Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

Saturdays at 10 AM

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme.

Sound Effect is on iTunes. Subscribe to our podcast.

Got a story idea? Email us!

Hannah Burn

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.

The San Juans' last homesteaders first discovered the islands on a map. June and Farrar Burn were newlyweds. They met in 1919 at a party June threw in her log cabin in Virginia. June quickly fell for Farrar’s ruddy-cheeked smile, curly red hair, and his ability to make himself useful immediately:  gathering firewood, serving drinks, hosting as if it were his own home. Farrar was drawn to June’s lively eyes and her unmistakable, fierce spirit. In a month, the two were married.

Kevin Kniestedt / KNKX

This story originallyt aired on June 17, 2017.  

Affordable housing is certainly a big issue these days, especially if you are living in the greater Seattle area. But it is also a major issue on some of our islands.

On San Juan Island, an overwhelming shortage of affordable housing is threatening the community and economy. But a non-profit in Friday Harbor is come up with a way to help that problem: by picking up old houses that are no long wanted in Victoria, British Columbia, putting them on a boat, and giving them a second life in Friday.

“McNeil Island and neighbors” by worldislandinfo.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2tseyeM

Note: Some of the content in this story might be upsetting to some listeners. 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.  

McNeil Island in South Puget Sound is where the Special Commitment Center for sexually violent predators is located. There are about 250 permanent residents at the Special Commitment Center -that’s what they’re called — and there are only a few ways you can leave the facility: you die, you’re deemed to have successfully completed treatment, or you can challenge your commitment with a trial.

Courtesy of Steve Edmiston.

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.   

In the summer of 1947, off the coast of Maury Island in South Puget Sound, a man named Harold Dahl was out on his boat with his son, Christopher, their dog and two workers. Harold collected logs floating in the Sound and resold them to lumber mills.

 

Think Dating Is Hard? Try It On An Island.

Jun 2, 2018
“Dating In The 50's” by zaza23 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2rwn2Fr

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.   

You may have thought about living on the San Juan in an abstract, big-picture sense: basking in the rain shadow, long bike rides along rolling hills, the best garden of your life. But what about the practical parts of day-to-day life, like dating? What if you couldn’t take someone out to dinner without everyone you see every single day knowing your business?

 

Credit Mike Kniec/Flickr

This week, stories of picking up the pieces. First, a story of how a chance discovery in a dumpster led to an inside look at a woman’s life, and eventually a musical tribute. Then, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce shares the story of her brother, and his tragic death.

University of Washington

Ana Mari Cauce says her relationship with her big brother was pretty typical when they were growing up. 

"Every scar on his body was probably given to him by me," Cauce says, "He had a scar over his mouth where I kicked hime in the mouth -- not on puprose! He was in the front seat, I was in the back seat. He did some kind of name-calling and so I went to kick the back of teh seat, he turned around I caught his tooth."

Courtesy of Jason Webley and Chicken John

On a hot, windy night in San Francisco, a good friend of Everett musician Jason Webley climbed into a dumpster. His nickname was Chicken John, and he crouched at the bottom of the dumpster to light a cigarette. What he found, there among the garbage, turned out to be unexpected treasure: an oversized, handmade leather scrapbook that was falling apart.

Chicken carried around the discarded, early-20th Century scrapbook for years.  It contained items -- poems, newspaper clippings and other official documents -- all pertaining to the life of a woman named Margaret  Rucker.

Claire Barnett

 

On January 31, 2000, Claire Barnett lost 10 people she loved dearly on Alaska Airlines Flight 261. Two of the people on board were her daughters, 8-year-old Coriander Clemetson and 6-year-old Blake Clemetson.

 

The girls were coming back from Mexico with their father, their stepmother, their 6-year-old stepbrother and their new 6-month-old baby brother. The MD-83 crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California after a faulty screw forced the plane into a nosedive.

 

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

Naomi Wachira was born and raised in Kenya, studied broadcasting in Chicago, then theology in Seattle. While she always had an impressive singing voice -- she sang in choirs since she was five -- becoming a professional musician wasn’t truly on the radar until 2013, after her father, a pastor in Kenya, passed away.

Credit Ed Ronco

This week, stories of sacred spaces. We hear from a couple who moved their church from Capitol Hill to Skyway, only to be joined by a long string of churches priced out of Seattle. Then, a musician who started recording in the room where his wife died. We meet an artist who considers her garden her sacred space.

Will James / KNKX

Phil Elverum's wife died in a spare room on the second floor of their house in Anacortes, Wash.

After that day in 2016, Elverum made an effort to cut the room off from the rest of the house. He threw open its lone window and closed the door, ceding the space to the rain, leaves, and birds that flew in. 

"I just wanted to air it out, neturalize the room," he said, "and let whatever thoughts and feelings were in here dissipate."

Then, one day, he opened the door again. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

In 1996, when Ginny Ruffner moved into an old brick building in the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, her new backyard looked like typical big city blight: overgrown crabgrass and weeds, trash, a brick wall.

“My view here was pretty urban, so I made my view. I augmented it, added to it,” said Ruffner.

Oysterville, Washington is about 15 miles up the peninsula from Long Beach. It used to be a hub for oyster farming. It’s a tiny town, with an even tinier church. But this church has a very long history in Washington, as a little seaside haven.

Sydney Stevens is the great granddaughter of R.H. Espy, who helped create this town. He also built the church, now called the Historic Church of Oysterville.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

The Islamic Center of Eastside is Bellevue’s only mosque. It was at this Sacred Space that Muslims from more than 40 different countries prayed five times a day.

That is, until it was the target of arson -- not once, but twice.

