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Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

James and Krystal Marx on patrol together during May Day 2016
Courtesy of James Marx


This story originally aired on June 1, 2019.  

Krystal Marx is a City Council member in Burien. Her husband James is an Iraq War veteran. They’ve both experienced hardships that never fully left them: in her case, it was poverty and homelessness as a kid; for him, it was combat-related PTSD.

Their relationship, and their healing, began on rival superhero teams.

This photo was taken at a rodeo in Hobbs, New Mexico, where rodeo clown J.J. Harrison fell down in front of a 2,000-pound, charging bull. "I remember thinking this could be the end," he said.
Courtesy of J.J. Harrison

This story originally aired on June 1, 2019. 

When J.J. Harrison fell down in front of a charging, 2,000-pound bull in Hobbs, New Mexico, everything seemed to slow down.  

"I just remember thinking this could be the end," he said.

It wasn't. And even though Harrison was pretty beat up that day, he was back at it almost immediately. "I got my check and I drove five hours to get to the airport," he said, "because I've got to keep going."

Adrian Florez / KNKX


As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, some clear patterns have emerged. One is that people of color are being affected by this virus at higher rates than white people. 

In Washington state, the disparities are especially stark among the Latino population.

More than a third of the state's COVID-19 cases have been Latino, which is way out of proportion to their 13 percent share of the general population.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington state officials say they have received a big shipment of coronavirus testing materials from the federal government, putting the state on track to have enough resources to keep a lid on the outbreak in coming months. 

Bars and restaurants in cities like Seattle are looking at a phased reopening, but exactly where some of those businesses fall is unclear.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee laid out the requirements for what it would take for restaurants and taverns to reopen in phase two of his plan to safely restart the economy, but some bar and restaurant owners aren’t entirely sure which of the four phases of Inslee’s plan their business will be pinned to.

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.

David Guterson is the author of the book-length poem “Turnaround Time: A Walking Poem for the Pacific Northwest.”
Headshot by Tom Collicott

Audio Pending...

David Guterson has been walking through the mountains of the Pacific Northwest his entire life. He knows the Olympics best. They’re closest to his home on Bainbridge Island, where he’s lived for decades. Guterson taught high school English there, as he wrote “Snow Falling on Cedars.”

Adrian Florez / KNKX

COVID-era isolation affects all of us. And for people with special needs, it brings all sorts of particular challenges, many that can’t be solved with a Zoom call.

That’s why most days, you can find a bald, heavily tattooed guy, salt-and-pepper beard down to his sternum and wearing a bright blue face mask, driving around Western Washington to check in on his clients — all adults with developmental disabilities.

“I call it my ‘Melissa outreach,’” says Gino Jevdjevich, a crisis counselor with the nonprofit Sound Health. “Melissa Ethridge, she has a song, ‘Come To My Window.’ I started joking about that song at the beginning, but now I call it my ‘Melissa outreach.’”

Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 25, 2020.

Rainbow Bingo players blot out the numbers as they're called.
Posey Gruener / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019. 

For almost five years, Seattle drag queen Sylvia O'Stayformore has been hosting Rainbow Bingo at Ballard Northwest Senior Center. There are colorful decorations, themed prizes, and a bar for beer and wine. And, of course, O'Stayformore performs a number or two.

Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer and climate scientist Judy Twedt, outside the KNKX studios in Belltown.
Jennifer Wing / KNKX


This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

When most of us see scientific data presented on graphs and spreadsheets, the meaning behind the numbers can get lost pretty fast — even when they are explained by an expert.


Jennifer Wing


This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

Seattle writer Paulette Perhach likes to spend her food money at a typical boutique grocery store in Seattle. You know, the kind with hardwood floors, shelves that are curated with an ethical conscience — and really good cheese. Perhach is 36 years old. She’s a freelance writer who fully admits to liking fancier things she can’t afford. One of her favorite things to buy in this store is feelings.


Vietnam war and draft protest
Courtesy of Fred Lonidier


This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

In the mid-1960s, there was a number that loomed large for many American men: 26. That was the cutoff age for the draft. If you were antiwar, or just didn’t fancy going off to combat, it could be a race to stall the process long enough to hit that birthday, before being hauled in front of the draft board.

Thomas Kyle-Milward (center) with his Milk and Scotch teammates at the Columbia County Fair in Oregon in 2014. He was "very insulted" when competitors talked trash about his overalls. But they weren't laughing after he beat them to the finish line.
Courtesy of Thomas Kyle-Milward

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

Thomas Kyle-Milward wears a tie to work, but deep down he’s still a farm boy.

Kyle-Milward grew up on a small family farm outside Portland, Oregon. The farm had its own rhythm: morning and evening chores, planting, harvest. And every year — the Columbia County Fair.

Kyle-Milward is building a life in urban Tacoma now, but he still makes it out for the fair each summer. And, as he’ll proudly share, he brings along bragging rights as the 2014 wild cow milking champion.

