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

Derek Erdman

Age 14 is often a time of pushing boundaries, experimenting with the the distinctions between right and wrong. 

Derek Erdman tells his personal story from when he was this awkward age. It involves youthful mischief, an answering machine and the Survivor song, Eye Of The Tiger. 

Derek played a prank that went a little bit too far.  But in the end, this one event helped reshape his moral compass and put him on a better path.

Courtesy of Kathlyn Horan

When Seattle Police Officer Kim Bogucki stepped into the Washington Correctional Facility For Women in Purdy about 10 years ago, she had no intention of starting a non-profit.

Bogucki was doing gang prevention work and went to the prison to ask some of the women for permission to work with their children. The women were distrustful of police and gave Bogucki a chilly reception.

“Probably the last time that those mothers saw police, we were taking them away from their children,” said Bogucki.

 

People will go to great lengths in pursuit of wealth. Mountains will be literally moved in order to make them release the mineral bounty they contain. This is the drive that led to the creation of Monte Cristo, a mining town founded in the North Cascades back in the late 1800s.

 

Today, Monte Cristo is a ghost town. Yet, it still has a hold on people like David Cameron.

 

Tag Brothers

 This story originally aired on October 8, 2016. 

There are lots of games we all played in the schoolyard when we were kids — foursquare, tetherball, maybe some capture the flag if there was  enough time before the bell rang. Some of us just can’t let go.

 

There’s a group of middle-aged men, here in the Northwest,  who play an intense game of tag for the entire month of February, every year. They’ve been playing the game for decades.

 

Jennifer Wing / knkx

 

This story originally aired on June 11, 2016.

If you’re lucky, you know who lives next door, and you like them. Hopefully, the feeling is mutual. In an ideal world, neighbors look out for each other. But, of course, not everyone is so fortunate.

What if you live next door to a nightmare? The place where drug deals go down? Where there always seems to be a party going on at three in the morning? The house where domestic violence happens and fights break out? The home that police visit — a lot?

Nicole Price

When Nicole Price was 25 years old, life was not going the way she had planned. She was addicted to meth, she had a hard time holding down a job and then a test revealed she was HIV positive.

“I was afraid of dying. I was afraid of never being able to have kids, of never being able to get married. My family not loving me anymore. It was a really scary time,” remembers Price.

Gabriel Spitzer

Any parent of more than one child will tell you that they have no favorites. They will tell you that the well from which love is drawn has no bottom. 

This is what Donald Vass would say about books.

"I sense a type of universal voice coming from all of these books. And often when I open a book and my eyes will land upon a set of words or a sentence, a passage that will speak to me. And sometimes, that will speak to me at a moment when I very much need it," says Vass.

Vass finds this to be true of all kinds of books. 

Carrie Power

When Darren Maypower was 16 years old he was in his fourth foster care home. Even though he was less than two years shy of becoming an adult in the eyes of the state, he still held out hope that he would find a family to call his own. His criteria was quite simple: stability and love. 

Nathan Vass

 

Many of us make our way through traffic while riding on a bus.

One of the busiest bus routes in Seattle is the #7 carries more than 11,000 people every day. The #7 goes through the Rainier Valley and at night It turns into the #49 when it heads north, to the University District.

 

This is Nathan Vass’s bus route.

 

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

If you think your daliy commute is bad, please meet Daniel Bone. He maneuvers a large cement truck to the many different construction sites in the Seattle area.

A few years ago, Bone's commute from an idyllic five-acre farm in Yelm, Washington, was daunting, but doable. 

"I'm 62 miles out from our home in Yelm, to where I work in Seattle. In the mornings I could drive it, an hour and ten minutes, comfortably. Coffee in hand. Well rested," Bone said.

But, over the last six years, the commute swelled day after day, into an unbearable amount of time each day.

Parker Miles Blohm

This story originally aired on April 1, 2017.

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. 

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, which originally aired on the podcast SquareMile, producer Joel Shupack introduces us to his friend Lela who recently said goodby to her beloved Catahoula, 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.

 

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