

 

Nightmares happen to us all. For people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, nightmares can be debilitating, nightly experiences. “Trauma nightmares are almost [like playing] a video tape of a traumatic event,” says Dr. Murray Raskind. He’s a psychiatrist at the VA Puget Sound hospital in Seattle and a professor in the University of Washington School of Medicine, who’s been researching PTSD treatment since he started working with a support group for African American veterans of the Vietnam War, in 1994.

 

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