Bruce Hudson


This week on Sound Effect, Gabriel Spitzer and his team scour the archives for the show's most memorable musical segments.

We kick off with a short lesson on a tiny instrument, as Gabriel Spitzer literally tries his hands at the ukulele at the house of a renowned uke expert in Wallingford. Then, off to Vito's on First Hill with Ed Ronco to hear from the restaurant's beloved piano player, Ruby Bishop.

Tim Durkan Photography

Enjoy the weather this Thanksgiving weekend. High pressure above us has set up in a stable pattern that will stick around until Monday, keeping rain away until sometime Tuesday. 

"No precipitation (guaranteed), sunny, with little clouds ... a tonic against Seasonal Affective Disorder," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Expect clear skies and cooler temps, with highs in the mid-40s and lows down into the 20s or even the teens in western Washington. There might be some fog in a few places and there is a possibility of some air quality issues, as smog builds up.

Wikimedia Commons

What would you do if a stranger tried to throw a party at your house and invited all 700 of their Facebook friends? Sound Effect Senior Producer Arwen Nicks lays out local artist and prankster Derek Erdman’s scheme to watch "Singles", a classic grunge film from the 1990s, in the courtyard of the apartment building where it was filmed.

Paula Wissel

This time of year, it’s worth a reminder that some children’s gifts can be hazardous. The annual “dangerous toys” list is out from the Washington Public Interest Research Group. For its “Trouble in Toyland” report, the group scoured store shelves for toys that pose choking hazards, or have magnets so powerful they can cause serious internal injuries if swallowed, or are so loud they can hurt kid's hearing.

Courtesy Act Now for Washington Students Facebook Page

Washington state's charter schools will get one last regular infusion of state money — for their November operating expenses — before a state Supreme Court decision shutting off their current funding source takes effect next month, state education officials confirmed this week.

Parker Miles Blohm

Clarinetist (and sometime saxophonist) Anat Cohen is a one-woman music-blender.  Born and raised in Tel Aviv and now living in New York, Anat lays out a world of influences in almost every song she plays.  Jazz, classical, klezmer, tango, Brazilian — whatever style or genre of music you can think of, you’ll hear at least echoes of it in Ms. Cohen’s music if you listen long enough.  (And by "long enough" we mean, like, an evening’s performance from her and her band.) 

Parker Miles Blohm for the Northwest News Network

Editor’s note: The Northwest News Network is funded in part by KUOW and KPLU. N3 hired an independent reporter and editor for this story.


More than 200 people showed up at a meeting of KPLU’s Community Advisory Council on Monday to express frustration over the recently announced sale of the public radio station to the University of Washington, and its licensee KUOW.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Microsoft is helping to preserve forests at the foot of Mount Rainier by investing in the potential of trees and restored forests to soak up carbon pollution. The value of absorbed greenhouse gas emissions will be set through California's cap-and-trade exchange and the income used to grow the asset, through new plantings and road removals.

Dick Stein, Nancy Leson / KPLU

At first I took it personally when Nancy Leson told me she had a new use for old vegetables.  Then she explained it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with making a tasty vegetable stock.   Meat-centric old me asked, "Really?  It actually had some flavor?"

"It did after I got done with it." she bragged.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest

Democratic Rep. Derek Kilmer says the way a new submarine wharf is being built on the Kitsap Peninsula should be a model for other federal projects. He says it was the first time the Department of Defense used a special labor agreement that’s supposed to ensure local workers get hired.

Anthony Bopp

A transgender Seattle man has won his battle against an insurance company over his medical treatment. Anthony Bopp, who works in the produce section at a local QFC grocery store, has health coverage through Sound Health and Wellness Trust, but the insurer has been refusing to pay for routine treatment Bopp needs.

Jasperdo / Flickr

Western Washington University administrators called off all classes Tuesday after getting word of "hate speech targeted at Western students of color" on social media.

WWU president Bruce Shepard said in a statement there was "no threat to general campus safety," but that he canceled classes in order to give the Bellingham campus time "demonstrate our outrage, to listen to each other, and to support each other."

Waugsberg / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Imagine what your Thanksgiving table would look like without any food that is pollinated by bees.  

It’s a challenge issued by the group Environment Washington, which is highlighting the issue with a campaign called “No Bees, No Food.”

Canvassers for the group say if bees die off, then turkey, rolls and potatoes are all  that would be left on the table. Dairy products would be endangered. And you can forget about vegetables or traditional pies.

