Other News | KNKX

Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Walla Walla Community college students Eric McAlvey, front, and Kevin Bayna, rear, show their support for the scheduled hanging of child-killer Westley Allan Dodd, Jan 4, 1993.
Mason Marsh / The Associated Press

This story originally aired on October 19, 2019.

In the fall of 1989, in Vancouver, Washington, a short, 29-year-old man named Westley Allan Dodd raped and murdered three young boys. The boys were brothers Cole and William Neer, ages 10 and 11, and 4-year-old Lee Iseli.

A few weeks later, police arrested Westley at a movie theater after he tried and failed to abduct another boy. He quickly confessed to the three murders. The prosecution sought the death penalty, and Dodd pled guilty.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor talks on his phone at a staging area at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom in 2018, after a plane was stolen from Sea-Tac Airport and crashed.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

Against a backdrop of mounting scrutiny and calls for change, Pierce County voters will elect a new sheriff for the first time in nearly two decades.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor announced in October that he would retire after serving for 19 years — the longest tenure for a sitting sheriff in the state’s second-largest county.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This show originally aired on September 21, 2019. 

Collections come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever it is, a collection can take on a life of its own. And it says something about the person behind it. That’s our latest theme — The Collector: why we’re drawn to collect stuff, and what we’re willing to do in pursuit of it.

Robert F. Bukaty / The Associated Press


As we move into the heart of our Pacific Northwest summer, families with children are facing a dilemma: what to do with kids, cooped up for months, and itching to see friends. 

COVID-19 cases are rising in Washington, but experts say it doesn’t mean kids need to stay on lockdown. 

U. S. Army Lt. Col. Shoshannah Lane, center, commander of the 46th Aviation Support Battalion, kisses her daughter Lilly, 1, as they attend a change of command ceremony, Monday, April 3, 2017, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

The top general at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is asking for new recruits.

Lt. Gen. Randy George is part of a three-day Armywide push to enlist 10,000 people, after COVID-19 restrictions slowed recruitment all spring.

This map from AIDSVu shows the rates of people living with HIV per 100,000 residents.


The Seattle area is leading the way on controlling a viral epidemic, besides COVID-19. A new analysis of 39 cities shows the region’s health system has been effective at treating people with HIV and AIDS. 

Seattle came out ahead of all the cities analyzed on a key measure: how many people infected with HIV are virally suppressed.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some more stories that have stood out to us from the series.

Courtesy of Jourdan Imani Keith

One of the heartbreaking things about the past few weeks for Jourdan Imani Keith is how many of her poems, ones that touch on anguish, outrage and sadness — feel so current right now.

Keith is Seattle’s Civic Poet, and she sighs deeply as she reflects on it.

Adrian Florez / KNKX


Toxic exposures to cleaning products are up sharply since the pandemic began, according to the Washington Poison Center.

In the first half of the 2020, poisonings due to misuse of cleaners such as bleach or rubbing alcohol are up 54 percent over the same period last year. There are similar jumps in cases involving children who’ve ingested hand sanitizer, as well as cannabis.

Monet Carter-Mixon (center), sister of Manuel Ellis, joined Ellis' family and friends Sunday for a balloon release celebrating the late father of two, who was killed March 3 in Tacoma police custody.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

“You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.”

Those were the words printed on dozens of balloons that were released into the air in downtown Tacoma on Father’s Day, during an event honoring Manuel Ellis.  

The act of protesting can unfold in a variety of ways, and protesting through music is certainly one of them. Freddy Gonzalez, whose stage name is Freddy Fuego, is a local composer and musician. He's also an educator at Seattle's Northwest School, teaching music to students in grades 6-12.


This show originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Rabbi turns 500-year-old love songs into rap

Jun 20, 2020
Sam Leeds

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019

Ladino is the language of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition.

Now, 500 years later, it’s spoken in more than 30 countries – a language of the Diaspora. But, Ladino is mostly spoken by elders in the Sephardic community and it’s in danger of going extinct.  

One man is determined to save Ladino. His name is Rabbi Simon Benzaquen.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Xolie Morra Cogley is a musician in Seattle, and leader of the band Xolie Morra and the Strange Kind.

“I’ve always been into music since I was very little," Cogley says. "And so music, I think, really helped to move me in a more social direction, because I didn’t really do a lot of talking when I was little. But I developed a communication skill using music that helped me fit into certain groups. So I didn’t have to have conversations. I was just playing music.”

Courtesy of Ilan Speizer


This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

The American Blues is a genre born of suffering — of oppression, heartbreak and hard work. It originated in African-American communities of the Deep South, but it all sounds very familiar to Jewish Seattleite Ilan Speizer.

Tulalip Lushootseed Department


This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.


About a decade ago, Juliet Shen took on dream project. Shen, a typeface designer and artist, was commissioned by the Tulalip Tribes to create a new font specifically for Lushootseed, the now endangered language used by most of the coast Salish tribes. Shen isn’t Native American, but she often thought about the disconnect between Western typeface design and indigenous cultures.

Southern resident orca whales, seen frolicking in 2008 less than 200 yards from shore near the light house at Lime Kiln Point State Park.   The one breaching is Canuck L-7, in the foreground is Faith L-57. Neither is still living.
Jeanne Hyde

This story originally aired on March 30, 2019.

