Sound Effect | KNKX

Sound Effect

Saturdays at 10 AM

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme.

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Credit Vinay Shivakumar/Creative Commons by 2.0

This week, stories of positive things coming from otherwise negative places. First, music journalist and author Charles R. Cross talks about how a bad economy helped produce the grunge music movement. Then, how the author of the light-hearted Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books actually had a pretty rough life.

Adam Jones/Wikipedia Commons

If you have a band in Seattle, good luck finding an affordable practice space. There aren't many to begin with, and if a band can find a place that doesn't mind the noise, it is often small, old and outrageously expensive.

Seattle music journalist and author Charles R. Cross says things were noticably different in the early and mid-'80s. 

"There were many, many empty spaces, that were just empty forever. So the capacity for a band member to rent a room for a hundred dollars in Belltown and live, or rent a rehearsal space for 75 [dollars], was everywhere," says Cross. 

courtesy of Paula Becker

 

Paula Becker grew up reading the "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" children's books, and loved the whimsical stories of her uncanny ability to cure children of bad character traits. The author of the books, Betty MacDonald, lived in Washington. Many years later, when Becker moved to the Evergreen state, she asked her local librarian what had become of the best-selling author.

 

Every Tuesday night, St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Seattle opens its doors and invites people living with mental illness and homelessness to come in and create. In the unique art space they can paint, knit, play music or find their own creative pursuits.

 

The Karen Korn Project was founded by Pastor Kae Eaton and Patricia Swain, in honor of Swain’s daughter Karen. Karen died from suicide in November of 2014, after struggling with mental illness and homelessness herself.

 

Seattle Public Library

 

Real estate. It’s a hot topic in the Northwest right now. A white-hot market like Seattle’s creates winners and losers, depending on which side of the transaction you happen to be on. These days, you’d probably rather be a seller than a buyer.

 

But back in 1985, when Merlin Rainwater and her husband bought their place, the roles were reversed. They were able to score a little bungalow on the East slope of Capitol Hill for just $50,000.

 

Courtesy of Mark Goetcheus

 

The day that changed Michael Freeman’s life came about 22 years ago.

“I was crushed by an eight-ton truck in a loading dock across the pelvis. They took me out to Madigan and did emergency surgery,” Freeman said.

In the course of his treatment he was given a common blood-thinning medication, to which he turned out to be severely allergic. The complications would eventually cost him one of his legs. He was sent to Harborview in Seattle for two months to recover.

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.

Creative Commons CC0

This week, stories of cogs in the machine. First, how a kid felt like toys were missing some accessories, so he decided to start making them himself, and business took off. Then, a Vietnam veteran shares why he believes the willingness to die for a cause you don’t believe in is an example of how “the system” works. Also, a sperm donor is faced with the realities of meeting one of his offspring.

Teenager Turns 200 dollars Into Customizable Lego Business

Jun 9, 2018

 

Payton Dean wanted more specialized weapons for his Lego minifigures. So he decided to make his own.

 

Other people were intrigued and started telling Dean he should sell the weapons. With a little help from his grandfather, and $200 he had saved up, he decided to give it a try.

 

Six years later, that decision has grown into a very successful business called X39 Brick Customs.

 

Courtesy Rich Hawkins

Most of us don’t grow up dreaming of being a tiny gear in some big, impersonal mechanism. But for Rich Hawkins, destiny started coming into focus on the day when, as a kid, the first family television showed up.

Zappy Technology Solutions / Flickr

 

Wolfe wanted children. But when he went to a sperm donor clinic, he didn’t expect that he’d end up with seventeen.

 

After an extensive judging process, Wolfe wasn’t sure if he’d even be selected.

 

“This was more like trying out for NASA,” Wolfe said. “They did extensive blood work. They looked at my family history going back multiple generations. They looked at any kind of genetic abnormalities. They had me on a treadmill jumping around.”

 

 

Kwesi Salih is serving more than 50 years in prison for the murder of a woman who was in a car that Salih and his friend tried to carjack.

 

“I didn’t think how my actions could take another person’s life. You know, I live with that every day of my life now,” said Salih who spoke over the phone from Stafford Creek Correctional Center in Aberdeen, Washington.

 

A Guiding Light Inside A Box Of Sunglasses From Taiwan

Jun 9, 2018
Joel Shupack

When Sound Effect contributor Joel Shupack was just out of high school he was working a boring, tedious warehouse job in Bend, Oregon.

“My job,” recalls Joel, “was to open boxes full of sunglasses, take them all out and put each pair into a separate box. They would be mailed out to all of the dupes who signed up for a sunglasses-of-the-month club.”

It was one of those companies that would mail out leaflets advertising “FREE SUNGLASSES! $40 Value!”.  An asterisk would direct you to the fact that you only had to pay shipping and handling, a mere $19.95.

SAN JUAN ISLAND 17 BY JEFF CLARK IS LICENSED UNDER CC BY 2.0 BIT.LY/2RLVP97

This episode originally aired on June 17, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, we head out to the islands.

The Good Ship Issaquah

Marsha Morse was one of the first women captains in Washington’s ferry system. She’s been navigating the waterways since 1975. And while she captains the ferry Issaquah, she considers her office the entire Puget Sound.

The One Lonely Island

WSDOT/Broch Bender

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.

Washington boasts the largest ferry system in the country. “Twenty-two ferries cross Puget Sound and its inland waterways, carrying more than 22 million passengers to 20 different ports of call,” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s website.

 

Marsha Morse was one of the first women captains in Washington’s ferry system. She’s been navigating the waterways since 1975.

