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

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.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

This time next year, King County's Metro Transit system could be working out the final details of eliminating 65 bus routes and other cuts in service.

The grassroots group Transit Riders Union is holding a rally on Saturday just south of the King County courthouse in Seattle. It starts at noon.

Kevin Klein

If you’ve ever gone fishing, then you probably know what it feels like to catch a big one only to lose it as you reel it in. A Friday Harbor man recently had this experience, but there’s much more to this whale of a tale.

Kevin Klein and his fishing companion were out on the water on July 13, in the deep waters of Harro Strait, between San Juan and Vancouver islands.  

They were on the hunt for a big King Salmon so they could take home the $5,000 prize for the Bellingham Salmon Derby.

They weren't out very long when they hooked what Klein calls “a very big fish.”

Joe Grande / Associated Press

The Somali pirates were convicted earlier this month of shooting Bob Riggle and Phylis Macay of Seattle and Jean and Scott Adam of Marina Del Rey, California. The couples were sailing in the Indian Ocean on the Adams' yacht, the Quest, when the vessel was hijacked by the pirates in February 2011.

The sentencing hearing for the Somali nationals is taking place this week in a Virginia courtroom, and could stretch into early next week. 

Eleven other Somalis involved in the incident have pleaded guilty and are serving life sentences. 

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.

Out of all the candidates running in the 2013 mayoral primary, no one has known incumbent Mike McGinn longer than Kate Martin. The two of them were on the Greenwood Community Council together for almost 10 years. Even though she calls him "Mike," you wouldn't really call them friends.

Jo Hoffman

The plight of honeybees is well-known. Their numbers are dropping, and entomologists are trying to figure out the cause. But did you know that bumblebees—the larger, slower, and furrier relatives of the honeybee—are also in trouble?

Office of the Secretary of State

It's that time of year when life slows down a bit, people go on vacation and they study the voters' guide for the summer primary. What? An election in August?  Yes, Aug. 6 to be exact. Because it's an off-year election with no presidential or gubernatorial candidates in the running, voter participation is predicted to be low.

Matt Barreto, an associate political science professor at the University of Washington, says the lack of interest could be caused by "voter fatigue."

Jennifer Wing

With the Fourth of July fast approaching, many people are making their annual trips to their favorite firework stands to load up for the holiday. This is also the time of year when emergency rooms see hundreds of fireworks-related injuries. 

Boom City, on the Tulalip Indian Reservation north of Everett, has one of the largest selection of fireworks in Washington state. Boom City has more than 130 booths selling everything from sparklers to 500-gram cakes, which is sort of like a fireworks show in a box.

Alex Ragone

This week is the start of summer vacation for a lot of students in the Puget Sound area. It's a time to relax, go to camps and have fun. 

But for children who come from families that don't have a lot of money these next few months are when they often fall behind in their reading skills.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

May 30, 2012 was a beautiful, sunny day. It was also the day when residents and students in North Seattle were told to stay indoors as police searched for the gunman who had opened fire inside a busy café.

When it was all over, five people had been shot dead and the gunman had taken his own life. 

The violence began at Cafe Racer, on the northern edge of Seattle's University District. 

For most kids, the weekends are prime time to play and catch up on cartoons. But for thousands of children across the country and here in the Northwest, Saturdays mean waking up early to head to another school where they sharpen their academic teeth and learn a language that ties them to their cultural heritage.