Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

This summer’s total solar eclipse in Oregon came with a price tag. The Oregon Military Department is requesting an extra $260,000 to pay for the costs of managing crowds during the August 21 event.

Credit Allie Ferguson

This show originally aired on May 27, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is "Up in the Air."

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.

Red-Tailed Hawks Flying Club's Facebook Page

 

This story originally aired on May 27, 2017.

Jesse Hayes’ love of flying began as a kid growing up in Texas. His family had a car but they also had an airplane, which Jesse’s father adored. Jesse says that as an African-American family, that meant that they could literally fly over racism when they went on trips to visit family.

 

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

 

This story originally aired on May 27, 2017.

A group of students from the University of Washington is working on a way to create satellites that could stay up indefinitely and fly in a circle over a particular patch of the earth. The results could mean cell phone and internet coverage in disaster areas, along with super-high-resolution images of remote places on the planet.

 

 

Credit Isabel Vázquez / NextGenRadio

This story originally aired on May 27, 2017.

There’s a letter on Yulina Bilombele’s dining room table that she cannot read.

“Defendant failed to pay the rent and has further failed to vacate and surrender the premises.”

Bilombele is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She’s 80 years old. She does not speak English. She is too frail to work and she does not have the money to pay rent.

So, she turns to the man many Congolese refugees in Seattle call: Floribert Mubalama.

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.

Kyle Norris / KNKX

 

This story originally aired on May 27, 2017.

 

Michael McAndrews has had a lifelong love affair with birds.

 

It all started with an article he read as a kid in National Geographic. It profiled homing pigeons used in wartime to communicate messages between troops. Michael was captivated by the story of a bird named Cher Ami that saved almost 200 American soldiers in France during World War I.

Courtesy of Vanessa Davids

This story originally aired on April 30, 2016.

Vanessa Davids did most of her military service “inside the wire,” as an Arabic translator on a base in Iraq. Her job called on her to translate audio and video recordings, in hopes of gathering intelligence, foiling attacks and probing enemy action. She translated bomb plots, beheadings, even in some cases child pornography. As a result, she got an intimate, and dark, perspective on human nature.

photolibrarian / Flickr

This story originally aired on February 7, 2015.

In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a state-of-the-art engineering achievement, a dramatic suspension design spanning a strait of Puget Sound. Sure, it had a bit of a "bounce," but the engineers all assured the public that was normal. Only a handful of bridge workers seemed truly alarmed. 

Rosemary Thielman

In April of 1977, five nuns took a week-long vacation to Grayland Beach State Park. Just south of Westport on the Washington coast, this park is known for its rolling sand dunes and expansive beaches where drift logs often wash onto the shores. 

 After spending the week cooped up in a camping trailer, the sisters took one last walk when the sun finally came out. That’s where this story begins. In a matter of seconds, water flooded the coastline and with little time to react, two sisters were overtaken by the ocean’s strong currents and flung into the air.

TK

Jason Detwiler is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Washington, and he’s on the hunt for a natural phenomenon that is insanely rare.

It's a specific reaction called neutrinoless double-beta decay -- a term so egg-headed that when he sat down to explain it to Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer, Gabriel made him give it a nickname: the “jelly doughnut.” (Perhaps Gabriel was hungry.)

There’s a good payoff for this hunt -- if Detwiler does find a "jelly doughnut," it may explain why the universe exists.

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is "What Are the Odds?" We'll meet the grandson of Holocaust survivors who calculated the very low probability that he would even be born. Then a typo may have saved Bob Hofferber's life, by keeping him off of a military plane bound for Tacoma in 1952. In another story of the twists of fate, group of nuns walking along a Washington beach are overtaken by a rogue wave, changing their lives and their relationship with God forever.

Courtesy of Arik Cohen

Arik Cohen’s grandparents survived the Holocaust, all four of them.

The likelihood of that happening is astronomical -- and he has the calculations to prove it.

A self-professed geek, Cohen began looking at the history of his family to figure out the statistical odds of each person surviving and contributing to a grandson: himself.

Cohen’s crunching of the numbers also allowed him to look closer at four individual tales of survival against the odds.

