Gabriel Spitzer | KNKX

Gabriel Spitzer

Sound Effect Host and Senior 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

Steve Albertson

 

Meet the two teams:  

Seattle NABA is the local branch of the National Adult Baseball Association. When they’re not suited up, they’re tech workers and bartenders and consultants. At least one is a retiree.

The San Quentin A’s, in their green-and-gold uniforms, are all inmates at San Quentin prison in California. And it was on their turf that the two teams met for a recent four-game series.

By Thomas R. Conlon - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

So, just in case you haven’t spent a lot of time in the Seattle of the late 1800s, I can tell you it was a very different city.

Credit Melissa Bird

 

This story originally aired on October 21, 2017.

Andre Sanabria discovered at 21 he had a deadly disease, and the only cure was a double-lung transplant.

But that did not stop him from making music. In fact, he says music is what was keeping him alive.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

 

 This story originally aired on October 21, 2017

It’s hard to imagine a time when karaoke did not exist in the Northwest. Today, any night of the week, you can go out with friends and find some place where you can belt out your favorite tunes in front of a crowd.

 

But, everything has a beginning. Things have to start somewhere, right? For American style karaoke in the Northwest, it was at Bush Garden in Seattle’s International District.

 

Gabriel Spitzer

 


Melba Ayco is the Artistic and Program Director for Northwest Tap Connection. The studio, located on Rainier Avenue in South Seattle, teaches children how to dance. Most of the students are African American. Along with learning how to shuffle and do a time step, Northwest Tap students get a lot of exposure to social justice issues, thanks in large part to Melba. 

Courtesy of Sam Blackman

 


Sam Blackman was about a year into his career as a pediatric oncologist, when he got a page on Friday afternoon. It was from a doctor at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital across the street.

 

In her early 20s, Ginny McClure got some bad news. It was the kind of news people tend to be embarrassed to share. Ginny resolved to not be ashamed — to shout it from the rooftops, even.

Still, there are certain subjects you don’t really want to talk about with certain people, like your parents. For Ginny, that subject was sex.

Will James / KNKX

 


The Merkle Hotel is a vestige — one of the last residential hotels in Western Washington geared toward housing low-income people. These hotels were once commonplace in this region, particularly in Seattle and Tacoma, but also in many other towns with sizable populations of transient and/or immigrant workers.

 

Courtesy Marie Wong

Residential hotels once filled a crucial niche for low-income workers and immigrants, a bridge between affordable housing and a shelter.

These Single Room Occupancy hotels, or SROs, used to dominate the streetscape in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Now they’re nearly extinct.

It’s a story that caught the attention of Marie Wong, an Associate Professor at Seattle University. It appealed to her background in urban planning, but also to her background as a Chinese American growing up in the Midwest.

courtesy of Krystal Marx

Krystal Marx is a City Councilmember in Burien, a suburb south of Seattle. Earlier this year, she posted to Facebook with an unusual confession.

"I'm an Elected Official," Marx wrote, "and I Go To the Food Bank. "

Bethany Denton / KNKX

 


“A volunteer-run, bicycle-based, 365-night-a-year street outreach program with basic emergency supplies and syringe exchange and naloxone distribution…. In Olympia, Washington.” That’s how volunteer Cassie Burke describes the Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach Project, or EGYHOP.

WIkipedia Commons

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

To say that Washington State University Cougars have school spirit is a wild understatement, and if you have any in your life, you know they don't hesitate to remind you.

Now, Cameron McCoy and many other members of Coug nation have reached a significant milestone in letting their flags fly. 

Actual flags. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

At first glance it may seem like the students at St. Francis of Assisi school in Burien are dressed pretty much alike: white collar shirts, red plaid skirts for the girls, navy blue pants or shorts for the boys.

But look closer, and you’ll see that many of them have brought a little something special to their outfits.

“I wear a gold watch,” says Gino Morella.

“I have white Adidas superstars that I’ve worn all year,” says Gabriel Hamilton.

“I tend to wear a leather jacket,” says Rachel Fry.

Creative Commons

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

Christopher Poulos is the head of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, dedicated to helping those who have been through the criminal justice system.

It’s the kind of job that he is uniquely qualified for.

As a teenager, Poulos struggled with severe substance abuse, leading him into homelessness and then incarceration. He saw the problems of the justice system firsthand, especially how it disenfranchised the poor and people of color.

Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on December 16, 2017.

Any parent of more than one child will tell you that they have no favorites. They will tell you that the well from which love is drawn has no bottom. 

This is what Donald Vass would say about books.

"I sense a type of universal voice coming from all of these books. And often when I open a book and my eyes will land upon a set of words or a sentence, a passage that will speak to me. And sometimes, that will speak to me at a moment when I very much need it," says Vass.

Gabriel Spitzer

When Caroline Garry first noticed she had a problem with perfection, she was in her bedroom closet scrubbing down a pair of white leather Nikes. Caroline was in seventh grade, and like a lot of kids she had gotten attached to a new pair of school shoes. But unlike a lot of kids, Caroline would come home from school every single day and clean them. In hiding. Whether they were dirty or not.

