Simone Alicea | KNKX

Simone Alicea

Business & Labor Reporter

A Seattle native and former knkx intern, Simone Alicea has returned to the Pacific Northwest from covering breaking news at the Chicago Sun-Times. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times. 

Ways to Connect

news that informs graphic
Adrian Florez / KNKX

South Seattle College is offering to cover two quarters of tuition for former students from the Art Institute of Seattle, which closed abruptly earlier this month.

South Seattle joins City University and Seattle Pacific University in offering financial assistance to former Art Institute students.

Elise Bakketun / Courtesy of Seattle Children's Theatre

As freshmen crowd onto the bleachers in the gym at Tyee High School in SeaTac, it's hard not to imagine boring assemblies where people act out "real problems" that seem to magically go away when someone tells a "trusted adult."

The play "Ghosted" isn't really like that. It features four high schoolers who learn to talk to each other about their struggles.

A northbound train pulls into Westlake Station in downtown Seattle.
Simone Alicea / KNKX

Even though Seattle commuters are still getting used to the viaduct replacement tunnel, transportation officials are preparing for the next step in the "Seattle Squeeze." Starting Saturday, all buses that currently use the downtown transit tunnel will move onto the surface streets.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP Photo

Kids in Tacoma and Seattle are planning to join worldwide demonstrations during the school day Friday to call on adults to take action on climate change.

In this May 9, 2018, file photo, Seattle City Council Members Mike O'Brien, Kshama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda listen to public comment. On Monday, the three council members voted in favor of Sawant's human services director resolution.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A divided Seattle City Council is trying to push forward in confirming the mayor's pick for human services director, but it's unclear what the next move is. The new director will have a big say in how the city tackles the ongoing homelessness crisis.

McNeil Island
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Over the past several weeks, the podcast series Forgotten Prison has taught listeners a lot about the Alcatraz of Washington state. Despite the rich history of the now-abandoned prison on McNeil Island, the state left a lot behind when it closed the institution in 2011. In the last episode, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore what we lose when we forget about prisons. They talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about the conclusion of the series.

ferry dock at McNeil Island
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

McNeil Island is an especially forgotten prison. But, in the end, all prisons are forgotten in some way. In the last episode of Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel wrestle with why that is.

news that informs graphic
Adrian Florez / KNKX

In what officials say is the result of human error, University of Washington Medicine mistakenly exposed information from nearly 1 million patients for about three weeks late last year.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Studying the history of an American prison is really just a study in American history. Pick a major event, and odds are good you can find at least one story related to McNeil Island. 

The people who worked at the now-abandoned prison on McNeil raised families in houses around the island.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

When it closed in 2011, McNeil Island’s prison was the last of its kind in the country — an institution accessible only by air or water. Being on an island made McNeil unique. In the fourth episode of our six-part podcast series Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore island life. Alicea talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what they learned.

One of the homes that housed prison staff and their familes on McNeil Island.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

One obvious thing that made the prison on McNeil unique was its island location. In Episode 4 of Forgotten Prison, we hear from former guards, inmates and children who grew up there, as well as someone descended from island homesteaders, about life in and around an island prison.

Abandoned cells at the McNeil Island prison site.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The now-abandoned prison at McNeil Island ran for 136 years. That means the history of the place can tell us a lot about how prisons have changed over time.

In Episode 3 of Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel introduce us to former McNeil inmates and guards, and take listeners through the abandoned structures on the island. They talked about what they found with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

abandoned cells at McNeil Island's prison site.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The abandoned prison on McNeil Island and its 136-year history can tell us a lot about why we lock people up and how it has changed over time. Hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explore the decaying structures on the island to learn how the modern American prison system came to be.

This file photo from 2015 shows the main entrance to Washington state's Special Commitment Center next to a fence lined with razor wire on McNeil Island, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

It’s a question that isn’t so easily answered: what exactly is the Special Commitment Center? The prison on McNeil island closed in 2011, but the SCC still operates there. It houses sex offenders who have already served their prison time, but have been deemed too dangerous to release into society. 

KNKX reporters Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel took a deep dive into the center in Episode 2 of their six-part podcast, Forgotten Prison. They talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what they learned. 

McNeil Island
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

While the prison on McNeil Island closed in 2011, Washington state still runs the Special Commitment Center there. It's where the state keeps "sexually violent predators" who have served their prison time, but are deemed too dangerous to release into society. Technically, the commitment center is not a prison, but the reality is more complicated.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

KNKX reporters Paula Wissel and Simone Alicea have spent the past year digging into the history of McNeil Island, in partnership with the Washington State History Museum. They're sharing what they found in the six-part podcast, Forgotten Prison. They talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what they learned.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

There are a thousand stories about McNeil Island. And odds are, you haven't heard any of them. In Episode 1 of Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel explain how we came to abandon one of the country's first federal prisons.

Forgotten Prison podcast logo
Adrian Florez / KNKX

KNKX premiers Forgotten Prison on Jan. 22, a new podcast featuring McNeil Island — the Alcatraz you've never heard of. 

The tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle has been a long time coming. Replacement discussions have been underway since the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, and several options were studied before the Legislature approved funds for a deep-bore tunnel in 2009. Voters approved it two years later.

"Airbnb" is licensed by CC
Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner / flickr

New short-term rental regulations are in effect in Seattle. Property owners, including those using online platforms such as Airbnb, now face limits on how many units they can rent and require an extra license to operate.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs the state's paid family leave law on July 5, 2017, in Olympia, Wash.
Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

Workers might see a little more coming out of their paychecks starting Jan. 1, as employers begin collecting premiums for Washington's new paid family and medical leave program.

In this file photo, an American Medical Response ambulance can be seen center responding to the Sept. 24, 2015, Ride The Ducks crash in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Negotiations between the union representing emergency medical technicians in Seattle and their employer resumed Thursday afternoon, prompting the union to suspend an upcoming strike.

Montesano Mayor Vini Samuel
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

GRAYS HARBOR, WASH. — People might not think of Grays Harbor County first as a bastion of progress. But take a closer look at the area's leaders and you might get a different picture. 

Post-doctoral researchers rallied at the University of Washington on Friday, demanding a swift resolution to contract negotiations.
Parker Blohm / KNKX

Several dozen post-doctoral researchers rallied at the University of Washington's Seattle campus on Friday, demanding a swift resolution to contract negotiations.

A Sound Transit train passes over a Sound Transit bus in Seattle.
AP Images

The Sound Transit Board of Directors has approved a new three-year contract for CEO Peter Rogoff. The contract includes a pay hike for the man in charge of a massive regional transit expansion.

Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

With increasing news of public displays of white supremacy around the country, local law enforcement and elected officials recently took a deep dive into the state's hate crime statute.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The results of Tuesday's midterm elections are still being unpacked. While much of the focus has been on what they could mean for Democrats and Republicans, Washington state's ballot initiatives have also proven interesting. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story is part of KNKX's series "Five Voters, Fresh Perspectives." We're looking at the 2018 election through the eyes of five people who are at a turning point in their lives.

For most of us, it's a choice whether we want to vote. But if you've committed a felony in Washington state, that choice can be taken away for a few years after you get out prison.

Having that right taken and then given back changed how Rebekah Brown felt about voting.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

A split Washington Supreme Court has ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is a "cruel punishment," and so is unconstitutional.

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