Ashley Gross

Youth and Education Reporter

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat.  She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

She studied history at Brown University and earned a master's in international affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two sons.

One of Ashley's most memorable moments in radio happened several years ago in Northwest Alaska: "I was visiting an alcohol and drug rehab program in the tiny village of Selawik. It helps Alaska Natives recover by helping them get back in touch with their subsistence lifestyle. It was spring, which meant the river was still frozen - barely. We went out on snowmachines to go ice-fishing, but late in the day, as we headed back, the river had melted to the consistency of a Slurpee. It was a harrowing ride and a good lesson in trust - I rode with my eyes closed, clinging for dear life to the woman driving. A week later, three people drowned trying to ride a snowmachine over that river, and that's when I realized just how dangerous life in rural Alaska can be."

Ways to Connect

Cathy Renna

This week, about 1,500 people are gathering in Seattle to take part in the 16th annual Gender Odyssey conference, which brings together transgender kids, adults and their families and gives them an opportunity to talk about issues they face.

Among them will be Joe Maldonado, a 9-year-old transgender boy from New Jersey who successfully challenged the Boy Scouts’ ban on accepting trans kids.

Brian Liesse / Seattle Thunderbirds

This story originally aired on November 17, 2015.

Sports have such a powerful hold on our culture that lawmakers are often willing to take extraordinary steps to keep teams and fans happy. Even the U.S. Supreme Court exempted pro baseball from antitrust laws way back in 1922.

Here in Washington state, we have our own exception to the rule when it comes to sports.

Krissy Venosdale / Flickr

The Edmonds School District and the teachers union say they have reached a tentative agreement, but bargaining is still underway in many other parts of the state, including Kent, Mercer Island and Puyallup.

Mercer Island teachers are planning to rally on Thursday before the school board meets.

vbloke / Flickr

With less than a week till the much anticipated solar eclipse, some Amazon shoppers are scrambling to find glasses that are certified safe to view the event. The online retailer recently emailed some shoppers to tell them not to use the solar eclipse glasses they purchased on the site from third-party vendors.

Canadian Pacific / Flickr

Getting from Seattle’s waterfront to downtown can be a challenge. It involves crossing under the Alaskan Way Viaduct and hoofing it uphill or climbing tall flights of stairs.

Howard Wright, who owns the tour company Emerald City Trolley and is chair of Seattle Hospitality Group, has come up with a temporary fix.

Since the mid-July, his company has been running minibuses in a loop along the waterfront through downtown and then back. The service is called Seattle Waterfront Connex.

courtesy of the Summer Academic Challenge / University of Puget Sound

On Friday morning, about three dozen middle schoolers will gather at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to take part in an unusual competition. They’ll get to watch as an astronaut on the International Space Station controls robots using computer code the kids have developed.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

 (Updated at 3:20 pm on Aug. 11, 2017 to clarify oversight of charter schools and the status of the latest lawsuit.)

The first day of school is still a few weeks away for most kids in Seattle, but in the Rainier Valley neighborhood, doors will open Monday at a brand-new charter school called Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. It will serve sixth graders initially, then add seventh and eighth grades in subsequent years.

City Year / Flickr

Almost two years ago, Congress scrapped the No Child Left Behind Act, which was despised by a lot of people who thought it was too punitive toward schools that were deemed to be failing. Congress replaced the law with the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Washington schools are making progress in reducing the use of suspensions and expulsions as discipline, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. But officials said racial minorities and kids with disabilities are still being disciplined at higher rates than their peers.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

Jeff Brotman, one of the co-founders of Issaquah-based Costco Wholesale Corporation and chairman of the board, died Tuesday at age 74. In addition to starting one of the most successful retail chains in the country, Brotman will be remembered for his philanthropy.

Elaine Thompson / AP

In a filing to the state Supreme Court, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the education funding plan passed by the legislature in June fulfills the state’s constitutional duty. Ferguson is asking the high court to end the long-running McCleary lawsuit.

cmh2315fl / Flickr

The Seattle school board has adopted a budget for the coming school year. They managed to plug holes to fill a deficit once projected to be $74 million, but a district official said that she’s concerned that in the long term, the state’s new education funding plan doesn’t go far enough.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Since last year, Amazon has provided the nonprofit group Mary’s Place with space for about 65 homeless families to sleep. Now, the company is trying to inspire kids from Mary’s Place shelters to choose careers in science or technology.

