Ariel Van Cleave | KNKX

Ariel Van Cleave

Morning Edition Producer

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX. 

Ways to Connect

Parker Blohm / KNKX


This story originally aired on June 1, 2019. 

Emotional intelligence and good self care are important for a lot of us, but they can be a little illusive as well. And if you’re a teenager, it can be even more of challenge to understand what and why you’re feeling something. That was the case for Christy Abram. Though, her work now is focused on helping her fellow women of color get through the harder parts of life by sharing their stories with others through the written word. 

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum, Saturday, Aug. 10, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee has made it to the debate stage twice with fellow Democratic presidential candidates, but the threshold for the next round of debates may be an issue for his campaign. As the governor tries to make headway in the crowded race, he’s still focused on matters back home. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins joined KNKX’s Ariel Van Cleave for a live chat about the latest on Morning Edition.

Gene Johnson / AP Photo

More than 30 gray whales have washed ashore in Washington state this year. But that’s only a fraction of the number of stranded whales seen along the West Coast between Mexico and Alaska. This "unusual mortality event" (UME) has triggered an investigation by researchers, though answers won't come quickly.

John Calambokidis, a biologist who co-founded Olympia-based Cascadia Research Institute, has been trying to understand the whale strandings in Washington state. He talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick via Skype about what’s happening and how we may only be seeing a fraction of the problem.  

Oliver's glass sculpture "Mystical Journey" suspended in Seattle Children's hospital.
mksfca / Flickr

Marvin Oliver has died at the age of 73. The Seattle-based artist was world-renowned and drew on his Native American roots to create his pieces. Oliver had been battling pancreatic cancer.

census form
Michelle R. Smith / The Associated Press

Every 10 years, the population of the United States gets counted. The actual census starts in March of next year, with a first-ever digital rollout of forms. By April, paper copies are sent to those who haven't already filled out the information online. 

Even though the count doesn't begin for several months, there's work being done by organizations to get the word out about the importance of taking part. Washington Census Alliance Manager Kamau Chege says his group has focused specifically on populations that are historically undercounted, including people of color. 

Ready for his first jump during the 1939 experiment is pioneer smokejumper Francis Lufkin. Lufkin, a local fire guard as they were called at the time, headed up the North Cascades Base from 1940 until his retirement in 1972.
Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

The men and women who fight wildland fires have to be prepared for everything. Many of the people who sign up as recruits have never been in a wildfire in their lives. Others have experience as hot shots or smokejumpers. And that got us thinking: where did the idea come from to jump out of a plane and into a fire? The answer: Central Washington.

In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

A new batch of gun safety laws go into effect today in Washington state. They're part of Initiative 1639, which was approved by voters last November.

Tim Durkan

KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass has been working with a group of atmospheric researchers at the University of Washington hoping to get a better idea of the impact climate change will have on the Pacific Northwest. The group has been conducting "regional climate modeling."

McNeil Island
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Laura McCollum, who was profiled in Episode 2 of Forgotten Prison, has been conditionally released from the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. Hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel spoke with KNKX's Kirsten Kendrick about what that means.

This file photo from 2015 shows the main entrance to Washington state's Special Commitment Center next to a fence lined with razor wire on McNeil Island, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The only woman at a treatment facility for sex offenders on McNeil Island in South Puget Sound has been conditionally released in Pierce County.

Laura McCollum, 61, left the Special Commitment Center on the island earlier this month. McCollum was profiled in Episode 2 of KNKX's podcast about McNeil Island, Forgotten Prison.

Washington state legislators in Olympia
Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A legal battle over whether state lawmakers are exempt from public records requests will go before the state Supreme Court Tuesday. Several media outlets, including public radio, sued the state after many requests for records were denied in 2017.

Justin Steyer / KNKX

Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John, died Thursday at 77. The pianist and singer brought the sound of New Orleans to the world and is being remembered by many as a genius and a gentleman.

Dr. John came to our studios in 2010 to play tunes from his album "Tribal" and sat down for an interview with KNKX's (then KPLU's) Kevin Kniestedt. Kevin joined Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick to talk about what made Dr. John so special. 

Tim Durkan

It's going to be a beautiful several days, and we can expect lots of sunshine. But as we look toward what's expected in the next week or month, there is some uncertainty. In KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass' blog post this week, he talks about the reliability of extended forecasts. He says forecasting models are "quite good" out about a week. 

People soak up the sun at Gas Works Park in Seattle.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

There will be a few more wet, cool days before the weather transitions on Sunday to warm and sunny. The drier conditions have many state officials worried about the wildfire season. Gov. Jay Inslee announced a drought declaration this week, but KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says things may not be as bad as they seem. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo


Students of faith at colleges and universities sometimes find their school work and religious practices conflicting. But a new law will require schools to come up with with policies to accommodate them.

Seattle City Hall
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

There are more than 50 candidates running for a seat on the Seattle City Council. The filing deadline for the primary is May 17.

Crosscut city reporter David Kroman has been covering the races and tells Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick that the high turnout is driven by two factors: opportunity and unhappiness with the council's current performance.

