Kari Plog | KNKX

Kari Plog

Digital Content Manager

Kari Plog is an eager newcomer to public radio and a longtime admirer. Her background as a print journalist started at The News Tribune in Tacoma, where she covered government and communities across Pierce County.

Her work included an award-winning investigation into a deadly boat launch in Tacoma. Before joining KNKX in November 2018, Kari worked for her alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, where she served as senior editor of the institution’s magazine, producing long-form storytelling from Parkland to Norway.

Kari also worked for several years as a college newspaper adviser at the University of Puget Sound, and continues to serve as a passionate advocate for aspiring journalists and student media. She’s a lover of orca whales, wine and Prince. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and their lovable 75-pound lapdog, Bernie.

Ways to Connect

Donna Stath, who works in the Pierce County Auditor's office, helps voters drop off ballots at a drop box in Tacoma.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pierce County voters might get to choose whether they will continue electing their sheriff come November. The Pierce County Council is considering a ballot measure that, if approved this fall, would change the sheriff from an elected position to an appointed one. 

Houses overlook Commencement Bay in Tacoma.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma are considering a plan to overhaul residential zoning in the city at a time when home prices and rents are skyrocketing amid unprecedented growth. 

The Tacoma City Council held a highly anticipated public hearing during its regular meeting Tuesday on the so-called Home in Tacoma Project, which previously earned a recommendation from the planning commission in a split vote.  

Bjorn is a blind sea lion who arrived at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in May. He made his public debut over the holiday weekend.
Katie Cotterill / Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Amber Becerra traveled from Los Angeles to Tacoma for a short 24-hour trip ahead of the holiday weekend. She wanted to see an old friend get his happy ending.

A pride flag flies alongside a Washington state flag and the U.S. flag at the state Capitol in Olympia in June 2015.
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press file

For the first time, the Pierce County Council is formally recognizing LGBTQ Pride month, which Tacoma traditionally celebrates in July. The council approved the proclamation during its regular meeting Tuesday.

But unlike other proclamations that are typically approved unanimously with little reaction from the public, Tuesday’s vote was preceded by polarizing remarks from residents and concluded with a split vote and two abstentions from councilmembers.

Stonechild Chiefstick with his daughter in an undated family photo
Courtesy of Chiefstick family

The family of a Native man who was killed by a Poulsbo police officer two years ago has filed a lawsuit against the city and police officials. 

 

Coroner Tim Davidson stands outside the Cowlitz County Coroner's Office in early 2020.
Kari Plog / KNKX

The coroner in Cowlitz County is facing potential criminal charges after two state investigations found he personally received more than $12,600 in reimbursements for county-paid travel expenses. 

Coroner Tim Davidson, who also serves as president of the Washington Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (WACME), acknowledged that he had received the reimbursements for travel costs between February 2016 and May 2019. Davidson offered to repay the county with personal funds during an interview with state auditors in December 2020, according to records obtained by KNKX Public Radio. 

People try to beat the heat by floating on paddleboards just off Alki Beach in July 2020. The scene might be similar this weekend as the forecast calls for temperatures to climb into triple digits in the Pacific Northwest.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press file

Six months into his job, Secretary of Health Umair Shah faces his first summer in Washington state. And it’s not quite what he expected.

“What I did not know was that Washington was going to have the record heat that we have had, and oftentimes what I would associate with my former stomping grounds,” Shah said during a media briefing Wednesday.

Ed Troyer, in his capacity as the Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman, is surrounded by news crews at a crime scene in 2018.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Six years ago, before Ed Troyer was elected sheriff in Pierce County, he was the subject of two internal affairs investigations over complaints about his professional conduct. 

One complaint, from a retired Pierce County sheriff’s deputy, accused Troyer of ethical violations after he was seen drinking alcohol at a Tacoma bar where he had driven and concealed his patrol vehicle. The other alleged that Troyer, then the department's public information officer, misused his power by sending a private message on social media that the complainant interpreted as a threat.

Cranes have become more familiar fixtures of the Tacoma skyline as growth has increased in the City of Destiny in recent years.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The City of Tacoma is canceling a contract with the organization in charge of managing a proposed community trauma response team. 

 

Manuel Ellis' family – from left, sister Monet Carter-Mixon, brother Matthew Ellis, and mother Marcia Carter-Patterson – gathers after Thursday's news conference.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When she learned that the police officers charged with killing her son were arrested, Marcia Carter-Patterson’s heart jumped.

