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

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Kristin Haakenson / Jubilee Farm

Pacing behind his cow barn, David Haakenson looks out over the farm where his family has lived since 1989.

Today, it’s surrounded by water from the Snoqualmie River.

“It’s all frothy and logs are going down, and we’ve got water all around,” he said. “I’ve got all my tractors and trucks and vehicles, and all the animals, up here on this raised-dirt mound, and my house is a stone’s throw away, and I’ve got my row boat in the driveway.”

Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

Time was, being called “nerd” was a bad thing.

That is happily different now, says Sarah Jane, gallery and program director at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, which is home to the exhibit “Obsessed: The Art of Nerd-dom” through March 15. Admission is free.

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

When the USS Nimitz was commissioned in 1975, the crew did not yet know what the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier would see. In the years since, it's been adjacent to some of the world's tensest moments.

KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco talks with House Speaker Laurie Jinkins during a live conversation at the Temple of Justice on Jan. 13 in Olympia.
Tom Collins

Hours after she was sworn in on a historic first day of the 2020 legislative session Jan. 13, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, talked live with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco. It was part of our special KNKX Connects to Olympia broadcast in the Temple of Justice on Jan. 13. They discussed legislative priorities, including gun-control bills, what her swearing in means for representation in state government — and some pretty neat bipartisan socks.  

KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco talks with Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib during a live conversation at the Temple of Justice on Jan. 13 in Olympia.
Tom Collins

As part of our KNKX Connects to Olympia broadcast at the Temple of Justice on Jan. 13, Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib talked live with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco. They discussed the tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Washington’s role in global trade and challenges facing Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration.

Rep. My-Linh Thai, D-Bellevue, talks to KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco ahead of a live conversation in the Temple of Justice in Olympia on Jan. 13.
Tom Collins

Rep. My-Linh Thai moved to the U.S. when she was 15, as a refugee from Vietnam. Now, she’s a Democratic representative for the 41st District, which includes Bellevue and Mercer Island. She talked live with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco, during our KNKX Connects to Olympia broadcast on Jan. 13, about the changing face of the Legislature, among other issues.

KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco talks with House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox at the Temple of Justice on Jan. 13 in Olympia.
Tom Collins

As part of our KNKX Connects to Olympia broadcast at the Temple of Justice on Jan. 13, Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, talked live with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco. The House minority leader discussed Republican priorities in the Legislature — including Initiative 976 — and homelessness, among other issues.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

  

As part of our conversations for KNKX Connects to Olympia, we’ve heard lawmakers talk about homelessness as a priority for this 60-day session. It’s a growing issue in many parts of our state, not just cities. But it is perhaps most visible there.

A tree is gradually sliding into the water at Priest Point Park in Olympia. This beach is a favorite of "Welcome to Olympia" podcast host Rob Smith, who showed KNKX his favorite places in town.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Olympia is home to about 52,000 people, and it’s growing. Rob Smith is one of the new arrivals. He came here about six years ago, and was so taken with the city that he started a podcast about it.

“Welcome to Olympia” explores not just the sights in Washington’s capital city, but also the stories. As we explored stories from Olympia for our KNKX Connects reporting project, we wanted to journey beyond the Capitol Campus. Smith showed us some of his favorite places.

WATERSHED PARK

New Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Stephens speaks from the bench after she was sworn in, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. Stephens replaced former Justice Mary Fairhurst as Chief Justice, who retired in January as she battles cancer.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Debra Stephens became chief justice of the Supreme Court of Washington — the state’s highest court — on Jan. 6. She’s been on the court since 2008, and is currently the only sitting justice from Eastern Washington.

We visited Chief Justice Stephens to talk about the law, being chief justice, and more. We aired this conversation during a special broadcast on Jan. 13, 2020, from the Temple of Justice, as part of our KNKX Connects reporting project.

Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins holds up a cassette tape containing one of his first stories on the beat, from 2004.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

  

Never walk across the state Capitol Campus with Austin Jenkins if you’re in a hurry.

Fortunately, we are not in a hurry as Jenkins shows us around today, which is good, because he stops every so often to chat with someone he knows: a staffer at the front desk of the Capitol visitors’ office, a lawmaker making his way across the rotunda to a meeting, an acquaintance whose son was on the same basketball team as his.

The truth is, Jenkins gets around this place with plenty of speed — he says he can get from his office to the rotunda in under three minutes — and knows the Capitol Campus inside and out.

Newsstand owner Lee Lauckhart stands inside the business he's owned for 40 years at Pike Place Market. He's closing at the end of 2019.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

This is not the first story written about the newsstand at Pike Place Market, especially in the last few weeks. But it could very well be one of the last.

On Dec. 31, the newsstand at bustling Pike Street and First Avenue for 40 years will close for good. And on a recent Monday morning, nearly everyone who drops by says they regret that news.

“I’m sorry you’re closing,” says a woman carrying a freshly bought centerpiece from another stall.

“This is part of the character of the market,” says another passerby.

Soo Ing-Moody, who became mayor of Twisp in 2010, stands in front of blackened trees in the Methow Valley.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Author's note: One of the best parts of this job is the opportunity to learn new things from smart people. In June, producer Geoffrey Redick and I traveled to Twisp, in the Methow Valley. That’s where we met Mayor Soo Ing-Moody. Her town dealt with large wildfires in 2014 and again in 2015, when three firefighters died. We were looking to Twisp for some lessons learned, for a program we did exploring wildfire danger here in Western Washington. Ing-Moody took us to an overlook along a highway where we talked about how the landscape changed after the fires, the difference between fear and preparation, and how tragedy changes a community and its people. (This story originally aired July 9.)

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