The Mount Si jazz band practices ahead of this year's Essentially Ellington competition.
Ariel Van Cleave / KNKX

Three high school jazz bands from the region are heading to the 2019 Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival in New York this week. Roosevelt, Garfield and Mount Si students will be competing with musicians from a dozen other schools to win top honors at the event. 

Mount Si senior and guitarist Ryan Horn attended the competition as a sophomore. He says he looks forward to returning.

Naeem Rashim tried to stop the gunman during the Christchurch shootings.
Courtesy of Nayab Khan

Ramadan begins May 5. The holy month is a time of reflection for Muslims, and to focus on being the best version of themselves. For one man who lives in Carnation, it's also a time to remember a friend who was lost in the terrorist attacks at the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Joel DeJong

People have been gathering every month over the past year to sing in a group called "Crowdsource Choir." Many of them aren't experienced singers or musicians, but that's actually kind of the point.

Museum of Pop Culture

The theme of this year's Pop Conference at Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture is "Only You and Your Ghost Will Know: Music, Death, and Afterlife." It focuses on how music is used to commemorate death and mass tragedies, the musicians lost over the years and the legacies that have been left behind. Additionally, it will address the way technology influences how we remember and celebrate certain artists, either through group mourning on social media or sampling an artist's work.

A still from the film 'The Edge of the Knife'
Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown

The Cascadia International Women's Film Festival is April 11-14 in Bellingham. The event highlights the work of women directors and producers, and also features several films focused on indigenous cultures. 

Lyn Dennis is a board member for the festival, as well as a member of the Lummi Nation and the Tahltan Band. She spoke with KNKX Morning Edition producer Ariel Van Cleave ahead of the event and says it's important to have stories from indigenous cultures told through an indigenous lens to prevent things from being lost in translation. 

MoPop’s newest exhibit featuring Prince includes one of the largest 2D pieces ever displayed in the museum.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture will have a new exhibit on display starting April 6 called "Prince from Minneapolis." The exhibit is about two things: image and inspiration.

This April 16, 2014, file photo shows a flag resting at half staff on a cedar pole in front of the site of the deadly mudslide that hit the community of Oso on March 22, 2014.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press


Tomorrow marks five years since the devastating Oso landslide killed 43 people. It forever changed the lives of residents in the small Snohomish County town, and affected thousands of others from across the region who responded to help.

As part of the KNKX Connects project, we’re remembering the victims and the families and friends who continue to grieve. KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick spoke with Laura Takacs, who is a clinical director and therapist at Virginia Mason specializing in sudden and traumatic loss.

Washington House representatives listen to testimony, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, before they unanimously voted to approve a code of conduct for the Legislature in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

State lawmakers are approaching the halfway point of their 105-day session, and they’re closing in on the deadline to pass non-budget-related bills out of their house of origin. Democrats control both chambers this year, and they’re flexing their majority muscles. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins updated Morning Edition producer Ariel Van Cleave on the latest progress.

McNeil Island
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Over the past several weeks, the podcast series Forgotten Prison has taught listeners a lot about the Alcatraz of Washington state. Despite the rich history of the now-abandoned prison on McNeil Island, the state left a lot behind when it closed the institution in 2011. In the last episode, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore what we lose when we forget about prisons. They talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the conclusion of the series.

prison walls
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

McNeil Island prison ran for more than a century in South Puget Sound. A lot of earth-shaking events happened in the outside world during that time, and those events had ripple effects that were felt in the prison itself.

In the fifth episode of our podcast Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel look at the role McNeil played in world events. Wissel talks about the latest episode of the series with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

The people who worked at the now-abandoned prison on McNeil raised families in houses around the island.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When it closed in 2011, McNeil Island’s prison was the last of its kind in the country — an institution accessible only by air or water. Being on an island made McNeil unique. In the fourth episode of our six-part podcast series Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore island life. Alicea talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what they learned.

James Holt / Seattle Symphony

The Seattle Symphony is leading all orchestras with three Grammy nods. Nominations for "Best Classical Instrumental Solo" and "Best Contemporary Classical Composition" stem from the symphony's recording of the Aaron Jay Kernis: Violin Concerto

The group also is in consideration for "Best Orchestral Performance" because of its recording of Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 "Sinfonia espansiva" and Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable." 

Abandoned cells at the McNeil Island prison site.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The now-abandoned prison at McNeil Island ran for 136 years. That means the history of the place can tell us a lot about how prisons have changed over time.

In Episode 3 of Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel introduce us to former McNeil inmates and guards, and take listeners through the abandoned structures on the island. They talked about what they found with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Ariel Van Cleave / KNKX


A lot of us pay rent, and sometimes it can be at an exorbitant rate. But for many of us, it’s the price we’re willing to pay in order live in a place with a solid economy and gorgeous views everywhere you look.


But long before we got here, the Duwamish tribe called 54,000 acres from Seattle to Bellevue and down to Renton home. They were the original caretakers, or landlords, if you will, of this land. And now that we’re living and working in their ancestral land, there’s this question of “how responsible are we for making past wrongs, right?”