Gabriel Spitzer

Health & Science Reporter / Assistant News Director

Gabriel Spitzer covers health and science at KPLU, after a year covering youth and education. He joined KPLU after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.

Gabriel received his Master's of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and his degree in English at Cornell University. He’s been honored with the Kavli Science Journalism Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and won awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Ashley and their two sons, Ezra and Oliver.

Gabriel’s most memorable KPLU moment was: “In just my second week here, I found myself covering the unfolding story of a mass shooting and citywide manhunt. It was a tragic and chaotic day, when the public badly needed someone to sort the facts from the rumors. It made me proud of our profession.”

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Vaccine Refusal
11:33 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Team Develops Early Warning Tool for Vaccine Skepticism

Seattle researchers say their survey helps predict which kids will be behind schedule on immunizations.
USACE Europe District Flickr

Seattle researchers have developed a kind of early-warning device for identifying parents suspicious of childhood vaccines. With an especially high rate of parents opting out of vaccines for their kids in Washington, pediatrician Doug Opel has been trying to figure out how to intervene early on.

Opel practices at Seattle Children’s Hospital and at its research institute. He is also an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He and others developed a survey of parents’ attitudes about vaccination. In a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, they found that the survey does a pretty good job of predicting which kids would be under-vaccinated by the time they’re 19 month sold.

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Bertha, The Boring Machine
4:18 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Boring Bertha Back to Eating Dirt after Month Delay

WSDOT

The drill known as Bertha is back to eating dirt after a slow start, then a delay, then a delay caused by the delay.

The massive machine boring the Highway 99 tunnel beneath Seattle had been sitting still while two labor unions duked it out over a handful of jobs.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week he’d brokered a deal in the dispute, and said the digging would resume after a few days.

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Affordable Care Act
4:38 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Volunteers Plaster King County with Obamacare Sales Pitch

Stu Jennings got the manager of Malo's Auto Body in White Center to post a flier about Wahington HealhtPlanFinder.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

On the same day House Republicans voted to defund the Affordable Care Act, King County is making a big push to implement it. Volunteers went door-to-door and business-to-business across the county Friday.

Public health officials are trying to get uninsured King County residents to buy insurance on the state’s new exchange. Many of them have never had coverage before.

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Affordable Care Act
5:00 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Defund Obamacare? Sen. Murray: 'It's Not Gonna Happen'

AP

Washington’s senior senator says she won’t let Republicans sacrifice the new health care law in order to pass a budget. The Republican-controlled House is pushing a plan that would do just that.

Sen. Patty Murray took to the Senate floor Wednesday to tell them, “It’s not gonna happen.”

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Education
5:00 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Union Vote Begins for Some PLU Faculty Members

Pacific Lutheran University

Disclosure: Pacific Lutheran University holds the license for KPLU, where on-air staff are affiliated with SAG-AFTRA.

Faculty members at Pacific Lutheran University begin voting Thursday on whether to unionize. It’s the result of a monthslong fight that has pitted PLU’s lecturers, adjunct professors and other non-tenure track instructors against the administration.

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Sports
4:22 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Seahawks Fans Will 'Most Likely' Go Home with Hearing Damage

Centurylink Field has long claimed to be the league's loudest.
U. S. Embassy Panama Flickr

The Seattle Seahawks will take on San Francisco in the season’s home opener Sunday night, and a fan group wants the crowd to get loud—loud enough to set a world record.

The crowd’s roar is powerful enough to disorient opponents and, famously, register on a nearby seismic monitor. So just imagine what it must sound like from smack in the middle of it.

“It’s really hard to describe the feeling,” said Joe Tafoya, the former Seahawks defensive end who’s helping organize the record attempt.

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regulating marijuana
2:43 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Proposed Pot Rules Revised; Buffer Zone to be Measured as Crow Flies

Associated Press

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is tightening up its proposed regulation on where marijuana businesses can be located. Stores, processors, and grow operations will have to be at least 1, 000 feet from schools, parks and daycares—not by common path of travel, but as the crow flies, the board said Friday. 

The board had considered using streets and sidewalks to measure the distance instead of a straight line on the map. But board director Rick Garza says it has become obvious that the federal government did not agree.