In the Islamic faith, the mosque is not only a house of prayer, but the central place for Muslims to gather, according to Omer Lone, a mosque elder at the Center.

"The mosque plays the role of the community center," he said. "It's the university and the town hall."

Credit Kevin Kniestedt

At the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., monitors are updating the latest Kilauea eruption on Hawaii's Big Island. About half the scientists there are helping with the Hawaii eruption. Two of them recently flew to the Big Island to assist on the ground. About a year ago, KNKX went inside the observatory to find out what they do for our show Sound Effect. Given all the volcanic activity in Hawaii right now and the fact that this Friday is the 38th anniversary of Mount Saint Helens erupting, we thought you'd like a peek inside this observatory where all eyes and ears are on volcanos. 

Credit Cygnus921/Wikipedia Commons

This week, stories of beating the odds on your very first try. We hear from a comedian who braved an open mic night which led to a career in comedy. Then, a woman who hit the bull’s-eye with a bullet on her very first and last shot. Also, we talk to a teenager who sued the government over climate change and won.

Courtesy of Brad Upton

Brad Upton was a fourth grade schoolteacher in Pasco, Wash. who dreamed of becoming a standup comic. On a Tuesday night in 1983 he finally summoned the courage, and made the long drive to Seattle to try his first open mic at the Comedy Underground in Pioneer Square. Just before he was supposed to go onstage, he lost his nerve.

Sometimes You Only Get One Shot To Get It Right

May 12, 2018
driki / Flickr Creative Commons

 

When I was 16 I spent a month living with a wonderful family splat in the middle of France. The village where they spent their summers was tiny. Really tiny. It was composed of about 70 people, all of whom were related in some way or another, so, as an extraneous bit of DNA in their midst, it was hard to know what to do with myself or how to fit in.

Robin Loznak

A few years ago, a group of teenagers in Washington state took on one of our most perplexing problems with a novel strategy: They sued the state government for failing to safeguard the climate for future generations.

The tactic was new, the plaintiffs were young, and yet, they won. A superior court judge ruled in their favor in 2016.

But then nothing much happened.

Now they’re trying again, this time suing the federal government.

Silvana Clark

Silvana Clark was sitting at home, feeding her 6-month old daughter in the wee hours of the morning. Everything felt peaceful and perfect, like a Hallmark commercial.

 

Suddenly, she felt a whoosh over her head. Turning on a lamp, she was horrified to see a bat sitting in the nursery on a lacy, white curtain.

 

"There’s a bat in the baby’s room. Get it out! Get it out!” she screamed.

 

Courtesy Jenny Shrum / American Camp National Historical Park

It would be a bit of a stretch to call zoologist John Fleckenstein a beginner.  He recently retired from a long career as a kind of wildlife detective. He worked with Washington State’s Natural Heritage Program, looking for and studying the behaviors of all kinds of rare creatures.

MICHAL LEBL

This show originally aired on April 15, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, stories of time and how it rules our daily lives. 

Dennis Wise / University of Washington Photography

This story originally aired on April 15, 2017.

Retired University of Washington astrobiology professor Woody Sullivan is obsessed with the concept of time. It's apparent the instant you walk into what he call’s his “man lodge," the little study behind his North Seattle home.

It’s full of shelves of books with titles like “Empires of Time,” and “Time, The Familiar Stranger.” Plus, there are shelves of small, ornate sundials, some that can fit into the palm of your hand.

Courtesy of Port of Mokha coffee

This story originally aired on April 15, 2017.

28-year old Yemeni-American Mokhtar Alkhanshali loves coffee. In fact, he is the first Arab certified Q-grader, the coffee equivalent of a sommelier for wine.

Mokhtar grew up between the United States and Yemen. In his grandparents’ garden in Yemen, Mokhtar picked red coffee berries off the trees and laid them out on drying beds. His grandmother taught him when to harvest the berries, and later, how to brew coffee with spices like cardamom and cinnamon.

Courtesy of Marilyn Roberts

This story originally aired on April 15, 2017.   

In the spring of 2014, Marilyn Roberts' son, Kevin, was 27 years old and struggling with bipolar disorder. One day, he called his mom to tell her that he was taking a bus to go to downtown Olympia, Wash., not too far from where he lived. 

"He was to a point where wasn't cognizant of what was going on, on a day to day basis," Roberts remembers.

Scott Areman / Northwest Kidney Center

This story originally aired on April 15, 2017.  

All of our lives are ruled by time, but some of us are more aware of it than others. 

At the Northwest Kidney Centers in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, dialysis patients are very aware of the passing hours. They're hooked up to machines that display the elapsing time prominently on a screen. These machines filter and clean their blood, a job normally handled by healthy kidneys. 

Finding The Time To Say 'I Love You' To Your Dad

May 5, 2018
Courtesy of Dominic Black

This story originally aired on April 15, 2017.

When I think back on it now, when I was growing up there’s two things that were really hard for me to tell my parents. The first was: ‘Hey Mum and Dad, so we’re getting sex education at school.’

And the second was, ‘I love you.’

The Last Straw: Sound Effect, Episode 143

Apr 28, 2018
National Photo Agency of Israel

This week, stories of breaking points, realizations, and bitter ends. We meet one man who is taking out his disappointment with the departure of Seattle's basketball team in an unusual way.

Courtesy Ben Weber

Actor Ben Weber has been in movies like Kissing Jessica Stein and television shows like Sex and the City. Most recently he was in a television mini-series called Manhunt: Unabomber. But he also got some attention a few years ago for a video he did starring Ben Weber as Angry Ben Weber.

Weber grew up in Seattle and was a Seattle Supersonics fan from day one. After moving to New York, and eventually to Los Angeles, the Sonics remained his team, up until the point where they were sold by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz. 

Pages