Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

President Trump's budget blueprint calls for eliminating dozens of government programs and zeroing out funding for 19 independent agencies. And that may only be a preview of things to come as the Trump administration seeks to reorganize the executive branch.

One hundred seeds: That's the number Minara Begum needs to plant in her Detroit backyard in order to grow enough vegetables such as squash, taro root and amaranth greens to feed her family for the year.

She learned to cook and garden at a young age in Bangladesh. In the two years since she moved to the U.S., she's grown traditional South Asian crops to feed her family — and whoever visits — on any given day. There's always a pot, or several, on the stove.

Austin Jenkins / knkx

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you an investigative look into a spike in prison suicides here in Washington state. During 2014 and 2015, 11 inmate deaths were ruled suicide, giving Washington one of the highest prison suicide rates in the country. There didn’t seem to be a pattern, but the prison system knew it had a problem. 

An interview about South Korea's political upheaval became one of the most popular things on the Internet on Friday, when the children of professor Robert E. Kelly became the inadvertent stars of his spot on the BBC.

For more than a year, Donald Trump has harped on white nostalgia.

A hearkening back to a rosy, but ambiguous, time in American history with his Make America Great Again slogan propelled his presidential run. It was a message, though, largely not embraced in minority communities, given that blacks, Latinos and women were fighting for equal rights during the same period Trump has indicated he believes America was great (the Industrial Revolution and the post-World War II 1940s and '50s).

This week on Sound Effect, stories of what happens when things get messy, for better and for worse.  

Courtesy of Lizzie Nielson

Seated in a bucket, ears plugged, grinning through the cascade of green, oozy chaos, fourth-grade Lizzie Nielson lived a Nickelodeon fan’s dream.

“I have all the paperwork in order to suggest that I was slimed,” says Nielson.

 

She does, in both photographic and certificate form, lest anyone doubt this point of pride.

 

The children's television network Nickelodeon is famous for sliming everyone, from kids to celebrities, with a waterfall of thick, green, plastic-smelling goo.

Courtesy of Kevin Clark / Everett Herald

Sometimes a mess serves a very special purpose. For the Pyles family in Lake Stevens, Wash., words scrawled across their home help them communicate with their son, Jessie.

Courtesy EPA Gorst Creek Removal

Most abandoned landfills do not have a happy ending. Kitsap County alone has dozens of them, sitting around and festering in the ground.

But one place, called the Gorst Creek Landfill, is finally getting cleaned up, thanks to some very dedicated peninsula residents and $27 million from the Navy.

Courtesy Ruby Brown

Former 88.5 KNKX Jazz Sunday Side Up host Ruby Brown had known for a long time that her brother Andy had battled mental health issues. But it wasn’t until last summer when he took his own life that she and her family were able to understand the extent of it.

Courtesy Seattle Choruses

Last April, composer, arranger and conductor Paul Caldwell was weeks away from leaving Chicago for a new life and new job as the artistic director for the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus. But after leaving his best friend’s place, he became the victim of a terrible hit and run accident.

Caldwell was struck by a car, severely fracturing several bones in his body, including his legs and right arm. His head landed on a bag filled with sheet music, rather than the hard street, saving his life.

On a brisk fall afternoon, Pat shows up at the Manhattan apartment dressed like your typical soccer dad. He's wearing a baseball cap, sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers. He's greeted at the door with a kiss on the cheek by the gracefully-attired Veronica Vera.

In a few hours, after Vera and her team have asked Pat a few questions about his female persona and provided him some practical lessons in social graces and female aesthetics, he'll walk back out as "Bianca"– a sassy, 30-something-looking strawberry blonde.

After the upset results of the presidential election, some people felt motivated to become politically active. Justine Lee? She got the urge to host a dinner.

But not your typical dinner party, where, if politics seeps into the conversation, things typically don't turn volatile because all the guests likely share the same views. No, Lee was interested in the opposite: a gathering over a meal where all sorts of perspectives get aired.

There's nothing like being out of office for more than eight years to make a former president look happy and, maybe for some, human again.

George W. Bush appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night --laughing, cracking jokes and charming his host as he plugged his new book of portraits of veterans.

Tacoma, Wa by Atomic Taco/Flickr

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you some memorable stories we’ve shared about the people of Tacoma.

