Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Moshe the cat lives in an old brick house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. His owner, Cassandra Slack, moved in a little more than a year ago.

The first floor feels open and airy. Large windows bring a flood of light inside, making the original hardwood floors shine.

But downstairs, in the basement where Slack lives, the atmosphere is different. The floor is carpeted, the lights are dim, and the ceiling is low.

Slack had an eerie experience down here when she first moved in.


This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of virtual reality and what happens when real life meets technology like the internet, video games, and even television.

Hunter Hoffman

Being treated for a severe burn is one of the most physically painful things a human can experience. Dead skin has to be scrubbed away. The skin has to be stretched so that as it heals, it doesn’t get tight. If this is not done, a patient can be maimed permanently. It’s during these treatments, or wound care sessions, that the pain is often the worst.


Ariel Van Cleave / knkx

One of the best parts about playing video games is losing yourself inside whatever world they take place in. Maybe you’re a plumber tasked with saving a princess from a great sorcerer. Or you could be an agent with the British secret service trying to save the world from Spectre. But if you’re Dima Veryovka and Sean Vesce, the objective is a little different. The games they make are all about how you connect to the world around you.


Courtesy of Scott Colburn

Scott Colburn has basically spent his entire adult life working in the audio business. In the past he’s been a music producer for bands like Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Mudhoney. He’s done the audio for films. His current job is a sound designer at Microsoft. Colburn is working on their virtual and augmented reality projects. His goal is to get the audio experience of virtual reality to sound just as real as the visual part of it, something that he was inspired to do after going to a local film festival.

Bobby Morton

Twitter is a place where trolls harass and gossip spreads like wildfire. Can it also be a place where a Gig Harbor salesman befriends a homeless hitchhiker?

Shivering in freezing temperatures in a brittle Midwest winter, Bill Krayer was sticking his thumb out, trying in vain to get to Seattle.  In between efforts to get a ride, he’d pull out his tiny phone and tweet details of his journey. One Twitter follower reached out to offer a lifeline. But could their friendship sustain in the real world?

Meet The Seattleite Who Prank Called 'The Real World' Cast

Oct 22, 2016
Courtest of MTV

Editor’s Note: The following essay contains adult language that may not be suitable for all audiences.

MTV’s long running reality show,"The Real World,” returned to Seattle this past summer to film a new cast of twenty-somethings.

A group of teenage girls in school uniforms giggle as they share crepes topped with candy and chocolate sauce and oozing hazelnut Nutella. It's a Saturday afternoon and the girls are at the new Nutella shop in Jerusalem's Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp.

The scene is rare in this densely populated and impoverished urban camp. The potholed street outside the café is tense and crowded, as a group of little Palestinian schoolboys fight alongside zigzagging traffic.

Jeffrey Beall (bit.ly/2ea4S4B) / Lee LeFever (bit.ly/2ewBTti) / Flickr

In a few weeks, voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties will make a decision about Regional Proposition 1, also known as Sound Transit 3. But in 2004, voters in eight Colorado counties approved their own rail expansion called FasTracks.

Census data show that both the Seattle and Denver regions were among the top five fastest growing metro areas last year. Both areas have also largely focused on rail as a solution to congestion.


This week on Sound Effect, we're brining you stories that explore that moment when you realize you are not a kid anymore.

The Puberty Lady

If you’re a parent in the Seattle area, chances are you’ve heard about the puberty classes that Julie Metzger created almost three decades ago. She shares the inspiration behind these popular classes and how to make awkward topics fun.

The Obamacare Kid

Holly Andres / New York Times

If you’re a parent in the Seattle area, chances are you’ve been to, heard about, or will soon learn about the puberty classes that Julie Metzger created almost three decades ago.

Metzger makes what is often a painful conversation actually kind of enjoyable. Strutting around the class with pads stuck to her shirt, she happily says out loud all of the awkward things kids and parents are thinking about puberty.

Courtesy of Gina Owens

Sometimes what we do as children traps us in time. The rest of the world will forever equate you with what you did when you were young, even as you grow beyond whatever it was that gave you that label in the first place. This is what happened to 17-year-old Marcelas Owens of Seattle.


Courtesy of Will Jimerson

On March 10, 1994, Will Jimerson was 13 years old. He was hanging out around 23rd and Cherry in Seattle's Central District at 1 o'clock in the morning with a group of other kids. By this point in his life, he had already had a few run-ins with the law, including assault with a deadly weapon and theft.

On this particular early morning, Will says he found a gun in a jacket.

How Art Helped Save A Young Man's Life

Oct 15, 2016
Eilis O'Neill

There is a small statue that greets people as they walk into what can be a very difficult place to visit. It’s the entrance to the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit of the Seattle Children’s Hospital.


John Madden, who was a patient here a few years ago, says the 10 days he spent in the unit saved his life. He made the statue as a way of saying thank you to the nurses and doctors who treated him during a dark time in his life.


Allie Ferguson / knkx

Even as adults, there are moments when we realize we are no longer kids. Oftentimes it hits us when the tables turn and we find ourselves looking after our aging parents.

