Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

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.

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.

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Photos courtesy of Kimya Dawson, Tim Durkin, Melanie McFarland, Tom Robbins and Skerik

This week on Sound Effect, we bring you a special premiere broadcast of the live event we put on in May 2016. At the time, our station was raising money to buy our independence, so the Sound Effect team brought together interesting people from around Washington state to tell stories of friends in need.

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Seattle photographer Tim Durkin is known for his stunning images of Seattle's skyline. However, he also documents the city's grittier side. He captures intimate images of homelessness and addiction including stark photos of Seattleites shooting up heroin.

Credit Parker Miles Blohm

On our show, we do strive to get the complexity of this region and capture what it means to live here in all of it's contrasting glory — both the pretty and the gritty. And on our show, when we're doing our job, we're telling stories that have a lot of that. We really believe that a story can be sad and hilarious and heartbreaking and surprising all at once. It's an eclectic thing we are trying to do.  

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

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. 

Parker Miles Blohm / knkx

Iconic American author Tom Robbins has long been a psychedelic figure in the literary world. Novels like "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "‎Still Life with Woodpecker" are poetic, irreverent cult classics for many American writers.

At our live event, "A Friend In Need," Robbins read from his memoir, "Tibetan Peach Pie." He also sat down with Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer and reminisced about his days hosting a weekly show, Notes From The Underground at local radio station KRAB-FM. We even share a few clips from a young Tom Robbins on the KRAB airwaves. 

#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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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.

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A King County Metro RapidRide B Line bus approaches.
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.

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