U.S. Air Force, via Wikimedia Commons

On 28th November 1952, a chance occurrence – a clerical error – resulted in Bob Hofferber not catching his scheduled flight from Fort Ladd, Alaska to McChord Field in south Tacoma. It was an error that likely saved his life. The U.S. Air Force C-54G Skymaster crashed on its approach, resulting in the deaths of all but two of the people on board.

Credit Gabriel Spitzer

The population of Concrete, Washington in 1938 was about 1,000 people. But one October evening that year, while a famous radio broadcast was frightening a good portion of the population across the country, things in Concrete got even stranger.

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.”

 

This week, an entire block in downtown Boise smells like leeks. That’s because descendants of immigrants from the Basque country are cooking mortzilla, a traditional blood sausage, for a weekend festival.

Credit Matt Callow/Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is "ghosts." We open with host Gabriel Spitzer having his son taste-test a ghost pepper. Gabriel then heads out to learn about a forest of dead trees, and how that came to be. We then meet a woman who lost her husband to cancer, but contemplates his lingering presence.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Near the coast of Washington state, on the banks of the Copalis River, lies a ghost forest -- a stand of gray, dead trees in the middle of a healthy forest.

How did it get there?

Could the key lie in another mystery, a mysterious tsunami recorded by samurai in 18th-century Japan? 

Linking these seemingly unconnected phenomena became a goal for ambitious scientists using everything at their disposal, from computer models to chainsaws.

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.

 

Courtesy of Rachel Kessler

Seattle Writer Rachel Kessler started this discussion by reading a passage from an essay she wrote  that was recently anthologized in a book Ghosts of Seattle Past.

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.

Lydia Ramsey in the KNKX studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

To say that Seattle musician Lydia Ramsey was raised in a musical family would be kind of an understatement.

“Me and my brothers joke that, like, in order to sit down in our living room, you had to pick up an instrument because it was taking up the chair. And then you’d be like oh, well I’m holding this so I might as well play something on it,” said Ramsey.

Eventually, Lydia would decide to dig a little deeper into her family history. What she found out is that music has been woven through her ancestry for generations.

KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco, chief engineer Lowell Kiesow, and director of content Matt Martinez, broadcasting live from the Ballard Locks in Seattle, on July 3, 2017.
Sprince Arbogast

On July 3, 2017, KNKX took its live broadcast of All Things Considered to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, on the eve of their centennial. We told stories about the locks' creation, its present impact on the region, and its future.

This audio is a sampler of the three-hour broadcast.

You can also listen individually to each of the stories we did that day.

Northwest Group Sends Relief To Puerto Rico Using Amazon Wish Lists

Oct 25, 2017
Two men push a generator down the street in Puerto Rico, a month after Hurricane Maria.
Carlos Giusti / AP

Shortly after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Laura Cancel found herself at a volunteer meeting at Amazon, where she works in the regulatory and litigation department.

Everyone at the meeting was trying to figure out how to send supplies to people on the island. When someone mentioned she had used Amazon’s wish list feature to keep track of items her family needed, Cancel had an idea.

Courtesy Draze

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is "the beat goes on." We open with Karen Sakata, who has been running karaoke at Bush Garden for decades. Hip-hop artist Draze talks about about how his Seattle and Zimbabwean roots influence his music. Jennifer Wing heads to Bellingham to hear a band made up of musicians with developmental disabilities.

Courtesy Draze

In some parts of the world, music isn’t a hobby or even just a form of art -- it’s the stuff that connects the culture. And that’s the environment musician Dumisani Maraire Jr. was raised in.

“I like to say in our family, it’s not like ‘are you going to perform?’ You just are going to perform. Literally, it’s just a part of who we are and what we do,” said Maraire.

Credit Melissa Bird

 

Andre Sanabria discovered at 21 he had a deadly disease, and the only cure was a double-lung transplant.

But that did not stop him from making music. In fact, he says music is what was keeping him alive.

Fearing the risks of an operation, and facing his declining health, he instead focused his time and energy on composing, performing and touring even when he could barely hold a guitar. And this was not quiet music, but metal-tinged hardcore punk. And Sanabria would sometimes sing (or scream) vocals.

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.

Pages