Jennifer Wing

Special Projects Reporter

Jennifer Wing is a Special Projects Reporter and on-call News Host for KNKX. She covers everything from education and the arts to politics. Jennifer is also a frequent contributor to Sound Effect.

Before joining KNKX in 1999, Jennifer worked for KGMI in Bellingham, WILM News Radio in Wilmington, Delaware and Northwest Cable News in Seattle. She got her start in public radio at WRTI and WHYY in Philadelphia.

Jennifer grew up in Philadelphia and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Temple University. She lives in Seattle with her partner and their two children.

One of her most unforgettable moments at KNKX was on February 28, 2001. She was on the top floor of the then un-retrofitted Seattle City Hall preparing to cover a press conference when the Nisqually Earthquake hit. The building felt like it was slammed by a giant truck. It swayed like a deck of cards. Luckily, the building stayed put. It was eventually replaced in 2003.

Ways to Connect

Kat Taylor

"You Can do anything in the Barbie Dream Hearse, except smoke” laughs Kat Taylor as we enter the world of white leather with pink accents.

Perhaps you’ve seen it, The Barbie Dream Hearse, driving around Seattle, shuttling people around who might be watching a movie in the back, or pouring another glass of champagne from the ice bucket. The white hearse turned party limo is hard to miss.  

It all started with a play on words.

Joel Shupack

 

Anyone who has ever loved a dog, and who has been on the receiving end of a dog’s unconditional affection, would agree that the grief you experience when that animal dies is deep and painful.

 

In this story, producer Joel Shupack, the creator of the podcast Squaremile, introduces us to his friend Leela who recently said goodby to her beloved black labrador, Coltrane.

 

Allie Ferguson / KNKX

This story originally aired on May 27, 2017.

B.J. Listman is one of the elevator operators at the Space Needle. The Space Needle and the Smith Tower, according to B.J, are the only places left in Seattle where there are actually elevator operators. This iconic Seattle landmark has enchanted B.J. since he was a child.

Courtesy of Lisa Sferra

 

This story originally aired on May 27, 2017.

Traveling on a commercial flight these days can be rough. Perks such as free meals and pillows are long gone. Today, airlines charge for everything from where you sit on the plane to how much legroom you’re allotted. It’s easy to forget there was a time, not too long ago, when passengers dressed up to get on an airplane.

Courtesy of Dick Stein.

 

As part of Sound Effect’s "What Are the Odds?" episode, Dick Stein, 88.5’s man of chance and mystery, shares a few stories from his time spent at poker tables.

 

“Poker players hate to get up from the table, God forbid they should miss that hand that will make them a huge score,” said Stein. “So, we do two things: one, cultivate super human bladder control, and two, when we’re hungry we’ll just order something and eat it at the table.”

 

Greg Beckelhymer

 

In the Fall of 2016, Greg Beckelhymer died after a year-long struggle with metastatic kidney cancer. He was 47 years old.

 

In this story, his widow, Seattle-based writer Michelle Goodman and her sister, Naomi Goodman, talk about how acute grief is often accompanied by strong denial.

 

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

What if something was thought to be gone forever? Would you still go looking for it? There is a man named David Benscoter, who does just this.

Benscoter spends a lot if his time exploring an area of Eastern Washington known as the Palouse. He searches abandoned homesteads, looking for varieties of apples that are believed to be extinct.  

“These trees, they’re just going to go away someday. And if I don’t do it there’s no one who’s going to search for them,” says Benscoter.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

There is a Northwest band that’s been around for 17 years, called Out Of The Ashes. There are about 30 members. They play covers of The Beatles, Elvis, Tom Petty, and other popular artists.

One of the things that sets this band apart is that to be a member, you have to have a developmental disability such as Autism or Down Syndrome.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

 

It’s hard to imagine a time when karaoke did not exist in the Northwest. Today, any night of the week, you can go out with friends and find some place where you can belt out your favorite tunes in front of a crowd.

 

But, everything has a beginning. Things have to start somewhere, right? For American style karaoke in the Northwest, it was at Bush Garden in Seattle’s International District.

 

Jackson Main

 

There is that saying that pops up in fortune cookies and is spoken often by parents of antsy kids: Good things come to those who wait.

 

Michael Jacobson of Seattle waited for something. In fact, he waited for nearly three decades to get ahold of two unusual boats that were being used as light fixtures at Ivar’s Salmon House on North Lake Union. When this eventually happened, a new door opened up in his world that he did not expect.

 

Gabriel Spitzer

 

Museums rely on many volunteers to carry out their mission. This is quite true for the Burke Museum on the campus of the University Of Washington, in Seattle.

 

In fact, the Burke has dozens of volunteers that live in a small windowless room, not much larger than a walk in closet. These dedicated workers have been here for years. They are dermestid beetles in their larval state: hungry baby beetles.

 

Steve Sheppard

 

Brandon Hopkins was on track to become a high school biology teacher when he was invited by one of his professors at Washington State University to work in a lab with honey bees.

“Yeah, I bought every kind of itch cream they sold in the store  because my hands were swollen and itching from all the bee stings and I soaked my hands in ice every night and questioned my decision making,” recalls Hopkins.

1998.31.1.126, Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma (Wash.)

 

Back in the 1920’s a Seattle police officer spotted a lucrative opportunity, and hustled fast to make it happen. His name was Roy Olmstead and for a time, he became a very rich man by running a highly illegal activity.

 

During prohibition, Olmstead supplied a dry Northwest with alcohol. Lots of alcohol. The good stuff too. Not moonshine.

