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

Windows are boarded up at Seattle's Lost Lake Cafe, after Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the statewide closure of businesses and dine-in restaurants. Inslee announced Thursday that he's extending his stay-at-home order by five weeks.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee is prolonging the timeline of his statewide stay-at-home order by a month, the latest in a series of extraordinary measures aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

Photos courtesy of Michelle Bennett. Illustration by Parker Miles Blohm/KNKX

Michelle Bennett couldn’t hold her mother’s hand in those final moments, 10 days after Carolann Christine Gann tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Bennett couldn’t even go through her mother’s belongings as she prepared to bury her.

So two people in protective gear did what she couldn't.

David Lukov presided over an October 2019 ceremony honoring the lives of 25 people who went unclaimed after they died. Lukov has postponed a handful of funeral services amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Joe Buchanan died two weeks ago, after months of routine dialysis treatments. His wife of 34 years, Kimra, and their son, Justin, braced for this day they knew would eventually come.

But they weren’t prepared for what came after.

“The time when we should be mourning and going through old photos and hugging this out, we can’t,” Justin Buchanan said during a video interview last week.

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.

Krista Linden, founder of Step By Step and Farm 12, handles fabric that will eventually be assembled into kits for handmade medical masks. Linden was asked by county officials to turn her event hall into an operations hub for the assembly line.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Krista Linden had a grand vision when she opened her restaurant and event space in Puyallup just a few short months ago. But she never imagined a global pandemic — and hundreds of yards of fabric — would swiftly become part of that vision. 

Farm 12 Restaurant & Events doesn’t just offer locally sourced food on the grounds of a historic bulb farm. It’s created jobs for the at-risk mothers Linden has helped for 23 years, through her nonprofit Step By Step. 

People gather at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle on Friday, despite calls from public health officials to stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Jay Inslee took those calls a step further Monday, issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide stay-at-home order Monday night, following the lead of other states that have taken the extraordinary step to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

The order — which the governor is calling “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” — follows actions taken by some local jurisdictions who decided not to wait for the state to make the call. Inslee's order will stay in effect for at least two weeks. 

Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press (file)

The Pierce County Housing Authority has approved a tentative agreement with its former finance director, who is accused of stealing nearly $7 million from the organization. Cova Campbell, who was recently indicted on four counts of federal wire fraud, has agreed to pay back some of the money she’s accused of stealing.

University of Washington Medicine health care workers collect test samples at a Seattle-based drive-through coronavirus testing site. A similar, limited site opens in Tacoma on Saturday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is hosting a drive-through testing site for people showing symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. People who want to get tested also must be among high-risk groups or critical public services to be eligible.

The health department announced the testing site Friday. It opens tomorrow at the Tacoma Dome and has the capacity to test about 200 people each day through Wednesday.

A Puyallup resident has died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The woman in her 50s is the first reported fatality in Pierce County since the outbreak started.

Tacoma's Freighthouse Square, a historic market filled with small shops and restaurants, is located next to the platform for the Sounder train. Many Tacoma residents have been staying home from work amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Over Tacoma / www.overtacoma.com

Every day during a normal work week, thousands of Tacoma residents commute north to jobs in King County. But the last couple work weeks have been anything but normal.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has turned life upside down in the Puget Sound region, as Gov. Jay Inslee and health officials continue to take extraordinary measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus.

Still, even before the governor closed all schools and banned gatherings of more than 250 people statewide, small business owners in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square already noticed an alarming drop in patrons. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee addresses a news conference about the coronavirus outbreak Monday, March 16, 2020, in Seattle. Inslee ordered all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee made it official Monday: any businesses that aren’t essential retailers, such as grocery stores or pharmacies, are shutting down for at least two weeks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

That means everything from restaurants and bars to nail salons and bowling alleys will cease operations starting at midnight. Pick-up or delivery services are still allowed.

The closures are slated to last until March 31, but Inslee acknowledged that could change depending on how the weeks ahead unfold.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, talks to the media about the decision to close schools in three counties in response to COVID-19, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press

Capping an extraordinary news week as the state confronts the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered all K-12 public and private schools to close for at least six weeks.  It comes one day after he announced a six-week school closure for three counties in the Puget Sound region that have so far borne the brunt of the COVID-19 cases.

