Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Michael Twitty wants you to know where Southern food really comes from. And he wants the enslaved African-Americans who were part of its creation to get credit. That's why Twitty goes to places like Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's grand estate in Charlottesville, Va. — to cook meals that slaves would have eaten and put their stories back into American history.

This is a big weekend for matzo ball soup.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starts Sunday night, and chef Pati Jinich wants all the matzo-ball makers out there to understand: The soup doesn't care whether you prefer floaters or sinkers.

"It turns out that matzo balls are insanely capricious," Jinich says. "One Friday, they're like, you can have me fluffy. And the other week is like, this is what you'll get."

"I am thirsty," the river complains, "from quenching your thirst. I am tired from the turns along the way."

That's what the 475-mile Cauvery River in India says in a song called "Pyaasi' (the Hindi feminine adjective for 'thirsty'). A young musician wrote the song during a drought in 2009, when the two states through which the river flows were arguing over rights to its water.

The Sweet Success Of Bananas Foster Has An Unsavory Past

Sep 30, 2016

There's more to the story of Bananas Foster than flambeed fruit. While the enticing dessert is a sweet legacy of New Orleans' once-booming banana trade, there's also a less savory one: banana republics.

Today, the banana is America's favorite fruit, but it was once considered exotic. The fruit only became commonplace in the United States starting in the 1870s, thanks to improvements in shipping and botany. By the turn of the century, the banana trade was a million-dollar industry.

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Sep 30, 2016

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A southbound Sounder train waits at King Street Station in Seattle.
Simone Alicea / knkx

If voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties approve the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, they would approve an expansion of not only the light rail system but also the Sounder commuter rail.

Sounder trains share the track with freight and Amtrak trains, which is partly why they can't run in both directions all day. The two Sounder lines together see an average of more than 16,000 riders a day.

KNKX 88.5 Fall Drive

Sep 29, 2016

It’s Fall Drive time for the new knkx. Please consider a gift today and get us to our $750,000 goal before October 11!  The sooner we reach our goal the sooner we can get back to news, jazz, blues and serving our amazing community.  

Give early and generously to give knkx a solid foundation as a freshly independent, community-led public media station. Make your gift now and build a stronger connection to jazz, blues and NPR news on knkx 88.5. 

A King County Metro RapidRide B Line bus approaches. The county's RapidRide buses are a kind of bus rapid transit.
Simone Alicea / knkx

When voters think of the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, the first thing that comes to mind is usually light rail.  But the people in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties who are voting on the plan will have to consider other modes of transit, too.

ST3 would add something called bus rapid transit to Sound Transit's transportation options. 

What is bus rapid transit?

Cup Noodles, the dorm-room staple that cooks in three minutes, turns 45 this month. There's no better place to celebrate than its very own museum in Yokohama, Japan.

"This is the museum that really honors the creator of instant ramen and Cup Noodles," says museum manager Yuya Ichikawa, who leads me on a tour.

A northbound train pulls into Westlake Station in downtown Seattle.
Simone Alicea / knkx

Light rail is the core of Sound Transit 3, the regional transportation plan on the ballot in three Puget Sound counties.

The 62 miles of new rail make up the largest part of the $54 billion price tag, but the region wouldn't see most of it until after 2025.

One way of looking at why Sound Transit is so focused on light rail is to look at Everett and Snohomish County.

A Sound Transit train passes over a Sound Transit bus in Seattle.
AP Images

If you live in Pierce, King or Snohomish Counties, you will see an initiative on November's ballot called Sound Transit Regional Proposition 1. The measure will determine whether the region adopts a $54 billion transit plan called Sound Transit 3, or ST3 for short.

When voters open their ballots, they might see a few paragraphs about the plan. But ST3 can't be explained with just one page. 

Passengers get off a Sound Transit light rail train.
Paula Wissel / KNKX

November's election is fast approaching, and voters can expect a long ballot. As part of our election coverage, knkx will be looking into many candidates and issues around the state and the region.

But starting this week, knkx will focus on Sound Transit Regional Proposition 1, better known as Sound Transit 3. Voters in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties will decide whether to adopt the 25-year, $54 billion transit expansion plan. 

A food industry startup from Oregon is ready to sell you something completely different for your mid-morning snack. How about some roasted crickets in cayenne spice or original flavor?

Bob Turner / Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we explore the ties that bind. We hear stories of the unique and surprising things that connect people and communities from alien languages to cigarettes.


