Gabriel Spitzer | KNKX

Gabriel Spitzer

Sound Effect Host and Producer

Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.

Gabriel received his Master's of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and his degree in English at Cornell University. He’s been honored with the Kavli Science Journalism Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and won awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Ashley and their two sons, Ezra and Oliver.

Gabriel’s most memorable KNKX moment was: “In just my second week here, I found myself covering the unfolding story of a mass shooting and citywide manhunt. It was a tragic and chaotic day, when the public badly needed someone to sort the facts from the rumors. It made me proud of our profession.”

Ways to Connect

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

 

Today’s episode: Getting Creative. 

There’s a bunch of psychological research out there that suggests constraints — having your choices limited — actually promotes creativity. 

And we’re all seeing now how being stuck at home, or losing your job, or having your kids out of school — it sucks, but it can also nudge us to find innovative solutions. 

Today we have a bunch of stories of how people are adapting to this less-than-ideal situation. 

A younger Mary Anne Moorman.
Courtesy of Moorman

This story originally aired on March 2, 2019.  

Mary Anne Moorman has been a management consultant, an activist, a storyteller – even a radio host. She’s also been keeping a secret since she was a little girl.

“Where are you?” a younger Moorman asked. “Everywhere,” the voice replied.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

This story originally aired March 1, 2019.  

Susan Fee always knew she wanted to move back to Seattle someday. She and her husband both grew up around here, namely Federal Way, but work opportunities had them move to different parts of the Midwest, including Chicago, St. Louis, and Cleveland. Once Susan and her husband became empty-nesters, they were ready to return to Seattle. As they prepared to move, Susan heard rumors that the city had grown frosty in the 25 years since she'd moved away.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

This story originally aired on March 2, 2019. 

Frog had left a note. It was for Toad, and it said he just wanted to be alone today.

So begins the story by Arnold Lobel in the collection, "Days with Frog and Toad." And like many of Lobel’s stories, the deceptively simple narrative hides important lessons about childhood and friendship. In this case, Jana Mohr Lone says, the story teaches us lessons about solitude.

UW Medicine health care workers collect test samples at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

 

Hospitals in Washington state could exceed their intensive care bed capacity as early as next week, according to projections from a Seattle-based research center. 

New modeling from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington projects about a monthlong stretch where demand for ICU beds exceeds the supply. That could begin as soon as April 2. The epidemic is projected to peak on April 19.

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

 

 

When the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States, it landed here, in the Pacific Northwest. Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of an epidemic. 

Today's episode: Stretched … we consider what happens when our health care system is pushed to the limits. 

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

When the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States, it landed here, in the Pacific Northwest. Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of an epidemic. 

Today's episode: Lessons Learned. 

We consider what the past has to teach us about our present moment, starting with a woman who has nearly a century of perspective. She also happens to be on the front lines right now. 

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

When the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States, it landed here, in the Pacific Northwest. Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of an epidemic. 

Today’s episode: Houseless. In this episode, Transmission teams up with the Outsiders podcast.  

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

 


When the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States, it landed here, in the Pacific Northwest. Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of an epidemic. 

Today’s episode: Housebound. 

 

This story originally aired on January 19, 2019.

Paulette de Coriolis grew up in the 1950s, a time of postwar growth, Dwight Eisenhower and booming suburbs. It’s what many people picture when they think of normalcy.

 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

    

When the novel coronavirus made its way to American shores, it landed right here in the Pacific Northwest. Now, the Seattle area is the epicenter of America’s COVID-19 outbreak. 

In the first episode of Transmission, a podcast about life in the heart of an epidemic, we hear from a few of the hardy souls still out and about in downtown Seattle. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Willie Keil’s grave sits on a hilltop in the Willapa Valley. The marker is a bit hard to read — the weathered stone shows a date of death as May 19, 1855.

What’s unusual about Willie’s case isn’t when he died, but where: Willie succumbed to disease in Bethel, Missouri, 2,000 miles away, days before his family hit the road west, along the Oregon Trail. 

So how did this 19-year-old wind up buried not in Missouri, but in Southwestern Washington? 

Cheri Cook-Blodget sits on a piece preserved from the movie set of "This Boy's Life."
Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

Concrete, Washington, was struggling. It was the early 1990s, and timber jobs were scarce in the upper Skagit Valley. The big cement plant had closed decades before. And then, in 1992, in stepped an unexpected player: Hollywood. 

 

“So all of a sudden Warner Brothers shows up,” says Cheri Cook-Blodget, who at the time was working for Skagit County out of a little storefront on Main Street. “And people up here are not familiar with Hollywood.”

 

Courtesy Mary McIntyre

This story originally aired on December 8, 2018.   

Mary McIntyre was rasied in Bellevue in a conservative Christian home, and attended a conservative Christian school. There was no shortage of rules and expectations. While Mary loved her family, something was always telling her when she was growing up that this wasn't exactly the life for her.

Matthias Roberts

 

This story originally aired on December 8, 2018.   

Matthias Roberts came out to his parents at age 15, and at the time both he and they hoped this would be a temporary challenge. Matthias and his family were conservative, Evangelical Christians, and they believed that homosexuality was a sin to be overcome.

Bonnie and Gerry Gibson named their nonprofit after their son, Greg "Gibby" Gibson.
Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Bonnie Gibson says her son Greg’s musical talent emerged very early on. 

