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.

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One size does not fit all. That's the message from the mayors of Sumner and Bonney Lake, neighboring communities in eastern Pierce County with a combined population of about 31,000 people. They wrote a joint letter to Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this month asking for a little more leeway in the state's phased reopening plan, especially for small businesses in their communities.

Wearing a face mask, a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment also known as The Old Guard, places flags in front of each headstone for "Flags-In" at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Thursday, May 21, 2020
Carolyn Kaster / The Associated Press

It's fair to say that this Memorial Day is unlike most that have come before. For one, there won’t be the usual parades or ceremonies.

Those rituals can be of great comfort to many who are coping with loss on Memorial Day, especially people in or connected to the military.

KNKX spoke with Lt. Col. Jason Nobles, deputy chaplain for First Corps, based at Joint Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed interest across the country in mail-in voting — which is how Washington state voters have cast ballots universally for nearly a decade.

Washington's Secretary of State Kim Wyman often is called upon by those elsewhere to explain how the process works. She's also a Republican, and leaders of her party — including President Donald Trump — have expressed skepticism about the idea of voting by mail. (She says she'd like to convince him otherwise.)

The streets of downtown Tacoma are empty amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Photo by Tom Collins

A new coronavirus relief bill passed the House last week, but appears dead in the Senate. 

Still, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, hopes some of the provisions aren't lost. The original measure included more support for Medicare and Medicaid and hazard pay to health care workers dealing with the pandemic. 

Kilmer talked to KNKX about the bill, and the larger response to COVID-19.

Portland Art Museum / Courtesy of the US General Services Administration

Margaret Bullock did not expect the latest exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum to be so timely. And it’s fair to say she didn’t want it to be timely, either.

That’s because “Forgotten Stories: Northwest Public Art of the 1930s” focuses on a time of economic catastrophe in the United States, when the federal government commissioned artists to paint murals and complete other works, as part of the massive effort to get people earning paychecks during the Great Depression.

A long ramp leads passengers to the rest of the airport, while offering views of plants and trees outside. Construction manager Tyler Symbol says it's to evoke the sense of coming out of the sky and landing among the Northwest's greenery.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Before the pandemic brought daily life to a standstill in Washington state, KNKX toured a massive construction project at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Lance Lyttle, the airport's director, said even if an economic slowdown were to arrive — which did not seem imminent in mid-February — it would still be important to continue growing. 

This week, the Port of Seattle said that's exactly what it will do, at least at the airport. 

Suzi LeVine, right, the state's Employment Security Department Commissioner
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Since March, 1 in 5 workers in Washington have filed unemployment benefit claims, and nearly $1.5 billion in benefits have been paid out. That includes federal money that has increased weekly payments in response to the coronavirus pandemic, state officials said Thursday.

Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said that of the 787,533 people who have filed for benefits since March 7, more than half a million who have filed an initial claim since the pandemic began have been paid.

Signs like this one reading "Temporarily Closed," in a storefront in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, are common sights around the country right now.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

From shuttered businesses to record unemployment, the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are all around us.

Businesses themselves — whether small neighborhood stores or huge global corporations — face tough decisions. And that got us wondering about ethics: Will the way businesses behave now, even if they’re closed or doing limited business, affect the decisions consumers make later?

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, left, house minority leader in the state Legislature.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Republicans in the state Legislature have laid out a plan for restarting Washington's economy. It asks the state to suspend some taxes on small businesses, place a moratorium on some rulemaking from state agencies, and allow operations to resume in some sectors.

State Rep. J.T. Wilcox, leader of the House Republicans, talked about this plan with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco.

Michael Chu / via Flickr Creative Commons

The fire chief in Point Roberts, Washington, is hoping to test hundreds of people in his community for COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Using tests from Northwest Laboratory in Bellingham, Whatcom County Fire District 5 Chief Christopher Carleton hopes he can get at least 400 people in this 1,200-person community to take a test. So far, Carleton says they’ve tested 137 people.