For Chris Spengler, it was when her father Henry was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Ushering him from doctors' appointments to group homes around Seattle, she was certainly not a kid anymore. At the same time, her father’s disease gave her a much needed sense of closure about her childhood in Brooklyn.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

For many of us, simply running a marathon is a serious challenge.

But Michal Kapral, a 44-year-old editor from Toronto, had a more difficult goal in mind. He wanted to run a marathon ... while juggling ... without dropping a ball even once.

And he did it at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, at the brisk clip of 2 hours and 55 minutes. That's a pace of about 6:40 per mile.

A class of fifth-graders from Green Acres Elementary in Lebanon, Ore., asked us to find out how pencil lead is made. That quest took us all the way back to the dawn of the universe and then all the way up to a factory in Jersey City, N.J.

In the process, we learned that pencil lead (actually not lead at all but a mineral called graphite) has a storied past.

A graphite windfall

Pez Owen was flying over the desert in her single-engine Cessna airplane when she spotted a huge "X" etched in the desert below. She says it was the strangest thing.

"It's not on the [flight] chart," Owen says. "There just wasn't any indication of this huge cross."

Then she spotted another one.

"There had to be some reason," she says. "So, of course, I immediately thought I had to get Chuck in on this."

Even if you knew nothing about Vijaya, her haunting portrait would likely give you pause. She peers out of the page, unsmiling, her silver hair pulled back and her eyes conveying an unspoken anguish. From the accompanying narrative, we learn that a few years ago, almost overnight, Vijaya became her granddaughter Anjali's primary caretaker. Her daughter, Gayathri, set out to find nutritious food for the family amidst heavy shelling, at the violent end of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war, and never returned home.

Credit Wikipedia Commons/Vinodtiwari2608


This week Sound Effect brings us stories of the pursuit.


Courtesy of David Liston

David Liston finds people who don't want to be found; that's part of the job.  Liston is principal at David Liston Investigations, a private investigation firm based in University Heights. But this case was different. Liston was looking for a man believed to be homeless in the Seattle area in order to give him a message: You stand to inherit millions of dollars. 

Warren Langford

The recent public conversations about gender identity and transgender people have tended to focus on bodies: biological sex versus gender identity, the clothes people wear, what bathrooms they use. But one issue that has gotten less attention is the intersection of gender and voice. Even as trans people work to look like the person they are inside, some find that they still sound like someone else.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

A warning that this interview deals with some very difficult subject matter: the exploitation of children. It is not suitable for children and some adults may find it difficult to hear. 

It's heroic to dedicate your life to chasing bad guys and putting them behind bars. However, that pursuit of criminal activity can come with a lot of traumatic experiences and deep psychological wounds.

When you think of Chinese food in the U.S., fried rice, lo mein or General Tso's chicken may first come to mind.

But a new museum exhibition in New York City is trying to expand visitors' palates. It features stories of celebrity chefs like Martin Yan and home cooks whose food represents 18 different regional cooking styles of China.

Why A Really Big Fish Isn't Always Good For Business

Oct 5, 2016

Water so thick with weeds that boats can't cross. Monster fish that eat everything in their paths. Cattle with blisters that bubble over their mouths.

These are the impacts of invasive species.

More than 16 percent of the world's land may be vulnerable to invasion by non-native plants and animals, new research shows.

PHOTOS: They're All Kings And Queens Of Katwe

Oct 5, 2016

In the far corner of a dead-end dirt lane in Katwe, one of Uganda's most poverty-stricken slums, a small boy sits on a step peering into a cramped room where Robert Katende addresses a group of teenagers.

At the front of the room a large chess board with magnetic pieces hangs on the wall. Beside it is a well-worn whiteboard with a line down the middle. It reads "Compare: Chess Vs. Life."

Under "Chess" Katende has written: "Opening"

Under "Life": "Birth"

What's Behind Oregon's Marionberry Mania?

Oct 5, 2016

Blackberries grow so voraciously in the Pacific Northwest that it's not rare to stumble across rural barns or abandoned homes that have been completely consumed by the thorny vine. Let them grow too close to a window, and they'll break the glass. They're common — easy to forage and hard to get too excited about. At least compared to the marionberry, a type of blackberry that has become an Oregon obsession.

One of the reasons the marionberry is so beloved is because it is entirely a product of Oregon. It's "born and raised" in state, so to speak.

The tea gardens of Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas, produced significantly less than 1 percent of India's 2.6 billion pound output last year. Yet Darjeelings are considered the "Champagne of teas," the finest in the country and some of the most exquisite and sought-after in the world.

The harvesting season in Darjeeling runs from mid-March through November, as the tea bushes gradually progress through a quartet of distinct seasons known as "flushes." The tea is often sold not only by single estate (like wine) but also by flush.

Starting this Saturday, October 8, KNKX will bring you Snap Judgment every week at 11 a.m. The hit storytelling show is hosted by Glynn Washington and co-produced by WNYC in New York. Snap delivers a raw, intimate, musical brand of narrative. It’s “Storytelling…With a BEAT.” The show is heard weekly on over 365 public radio stations and downloaded over 2 million times a month.