Ariel Van Cleave

Morning Edition Producer

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX. 

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Peter Haley / The News Tribune

Update: The state Department of Ecology has extended the time frame for the public to weigh in on the cleanup process. The new deadline is June 26.

One million pounds of toxic chemicals; that’s what estimated to be left behind over several decades because of work done at the Hooker Chemical plant on the Tacoma Tideflats. The plant was purchased by a company called Occidental in the late 1960s and finally shut down for good in 2002.

"Vinyl Record Player" by Nan Palmero is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Record Store Day is April 22. And it happens to be the 10th anniversary of the day that celebrates independent stores across the country, as well as all the music fans and artists that keep them thriving.

Our very own Abe Beeson is a bit of a vinyl junkie and sat down with 88.5's Kirsten Kendrick talk about his ever-growing collection, and what he’s looking forward to on Record Store Day.

Interview highlights

Michael Roberts

Hiding in plain sight can be a matter of course for people dealing with addictions; they tend to be really good at masking the need.

 

That was the case for Michael Roberts. He had beer for the first time when he was 15, and worked for years to keep attention away from his alcoholism. He was eventually able to get sober. His last drink was eight years ago.

 

And all those years Michael spent hiding made him an expert when it came to spotting his daughter Amber’s addiction.

 

Paul Morigi / AP Images for National Museum of the American Indian

 

Protests over the last year that originated in North Dakota against the Dakota Access oil pipeline have once again highlighted the complex relationship among tribal governments and the United States. How exactly do these sovereign nations exist within the U.S.? And what does “sovereignty” even mean?

Sara Taksler

Free speech and the powers of the government in this country have been talked about a lot recently. A new documentary being screened March 21 in Seattle takes a look at those issues through the lens of the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and the man known as the “Egyptian Jon Stewart.”

 

The film “Tickling Giants” focuses on Dr. Bassem Youssef. He used a nightly television show watched by tens of millions of people as his way to protect free speech and fight political leaders.

 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The rate of tooth decay among Native Americans is higher than any other population. And now, tribes across Washington state will be able to use federal money to hire dental health aide therapists.

Michael Probst / AP Photo

It's a cloudy, rainy Friday with lots of wind expected. But the weather system should clear by the start of the week and bring warmer temperatures and sunshine.

"Some places will get winds gusting to 30 to 40 miles per hour, maybe even a few higher gusts," knkx weather expert Cliff Mass said. "It's the breeziest it's been for a while. So keep that in mind if you're around trees or you're worried about your power going out."

Mass says Saturday will be a transition day with temperatures getting into the mid 40s and it'll be partly cloudy.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The mental health system in Washington state has had its fair share of troubles. And Gov. Jay Inslee wants $300 million in hopes of “fixing” many of the problems.

 

Discussions about mental health are happening in Olympia during this year’s legislative session. And while much of the focus is on ways to improve state-run facilities, the staff at Seattle P-I found a deeper look is needed at the local level as well, especially when it comes to county jails.

 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Lawmakers in Olympia are spending this year’s legislative session coming up with a plan to fund basic education throughout the state. One big sticking point during the discussions has been teacher salaries and who should be responsible for paying them.

There are also questions surrounding something known as “TRI pay.” It stands for “time, responsibility and incentive,” and is similar to overtime pay.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Hundreds showed up Tuesday night for a rally in Seattle’s Westlake Park. They were there to show frustration over President Donald Trump’s executive action giving a green light to the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. Many of the protesters were chanting "We can't drink oil; leave it in the soil."

 

Reana Anderson was among the hundreds who gathered. She's native Hawaiian and says it's important to her to protect tribal rights and the environment.

 

Mark Arehart / knkx

Staff from the dental clinic on the Swinomish Reservation will be in front of state lawmakers this week. This will be the sixth time the tribe is asking for the state’s approval to fund certain dental services. And tribal leaders say they may have a shot.

Legislative Support Services Photography

Chris Reykdal is the state superintendent of public instruction-elect. He officially takes office Jan. 11, and is replacing Randy Dorn, who has served the state for the last eight years. There are definitely some challenges Reykdal will be facing in the first several months in office, especially when it comes to working with the legislature in finding ways to adequately fund basic education. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Understanding who we are and what our role in society is essential for all of us. But when exactly do we start figuring that out?

New research shows it could be well before high school, and even as early as the second grade. The study from the University of Washington focused on 136 girls and 86 boys in three Tacoma-area schools. The students were black, white, Asian and mixed-race.

Ariel Van Cleave / knkx

When the radio drama “The War of the Worlds” first aired in 1938, it caused mass hysteria. And now the actors with Youth Theatre Northwest are trying their hand at the infamous radio play with performances Dec. 2-4. 

At the time of the original broadcast, you couldn’t check Facebook to make sure aliens weren’t actually landing on Earth. People just believed it.

 

London Brunelle says capturing that same mood for the Youth Theatre’s interpretation of the drama has been one of her favorite parts about rehearsing.

 

Ariel Van Cleave / KPLU

The town of Lynden, Washington sits just to the south of the U.S.-Canadian border.  It's a small town of about 13,000 people.  

Lynden is also home to the Lynden Dutch Bakery (which makes a tasty short cake), Darigold (maker of cream, both ice and whipped), and of course, acres of berry farms.