GI Newspapers

88.5’s Paula Wissel gives us a glimpse into the underground GI movement, a network of subversive publications and meeting places catering to the military which sprung out of the antiwar movement during the Vietnam era. We learn about one particular underground newspaper published near Ft. Lewis.

Patrick Rodriguez via Wikimedia Commons

Often times our sense of responsibility is to a place, a community. For writer Jack Cameron, that place is Tacoma; he just loves his hometown.
“There’s not a lot of pompousness around Tacoma. [It] almost doesn’t care about image and that’s what I like about it,” says Cameron. 

Ashley Gross / KNKX

To live in the Northwest is, to some extent, to roll the dice. If you lived through the 1965 Seattle earthquake, or the Nisqually quake in 2001, or if you just read the New Yorker article about the “really big one” destined to hit our region, you know this well: There are forces under our feet that could just shrug our cities off into the abyss.

The push and pull of continental plates is so huge compared with a puny little human. And yet, for a man named Kelcy Allen, the act of a child shielded him from the seismic forces. He’s spent decades feeling grateful to the boy who died saving his life.

Courtesy Stephen Cysewski

 

Four years, after becoming the “Upper Tacoma Business District,” Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood finally reclaimed its name.

Back in 2007, the area was struggling with drugs and gang violence, and business owners felt re-branding the neighborhood would do away with what they saw as a tarnished reputation.

 

But to many locals, the name Hilltop was a point of pride. The decision to rename the neighborhood was eventually reversed in 2011.

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 notion of dog years stems from the common belief that one year for a dog equals seven years for a human. Although canine aging is more nuanced than a simple formula, any dog lover knows that dogs' lives pass far too quickly.

Even so, America's 70 million dogs, like their human companions, are living longer, on average, because of better medical care and nutrition. Caring for elderly dogs can be heart-wrenching. Many pet owners struggle to understand when to pursue aggressive care and when to stop and help a beloved pet pass on.

The knkx community advisory council will hold their quarterly meeting on Monday, February 27, from 2 - 3:30 p.m. at the Tacoma office.

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

In the waning years of the Civil War, advertisements like this began appearing in newspapers around the country:

"INFORMATION WANTED By a mother concerning her children.

Every day on his way to class, Terrence Johnson walks by a bronze statue and thinks about history. The statue depicts James Meredith, who in 1962 became the first African-American to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

"He transcended so much," says Johnson, a junior. "The fact that he had the will to integrate a university like this in Mississippi that has such a rich and chaotic history ... that will always be with me."

Shipwrecks along the Pacific Northwest coast number in the thousands. A handful have become the long-running obsessions of a cadre of shipwreck buffs.

About 13 years ago, The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vt., released a new IPA called Heady Topper. The brewer, John Kimmich, had decided to neither filter nor pasteurize the beer — both common methods of extending a commercial beer's shelf life. The result was an IPA thicker with the microscopic compounds and particulates that add flavor and aroma. Customers noticed and praised the beer as being especially tasty.

At 98, Riichi Fuwa doesn't remember his Social Security number, but he remembers this: "19949. That was my number the government gave me," he said. "19949. You were more number than name."

That was the number that Fuwa was assigned when he was 24 years old, soon after he was forced off his family's farm in Bellingham, Wash., and incarcerated at the Tule Lake camp, just south of the Oregon border in California's Modoc County.

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you stories of TMI, as in too much information. 

The Jeopardy Champ

Seattle resident Ken Jennings won 74 times in a row on the popular trivia show "Jeopardy!" and is the the second highest earner in game show history with a total of more than $3.1 million. He explains how he keeps all that information in his brain.

The Home of The Cloud

Credit Allie Ferguson

Ken Jennings says knowing a lot of random facts can really come in handy when it comes to bringing people together — connecting with total strangers. He says having random knowledge about someone’s job or alma mater is a little bit like knowing about a person before you even get to meet them.

Jennings says that the trick to being able to consume and retain so much knowledge is largely due to a wide interest in everything, because people are more likely to retain things that they are interested in.

Will James / KNKX

The electronic data we use isn't as ephemeral as it seems. Our photos, videos, and email take up physical space in the world.

Patty Martin knows this. Some of it ends up outside her kitchen window. 

Martin lives in Quincy, a rural Washington town that happens to house vast chunks of the internet in gigantic data centers. 

Quincy, a town of about 7,000 people in a bowl of gentle hills, was known for food processing plants that turned potatoes into French fries.

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