Author’s note: Sometimes the best stories are not planned out or deeply researched in advance, but rather the product of simply listening and letting a narrative take you where it wants to go. This one came about because I had always wanted to learn more about how orcas communicate: the extent to which we know they have some sort of language. I asked around and learned the person to contact is Jeanne Hyde, a wonderful character who has devoted more than a decade of her life to constantly listening to killer whales. Jeanne’s passion for telling the stories of these orcas is infectious. And her collection of sounds provides unique perspective, especially on the tragic grief ritual of mother orca Tahlequah, who caught the world’s attention in 2018. You’ve gotta listen! (This story originally aired March 29.)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, left, surveys downtown Seattle with Police Chief Carmen Best on Sunday, May 31, 2020, following protests the night before.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Calls continue to defund police in Seattle, following weeks of protests over police brutality and racism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has refused to cut the police budget by 50 percent. But, she says, for bigger change you have to look beyond the budget. KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick talked more about this with Durkan.

LaNesha DeBardelaben (far left), executive director of the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, talks with attendees of Juneteenth events last year.
Courtesy of LaNesha DeBardelaben

It’s Juneteenth.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general reached Galveston, Texas, and freed the last remaining enslaved people in the Confederacy. That was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and just about two months after the end of the Civil War.

Katrina Johnson, cousin to the late Charleena Lyles, spoke at a rally on June 18, 2020, the three-year anniversary of Lyles' death.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Katrina Johnson stood alongside a score of families Thursday morning, demanding justice for a long list of Black men and women whose lives were taken by police officers, both here and across the country.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Imagine getting out of prison after almost two decades, and being released into … this.

That’s what was on Jennifer Tilford’s mind as she stood in the parking lot at Cedar Creek Corrections Center, waiting for the man she’s been married to for three years, but has never been alone with.

Life for both of them is about to change radically.

“There is no normal and there's not going to be the same normal ever again,” Jennifer said. “Not only because Jason's coming home, but because of the whole virus.”

Adrian Florez / KNKX

We have all been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own ways. And the Sound Effect team has been doing our best to cover it in a podcast called Transmission. Today on Sound Effect, we share some more stories that have stood out to us from the series.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

Since the COVID-19 pandemic landed in Washington, the economic fallout has driven more than a million people in the state to apply for unemployment insurance. 

Those payments have become the safety net for workers during the worst recession in many decades. The federal government beefed it up significantly in the CARES Act — a recognition of how urgent the situation is for tens of millions of Americans. 

But now, after weeks and, in some cases, months out of work, large numbers of unemployed Washingtonians still have not gotten paid. 

From left, Justice Mary I. Yu, Chief Justice Debra Stephens, and Justice G. Helen Whitener
Washington Supreme Court

The state Supreme Court issued a letter earlier this month calling on the legal profession, themselves included, to do the hard work of addressing systemic racism.

From left, Justice Mary I. Yu, Chief Justice Debra Stephens, and Justice G. Helen Whitener
Washington Supreme Court

The state Supreme Court issued a letter earlier this month calling on the legal profession, themselves included, to do the hard work of addressing systemic racism. 

People work to dry off large letters that read "Black Lives Matter" painted on a street near Cal Anderson Park, Thursday, June 11, 2020, inside what is being called the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Just a few days ago, parts of Seattle were choked by tear gas, but with the Seattle Police Department’s apparent abandonment of its East Precinct on Monday, what has come to be called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) has grown over a few blocks in the neighborhood.

Dr. Micheal Kane
Courtesy of Dr. Micheal Kane



Dr. Micheal Kane is a clinical traumatologist, a practicing therapist with specialties in PTSD, racial identity, and depression. He's also Black, as are many of his clients.

All through the COVID-19 crisis, and now during the protests following the police killing of George Floyd, Kane has spent around 50 hours a week listening to his clients work through how they're dealing with the moment. And what's coming up is a lot of trauma. The trauma of simply being Black in America.

Adrian Florez / KNKX

A lot of us this year have gotten used to relying on computer models for projections of how many new COVID-19 cases we can expect, or when the economy might start to rebound. But those models can’t tell us how we’re going to feel, or how lockdown and grief and social breakdown will change the way we see and experience the world. 

Well, turns out there’s a model for that, too. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Crowds gathered Sunday for a major march in Seattle’s most racially diverse area. Protesters assembled at Othello Park in the city’s Rainier Beach neighborhood to demand an end to police violence and systemic racism, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. KNKX asked people at the "We Want To Live" march and rally what it feels like to be part of this moment. 

Adrian Florez / KNKX

This show originally aired on June 29, 2019.

For this special edition of Sound Effect, the theme is “Small Miracles,” tales from our live storytelling event. Host Gabriel Spitzer recounts his brush with death after years of humiliation in swim class. Ty Reed recalls how a random encounter saved his life after he fell into homelessness and addiction. Cindy Healy is moved to tears seeing a special spacecraft in a Matt Damon movie. Queen Mae Butters remembers a powerful friendship formed at the end of her hospice patient’s life. And Paul Currington learns to breathe through the smoke of his past.