"I just felt this compulsion. I needed to."

Credit Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on November 4, 2017.

The population of Concrete, Washington in 1938 was about 1,000 people. But one October evening that year, while a famous radio broadcast was frightening a good portion of the population across the country, things in Concrete got even stranger.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

The expectations for Elise Ray Statz were enormous.

These days she is the head coach of the University of Washington women's gymnastics team. But back in 2000, she was captain of the USA Olympic team, and that team’s job was to win gold in Sydney, Australia.

“So ‘96 was the first women’s gymnastics team to ever win a gold medal for team [competition]. And it was just a massive accomplishment for gymnastics,” Elise said. “I think we were expected in 2000 to win gold, and that anything less wasn’t good enough.”

Wikimedia Commons

 


 

The standard thing to do when a child is treated for brain cancer is to put some of the tumor cells under a microscope, and see what kind of cancer it is.

But new research led by Dr. Jim Olson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children’s compared that type of diagnosis with results of genetic testing of the same tumors and found that 71 percent were actually another type altogether.

 

Kimberly Clark Sharp lives in Seattle but she grew up in Kansas. And when she was 22, she had an experience with her father at the DMV that would change her life. It was not something she was prepared for.

“We were leaving the building. I collapsed into and through his arms, and hit the sidewalk,” Kim said.

A nearby nurse, a good samaritan and the fire department all worked to resuscitate her. Nothing was working. Kim describes hearing someone say, “I’m not getting a pulse!”

Agnes Bodor

 

As a kid, Agnes Bodor had a few unusual interests.

“I was really crazy about books about illnesses, you know, images of skin rashes and things like that,” Agnes said.

One day she spotted a small microscope in a store window, and longed to have it. That was unrealistic, considering that her family was poor and living under the Communist government in Hungary. But one day, a family friend with no children of his own stopped by Agnes’s house, and presented her with a small box.

Courtesy of Kate Noble

 

Kate Noble says she knew at a young age that her family was dysfunctional.

 

“Many layers of conflict. Maternal, psychiatric dysfunction, absentee father,” Noble recalled.

 

Help came to Noble in the form of a dream. She was three and a half years old.

 

Growing up in Taiwan, Dean Huang always knew he wanted to study abroad, especially after visiting cousins that had immigrated to Boston. “It’s just that Taiwan is really small, and I feel like I can maximize my potential and challenge myself to receive a different education.”

 

This Danish tooth-maker became a dream therapist, at the urging of his Jewish Unitarian minister wife. As one does.

OK, better back up. For Flemming Behrend, his career as a dental technician was something that he loved. He hand-made artificial and prosthetic teeth, shaping porcelin and pigments into lifelike choppers. He appreciated the art of it, and the satisfaction that came from delighting his patients. 

Tommy Tang / Tommy Tang Films

Where does gelatin meet feminism, in a wrestling ring? Jello Underground, an all-female run jello wrestling tournament. It's part performance, part competition, part declaration of female power and sex positivity.

Craig Egan

 

Craig Egan, who lives in Tacoma, stumbled into an obsession kind of by accident. It happened on FaceBook.

 

“A friend of mine posted some graph that had an anti-vax slant to it. At that point I had no idea that this was a thing,” Craig remembers.

 

Almin Zrno

 

In the early 1990s, Gino Jevdjevic was living the typical life of a Yugoslavian popstar.

He signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans. He wore his hair in a ponytail and crooned schmaltzy melodies.

These days, Gino has a shaved head, a multitude of tattoos and a long, grey-streaked beard. He lives in Seattle, and his music is closer to metal or “Gypsy Punk” than it is to pop.

To understand how he got from one version of Gino to Gino 2.0, you have to go back to 1992.

To say Joe Petosa Jr. and his family are into accordions would not be doing them justice. The Petosa Accordion company goes back almost 100 years, when Carlo Petosa started hand crafting accordions in his Seattle basement. That tradition was passed down to Carlos’s son, Joe Petosa, then to his grandson, Joe Jr., and now onto his great grandson, Joe the third. The custom instruments they make are sought after all over the world.

Courtesy of Simone Alicea

 

Meet a mother and a daughter working through how blood and language have shaped their relationship.

Simone Alicea is a reporter and editor here at KNKX. Her mom Veronica Alicea-Galvan is a King County Superior Court judge. They came together in a Storycorps booth in Chicago to talk about something specific: the bilingual court that Judge Alicea-Galvan used to run in Des Moines, Washington.

But the conversation strayed pretty quickly into this intimate space, where both women learned things about the other they hadn’t known before.

Master Sgt. Kimberly A. Yearyean-Siers / U.S. Air Force

This story originally aired on December 9, 2017.  

Jeffrey Heckman, from Snohomish, WA, will be the first to tell you life is unpredictable.

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