“It feels good that they are in custody,” Carter-Patterson told KNKX Public Radio moments after she learned the news. “But we have a long way to go.” 

Marcia Carter, the mother of Manuel Ellis, speaks about her son Thursday at a news conference in Tacoma.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Family members of Manuel Ellis recalled the 33-year-old man as a brother, a son and an uncle at a news conference Thursday afternoon in Tacoma. They spoke about missing him at their family dinner table for more than a year. 

Manuel Ellis, who was killed while in Tacoma police custody March 3. Ellis is remembered as a musician and father whose life was marked by  by pain, struggle, and a search for redemption.
Courtesy of Tacoma Action Collective


 

Three Tacoma police officers have been charged with felonies in the March 2020 killing of Manuel Ellis, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday, after multiple investigations into a case that has set off protests and resulted in changes in statewide police accountability laws.

 

In this Feb. 18, 2020, photo, then-Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Troyer answers questions during a news conference in Tacoma. Troyer was elected Pierce County sheriff in November.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

A statewide coalition has filed civil rights complaints against Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer, in response to an off-duty encounter the sheriff had with a Black newspaper carrier earlier this year. 

The Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance met with the FBI’s Seattle field office this week to discuss the group’s first complaint, which was filed last month. In a statement released Friday, the alliance also said it filed a second civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. 

A mural honoring Manuel Ellis and calling for justice in his death fills a wall in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood.
Kari Plog / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee traveled to Tacoma on Tuesday to sign a suite of police accountability measures that were passed by the Legislature earlier this year. 

The bill signing happened at the Eastside Community Center, just five miles from the intersection where Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police last year.

Supporters of Manuel Ellis hang a poster with his photo during a celebration in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood earlier this year.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX (file)

UPDATE, May 25: The Attorney General's Office said in a statement Tuesday, May 25, that it will announce a charging decision in the case on Thursday, May 27.  

It’s been more than a year since Manuel Ellis was killed by Tacoma police and six months since the Washington State Patrol concluded its investigation into his death. Now, a highly anticipated charging decision is expected to come out of the state Attorney General’s Office in the coming weeks. 

A pharmacist working for the Seattle Indian Health Board holds a syringe of COVID-19 vaccine March 15, 2021, at a SIHB clinic in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Public health officials in King and Pierce counties are preparing to administer COVID vaccines to adolescents ages 12 to 15 after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for young people.

Those efforts include working closely with school districts to get that age group vaccinated.

Cars come and go at a Safeway grocery store, Thursday, March 18, 2021, in Seattle. Seattle is among the cities that have approved mandatory hazard pay for grocery workers during the pandemic. Pierce County's measure was recently vetoed by the executive.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Local governments throughout Western Washington are passing hazard pay ordinances requiring extra income for grocery store workers during the pandemic. The Pierce County Council passed its own measure earlier this week. But it was swiftly vetoed by County Executive Bruce Dammeier. 

Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, left, Gov. Jay Inslee, center, and Dr. Anthony L-T Chen, director of health at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department walk together March 4, 2021, during a visit to a drive-up mass vaccination site in Puyallup.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is facing a multimillion-dollar budget deficit as its massive response to the pandemic continues.

Agency leaders anticipate a funding gap of at least $14.8 million for 2021, even after factoring in state and federal COVID-relief dollars. And some of that funding is subject to pending eligibility, meaning it isn’t a sure thing just yet.   

A "thin blue line" decal is visible in the lower left corner of the patrol vehicle window.
Pierce Transit records

The request was straightforward: remove stickers from three of Pierce Transit's 21 police vehicles. 

Sue Dreier, the agency’s CEO, made the request in a phone call to Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer on Jan. 19 — one day after a resident spotted one of the vehicles with the decal and complained, according to records obtained by KNKX Public Radio.  

The sticker in question: a black-and-white American flag with a blue line across the center, also known as the “thin blue line.” 

Construction continues on townhouses in Seattle on April 24, 2020.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press file

The ceremonial ringing of a bell concluded the reading of 119 names during a virtual memorial Wednesday — names of people who left for work one day and never came home.

Each year, the state Department of Labor & Industries pays tribute to the workers who died on the job. L&I resumed its Worker Memorial Day tradition despite the pandemic, which forced the closure of the event in 2020.   

In Washington’s smallest counties, elected prosecutors investigate suspicious and unusual deaths when they aren’t trying cases. Some say the dual role is ripe for conflicts of interest — especially in cases of police using deadly force. 