Lynden just turned 125 years old recently, and to celebrate, folks there decided they needed a birthday cake — but not just any cake cake would do for such a celebration.  They wanted a really big birthday cake — one that would highlight all that Lynden had to offer.

James MacPherson / AP Photo

In North Dakota, tension over the 1,200-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline is escalating. Police and National Guard troops arrested more than 140 protesters near a construction site Thursday.

Law officers ousted the protesters in an operation that involved the use of shotgun beanbag rounds and pepper spray. The protesters had set up camp last weekend on the land owned by the pipeline developer to try to block the project.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Virginia Rehberg is a science teacher at Tacoma’s Wilson High School, and she has been for the last two decades. But her focus during this election is actually outside the classroom.

Several words come to mind when describing Virginia Rehberg: passionate, curious, mother, educator, and opinionated. Fiercely so.

Ariel Van Cleave / knkx

One of the best parts about playing video games is losing yourself inside whatever world they take place in. Maybe you’re a plumber tasked with saving a princess from a great sorcerer. Or you could be an agent with the British secret service trying to save the world from Spectre. But if you’re Dima Veryovka and Sean Vesce, the objective is a little different. The games they make are all about how you connect to the world around you.

 

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Bryan Cranston can now add a new title to his resume: author. He’s out with a new memoir called “A Life in Parts,” which is a series of short stories focused on his personal and professional life. The actor is best known for his role as meth kingpin Walter White in the television show “Breaking Bad.” He’ll be at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall Sunday Oct. 16 to read from his new book and to talk with writer Sherman Alexie. Cranston spoke with 88.5's Ariel Van Cleave ahead of his appearance. 

Erin Jones Campaign / Washington House Democrats

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn is stepping down after eight years in office. Now voters must decide between Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal.

Jones and Reykdal have a lot in common. Both are passionate about the students who attend the 295 school districts across the state. Both want equal and equitable education funding. Both want to have a serious look at the assessment process in the state’s schools and look for better ways to make sure kids are learning. But one key difference is about the office and what their role truly is.

Jessica Hill / AP Photo


The WNBA playoffs open Wednesday night with a pair of games showcasing the league's revamped playoff format. First up will be the single-elimination games as fifth-seeded Indiana hosts No. 8 Phoenix and seventh-seed Seattle is at No. 6 Atlanta. Sports Commentator Art Thiel says the new "one-and-done" format could actually be a boon for the Seattle Storm.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

The word epidemic is often used when discussing opioid use in King County. In fact, a task force was formed earlier this year to come up with recommendations addressing the issue. Those suggestions are being released this month. But ahead of that report, 88.5’s Ariel Van Cleave sat down with senior researcher Caleb Banta-Green at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Institute to ask if we’re talking about drugs, drug use and treatment in the right ways.

Jon Pack

Comedian Mike Birbiglia is in Seattle Friday Aug. 5 for screenings of his new film “Don’t Think Twice” at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Birbiglia wrote, directed and stars in the movie that focuses on six friends who are part of an improv group called The Commune. His name might be familiar because of his contributions to public radio shows such as This American Life.

Birbiglia says he decided to use improv in the movie because it's his "first love."

courtesy of Simone Boe

The Olympia City Council is trying to block an initiative that would create a city-wide income tax, which would be the first of its kind in the state. Now it’s up to the courts to decide whether voters will see it in the fall.

Trang Nguyen

Hillary Clinton has accepted the Democratic nomination for president. And during her speech Thursday night at the party’s national convention, Clinton talked about the need to unify the country, saying all Americans are stronger together. She also laid out parts of her agenda if she wins in November, including her plans for creating jobs, reforming campaign finance rules and working with former rival Bernie Sanders to create tuition-free college for the middle class.

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

On Wednesday night of the Democratic National Convention, some political heavyweights took the stage to pledge their support for the presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. There were speeches from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and President Barack Obama. Each of them explained how they think Clinton is uniquely qualified to be the next commander in chief.

Washington state delegate Trang Nguyen was in the audience again, listening. Nguyen says she thought Kaine's speech resonated well with Clinton supporters and delegates.

Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday by officially being nominated as the first female Democratic presidential candidate at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia. The delegates from each of the states took part in a roll call vote to make it official.

After the vote was taken, many of the supporters for former candidate Bernie Sanders walked out of the convention hall. Washington state delegate Trang Nguyen was among them. Nguyen explains that she is still struggling with the idea of backing Clinton. 

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is officially underway. And Monday night was filled with speakers calling on voters to support Hillary Clinton, who is the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Former candidate Bernie Sanders was among them. And while he took to the stage telling the crowd he was “proud” to stand with Clinton, some Sanders supporters, including Washington state delegate Trang Nguyen aren’t ready to back her just yet. The majority of the 101 delegates from this state support Sanders, following his caucus wins in March. 

Steven Depolo / Flickr

All nine statewide offices are up for grabs this election year, and about half don’t even have an incumbent running. It’s pretty obvious what most of these elected officials do, such as the governor or the secretary of state. But the job description for the person who runs the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, or what it takes to be successful at it, aren't quite as clear.

Ashley Jochim, a researcher with the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington-Bothell, says the job deals a lot with accountability.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took to the stage Thursday night at the final night of the GOP National Convention. He was rallying the crowd behind him as the party looks toward the general election. We’ve been checking in with Washington state delegate Jack Bell throughout this week as part of our election series “From the Floor.”

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