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Sound Effect, Episode 21: Self-Government

Two men standing atop dirt smiling and waving in Lake Union. Houses sit atop hills in the background.
Courtesy of Lloyd Pernela
Lloyd Pernela and a co-conspirator stand atop Chelan Island, a mysterious hunk of dirt that rose from Lake Union in 1962.

"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, and this week we hear stories about the promise and the perils of self-government. 

We begin with the tale of a short-lived utopian society, right in the heart of Seattle. In 1962, a mysterious island rose, inexplicably, out of the waters of Lake Union. That gave a group of UW students an idea. Gabriel Spitzer tracks down one of the ringleaders of their plot, half-a-century later, to learn about the epic rise and tragic fall of Chelan Island. 

Then, delegates at Model UN conferences aren't supposed to break character all day. We talk to Rebekah Traficante, Secretary-General of the Northwest Model United Nations,  about what they say to each other after-hours, at the "delegate dance" and the cookie table. It's pretty scandalous. 

Many teens, if not most, have fantasies of ditching their mom and dad and just parenting themselves. In fact there is a legal way to do that. At age 16, Logan Hofklamp became an "emancipated youth," which is like, as he puts it, "divorcing your parents and becoming your own legal guardian." He tells us why he's glad he did it, but also what he may have missed out on. 

And finally, KNKX's Jennifer Wingtakes us to a supportive housing project for chronic drinkers in Seattle. Rather than demand sobriety in exchange for housing, this "wet house" instead gives the residents  more autonomy. We'll find out what kind of results they're getting. 

Our news panel this week includes Tonya Mosely, Justin Carder and Kari Plog

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.