Other News | KNKX

Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

John Raoux / AP

One of the region’s largest blood banks is sending some of its supply to help victims of the shooting in Las Vegas.

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire during a music festival where 58 people have died and more than 500 were injured.

Bloodworks Northwest is asking donors of all blood types to help replenish local supplies and help with the ongoing needs in Las Vegas.


This week on Sound Effect, stories of bugs in the system. We first head to the Burke Museum where baby beetles eat away at the flesh of dead animals, down to the bone, so scientists can have a clean specimen. Next, we talk to one of the best known food safety attorneys in the world about how his career took shape.

Gabriel Spitzer


Museums rely on many volunteers to carry out their mission. This is quite true for the Burke Museum on the campus of the University Of Washington, in Seattle.


In fact, the Burke has dozens of volunteers that live in a small windowless room, not much larger than a walk in closet. These dedicated workers have been here for years. They are dermestid beetles in their larval state: hungry baby beetles.


Credit NIAID/Flickr

Seattle Attorney Bill Marler is often thought of as a bug…an agitator…an annoyance to the beef and poultry industries, and even the companies that grow leafy greens. He’s the guy you call if you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to E. coli, salmonella, listeria, or any other bacteria that somehow works its way into mass food production and into your stomach.

E. Coli entered everyday lexicon when three people died and hundreds of others were sickened after eating Jack In The Box hamburgers back in 1993. One of the epicenters of the outbreak was here, in Washington State.

Worldoflucky / Wikimedia Commons

    On June 10, 1999, Bellingham residents began reporting the strong smell of gasoline. Then, within minutes, 911 operators were flooded with reports of a massive explosion.  A fuel pipeline had burst, dumping nearly 300,000 gallons of gasoline into nearby creeks.  

And then it ignited.  

Black smoke rose 30,000 feet in the air and flames shot out for over a mile. It’s considered a miracle there were only three deaths.  

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

There’s Ms Nimbus, Queen of the Air, and Drake, King of the High Dive. There’s the high-wire artistry of the fabulous Dmitry and Annette.

And then, of course, there’s Marcel, the world’s only “mime flea.”

These are just a few of the cast members of a unique Seattle attraction: Professor Payne’s Phantasmagorical Flea Circus.

Steve Sheppard


Brandon Hopkins was on track to become a high school biology teacher when he was invited by one of his professors at Washington State University to work in a lab with honey bees.

“Yeah, I bought every kind of itch cream they sold in the store  because my hands were swollen and itching from all the bee stings and I soaked my hands in ice every night and questioned my decision making,” recalls Hopkins.

Courtesy of Graham Owen / Film Flies

When Hollywood needs a housefly, they call Graham Owen. The head of the company Film Flies is a specialist when it comes to creating fake insects (and spiders and centipedes) used in movies, print ads and commercials. 


Owen has watched his creations appear in a Spider-Man movie, alight on the lip of Adam Sandler and even the star in a Breaking Bad episode. Each bug is meticulously recreated, leading to specimens so realistic that they have fooled real bugs into trying to mate with them.  


This week on Sound Effect, we hear stories of people who learned to hustle.

The Cookie Hustle

They may seem sweet (and they are), but sisters Hayden and Rena Korbol mean business. They are two of the top cookie sellers for the girl scouts in Western Washington, selling over 1,600 boxes each last year.

The Bootleg King

1998.31.1.126, Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma (Wash.)


Back in the 1920’s a Seattle police officer spotted a lucrative opportunity, and hustled fast to make it happen. His name was Roy Olmstead and for a time, he became a very rich man by running a highly illegal activity.


During prohibition, Olmstead supplied a dry Northwest with alcohol. Lots of alcohol. The good stuff too. Not moonshine.


No one is really certain how Olmstead went from being an enforcer of the law to a lawbreaker, but it’s believed he had a lot of help.


Courtesy Gracelynn Shibayama

College is really expensive. People take out loans, they work a million odd jobs, and if you’re lucky, you have parents who set up a college fund. When Gracelynn Shibayama was 17 years old, she had a college fund. But then, she got an email from her parents.    

“We had to use your college fund to pay for Calvin’s rehab. So, at that point it was like, Oh, this is getting really serious and if I want to go to college, and I thought that was going to be there, I’m going to have to start thinking about it now,” says Gracelynn.

Courtesy of Wil Miller

In the late 1990s, WIl MIller was working as a King County prosecutor in Seattle. And for the first time, he was exploring the gay nightlife. Spending his evenings in the city’s gay bars introduced him to his future lover and, through him, to crystal meth.

“If you're a gay man in the 90s and you're a little overweight and you’re a little self-conscious, it really seemed to solve all of my problems,” Miller said. “It played into every one of my weaknesses.”

Winning The Pot Lottery Doesn't Always Mean Greener Pastures

Sep 16, 2017
Courtesy Tahoma Growers Farm

This story originally aired on May 13, 2017.

When Washington state legalized recreational marijuana in 2013, the state held a lottery to award around 200 grower permits. Thousands applied, and on a whim, so did a group of friends that just happened to own a patch of land near Goldendale, in Eastern Washington. They never really thought they’d win, so when they did, it came as a shock. 



This show originally aired on May 13, 2017.

