Ed Ronco | KNKX

Ed Ronco

All Things Considered Host

Ed Ronco came to KNKX in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KNKX’s Morning Edition. Ed started in public radio in 2009 at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, where he covered everything from city government, to education, crime, science, the arts and more. Prior to public radio, Ed worked in newspapers, including four years at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, where he covered business, then politics and government.

Ed grew up in Wyandotte, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

Ways to Connect

Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray
Cliff Owen / The Associated Press file

Negotiations continue in the U.S. Senate around massive infrastructure and budget measures. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, is among the Senate Democrats pushing provisions aimed at addressing climate change.

Felipe Contreras and Jessica Ramirez are producer and host, respectively, of Seedcast.
Nia Tero

This week, we are going to hear some stories from Seedcast, a locally produced podcast that debuted this past fall. It shares stories of the Indigenous experience around the world.

A trumpet player rehearses at Memorial Stadium in Seattle on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The Space Needle is in the background.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

After a pandemic hiatus last summer, Seattle’s All-City Band is back on the field this weekend. The group brings together music students from across the city. 

An artist's rendering shows the outline of a five-story building with trees and people walking nearby.
Schemata Workshop

Seattle’s Central District once was a Black neighborhood.

New arrivals and rising property values have pushed African Americans out, but many who have stayed hope to preserve and grow the Black culture that remains.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The lifting of most pandemic restrictions in Washington state is just days away, set for June 30. Ahead of it, KNKX has been talking with people in the health-care community about how they feel. Today, we focus on what reopening means for people who are unsheltered.

Two plates hold three pieces of salmon. Bites have been taken from each. The plates sit on a wooden countertop.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

It’s been a decade since I cooked my first salmon, while living in Alaska — three hefty filets from some Chinook I’d caught and saved, frozen, to impress my Michigan parents on their first trip to visit me.

I baked it in foil with garlic and lemon, and when we were done, my mom put her fork down on her clean plate, looked at me across the table and said, “I hate salmon.”

The 10 members of the African American Cultural Ensemble stand on brick steps dressed in bright colors.
Northwest African American Museum

The first time we see the African American Cultural Ensemble all together, they’re standing on brick steps, swaying gently, singing, each dressed in a different, bright color -- yellow, purple, pink, maroon and robin egg blue. 

“Ooh, child, things are going to get easier. Ooh, child, things will get brighter.”

Dr. Kevin Martin, chief medical officer at Kittitas Valley Healthcare
Kittitas Valley Healthcare

As the state prepares to lift COVID restrictions at the end of this month, KNKX is talking with health-care leaders about what they're anticipating. 

Patty Hayes, director of public health for Seattle and King County, talks to reporters March 4, 2020, during a news conference in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Friday was the last day on the job for the head of Public Health – Seattle & King County. Patty Hayes retires after seven years in charge of the agency and after 30 years in public health.

Ed Ronco / KNKX

Washington state is on track to fully reopen its economy by June 30. The state has been under some form of pandemic-related restriction since mid-March of 2020. 

The plan to return to business (mostly) as usual follows surprise guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month, saying fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks.

A student attaches a note to the Resilience Project board at a Utah school. The purpose of the project is to let students know that it is OK to struggle, and they're not alone.
Rick Bowmer / The Associated Press file

The COVID-19 pandemic took students out of school for most of the last year – away from friends and activities, and away from resources that can connect them to help when they’re struggling with a behavioral health concern.

A new law drafted by teens aims to change that.

Jessica Kowal

The missionary Marcus Whitman has been lionized through generations of Washington state history. A county is named after him, plus a college and a handful of other things.

But his place as a hero in state history is fading. A statue of Whitman – one of two the state gets to display in the U.S. Capitol – is about to be replaced with one of the late Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal member and Native fishing rights activist. And the truth about Whitman is becoming more clear.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson moves out of dry dock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, in April 2020.
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ethan J. Soto / U.S. Navy

If you spend any time in the Northwest, it isn’t long before you start hearing about “the big one.” That’s the giant 9.0 earthquake and tsunami predicted for our part of the world.

A box of Janssen vaccines is shown by pharmacist Zsolt Szenasi at a warehouse of Hungaropharma, a Hungarian pharmaceutical wholesale company, in Budapest.
Szilard Koszticsak / MTI via AP

The use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine remains paused this week as U.S. regulators study a possible link to rare blood clots. They’re expected to review the pause on Friday.

In the meantime, there are a lot of questions. To help us think through some of them, KNKX got in touch with bioethicist Thomas May of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University.

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, left, leader of the minority Republicans in the Washington state House.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Starting Friday, three Washington counties will be back in Phase 2 of the state’s pandemic reopening plan.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office announced this week that Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman counties had case counts or hospitalization rates that warranted things like lower restaurant capacity, tighter limits on indoor gatherings, and other steps.

Syringes with doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, are shown next to vaccination cards, Saturday, March 13, 2021, on the first day of operations at a mass vaccination site at the Lumen Field Events Center in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Anyone 16 or older who lives or works in King County can now pre-register for a vaccination in Seattle.