Courtesy of AutoCognita

A Bellingham woman has teamed up with computer scientists in Hong Kong to develop literacy applications. The group, AutoCognita, has now advanced to the semi-final round in two multi-million-dollar contests.

Nuclear Reactor Building
Flickr photo "UW Nuclear Reactor Building" by Max Morley is licensed under cc by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2uO7n5B

A legal fight between the City of Seattle and the University of Washington has ended in a victory for the city. The state Supreme Court said university buildings can be designated as city landmarks.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he is not resigning following claims by four men that he sexually abused them as teenagers.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Teachers have been in short supply in Washington state in recent years. In a survey of school principals last fall, 20 percent said they were in a crisis mode in terms of hiring certificated teachers, and another 70 percent said they were struggling but getting by.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Across Washington, school officials are putting their own math skills to work as they try to figure out what the state’s new school funding plan means for their budgets. For guidance, they’re turning to the state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, who said he’s still working through the numbers himself.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Four years of walkouts and labor organizing have paid off for workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Skagit Valley. The workers are planning a celebration Tuesday afternoon in Mt. Vernon in recognition of signing their first union contract, something that’s pretty rare in the agriculture industry.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

To live in the Northwest is, to some extent, to roll the dice. If you lived through the 1965 Seattle earthquake, or the Nisqually quake in 2001, or if you just read the New Yorker article about the “really big one” destined to hit our region, you know this well: There are forces under our feet that could just shrug our cities off into the abyss.

The push and pull of continental plates is so huge compared with a puny little human. And yet, for a man named Kelcy Allen, the act of a child shielded him from the seismic forces. He’s spent decades feeling grateful to the boy who died saving his life.

The University of Washington

A towering figure in U.S. labor history will be honored with a statue in Tacoma. The sculpture will commemorate Harry Bridges, founder of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, known as the ILWU.

Bridges was born in 1901 in Australia. According to the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington, Bridges settled in San Francisco in 1920 and became a longshoreman.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

As gamers roam the streets trying to catch Pokémon with their smart phones, we’re examining a counter-trend. These days, board games are also increasingly popular, and Seattle is a major epicenter for designers.

Many local board game designers have day jobs in the video game industry. Mike Elliott is one of the few who works full-time as a freelance board game designer. He’s created about 50 games, including the popular trading card game "Dice Masters" that he invented with his colleague Eric Lang.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The "Pokémon Go" craze has lots of people glued to their screens these days. But a low-tech form of entertainment – board games – has also been growing in popularity. Sales of what the industry calls hobby games grew about 20 percent last year, and the Seattle region is a major hub for board game design.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

This week, the big focus in aerospace is the Farnborough International Airshow, southwest of London. That’s where Airbus and Boeing normally announce new orders and showcase their aircraft. 

Analysts say that this year, there will likely be a lot of talk about whether Boeing plans to build a new jet.

Today is the deadline for groups to submit signatures for statewide ballot initiatives, and one initiative likely to appear on the November ballot is described as a measure to protect senior citizens from financial crimes.

But really it has more to do with a fight between a conservative think tank and a labor union.

Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine / Flickr

More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition saying Starbucks has been cutting workers’ hours, leading to low morale. 

The petition is the brainchild of Jaime Prater, an artist who’s worked for Starbucks off and on for a total of nine years. Right now he works as a barista at a Starbucks in Southern California. 

Lis Ferla / Flickr

Earlier this year, a crying, naked newborn baby was found in a trash compactor in Everett, about less than half a mile away from a fire station. Now two King County Council Members are pushing for a public information campaign to let people know about the state’s 'Safe Haven' law

THOMAS HAWK / FLICKR

A new program in Southwest Washington will offer job training and employment assistance to people in jail. It’s aimed at helping them land on their feet once they get out. 

Curtis Cronn / Flickr

When Washington state’s legislature voted to reduce college tuition last year, it presented some families with a dilemma because they had bought into the state’s prepaid tuition program, known as Guaranteed Education Tuition, on the assumption that tuition would keep increasing. So the state has been offering penalty-free refunds since last September. 

MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital

Nurses at Tacoma General Hospital held an informational picket on Monday before heading back to the bargaining table with MultiCare this week. The union, the Washington State Nurses Association, said one of its big issues is ensuring adequate care for patients while nurses take rest breaks.

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