Other News | KNKX

Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Harold Moss, center, attends an event in downtown Tacoma in 2015, marking the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama. Moss died Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, at the age of 90.
Photo by John Froschauer

Editor's note: This story originally aired on Feb. 11, 2017. Harold Moss died Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, at the age of 90. KNKX is republishing this story in remembrance of the Tacoma icon. 

In 1950s Tacoma, Harold Moss and his wife Willibelle faced racism in the search for a home.

Musician Rosemary Ponnekanti plays the double bass for Pakak, a walrus at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, in late July. Ponnekanti, who works for the communications team at the zoo, composed music that prompted musical responses from the walruses.
Courtesy of Point Defiance Zoo

Walruses have a huge vocabulary of sounds. They whistle, they grunt, and they can even sound like a steam train.

But, Rosemary Ponnekanti says, they also can sound musical. 

“They make bell-like sounds and they can use their flippers to make percussive noises,” said Ponnekanti, who works on the communications team at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma. “They also get this funny, guttural kind of (sound) — I can’t even do it myself because I don’t have the right equipment in my voice.” 

ADRIAN FLOREZ / KNKX

This show originally aired on November 25, 2019. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

 

In March of this year, as the novel coronavirus started to take hold of the region, students and teachers were notified that in person school was over and remote learning would get underway. At first, everyone thought the move to online learning would be temporary, but it wasn’t.

Family and friends of Manuel Ellis gathered Friday to celebrate what would have been Ellis' 34th birthday. Ellis was killed by Tacoma police nearly six months ago.
Melissa Ponder

Friday would have been Manuel Ellis’ 34th birthday. 

“I was there when he was born,” Regina Ellis Burnett said of her nephew. “Unfortunately, I was not there when his life was taken. We’re here to celebrate.”

SAN JUAN ISLAND 17 BY JEFF CLARK IS LICENSED UNDER CC BY 2.0 BIT.LY/2RLVP97

This episode originally aired on June 17, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, we head out to the islands.

The Good Ship Issaquah

Marsha Morse was one of the first women captains in Washington’s ferry system. She’s been navigating the waterways since 1975. And while she captains the ferry Issaquah, she considers her office the entire Puget Sound.

The One Lonely Island

WSDOT/Broch Bender

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.

Washington boasts the largest ferry system in the country. “Twenty-two ferries cross Puget Sound and its inland waterways, carrying more than 22 million passengers to 20 different ports of call,” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website.

 

Marsha Morse was one of the first women captains in Washington’s ferry system. She’s been navigating the waterways since 1975.

 

Hannah Burn

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.

The San Juans' last homesteaders first discovered the islands on a map. June and Farrar Burn were newlyweds. They met in 1919 at a party June threw in her log cabin in Virginia. June quickly fell for Farrar’s ruddy-cheeked smile, curly red hair, and his ability to make himself useful immediately:  gathering firewood, serving drinks, hosting as if it were his own home. Farrar was drawn to June’s lively eyes and her unmistakable, fierce spirit. In a month, the two were married.

Courtesy of Steve Edmiston.

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.   

In the summer of 1947, off the coast of Maury Island in South Puget Sound, a man named Harold Dahl was out on his boat with his son, Christopher, their dog and two workers. Harold collected logs floating in the Sound and resold them to lumber mills.

 

Think Dating Is Hard? Try It On An Island.

Aug 29, 2020
“Dating In The 50's” by zaza23 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2rwn2Fr

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.   

You may have thought about living on the San Juan in an abstract, big-picture sense: basking in the rain shadow, long bike rides along rolling hills, the best garden of your life. But what about the practical parts of day-to-day life, like dating? What if you couldn’t take someone out to dinner without everyone you see every single day knowing your business?

 

“McNeil Island and neighbors” by worldislandinfo.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2tseyeM

Note: Some of the content in this story might be upsetting to some listeners. 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.  

McNeil Island in South Puget Sound is where the Special Commitment Center for sexually violent predators is located. There are about 250 permanent residents at the Special Commitment Center -that’s what they’re called — and there are only a few ways you can leave the facility: you die, you’re deemed to have successfully completed treatment, or you can challenge your commitment with a trial.

Kevin Kniestedt / KNKX

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.  

Affordable housing is certainly a big issue these days, especially if you are living in the greater Seattle area. But it is also a major issue on some of our islands.

On San Juan Island, an overwhelming shortage of affordable housing is threatening the community and economy. But a non-profit in Friday Harbor is come up with a way to help that problem: by picking up old houses that are no long wanted in Victoria, British Columbia, putting them on a boat, and giving them a second life in Friday.

Seattle police officers form a line during a protest in downtown Seattle on May 30. Seattle Police Department has been criticized for use of force during Black Lives Matter protests in recent months.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX (file)

If a police officer behaves badly enough, that officer can lose the ability to work in law enforcement forever. Decertification prevents problematic officers from bouncing from department to department.

Mike Reicher, an investigative reporter with The Seattle Times, reviewed four years of data and found police are very rarely decertified in Washington state.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

In this episode of Sound Effect, we’re featuring stories from this show and the KNKX newsroom that earned regional and national recognition.

Youth and education reporter Ashley Gross talks about a quirk in state policy that is giving an artificial boost to graduation rates across the state. KNKX’s Will James dives into the turmoil that, up until recently, plagued the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office. Producer Posey Gruener shares the story of a beloved professional boxer whose life was tragically cut short. Gabriel Spitzer introduces us to a man who is helping his homeless neighbors, one makeshift toilet at a time. And producer Kevin Kniestedt shares what he learned after rediscovering a box of old love letters from past girlfriends. (KNKX's Ed Ronco and Geoffrey Redick also earned recognition for long-form storytelling about the five-year anniversary of the Oso landslide, part of the station's regional reporting project KNKX Connects.) 

