Jennifer Wing

Special Projects Reporter

Jennifer Wing is a Special Projects Reporter and on-call News Host for KPLU. She covers everything from education and the arts to politics. Jennifer is also a frequent contributor to Sound Effect.

Before joining KPLU in 1999, Jennifer worked for KGMI in Bellingham, WILM News Radio in Wilmington, Delaware and Northwest Cable News in Seattle. She got her start in public radio at WRTI and WHYY in Philadelphia.

Jennifer grew up in Philadelphia and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Temple University. She lives in Seattle with her partner and their two children.

One of her most unforgettable moments at KPLU was on February 28, 2001. She was on the top floor of the then un-retrofitted Seattle City Hall preparing to cover a press conference when the Nisqually Earthquake hit. The building felt like it was slammed by a giant truck. It swayed like a deck of cards. Luckily, the building stayed put. It was eventually replaced in 2003.

Ways to Connect

Jennifer Wing

The clouds hang low over the water along a quiet stretch of gravelly beach in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sequim, Washington. A sailboat silently glides past and a clear creek runs into the strait. A gang of seagulls stands at the watery crossroads, preening their feathers.

Perched on a grassy overlook capturing this on a small canvas of balsa wood is plein air artist Sandy Byers. Painting en plein air is the French term that simply means painting outside — something artists have been doing for hundreds of years.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

At 7 a.m. on a recent morning, biker after biker whizzed by on Dexter Avenue heading into downtown Seattle. Some wore fancy gear. Others rode in summer shorts and sandals. Most carried backpacks.

This is one of the most popular roads for the city’s bike commuters. Still, if you want to get around Seattle safely on two wheels, you have to always be aware of cars. According to the most recent available data, there were 406 car-bike accidents in 2012.

Courtesy of Michael July.

One of the first things you notice about someone is the hair. How people wear the hair can say a lot about their politics, religion and even their health.

A photo exhibit currently on display in Seattle focuses entirely on individuals who choose to wear their hair in one type of hairstyle: the afro. This halo of high hair has gone from a symbol of black power to a fashion choice that challenges conventional ideas of beauty.

Alison Marcotte / KPLU

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes that truly made you happy? Unlike jeans or a bathing suit, the one part of an outfit most women don’t dread putting on are shoes. According to a poll by ShopSmart magazine, 19 percent of women have purchased shoes to put them in a happier state of mind.  

If you want to see shoes that have been uplifting women’s moods and their physical stature over the last 10 decades, a treasure trove of heels, pumps, boots and stilettos is currently on display at the White River Valley Museum in Auburn. The Sole Obsession exhibit features more than 100 pairs of women’s dress shoes from 1910 to 2010 that are lit like movie stars and ready for their close-ups.

Photo courtesy of the Kent School District

Students do better in school when their parents volunteer and have a relationship with teachers and staff, decades of research have shown.

Courtesy of George Wing.

When voters approved Initiative 502, one part of the law that appealed to parents was that recreational marijuana would only be available to people 21 and older.

What many parents don’t realize is that it’s possible for a healthy teenager, with the help of an unethical medical provider, to obtain authorization for medical marijuana, which then gives them access to hundreds of dispensaries in the Seattle area. 

Meanwhile, Seattle Public Schools officials say marijuana use by students is on the rise, and students say it is easier to get than alcohol. Where is the supply coming from? Parents and school officials suspect medical marijuana dispensaries. 

Courtesy of London Tone.

A Northwest record label has made it a little easier for musicians to launch their careers.

London Tone has signed contracts with 52 mostly unknown artists for just one song, and allowed them record the single at the famed London Bridge Studios in Shoreline.

Courtesy Sasha Shaw

If you find giant hogweed growing in your garden, don't try to remove it without wearing protective clothing and safety glasses. Otherwise, you could end up suffering for a long time, says Sasha Shaw, an educator with the King County Noxious Weed Control Program.

Shaw has seen pictures of people hurt by giant hogweed. She says it's the plant's sap that "makes your skin hypersensitive to sunlight and then the sunlight causes burns and blisters. It can cause reddish to purplish scarring for up to several years.” 

King County Metro Transit's Facebook Page

King County voters have less than two weeks to decide whether they want to pay a higher sales tax and car tab fee to prevent major cuts to King County Metro Transit bus service.

Proposition 1 would raise the sales tax by .1 percent and boost car tabs by $60. These increases would stay in place for the next 10 years.

If the measure fails, Metro says it will have to get rid of 16 percent of its bus routes and cut thousands of hours of service. 

kyle~ / Flickr

The University of Washington is launching a new online degree in integrated social sciences aimed at people who want to complete their education.

The move is the university’s latest push into the competitive world of online education.

Activists are standing in solidarity with immigrants who’ve been staging a hunger strike at the detention center in Tacoma by holding their own hunger strike this week.

The protesters, who are mostly women, are calling the demonstration the Women’s Fast For Families. They want to remind the public that lawmakers have yet to act on any comprehensive immigration legislation.

Hamish Gunn

University of Washington professor Matt McGarrity teaches a wildly-popular MOOC, or a free massive open online course open to virtual students everywhere.

