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.”

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Olson Kundig Architects

This weekend the Tacoma Art Museum is inviting the public to explore its new spaces. An addition was built to hold a collection of art that was donated by a German family with Northwest ties.

Michelle Bates

When you signed up for band in middle school, you probably didn’t have the option of playing the rumitone, the stamenphone or the violcano. These are the names of some of the one-of-a-kind instruments dreamed up and forged out of metal by Ela Lamblin.   

Lamblin is the musical genius behind the performance group Lelavision. His wife, dancer and choreographer Leah Mann, animates Lamblin’s instruments on stage. When you see one of their shows, you are witnessing the best of the couple’s talents working together.

Courtesy of Jason Tang

When Scott Teske, a classically trained upright bass player, was in his early 20s, he stepped away from the regimented world of classical music to see what playing in a rock and roll band would be like. Teske picked up the electric bass guitar and joined his first band. It didn’t go so well.

“It was really jarring at first,” recalled Teske. “I really loved it. But just the way the rock-'n-roll world operates is really almost challenging in a way. People are late for rehearsal. They’re not prepared. After that experience I thought, 'Hmm, I really like this rock-'n-roll thing but how can we take these classical values and apply those values to the rock world?”'

Sometimes when the club you want to belong to doesn’t exist, you have to be the person to invent it. This is what Teske did in 2008. The end result is Seattle Rock Orchestra. It’s a laid-back world where the free spirit of rock mixes with the discipline of a symphony.

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Imagine commuting by bus in Seattle without any need for a bus schedule app on your phone or a paper one in your pocket. This is what Scott Kubly, the new head of Seattle’s Department of Transportation, envisions if voters approve Proposition 1, giving the city more than $40 million a year to invest in Metro Transit.

If you spend enough time in Drew Christie’s world, you’ll learn about everything from an invasive rodent living in Lake Washington to “holiday demons” that scare children in Europe. Christie digs deep into various subjects through short animated films that are packed with well-researched information and a heavy dose of dry humor.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

At some point today, depending on where you live, you are likely to pass by a medical marijuana collective garden, which is more commonly known as a dispensary.

These places have been allowed to flourish in cities like Seattle. But according to a ruling last March by Washington’s State Court of Appeals, dispensaries are actually illegal and communities have the authority to ban them.

Warning: Some of the language in this story may not be appropriate for young ears.

After 28 years of making people’s bawdy wishes come true with marzipan and cake, a Seattle institution is coming to an end. The Erotic Bakery in the city’s Wallingford neighborhood is taking down its sign and closing its doors at the end of this month.

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.” 

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