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

Members of the Sudanese community in the Puget Sound region are planning a rally Saturday in solidarity with protesters seeking democratic changes in the African country.

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

The only woman at a treatment facility for sex offenders on McNeil Island in South Puget Sound has been conditionally released in Pierce County.

Laura McCollum, 61, left the Special Commitment Center on the island earlier this month. McCollum was profiled in Episode 2 of KNKX's podcast about McNeil Island, Forgotten Prison.

news that informs graphic
Adrian Florez / KNKX

Thanks in part to gifts from companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle-based Plymouth Housing is on its way to raising millions of dollars for hundreds of units of permanent supportive housing.

The nonprofit developer announced Tuesday it has raised $48.8 million toward a $75 million goal to build 800 units of permanent supportive housing over the next several years.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to extend temporay protections for the Showbox theater for another six months. Council members also unanimously approved plans to build affordable housing near Discovery Park in the city's Magnolia neighborhood.

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board has designated The Showbox theater downtown as a landmark, a significant step in the nearly yearlong battle over the future of the music venue.
Ashley N. / Flickr

Preservationists won a couple victories at Seattle City Hall this week in determining the fate of The Showbox theater. But the fight to halt the redevelopment of the 80-year-old venue is far from over.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

More people were killed or seriously injured biking and walking in 2018 than in any of the previous four years, according to the latest numbers from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

news that informs graphic
Adrian Florez / KNKX

King County's process of investigating police-involved deaths is resuming after it was on hold for almost a year and a half, while the county reformed its practices.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Officials are investigating after a Washington State Ferries vessel struck a whale Tuesday night in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

Roosevelt High School jazz band in New York at the 2019 Essentially Ellington competition
Ayano Hisa / Jazz at Lincoln Center

Seattle's Roosevelt High School won first place in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival on Saturday.

The band played against 14 other finalists in the prestigious national competition put on by Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Drivers for Uber and Lyft, organized by Teamsters 117 and the App-Based Drivers Association, gather Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at the ride-hailing waiting lot at Sea-Tac Airport to protest low pay by the platforms.
Simone Alicea / KNKX

A few dozen drivers for Uber and Lyft gathered Wednesday morning at Sea-Tac Airport to talk about low pay in advance of Uber's highly anticipated initial public offering later this week.

Emergency crews work at the scene of a construction crane collapse where four people were killed and four others injured Saturday, April 27, 2019, in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle.
Joe Nicholson / The Associated Press

Seattle leaders are starting to talk about what comes next after a fatal crane collapse over the weekend, but there seems to be a long road ahead.

Oak View Group, the developer in charge of the KeyArena transformation, hosted a media hard-hat tour of the project site Thursday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Officials behind the transformation of KeyArena remain optimistic about the project, despite newly reported cost increases and a longer timeline.

Manuel Valdes / AP Photo

The Seattle Department of Transportation recently released the results of its first-ever "Public Life Study," in hopes data will help make the city's public spaces more vibrant.

Amazon spheres
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Amazon's plans to relocate one of its critical teams to Bellevue have prompted questions about the company's relationship with Seattle.

Genesee Hill Elementary in West Seattle is one of the schools slated to have a librarian reduced to part time amid Seattle Public Schools budget cuts for next school year.
Seattle Public Schools

Librarians from Seattle Public Schools are gathering in Olympia on Tuesday to ask state lawmakers to allow the school district to raise more money in local levies and stave off planned reductions.

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.

Pages