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Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

When Architect Matthias Hollwich was approaching 40, he wondered what the next 40 years of his life might look like. He looked into the architecture that serves older adults, places like retirement communities and assisted living facilities, and didn't like what he saw. But what if we changed our habits earlier in life so we could stay in the communities we already live in?

Andy Spearing / Flickr

This week Sound Effect brings us stories of people who have gone through trials and tribulations, and maybe have made a few mistakes, but have no regrets.

Stephen Brashear / AP

Last December, St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams punter Johnny Hekker, an Edmonds resident who grew up in Bothell,  did not make many new friends in the Pacific Northwest. He punted the ball to the Seahawks, and after the play was over, he came up behind Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril and drilled him to the ground.

Aran Khanna

Bellevue native Aran Khanna always loved to build things. When he went off to college at Harvard, Khanna thrust himself into computer science; his love of building became a love of coding. For Khanna, the holy grail of college internships was Facebook. He dreamed of a place where it was encouraged to code first and ask questions later.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

It’s a reality of life on the Pacific Coast — occasionally, dead whales wash up on the beach. So when a deceased gray whale appeared in the surf in Long Beach, Wash., the city fathers took steps to bury it in the sand.

About a year later, they were thinking about how to observe the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark’s arrival at the Pacific Ocean. The explorers had written of seeing a whale skeleton on the Long Beach peninsula back in the 1800s, and so the Long Beach leaders decided to dig up their whale. They weren’t sure what they would find.

Adrien Leavitt

At age 23, Brie Ripley is certain she does not want to have her own biological children. Really, it’s something she has known since she was a teenager. She tried virtually every method of birth control available, but found she experienced side effects and bad reactions to each. So she settled on a more permanent solution: She wanted to have her tubes tied.

Lesley Reed

In 2000, Seattle lawyer Bob Dickerson was diagnosed with cancer. He was given a terminal diagnosis of 1 to 20 years. With that uncertain and gloomy future, Bob quit his job and began a life of advocacy.

Bob worked tirelessly with the charitable organization RESULTS on behalf of impoverished children across the world. He developed strong relationships with Washington state politicians and activists in order to push for global change.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

Getting a tattoo can certainly be an occasion for regret. Getting a tattoo that has an intentional misspelling in it could potentially lead to more opportunity for regret. Naming your debut album after your intentionally misspelled tattoo pretty much sums up the "no regrets" attitude of the Seattle-based band Chastity Belt.

Beautifully lit, perfectly styled food photography is everywhere — in magazines, food blogs, and even Instagram, where your 10-year-old cousin is already expert at using natural light to make mom's cooking look delicious. These images are usually carefully curated to project an image of an idealized existence where the chicken never burns and everyone is always smiling, perfectly coiffed round the table.

Aubrey Fletcher knew she wanted to work on a dairy farm ever since she was a little girl.

"I do remember my mom asking, 'Are you sure that's what you want to do?' " Fletcher recalls. She knew the work would be tough — she grew up milking cows every day. But it's what she wanted.

So she and her husband's family collaborated to start Edgewood Creamery outside of Springfield, Mo., last August. They recently opened a storefront on the farm selling their milk and cheese.

Chinese food has become ingrained in this country's culinary landscape over the years — giving rise to some uniquely Americanized dishes like General Tsao's chicken, beef and broccoli, and of course, the ubiquitous fortune cookie.

But some of the Chinese food you'll find in and around Boston is something else altogether. Bread often comes as a standard add-on with any takeout order. There's chow mein sandwiches and Peking ravioli (aka dumplings). There's the thick, dark lobster sauce.

Beekeeper Nick French never knows what he'll find when he opens up his hives for the first spring inspections. Of the 40 hives he manages in Parker, Colo., French loses about one-quarter of his colonies every year.

"I work all summer long to raise healthy bees, but there are no guarantees they'll make it through the winter," says French, founder of Frangiosa Farm.

Organic food has gone majorly mainstream, right? Wal-Mart has been driving down the price of organic with an in-house organic line. Whole Foods has begun experimenting with cheaper stores to catch up.

You'll soon know whether many of the packaged foods you buy contain ingredients derived from genetically modified plants, such as soybeans and corn.

Over the past week or so, big companies including General Mills, Mars and Kellogg have announced plans to label such products – even though they still don't think it's a good idea.

Oliver Spitzer

This week Sound Effect brings you tales of childhood dreams, and people who have actually managed to live them out.

Claire Buss grew up bathed in the glow of daytime TV, and she dreamed of someday having her own game show. Then, in her 20s, Buss figured out that she could have one – she just needed to make one up and start doing it in her living room. She talks with Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson about how she created “The Future Is Zero,” and why contestants keep coming back.

