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

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.

Parker Miles Blohm

Donovan Lewis is 4 years old and has been playing the drums since before he learned how to walk. His preschool teacher says that on rainy days, Donovan taps out the beat the raindrops make on the building's metal downspouts. This should come as no surprise. His parents say that music is in their son's DNA. 

D'Vonne Lewis is Donovan's father. D'Vonne is an accomplished Seattle-based drummer. He's performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, pianist Marian McPartland and guitarist Bucky Pizzarellie, to name just a few. 

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.

 

Allie Ferguson / KNKX

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

 

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.

79-year-old Gloria Sferra remembers very well what flying used to be like. She was a stewardess for Pan American Airlines from 1962 to 1964 — a golden era of commercial air travel.

 

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.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

Ken Workman always knew that part of his family tree was rooted in the Duwamish Indian Tribe. But, being Native American when he was growing up in the 1960s in Seattle was a topic he was told not to share with anyone.

 

“It was very bad to be a Native American; very bad. It was so bad that Great Grandma

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

We are changing all of the time. We are shaped by new experiences, people we meet, the work that we do. You might start a career thinking you love what you do - and years later have a completely different opinion.

 

This is what happened to Father Antonio Illas. He is the pastor for Saint Matthew-San Mateo Episcopal Church in Auburn, Wash. But for more than two decades, Illas was an immigration agent for the U.S. Federal Government.

 

David Nogueras / knkx

 

When something seems too good to be true, it probably is. More than 90 Chinese international students at the University of Washington had to find this out the hard way.

 

This past spring, Chinese students were the target of a scam. The alleged ringleader, a fellow Chinese student who goes by FY, possibly walked away with nearly a million dollars.

 

Courtesy of Benjamin Kantner

There are lots occasions when bending the truth is something we want to happen. This is what more than 60,000 people do every summer in the Nevada desert for Burning Man, the iconic week-long festival with art, music and lots of partying. It’s an event that attracts the likes of hippies, Hollywood celebrities and tech billionaires. However, Burning Man is also sometimes described as one, giant, utopian lie.

Before going to Burning Man, where he is known as Konifer, 31-year-old Benjamin Kantner’s life in Seattle looked good on paper. But it felt like he was lying to himself.   

Courtesy of Marilyn Roberts

In the spring of 2014, Marilyn Roberts' son, Kevin, was 27 years old and struggling with bipolar disorder. One day, he called his mom to tell her that he was taking a bus to go to downtown Olympia, Wash., not too far from where he lived. 

"He was to a point where wasn't cognizant of what was going on, on a day to day basis," Roberts remembers.

Courtesy of Carol Edward

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, there are more than 200,000 undocumented people living in Washington State. Seattle-based immigration attorney Carol Edward says these men, women and children come from all walks of life.

Over the course of her career, Edward has had undocumented engineers and nurses as clients. One undocumented man who hired her was a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Amber Hageman

After graduating with a degree in computer science, most people with that valuable diploma in hand, would head out into the world hoping to land a well-paying job in the tech world.

 

Courtesy of Lydia Boss

For hundreds of years, really, for millennia, the world epicenter for working with glass as an art form has been Morano, Italy. It's an island just north of Venice.  The legend is that Venetians moved the studios and hot shops to Morano out of fear the process of blowing glass was so hot and volatile that it would set fire to Venice. 

Michelle Penaloza

Hearts are usually broken in a moment, at a specific place. Michelle Penaloza, a poet who lives in Seattle, understands that memories, good, bad and everything in between, are tied to things. Maybe it was a song that was playing in the background. Or perhaps it’s a certain park bench where someone delivered bad news.

 

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