This week on Sound Effect, stories of that moment when everything changes for better or worse.

It's Showtime

Steve Wilson

Television producer and director, Steve Wilson, says making television is just like making cheese.


“People consume cheese. Some people make really good cheese. Other people make really terrible cheese. But, everybody eats cheese —and I make the cheese,” he told us.



How One Very Tall Christmas Tree Saved Northgate Mall

Sep 16, 2017
Courtesy of C.R. Douglas

This story originally aired on May 13, 2017.

Back in 1950, Northgate Mall was just opening its doors. It was struggling to get off its feet and fill empty shops. Big local retailers like Nordstrom and Friedlander didn’t believe that a regional shopping center all the way up north could survive. At that time, downtown was where people went to shop.  

Jim Douglas set out to change this. Douglas helped launch major city legacies like SeaFair and the World’s Fair, but his crowning achievement was saving Northgate.

Courtesy Marvin Charles

This story originally aired on May 13, 2017.

Marvin Charles is the co-founder of a Seattle organization called DADS —Divine Alternative for Dads Services. Marvin and his wife, Jeanett, help men from all walks of life get back on their feet, find work and ultimately, reconnect with their kids.

Now, you might think that Marvin must be one of these parents who know all — a go-to person whose advice is golden and who comes from a loving home himself.

This is how Marvin’s life started. But then things got really complicated.

Courtesy of Wendy Hinman

This story originally aired on May 13, 2017.

Off the coast of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean, brightly colored coral reefs sit a few inches below translucent waves. It’s these unsuspecting reefs that changed everything for one family back in 1974.

Their story starts in the early 1970s in San Francisco Bay where Chuck Wilcox and his wife Dawn loved to sail with their two kids, Garth and Linda. They would glide through the waters of the protected bay, Chuck dreaming of life at sea and Dawn imagining all the new places they could visit.

This week on Sound Effect, we hear stories of people who refused to give up.

Billy Idolator

Hebah Fisher


Mohamed Farid loves the water. He’s been drawn to it ever since he was a little boy. He started sailing small boats when he was in his twenties in Dubai. These smaller vessels capsize easily. Since he was sailing in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf, this was not a problem.


Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX

Last June, Ana Ramirez headed to a meeting of the Western Washington University student government. She had just been elected as Vice President for Governmental Affairs and, as it turned out, the meeting was about her.

Ramirez, now a 19-year-old sophomore, is an undocumented immigrant, brought into the United States from Mexico when she was six months old. She had just learned from university administrators that she wouldn’t be allowed to assume the position she had campaigned for and won.

And sure enough, when she arrived at that meeting, she was told to leave.

Credit Chris Cozzone

Tricia Arcaro Turton’s career started with a big fat “no.” She says she was never one to be discouraged just because someone tells her she can’t do something. And at a young age, she was told that she couldn’t be a 

boxer. She decided to write off the sport all together.

But later in life she would undergo grueling training, and eventually became a professional boxer. This, of course, came after she played elite rugby on the United States national team. She’d rack up 8 wins and 4 losses as a boxer before retiring in 2005, and now she has her own gym.

Courtesy of Michael Henrichsen

Michael ​Henrichsen’s parents met at a Duran Duran concert. He’s named after the lead singer of INXS. He practically has 1980s and 90s pop music in his DNA. So maybe it’s no surprise that, after hearing a Debbie Gibson song in a piano bar, the 30-year old Henrichsen got a little obsessed.

Gabriel Spitzer / KNKX


When Meg Martin first moved to Olympia, Washington from Montana in 2007, she was recovering from a drug addiction and looking to start a new life. In Olympia, she threw herself into outreach work. She volunteered for a program that uses bicycles to deliver clean needles to people on the street who use injection drugs.


Night after night, she’d encounter people who were homeless. Because these men and women were actively using drugs, they were not eligible to stay in area shelters.


We are excited to announce several new additions to our weekly broadcast schedule. Listeners have told us -- now more than ever -- that they value calm, civil conversations. So, starting the week of October 16th, we’ll introduce a slate of new evening programming that will make you think, wonder, and -- we hope -- smile.

Our Bellingham translator at 88.7 is off the air. Our audio engineers are working to restore service. We expect to be back on the air on Friday, September 8.  In the meantime, you can listen to KNKX on our digital services: streaming at KNKX.org, and our 24 hour jazz station, Jazz24 at jazz24.org. Thank you for listening to KNKX.

KNKX Turns One!

Aug 31, 2017

It’s our first birthday!

On this day, one year ago, KNKX went on-air for the very first time as an independent, community station.

So, today is actually a celebration of YOU.

Thank you for your incredible commitment to saving local and national news, thoughtful dialogue, and inspiring music. We wouldn’t be here without you!


This week on Sound Effect, we hear stories of what it means to pass down old tales, traditions, businesses and music to the next generation.

Jennifer Wing / KNKX

Sharon Maeda inherited a unique legacy from her grandfather. It was built around his value of community service and it involves free fruit.

As a child in Portland, Maeda would take the bus with her grandfather to visit all different types of people. Sometimes they would travel to tenements or walk down dingy hallways.

Marcus Harrison Green says people of color tend to be responsible for talking about racism to each other and to white people. But what does it look like when white people talk to each other about race?