Jennifer Wing

Special Projects Reporter

Jennifer Wing is an on-call reporter and news host for KPLU. She’s from Philadelphia, but has been living in the Northwest for well over a decade. Jennifer has had many memorable KPLU radio moments over the years, but one that sticks with her is being allowed to watch a young man struggle to learn how to read. Jennifer says, “He'd made it all the way through middle school and most of high school not knowing how. He finally fell into the hands of some adults who cared enough to give him the time and attention he needed.”

Ways To Connect

Courtesy of the Low Income Housing Institute


One of the many challenges of being homeless is staying clean and having fresh clothes. An organization called the Low Income Housing Institute has two urban rest stops in Seattle, where people living on the streets or in their cars can take a shower and clean their clothes free of charge. One is downtown; the other is in the University District.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU


Six teams from the National Transportation Safety Board are in Seattle to start what will likely be a long investigation into Thursday’s fatal crash on the Aurora Bridge involving a Duck Boat, a charter bus and two cars.

Noemie Maxwell

The deed that landed Paul Rivers in jail for the rest of his life wasn’t a murder, it was stealing $330 from an espresso stand in Seattle’s University District. It was his third felony under Washington’s three strikes law.

That was back in 1993. He was 21 years old. After more than two decades in prison Rivers said, "I am no longer a threat to society.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU


A King County Superior Court judge says Tim Eyman’s latest initiative will not be removed from the November ballot.

Initiative 1366 requires the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment before voters that would reinstate a two-thirds legislative majority to raise taxes.


The threat if they don’t do this, is that the state’s 6.5 cent sales tax would be lowered to 5.5 cents, costing the state more than a billion dollars each year.

Courtesy of the Northwest Cahpter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of North America


Imagine having an illness that gives you horrible stomach cramps and makes you have to go to that bathroom a dozen times a day. Yet, to the outside world, you look completely healthy.

Having to explain all of those trips to the toilet can make for some awkward conversations.  This is what it can be like for people living with Crohn's Disease and colitis. It’s believed that these conditions affect more than one million people in United States. About 10 percent of those are children.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU


The National Football League is giving $2.5 million to the University of Washington to study concussions in an effort to make sports safer. The donation, which helps advance work already underway at the university, will help fund the Sports, Health, Safety Institute.

Along with figuring out better ways to prevent and treat concussions, researchers will look at a variety of preventable sports health issues.

People who want to live in a place with all of the amenities of a city but without Seattle’s housing prices are heading south. Real estate agents like Marguerite Giguere are noticing  the trend.

“They are people who would not be able to buy even a modest condo in Seattle and might have been looking to buy in places like Kent or Burien and then realize, ‘Wow, if I go to Kent or if I go to Burien, I’m going to be in a suburb.’”

MaplessinSeattle / Flickr


Seattle’s new law banning smoking in city parks is not getting in the way of this year’s Hempfest along the city’s waterfront.  It runs August 14-16 at Myrtle Edwards Park.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU


Affordable housing is one of the top campaign issues in Seattle’s City Council race.Eight candidates have come together to endorse what they call a “progressive housing plan.”


City Of Seattle

Seattle city officials want to put a stop to a scenario that’s playing out more often in this region’s tight and competitive housing market. It goes like this: landlords issue a staggering rent hike, tenants move out and not to long after that, the building undergoes a big remodel. It’s called an “economic eviction.”


This is how landlords avoid the responsibility of paying about $1500 to low-income tenants to help them find a new home. When landlords do this, tenants also lose the opportunity to collect a similar amount of money from the city for a total of more than $3,000.

Jennifer Wing

When you drive over the South Park Bridge you leave Georgetown and Boeing Field behind. You cross a super fund site, the Duwamish River. A picturesque marina filled with sailboats is off to the left.

Vicki Wagner

Feelings of depression and hopelessness are increasing among Washington State’s teenagers, according to results from the Healthy Youth Survey.

Thirty five percent of 10th graders and 34 percent of 12th graders, the survey found, said they experienced these feelings in the past year. These figures are up slightly from 2012.

Mental health officials say they don't know why this is happening.

Additionally, 10 percent of 10th graders said they attempted suicide is the last year, up from eight percent a few years earlier. Vicki Wagner, the director of the Youth Suicide Prevention Project said most teen suicide attempts happen in the spring and the fall.

Wagner said parents and peers need to act if they notice someone becoming withdrawn.


“Somebody who has been outgoing, who has had a lot of friends, if they start isolating, if they start giving way things, that’s really symptomatic in adolescence," she said. "There’s an awful lot of suicide attempts that can follow a break-up in adolescence, you know, a significant person they were involved with.”


Last year, the Youth Suicide Prevention Project trained more than seven-thousand parents, teachers and students across the state. The trainings focus on the importance of speaking up when someone becomes aware of a teen who might be thinking of taking his or her own life.


UPDATE: The Seattle City Council approved legislation Monday that will lead to the closure of dozens of medical marijuana shops. Dispensaries that sell to minors, and shops that don’t check for medical authorizations are the places the city wants to shut down.

According to city officials, since Washington State’s recreational marijuana law, I-502,  became law two and a half years ago the number of medical marijuana shops in Seattle went from 45 to well over 100.

David Mendoza, a policy advisor to Mayor Ed Murray, says the resolution before the council creates a structured system that lets the city close medical marijuana businesses that came on the scene after I-502 was enacted in January, 2013. The medical marijuana dispensaries that can prove they were operating before that date will be allowed to remain open.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU



The King County Prosecutor’s office is sending a message to the operators of Medical Marijuana shops in unincorporated areas: Shut your business down or face serious consequences.


