Other News | KNKX

Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Credit Kevin Kniestedt

Lauren “Big Lo” Sandretzky has rarely missed a professional sports game in Seattle in 30 years, and has been called Seattle’s biggest sports fan. He even has his own super fan action figure. But his passion for sports and the players goes beyond just wins and loses. It’s gotten him through some pretty difficult times in his life.

He lost his grandfather and mother, two very special people to him, when he was very young.


Will James / KNKX

If you've ever stayed home sick from school or played hooky from work, you've probably found yourself watching "The Price is Right." 

It takes one look at the TV game show's screaming, jumping live studio audience to realize: This show has some pretty intense fans.

One Northwest family may rule them all.

No fewer than three members of the Goss family have been told to "Come on down!" and compete on the show over the past 22 years. All three walked away with prizes, with two members of the family winning "showcase" hauls worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

Often times when a friend, family member or co-worker tells you that they are a fan of a particular musician, it makes sense. The musician or their music seems to line up with that person's personality. But when Sound Effect producer Kevin Kniestedt shared his feelings for a particular folk singer who has captured his heart for almost a couple of decades now it was a bit of a surprise. He shares this audio fan letter.

Pet Projects: Sound Effect, Episode 135

Feb 17, 2018
trpnblies7 / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, stories about animals. We learn how one vet treats dogs who eat marijuana, and meet a pet bird who enjoys an unusual amount of freedom. Then we travel with a park ranger who is on a mission to make Tacoma's raccoons wild again, and hear dispatches from a 20th century war that pitted monkey against monkey. Finally, we hear why a Seattle scientist has spent three decades studying a colony of arctic birds, and we meet a very stubborn dead cat.

Gabriel Spitzer

Have you seen Peaches? This free-flying Goffin's Cockatoo can be spotted in parks all over Seattle, usually within flying distance of his human companion, Taryn Smethers. Sound Effect Host Gabriel Spitzer speaks with Smethers about why she chose to let her pet bird fly free - and about how his social life has changed hers for the better.

If you'd like to be certain of a Peaches sighting, just head to Peaches McFly's Instagram page.

Woodland Park Zoo

Prior to the summer of 1940, Woodland Park Zoo’s monkeys lived isolated in cages in the Monkey House. Then the zoo decided to do something progressive: relocate the monkeys to a more “natural” setting, on a human-made island in the middle of a shallow moat. What followed was a war for dominance that captivated Seattle for weeks.


The daily newspapers, keen for some comic relief amid the grim news out of war-torn Europe, offered breathless coverage of the Monkey War.


Joe McNally

George Divoky is a scientist in Seattle, at least most of the year. But don’t expect to find him around here during the summertime.

He’ll be on a small, flat little island in the Arctic Ocean, off the Alaska coast, called Cooper Island. Back in 1975, Divoky was doing survey work there, when he came across a colony of arctic birds called Mandt’s Black Guillemots. They’re little pigeon-sized birds with bright red legs, and they’re one of the few seabird species that depend year-round on sea ice.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

  If you own a dog, it is terrifying to find your beloved pet unresponsive to the point where they won’t even open their eyes when their name is spoken. About four of these cases come into the Blue Pearl Veterinary Clinic in South Tacoma each week.


Tom Paulson

  Ollie was a gray and white tomcat, a bit of a tough guy, but with a soft side. He’d often curl up on Tom Paulson’s chest at night. Tom is more of a dog person, but he and Ollie bonded -- maybe because Ollie was “not weird and scary like a lot of cats. [He] had more of a dog personality.”


But pets are mortal, and one day Tom got a call at work from his wife with the news: Ollie was dead. Please come home and deal with him. So Tom headed home, and collected the cat.


Lew Zirkle, a doctor in Richland, Washington, works with thousands of surgeons all over the world to treat injuries in poor or war-ravaged countries. He will receive the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service—the highest honor the Defense department gives to a non-career civilian—by Secretary James Mattis later this month.

Eric Molina/Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we share stories of the opioid crisis in the Northwest – the people who are affected, and those who are confronting it. We start by learning some of the brain science behind addiction, and why it can be so hard to kick the habit. We meet a woman who battled heroin addiction, got clean for 17 years, and then relapsed again. We head to Everett where librarians are learning to become first responders.

Todd Huffman / Flickr/Creative Commons

What may be most remarkable about Turina James' story is not that she got hooked on heroin as a teenager, but the fact that she managed to get off of it. She did so with little support from family, and after a traumatic childhood that included sexual violence, homelessness and unplanned pregnancy. 

James grew up in Yakima, where she says she was kicked out of her house and on the streets by age 12. By 15 she was pregnant, and soon moved in with an older man who was not her child's father. He had children of his own, and, she would soon learn, a drug habit.

University of Washington

To understand why opioids exert such a powerful pull on human beings, you want to look first to our brains’ natural “happy juice”: endorphins.


So says Charles Chavkin, a professor in the University of Washington’s Pharmacology Department.


Chavkin explains that there is a whole series of neural receptors designed specifically to detect endorphins.