Laura Michalek passing the previous winner in the 1979 Chicago Marathon.
Courtesy of Laura Michalek

This story originally aired on May 25, 2019.

Laura Michalek is an auctioneer. She lives in Tacoma and does mostly fundraising work, and she’s been at it for a couple of decades.

But this story is about one of the first times Laura was in the spotlight, and it actually comes way before her auctioneer career.

This all starts in the year 1979. Laura’s in high school in Berwyn, Illinois — just outside Chicago. And she’s running on the cross-country team.

Courtesy of Emily Wickman

Joy, for Jonah, is simple.

“That flies are in the room,” says the 6-year-old from Tacoma. “And I get to squish them.”

For his mom, Emily Wickman, these difficult times still harbor moments of joy, too. Only, they’re more complicated, laced with the frustrations and anxieties of coping and raising kids during the pandemic.

Adrian Florez / KNKX


There is a lot to worry about right now: our jobs and our health. How will we be able to make next month’s rent or mortgage payment? Then there is the bigger question — will life ever be the same again? 

But, even though we are living in unprecedented and scary times, there is still room for laughter. There is still a lot to smile about and be grateful for. 

What are your moments of joy? This is the question we are asking today on Transmission. 

Raphael Satter / The Associated Press

This show originally aired on April 2, 2019.

Hunter Hoffman

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

Being treated for a severe burn is one of the most physically painful things a human can experience. Dead skin has to be scrubbed away. The skin has to be stretched so that as it heals, it doesn’t get tight. If this is not done, a patient can be maimed permanently. It’s during these treatments, or wound care sessions, that the pain is often the worst.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 



By the time Stuart Olsen was 7 years old, he had endured more surgeries than most people experience in a lifetime. The focus of all of this medical attention and effort was on his legs.


“I must have had 11 or 12 surgeries to try and fix my legs,” Olsen said.


Doctoral student David Caldwell
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 


The science of prosthetics has come a long way from the crude wood-and-metal devices of earlier generations. Bioengineers have even developed artificial limbs that can be operated by the user’s mind.

Now, a team at the University of Washington’s Center for Neurotechnology is working to take that one step further: engineering a device — say, a prosthetic arm — that can actually deliver the sensation of touch.

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

I’ve been on and off drugs for decades — the pharmaceutical kind, for my brain. When I was 13 or 14 years old, and before my doctors looked too closely, the diagnosis was garden-variety depression and generalized anxiety disorder, aka “you have a lot of panic attacks and we’re not entirely sure why.”

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 

How does a research study get funded? The most common way is to apply for a grant from the government. But what if what you’re studying is so controversial that government funders won't touch it? That’s where people like Cody Swift come in.

Amir Afrasiabi works in computer vision and artificial intelligence.
Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on April 27, 2019. 


Amir Afrasiabi had glasses as a kid. No big deal. But he found he had to constantly get new and more powerful ones, and he still seemed to struggle to see.

Amir would later discover that he had a degenerative eye condition called keratoconus. It would eventually reroute the course of his career and his life.

Adrian Florez / KNKX


Telling stories live is both the oldest form of entertainment, probably, and a newish thriving art form. In the Pacific Northwest there are a whole range of storytelling series and events. These usually happen in a smallish venue, maybe a coffee shop. 

And needless to say, that’s been interrupted. 

Suzi LeVine, right, the state's Employment Security Department Commissioner
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press file

Since March, 1 in 5 workers in Washington have filed unemployment benefit claims, and nearly $1.5 billion in benefits have been paid out. That includes federal money that has increased weekly payments in response to the coronavirus pandemic, state officials said Thursday.

Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said that of the 787,533 people who have filed for benefits since March 7, more than half a million who have filed an initial claim since the pandemic began have been paid.

Credit Hanna Brooks Olsen

This show originally aired on April 20, 2019.

When you revise history, it can go either way: You can nudge the story a little further away from the truth, or you can correct the mistakes in and omissions from the historical record. On today's show, we have a bit of both. 

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum


This story originally aired on April 20, 2019.


What if history cast someone you admire as the villain?

If you’re Edward Nixon, longtime resident of Lynnwood, Washington, you spend your life telling the parts of the story that don’t wind up in the textbooks.

Sup Pop CEO Megan Jasper having fun in the 1990s.
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records


This story originally aired on April 20, 2019. 


Back in the early 1990s, all eyes were on Seattle. The local music scene was exploding. The young, flannel-wearing creatives of the Northwest had given birth to a new genre of music called grunge.

Michael Stravato / Associated Press

This story originally aired on April 20, 2019. 

Back in the early 1980s, many people in El Salvador wanted an escape from poverty. They were trying to get the government to adopt policies that would redistribute that country’s wealth.

To the United States, these policies looked like communism.