A new bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee marks the beginning of the end of the practice. 

A sign directs vehicles toward a drive-up testing site at the Tacoma Dome in March 2020. It was one of the test sites hosted by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department early in the pandemic.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

Pierce County residents had their first opportunity to respond to a controversial proposal that would terminate a public health partnership between the county and the City of Tacoma.
 
And their collective response during Monday’s Pierce County Council committee meeting was overwhelming: many called the effort “reckless” and “dangerous” as the county faces a surge of COVID-19 cases.

A sign directs vehicles toward a drive-up testing site at the Tacoma Dome in March. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department hosted the coronavirus testing site for several days for high-risk groups at the start of the pandemic.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

UPDATE, Dec. 4: Adds remarks from Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and details about Monday's committee meeting.

As public health officials continue to deal with an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, the Pierce County Council is preparing to vote on a proposal that would dissolve the public health partnership between the county and the City of Tacoma.

The West Seattle Bridge is seen looking east following an emergency closure several weeks earlier, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press (file)

Seattle transit officials say they're moving forward to repair the West Seattle Bridge, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday.

“Repair or replace?” has been the primary question in the months since the span closed to traffic earlier this year. Now, after weighing all the factors and listening to stakeholders, Durkan says repair — at least in the immediate future — is the best option.

Dr. Nicole Yarid, an associate medical examiner for King County, walks into the autopsy room dedicated to examining people who died from COVID-related complications. Yarid told KNKX that the pandemic response has detracted from other priorities.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Since its founding more than a century ago, Washington state has seen few changes to the way sudden or unusual deaths are investigated. And experts from every corner of the system acknowledge it’s far from perfect. 

Family and friends of Manuel Ellis gathered for a Father's Day celebration this summer in honor of the late South Tacoma man, who was killed in police custody in March.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Washington State Patrol has finished its investigation into the killing of Manuel Ellis, who died in March while being restrained by Tacoma police officers.

Nicole MacMaster, who lives in Central Washington, goes through records related to her mother's death in 2012, including amended copies of her mother's death certificate. MacMaster was featured in KNKX's three-part series on death investigation.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A new law going into effect in 2021 will, in part, provide more funding for training in the state's system of death investigation. The change is the first small step toward improving education for chief death investigators statewide, especially elected coroners — who serve about a third of Washington’s population and have a wide array of experience

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Saying goodbye is hard. But sometimes, it’s an opportunity to celebrate. Today, we celebrate nearly six years and 214 episodes of Sound Effect with one final episode.

For our finale, we’ll spend two hours looking back at some of the most memorable stories from the show, which has showcased hundreds of stories that the people from our region have shared with us — and with you.  

We’ll meet a gay man defiantly carving out space for himself in the country music world, when — to his shock — a record label called.

We’ll hear how an unlikely friendship drew a Seattle man to leap out of his comfort zone.

And we’ll hear the tale of a family cat who wanted nothing to do with her family, and many other stories today.

There will be some laughs and some tears. But most importantly, this episode will be a celebration of this place we live — and all the hard work that went into sharing what makes the Pacific Northwest unique.

From left to right: Yến Huỳnh, Ashley Jackson, Sonj Basha, Rachel Alger, Ivana Trottman, Rachel Morowitz, Abriel Johnny, Sharlett Mena, Hannah Sabio Howell, Bre Weider, Akua Asare-Konadu, Yasmin Trudeau, Graciela Nuñez Pargas, Lucy Aragón Noriega.
Karina Matias / Karinamatias.com

Sharlett Mena’s campaign for Washington’s 29th Legislative District may have ended after the August primary. But the driving force behind why she ran in the first place is continuing into Tuesday’s general election. 

Mena launched the #VoteAsYouAre project to center voices of people who she says have been historically overlooked or made invisible in government. It’s a movement of young women and non-binary people who are working to empower others with similar lived experience — especially within millennial and Generation Z populations — to use their voting power. 

Sound Effect producer Jennifer Wing conducts an interview atop the Space Needle in Seattle.
KNKX

Nearly six years ago, before the show that eventually became Sound Effect first aired, the team cycled through a lot of rejected names: Northwest Corner, Public Market, Face for Radio, to name a few.

Now, 214 episodes later, the household name that has brought you hundreds of stories from people and places across the Pacific Northwest signs off for good.

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