Eric Andeen first encountered the Klingon language like most people, while watching the film "Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock" as the crew of the Enterprise contended with the Klingons, a fictional alien race. However, when he spotted a Klingon dictionary in a bookstore a few months later, Andeen took it a step further. He decided to learn Klingon. 

Kevin Kniestedt / knkx

There are some things you might only be able to notice if you happen to be an insider. If you have lived in Tacoma for any extended period of time, there is a pretty good chance that you feel a bit territorial about it. It is a city that gets told that it can't measure up to Seattle. It is often associated with a certain aroma, while residents know that the smell doesn't really exist anymore, or at least doesn't compare to how it did decades ago.

The Legacy Of Seattle's First Black Newspaper

Sep 24, 2016

For many people, community ties come from keeping up to date with the goings-on of your neighbors — someone’s graduation, a new restaurant opening up, or a long-time resident passing away. These days we mostly turn to Facebook for that sort of information.   


Credit Randen Pederson/Flickr

Communities can exist in almost any place – even in the alleys behind businesses where people smoke cigarettes. Smoking is, of course, very bad for you. And no smoker is deceiving themselves that they are engaging in a sort of healthy social behavior. 

Margaret Bullitt

This is what Margaret Bullitt did when she was in her 20s, living in New York and trying to launch an acting career. The Bullitts are an influential Seattle family. Coming from a family filled with people driven to do good and bring about positive change was intimidating.

“And this idea that you have to do for others and be good in the community and if you aren’t always doing for others, and doing good for the community, then somehow there’s something suspect,” says Bullitt.

A gallivanting black bear took police officers on an hours-long chase around the streets of downtown Anchorage, Alaska — and its escapades were captured on video.

"What seemed like an ordinary evening on patrol ... quickly changed when an officer was alerted to something only you would find in Alaska," captions on the Anchorage Police Department video declared.

The animal was eventually apprehended by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and nobody was hurt.

3,000-Year-Old Cooking Fail Found At A Danish Dig Site

Sep 21, 2016

Denmark currently holds the title of world's happiest country. But we could imagine at least one Norseman back in time who, after a failed cooking attempt, probably felt little of the famed Danish hygge.

In a hilly wetland north of Silkeborg, archaeologists have unearthed a wholly intact Bronze Age clay pot containing a cheesy and charred residue burned to its inside.

Credit Yinan Chen/Creative Commons

This week on Sound Effect, we hear about changes of scenery. We bring you stories of people who were exposed to a whole different part of the world, a culture they weren't familiar with, or a lifestyle they never imagined.

The Logging Camp

Will James / knkx

Imagine growing up in a state to total innocence and freedom.

You're a child, and you have an infinity of woods and mountains to explore. You eat fresh blackberries your mother picks in the forest. All the dangers of the modern world are miles away.

Everyone in town is like an uncle, a mother, a grandmother. They dress up as Santa Claus for Christmas and stage a big egg hunt every Easter. 

Rex Hohlbine / Facing Homelesness


One way to get a different view and to exit your comfort zone is to trade the warm and dry home you live in for a camper van that will take you around the country to meet and help the homeless. You'll also bring your nine-year-old along for this adventure.


This is what Jennifer Underwood of Seattle is doing with her daughter, Rory. They are on a national tour called, “Just Say Hello.”


Courtesy of Paul Wager

I have never considered myself a musician. My father paid for more weeks of piano lessons for me than I was willing to attend and my stretch as a bassist in a high school rock band lasted just long enough for me to learn the bass line to Pink Floyd’s "Money." But for some reason, after turning 33, I decided to take up the drums. I took one lesson from a friend and felt more enchanted by music than I have, well, ever.

Robert Hood / Fred Hutch

Maxine Linial is a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and one of the world's leading researchers on an obscure group of microorganisms called simian foamy viruses.

She’s been at the Hutch for 40 years looking through microscopes in the lab and studying swirling cells in petri dishes. However, that changed very suddenly five years ago.

Courtesy Erika Lee Bigelow

Erika Lee Bigelow was out for St. Patrick’s Day in Portland when she saw a card advertising a contest hosted by the beer company Guinness.  You had to write a 50-word essay finishing the sentence ‘The perfect pint of Guinness ...” The grand prize was a pub in Ireland. That’s right, you could win your own pub. So she wrote her essay:

More people from across the globe than ever are seeking to transform themselves on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. And as fall comes, the through-hiker season is wrapping up.

The building rises — bronze and "brooding," in the words of architect David Adjaye — floating in a sea of white marble and limestone on the sprawling National Mall in Washington, D.C.