Dennis Wise / University of Washington

Researchers at the University of Washington say they have figured out how to make lasers do something they have never done before: make a liquid colder.


Last year nearly 3,000 refugees from all over the world resettled in Washington state. Only 25 are from Syria. That number is expected to increase.

Amber French

A sampling of new and recent releases by resident Northwest musicians is featured on Jazz Northwest this week. One of the most unusual is Recording Ban by Jacob Zimmerman.  The title refers to the musicians' union strike against the recording companies 1942-1944. The Recording Ban occurred at a time when jazz was evolving from Swing to Bop and as a result some significant music was not played in recording studios during those years.


Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme and this week we bring you notes from “Underground.” 

This week our gaggle of local journalists includes Kari Plog of the Tacoma News Tribune, Steve Wilhem of the Puget Sound Business Journal and Hanna Brooks Olsen of Seattlish

Elaine Thompson / AP

Recreational pot is legal in Washington, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to procure. New legislation could change that by making it legal to “grow your own.”

In Oregon, you can grow four plants. In Alaska, Colorado and D.C. the number is six. But here, that number is zero.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The holiday season might be just getting underway, but a major cold snap is already here. Ski areas are opening across the region and forecasts are calling for the possibly of lowland snow early next week. Specifically, lowland snow in some areas on Tuesday morning.

But whether that will actually come to pass is still a big question.

“I wouldn’t be the house on it,” says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, “But I would be prepared, either way.”  

Chances are, you’ve never heard a quartet quite like The Westerlies.  Generally, a jazz quartet is a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums) with a lead instrument (say, saxophone).  Not The Westerlies.  No, no.  Here you have two trumpets and two trombones.  With this unique configuration, they present what is best described as chamber jazz—original compositions, unique arrangements and beautiful improvisation.

LM Otero / AP Photo

The Mariners have been the busiest team in Major League Baseball this offseason, remaking their roster in a big way. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel likes what he sees.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

UPDATED — Washington state Supreme Court justices have denied a request from charter school advocates to reconsider an earlier ruling that ends state funding for charter schools.

A spokeswoman for the court said justices original ruling will become effective Dec. 14.

photo courtesy of the Tri-City Americans

Amid all the hubbub in the legislature last session over school funding and transportation spending, lawmakers also passed a bill that, in effect, exempts Western Hockey League players from state child labor and minimum wage laws.

Shortly after that, the Department of Labor and Industries closed a lengthy investigation into the hockey league without taking any action, a move that is troubling to Mary Miller, who was a child labor specialist with the department for more than a decade before she left last year.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Transportation network companies Uber and Lyft have made it easier to catch a ride in Seattle. It’s also changed the landscape for drivers of traditional taxis. In fact, the competition has become so fierce that drivers see a need to organize.

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

If you’ve flown recently, you’ve also experienced airport security. And you’ve maybe also had to wait as travelers with a certain clearance are let through security ahead of you. It’s part of a program called TSA PreCheck, where travelers can pay $85 and undergo some advance screening once, allowing them to breeze through much shorter security lines without removing shoes and belts.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Seattle School Board members issued a vote of confidence in the district's top administrator Wednesday night, approving a five percent raise and a one-year contract extension for Superintendent Larry Nyland by a 6-1 vote.

But Nyland surprised the board room by saying he would donate the amount of this year's increase in his base salary — more than $13,800 in total — back to Seattle Public Schools' general fund.

Hope for Gorilla/Flickr

Starting next year, all Seattle high schools will push their start times later — most of them by almost an hour — and most elementaries will start significantly earlier under an overhaul of the district's bell schedule school board members approved Wednesday night.

The board's 6-1 vote puts Seattle Public Schools on a relatively short list: by one count, only 70 districts nationwide have pushed back high school start times in an effort to match students' natural sleep rhythms with their school schedules.

Michael Dwyer / AP

Deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses are down in Washington, but new statewide numbers show that progress is being offset by another alarming statistic.

Between 2008 and 2014, the number of people who died from prescription narcotic overdoses dropped from over 512 to 319. But over the same period, the number of deaths from heroin overdose nearly doubled, to 293.

Parker Miles Blohm

For 15 years, The Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra has been a mainstay of the Northwest jazz scene, and ever since KPLU has been doing studio sessions in our Seattle studios, we’ve wanted to have them come in and play live for you.  One problem:  our studio isn’t big enough for the entire orchestra.