Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

A holiday celebrating a dish beloved of many West Africans, World Jollof Day, was marked last week.

Jollof is a celebration dish. You eat it at parties, naming ceremonies, weddings, funerals — you name it, you will see the familiar and comforting pot of steaming jollof rice.

But jollof is also war – of the deliciously friendly variety.

Life, Death And Remembering Those Bright College Years

Aug 28, 2016

Recently I attended my wife's 25th college reunion. Many aspects of the weekend were what you'd expect: reconnecting with her roommates and friends, catching up on their lives and careers, and (mild) revelry late into the night.

As a spouse tagging along, I was braced for a nightmare of never-ending tales of yesteryear in which I'd played no part (my wife and I met after college) and reprisals of long-ago inside jokes.

Ken Bosma/Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we dream big. We bring you stories from people who dared to dream, and take a look at their successes, failures, and their respective roads ahead.

Charlie And The Rays

We meet the musicians of a local band that just released their first record. While some members of the band are too young to patronize the establishments they perform in, that hasn't stopped them from having big hopes for the future.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

 

 

The founding members of the folk-indie rock band, Charlie and the Rays, are just getting started pursuing their dream. They hope for the day when they’re able to quit their jobs in the service industry and earn a living playing music.

 

But, when you press them a bit more, their hopes for the future are actually quite big.

 

“I want to be a rock star, and just being able to express myself in music.” said 19-year-old Rebecca Stobbee, one of the band’s vocalists.

City of Soap Lake

 

Soap Lake, in Central Washington, is a small town with a really big dream. It’s home to about 1,600 people, and its economy has seen better days. A lot of small towns in that situation might respond by trying to lure a big-box store or coming up with a snappy tourist slogan. But those ambitions are far too puny for Soap Lake.

 

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

For a long time, Melissa Rice's big dream was dance. She wanted to be a ballerina ever since she saw "The Nutcracker" at four years old. In high school, she danced three hours a day at the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

“And it got to the point where my friends who were continuing on seriously were stopping their high school studies so they could dance full time," Rice says.

However, as Rice was deciding whether she wanted to drop out of high school and take her dancing to the next level, she took an astronomy class.

How A 58-Cent Bargain-Bin Sweater Became These Pickers' Crown Jewel

Aug 27, 2016
Heritage Auction

Sean and Ricki McEvoy are professional pickers. They run an online shop called Roselyn VTG Trading Co. and they stock their inventory by scouring thrift stores all over the country looking for vintage clothing to resell.

Courtesy of Richard Berger

 

In 1968, Richard Berger was in his 20s and in medical school in Philadelphia.  It was his lifelong calling to help people — to be a doctor. But, even though he was an honor student, medical school just wasn’t what he thought it would be.

 

“What I found was a lot of authoritarian behaviors and rote memorization. I went, ‘This is so not what I envisioned.’ Here I was with this dream of what my life is going to be about and it’s like crashing into a wall at 100 miles an hour,” Berger said, thinking back to that time.

Allie Ferguson / KPLU

Tacoma arborist Mik Miazio loves trees. He has loved them since he was a kid growing up in New Jersey.

"I remember climbing my first tree when I was a kid. As soon as I was able to, I would jump right in there and disappear. I’m in my own world right there," Miazio said.

It was this love that led Miazio to discover the tallest tree in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park. He noticed the giant Douglas Fir poking out of the canopy when he moved to Tacoma three years ago.

There was perhaps no movie more buzzed-about coming out of the Sundance Film Festival in January than Nate Parker's directorial debut, The Birth of A Nation, a retelling of Nat Turner's 19th century rebellion of enslaved people in Virginia.

If you want a peek into the history of drugstores, there's the History of Pharmacy Museum at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, in Tucson, Ariz.

A hand-carved wood prescription counter helps recreate the look of a small-town pharmacy in the 1800s. And some of the old-timey medicines give you a sense of what the place must have smelled like.

Ah, rum, with its legendary pirates bellowing for grog, tiki umbrellas peeking up from neon-colored cocktails, tequila-spiked punch at college parties. Rum, universally imbibed and yet often scorned. Most rum is "the distilled essence of industrial waste," in the words of Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. That waste is molasses, the byproduct of sugar production.

Everybody eats, which is what makes food a perfect choice to resolve conflicts and foster connections among nations. The concept is called "gastrodiplomacy," and South Korea is one of its strongest champions.

The country is one of the world's best at branding itself through food, using its cuisine as a kind of "soft power" to help spread South Korea's influence. And even as the government supports its citizens in opening Korean restaurants around the world, it pays special attention to promoting that most ubiquitous of Korean foods: kimchi.

"Navigation (compas regle)" by mikou07kougou is licensed by CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/2b7cG2c

This week on Sound Effect, we get lost. We bring you stories from people told to move on and from folks who are actually disorientated.

Goodbye, Gabe

We say, "See you later" to Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer, who is heading down to California for a year-long journalism fellowship. KPLU's Jennifer Wing will take the reins as Sound Effect's interim host while Gabe is away.

Welcome Home; Now Leave

Editor's Note: This post, which contains recollections of the civil rights movement, uses a particular racial slur that some might find upsetting. Just a heads up.

We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable feeling of being told to move on. Maybe it was a school bully, or perhaps it was a job you really wanted but didn’t get. For Marion West and her husband, Ray West, it was when they bought a house.