During his announcement, Inslee said the novel coronavirus has spread to affect 15 counties, representing roughly 75 percent of the state's population. He said state health officials have detected 568 cases so far, including 37 deaths. 

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Wednesday at a press conference about the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, the governor ordered all schools in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to close March 16 through April 24.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Corrects date when schools must shut down, and adds information about child care and food distribution. 

Gov. Jay Inslee announced widespread school closures Thursday, shuttering all public and private K-12 schools in 43 districts across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties for six weeks.

Inslee’s executive order says schools must shut down starting March 17. They will remain closed through April 24. The mandate will affect about 600,000 students and their families across the Puget Sound region, the epicenter of the nation’s novel coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Jay Inslee addresses reporters at a news conference Wednesday, where he announced a mandatory prohibition on gatherings with 250 people or more in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story was last updated at 4:50 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced mandatory social distancing measures for three Washington counties in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. In a news conference Wednesday morning, Inslee said he’s prohibiting events and gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “The Past Is Still With Us.” First, we hear about how a man who died in Missouri in 1855 crossed the Oregon Trail in a whiskey barrel to be buried in Southwest Washington. Then, we hear how a Seattle rapper uses music to process his pain of the past. We travel to a Concrete to learn what happens when Hollywood takes over your small hometown. We meet a Bellevue teacher who uses typewriters to make art — and unlock students’ inner authors. Finally, we learn about an implicit bias test, and what it can teach us about how our environment shapes our attitudes.

Tents sit under a bridge in an unsanctioned homeless camp in Olympia.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Homelessness on the West Coast is rising to crisis levels at a time of historic economic growth and prosperity. In fact, Washington, Oregon and California are home to two-thirds of the nation’s unsheltered population.

KNKX Public Radio and The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless spent one year in a city that’s grappling with homelessness — Washington’s capital city, Olympia.  

Allen, who lives outside in Olympia, stands in the city's so-called "mitigation site," a sanctioned homeless camp.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Allen doesn’t present like the typical resident of a homeless encampment.

“He’s not struggling with the type of addictions that you often see. He’s not struggling with severe mental illness,” says Vianna Davila, editor of the Project Homeless team at The Seattle Times. “He’s known as kind of a cook, chef, around the mitigation site.”

The mitigation site is a sanctioned camp in Olympia — the center of a podcast series by Project Homeless and KNKX Public Radio called “Outsiders,” hosted by KNKX’s Will James.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “Family Matters.” First, we meet one Indipino woman and learn how she connected to her roots on Bainbridge Island. Then, we meet a mother and author who is sharing her son’s story of addiction as a cautionary tale for other parents. We meet a woman who might have been forbidden from having children a century ago — and we meet her daughter. Grieving parents turn a tragedy into something constructive. And we meet the father — so to speak — of “I Didn’t Reproduce Day.”

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pierce County will have a new medical examiner soon, but not as soon as officials initially thought. That’s because they’ve offered the job to a second forensic pathologist in as many months.

County officials announced late Tuesday that Dr. Karen Cline-Parhamovich has accepted an offer to become the county’s next chief death investigator, replacing outgoing Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Clark.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Our latest Sound Effect theme is “Friend or Foe.” First, we hear how artists took over a business group and changed Camano Island. Then, we meet an ex-Army Ranger whose flip-flop business is an olive branch for peace. We dive into the epic life of Sidney Rittenberg, a "towering historical figure" who settled near Tacoma. We learn about the ups and downs of having someone else’s DNA. And one woman shares how a bad fortune telling session led to a new outlook on life — and some payback. 

This photo shows the area of a deadly shooting in downtown Seattle on Wednesday night. A gunman opened fire in downtown Seattle on Wednesday night, killing at least one person and wounding several others, authorities said.
Suzanne Asprea / via The Associated Press

Editor's note: This story is developing. We will update as more details become available. 

Seattle police have released information about the suspects involved in a fatal shooting in the city’s downtown core Wednesday night.