Courtesy of Diane Whalen

As a young girl in Catholic school, Diane Whalen always wanted to be close to God. She set her sights on becoming a nun, until puberty hit and her interest in boys forced her to make a course correction.

It wasn't until Whalen was in her 20s that she started hearing people advocate for women’s ordination into priesthood. The Church never did come around to this idea, but an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests began ordaining women outside of the Church institutions. In 2010, Whalen became the first female ordained priest in Washington.

Courtesy of Forrest Fenn

Many children dream of buried treasure and fantastical adventures in search of gold and jewels. Some adventurous adults are following through on those dreams, scouring the western United States for the treasure of Forrest Fenn. 

A Child Seeks A Confidante In 'Hillery'

Mar 26, 2016
Arwen Nicks

Back in the early '90s, Sound Effect contributor Arwen Nicks was just 10 years old. But as it turns out, she might have been far too grown up for her own good. While a lot of 10-year-olds might be writing letters to movie stars or musicians or athletes that they admire, 10-year-old Arwen was writing letters to Hillary Clinton.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Most of us abandon our childhood dreams, and Kevin Wood was no different. As a boy he’d been enchanted by ships and he wanted desperately to sail the seven seas. Then he did the sensible thing and went to college on a normal career path.

But one summer on a visit to Key West, he encountered a docked tall ship. The next thing he knew he was training to sail, dropping out of college, and beginning a life at sea.

Courtesy of Robert Hood / Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Vice President Joe Biden used his visit to Seattle Monday to call for breaking down barriers that keep scientists from cooperating to fight cancer.

 

So you walk into the new Korean joint around the corner and discover that (gasp) the head chef is a white guy from Des Moines. What's your gut reaction? Do you want to walk out? Why?

The question of who gets to cook other people's food can be squishy — just like the question of who gets to tell other people's stories. (See: the whole controversy over the casting of the new Nina Simone biopic.)

Our Richland Correspondent Anna King has won two Gracie Awards, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announced Monday. Anna has won the Gracie for outstanding correspondent and the Gracie for crisis coverage in the award's public radio division.

Used With Permission Of Jason Padgett / struckbygenius.com

This week on "Sound Effect," we listen back to stories of survivors.

If you're planning to hoist a pint of Irish dry stout for St. Patrick's Day, the folks at Guinness have a polite request: Don't slurp the foamy head off their beer. It's essentially a nitrogen cap, they say, that's protecting the flavors underneath from being oxidized.

St. Patrick's is a huge day for the legendary brewer – of the 70 million people who are estimated to be celebrating today, around 13 million will also drink a glass of Guinness.

Today is the day that the Guinness flows freely, tough brisket is transformed into tender corned beef, and we celebrate the Emerald Isle with humble cabbage. This holy trinity of meat, veg and stout is the communion of St. Patrick's Day.

But the history of that meal is relatively short, going back mainly to trade and immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Want to feast like St. Patrick would have celebrated more than 1,600 years ago? Let's party like it's 399.

Psychologists disagree on whether expecting your marriage to be a deeply fulfilling relationship makes it more likely that the union will thrive, or that it will doom you to disappointment.

So, psychologists, should we just go ahead and expect the worst after the honeymoon?

Want to mark this St. Patrick's Day with something beyond the usual corned beef and cabbage (which aren't so traditionally Irish anyway)? Why not mix up your menu with a tasty tray of blaas?

Editor's note: Last fall, NPR's Maanvi Singh embarked on a months-long quest to find her ideal pumpkin pie recipe. As she discovered, there's a lot of science involved in getting the crust and filling just the way you like it. To celebrate Pi Day, we reprise this story, first published last December.

It was the best of pies, it was the worst of pies. I have baked many, many, many pies.

And when I first began making pumpkin pies this autumn, my results were at best inconsistent and, at worst, disastrous.

When most people want to play a game, the first thing they reach for is likely a smartphone or tablet. Actual pinball machines have become quaint curiosities, but a father-son duo in California is keeping these old-school games alive in a museum.

The Museum of Pinball is hidden away in an old industrial building, just off Interstate 10 and about 90 miles east of Los Angeles in Banning, Calif. It's pretty quiet when the rows upon rows of pinball machines are not turned on. But once the switch is flipped, it gets loud.

Carol Guzy / Washington Post

This week on "Sound Effect," we bring you stories of crossing the divide.

First, a look at the divide between secular and Christian artists in Seattle's alternative music scene. Music writer Kathleen Tarrant explains how mega-church Mars Hill blurred that divide by opening a popular all-ages venue in Seattle. But she says the crossover culture didn't last for long.

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