KPLU jazz host Dick Stein is someone who could get lost on a treadmill. His wife, the lovely and talented Cheryl DeGroot, on the other hand, can pretty much find her way out of anything.

Stein credits her with being a human GPS — always following her directions. Which is why after 30 years of being together, Stein is always amazed at the fear and terror DeGroot expresses when nearing one peaceful little city: Normandy Park, Washington.

Why Do We Get Lost?

Aug 20, 2016
Richard Yeh / WNYC

We’ve all probably experienced that unsettling feeling of not knowing where you are —that moment when you make a wrong turn, go down an unfamiliar street and then you are officially lost. It turns out there are millions of specific cells in our brain that control how we navigate to a new place.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

For people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, there is a lot of loss. As memory begins to fade, and reliance on others for daily needs increases, a person loses a sense of self and independence.

 

Parker Miles Blohm

A while back, Seattle writer Melanie McFarland reached a point where when she logged on to Facebook and realized that most of the people she was "friends" with, she wasn't all that close to. So she poured a glass of wine, turned on some quiet music, and one by one, "unfriended" the people that she couldn't tell you what was going on in their life, and they couldn't tell you what was going on in hers. She wanted to narrow it down to friends she could talk to and rely on, and who could rely on her. 

On a gray, rainy afternoon a man walks into a library and shows a missing-person flyer to a librarian. It’s in a day’s work for a foster child “locator” whose job is to find kids who’ve run away.

On a Tuesday morning a pair of brothers cry in court and say goodbye to their mother as they are sent to juvenile detention for skipping school--a phenomenon in which Washington state leads the country.

With a coffee cup in her hand, a woman visits the jail where her brain-injured son has been held for 57 days, asking through a bulletproof window about his medication.

How do you move a 12,000-pound, 120-year-old lighthouse across a river? Very slowly.

For 60 years, the Port Clinton Lighthouse sat in a private marina on the Portage River, moved from its original spot on Lake Erie. One of the only remaining wooden lighthouses on the Great Lakes, the structure deteriorated over the years.

But five years ago, a group of conservationists began to restore the lighthouse. And Tuesday, it moved back across the river.

Many people lined up in this Ohio town for hours to watch the lighthouse take its place on the lakefront.

Distilling The Story Of California Wine, One Label At A Time

Aug 17, 2016

For the first half of the 20th century, nobody would have ever compared the wines of California's Napa Valley to the great wines of France.

"It's amazing when you think about it," says Amy Azzarito, online strategist at the University of California, Davis, library. "California wines were a joke for a long time. And they're not anymore."

This is the second story in a three-part series. Read Part 1 here.

For the annual Kinetic Sculpture Race in Baltimore, teams must drive, pedal and push their vehicles through 15 miles of roads, mud, sand and water.

Two-dozen students at Arbutus Middle School have been working after school for months on their entry: a huge pedal-powered sculpture called Monsters of the Middle School Brain.

Welcome to the real-life Mad Hatter's tea party: Guests eat out of spiraling ceramics from spoons as long as their arms, while waiters serve the next course with flatware fused to opera glasses.

In 1977, Deborah Barsel, a bored assistant registrar at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, N.Y., decided to try a fun side project. She would create a cookbook made up of recipes and images from famous photographers of the day. She sent letters to various artists and put an ad in the museum's magazine asking for submissions. In return, she received 120 photos, recipes and even a postcard from urban photographer John Gossage saying simply: "I eat out."

Do people think about food more in times of scarcity than in times of plenty? Married culinary historians Jane Ziegelman and Andy Coe think so. Ziegelman and Coe are the authors of A Square Meal, which examines the impact of the country's decade-long Great Depression on American diets.

Ziegelman tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that the Depression was one of the "most important food moments" in U.S. history. Coe agrees: "The Great Depression was a time when Americans had food front and foremost in their minds and were worrying about it every day."

Mars Hill Church Seattle / Flickr

When music writer Kathleen Tarrant moved to Seattle, she noticed a divide between two groups in the Northwest. On the one hand, you had secular alternative kids who grew up rebelling against the church and other establishments, all set to grunge and indie music. On the other hand, there were young Christians who grew up drawn to the same alternative music, but also to religious faith. In the 1990s, these two groups began to commingle with artists like Dave Bazan and Damien Jurado, faithful Christians who also played alternative music.

Andrew Becraft / Flickr

The South has its Civil War battlefields. The Northeast has colonial-era sites. But what do history nerds in the Northwest have? We have Lewis and Clark.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out in 1804 to chart their way across a great divide, the unmapped North American continent.

Credit Steven Depolo via Flickr

Editor's note: this audio contains a few censored choice words.

We all have our weaknesses. And we all have those moments where we just lose it. For former "Sound Effect" senior producer Arwen Nicks, one of her weaknesses was the need for an affordable and promptly delivered sandwich, and she lost it when the establishment she wanted it from told her no. 

Courtesy Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives

In the early 1900s, Seattle was a major stop for the vaudeville circuit, with the performances held in the city's finest downtown theaters. If you were an African-American during that time, your best chance of seeing one of these shows was from up in the balcony (an area then often referred to as the peanut gallery), if you were allowed to buy a ticket at all. And if you were a black musician who wanted to perform at a club in Seattle, you were entirely out of luck. The local music union at the time only allowed white performers to take the stage. 

Pages