The Methow Valley, near Winthrop, in 2019.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Can wildfires prepare you for a pandemic? The mayor of Twisp, in Washington state’s Methow Valley, says they can.

Paul Taub plays flute professionally, and is a retired music professor from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He recently recovered from COVID-19.

Paul Taub is a retired flute teacher. He also plays professionally around the Seattle area. And his years of playing a wind instrument have put him particularly in tune with how his lungs work.

Still, when he developed a cough, a fever, and some chills, he just thought it was a cold.

Ashleigh Bishop, 19, a quartermaster from Lynchburg, Virginia, who joined the Navy a year ago, waves a flag at the forward edge of the flight deck to alert a refueling ship of the bow’s position. “Every job on this ship is important," she said.
Josh Farley / Kitsap Sun

The USS Nimitz is one of the country's 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, and it's homeported in Bremerton. It's expected to set out to sea in the near future.

Last week, a top Pentagon official said there had been "small breakouts" of the novel coronavirus on the ship. The Navy quickly refuted that.

To help us understand exactly what's happening aboard the Nimitz, KNKX's Ed Ronco spoke with Josh Farley, who covers military affairs for the Kitsap Sun.

In this Jan. 30, 2019 file photo, Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib presides over the Senate at the Capitol in Olympia.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

In state politics, it’s the season when candidates file paperwork announcing their campaigns. Challengers line up against incumbents, who dig in and tout their accomplishments.

Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib will not be joining them. He announced in March that he’s leaving elected office for the Catholic church. The move shocked everyone from constituents to fellow elected officials. 

People sit near the fire during a 2016 Silent Reading Party, at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle.
Christopher Frizzelle / The Stranger

Lots of events have moved online since the pandemic forced bans on public gatherings. 

That includes The Stranger's popular Silent Reading Party. Once a month, people would gather in the Fireside Room of Seattle's Sorrento Hotel and just sit together in silence, and read. Christopher Frizzelle is editor of The Stranger, and co-founded the party about 15 years ago.

A tent stands at the emergency entrance to Seattle Children's Hospital. As health officials across Washington state scramble to secure hospital beds and supplies, rural hospitals face unique challenges.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, many of the concerns voiced months ago are starting to be realized. Personal protective equipment for health care workers is in short supply. And some places are seeing their hospital capacity pushed to the limit.

Officials at rural hospitals are also worried. They operate on a tight budget, and with elective procedures on hold, there are very real financial concerns.

Signs Hang on the entrance way to Canada via the Rainbow Bridge, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Niagara Falls N.Y.
Jeffrey T. Barnes / The Associated Press

One of the steps taken during the pandemic were restrictions on the border between Canada and the United States. Last week, we heard from Point Roberts, Washington, which is separated from the rest of Whatcom County. People who live there have to go through British Columbia to get in or out of town.

Michael Chu / via Flickr Creative Commons

UPDATE, March 26: Since we spoke with Scott Elliston, we heard some more details from the Canadian government on travel in and out of Point Roberts. Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was quoted as saying cross-border travel may continue for people in communities where it's essential to everyday life. And in a conversation with KNKX, Canada's Consul General in Seattle said his country's border officers have been given some discretion to determine what constitutes essential travel into the country.

Some businesses in the Seattle area have begun laying off workers or closing because of  COVID-19.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Widespread layoffs have swept across Washington state, as public health orders attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 by closing restaurants, gyms, and other public places.

Today, economic development officials in Pierce County as well as state and federal officials outlined some options for small businesses. They talked about low-interest loans, federal aid and other programs. U.S. Rep.  Derek Kilmer was part of that conversation, which took place by conference call. He spoke by phone with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco.

Mike Mastrian, Director of the Senate Radio and Television Gallery, cleans down the podium before a news conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Susan Walsh / The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a massive federal effort Tuesday, President Donald Trump asked Congress to speed emergency checks to Americans, enlisted the military for MASH-like hospitals and implored ordinary people to do their part by staying home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus outbreak is causing economic trouble. Restaurants are closing. Small businesses aren't seeing sales, and sending employees home, sometimes temporarily, sometimes for good.