 

No one is really certain how Olmstead went from being an enforcer of the law to a lawbreaker, but it’s believed he had a lot of help.

 

Steve Wilson

Television producer and director, Steve Wilson, says making television is just like making cheese.

 

“People consume cheese. Some people make really good cheese. Other people make really terrible cheese. But, everybody eats cheese —and I make the cheese,” he told us.

 

 

Courtesy Marvin Charles

This story originally aired on May 13, 2017.

Marvin Charles is the co-founder of a Seattle organization called DADS —Divine Alternative for Dads Services. Marvin and his wife, Jeanett, help men from all walks of life get back on their feet, find work and ultimately, reconnect with their kids.

Now, you might think that Marvin must be one of these parents who know all — a go-to person whose advice is golden and who comes from a loving home himself.

This is how Marvin’s life started. But then things got really complicated.

Hebah Fisher

 

Mohamed Farid loves the water. He’s been drawn to it ever since he was a little boy. He started sailing small boats when he was in his twenties in Dubai. These smaller vessels capsize easily. Since he was sailing in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, this was not a problem.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

When Meg Martin first moved to Olympia, Washington from Montana in 2007, she was recovering from a drug addiction and looking to start a new life. In Olympia, she threw herself into outreach work. She volunteered for a program that uses bicycles to deliver clean needles to people on the street who use injection drugs.

 

Night after night, she’d encounter people who were homeless. Because these men and women were actively using drugs, they were not eligible to stay in area shelters.

 

Scott Robertson

 

Weddings are one of the few events in our lives that are planned with precision and detail. They can be logistical challenges involving food, entertaining guests, making time to take photographs and figuring out which music to play that will coax people onto the dance floor.

 

On the day Shandance Robertson got married in February, something completely unexpected happened that was not part of the plan.

 

Courtesy Julius Brown

 

There is an unassuming, boxy building on the corner of Martin Luther King Junior Way and South 17th Street in Tacoma. This is the home Prince Hall Masonic Temple of the Freemasons. The organization is a worldwide fraternity that’s been around for hundreds of years. It’s known for its secret symbols and rituals.

 

Prince Hall is a traditionally African American branch of freemasonry named after a man from the 1700’s who had to personally ask the King of England for permission to join the Freemasons.

 

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

Sharon Maeda inherited a unique legacy from her grandfather. It was built around his value of community service and it involves free fruit.

As a child in Portland, Maeda would take the bus with her grandfather to visit all different types of people. Sometimes they would travel to tenements or walk down dingy hallways.

Kevin Kniestedt

When Brian McDonald, a screenwriter, teacher and author was living in Seattle in the mid-90s, he says that, while talented, he had seen about 15 years of closed doors as far as his career was concerned.

Knowing that the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson also lived in Seattle, Wilson had dreams of one day meeting him and learning from him.

Courtesy of Kevin Clark / Everett Herald

This segment originally aired March 4, 2017.

Sometimes a mess serves a very special purpose. For the Pyles family in Lake Stevens, Wash., words scrawled across their home help them communicate with their son, Jessie.

Tim Durkan

The sidewalks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood are home to drug addicts, the mentally ill and kids who’ve run away from home. These are the people most of us give wide berth to as we make our way in and out of trendy restaurants and bars. We turn a blind eye to then when they are camped out in a bus shelter. The level of caution afforded to these individuals goes up significantly when it’s dark outside.

Seattle Black History Through The Lens Of A Beauty Salon

Jun 24, 2017
Jennifer Wing / knkx

To enter De Charlene William's Beauty and Boutique hair salon at 21st and Madison, where First Hill meets the Central Area in Seattle, you have to get past an iron gate.  The extra security is a reminder that doing business here for 48 years has not always been easy.

"I've been through a lot here on this corner," Williams says.

Courtesy of Steve Edmiston.

 

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.

 

According to Dahl, on June 21 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, six unidentified flying objects appeared in the sky above his boat. One of the saucers then exploded and a metal substance started raining down from the sky killing the family dog and burning Christopher’s arm.

Credit Jennifer Wing

Kitsap Forest Theater is a natural outdoor amphitheater just outside of Bremerton, Wash. It's been run by the Mountaineers for 93 years, and sits on a 640-acre forest preserve.

100 years ago it was all rhododendrons. That was the initial attraction to the area. Some of the people who are Mountaineers began to come and stay every year and they began to do shows, performances and concerts, and eventually that developed into an annual theatrical production.

George Wing

 

In 2003, a group of four friends from various points of the country hit the trail for a bachelor party backpacking trip in the North Cascades. George Wing was the man who was getting married.

They brought all of the usual necessities for such an outing: tents, food, a first-aid kit. But George’s longtime childhood friend and master prankster, Kermit, decided to shake things up.

 

Jennifer Wing

It is now possible to go to a beach, scoop up a jar of water, and determine everything that’s living in the spot where that particular water sample was taken.

Usually, when scientists want to know which plants and animals live in an ocean or a lake, they have to don scuba gear, deploy nets and physically count things to create an accurate picture of that particular environment. This work can be expensive and time consuming. It also may no longer be necessary.

Courtesy of Laurie Cullen

One of the hardest things a person might have to find peace with is the diagnosis of a life changing disease like Alzheimer’s. For sisters Tamara Cullen Evans and Laurie Cullen, their diagnoses for Alzheimer’s came much earlier than it does for most people.

Peter Haley, Pacific Lutheran University / Courtesy of Peter Altman

Have you ever lost something that’s really important to you? Have you ever had something taken from you? Maybe it was a house that was always one payment behind and you just could not keep up and back to the bank it went.

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