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

A worker in a purple shirt and mask sits in the foreground working with ballots. Another one, also wearing a mask, sits at a table far behind the first.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washingtonians are voting the same way they have for about a decade — by mailing in their ballots or putting them into drop boxes. But the people on the other end of that process have been working very differently.

Processing ballots now requires physical distancing among election workers, and fewer people in some of the secure spaces where ballots are scanned and tabulated.

The port of entry to Point Roberts, a tan building with a flagpole out front.
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

The border between the United States and Canada remains closed to all but essential travel. The closure went into effect in mid-March and it has been repeatedly extended as the pandemic grows, particularly in the U.S.

It’s caused a lot of difficulty for the people who live and work along the 5,525-mile border. But perhaps no community in the United States is in the situation of Point Roberts, Washington.

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

Two people were fired and 13 others disciplined after a 10-month investigation into sexual harassment and toxic workplace culture at the Navy’s huge shipyard in Bremerton.

Portrait courtesy of Christian Sebastian Parker / Composite by Parker Miles Blohm

As a country, the United States has had previous moments where race has come to the forefront of our national dialogue, and where protests have called for change.

Politico Magazine recently published takes from a handful of experts about whether this current moment of racial reckoning is any different than those previous. They included an essay from Christopher Sebastian Parker, professor of political science at the University of Washington. 

Pierce County is losing ground against COVID-19. That’s the word from Dr. Anthony Chen, director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

In a blog post, Chen said the county will pause its plans to advance in the state’s four-phase reopening plan. He said the move to Phase 2 also brought an increase in cases.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has issued recommendations on transparency when police use deadly force.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The public, and state lawmakers, should have easy access to data about the police use of deadly force.

So says Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who released a report today outlining reforms and calling for more transparency in information surrounding incidents where police discharge their firearms or are involved in incidents that result in death or serious injury.

No crowds this year for Canada Day in Victoria, B.C., because of the pandemic. But virtual celebrations will be held.
Jordan Rockerbie / Flickr Creative Commons

July 1 is Canada Day, when the country celebrates its formation in 1867. In any given year you can find celebrations across Canada, including in Victoria, B.C., where tens of thosuands of people come to the Inner Harbour District for festivals, fireworks, and the living flag — a huge crowd in white and red T-shirts directed into the pattern of Canada’s red-and-white maple leaf flag.

Not this year, though.

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.)

U. S. Army Lt. Col. Shoshannah Lane, center, commander of the 46th Aviation Support Battalion, kisses her daughter Lilly, 1, as they attend a change of command ceremony, Monday, April 3, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

The top general at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is asking for new recruits.

Lt. Gen. Randy George is part of a three-day Armywide push to enlist 10,000 people, after COVID-19 restrictions slowed recruitment all spring.

LaNesha DeBardelaben (far left), executive director of the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, talks with attendees of Juneteenth events last year.
Courtesy of LaNesha DeBardelaben

It’s Juneteenth.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general reached Galveston, Texas, and freed the last remaining enslaved people in the Confederacy. That was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and just about two months after the end of the Civil War.

Mailed-in ballots await counting at the Pierce County election office in Tacoma, ahead of Washington state's March 2020 presidential primary.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during an election year has renewed a nationwide conversation about mail-in voting.

From left, Justice Mary I. Yu, Chief Justice Debra Stephens, and Justice G. Helen Whitener
Washington Supreme Court

The state Supreme Court issued a letter earlier this month calling on the legal profession, themselves included, to do the hard work of addressing systemic racism.

From left, Justice Mary I. Yu, Chief Justice Debra Stephens, and Justice G. Helen Whitener
Washington Supreme Court

The state Supreme Court issued a letter earlier this month calling on the legal profession, themselves included, to do the hard work of addressing systemic racism. 

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

State Rep. John Lovick spent more than 30 years in uniform with the Washington State Patrol. He was the Snohomish County sheriff and then the county executive. He's also Black, and he grew up in Louisiana in the 1950s and 60s.

And he’s been watching and listening to the chants and the voices and the protests we've seen in Washington state and around the country over the last several days. 

He told KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco that he still believes that America’s soul can be redeemed. Hear an extended version of their conversation, below.

Seattle Central College president Sheila Edwards Lange leads a tour of the college's buildings on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. Seattle Central is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Last week, as protests began to unfold following the death of George Floyd, the president of Seattle Central College sent out a tweet.

House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., speaks as Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, appear before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
Andrew Harnik / The Associated Press

President Donald Trump's threat to deploy the U.S. military to quell unrest here in the United States drew swift reaction and deep concern from local, state and federal leaders.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat who represents Washington's 9th congressional district, is calling for Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to appear before the House Armed Services Committee, which he chairs. Smith talked with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco. 

Wikimedia Commons

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.

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.
paultaub.com

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.

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