Dan Burgard


Sewage reveals a lot about our daily habits. With that in mind, the federal government is paying for a study to test sewage water in Washington State to determine how much marijuana people are consuming.


Dan Burgard, an associate chemistry professor at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, has been collecting waste water samples since December 2013, about eight months before the first legal pot stores opened.

Associate Press


When a man’s masculinity is threatened in a minor way it can lead him to tell blatant lies. This is the finding of a new study from researchers at the University of Washington and Stanford.

University of Washington


The findings in new study from the University of Washington show that intensive therapy for very young children with autism spectrum disorder appears to have lasting results. The study’s authors say this makes a strong case for targeted intervention where there is an early diagnosis.

The report will be published next month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Associate Press


Backers of Seattle voter initiative I-122 want political candidates to start knocking on the doors of regular people to raise money instead of relying on big donors and special interest groups.

What Initiative 122 would do has never been tried before. Registered voters would get four vouchers, each worth $25. They would be able to give that money directly to their candidate or candidates of choice. The goal is to encourage candidates to spend more time meeting with voters.

“And the way to do that is to make the voters the donor class in the city by giving them all vouchers," said Sightline Institute's Alan Durning, who helped write the measure.

Adaom Dopps and Corey Webb

The Goldfish Tavern, a bar in Tacoma that first opened in 1933, and has been closed for the last few years, is getting a new life thanks to a unique type of loan. It combines the concepts of crowdfunding and an interest free bank loan.


Old gas tanks buried under the ground on the property, located near the entrance to Point Defiance Park, make it impossible for the owners to get a loan from a traditional financial institution.


“It’s ridiculously unbelievable. This was a community, icon landmark that was going to get demolished,” says Adam Dopps, one of the bar’s owners.

Alan Berner / Associate Press


A King County jury on Friday found Christopher Monfort guilty of aggravated first-degree murder for the 2009 shooting death of Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton.

The jury of six men and six women now will move to the penalty phase of the case. After additional testimony set to begin on June 16, they will decide if Monfort should face the death penalty or life in prison.


The state currently has a moratorium on the death penalty.  Governor Jay Inslee has said no executions will happen in Washington State while he is in office.

Ted S. Warren / Associate Press


Alan Surratt is a bearded, balding man of average height with a large middle. On this warm spring day he’s showing me his studio apartment at 1811 Eastlake in Seattle.  He wears a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. He’s an alcoholic and he’s drunk. His life and career in academia began to unravel decades ago. Things got really bad when his third marriage ended.

U.S. Labor Department


The Seattle office charged with enforcing the $15 minimum wage law has hired Dylan Orr to be its new director. Before taking the job Orr was the first openly transgender person appointed by the Obama Administration, or any presidential administration.


For the past five years Orr has worked under two Labor Secretaries. He’s is a West Seattle native and University of Washington Law School graduate.


“Seattle is my home. It’s my heart,” says Orr.

Simen Svale Skogsrud / Flickr

After sharp criticism from advocates for the homeless, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, Seattle's plan to ban smoking in public parks has been softened to reflect concerns it would unfairly target the homeless and minorities.

Under the new proposal from the Seattle Parks Department, a violator will get a warning for lighting up instead of a $27 fine. Two or more warnings could lead to an arrest. Using e-cigarettes and vape pens would still be allowed.

Jen Owen / E-NABLE

In the basement of a house in Burien, 20-year old Peregrine Hawthorn shows me his three hands dangling from a chord. He loves them. He assembled them himself. They look like robot hands.

The components of each hand were made by a 3-D printer for about $50 dollars with the help of an organization called E-NABLE. This is much cheaper than a high tech prosthetic hand which can cost more than $100,000.

He calls one of the hands that dangles from the line the "Cyborg Beast."

Frank Franklin II / Associate Press


The City of Seattle is preparing to recommend a smoking ban for its parks. If approved by the Superintendent of Parks, smokers must cease lighting up in the city's more than 400 parks and open spaces by the end of June.

Seattle would join a growing list of other cities that don’t allow smoking in parks, including Portland, San Francisco and New York. But not everyone agrees the ban is needed.


in a letter to the city, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State argued that the proposal is both redundant and disproportionately affects the poor and homeless. The current law that restricts smoking within 25 feet of another person is sufficient, said Doug Honig, a spokesman for the ACLU.


Moreover, he said, the smoking ban would punish the homeless.

Courtesy of The Burke Museum


When Candice Pearson was a little girl back in the 1950s she visited her uncle in Bellingham who was a farmer. As he was plowing the field, one of the rocks he cleared away was different. Even at age six, Pearson knew it was special.

“I knew I couldn’t carve a piece of rock like that so I saved it,” Pearson said.


The rock is a mortar, which is normally accompanied by a pestle. Plants were ground in it. It’s small. You can cup it in two hands. To find out more Pearson took it to the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. Pearson showed the mortar to anthropologist Laura Phillips. It has a face carved on it with eyes.


King County Executive Dow Constantine says if we invest in young children we can prevent them from ending up in jail and, in turn, save tax dollars. This is why he wants voters to approve a six-year levy to fund an initiative called Best Starts For Kids.


Tim Samoff

One of the challenges faced by new parents is figuring out how much time they can afford to take off from work. Today the King County Council will vote on a measure that would give new parents who are county employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

UCI UC Irvine


Under the Affordable Care Act insurance plans are required to cover birth control. But a new study reveals women in Washington State are often told otherwise when they shop for health insurance.

Ted Warren / AP Images


Thousands of workers at the University of Washington who teach classes, grade papers and conduct scientific research are negotiating a new contract with the university.