Jennifer Wing

Over a three month period last year, one emergency room in Everett, Washington treated 253 people who had overdosed. And in 2016, which is the most recent data available from the state, Snohomish County had one of the highest opioid death rates in Washington.

Everett is trying new ways to manage this problem and to prevent it from getting worse. One institution that could see this storm brewing years ago, was the library.

Credit Susie Howell

The City of Everett is trying to get creative with people suffering from addiction. For those who have decided that they really need help, and are serious about getting it, the City of Everett wants to give it to them, in the form of a scholarship.

On the 10th floor of the Wall Street Building in Everett, in a very quiet conference room with a beautiful view of the Puget Sound, I meet Kaitlyn Dowd. She’s a social worker embedded with the Everett Police Department, and this isn’t where she normally finds herself on a typical day of work.

Gabriel Spitzer

You could make a pretty good case that the epicenter of the opioid crisis in all of North America is British Columbia.


Just five years ago overdose deaths there had been holding steady at under 300 a year -- about the same as car crashes. Then it spiked -- last year 1,422 people in British Columbia died of a drug overdose.


KNKX's Community Advisory Committee will be meeting on Monday, March 5 from 2 - 3:30 p.m. in our Tacoma office.

If you are interested in attending as a member of the listening community, please contact the general manager's office at 253-535-8732 for more information.

Museum curators in the Northwest are now working to update exhibits that focus on the region’s indigenous people. They are trying to do that in a way that both modernizes stories of indigenous people and tells them more truthfully. 

Right next door to the current Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle is a much larger building under construction. When it’s complete, it will serve as the new state Museum of Natural History and Culture.

By Sir Gerald Festus Kelly/Public Domain

This show originally aired on September 2, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, we hear stories of royalty in all different forms.

The Princess Bride

You may have seen the pictures online, or on the Today Show or wherever. The headline is usually something like, “Little Girl Mistakes Bride for Princess from her Favorite Storybook.” And we joined the bride, the mother and the daughter for a little reunion, in front of the Hotel Ballard.

Scott Robertson


This story originally aired on September 2, 2017.

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.


The Music Of Prince Brings Two People Together In An Unlikely Way

Feb 3, 2018
Courtesy Leah Tousignant

This story originally aired on September 2, 2017.

Robbie Luna is a man of many hats, a Seattle area carpenter by day, and by night he fronts two bands, one of which is a Prince cover band called "Purple Mane." With Prince's 2016 death the band suddenly found 

Courtesy Daniel Brown

This story originally aired on September 2, 2017.

For many in the Seattle area, Royal Brougham might be little more than a regal sounding street near Safeco Field. But Royal Brougham was actually one of the longest tenured reporters in U.S. newspaper history, working 68 years, primarily as a sports columnist and editor, for the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

This story originally aired on September 2, 2017.

In the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle, tucked among the bungalows sits an ornate yellow and red building. On one side flies the American flag, and on the other flies what’s called the Dharma Flag.

Courtesy Julius Brown


This story originally aired on September 2, 2017.

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.


Into The Woods: Sound Effect, Episode 108

Jan 27, 2018

This show originally aired on June 3, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, we tell stories from amongst the trees.

Theater In The Woods

The Kitsap Forest Theater is one of the oldest outdoor theaters in the country. Tucked in the woods outside of Bremerton, performances have been held here every single year for 93 years, except for a couple of years during World War II.

Credit Jennifer Wing

This story originally aired on June 3, 2017.

Kitsap Forest Theater is a natural outdoor amphitheater just outside of Bremerton, Wash. It's been run by the Mountaineers for 93 years, and sits on a 640-acre forest preserve.

100 years ago it was all rhododendrons. That was the initial attraction to the area. Some of the people who are Mountaineers began to come and stay every year and they began to do shows, performances and concerts, and eventually that developed into an annual theatrical production.

A Youthful Approach To Hyper-Local Journalism

Jan 27, 2018
Phoebe Flanigan

This story originally aired on June 3, 2017.

At the edges of the things we know, there are “the woods.” And so often, we find ourselves there, feeling our way, sometimes blindly, through undefined landscapes.

There’s something jarring, yet liberating, about the moment when you realize that so many of the people around you are doing the same. Parents, politicians, career “experts” — all, on some level, blazing an uncertain path through uncharted territory.

"IMG_5494" by Cindi Darling is licensed under CC 2.0 bit.ly/2rpV78K


This story originally aired on June 3, 2017.

David Schumer felt like the country was falling apart. Nixon had resigned, Carter was hapless and disco was everywhere he turned.


“We thought the only sane thing to do would be to move to a rural area, buy 30 acres of land, build a house and grow our own food,” he remembers.


He moved from the Detroit suburbs to rural Arkansas, deep in the Ozark Mountains, to the community of Chimes.


George Wing


This story originally aired on June 3, 2017.

In 2003, a group of four friends from various points of the country hit the trail for a bachelor party backpacking trip in the North Cascades. George Wing was the man who was getting married.

They brought all of the usual necessities for such an outing: tents, food, a first-aid kit. But George’s longtime childhood friend and master prankster, Kermit, decided to shake things up.