King County Council Member Girmay Zahilay speaks at Franklin High School in Seattle in February 2020.
Courtesy of King County

The King County Council is spending $2 million for gun violence prevention. The recently approved money creates a grant program and comes from a larger $94 million pool of funds for COVID-19 relief measures. 

Cori Lichtenberg, library technical assistant at the Kent Library, cleans a computer station on Friday, March 5. She's wiping a chair with a cloth.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

The public library where I grew up had an old claw-foot bathtub right in the middle of the children's section. The tub was lined with carpet, and it was there for kids to sit in and read.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., right, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at left, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 1, 2021, to unveil a proposed Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act.
Susan Walsh / The Associated Press

 

U.S. Rep Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) in introducing the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act.

Kyle Fox / KNKX

This is part two of a conversation KNKX had with Claudia Balducci, chair of the King County Council. Listen to part one, which focuses on housing and homelessness.

In November, voters approved a change to the King County charter. The sheriff would be appointed, not elected. Under the change, the county executive will appoint the sheriff, and the King County Council will confirm the appointment.

Claudia Balducci during a Zoom meeting.
Office of Councilmember Claudia Balducci

Communities in western Washington have grappled with how to address homelessness for decades. And Claudia Balducci, chair of the King County Council, says local governments, like the one she's part of, must “start and lead with the humanity of trying to help people who are suffering.”

A sign indicates a road closure on Queen Anne Avenue North, during a snow storm in 2019. It says "Snow Closure" and "Do Not Enter" and is placed in the middle of the snow-covered road.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Updates on weather forecast added at 10:40 a.m. Thursday:
Western Washington is bracing for the first significant snowfall of the winter. 

Law enforcement fills a Tacoma intersection on Jan. 23 after a police officer responding to reports of street racing drove through a crowd. The burned rubber from the illegal racing and burnouts marks the pavement at Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The Pierce County Force Investigation Team said Friday that it has determined that six people were struck during a Jan. 23 incident in which a Tacoma police officer drove through a crowd of people. Members of the team have talked with three of the people and are working to get statements from the others.

The hardest part of the journey is yet to come - the Continental Divide, stunned by the magnitude of roaring rivers, Jacob Lawrence, 1973, gouache on board, 40.25x48 inches. The third panel among five, depicting the George Bush party traveling to Oregon.
Jacob Lawrence / Washington State Historical Society catalog

Black History Month is being celebrated around the region through a series of programs and events, mostly virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The USS Michigan, a guided missile submarine that calls Naval Base Kitsap home, prepares to dock at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the Philippines on March 25, 2014.
Jun Dumaguing / The Associated Press file

Russia and the United States have extended a nuclear arms treaty, just before it was set to expire. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, was set to expire Feb. 5.

Alfredo Arreguin paints a portrait of Frida Kahlo, who he says makes him think of his mother. Arreguin said his mother wanted to be an artist, but because she was a woman, was never taken seriously by the art world.
Kevin Cruff

When you call Alfredo Arreguin on the phone, you aren’t strangers for long.

Arreguin, 86, has built a reputation as a painter of bright, vibrant works – full of bold colors and animals and nature … big shots of warmth in what has, lately, felt like a cold world. His work is in two Smithsonian museums, and he’s been widely praised and awarded for his painting.

Artist Alfredo Arreguin, left, talks about his painting of former Washington state Supreme Court Justice Charles Z. Smith, standing in the middle with his wife, Eleanor Martinez Smith, and Justice Steven Gonzalez at the May 2014 unveiling of the portrait.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press file

When Steven González was first named to the Washington state Supreme Court, as an associate justice in 2011, he brought his family to the Temple of Justice – that large, sandstone building in Olympia where the court meets.

They were in a hallway looking at portraits of the previous justices – black-robed white men with serious expressions on their faces, staring out from the walls.

Washington Supreme Court Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, left, reacts to applause after she was sworn in, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. Montoya-Lewis wrote the unanimous opinion calling for the Indian Child Welfare Act to be more broadly applied.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

More than a century ago, a Yakama Nation fisherman named Alec Towessnute was stopped while fishing near Prosser, and prosecuted for using a gaff hook, a traditional fishing method.

He cited his treaty rights, and the county court dismissed the charges. But the state Supreme Court, in 1916, reinstated them, ignoring the treaty and using racist, demeaning language.

Justice Steven Gonzalez listens to testimony, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, during a Washington Supreme Court hearing in Olympia.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The state Supreme Court has a new leader.

Chief Justice Steven González was sworn in Monday as the court began its new term in Olympia. González, who is Latino, becomes the first chief justice of color in state history. He’s also the first Jewish chief justice.

House Speaker Pro-tem Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, presides over the Washington House, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Author's note: After the death of George Floyd, we had a series of conversations about race. This one, with state Rep. John Lovick, still sticks with me. Lovick's background — having grown up in the Jim Crow south, and a long career in law enforcement — provided a unique perspective on a moment when the nation was focused on the intersections of race and policing. I appreciated that he spoke from the heart. It's not easy to do that under the best of circumstances, let alone at such a painful time for so many people. And while there was pain in this conversation, I also heard hope. (This story originally aired June 4, 2020.)

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