“I could just see from a young age that he had unusual rhythm. Which, now, I go, did I really want those drums in my basement?” she said. “But it was cute and fun to see a little kid kind of find himself.”

Greg did find himself in music. By high school, he was already involved in the business side, booking bands.  

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Ivanonva Smith spent the first chunk of her life in an institutional orphanage in Soviet-controlled Latvia. She doesn’t remember having any friends or toys, or anything to do. 

“I would just stare at a light and watch the little floaters, those little floaters you get in your eyes, and that was my entertainment,” she said. 

Ivanova was born with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By the time she was adopted at age 5, she still didn’t speak. She says she had no understanding of concepts like “family,” and had to be taught how to play with toys. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Our latest episode of Sound Effect revolves around the theme, "It's Only Money." We'll meet a couple who tried to get rich flipping houses, decades before it was cool. We'll find out how a teenage blunder left Mike Lewis with a debt he could never repay, and how he reapid it anyway. A small town prints its own money, on pieces of wood. A Seattle writer considers a complicated inheritance: what she learned about money from her parents. And a group of friends order a round of drinks ... and fiasco ensues. 

Leila Marie Ali

 

Leila Marie Ali was always the thriftiest one in her family. 

Her dad is generous to a fault, always quick to dispense bills to a person on the street or send a chunk of his taxi driver earnings to relatives back in Somalia and Yemen. 

“I remember thinking, this man is taking care of what felt to me like an entire village in two countries, and not taking care of us as well as he could be,” Leila says.  

Courtesy Kacie Rahm

This story originally aired on Janary 5, 2019.

When someone eats something that gives them food poisoning, they probably know it when it hits them. It usually comes with stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The lingering effects can result in a short-term lack of appetite, and perhaps the desire to avoid eating the type of food that made them sick in the first place.

Typically, everything returns to normal after a while. But for Kacie Rahm, her bout with food poisoning had some long-term consequences. In fact, for the better part of a year when she was 11 and 12, she ate hardly anything at all.

Jack Gunter

 

This story originally aired on Janary 5, 2019.

Northwest artist Jack Gunter uses an ancient painting technique called egg tempera — a mixture of dry pigment and egg yolk. The paint can last for centuries, but it does have one downside. “Six or seven different species of animals will eat my paintings,” he says.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

This story originally aired on Janary 5, 2019.  

Eating an egg and a banana at the same time can kill you. Some lady found a fried rat in her bucket of chicken. That scone contains the anal secretions of beavers.

Wait — did you “Snopes” that?

Personal Collection of Sidney Rittenberg, via Stourwater Pictures

 

 

Sidney Rittenberg was a singular figure — an American who was a close associate of Mao Zedong, who held high-ranking positions in the Chinese Communist Party, who was on the inside during some of the most important events of the 20th century. 

 

And Gregory Youtz was meeting him for lunch. 

 

The nucleus is blue.
Courtesy of Dr. J. Lee Nelson and Coline Gentil

Not all of the cells in your body actually belong to you. Some cells might be from your mother, passed to you from when you were in utero. If you had children, their cells passed into your body the same way.

Researchers say that this can sometimes even be true for women who have a miscarriage in the second trimester or later, or who decided to terminate a pregnancy. 

This phenomenon is called microchimerism. So, what are these cells doing in our bodies? Scientists are just scratching the surface of this and what they are finding is incredibly fascinating.

Jack Archibald

 

 

The Rev. Chumleigh wasn’t exactly a regular at meetings of the Camano Island Chamber of Commerce. 

He’s a vaudeville entertainer who, at various times, has been known to walk tightropes, eat fire and get shot out of cannons. He’s also an irascible political lefty — in short, an odd fit for the business group. 

Bill Bernat

 

 

Bill Bernat jokes that he used to be secretly arrogant — so secretly, that he didn’t even know it himself. 

 

“I didn't realize how crazy my behavior was at the time,” he said. 

 

That included things like starting meetings at work with angry outbursts at people who didn’t deserve it. 

 

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

 

Getting out of prison is a chance to make a fresh start. But people who’ve paid their debt to society often find there’s another debt hanging over their heads. And that can be a huge hindrance to getting life back on track.

 

It’s called a legal financial obligation, or LFO. These are fees imposed on criminal defendants. Some help pay for running the court. Some are for restitution to the victim. Some are simply for punishment.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

David Trainer was helping out at an encampment for homeless people when he first met Ivan Dempsey. Ivan had a dog. David had a dog. It was cold: David offered gloves, and Ivan accepted hand warmers. They had a friendly interaction, though nothing out of the ordinary. 

 

On the way back home, out of nowhere, David had a thought: “What would it be like to have Ivan move in with me?” he said. “I know that’s crazy talk. I don’t know the guy, he’s a stranger.” 

 

If you know someone who lives in Tacoma, it’s likely they have made one thing clear to you: they love Tacoma, and are very territorial about it.

And make no mistake, Marguerite Martin loves, and probably always will love, Tacoma.

Bremerton Housing Authority

 


Seattle was the nation’s fastest-growing big city over the past decade, having swelled by over 20 percent. But that pales — proportionately, at least — in comparison with Bremerton in the 1940s. 

 

Bremerton’s population was 15,134, according to the 1940 census. Five years later it had more than quintupled, to more than 82,000. 

 

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