Doc Wilson, far left, rides with other cyclists for one of several Peace Peloton group rides supporting Black-owned businesses.
Courtesy of Wilson

The recent protests against police brutality and racial inequality have spurred people into conversation and action. But oftentimes it can feel like the things you can do have little significance in the larger fight for racial justice. That’s where Doc Wilson comes in.

PARKER MILES BLOHM / KNKX

There is nothing like standing in the crowd, watching your favorite musician take the stage, playing your favorite song live right in front of you. Well thanks to a little global pandemic, going to a concert has been more or less impossible. Well, those of us at Sound Effect miss hearing live music, and we are willing to bet that you do to. Today on the show, we are going to bring the concert to you. We're going to be playing live music recordings that were performed and recorded just for Sound Effect over the years.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

This story originally aired on November 26, 2016. 

Getting a tattoo can certainly be an occasion for regret. Getting a tattoo that has an intentional misspelling in it could potentially lead to more opportunity for regret. Naming your debut album after your intentionally misspelled tattoo pretty much sums up the "no regrets" attitude of the Seattle-based band Chastity Belt.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

This story originally aired on November 26, 2016.

Singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson writes intimate music that connects with her fans in a very personal way. Olympia's independent K Records wrote that "her recordings make it feel as though you have a friend there whispering in your ear. And you do because Kimya is your friend."

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

This story originally aired on October 1, 2016.

On our show, we do strive to get the complexity of this region and capture what it means to live here in all of it's contrasting glory — both the pretty and the gritty. And on our show, when we're doing our job, we're telling stories that have a lot of that. We really believe that a story can be sad and hilarious and heartbreaking and surprising all at once. It's an eclectic thing we are trying to do.  

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

This story originally aired on January 21, 2017.

The 2016 presidential election transformed the political narrative across America, including Washington state. Many artists have been emboldened to create in response to this reshuffling of power and ideas. One Seattle musician was uniquely inspired by the perspective of Trump voters.

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

 This story originally aired on May 6, 2017.

Ben Union basically grew up in a church, and for him there was little question as to what he wanted to be when he grew up. He was going to be a preacher.

But in religion, just like in politics, or relationships, challenging or even traumatic experiences can make you change your feelings about a path you were once entirely certain about.

This was the case for Ben Union. He didn’t become a preacher, but instead, a professional musician in Tacoma.

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.

This story orginally aired on February 24, 2018.

This past September, Steve Fournier expected to go out with his friends to see one of his favorite Rock bands, Loverboy, in concert. What he didn’t expect is for lead singer, Mike Reno, to get the flu and only be able to perform a couple songs. Reno’s wife started talking to the crowd to find someone in the audience to take his place.

Fournier’s friends started pointing at him telling her to pull him up on stage.

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

This story originally aired on May 26, 2018.

Naomi Wachira was born and raised in Kenya, studied broadcasting in Chicago, then theology in Seattle. While she always had an impressive singing voice -- she sang in choirs since she was five -- becoming a professional musician wasn’t truly on the radar until 2013, after her father, a pastor in Kenya, passed away.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

It’s been more than five months since the nation’s first novel coronavirus death happened, right here in the Seattle area.

Now, more than 100 vaccine candidates are being developed, and dozens have entered the human-trial stage. But they’re likely still a long way off from mass production and distribution.

In this episode of Transmission, host Gabriel Spitzer and producer Jennifer Wing discuss how the RNA vaccine works and why some elements of vaccine development are going so much more quickly than usual.

Heather Beaird was part of the effort to get a statue of George Washington, the founder of Centralia, (pictured above) commissioned. Washington was biracial and his father was enslaved. Beaird says that identity has influenced community conversations.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Ever since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, demonstrations have followed in Washington state and around the country. Most of the coverage has focused on big cities. Now, we're going to hear from someone in Chehalis.

It and neighboring Centralia are predominately white, but in the weeks following Floyd’s death, the communities saw demonstrations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

It's summer 2020, and so many things are different. But some things, like running for the ice cream truck, are refreshingly familiar.

In this audio postcard from a Seattle neighborhood, listen as two boys grab some ice cream. Henry (Sonic the Hedgehog popsicle) and his best friend Broder (Chocolate Fudge Bar) talk about what feels new this summer, and what remains the same.

From left to right: Sweetgrass, lavender and lavender starts are seen growing at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla as part of a new Indigenous medicines program through the Department of Corrections, in partnership with the nonprofit Huy.
Courtesy of Huy

A special plot of land has been set aside at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. It is sacred ground that has been blessed by tribal leaders from the community outside. And it’s been devoted to a work program that allows Indigenous inmates to grow medicinal plants needed in traditional ceremonies, such as sweat lodges.

Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer tours Fort Casey on Whidbey Island in December 2019, for a story about the old fort built.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Every week for more than five years, Gabriel Spitzer’s voice brought stories into your homes that you otherwise wouldn’t hear. In more than 200 episodes of Sound Effect, our host helped you get to know the Puget Sound region and its people through stories of wonder, joy, and profound humanity.   

Now, sadly, it’s time to say goodbye.

Courtesy of Cheri Spitzer

Today on the show, we say goodbye to our host Gabriel Spitzer. This is the last show Gabriel will host, as he transitions to a new job in public health. He celebrates some of his favorite stories from past shows in this episode.

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