Other News | KNKX

Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

Wes Browning has held an impressive array of jobs at Real Change, the newspaper distributed mainly by homeless vendors: He’s been a columnist, an artist, circulation specialist, public speaker, and so on.

He’s also been homeless three times and struggled with his mental health, so he understands the paper’s vendors better than most.

But go back in time in Browning’s resume, and you find an even wider range of jobs: taxi driver, teacher, theoretical mathematician.

This week, stories of career paths and their unexpected twists. First, a man finds himself lucky enough to never have to work again, and decides he’ll pivot to being a LEGO artist. Next, a career dishwasher becomes an internationally renowned artist.

Courtesy of Mark Rose

Growing up on Mercer Island, Mark Rose was captivated by rock n’ roll. And like most kids, he wanted to be a part of it. But unlike most kids, Mark did end up in the music business. He didn’t make it as a musician, but instead worked on the business side of things.

But because of his close association with the musicians, he ended up living a lifestyle very much befitting a rockstar: drugs, alcohol, incessant partying. And like a lot of rock n’ roll stories, Mark’s had a burn-out ending that left him picking up the pieces of his life.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Sara Jamshidi grew up in Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She remembers when her mother could wear sunglasses and mini-skirts on hot summer days, before the new fundamentalist government made laws about what women could and could not wear.

 

Courtesy of John Michael Kohler Museum 2010

 

Some people report to work purely for the paycheck. For others, the job itself plays a big part in their identity. Gregory Blackstock is a man who knows both sides of this coin.

Blackstock is autistic and for decades, he eked out a living as a dishwasher at The Washington Athletic Club. It was a place that treated Gregory very well, but he found the work difficult to get through.

 

"I just wanted to get away from drudgery," said Gregory.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

Iain Heath had just caught a break. As an early employee of the data visualization at Tableau, he stood to make a bundle when the company went public in 2013.

And for the first time, Heath realized he could quit his day job to pursue his passions.

He says he asked his boss whether he was planning on leaving, too. His answer: No.

“[He said] ‘I don’t know what I would do with myself.’ I realized that a lot of people, their job defines who they are,” says Heath. “I had a list of things to do.”

TONY WEBSTER/FLICKR

This show originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

If your primary mode of transportation is riding the bus, it's likely you've seen some nice bus stops, some OK ones, probably a couple of bad ones. The website Streetsblog USA holds an annual contest where readers from around the country nominate terrible bus stops, and then vote on them. The bus stop with the most votes gets crowned The Sorriest Bus Stop In America. 

And congratulations, Seattle: The 2017 title is yours. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Todd Stabelfeldt drives a pretty dope ride.

Those are his words -- describing his super-high-tech, “murdered-out … completely black-on-black” vehicle.

It’s no ordinary ride: Stabelfeldt has quadriplegia, and his “whip” is a tricked-out wheelchair, an F5 Permobil equipped with a tongue-operated interface for navigating and controlling devices.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

If you think your daliy commute is bad, please meet Daniel Bone. He maneuvers a large cement truck to the many different construction sites in the Seattle area.

A few years ago, Bone's commute from an idyllic five-acre farm in Yelm, Washington, was daunting, but doable. 

"I'm 62 miles out from our home in Yelm, to where I work in Seattle. In the mornings I could drive it, an hour and ten minutes, comfortably. Coffee in hand. Well rested," Bone said.

Ben Amstutz / Flickr

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Elk meat, eagle feathers, bear gallbladder. These are just a few of the items sold by wildlife traffickers in the Pacific Northwest.

 

How bad is this black market? Washington state Fish & Wildlife detective Todd Vandivert wanted to find out.

He and partner Sergeant Jennifer Maurstad went undercover as small business owners, risking their lives to bring in some of the largest animal traffickers in the region.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on December 2, 2017.

Chief Marshal Elisa Sansalone says she finds calm in the chaos of the Municipal Court of Seattle.

That’s important for someone who leads a team tasked with transporting defendants to and from court about 15,000 times a year.

KNKX's Community Advisory Council meeting will be meeting on Monday, September 10 from 2 - 3:30 in our Seattle office. If you are interested in attending as a member of the listening community, please contact the General Manager's office at 253-535-8732. 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

When it comes to scientific arguments nowadays, there’s a good chance sooner or later someone will be compared to people who believe the earth is flat.

Most would consider that an insult, but not Mark Sargent. The Whidbey Island resident spends much of his time promoting the belief that the earth is not round or spherical but actually, definitely flat.

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

This show originally aired on November 18, 2017.

Credit Gabriel Spitzer

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

All Things Considered host Ed Ronco and Morning Edition producer Ariel Van Cleave came to learn their respective instruments after things didn't work out with their first choice.