Daniel Lyon and his girlfriend, Megan Lanfear, on a recent road trip.
Courtesy of Daniel Lyon

As soon as Daniel Lyon jumped out of the wrecked fire engine in Twisp, he was burning alive.

“It was the loudest, brightest thing you’d ever seen,” he said of the wall of flames. “It sounded like a freight train all around you.”

Lyon crawled up the ravine to the dirt road and took off running, toward the wildfire safety zone. That, he says, was the easy part.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

For the latest Sound Effect, our theme is “New Year, New Me” — stories of reinvention, no matter what the calendar says. First, we meet a self-proclaimed former “couch potato” whose four-month solo hike changed how he sees the world. Then, we learn about the funk song former Mariners player Lenny Randle wrote about the Kingdome. We learn about an effort to eliminate legal debt for formerly incarcerated people. We meet a basketball player who made the unexpected leap to man of God. And finally, two unlikely roommates overcome setbacks to form a genuine friendship

Adrian Florez / KNKX

In celebration of our 200th episode, this week’s Sound Effect theme is “Suite 200,” where all of the stories connect to a place with Suite 200 in their address. First, two sisters follow up their brush with scientific fame by tackling homelessness in Seattle. Then, we meet a mom who helped raise money for childhood cancer research with help from some special athletes. We learn about a population boom in Bremerton that puts 21st century Seattle to shame. Finally, we meet one of Tacoma’s biggest advocates who has taken up residence in a city that’s, well, not Tacoma. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Everyone wants to tell a story about homelessness. But it’s not just one story:

“I was a mom who wasn’t prepared to lose anything. And I lost everything.” 

“I had pictures on my wall and I had carpet between my toes. Now I don’t get that.”

“People are dying out here in the cold.” 

And homelessness isn’t just one thing. So, KNKX Public Radio and The Seattle Times Project Homeless team have partnered on Outsiders, an in-depth podcast series to help you understand what’s actually happening.

Deanna Bender, owner of Over The Moon Cafe, says she wanted to do more than feed people at her restaurant. She wanted to create a space where diners could “check their stuff at the door,” break bread with the people they love and celebrate life.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Author's note: I’ve worked at KNKX Public Radio just over a year now. And it’s stories like this that brought me here. The words scribbled on love notes hidden in boxes at Tacoma’s Over The Moon Cafe belong on the radio. As I said in this story, reading them over a tasty meal feels like being engrossed in a good book you never want to put down. But hearing them spoken — by the woman who dreamed up the restaurant where they live in anonymity — is that much better. The audio injects life into these stories of everyday people, which is precisely what KNKX does best. I hope everyone enjoys this story as much as I do. And if you have time this holiday season, stop by for a meal and leave a note of your own. (This story originally aired Sept. 12.)  

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “Cheating Death” — stories of defying the odds and living to tell the tale. First, we meet a 1920s daredevil who survived 104 vertical feet of certain death. A diver recounts her underwater brush with death. A a 92-year-old author recalls how an unlikely ally saved her from Nazi occupation. We meet a UW researcher studying how to help your dog live longer. And a local storyteller talks about his unexpected connection with a woman who was awaiting a heart transplant. 

Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland (left, center) talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and former NFL football player and Lincoln High School graduate Lawyer Milloy during a visit to the high school in 2015.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma’s former mayor and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, announced Thursday that she’s running for Congress in Washington’s 10th District. The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, who recently announced he would not seek re-election in 2020.

A sign on a door points to the main entrance of the state auditor's office in Olympia.
Rachel La Corte / The Associated Press (file)

The State Auditor’s Office released a fraud report Monday morning detailing $6.9 million in misappropriated funds within the Pierce County Housing Authority (PCHA). It’s believed to be the largest misappropriation on record in the state, propagated by the authority's former finance director.

Pierce County has found its next chief medical examiner, to replace Dr. Thomas Clark.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Pierce County has found its next chief medical examiner, shortly after reaching settlement agreements with the office’s top two officials.  

The county announced Tuesday that Dr. Mark Fajardo will lead the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office as soon as he relocates from Southern California. He’ll succeed Dr. Thomas Clark, who recently announced his intent to retire amid a whirlwind of complaints

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