McGarrity’s course on public speaking is one of more than a dozen MOOCs offered by UW. The communications professor likens the MOOC approach to a yoga class that might air at 6 in the morning on TV.

Western Washington University

There are a handful of Holocaust survivors in the Northwest who were old enough during World War II to remember the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp.

Noemi Ban, 91, of Bellingham is one of them. Ban was a young woman when she lost most of her family at Auschwitz. She survived, and has been sharing her story of hope and forgiveness since.

Wenmei Hill / Courttesey of Northwest Center

Northwest Center Kids in Queen Anne has rented the same building from Seattle Public Schools for decades. But the district says it’s short on space and needs the facility back in the next six months.

The program's location is hard to spot from the street. It’s tucked in near a city park on the downhill slope of north Queen Anne. Inside, toddlers with Down syndrome and preschoolers with feeding tubes play side by side with typically developing children.

Inclusion was the goal of the program’s founders back in 1965. They had kids with special needs, and instead of institutionalizing them, they started their own school.

Neil Giardino / KPLU

Pollock — it’s not something you put on your grocery list or order at a restaurant. But you’ve probably eaten a lot of pollock, which makes up the largest fishery for human consumption. Fake crabmeat in sushi rolls, McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich and Burger King’s Premium Alaskan Fish Sandwich are all made up of pollock. And the same goes for just about every fish stick.

Associated Press

Voters in the city of SeaTac have approved a $15 minimum wage, a recount of the ballots confirmed Monday.

Proposition 1 initially passed by a slim margin of 77 votes out of 6,003 votes cast last month. But even before the ballots were certified, the group Common Sense SeaTac called for a recount by hand in the hotly-contested race. 

Northwest Health and Human Rights Project

Decades have passed since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights back in 1948. But even as the world prepares to celebrate Human Rights Day on Tuesday, slavery, oppression and torture remain very real problems.

In Seattle, one local coalition aims to restore the dignity and health of people from all over the world whose rights have been violated. The Northwest Health and Human Rights Project provides help for torture victims in King County.


The original Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, sailed the seas protecting seals and whales from hunters. The organization’s newest Rainbow Warrior has been docked along Seattle’s waterfront for the past few days as part of a West Coast tour.

The 2-year-old vessel is the third Rainbow Warrior. But it’s the first one Greenpeace had custom-made from stem to stern.

Jennifer Wing

Many people who live in Seattle probably have a hard time naming their city council representatives. There are nine at-large positions that govern the entire city. Charter Amendment 19 on the November ballot wants to make politics more local in Seattle by having seven of those positions look out for the needs of specific districts.

What We Have Now

Seattle has nine at-large city council positions. The council members are responsible to all 600,000+ city residents.

Pros: Council members try to solve problems in ways that benefit all taxpayers. Supporters say it's a more holistic approach that lays a strong foundation for future growth.

Cons: Voters say they don’t have a voice and don’t know who to go to when they have a problem in their neighborhood.

Tom Paulson / Humanosphere

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association for allegedly violating campaign finance laws with the $7 million used to fight Initiative 522, which would require new labels identifying genetically-modified foods.

Ferguson says the association shielded the identities of the contributors, depriving voters of important information.

A new law makes it easier for older adoptees born in Washington state to track down their birth parents.

While the law won’t go into effect until July, the state is trying to get the word out now about the changes.

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Schools feed low-income children breakfast and lunch during the week. But what about on the weekends?

That’s the subject of a backpack summit taking place in Seattle today. The goal is to figure out how to send kids home with backpacks filled with food on Fridays so they can start their week at school, ready to learn.

The film scene in the Northwest has become more prominent over the years thanks, in part, to the Northwest Film Forum. The small art house theater in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is an incubator for local talent that is getting noticed nationally. Many of these artists got their work in front of an audience for the first time at the Film Forum's annual Local Sightings Festival, which takes place over the next week. 


As the political situation involving Syria and the U.S. continues to unfold, war veterans are watching from the sidelines with great interest.

President Obama says he’s not giving up his argument for a military strike as he considers Syria’s offer to hand over its chemical weapons.

Head Start

Fewer kids living in poverty are able to attend Head Start this school year due to the federal budget tightening known as sequestration. Head Start has been helping young children living in poverty get ready for school since 1965.


A new exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma explores the mystery and the legacy of D.B. Cooper, the infamous skyjacker who jumped out of a plane with $200,000 in cash more than four decades ago.

Jennifer Wing

Before the first pioneers trekked through the Wild West to reach Puget Sound, there was already a thriving business here shipping goods to customers across the globe.

In 1832, Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Nisqually, the very first European settlement in Puget Sound.

Today, a detailed replica of the fort, called the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, stands at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park.

Howard County Library System

More public school students in Washington state will be attending full-day kindergarten when the school year begins in a few weeks. State lawmakers approved the $50 million in extra funding during the last legislative session.

Kristen Jauden, a spokeswoman for the state office of public instruction, says the money is going to schools with high populations of low-income students.

If you are a distracted driver, then it’s time to put the phone down.

Over the next few weeks, Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement officers will be putting more resources into ticketing drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road. Between now and Aug. 23, officers in unmarked cars will be solely focused on scanning the roads to see if drivers are talking on cell phones or texting.