Washington state Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine walked us through some resources. We've linked to them below, which is also where you can read a transcript of her conversation with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco.

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There are 17 doctors in Congress — 14 in the House, and three in the Senate. U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish, is one of them, and the only representing Washington state. Her 8th Congressional District includes a lot of King, Pierce, Kittitas and Chelan counties, as well as a small portion of Douglas County.

Schrier tells KNKX the doctors elected to Congress are talking to each other, but deferring to the scientific members of the administration, such as experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As new information emerges about coronavirus and COVID-19, seemingly multiple times a day, we wanted to take a moment and go back over the basics. Good basic information can do a lot to help in a crisis, and provide a foundation to make sense of new developments.

KNKX spoke with Dr. Ann Marie Kimball, professor emeritus at University of Washington School of Medicine. She also started the APEC Emerging Infections Network, to look at new illnesses emerging from highly populous countries in Asia.

Voters in the March 10th presidential primary must check one party, leave the text unaltered, and sign their name in order for the ballot to be counted.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Election officials in Western Washington say they’re hearing a lot of concern from voters about the state’s upcoming presidential primary.

That’s because in order to cast a ballot, you must check a box on the outside of the ballot return envelope, indicating whether you’re voting Democratic or Republican.

The new International Arrivals Facility at Sea-Tac Airport will have seven baggage claims, instead of four in the current space. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer lots of natural light.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

When you arrive on an international flight at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, you end up at the S-gates and are shepherded into customs – a windowless area in this nearly 50-year-old building, under low ceilings and fluorescent lights.

A $968 million renovation will add a new International Arrivals Facility to the airport, which sees 51.8 million passengers a year.

And airport officials hope the new facility will offer a completely opposite experience than what travelers encounter today.

An Alaska Airlines jet taxis beneath an enormous pedestrian bridge, still under construction at Sea-Tac Airport. It will link the south satellite with the new International Arrivals Facility.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Lance Lyttle’s office offers a view across most of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He’s the managing director for the aviation division for the Port of Seattle. In short, he manages the airport. And from his corner windows you can see planes taking off and landing, and taxiing around the airfield.

But these jets are tiny in comparison to a new bridge that connects the airport’s South Satellite to a new International Arrivals Facility, where passengers will retrieve luggage and go through customs.

Oregon state Senate President Peter Courtney pauses after declaring in the state Senate on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, that amid a boycott by Republican senators, not enough lawmakers were present to reach a quorum.
Andrew Selsky / KNKX

Republican lawmakers in Oregon’s capital have walked off the job, to protest a controversial cap-and-trade bill aimed at addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

And this isn’t the first time.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

In British Columbia now, the company TC Energy is building a liquefied natural gas pipeline across the northern part of the province. The Coastal GasLink project is highly controversial, in large part because it crosses the reserve and traditional lands of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation.

Demonstrations in Victoria and Vancouver are among many across Canada that have brought parts of daily life to a halt at times — from rail lines, to the B.C. Legislature, to the centers of busy downtowns. To help us sort through what's going on, KNKX's Craig McCulloch — based in Vancouver, B.C. — talked with KNKX’s Ed Ronco.

Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray
Cliff Owen / AP File Photo

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray spoke to KNKX about a variety of topics during an interview at her Tacoma office. She’s represented Washington state in the Senate since 1993. We asked her about Boeing, the aftermath of impeachment, the White House spending priorities, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the influence of money on politics.

State Rep. Melanie Morgan, D-Parkland, poses with then-4th-grade students at Elmhurst Elementary, last school year. They and teacher Amy Cole, at right, are hoping to get the Suciasaurus named Washington's official state dinosaur.
Courtesy of Amy Cole / Elmhurst Elementary School

Athena Tauscher is on a quest.

The fifth-grader, and many of her classmates at Elmhurst Elementary School in the Franklin Pierce School District, would very much like it if state lawmakers passed a particular bill this session. The subject? A dinosaur.