 

Hannah Burn

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.

The San Juans' last homesteaders first discovered the islands on a map. June and Farrar Burn were newlyweds. They met in 1919 at a party June threw in her log cabin in Virginia. June quickly fell for Farrar’s ruddy-cheeked smile, curly red hair, and his ability to make himself useful immediately:  gathering firewood, serving drinks, hosting as if it were his own home. Farrar was drawn to June’s lively eyes and her unmistakable, fierce spirit. In a month, the two were married.

Kevin Kniestedt / KNKX

This story originallyt aired on June 17, 2017.  

Affordable housing is certainly a big issue these days, especially if you are living in the greater Seattle area. But it is also a major issue on some of our islands.

On San Juan Island, an overwhelming shortage of affordable housing is threatening the community and economy. But a non-profit in Friday Harbor is come up with a way to help that problem: by picking up old houses that are no long wanted in Victoria, British Columbia, putting them on a boat, and giving them a second life in Friday.

“McNeil Island and neighbors” by worldislandinfo.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2tseyeM

Note: Some of the content in this story might be upsetting to some listeners. 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.  

McNeil Island in South Puget Sound is where the Special Commitment Center for sexually violent predators is located. There are about 250 permanent residents at the Special Commitment Center -that’s what they’re called — and there are only a few ways you can leave the facility: you die, you’re deemed to have successfully completed treatment, or you can challenge your commitment with a trial.

Courtesy of Steve Edmiston.

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.   

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.

 

Think Dating Is Hard? Try It On An Island.

Jun 2, 2018
“Dating In The 50's” by zaza23 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2rwn2Fr

 

This story originally aired on June 17, 2017.   

You may have thought about living on the San Juan in an abstract, big-picture sense: basking in the rain shadow, long bike rides along rolling hills, the best garden of your life. But what about the practical parts of day-to-day life, like dating? What if you couldn’t take someone out to dinner without everyone you see every single day knowing your business?

 

Credit Mike Kniec/Flickr

This week, stories of picking up the pieces. First, a story of how a chance discovery in a dumpster led to an inside look at a woman’s life, and eventually a musical tribute. Then, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce shares the story of her brother, and his tragic death.

Courtesy of Jason Webley and Chicken John

On a hot, windy night in San Francisco, a good friend of Everett musician Jason Webley climbed into a dumpster. His nickname was Chicken John, and he crouched at the bottom of the dumpster to light a cigarette. What he found, there among the garbage, turned out to be unexpected treasure: an oversized, handmade leather scrapbook that was falling apart.

Chicken carried around the discarded, early-20th Century scrapbook for years.  It contained items -- poems, newspaper clippings and other official documents -- all pertaining to the life of a woman named Margaret  Rucker.

University of Washington

Ana Mari Cauce says her relationship with her big brother was pretty typical when they were growing up. 

"Every scar on his body was probably given to him by me," Cauce says, "He had a scar over his mouth where I kicked hime in the mouth -- not on puprose! He was in the front seat, I was in the back seat. He did some kind of name-calling and so I went to kick the back of teh seat, he turned around I caught his tooth."

Claire Barnett

 

On January 31, 2000, Claire Barnett lost 10 people she loved dearly on Alaska Airlines Flight 261. Two of the people on board were her daughters, 8-year-old Coriander Clemetson and 6-year-old Blake Clemetson.

 

The girls were coming back from Mexico with their father, their stepmother, their 6-year-old stepbrother and their new 6-month-old baby brother. The MD-83 crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California after a faulty screw forced the plane into a nosedive.

 

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

Naomi Wachira was born and raised in Kenya, studied broadcasting in Chicago, then theology in Seattle. While she always had an impressive singing voice -- she sang in choirs since she was five -- becoming a professional musician wasn’t truly on the radar until 2013, after her father, a pastor in Kenya, passed away.

Credit Ed Ronco

This week, stories of sacred spaces. We hear from a couple who moved their church from Capitol Hill to Skyway, only to be joined by a long string of churches priced out of Seattle. Then, a musician who started recording in the room where his wife died. We meet an artist who considers her garden her sacred space.

Will James / KNKX

Phil Elverum's wife died in a spare room on the second floor of their house in Anacortes, Wash.

After that day in 2016, Elverum made an effort to cut the room off from the rest of the house. He threw open its lone window and closed the door, ceding the space to the rain, leaves, and birds that flew in. 

"I just wanted to air it out, neturalize the room," he said, "and let whatever thoughts and feelings were in here dissipate."

Then, one day, he opened the door again. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

In 1996, when Ginny Ruffner moved into an old brick building in the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, her new backyard looked like typical big city blight: overgrown crabgrass and weeds, trash, a brick wall.

“My view here was pretty urban, so I made my view. I augmented it, added to it,” said Ruffner.

Oysterville, Washington is about 15 miles up the peninsula from Long Beach. It used to be a hub for oyster farming. It’s a tiny town, with an even tinier church. But this church has a very long history in Washington, as a little seaside haven.

Sydney Stevens is the great granddaughter of R.H. Espy, who helped create this town. He also built the church, now called the Historic Church of Oysterville.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

 

The Islamic Center of Eastside is Bellevue’s only mosque. It was at this Sacred Space that Muslims from more than 40 different countries prayed five times a day.

That is, until it was the target of arson -- not once, but twice.

In the Islamic faith, the mosque is not only a house of prayer, but the central place for Muslims to gather, according to Omer Lone, a mosque elder at the Center.

"The mosque plays the role of the community center," he said. "It's the university and the town hall."

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