Ed started with the trumpet, but the combination of the smaller mouthpiece and a mouth full of braced turned out to be a painful experience. So he moved to the baritone horn, which had a larger mouthpiece, and never looked back.

Will James / KNKX

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

If you go to the base of Point Defiance in Tacoma and look east, you'll see a finger of earth jutting into Puget Sound. 

It formed as toxic slag spilled from a copper smelter during the city's industrial heyday. 

For years, it was a foreboding sliver of black, glassy material. Today, workers and machines roam the peninsula as they transform it into a grassy park with Puget Sound views.

Kat Taylor

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

"You Can do anything in the Barbie Dream Hearse, except smoke” laughs Kat Taylor as we enter the world of white leather with pink accents.

Perhaps you’ve seen it, The Barbie Dream Hearse, driving around Seattle, shuttling people around who might be watching a movie in the back, or pouring another glass of champagne from the ice bucket. The white hearse turned party limo is hard to miss.  

It all started with a play on words.

Meet A Leader Of The Flat Earth Movement

Aug 25, 2018
Credit Gabriel Spitzer

 

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

When it comes to scientific arguments nowadays, there’s a good chance sooner or later someone will be compared to people who believe the earth is flat.

Most would consider that an insult, but not Mark Sargent. The Whidbey Island resident spends much of his time promoting the belief that the earth is not round or spherical but actually, definitely flat.

Joel Shupack

 

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

Anyone who has ever loved a dog, and who has been on the receiving end of a dog’s unconditional affection, would agree that the grief you experience when that animal dies is deep and painful.

 

In this story, which originally aired on the podcast SquareMile, producer Joel Shupack introduces us to his friend Lela who recently said goodby to her beloved Catahoula, Coltrane.

 

Greg Beckelhymer

In the Fall of 2016, Greg Beckelhymer died after a year-long struggle with metastatic kidney cancer. He was 47 years old.

In this story, his widow, Seattle-based writer Michelle Goodman and her sister, Naomi Goodman, talk about how acute grief is often accompanied by strong denial.

CREDIT MATT CALLOW/FLICKR

This show originally aired on October 28, 2017.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

Near the coast of Washington state, on the banks of the Copalis River, lies a ghost forest -- a stand of gray, dead trees in the middle of a healthy forest.

How did it get there?

Could the key lie in another mystery, a mysterious tsunami recorded by samurai in 18th-century Japan? 

Linking these seemingly unconnected phenomena became a goal for ambitious scientists using everything at their disposal, from computer models to chainsaws.

Greg Beckelhymer

 

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

In the Fall of 2016, Greg Beckelhymer died after a year-long struggle with metastatic kidney cancer. He was 47 years old.

 

In this story, his widow, Seattle-based writer Michelle Goodman and her sister, Naomi Goodman, talk about how acute grief is often accompanied by strong denial.

 

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

What if something was thought to be gone forever? Would you still go looking for it? There is a man named David Benscoter, who does just this.

Benscoter spends a lot if his time exploring an area of Eastern Washington known as the Palouse. He searches abandoned homesteads, looking for varieties of apples that are believed to be extinct.  

“These trees, they’re just going to go away someday. And if I don’t do it there’s no one who’s going to search for them,” says Benscoter.

Lydia Ramsey in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

To say that Seattle musician Lydia Ramsey was raised in a musical family would be kind of an understatement.

“Me and my brothers joke that, like, in order to sit down in our living room, you had to pick up an instrument because it was taking up the chair. And then you’d be like oh, well I’m holding this so I might as well play something on it,” said Ramsey.

Courtesy of Rachel Kessler

This story originally aired on October 28, 2017.

Seattle Writer Rachel Kessler started this discussion by reading a passage from an essay she wrote  that was recently anthologized in a book Ghosts of Seattle Past.

Ed Ronco / KNKX

Washington State is, of course, named after founding father George Washington. But there’s another George Washington, also a founding father, who settled in a little corner of the territory with his wife Mary Jane nearly 150 years ago. There he founded a town called Centerville, later changed to Centralia.

What makes Washington an unusual pioneer-type is that he was African-American, born in Virginia to a white woman and a black slave.

Less than 200 years ago, the easiest way to get around a lot of the Pacific Northwest was by canoe. The first American steamship to provide regular service among Puget Sound ports arrived in 1853.

This small steamship, propelled by paddlewheels attached to its sides, was called the Fairy. But its success was short-lived. It soon blew up and sank.

Today, an Oregon-based group of shipwreck hunters wants to find the historic remains of that little steamer. The shipwreck search was inspired by one man's obsession. Appropriately enough, he's nicknamed "Tug."

Ashley Gross

This show originally aired on October 7, 2017.

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