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Science
4:12 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Seattle Scientist's Discovery Leads to Promising Brain Cancer Results

Glioblastoma is teh most common kind of brain tumor, and carries a grim prognosis.
jbrandner Wikimedia Commons

A promising but preliminary new study based on a Seattle scientist's discovery has shown dramatic increases in survival for people with brain cancer.

Charles Cobbs, now head of the Ben and Cathy Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, figured out a key feature of the most common kind of brain tumor, glioblastoma.

The tumor appears to be connected to a virus that most of us carry, called CVM. It’s harmless in most people, but for some, it seems to promote tumor growth.

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regulating marijuana
2:01 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

On Marijuana, Feds Plan to Address Banking Issue

Associated Press

The Department of Justice has let it be known that it won’t interfere with Washington’s legal marijuana industry. But when pot stores do come to Washington, they won’t be able to deposit their money in a bank or accept credit cards. That’s because the pot business, still illegal under federal law, is off-limits to federally-regulated banks.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington D.C. Tuesday. He says businesses that deal only in cash present problems for police.

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changing of the guards
9:33 am
Tue September 10, 2013

CEO Jeff Raikes Retiring from Gates Foundation

Jeff Raikes speaks at an international water conference in Lincoln, Neb., Monday, May 3, 2010.
Nati Harnik Associated Press

The nation’s largest charitable foundation has a job opening. CEO Jeff Raikes announced Tuesday morning that he’ll be stepping down after five years of running the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Raikes started out as a Nebraska farm boy, and built a long career at Microsoft before transitioning to the Gates Foundation in 2008. He took over an organization ballooning in size, and he said one of his legacies is helping organize the foundation to support its enormous ambitions.

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Affordable Care Act
4:35 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Options Double for Wash. Health Insurance Exchange

File image
Paul Beaty AP Photo

The menu of choices on Washington’s new health insurance exchange now includes 43 different plans provided by eight companies.

Consumer choice will vary by county, but every county in the state will have at least two providers to choose from.

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Transportation
3:55 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Inslee Looks to Call Special Session for Transportation Package Vote

Gov. Jay Inslee wants lawmakers to pass a transportatiohn package by Fall.
WSDOT

Gov. Jay Inslee is ratcheting up the pressure on legislators to pass a transportation package. He said he’ll call the state Legislature into special session to approve money for transportation investments and repairs, but only if he’s sure he has the votes to pass it.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:16 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Mass: Summer Weather Takes a Bow Over Long Weekend

Matthew Rutledge Flickr

Labor Day marks summer’s unofficial finale, and KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass says the warm weather with make a curtain call this weekend, though the beach-and-barbecue weather will be a memory by Monday.

"Today is the transitional day,” says Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

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Tourist in Your Own Town
5:01 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Stairway Walks Reveal Some of Seattle's Hidden Spaces

Cathy and Jake Jaramillo delve into obscure corners of Seattle on their stairway walks.
Aaron Hushagen KPLU

Join KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer on an exploration of Seattle's Mt. Baker neighborhood, through its stairways.

There’s the Seattle you see on a map, criss-crossed with roads and transit lines, and there’s a kind of parallel grid of shortcuts and forgotten byways: the staircases. Venturing through Seattle’s stairways can give you a fresh point of view on the city, a new appreciation for our urban topography, and one heck of a thigh workout.

That’s where Cathy and Jake Jaramillo make their discoveries. Stairs “take you into hillier terrain, into the nooks and crannies of neighborhoods. You can see things you wouldn’t see otherwise,” Jake said.

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Weird Science
4:25 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

UW Researchers Use Brain of One to Control Body of Another

University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao, left, plays a computer game with his mind. Across campus, researcher Andrea Stocco, right, wears a magnetic stimulation coil over the left motor cortex region of his brain.
University of Washington

Two researchers at the University of Washington have managed to pull off something right out of a sci-fi story: one used his brain to control the body of another.

The setup involved two labs on different ends of campus. In one lab sat the receiver, Andrea Stocco, with a device on his head that beams a focused magnetic field into his brain. Across campus, in another lab sat the sender, Rajesh Rao, wearing a cap outfitted with electrodes.

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